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?
Sometimes people ask me why I spend so much time writing about and obsessing on Star Trek fan films. After all, few people even know about them, and on a good day, I only get about 1,000 visits to this blog (on a bad day, it’s about 500…and on an Axanar day, it’s about 3,000!). Some comments have even said that fan films are just wasted time with Trekkies playing “dress up,” and most fan films aren’t even watchable. So why do I write this blog?
Well, first of all, someone’s gotta do it, right? I mean, whether or not a fan film is good or bad (and remember my Prime Directive of Fan Film Factor), a great deal of work and dedication goes into each one. Sometimes it might not look that way, but trust me, I’ve worked on enough of them and spoken to enough creators to know how much blood, sweat, and tears go into even the most humble, low-budget fan film. And frankly, someone out there should be covering it all and giving them some credit. Why not me?
Second, I find it really interesting to watch this medium developing and evolving. And this blog is an archive, of sorts, of that evolution. Granted, things were much more ambitious before the guidelines, but it’s still exciting—at least to me—to see what fans can come up with: the stories, characters, sets, props, costumes, VFX, sound and film editing, music, etc.
And third, it’s not as small a world of viewership as you might think! Sure, I only get about 45K-50K visits a month, but fan films like Horizon, Renegades, and Prelude have gotten MILLIONS of views on YouTube! People out there are taking notice of fan films…usually in a good way. And one of the people who took notice was none other than Academy Award-winning actor TOM HANKS!
I’d forgotten about the 2013 interview with Tom Hanks that took place on actor/comedian Kevin Pollak’s online chat show. In it, he briefly discussed Star Trek fan films and STAR TREK CONTINUES in particular. Although he mistakenly said they were based in South Carolina (it was actually southern Georgia), it was clear that he was talking about STC.
At the time, they had only released their first episode “The Pilgrim of Eternity,” but that was clearly enough to make an impression upon Mr. Hanks. I thank STC actor MICHELE SPECHT for posting this little gem a week ago and reminding me of yet another reason I work on this blog site: BECAUSE TOM HANKS WATCHES STAR TREK FAN FILMS! YAY!!! Take a look at this 79-second clip…
I’d always hoped to one day have a child who would enjoy Star Trek as much as I do (or at least not hate it completely). And I’ll freely admit that I’m a totally biased daddy who is super-proud of his Trekkie son. But Jayden recently did his first-ever Star Trek podcast, discussing the TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror.” And he just blew me away with one of the most priceless and hysterical interviews I could have ever imagined.
The podcast that Jayden (and I) appear on is called ENTERPRISING INDIVIDUALS, and it’s an interesting concept. Each week, the show features a different guest from the world of Star Trek—authors, screenwriters, experts, and superfans—and they discuss their favorite episode (from any of the series) along with providing information and insight about themselves and their experiences with Star Trek.
It’s a fun way to do an interview, with just enough banter about the featured Star Trek episode to keep the interview from getting too monotonous…and just enough interview that it doesn’t feel like yet another “discuss-an-episode-for-an-hour” podcast.
When the Minnesota-based host, who goes by the handle of Ka1iban of Just Enough Trope Studios, first reached out and asked me which episode was my favorite, I’d actually said “The Doomsday Machine.” But that one had already been taken by a previous guest. So I suggested “Mirror, Mirror,” which Jayden and I had just finished watching as we make our way through TOS episodes each night while I exercise. And then I suggested that it might be fun to include Jayden for part of the interview, as he’s a real fan…and the host agreed.
And Jayden didn’t let me down. His 17-minute segment is PRICELESS! The rest of the podcast with me is also a lot of fun, but yeah, Jayden’s segment is a MUST-HEAR and leaves my interview in the dust!
The full interview can be linked to here, and Jayden’s segment begins at about the 39:35 minute mark. But to save you from having to scroll to the good part, I’ve created a version with just Jayden’s portion below…
(Oh, and that beard is water-soluble magic marker. It washed off completely in 20 seconds.)
If you tend to read the comments sections of my blogs, you know that I get quite a lot of posts from Axanar detractors looking to accuse Alec Peters or Axanar of this or that crime or incompetence or atrocity. Seldom do I trash any of these comments, and I usually provide some kind of response because, well, isn’t that what a blogger is supposed to do?
But lately, it just seems like I’m spending hours and hours each week just reading and responding to all of these angry and challenging posts, leaving me less time to focus on fan films and even my family. Granted, I still prioritize the latter two over doing any kind of response writing, but that just means I write most of my responses really, really late at night. Or sometimes I have a little time during the day and try to sneak a few responses in.
This happened yesterday afternoon as I was having a marathon session of dealing with detractors like Rand Johnson saying things like this:
Let me remind you that it was you who FIRST started being a condescending, egotistical, pompous, self-righteous, conceited, ego maniac, holier-than-thou, hotshot, puffed-up, self-centered, snobbish and stuck-up blogger who defends a man who made outlandish claims he was going to make a fan film then spent all the money on crap he did not need to make a fan film. Then you attacked anyone who criticized that man and your hero worship of that man. Or criticized you for promoting and defending that man who took donor money and used it as personal income to financially benefit himself and his associates.
Man, just reading that again exhausted me! And that’s just one comment, folks. I get so many.
But then I received a call that has changed everything…
These days, there seem to be an almost infinite number of Star Trek-themed podcasts….and many of them fall under the branded umbrella of TREK.FM, including “Mission Log,” “Star Trek Rewatch,” “Literary Treks,” “Standard Orbit,” “To the Journey,” “Meta Treks,” and so many others.
Up until recently, however, one of my personal favorite of the Trek.fm podcasts was missing in action: “Continuing Mission.” This particular blog focused on the ever-expanding world of Star Trek fan films, interviewing a different creator or creative team each week. Throughout 2014, Trek.fm founder and overachiever, CHRISTOPHER JONES, would host every episode, twenty-five in total during that year. He also hosted a bunch of other Trek.fm podcasts at the same time. So it’s probably not surprising that “Continuing Mission” dropped from twenty-five episodes in 2014 to only two (yes, two) total podcasts in all of 2015.
In the first half of 2016, “Continuing Mission” had a brief, six-episode resurrection under the hosting guidance of my friend DENNIS CASTELLO. In fact, I recorded a podcast for Dennis along with co-guest TOMMY KRAFT (of Star Trek: Horizon) shortly after the fan film guidelines came out. Alas, that two-hour and twenty minute impassioned discussion never made it to upload, as Dennis found himself unable to keep producing quality episodes consistently.
And so, “Continuing Mission” had been languishing in podcast limbo for ten months until a few weeks ago when new host TONY ROBINSON was talked into resurrecting it yet again by the ever-convincing and always-charming Christopher Jones. Tony still isn’t quite sure how he got roped into it, but he’s an ardent Trekkie from the U.K. currently living in Ireland, and he was willing to give it his best shot.
Tony’s first podcast debuted on February 25, featuring show-runner RAY TESI of Starship Republic (click here to donate to their Indiegogo). And to follow that up, well, Tony’s latest guest has the initials J.L. and he just typed the words “Tony’s latest guest has the initials J.L.” Yep, I was podcast guest number two (I’ve been called worse) on the new “Continuing Mission,” and my episode just went live yesterday!
So if you just can’t get enough of me rambling on and on here in print, feel free to listen to me ramble on and on through your speakers! Discover the not-so-secret origin of Fan Film Factor, learn how I got a job working for Paramount licensing, and find out where I go to get all the latest news on Star Trek fan films to feature here on this blog.
Thanks to the fine people at UPS, my new MacBook Pro arrived this evening at 7:00pm (one day earlier than expected)! I installed all my old goodies from my last backup onto the new internal drive while I gave Jayden his dinner and got him ready for bed. And after a quick dinner of my own, I got to work answering a few e-mails that I couldn’t get to while my old computer was seizing.
I am now ready to dive back into FAN FILM FACTOR…one day early! This means that I expect to have the Alec Peters‘ interview posted on Thursday (part 1) and Friday (part 2). And I’ll begin catching up on the now-38 comments beginning on Wednesday. But don’t expect too much in the next 24 hours, as I’m working tomorrow (yes, I still do some freelance twice a week while Jayden’s at school). But I definitely want to clear out this backlog of comments…and my apologies in advance if I don’t post responses to certain folks (especially the Tellarites).
It’s good to be back! Now as I type letters on my keyboard, they actually appear on my screen without a three second delay! I can’t begin to tell you how annoying it was NOT to have that “luxury” for a week. Thanks for your patience, everyone.
According to the UPS tracking website, my new 15.4″ MacBook Pro laptop is currently sitting somewhere in Louisville, KY and scheduled to arrived late Wednesday. (And yes, that’s a screen cap of my desktop in that image.) With luck, I’ll be home in time to sign for it, and the computer will work properly out of the box. (I own 420 shares of Apple–it’d better work!!!)
Once the new Lane workhorse is saddled up and loaded with all my backed-up software, Fan Film Factor will emerge from hibernation and rise like a fiery Phoenix…oh, heck, enough with he poetry and metaphors!
Anyway, there will be a LOT happening once I’m back at full power. First up, there is the premiere of the short Star Trek fan film out of the U.K. Chance Encounter on February 1. I’m really looking forward to that.
Next on Friday and Saturday, I have a two-part interview with ALEC PETERS that–love him or hate him–folks are not gonna wanna miss.
Then I’ll take some time over the weekend to approve and respond to posted comments (there’s currently 31 in the queue).
After that, there will be the debut of the don’t-call-it-a-Star Trek fan film Renegades “The Requiem, Part 1.” Donors get an exclusive look on February 2 (no word yet on when/if the general public gets to see it…although I can’t believe it won’t find its way to the masses somehow).
Then next week, I have an interview with Axanar lead defense attorney Erin Ranahan (you didn’t see that coming…or did you?).
Later on in February, the creator of the acclaimed Star Trek: Horizon, Tommy Kraft, releases his new crowd-funded non-Star Trek fan film Runaway.
I’m also working on a feature about the 2012 fan film Star Trek: Secret Voyage, and I have an interview with the creators of The Red Shirt Diaries from about a year ago that I’m planning to reprint here pretty soon.
And at some point, I’m gonna find time to give everyone an update on Project: SMALL ACCESS and what the plans are for that campaign now that the Axanar lawsuit has ended in a settlement.
So don’t go too far, folks! Fan Film Factor will once again be leaving space dock and returning to our mission faster than you can say, “There’s coffee in that nebula!”
I’l be doing a live interview on the SHANE PLAYS radio program tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm Eastern Time (that’s 11am Pacific Time for me). Shane will be talking to me about the AXANAR lawsuit and settlement–was there a clear winner and/or loser?–and about what this all might mean for the future of Star Trek fan films.
The show broadcasts live in the Little Rock area on 96.5 FM the Answer, and people can listen online at http://965fmtheanswer.com. You can also call in. The show will be archived afterwards for anyone to listen to who wants to.
Oh, and for anyone who is curious about my computer situation, a new MacBook Pro has been ordered and is now on its way from Brooklyn, NY to Los Angeles, CA (I order most of my expensive gadgets from &B&H Photo). As I feared, the culprit was indeed the logic board on my five and a half year old Mac laptop. I will miss the 17″ screen (not made anymore), but time marches on.
My old computer will works at ultra-slow speed (it’s taken me 25-minutes to type this blog so far), so Fan Film Factor will likely remain “in hibernation” until mid-to-late next week. My apologies.
Hey, folks. My trusty ol’ Macintosh is gettin’ a little too ol’, so while I contemplate spending thousands on a new one (sorry, PC people, I’m never going back to Windows), the current contraption is going into the shop for at least a day or two.
This means a delay on any new blog posts (including my interview with Alec Peters), as well as approving and/or responding to any comments. As soon as I’m back at full power, I’ll make those two tasks my priority (after my family, of course).
In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to do on an otherwise pleasant Saturday, think about tuning in for my Axanar lawsuit update on the Shane Plays radio broadcast this Saturday at 2pm Eastern (11am Pacific). The show broadcasts live in the Little Rock area on 96.5 FM the Answer, and people can listen online at http://965fmtheanswer.com. You can also call in!
When I first started up FAN FILM FACTOR, I didn’t really feel the need to have a Facebook or Twitter or Instagram (or whatever else) presence online. Simply organizing a blog site, writing articles and interviews, and answering comments is more than enough work, thank you very much!