DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s latest release: “THE HEIST”

Last week on Halloween day, two brand new Star Trek fan films debuted on YouTube. I haven’t had a chance yet to cover either because I was overseeing a Halloween carnival at my son’s school last Thursday and then flying to Georgia over the weekend to make a fan film. But during this past week, one of those two fan films, the Avalon Universe episode DEMONS (Segment One) has already attracted over 26K views on YouTube as I write this. (And Segment Two has over a thousand views in just seven hours.)

The other Halloween release last week was the latest episode of the long-running DREADNOUGHT DOMINION: “The Heist.” Since debuting, the Youtube view count for this fan film is currently a whopping…356. And that, my friends, is the main reason why I am covering Dominion first here on Fan Film Factor…well, that and the fact that I still need to interview the Demons directors—who are also MY fan film’s directors—and they are both VERY sleep deprived from an incredible weekend of fan filming along with two 12-hour one-way drives between Arkansas and Georgia!

There’s really no direct comparison between these two productions beyond the fact that some of the flashbacks in Demons were filmed at Neutral Zone Studios in Kingsland, GA…which is also where Dominion films. (Avalon now shoots at WARP 66 Studios in Arkansas.) But in terms of acting, lighting, sound, and a slew of other technical elements, Demons is clearly the superior production. However, if that is the only reason you’re watching Star Trek fan films, you’re missing a big part of what this community is all about!

Both of these projects have HEART. In fact, Dreadnought Dominion is one of those fan series that, I believe, epitomizes the very core of what makes fan films so special: FANS. They don’t do this necessarily to dazzle you with their acting or filmmaking prowess. They’re not looking to win awards or get millions of views on Youtube. Folks like Dreadnought Dominion, Potemkin Pictures, VANCE MAJOR’s Minard and Constar Chronicles—plus a host of others—do this because it’s an itch they have to scratch. They want to tell their Star Trek stories, and they want to have fun along the way. They’re not afraid or embarrassed to put themselves out there for all to see…nor should they be!

So I ask you all who are reading this blog today to give this latest episode of Dominion a watch. Let’s up their view count a bit. Fans with heart, who love Star Trek just as much as you do, deserve our support and encouragement. Then, after you watch, take a minute or two to read the following short interview with show-runner GARY DAVIS further down this blog page…

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION’s latest release: “THE HEIST””

Star Trek FAN FILMS are most certainly NOT DEAD…here’s what’s coming down the pike!

No, not THAT Pike! But if you know one of those crazy people who keeps saying that Star Trek fan films are “dead” or that the guidelines or the Axanar lawsuit “destroyed” Trek fan films forever…well, it’s time for a little reality check!

Not only are Star Trek fan films alive and thriving, but we’re about to be inundated with new major productions at all levels of funding ranging from pocket-change to six-figure budgets.

The past year has already been loaded with a plethora of new fan film releases: Galaxy Hopper, Galactic Battles, Temporal Anomaly, Avalon Lost, The Fighting Fourth, Last Survivor, Diplomatic Relations, Desperate Gambit, The Holy Core, Dreadnought Dominion, All Ahead Full, Children of Eberus, The Looking Glass, Confrontations, To Have Boldly Gone, Repercussions, Stunt Doubles, and the just-released Line of Duty. And those are just the ones I’ve covered here on Fan Film Factor! Check out the Star Trek Reviewed blog for a ridiculously more detailed list including all of the smaller fan productions that I don’t usually have a chance to get to.

But you ain’t seen nuthin‘ yet!

Within the next six months, a host of exciting NEW Star Trek fan films are scheduled for release onto YouTube—some of them eagerly anticipated. Last week, I reached out to some prominent fan filmmakers to get updates on their productions and when fans will get a chance to finally see them.

Here’s just some of what you can look forward to in the very near future…

Continue reading “Star Trek FAN FILMS are most certainly NOT DEAD…here’s what’s coming down the pike!”

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

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION releases the second trailer for “REDEMPTION AT RED MEDUSA”!

Growing up as a Trekkie in the 1970s (before the word “Trekker” even existed), I owned and cherished my copy of the “STAR TREK Starfleet Technical Manual” by Franz Joseph. It had EVERYTHING a prepubescent Trekkie could want…including drawings of starship classes beyond the familiar heavy cruiser design that was the USS Enterprise. There were destroyers, scouts, tugs and transports, and of course, the mighty dreadnought class!

I don’t know what it was about the dreadnought. The third nacelle? The hangar bay doors on the front? The fact that the bridge was located safely in the center of a reinforced saucer section rather that sitting on top, vulnerable to any Tom, Dick, or Klingon with a photo torpedo and a targeting computer? Whatever it was, I loved that ridiculous starship design and dreamed of seeing a dreadnought flying through space just as I’d watched the Enterprise.

It took forty years, but I finally got my wish…kind of. The fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION debuted back 2015 with footage shot on the Farragut Films sets in Georgia two years earlier. The only problem was that those first episodes (“Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh“) had the USS Dominion sitting in Spacedock the whole time. The only scenes of it flying were in the opening credits. I yearned to see that great bird spread its wings and leave the nest…but I’d have to wait another four years for that!

After a number of shorter vignette episodes and crossovers with Starship Valiant and Vance Major’s Minard films, the dreadnought Dominion finally left Spacedock this past February with the short vignette “Technical Difficulties.” So now that the ship and crew were finally out in space…where would they go first?

The answer to that question arrives this Friday when Dreadnought Dominion releases their first full-length (22-minute) episode in nearly half a decade: “Redemption at Red Medusa.” The first trailer for that long-awaited episode was posted back in March. If you missed it, here it is:

And just this past Friday, they released their second trailer. This one features our first glimpses into some of the incredible CGI effects created by that graphics grandmaster SAMUEL COCKINGS…including a couple of the Romulan ship classes he’ll be using in the upcoming fan film The Romulan War. It’s a really exciting looking trailer. Check it out…

The race to $500 for VANCE MAJOR is nearly over in just 48 hours!

Hurry, or else you won’t have a chance to donate!

The last time VANCE MAJOR, creator of the MINARD saga and currently producing the upcoming CONSTAR CHRONICLES, asked fans for donations, it was last July. He needed $500 to buy uniforms for his multi-episode Constar project. Just as I was getting ready to post something about the campaign, 72 hours after launching it, Vance shut it down. Why? Because he’d managed to raise the $500 he needed (plus an extra $50 to cover the commission to the crowd-funding service).

That $500 allowed Vance to complete 15 fan films (which will debut later this year), with a bunch more in post-production at the moment. But now he wants to produce some additional stories, but he needs a few more uniforms and certain props to make that happen. So once again, he’s reaching out to the fan community.

This time, it’s only been 48 hours, but Vance is nearly there again! As I write this, he’s at $401…just $99 to go to reach $500. If you’d like to help push him over the top in record time, click the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/extra-constar-chronicles-minard-saga-films

And hey, if Vance reaches his goal before you can donate, and you still really want to help out a fan film, consider giving a few bucks to DREADNOUGHT DOMINION for their upcoming project “Redemption at Red Medusa.” (Check out the trailer here.) You can donate to their active crowd-funding campaign here:

https://www.gofundme.com/dreadnought-dominion

And finally, if you still feel like you haven’t donated enough today, the folks over at POTEMKIN PICTURES are building a full-size shuttlepod…with a design halfway between Trek movie-era and TNG-era. It’s taking shape nicely, as you can see here on Facebook.

In what I consider to be an interesting experiment, Potemkin opted NOT to use a crowd-funding service and is instead simply taking in donations directly through PayPal at producer@potemkinpictures.com. And if you donate $189, you get to name one of five shuttles they’ll be using (one model, five names).

So far, two of the five shuttles have been named. C.W. THOMPSON named the USS Deimos shuttlecraft “Ernest J. King” and LARRY FLEMING named the USS Endeavour shuttlecraft “Raptor.”

What would YOU name your shuttlecraft?

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION finally launches with “TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES”

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION didn’t set out to be a tongue-in-cheek Trek fan film parody…and it doesn’t plan to be one for much longer. But for the last ten months, GARY DAVIS and RANDY WREN have taken this passion-driven fan production in some very quirky directions.

Back in 2015 when the first two episodes (“Haunted” and “Anchors Aweigh“) were released, Dreadnought Dominion was actually pretty serious. 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 Parker, Jr. (playing Commodore Samuel Grissom) left the series, leaving Gary and Randy 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!

This past summer, Gary and Randy became the first fan filmmakers to shoot a project at Stage 9 Studios (now renamed THE NEUTRAL ZONE), site of the former Star Trek Continues sets in Kingsland, GA and now available to all fans to use. (Support the Patreon for The Neutral Zone by clicking here.) They released two back-to-back vignettes, “Reality Check” (which purposefully broke the fourth wall) 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.” They scheduled filming for the same weekend that owner RAY TESI opened up his TOS sets in Kingsland free to visitors for a Fan Appreciation Weekend. It was a huge success, but it also afforded the Dominion folks to go somewhere only one Trek fan project (“Walking Bear, Running Wolf”) had ever gone before: they filmed before a live studio audience!

ERIC L. WATTS of the fan film Bjo Awards pointed out, “It’s worth noting that the producers of this episode took advantage of the presence of several attendees…who happened to be in TOS costumes and casting them as background characters, particularly in Engineering, which gave those scenes the unexpected benefit of looking like the ship had a full crew complement aboard.”

The result, as you’ll see below, is a fun and original fan film, full of gags and laughter, that has the added benefit of finally—after some technical difficulties—getting the dreadnought Dominion out of drydock and finally on to her missions in space…

Fan-filmed before a live studio audience at STAGE 9 STUDIOS…but not without a little controversy!

An estimated 1,300 fans came to STAGE 9 STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA on October 19-21 to visit the amazing TOS sets and meet STAR TREK CONTINUES cast and crew members, including VIC MIGNOGNA, CHRIS DOOHAN, LISA HANSELL, and many others.  (Here’s a complete list.)  Dubbed “Fan Appreciation Weekend,” the event was free of charge and admitted anyone who showed up on Friday from 2-10pm, Saturday from 9am-7pm, and Sunday from 9am-6pm.  That’s 27 hours of open set visit time over a three-day period!

Not just a simple “tour” (like what is offered in Ticonderoga, NY by James Cawley), this event included the opportunity for fans to watch and even participate in the FILMING of episodes for two different fan productions.  Both DREADNOUGHT DOMINION and the upcoming  CONSTAR CHRONICLES shot scenes on the bridge on Friday night and in engineering on Saturday as fans looked on.

Visitors would be escorted in groups through the sets by none other than STC star and show-runner Vic Mignogna, who would discuss the fan filmmaking process, point out certain details of the sets, share a few “secrets” (like how they filmed a scene from a camera angle when a permanent wall was in the way—answer: they put a hidden hole in the wall to film from behind!), and answered questions.  Other groups were escorted by Stage 9 owner RAY TESI, who purchased the sets from Vic last year and decided to make them available to any fan film that wanted to shoot there.  (Listen to Ray’s interview here.)

Vance Major live in front of a studio audience

The groups traveled in cycles through all of the sets—sickbay, auxiliary control, transporter room, captain’s quarters, briefing room, etc.—finally emerging on the bridge and/or engineering to watch rehearsal, set-up, or actual filming during certain scheduled times.  Each group spent about 5-10 minutes with the film crews before moving on and letting in the next bunch.  The fan filmmakers would talk to the audience, answer questions, and in some cases, even offer a few lucky fans the chance to throw on a tunic and be filmed as extras on the bridge or in engineering!  How cool is that???

The event was not without some controversy, though.

Continue reading “Fan-filmed before a live studio audience at STAGE 9 STUDIOS…but not without a little controversy!”

CONSTAR CHRONICLES premieres in a crossover with Dreadnought Dominion: “TIME’S ECHO”

I like to call VANCE MAJOR the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films.”  He seems to be all over the place, listed in the credits of Starship Valiant, Melbourne, The Lexington Adventures, Dreadnought Dominion, The Romulan Wars, and Outlaws.  He’s also one of the two people running Starbase Studios, LLC at the moment, helping Trek fan filmmakers find resources and sets to shoot on.

And of course, Vance has played the character of Erick Minard in nearly three dozen fan films, including Starship Valiant, Melbourne, Chain of Command, Command and Conquer, and about 30 fan films in the MINARD saga spanning multiple eras of Star Trek.

Those Minard films came to a conclusion his past February.  And in multiple interviews, Vance confirmed over and over again that this was it for him making fan films!  He was willing to step in and help behind the scenes if asked, but he was done making his own fan films.

Well, that New Years resolution didn’t even make it past summer…

A couple of months ago, Vance announced that he would be returning to fan films with a new series titled CONSTAR CHRONICLES, about the heavy cruiser class starship that Minard commanded in the later part of his long career.  The debut episode of that new series just premiered a few weeks ago as a 5-minute crossover with Dreadnought Dominion featuring Vance’s friend GARY DAVIS playing Captain Jason Brousseau.  It’s a fun little vignette, and I must say that it’s about time!  You’ll get that joke after you watch it…

Of course, the big question on my mind for Vance was: “What part of ‘I’m done with making fan films!’ isn’t he understanding???”  But seriously, I was really curious what made Vance change his mind so quickly…and what his plans are for this new fan series.  Will it go another 30 episodes like the Minard saga?  How will it be different than what we’ve seen before?  How soon until we see more episodes?

I asked Vance these questions and more in yet another audio interview (below).  It feels like I have this guy as a guest on my blog almost monthly!  (Maybe I should just rent him my guest bedroom…)

VANCE MAJOR (front) and the crew of the USS Constar