BIG NEWS: Jonathan Lane is going to make a STAR TREK fan film!

Did you know that I’ve now been involved with Star Trek fan films for TWENTY YEARS??? It seems amazing to me!

Although I’ve only been blogging about fan productions since 2015, I appeared in my first Star Trek fan film way back in 1999 when I made out in the turbolift with my then real-life girlfriend in VOYAGES OF THE USS ANGELES: “The Price of Duty.” That short-lived fan series that grew out of our local Star Trek fan group evolved into STAR TREK: HIDDEN FRONTIER, and I’d drop by the occasional shoot in Pasadena every now and then to help out behind-the-scenes. If you don’t blink, you can see me as an extra (an Elosian guard) in the fifth episode of the HF spin-off series STAR TREK: ODYSSEY, “Keepers of the Wind” (2008).

Since I began blogging about Trek fan films four years ago, I’ve dabbled a bit in a few more of them. In 2016, during the early days of the CBS/Paramount lawsuit against Axanar, I co-wrote and co-produced with MARK LARGENT a hilarious parody of both the AXANAR fan film and the lawsuit called STALLED TREK: PRELUDE TO AX’D-WE ARE. I also provided the voices for four of the animated puppet characters, including the fan-favorite Vulcanine Ambassador Snowball (“My ears are still bleeding…”).

I did voice-over again in the recent ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES vignette “Final Flight,” portraying the character of Lt. Geoffrey Christopher, the engineer/test pilot responsible for developing the Warp 7 engine that helped Starfleet defeat the Romulans. I was also featured in a brief cameo during Vance Major‘s Minard saga episode “Change” as one of Erick Minard’s “network” (which also included other prominent members of the real-world fan film community who were friends of Vance).

But in all of this time, the fan films I was involved with were always somebody else’s (even Ax’d-We-Are, which was part of Mark Largent’s Stalled Trek puppet parody series).

Now, however, I’m finally doing a fan film that comes from my head, where I am the show-runner (executive producer), and if it falls off a cliff, I’m the one responsible!

Hopefully, it won’t fall off a cliff…

Continue reading “BIG NEWS: Jonathan Lane is going to make a STAR TREK fan film!”

Thank YOU for two reasons…

I know that nearly everyone in America is busy saying “Thanks!” today for this and that.  Even before I woke up this morning, I received about a dozen private and public messages from folks thanking me for being their friend, for writing this blog, for reading their blog or listening to their podcast, and for just being me.  And to them I say: “Right back atcha!”

But I feel it’s very important for me to thank YOU today for reading my blog.  It truly means the world to me!  And not just because I made $5.97 over the past week in ad revenue (although, hey, nothing to complain about).

I’m thanking you for two reasons…

1) Love it or hate it, you’re coming here to read what I write, or listen to the folks I interview.  That feels amazing, especially since I put so much time and effort into this blog.  Whether it’s a multi-part blog feature about the history of a long-running fan series, a 2o00-word editorial, a short 350-word news update, or an hour-long audio interview, all of that takes time to produce.

For example, tomorrow I’ll publish a 55-minute audio interview with the show-runners for the just-released fan film GHOST SHIP.  In addition to watching the half-hour fan film (and then re-watching it), I also had to set up the interview (clear time in my schedule to match theirs), conduct the interview, go back later and remove the “um”s and long pauses and places where we accidentally talked over each other (that took about three hours to edit), listen through the finished interview once again, take screen caps for the feature image and interviewee photos, and then write a 400-word intro for the blog.  So it’s nice to know that at least a few hundred (or few thousand, if I’m lucky) people are reading and listening.

2) I love fan films.  I don’t know how it happened, but it did.  And now that I’m hooked, I want to spread the love and appreciation.  It’s why I keep doing this blog: not just for me as an ego trip, and not just for you as a fan base…but for all of the fan film creators out there who work even harder than I do.  They deserve our support, and Fan Film Factor is here to celebrate them all (or as many as I can cover before I run out of time!)

So on behalf of myself and of the FANtastic community of fan filmmakers out there, thank YOU for visiting my blog.

My 500TH published blog!!!!!

When I started FAN FILM FACTOR on January 10, 2016, it was suggested that I try to write at least one or two new blogs per week so I’d stay relevant and keep readers coming back.  Instead, I’ve written and published, on average, between four and five blogs per week for over two years.  Some were short—just a few hundred words—while other blogs went 1,000 or 2,000 words (occasionally even longer).   I calculated recently that I’ve written way more than HALF A MILLION WORDS about fan films…sheesh!!!

I wondered how I might mark this 500th blog milestone, and then I had an idea.  Have you ever wondered how I manage to keep all of these blogs coming week after week, month after month, year after year?  If you haven’t, then feel free to stop reading now.

But if you’re curious the learn how the Fan Film Factor sausage is made, this’ll be a fun read for you…

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me…and to FAN FILM FACTOR!

Today I turn 51 years old…and FAN FILM FACTOR just turned two.  This blog doesn’t have an official birthday, but my earliest posts are dated January 10, 2016.  It’s two years later, and in that time, I’ve published 465 blog entries!!!  Holy shat!

Although some of my blogs are just 200-400 words, others get well over a 1,000 or even 2,000 words.  (If they reach 3,000 words, it’s time to split them into Part 1 and Part 2!)  So assuming I average a little over a thousand words per blog, that means I’ve probably written nearly a HALF MILLION WORDS in two years…mainly about fan films!

Some folks out there criticize me for writing blogs that are too long, but think of it this way: that’s dedication!  Do ya know how long it takes to research, plan out, organize, and write a half million words of blogs???  (Don’t make fun of me; it’s my birthday.)

About 15 months ago, I added Google Ads to the site to help generate some revenue.  Since then, my ads have earned me a whopping $529.65…or about a tenth of a penny per word.  If you check online, most freelance writing assignments pay about 10 cents a word (maybe a bit higher for more high profile work).

So I’m making 1/100 of what a gainfully employed freelance writer makes!  And yet I still do this.  Why?

Well, there’s a few reasons…

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The TOP 10 fan film news stories of 2017

A few days ago, I posted a blog looking back at the MANY fan film news stories I covered on Fan Film Factor over the past year—nearly 75, believe it or not!  (Not bad for a sub-genre that some predicted would be all but extinct by now.)

But what were the fan film news stories from 2017 that had the greatest impact on the world of Star Trek fan films?  Well, guess who just made a Top 10 list of that very thing!

I’m sure some folks won’t agree with all of my selections.  Heck, some of the stories I chose aren’t even directly Star Trek-related.  But hey, everyone’s got opinions, right?  And if you think a different fan film story should have made it onto the list, feel free to tell me in the comments.  (That’s a sneaky way of turning a “Top 10” list into a “Top 10 Plus” list!)

And so, without further ado, here’s the biggest fan film stories of 2017…

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2017 Star Trek fan film YEAR IN REVIEW!

“Why are you even bothering with this blog?” one anonymous poster wrote to me a little over a year ago. “Star Trek fan films will all be gone soon, even your precious Axanar, and you’ll have nothing left to write about!”

Well, I’m still here…and so are Star Trek fan films! (And I really hope that anonymous person is reading today’s blog because he wasn’t just wrong; he was VERY wrong!)

2017 was a BIG year for Star Trek fan films…possibly one of THE biggest! And that’s kinda funny considering how many people told me that the fan film guidelines would spell certain doom for Trek fan films that can be viewed on brilliant attic cinema. Even I thought that at first!

I will admit that, one year ago, things did seem kinda bleak in fan film land. The Axanar lawsuit was less than a month from trial. The Axanerds and Axa-detractors were going at it like Hatfields and Dr. McCoys. The guidelines had been in existence for half a year, and already the long-ruinning Star Trek: New Voyages had halted production, the also-long-running Star Trek: Dark Armada had released its final episode at the end of 2016, Star Trek: Renegades had become Renegades: The Series-that-n0-longer-had-anything-to-do-with-Star-Trek-beyond-all-the-acrtors, and Star Trek Continues had announced their intention to produce only four (as opposed to six) final episodes to complete their fan series.

But I believed in fan films and the people who make them. I had faith that the genre would continue despite the guidelines—perhaps even because of them (since they now gave Trekkers official permission from the studios to create their own productions…albeit within some overly-strict limits).

And Trek fan films certainly didn’t die! In fact, they kept me pretty darn busy with news, features, and interviews all year long. Anyone who believed Trek fan films were on their deathbed at the end of 2016 should join us on this trip down Memory…er…Lane (!) as I take a look back at what fan film news made my blog’s headlines over the past 12 months.

This special post will list the biggest Fan Film Factor news articles for 2017, in order by month, with links to each one of those blog entries if you want to dive in deeper.

And be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a few final words from me about what’s coming in 2018…!

Continue reading “2017 Star Trek fan film YEAR IN REVIEW!”

What I’m THANKFUL for…

I’m thankful for YOU!  If you’re here, reading this blog, I want you to know that I sincerely appreciate it.  I’m not really doing this for the 80 cents a day I usually make from Google Ads.  I’m doing it because I love Star Trek and fan films, and I want to share that love.  I’m thankful because YOU’RE taking the time to read what I take the time to write.

Here in America, once a year on the third Thursday in November, we take a moment to stop and feel the gratitude for what we have.  I kinda wish we did that more often, as I think many of us take a lot of the blessings in our life for granted way too much of the time.  But at least for this one day, we can reflect on what and who mean the most to us and, if we’re lucky, share that appreciation with them.

Today, I want to share it with you, and say THANK YOU.  Thank you for continuing to love Star Trek and for caring enough to support the producers making Trek fan films.  While I’m most grateful for my wonderful family, my amazing son, our happy life, our health, and our fantastic friends, I’m also thankful for the following things:

  • Star Trek: Discovery – yeah, I don’t always see eye-to-eye with what the show-runners have decided to do, but at least they’re doing it.  The alternative to that isn’t some kind of BETTER Star Trek on television, it’s NO Star Trek on television.  But CBS saw fit to spend $120 million on a new TV show, and even though they are charging fans to see it and not always getting everything the way all the fans would want it, Star Trek is not sinply being abandoned by its owners and left to slowly fade away.
  • Fan films live on – seventeen months ago, we feared that Trek fan films were doomed because of those guidelines from CBS and Paramount.  That hasn’t happened.  Sure, we lost some of the biggest fish, but Star Trek Continues gave us four more spectacular episodes before they shut down, Renegades is still out there, Axanar is still to come, and so are other long-awaited productions like Pacific 201 and First Frontier.  And of course, many fan producers like Potemkin Pictures, Intrepid, Antyllus, Vance Major, and others are still sharing their stories with us fans.
  • There are good people in this community – Sure, the detractors are gonna detract, tract, tract, tract, tract.  But their echos are fading.  Their blog sites and Facebook groups have, at most, a few hundred of the same members posting the same old nastiness.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are here on Fan Film Factor and Fan Film Forum and elsewhere, and with a few rare exceptions, we’re being NICE to each other and rooting for fan films…all fan films.

And that, my friends, is what I have to be thankful for today.  And I’m so glad that YOU’RE here to share it all with me.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

FAN FILM FACTOR gets 100K visits last month!

THANK YOU!!!

From the bottom of my heart, I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank everyone who comes to read this blog…whether you’re one of my “regulars” or you just visit every so often or even if you’ve never been here before.  It means more to me than you can know.

Last month, for the first time ever, the total visits to this blog site ticked up over 100,000!  Now, I realize that’s probably just a temporary blip, as the previous two months were closer to 25K (although the month before that was at 85K—it’s a crazy place this Internet!).  And I also understand that some of that traffic is likely web crawling Internet “bots” hitting my blog site for search engine purposes.  But hey, that doesn’t much matter.

I’m just excited that, after nearly two years of writing Fan Film blogs for this site, people are still coming to read them!!!  And quite a few people, at that!  My daily web traffic is between a few hundred and a few thousand.  And that translates into ad dollars that sometimes get as high as $1 or $2 a day!  Yeah, I’m not really doing it for the money, folks.

So why am I doing it?

It’s actually quite a bit of work.  I research, write up, and edit (you only see the typos I don’t catch).  I reach out to fan film producers to conduct interviews, try to keep track of the latest goings on in the Trek fan film community, hunt down little-known Trek fan productions from years ago to write about, and look for active crowd-funding campaigns….and all of this while trying to stay just a few days (or maybe a week if I’m lucky) ahead of publishing deadlines.  I don’t want this blog site to get stale if I can help it!

If you’re curious how Jonathan puts this blog together, here’s an idea of what I’m working on at any given moment…

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The stories BEHIND the stories… (personal)

Why do I do this?

I asked myself that question recently as I was preparing a multi-part blog on the history of the fan production Star Trek: Renegades (you gonna love it!).  The retrospective started out as a two-parter…then stretched itself to three…and finally finished up with four parts and more than 7,000 words!  Who in their right mind writes THAT much about a single fan film????  (Well, other than Axanar, but they had a lawsuit to write about!)

And it’s not like there’s any money in this, folks.  Maybe by the end of the year I’ll take in a few hundred dollars off of Google ads…if I’m lucky.  I pay nearly that much just for web hosting and online security!

As I did my research on the history of Star Trek: Renegades—researching dozens and dozens of different websites and articles, blogs and crowd-funding updates, and forums and Facebook pages—I finally realized the reason that I put so much time and effort into writing all these blogs and maintaining this web site…

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Anyone wanna buy a FAN FILM FACTOR T-SHIRT???

Hey, did you notice the “SHOP” button over there in the upper right corner on the main menu bar? Betcha didn’t! It’s right next to the “CONTACT US” option. (“Us”? It’s pretty much just me here. I should change that.)

It’s okay if you didn’t notice—no one did—for months! The button has been up there since late February, I think. Initially, I never even intended to sell FAN FILM FACTOR T-Shirts. But an amusing series of events led to the creation of an FFF online store. Wanna hear a funny story?

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