One week left to enter THE 2022 DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS…deadline is JANUARY 15!

Have you directed, produced, or otherwise been involved with the creation of a fan film that was released in 2022? If doesn’t even have to be a Star Trek fan film. THE 2022 DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS is open to fan films from any genre or franchise as long as they were released onto YouTube or Vimeo between January 1 and December 31 of 2022.

Organized and presented by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS in northern Arkansas—the two showrunners behind THE FEDERATION FILES “fanthology” series—the Directors Choice Awards are now in their second year, with a few new things added since the 2021 contest. First of all, there’s two new intriguing categories: “Best Portrayal of an Existing Character” and “Most Valuable Crew Member” (that would be production crew, not starship crew). There is also now a $250 grand prize for the “Best in Fest,” a fan film that receives the most total votes across all categories in which it competes (each submitter can choose up to six categories for their fan film to be considered). And finally, a digital certificate will be awarded for the best fan film within each franchise.

Currently, fan films have been submitted representing the following popular sci-fi/action/horror franchises: Indiana Jones, Halloween, Batman, Jurassic Park/World, The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Spiderman, Transformers, Star Wars and of course, Star Trek.

Entry into the contest costs $10 for up to six categories (not counting the “Best in Fest”), and the judges are the directors of the submitted films. There is a maximum of three film submissions by the same director. A judge is not allowed to vote for their own film, and failure to cast a ballot before the deadline is grounds for disqualification of that director’s fan film(s).  If the same person has directed more than one submitted fan film, that director will be sent a ballot for each of their submitted films (up to a total of three ballots).

Glen Wolfe reports that about 35 fan films have already been submitted, with winners scheduled to be announced on April 5, 2023 (forty years before First Contact Day!). There’s still just over one week left to enter, as the submission deadline is January 15. If you’ve got a fan film from 2022 that hasn’t been submitted yet, click here to access the entry form.

And if you are entered or entering, best of luck to you!

2022 FAN FILM DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS now accepting submissions (deadline to enter is JANUARY 15) with a “Best in Fest” prize of $250!!!

Earlier this year, GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS in Arkansas introduced the first new annual fan film awards show since the creation of the BJO AWARDS (originally called the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards) back in 2015. Glen and Dan decided to call theirs THE FAN FILM DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS because the judges are all fan film directors.

Last year, the Directors Choice Award winners were presented with a digital certificate, which is still the case this year. However, this year also introduces a new prize: the fan film voted “Best In Fest” (determined by which film receives the most total votes across all categories) will also be awarded a whopping $250! (Well, “whopping” to some people, at least!)

The competition is open to fan films of any genre (not just Star Trek!) that have been released publicly onto YouTube or other social media during the 2022 calendar year. The cost to enter is $10 per film, which includes consideration in up to SIX of the following categories (chosen by the submitter at the time they fill out the entry form):

  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Costuming
  • Best Make-up/Hairstyling
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Music
  • Best Audio Mixing
  • Best Lighting
  • Best FX Make-Up
  • Best CGI FX
  • Best Green Screen
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Parody/Comedy
  • Best Portrayal of an Existing Character
  • Best Animated Fan Film
  • Best Editing
  • Most Canon Award
  • Best Ensemble
  • Most Valuable Crew Member

Up to three fan films by the same director are permitted entry. Once entered, the director of that fan film becomes a judge and will be sent a ballot. If the same person has directed more than one submitted fan film, that director will be sent a ballot for each of their submitted films (up to a total of three ballots). A director cannot vote for any film that nominated them as a director.

The call for entries began on November 15, 2022 and continues through to January 15, 2023. After that, ballots will be sent to all judges with a return deadline of February 28, 2023. Failure to vote will disqualify that director’s film(s). Hey, tough love, right?

Like last year, winners will be announced on First Contact Day, April 5 of 2023. Here’s a link to the entry form:

https://thefederationfiles.com/?page_id=1407

There were some really amazing fan films released this past year (Star Trek and other genres), so I can’t wait to see who enters and who wins! And if you are entering a film of your own, the best of luck to you…

Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 2)

In Part 1, we took a look “under the hood” at the engines running three of the most significant and well-known of the annual awards competitions for Star Trek fan films: the BJO AWARDS, the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, and the SHOWRUNNER AWARDS. Of course, only one of these three is technically “annual” at this point, as the latter two competitions only got their start in January of this year while the Bjos have been running each year since 2015.

Why this deep-dive into the inner workings of three different awards shows? Why not? Most fans see only the end results of these competitions…who were the finalists, who were the runners up, and which films and filmmakers ultimately won. But what happens behind the scenes?

Last time, we looked first at the challenge of finding judges, and how ERIC L. WATTS of the Bjo Awards sets himself the Herculean task each year of finding people “…who have a professional credit in the Star Trek franchise or are Star Trek fans working in the television and film industry, are not in any way personally associated with any past or present Star Trek fan film.” Add to that these people must be willing to watch hours and hours of Star Trek fan films for no money and little more than a thank you for their efforts.

DAN REYNOLDS and GLEN WOLFE went in a different direction for the Directors Choice Awards, opting to require the directors of the films entered to cast ballots for the winners in all categories in order for their own films to quality (and of course, a director could not vote for their own fan film). And finally, I assembled a panel of twelve Star Trek fan film and fan series showrunners (including myself) to judge the Showrunner Awards.

In all three cases, the judging panel was made up up ten or more judges, all publicly identified for the contest. This is, of course, by no means a requirement when holding a fan film contest, although it does inspire more confidence in the results knowing the the people judging the entries have a practical and experiential knowledge of the categories they are judging.

The next thing we looked at was the method each awards show used to gather and organize information on the entries. Eric would determine the submissions based on the Star Trek fan films released in a calendar year that met the eligibility requirements and then type in all of the names of the nominees himself.

Dan and Glen and I, instead, allowed the filmmakers themselves to fill out online forms, changing a nominal $10 entry fee for each fan film entered. The Showrunners then tacked on an extra $1 per each category entered, while the Directors Choice simply limited the number of categories per entry to no more than five. And in the end, all three contests rely heavily on Excel spreadsheets to record the immense amount of submission information.

So what’s left…?

Continue reading “Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 2)”

Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 1)

So you say you want to create a fan film awards competition! Actually, unless you want to work really, really hard, you probably DON’T want to create one…at least, if you want to do it right. And when I say “do it right,” there isn’t only one correct way to organize and run a film contest. In fact, there’s several different approaches, all of them totally valid.

The challenge is to set everything up so that the process runs smoothly and inspires confidence in both the process and the results. That’s what I mean by “do it right,” and it takes a surprisingly sizable amount of work. DAN REYNOLDS, who along with GLEN WOLFE, ran the recently-completed DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, said, “The sheer enormity of organizing was difficult. There was a lot of checking, double checking and triple checking. I don’t think we knew just how much work it really would be to pull something like this off.” Glen said that he mostly concentrated on “…getting ballots returned in a timely manner, getting the presenters to turn their videos in in a timely manner, and then getting the whole award ceremony edited while juggling real life.”

ERIC L. WATTS lists off an even longer “to do” list for the annual BJO AWARDS, including…

  • Recruiting top-level, high-calibre judges;
  • Finding eligible fan films for consideration (filmmakers don’t actively enter the Bjo Awars—Eric includes all qualifying Star Trek fan films released in a calendar year);
  • Researching release dates, runtimes, cast and crew credits, and creating a spreadsheet that sorts and organizes that data; and
  • Spending hours and hours and hours creating the actual ballot.

And of course, none of this includes marketing the awards show and announcing its winners, answering questions from the fan community, and of course, nagging the judges to get their ballots in on time! Plus, there’s a whole host of other efforts involved.

One of the biggest challenges is logistics. And like the duck gliding gently across the smooth surface of the lake, most fans never get to see all of the intense paddling that goes on just beneath the surface to make these fan film competitions run like well-oiled machines.

So if you’re interested in “peeking under the hood,” today’s blog is for YOU…

Continue reading “Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 1)”

Why I am officially WITHDRAWING my name from consideration in The 2022 TREKZONE Fan Film Awards…

You know me. I love Star Trek fan films and I LOVE the fact that there are now SO many Star Trek fan film award competitions, including the annual BJO AWARDS, the recently-concluded DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, and the brand new SHOWRUNNER AWARDS, which is currently accepting submissions of fan films released between January 2017 and December 2021. If you haven’t entered yet, the deadline is May 31, and the application form can be accessed here:

https://www.cognitoforms.com/JonathanLane1/_2022StarTrekFanFilmSHOWRUNNERAWARDS

Shortly after I published my blog announcing the launch of the Showrunner Awards on April 11, a small number of detractors rushed to criticize those awards for charging a $10 entrance fee. Fair enough—to each his own. GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS charged $10, as well (although we’re charging an extra $1 per additional category like Best Music or Best Cinematographer). It’s actually pretty common with independent film award shows, although ERIC L. WATTS doesn’t charge anything to enter the Bjo Awards. Different strokes for different folks, right? No one’s forcing anyone to enter anything.

Within less than a week, MATTHEW MILLER of the TREKZONE Podcast in Australia quickly announced the launch of his own fan film awards show that would be FREE to all fan filmmakers. Hooray…FOUR award shows! I was getting ready to cover it once Matthew announced how fan filmmakers could enter, but apparently Matthew wasn’t planning to do it that way.

Setting a window of eligibility for fan films released between April 15 of last year and April 15 of this year, Matthew and his co-judge MTM (that’s a pseudonym) decided all by themselves who would be entered and who wouldn;t be…and then announced the finalists this past Tuesday on YouTube.

My fan film INTERLUDE had 10 nominations, which is great, of course….huge honor. And yes, I had a great team (although two of our nominations were for “Best Space Villain”—the Klingons—and “Best Hero Ship”—the U.S.S. Ares…neither of them able to give an acceptance speech).

Surprisingly, though, some fan films that I thought would be shoo-ins were almost completely excluded. While Interlude had an impressive 10 nominations in ten categories, the AVALON UNIVERSE’s COSMIC STREAM received only one nomination (TYLER DUNNIVAN for “Best Actor”) and shockingly AGENT OF NEW WORLDS got zero nominations, not even for best directing or editing .

Two other highly regarded and long-running Star Trek fan series also had their latest episodes passed over with no nominations in any category: DREADNOUGHT DOMINION‘s “THE MORE THINGS CHANGE” and STARSHIP FARRAGUT‘s series final “HOMECOMING.” It didn’t see fair that Interlude would be hogging so many of the nomination slots, but hey, not my contest.

However, there’s been something else that’s really been bothering me forr the past two weeks…

Continue reading “Why I am officially WITHDRAWING my name from consideration in The 2022 TREKZONE Fan Film Awards…”

Announcing the WINNERS of the first annual 2021 DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards!

Up until now, fan films (specifically Star Trek fan films) had only one annual awards competition devoted exclusively to their sub-genre, and those were the BJO AWARDS. Now there are three. The SHOWRUNNER AWARDS will begin taking submissions next week for Star Trek fan films, with winners announced on September 8, 2022. But yesterday, the Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS announced their winners and honorable mentions.

Launched by fan filmmakers DAN REYNOLDS and GLEN L. WOLFE of WARP 66 STUDIOS in Arkansas, creators of the fan series THE FEDERATION FILES, the Directors Choice Awards were open to fan films of any genre (not just Star Trek) released during calendar year 2021. The judges were the directors of those submitted films. In order to take part, a director had to cast votes in each category for a fan film other than their own or be disqualified from winning.

Submissions were accepted during the month of February, and Dan Reynolds had this to say about their early trepidations: “We weren’t really sure how the initial response to our inaugural launch of the Fan Film Directors Choice Awards was going to turn out, but we soon realized that we struck a nerve with the fan film community. We knew we were on the right track, and within a few short weeks after our announcement, we received over 30 entries.”

Glen Wolfe echoed Dan’s sentiments: “From its inception, we wanted to fairly honor those hardworking fan film producers with recognition directly from their peers. This experience has been extremely positive, and I think that the films entered and those winning awards should show that the Fan Film Directors Choice Awards was a success and has encouraged us to continue it indefinitely.”

Dan concluded: “I’m very happy with the diversity of fan films that were included this year. We had Star Trek, Star Wars, James Bond, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones fan films entered this year, and we hope that expands in the coming years. I was also very happy that the winners were from all the represented genres.”

And speaking of winners, that’s the perfect segue into presenting the results of the very first annual Fan Film Directors Choice Awards

Continue reading “Announcing the WINNERS of the first annual 2021 DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards!”

Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards submission deadline is THIS TUESDAY!

Three weeks ago, I announced that submissions were now open for the first annual Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards, organized by GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS. Any fan film (not just Star Trek) released onto the Internet during calendar year 2021 is eligible for submission. Glen Wolfe reports that participation, so far, has been encouragingly strong so far.

The deadline to enter is this Tuesday, February 22, and if you want to submit your fan film, you can do so here:

CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR THE FAN FILM DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS

Voting is done exclusively by the directors of the submitted films, and directors cannot vote their own films—otherwise, there would likely be massive ties with each fan film getting one vote! Ballots are due back no later than March 15, and any director who does not return their ballot by that deadline will have their fan film disqualified from winning anything.

When entering, the submitter can choose up to five categories for which that fan film can be considered for an award:

  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Costuming
  • Best Make-up/Hairstyling
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Music
  • Best F/X Make-up
  • Best Audio Mixing
  • Best Lighting
  • Best CGI FX
  • Best Green Screen
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Parody
  • Best Foreign Fan Film
  • Best Animated Fan Film
  • Best Editing
  • Most Canon Award
  • Best Ensemble
  • Most Valuable Crew Member

After all of the ballots have been tabulated, a “Best In Fest” winner will be determined as the fan film that receives the most votes overall in all of the categories combined (so it’s advantageous to submit your film for the maximum of five categories).

Winners will be announced on April 5, and each winner will be e-mailed an award certificate. If you’ve entered or are planning to (before the end of Tuesday!), I wish you the best of luck!

Submissions now OPEN until Feb. 22 for the Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards!

Last month, I announced TWO new annual award shows for fan films debuting this year. Up util now, Star Trek fan films were honored annually by the BJO AWARDS. However, now the Bjos will be joined by the Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards and (later this year) the Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

The two new competitions will be different in several logistical ways, with many details of the Showrunner Awards still needing to be worked out (by me and my team). In the meantime, however, coordinators GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS are launching the Directors Choice Awards today (February 1), with submissions being accepted for any fan film (not just Star Trek) publicly released in calendar year 2021. The YouTube/Vimeo publication date stamp will be used to verify eligibility.

Submissions are open from February 1 through February 22, 2022. Anyone can enter any fan film with a submission fee of $10 by filling out the form on this web page, but only a maximum of three films by the same director can be entered.

Voting is done exclusively by the directors of the submitted films. (So for INTERLUDE, for example, even though I am the one submitting and paying the entry fee, I won’t be the one voting since I wasn’t the director.) Directors cannot vote for their own films—otherwise, there would likely be massive ties with each fan film getting one vote! Ballots are due back no later than March 15, and any director who does not return their ballot by that deadline will have their fan film disqualified from winning anything.

When entering, the submitter can choose up to five categories for which that fan film can considered for an award:

  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Costuming
  • Best Make-up/Hairstyling
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Music
  • Best F/X Make-up
  • Best Audio Mixing
  • Best Lighting
  • Best CGI FX
  • Best Green Screen
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Parody
  • Best Foreign Fan Film
  • Best Animated Fan Film
  • Best Editing
  • Most Canon Award
  • Best Ensemble
  • Most Valuable Crew Member

After all of the ballots have been tabulated, a “Best In Fest” winner will be determined as the fan film that receives the most votes overall in all of the categories combined (so it’s advantageous to submit your film for the maximum of five categories).

Winners will be announced on April 5, and each winner will be e-mailed an award certificate. To all the fan filmmakers who choose to enter (and hopefully, there will be many), I wish you the best of luck!

Click here to enter your fan film.

Announcing TWO new FAN FILM AWARD SHOWS coming in 2022!

File this under: “Great minds think alike…” or perhaps under, “This is what you get for missing staff meetings, Doctor.” Either way, GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of THE FEDERATION FILES and I had the same idea at the same time, and now there are going to be TWO new fan film awards shows coming your way in 2022!

In my case, the idea of hosting an annual awards show for Star Trek fan films has been percolating in the back of my mind for a few years…not as a way of competing with the annual BJO AWARDS but as simply an additional opportunity for Star Trek fan filmmakers and their productions to shine.

As the new year dawned a few days ago, I was able to finally enjoy a break from the blogging “sprint” that took up much of my December. And I decided that, if I was really serious about creating some Fan Film Factor awards show, now might be a good time to do some thinkin’…

At first, I tried to come up with a name—and you know how much I like things that abbreviate to “FFF.” The Fan Film Festival Awards? Nah. Fan Film Faves? Cheesy. Fan Film Friends? Family? Flamingos? Jeez, I had nothing decent!

Okay, time to try a different approach vector…

So I shifted to thinking about judging. I mean, I suppose it could just be me deciding the winners and losers, but no one fan should possess such power! And, sheesh, what a way to completely piss off almost all of my friends, right? Nope, I needed a panel, but whom? When I finally answered that question, the name for the awards show fell easily into place: THE SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

I’ve always felt there should be a fan film awards competition where members of the community judge each other’s work…and who knows more about what it takes to make a fan film than a showrunner? But I didn’t want too many judges, so I decided to limit my invitations to showrunners who had successfully released at least four or five completed Star Trek fan films.

Of course, the next concern was making sure there weren’t too many entries. Goodness knows that VANCE MAJOR alone (one of the judges) could enter dozens—maybe hundreds!—of fan films all by himself! So I decided that, unlike the Bjo Awards, the Showrunner Awards will feature a nominal entry fee (maybe $10) plus an additional $1 for each special category like Best VFX, Best Music, Best Film Editing, etc. As I’m learning from entering my fan film INTERLUDE in various film festivals, this is how most of them work with application fees.

Speaking of Vance, or any of the judges, how do we make certain that all of them don’t simply vote for their own fan film, and we wind up with a 6-way or 10-way tie each year? Glad you asked…

Continue reading “Announcing TWO new FAN FILM AWARD SHOWS coming in 2022!”