Just posted: PAGE 3 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

First, a quick check on the GoFundMe campaign: another three days, another $320 for a total of $8,651 from 111 donors. There’s also another $50 from Paypal donations, bringing us 44.6% of the way to our $19,5000 goal after three weeks. It’s all good, folks.

To donate or if you’d just like to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

Once again, a friendly reminder that this 7-page (plus cover) comic book story is nearly identical to what you will see when INTERLUDE is completed and released. So if you don’t want to know anything about my fan film—and that’s fine!—please stop reading now and don’t look at the page artwork below…’cause that wouldn’t be quite as fine.

Let’s talk briefly about the captain of the USS Artemis: Imari Jakande. When I first wrote up my “alternate” script for the two Axanar sequels, I’d named the captain of the ArtemisKyle Donovan,” and I didn’t really think about his race or background. I just needed a person in the center seat of that starship. Kyle could just as easily have been Kylie, as well. Race, gender, ethnicity…they just weren’t as important to me at that moment as getting my thoughts down on paper (well, keyboard) before they faded from my mind. Initially, I don’t even think the original three or four pages of the scene with the Artemis and Ares took me more than 15 minutes to write.

So when I first expanded that sequence into a seven-page comic book script, I left the character’s name as Kyle Donovan. My illustrator, DANIEL FU, suggested making him a black man, and I had no problem with that. Good idea! And when the page artwork came in, I loved what I saw.

A few weeks later was when I first showed the artwork to ALEC PETERS. I had already gotten his thumbs-up to do the comic, but I wanted him to be able to review the progress. After all, it was important to me that this story be acceptable “head canon” for the Axanar “universe.”

Alec liked the artwork, but suggested that, since the captain of the Artemis was black, perhaps he should have an African name. By this, Alec didn’t mean African American but rather from the African continent—like Uhura—with an authentic African name.

As Alec did with the Axanar character of Sam Travis, who was named after a famous military leader, I wanted my character to have an African name with some historical significance.

Turns out that was much easier said than done!

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 3 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Previs and VFX!

First, a quick update on the GoFundMe campaign for the INTERLUDE fan film. Since Monday’s blog, we’ve gained over $400 (2% closer to our goal of $19,500) for a current total of $8,331. We’ve also crossed the 100 backer threshold (currently at 109). So steady as she goes…!

As I say each time, if you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude


This is the first in a series of three weekly blogs I’ll be posting about the opening VFX sequence for my fan film Interlude and how it went from an idea in my head to looking like this…

When I first set out to raise money to make Interlude, I knew I needed to show something. Obviously, without costumes or a cast, we couldn’t shoot any actual footage. Of course I’d feature the creative people involved, but doesn’t typically create high excitement unless some of those people are Star Trek celebrities (which fan filmmakers can no longer use). So what’s left? Well, VFX, of course!

I spoke to my CGI guy, LEWIS ANDERSON (a pseudonym my friend is using) and asked if he’d be willing to churn out a quick visual effects sequence from my script to show what Interlude might look like. “Sure,” he said. “Shoot me over the script, and let me take a look at what you’re thinking.”

Easy-peasy. I sent him the full script, but highlighted the opening scene…

After receiving it, Lewis messaged me back: “Shouldn’t be a problem, Jon. Do you have anything storyboarded?”

As a matter of fact, I did! I actually had FOUR different storyboards!!!

The first wasn’t actually a storyboard so much as a more detailed description of the sequence that I had written up for my comic book artist, DANIEL FU, when I decided (a year earlier) to turn this script into a one-shot AXANAR comic book called “Stardate 2245.1” . The description I wrote up for Daniel was divided into three comic book panels and looked like this…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Previs and VFX!”

Just posted: PAGE 2 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

A quick check of the GoFundMe campaign before we begin. After two weeks, we’re already on the cusp of 100 BACKERS(!!!) with a total of $7,901—more than 40% of the way to $19,500. That’s FANtastic progress! If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, today’s blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

If you do NOT want to know what my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE will be about, if you want to want to go in completely cold with no idea what happen, then stop…

reading…

NOW.

Seriously. This far. No farther. Go to a different website or read another blog. Final warning.


Okay, for those brave/curious/impatient souls who are left, what IS Interlude about anyway? So far, I’ve kept things pretty vague. Here’s what it says on my GoFundMe page:

INTERLUDE is an exciting vignette story that shows fans whom those D7s were shooting at, and why those targets were so important.  The story is about honor an sacrifice, bravery and duty in the face of a surprise sneak attack that leaves no time to plan or react with anything other than one's true self.

I’ve mentioned previously that the reason for the story was to explain the absence of Admiral Marcus Ramirez from the Axanar sequels. The real reason, of course, is that actor TONY TODD no longer wished to be a part of the production going forward. So there’s a point in my script where Ramirez gets severely wounded, but beyond that, I’ve given few details.

The reason for the vagueness is that Interlude is actually a pretty fast-paced story. It starts in the middle of a space battle and spends most of its (estimated) ten minutes in that same tense situation. While there’s drama and action, the majority of the dialog happens between just two characters…one of whom is Captain Kelvar Garth of the USS Ares.

I always thought of this story as a small but important part of the tapestry of Garth’s life…a tapestry that includes PRELUDE TO AXANAR, my short story “Why We Fight,” another short story I haven’t written yet called “Why We Explore,” the two upcoming Axanar sequels, and perhaps even the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”

Combined, all of these stories help to piece together the puzzle that is Kelvar Garth, the victor at Axanar and the personal hero of Captain James T. Kirk. Who is Garth? We only saw a fleeting glimpse of the true man at the end of “Whom Gods Destroy,” and I for one want to learn more.

So here’s Page 2—along with the cover and Page 1—of another piece of the Garth puzzle (click to enlarge the images)…

Read mor

Just hours left to donate to SPACE COMMAND…as a NEW EDIT of the first hour is released!

One of my favorite things about MARC SCOTT ZICREE’s fan-funded sci-fi epic SPACE COMMAND is watching it “evolve.” Last summer, Marc released the first half-hour of the 2-hour pilot “Redemption.” It was impressive, to be sure, but it needed a bit more “polish.” A number of things didn’t look quite right, including the infamous driving scene where a father and son in a convertible roadster are speeding down the highway, and neither actor’s hair is moving at all. (The original footage was shot in front of a green screen.)

In February of this year, Marc released the full first hour of the pilot. But in addition to simply adding a half hour of new, just-completed scenes and visual FX, Marc also re-edited, color-corrected, sound-corrected, and updated a fair amount of the first half hour. Finally, the hair of those two actors was actually blowing in the wind! It was fascinating to me to watch those first two releases side-by-side, comparing them. It really allowed me to appreciate the craft of filmmaking.

Now, with less than 24 hours left in their latest Kickstarter, Marc has released an updated version of the first hour, and it’s worth taking a look at because it’s getting even better. This version is edited to be a few minutes shorter with improved VFX and some other intriguing changes (including having not only the previous mini-trailer for the second episode “Forgiveness” but also a new short trailer for the third episode “The Great Solar War”)…

And speaking of the second episode, “Forgiveness,” as I mentioned, the month-long campaign is in its final hours, ending at midnight Saturday Pacific Time. Although the stated goal of $35K was surpassed almost immediately and the current total stands (as I type this) at just under $80K, Marc would love to see $100K.

It’s not clear whether they can reach that stretch goal, but if you haven’t donated yet and still wanted to, this is your last chance—at least for this Kickstarter!

Here’s the link to find out more and donate…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/58936338/space-command-forgiveness

Set Cancellations, Scheduling Conflicts, Costume Conundrums, Stray Dogs, Trapped Woodpeckers, and Acts of God…what I DIDN’T expect when I decided to make a fan film!

Before we begin, quick crowd-funding update! After ten days, 88 backers have already donated $7,621 to INTERLUDE (nearly 40% of the way to $19,500!). That’s amazing! If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, today’s blog…


“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Man, am I learning that lesson with Interlude!

Over the years, I’ve interviewed countless fan filmmakers, and the one thing that nearly all of them have in common are stories of unexpected crises that pop up out of nowhere…demanding to be dealt with quickly lest the project get partially or completely derailed.

I never truly appreciated what these show-runners go through until I became an executive producer myself. My fan film hasn’t even started shooting yet, and already I’ve had to deal with some of the weirdest occurrences that I could have ever imagined—including emergency dog rescues, woodpeckers in chimneys, and an honest-to-goodness flood—all of which have conspired to try to delay the launch of my crowd-funder!

The dog actually DID delay it. You all probably remember how a stray canine in Alabama crossed the highway in front of ALEC PETERS and CRYSSTAL HUBBARD, and how they spent the next two hours trying to keep the dog safe (keep it from trying to cross back) until help could arrive. And those two hours ate up the window for livecasting Axanar Confidential that Monday night, forcing us to delay the roll-out of the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE until the following night.

But wait till you hear about some of the other Murphy’s Law moments I’ve had over the past month and a half…

Continue reading “Set Cancellations, Scheduling Conflicts, Costume Conundrums, Stray Dogs, Trapped Woodpeckers, and Acts of God…what I DIDN’T expect when I decided to make a fan film!”

Just posted: PAGE 1 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

The GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE launched a week ago, and it got off to a very exciting start! We’re currently nearly 1/6 of the way to our $19,500 goal with $3,089 from 52 donors (including me). And although donations have slowed a bit over the last few days—that’s to be expected on most crowd-funders—they’re still coming in. So…YAY!

What this means for YOU is, if you haven’t donated yet and want to see Interlude get made, please consider making a donation (or at least share the link with friends whom you think might be interested in helping us out).

What this means for ME, of course, is that I have to find ways to keep fans excited about this project! And that brings us to today’s blog entry…

As many of you know, Interlude got its start as “feedback” for ALEC PETERS after I read his first draft of the two 15-minute Axanar sequel fan films (shortened from the originally-planned 90-minute feature length production). I noticed his script contained no scenes on the bridge, and so I wrote a few for him. I didn’t know at the time that Alec wasn’t sure if the USS Ares bridge set would ever be completed (this was back in June of 2017), which is why he left out any scenes on the bridge.

Encouraged by Alec, however, I decided to create an Axanar comic book using one of my bridge scenes, following the lead of super Axanerd TREY McELWAIN, who was already publishing the second Axanar comic in his “Tip of the Spear” series. In fact, he let me “borrow” his artist, DANIEL FU to illustrate my short story.

It would be a 7-page one-shot—beginning at the exact moment that PRELUDE TO AXANAR ended on its cliff-hanger: “Stardate 2245.1 – The D7 enters the war!” Three D7s approach the camera, the lead one firing a torpedo. The comic would show their target…and why that target was so critical to the war. The story is about honor an sacrifice, bravery and duty in the face of a surprise sneak attack that leaves no time to plan or react with anything other than one’s true self.

The comic is now complete—ready to be shared with all of you. Over the course of the next seven weeks, I’ll be releasing one page per week. Many of you have already seen the cover, so this week is page 1.

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 1 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premieres “REDEMPTION AT RED MEDUSA”! (audio interview with GARY DAVIS and RANDY WRENN)

Back in 2015, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION released its first two episodes (“Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh“). Those two episodes set up the backstory of the main characters as the USS Dominion prepared to launch. But then the show-runner and lead actor, FRANK PAREKR, JR. (playing Commodore Samuel Grissom) left the series, leaving GARY DAVIS and RANDY WREEN to pick up the pieces and move on.

In late 2016, Dreadnought Dominion did a cross-over fan film with Starship Valiant called “Chain of Command.” With Dominion still waiting to launch, Gary’s character of Captain Jason Brousseau takes command and makes Randy’s Commander Stephen Denson his XO.

The following summer, a Mirror Universe version of the same episode, this one titled “Command and Conquer,” showed the same scenes taking place in the Terran Empire. It was a fun little project, and both fan films featured MICHAEL L. KING from Starship Valiant and VANCE MAJOR playing his fan favorite character of Erick Minard.

And Dominion still hadn’t left drydock!

Last summer Gary and Randy released two back-to-back vignettes, both filmed at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA: “Reality Check” (which purposefully broke the fourth wall in a tongue-in-cheek way) and “Silent Acknowledgement” (featuring the first deaf character and actress in a fan series). You can read a great two-part interview with Gary and Randy here.

And yet, after six complete fan films, Dominion was still in drydock!

Acknowledging the ridiculousness of the situation, Gary and Randy created one final script to get them on their way: “Technical Difficulties.” Also tongue-in-cheek, they finally got the starship launched and promised their next episode would be a serious one.

That episode was just released this past Saturday. Check it out…

Gary and Randy are great guys and truly dedicated to the essence of what a Star Trek fan film should be: fun, dedication, hard work, and a desire to share their stories with fellow fans. I’d been wanting to do an audio interview with them, and this seemed like the perfect excuse. So take a listen to a fun and funny interview with two gentlemen whom you are going to want to get to know better…

RANDY WRENN and GARY DAVIS of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION

Dreadnought Dominion‘s last crowd-funding campaign feel short of its goal. But now, with the impressive “Redemption at Red Medusa” showing what they can do, Gary and Randy have launched a new GoFundMe for their next TWO episodes with a $3,000 goal. If you’d like to help them out, click on the link below…

https://www.gofundme.com/dreadnoughtdominion

A whole new DIMENSION to my fan film INTERLUDE!

And this is why I’m not a video editor!

But before I begin publicly admitting my embarrassment, let me first say how excited and encouraged I am to see so much support for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. After just 24 hours, we’d already made it an amazing 1/8 of the way to our $19,500 goal…with new donations popping up every few hours. So THANK YOU!

If you haven’t donated yet and would like to, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

So let me tell you a little bit about my experience as a filmmaker…

And there it was. I’m not an accomplished editor or VFX artist; I can’t compose music; I don’t know lighting; and I’m working my way up to”novice” when it comes to video cameras and the latest technology. Fortunately, I have some amazing people who DO know this stuff backwards and forwards, and I’m more than happy to find them some money to produce a film and then just get out of their way and let them work their magic.

However, when it came to creating the “ask” video for Interlude, I didn’t feel comfortable requesting or expecting too much free work just yet. Oh sure, LEWIS ANDERSON created the awesome CGI render of the opening VFX sequence, MARK EDWARD LEWIS added the sound effects, KEVIN CROXTON composed the music, and Mark did the sound mixing. Those 19 seconds were a true team effort.

But the other 12 minutes and 16 seconds of the ask video were all me, my Canon G3X camera, and my Mac. And as I said, I’m not exactly an accomplished expert, and I don’t have the high-end editing software (nor did I have time to learn it). So I just did my best to record footage and assemble the video using the “Happy Meal” of Mac film editing applications: iMovie.

Considering my limited experience and abilities, and also the short amount of time I had to complete everything, the 13-minute ask video and the 1-minute Interlude “commercial” came out fairly decently. Lots of people agreed…even a few detractors, if you can believe it. But those same detractors were all too eager to point out how disappointed they were that Interlude would have a standard HD aspect resolution of 16:9 instead of the wider screen cinemascope aspect ratio of 2:39.1 that Prelude to Axanar was shot in.

Then, two days after I’d launched the GoFundMe with the “ask” video that I was so proud of, my CGI guy messengered me to ask why I cropped his cinemascope VFX footage down to 16:9?

To quote the great Scooby Doo: “R’uh R’oh!”

Continue reading “A whole new DIMENSION to my fan film INTERLUDE!”

My INTERLUDE GoFundMe launches with $1,600 in just 6 hours!

Wow! I launched the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE during the rescheduled livecast of this week’s Axanar Confidential. Then I headed out to have dinner with a good friend and watch episodes of Fear the Walking Dead and The Last Kingdom. After dinner but before geeking out in front of the TV, I showed my friend the YouTube “commercial” I posted for Interlude

He was curious how much we’d raised so far. I joked that it’d only been about two and a half hours, only 70 people had watched the podcast live, and we really hadn’t started the heavy promotion yet. Nevertheless, I pulled out my cell phone and checked: $420. Not bad, I thought…even though $100 of that came from me as the first donation.

But when I returned home three hours later (just a few minutes ago as I write this), I was shocked to see the total had jumped to $1,620! And this included an anonymous $1,000 donation (whoever you are, I love you—thank you so much!). Actually, I want to thank everyone who has donated so far, from a $5 donation from my dear friends ALEX & SARAH ROSENZWEIG to a $100 donation from CLAUDE FRANCIS DOZIERE in Italy (who will be the costume consultant for Axanar) to a $250 donation from a fellow named JT KLAMER, whom I’m not sure I know yet, but I’d sure like to. To you five and the other half dozen donors so far, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

But there’s still a long road to get from here to there…which is my ultimate goal of $19,500. Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be publishing a LOT of blogs about Interlude to keep up interest and excitement in the project. These will include features, interviews, a couple of videos, some editorials, and the seven pages of the short comic book story I wrote that Interlude is based on.

I am also planning to continue to cover the larger world of fan films. After all, that’s what this blog is all about! Already, I have an audio interview with MARC ZICREE of SPACE COMMAND coming on Thursday, another audio interview with the show-runners of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION the following week, a sneak peek at VANCE MAJOR’s upcoming series THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES, and the first new STALLED TREK animated puppet parody in more the three years.

So no, it’s not going to be “all Interlude all the time,” and yes, it is going to be a VERY busy summer for Jonathan!

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Please consider making a donation to my crowd-funder for Interlude, or at least please share the link below…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

The DOG ate my LIVECAST – INTERLUDE launch rescheduled for TONIGHT at 9PM Eastern Time!

Some of you might be aware that last night I was planning to launch my GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. We had it all planned: ALEC PETERS would host me and my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, on his Axanar Confidential YouTube Livecast. The start time was supposed to be 9:00 pm Eastern. I posted all over Facebook and to a number of mailing lists.

And then the dog happened…

To be honest, I’d been a feeling little uneasy about the livecast the entire day. Alec was traveling back to Georgia all the way from Oklahoma (where he had been for the weekend)—a 13-hour drive! Could he make it back in time for the livecast?

As the day went on, I checked in with Alec periodically. By lunchtime, he and his girlfriend CRYSSTAL HUBBARD were in Memphis…half-way there. Later in the afternoon, while passing through Birmingham, Alabama, Alec’s GPS showed an arrival time of 8:30 pm. Cutting it close, to be sure…but we should still make it. Whew!

But then Alec texted me that he had to cancel the livecast. The reason: an emergency dog rescue…

Continue reading “The DOG ate my LIVECAST – INTERLUDE launch rescheduled for TONIGHT at 9PM Eastern Time!”