Just posted: PAGE 7 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Has it been six weeks already? Wow, this summer is flying by! When I posted page 1 of this comic on June 18, the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE had been up for a week, and we’d just crossed the $3K mark with 53 donors. Now we’re at $10,415 with 144 donors (plus a few more via Paypal)!

That is so awesome, and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have so many people supporting me and sharing this crazy dream of making a fan film. But we’re still not quite there yet, so once again, here’s the link to the GoFundMe campaign for Interlude.

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Please donate or at least share. And now, let’s wrap up the comic…

SPOILER ALERT!

Yep, one last time, here’s your warning. The “Stardate 2245.1” comic book short story is pretty much the same plot you’ll see in the fan film Interlude. So if you don’t want to know what’s going to happen, for the love of Garth(!) don’t read the 7-page (plus cover) comic below. So say we all.

Okay, let’s discuss the last page…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 7 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…

The typical “life cycle” for most crowd-funding campaigns (especially for Star Trek fan films) is a burst of excitement and donations at the beginning, then a slowdown in the middle, and (if you’re lucky) a smaller burst at the end just before the deadline. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

The problem for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, however, is that I decided to use GoFundMe instead of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The latter two have built-in deadlines—usually 30 or 60 days—before the campaign must either reach its goal or fail.

But GoFundMe is open-ended. Conceivably, I could still be raising money for Interlude when Earth makes first contact with the Vulcans 44 years from now! Of course, I don’t plan to do that. At some point, I will need to shut this campaign down and deliver a completed fan film to you all. The question is…when?

We had a FANtastic first month, taking in nearly half of our goal from more than 100 backers ranging from $5 and $10 and $20 donors to donations in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars! But in the past couple of weeks, although donations are still coming in, the pace has slowed considerably…which is consistent with the crowd-funding “life cycle.”

Unfortunately, without a specific deadline, it’s unlikely that we’ll get that final boost. And even if I do set an artificial deadline (which I am about to do in this blog), it’s not likely that we’ll reach or exceed the $19,500 goal that our budget calls for.

However, as I mentioned last week, my budget blog back in June mentioned that my numbers purposefully erred on the high side in order to provide flexibility for trimming and cutting various items just in case we didn’t make our goal.

So this past week, I sat down with my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, and went through every line item with a fine-toothed comb. We sliced, we diced, we cropped and capped. And in the end, we came up with a minimum that we’ll need to commit to making this fan film…as well as the date we’ll need to have those funds by in order to be ready to shoot the first weekend of November.

So what’s our “point of no return”?

Continue reading “And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…”

Just posted: PAGE 6 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Yesterday, the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE crossed the $10,000 threshold (on our way to $19,500) with 140 backers! Plus there’s a handful of Paypal donors. And of course, donations are always welcome right here…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And without further ado, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

As we present the next-to-last page of “Stardate 2245.1,” I’ll remind you all once again that, if you want to be know nothing about my Axanar Universe fan film Interlude, then you should stop reading now and find another webpage to visit. The comic story is almost the same as the fan film story. So if you want to be completely surprised by Interlude, staying on this blog entry is pretty much the worst place you could be!

There, I said it.

As much as I love every single panel of every page of artwork that my illustrator DANIEL FU produced, if I had to pick a favorite, Page 6 would be it. Go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of this blog page to check it out and then come back up here, because it truly is a beautifully composed masterpiece.

I recall that Daniel and I spent a lot of time on this page, discussing it both before and after he had produced the first clean version. Initially, Daniel’s bridge background in panel three wasn’t accurate to the photos of the actual set, and while I hated asking my poor, overworked artist for a redo, I also felt it was very important that this particular panel look like the real thing.

And here’s why…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 6 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE GoFundMe – How long to the point of no return?

When I launched the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, I knew going in that there were three possible outcomes…

  1. Total failure – I was using GoFundMe (not Kickstarter or Indiegogo) with no perks…would that even work? If I’d only managed to take in a few thousand dollars in the first month or two, I’d likely need to refund the donations and give up on my dream project.
  2. Smashing success If I quickly blasted past my $19.5K goal in a few weeks, then full speed ahead and maybe even start planning for a second production.
  3. Something in between.

We’re definitely in the third scenario, folks, which is fine. In fact, I kinda expected it. When I wrote my budget blog, I even said the following:

If we come up short, we’ll need to figure out ways to trim things. For that reason, I’ve “erred on the side of caution” and created my budget to assume costs on the high side. That way, if we don’t make our goal, we’ll hopefully still have enough to make a decent fan film by streamlining and trimming things from the budget.

And that’s where we are. It’s been a little over a month, and we’ve just crossed the half-way point to our goal. We’re at $9,768 as I type this…plus another $100 or so in Paypal donations. It’s a solid start, and donations are still coming in. But they’ve slowed down (as they usually do after a quick start), and I need to look at practical considerations now.

In order to film in November, we need to commit to certain things by September. For this reason, I can’t simply keep up the GoFundMe until we reach our goal (even if it takes months or years). We have to figure out a “point of no return.” What is the minimum we need to get this project filmed? Can we do it for $17K? $15K? $13.5K? Do we have enough with just the nearly $10K raised so far?

Obviously, if we have to cut things out of the budget, we won’t have all the bells and whistles. But for me, it’s more important to turn this dream into a reality. So I’m going to sit down with my co-directors, VICTORIA FOX (who is also my producer) and JOSHUA IRWIN and start figuring out what can be trimmed, and by what date we need to lock down our GoFundMe to either commit to filming in November or else delay the production until we’re better funded. (I think we’ve taken in enough to no longer need to consider canceling the project.)

So what do I need from you folks right now?

Continue reading “INTERLUDE GoFundMe – How long to the point of no return?”

TREY and TREY’s excellent INTERLUDE commercial!

TREY McELWAIN has been one of AXANAR‘s staunchest supporters. He shows up each week for the Axanar Confidential livecast. He was the first (and second) to create an Axanar Universe comic book and launch the Axanar Comics website. In fact, Trey inspired me to write and publish the first Axanar Universe short story, “Why We Fight,” and later to create my own Axanar Universe comic story, “Stardate 2245.1” (currently being released one page per week).

A few months ago, Trey launched his own Axanar Comics Youtube channel. Initially, it simply featured updates on the latest developments in the world of Axanar Comics and Axanar itself. Then Trey began doing stop-motion versions of his comic stories. Most recently, Trey has expanded his offerings to include interviews with folks in the Axanar and fan film community, including THOMAS RAUBE and MARK PAYTON.

Trey already has an impressive 445 channel subscribers (not bad for three months!). And with each new release, Trey improves and expands his skills using his video editing software. His latest offering pushed his abilities to tackle a new challenge: being in two places at once!

The catalyst for attempting this feat was my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. Trey wanted to create a “commercial” on his channel in support of my GofundMe campaign (have you donated yet?). And as a way of playing off my whimsical “ask” video—where I interview myself—Trey decided to go one step further and appear next to himself, using green screen compositing. He even went so far as to comb his hair differently and put glasses on one of him, similar to what I did in my “ask” video.

The finished product looks very impressive, considering this was a first attempt at a new skill. And it was actually much more difficult to execute than Trey makes it look. (In other words, it looks slick and polished despite having a lot of moving parts.) Keep in mind, as you watch, that Trey needed to follow a script and leave himself enough of a gap each time one of his characters stopped talking for the other Trey to say his lines (since each Trey is a continuous shot). And that’s not easy! Wait too long, and there’s an awkward moment of silence. Come in too soon, and the Treys might end up talking over each other.

So kudos to Trey for pulling this off, and thanks to Trey for helping to promote my GoFundMe campaign (currently just $172 short of the half-way point…hint, hint):

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Take a look at Trey’s video below (and “marvel” at his new opening sequence!)…

TREKYARDS: Mission America II – Crowd-funding now…with AWESOME PERKS!

Can you believe that TREKYARDS has been going on for nearly FIVE years??? Do you even know what Trekyards is? You don’t? Oh, man…are you missing out!

Trekyards is a Youtube channel with more than sixteen million views and 50,000 subscribers watching over two-thousand videos! STUART FOLEY (from Canada) and SAMUEL COCKINGS (from Great Britain) release new shows almost daily spotlighting the various ships and vessels from all eras of Star Trek and all genres of sci-fi…plus they do interviews and provide reviews of new episodes, old episodes, toys and collectibles…you name it, they talk about it with two different accents and often with other people from the Trek community (some of them famous)!

Of course, the vast majority of their shows are transatlantic, with the two hosts separated by space and time (well, timezones). But every so often, these two fellows meet in person. And while the universe doesn’t suddenly implode in some timey-whimey vortex of infinite impossibility, it does set one or the other (or both) back a decent amount for international air travel and lodging. In fact, the last time Stuart and Samuel got together for a Trekyards show, it was two years ago.

But over the next twelve months, Stuart and Samuel have FOUR different, special trips planned. But they need the help of supporters to make those events possible for them, and so they’ve set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise $12,000…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trekyards-mission-america-ii

So where are they planning to travel to, and what will they be doing there?

Continue reading “TREKYARDS: Mission America II – Crowd-funding now…with AWESOME PERKS!”

Just posted: PAGE 5 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Another week, another $700 for the ol’ GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE. We’re just about half-way, and at this rate, we’ll make it to our $19,500 goal by mid-October. But we don’t have until mid-October—more on that situation at the end of this coming week.

In the meantime, we’re just $442 away from passing the $10K threshold. So if you haven’t donated yet or would like to increase your donation a weeeeee bit, operators are standing by…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

By now, you know that the spoiler alert is there because this comic book one-shot tells the same story as INTERLUDE. So if you want to be completely surprised by the fan film when it comes out, then completely don’t read the 5 pages (plus cover) at the end of this blog.

Heed my words, humans.

Okay, if you’ve stuck around, you might be wondering how close the comic will be to the final fan film. The dialog is pretty darn close, but it’s not an exact match. The comic book needed to be truncated in places in order to keep it at just seven pages and not have all of the artwork covered up by word balloons.

But there’s also two places where you’ll discover that the comic and film will diverge quite a bit. One of those two places is at the end. But since we’ve still got two pages to go, I won’t spoil that for you just yet. I’ll discuss that divergence in two more weeks.

The other place where the two versions are different comes closer to the beginning—in fact, it’s right after the opening VFX sequence. Originally, the shooting script matched the comic book much more closely. But after VICTORIA FOX, my producer and the co-director for Interlude, read the shooting script, she had some feedback.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to making any more changes. I’d already sat with this script for nearly two years, tweaking it here and there, and I was pretty happy with it. So was ALEC PETERS. Why mess with “perfection”?

Well, it turns out it wasn’t quite perfect just yet…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 5 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – MUSIC!

Quick update: after four weeks, the INTERLUDE GoFundMe campaign is just a few hundred dollars short of the HALFWAY point! Please donate anything you can spare…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude


Two weeks ago, I showed you how I worked with CGI artist LEWIS ANDERSON on the VFX for the opening 20-second sequence for Interlude. Then last week, you got to watch my sound-mixer, MARK EDWARD LEWIS, add some awesome sound effects to the sequence.

Now it’s time to shine the spotlight on KEVIN CROXTON, my music composer. In 2018, Kevin wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning musical Star Trek fan film THE BUNNY INCIDENT with his fourth and fifth grade students. Oh, and did I mention (about 47 times!) that Kevin has won an Emmy?

Kevin was eager to get to work composing music for Interlude. He adores Star Trek and LOVES Axanar. The idea of writing music that would evoke both Prelude and classic/movie Trek intrigued him (and me!). But he had one request. Before composing music for the Interlude “commercial” and also for the longer “ask” video, he wanted Mark to add in the sound effects for the VFX sequence. That way, Kevin could compose around the louder and quieter beats.

For anyone who didn’t watch all the way to the end of the video in last week’s blog, here’s where things were left with my minute long “commercial” after Mark was finished adding the sound FX…

Note that the last scene from Prelude to Axanar was taken directly from the final fan film…complete with voice-over, sound FX, and music. This would later become problematic because I had no way to separate the three elements. But Mark added really amazing sound effects under the new VFX footage, along with quiet swishing noises when each of the intro titles zoomed in.

Now it was time to see what Kevin could do…!

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – MUSIC!”

Just posted: PAGE 4 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

As usual, a quick check on the GoFundMe campaign. While donations have slowed, they’re still coming in and inching us closer to our $19,500 goal. Right now, we’re 45.3% of the way there and 118 donors, with some promotional pushes planned over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, if you haven’t donated yet, have a little extra to spare at the moment, or simply want to help us spread the word, here’s the link…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

The spoiler warning is there to remind you that this short comic book story is pretty much identical to what you’ll see in INTERLUDE when it’s finished…only the comic is two-dimensional drawings without sound or motion or all the other cool stuff you see in fan films.

Interestingly enough, we’ve reached the point where I need to start being very selective in choosing which panel(s) to show at the top of the blog entry. I always like to show some thumbnail, as it increases the visibility of the link when I post to Facebook and Twitter. Also, if I don’t set the thumbnail, Facebook and Twitter will use their mysterious algorithm to decide for themselves with thumbnail to use…and that could inadvertently end up giving away an important spoiler.

So as you can see from the image at the top, I’ve chosen something very ambiguous to display while still showing off the amazing artwork of my illustrator DANIEL FU.

And speaking of Daniel, I’d like to take a moment to point out something that many of you might not have noticed. Sure, his art looks awesome…with great composition that moves the eye around the page, dramatic expressions and poses, confident line work, and contoured contrasts of light and shadow.

But did you notice the colors? I mean, they’re bright and vibrant and all, which is important for this era of Star Trek (before things got darker and less saturated in the later TV series like Discovery and Enterprise). But it’s more than just that.

When Daniel and I discussed the story and pages, I art directed him that I felt it was important to distinguish the two bridges—Ares and Artemis—which are, of course, identical. And they’re both at red alert, meaning they both should be colored to reflect that emergency battle status. So how could Daniel make two identical bridges, both tinged red for battle status, look different?

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 4 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Sound FX!

If you liked last week’s blog about the previs that went into the opening 19-second VFX sequence for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, then you’re probably going to find this week’s blog just as fascinating.

But first, a reminder to please donate to our GoFundMe campaign (we’re nearly halfway to our $19.5K goal—just cracked $8.7K!)…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Okay, let’s get this blog rolling!


I really feel like I’m walking with giants. This is totally my first rodeo. I’ve never executive produced a fan film (or any film) before. BUT!!! Through goodwill, good fortune, good nature, or just blind luck, I’ve managed to attract some incredibly skilled and experienced people to direct, produce, do casting, create visual FX, and take on other important tasks to make Interlude amazing. And isn’t that what fan films are all about—bringing together people who love Star Trek?

Three of those tasks were still required for completing the opening sequence for Interlude. My CGI guy, LEWIS ANDERSON (not his real name), had already produced this amazing VFX masterpiece…

But of course, there was no sound yet. We still needed music, sound effects, and someone to mix them together so that the music didn’t overwhelm the sounds of the engines/torpedoes/explosions…and also vice versa. These three tasks were the job of two of my “giants”: KEVIN CROXTON and MARK EDWARD LEWIS.

Kevin is a musical composer who has won an Emmy Award (and yes, I will say that over and over and over again!) and now teaches music in Arkansas. Last year, he wrote and directed the musical Star Trek fan film THE BUNNY INCIDENT starring his 4th and 5th grade music students.

Mark was the sound-mixer on PRELUDE TO AXANAR. He also did editing and sound-mixing on two episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages (plus dozens of other independent films and shorts), and will be doing the editing for the upcoming Axanar sequels. Mark has access to all of the original sound effects for Prelude, and he was happy to mix them into my fan film, too.

The only question now was kind of a chicken-and-egg one: who works on the opening sequence next? Does Kevin write the music first, or does Mark add the sound effects first?

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Sound FX!”