MEET THE JUDGES for the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!

If you haven’t entered your Star Trek fan film(s) yet, the deadline is coming up in just over two weeks! Click here for the submission form page…

https://www.cognitoforms.com/JonathanLane1/_2023StarTrekFanFilmSHOWRUNNERAWARDS

Last year, the Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS had a FANtastic panel of twelve judges (including yours truly) who reviewed and voted on 38 submitted fan films. They all did a spectacular job!

Unfortunately, not everyone was available for a second year, and a few had to step down. But as they say, whenever a captain closes a hangar bay door, somewhere he/she/they open a viewport—or something like that. As such, I was able to replace the departing judges with new judges, some of them new to the world of fan filmmaking, others experienced veterans. And all of them, of course, remain showrunners of either a Star Trek fan film or series.

A showrunner plays a special role in the production. Sometimes they are also the writer and/or director and/or producer and/or a whole slew of other positions. But the most important thing about a showrunner is that they are where the buck stops. They are the central force that inspires, manages, coordinates, and motivates the team to finish the project. Yes, others involved in the project can also make sure that things get worked on and completed, but most often, the showrunner is the main person that a production cannot live without.

As such, showrunners tend to know about all aspects of filmmaking (or, like me, they were forced to learn fast!). So even if they don’t have enough skills or expertise to tackle every task themselves, they work closely enough with those who do to make sure they have the resources they need to get their specific job(s) done. And that’s why they make such great judges for fan films.

It’s no small commitment to agree to be a judge in a film competition. One needs to watch perhaps a dozen or more hours of the work of others—and watch carefully enough to remember (or take notes on) specific strengths and weaknesses in performance, technical production, and a host of other items in what will be, this year, a total of 22 separate categories! As a reminder, each judge submits their top five choices in descending order for each category, and they cannot vote for any of their own fan films as their top three slots.

And so, in appreciation and acknowledgement of their invaluable assistance in making these awards both effective and successful, I would like to take a blog moment to spotlight these talented fans who have each worked so hard to bring the labors or themselves and their teams to your computer screen.

In alphabetical order…

Continue reading “MEET THE JUDGES for the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!”

This year’s SHOWRUNNER AWARDS feature FOUR new categories!

Today’s blog post is brought to you be the number FOUR. There are just over four weeks left to enter fan films in the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS, four fan films have already been submitted, and this year, we are featuring four new categories.

But before I tell you about those new categories, just a few quick reminders…

First, here is the link to submit a Star Trek fan film for consideration in year’s competition:

https://www.cognitoforms.com/JonathanLane1/_2023StarTrekFanFilmSHOWRUNNERAWARDS

Any Star Trek fan film released onto YouTube and/or social media between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2022 is eligible for entry. There will be three tiers of winner in each category: Admiral (first place), Captain (second place), and Commander (third place).

The deadline for submission is May 31, 2023. The entry fee is $10 for consideration as Best Fan Film and then $1 additional for each category beyond that. Here are the categories that we featured last year (and will have again this year):

  • Best Fan Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Writer
  • Best Lead Actor (submitter may enter up to three actors)
  • Best Lead Actress (submitter may enter up to three actresses)
  • Best Supporting Actor (submitter may enter up to three actors)
  • Best Supporting Actress (submitter may enter up to three actresses)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound Design/Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects (CGI)
  • Best Special Effects (non-CGI)
  • Best Musical Score
  • Best Costuming
  • Best Hair & Makeup
  • Best Original Character
  • Best Scene (up to 2 minutes)
  • Best Micro-Budget Fan Film (total production cost $1,000 or less, not including set construction)

Going into this year’s launch, I reached out to our twelve showrunner judges (including myself) for ideas of new categories we might want to introduce based on feedback from last year. In some cases, fan filmmakers themselves had suggestions. For example, Australian writer/director/producer AARAON VANDERKLEY suggested a category for Best Original Set Design (something he and his team work very hard building), and the judges really liked that idea.

Of course, for a category like that, we needed to figure out some guidelines. For example, what should we do about sets like the TOS ones at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS? Not only would fan films that were shot on those particular sets be tough to beat, but multiple fan films shoot on those same sets…meaning it would be difficult to choose between two or more entries that were filmed there.

In the end, after some discussion, we decided to include on the submission form “for sets constructed for this specific fan film and/​or the fan series it is a part of.” Since Neutral Zone‘s sets were constructed for STAR TREK CONTINUES, which is no longer eligible to enter (their last episode debuted on YouTube in late 2017), nothing else shot there would be eligible.

Continue reading “This year’s SHOWRUNNER AWARDS feature FOUR new categories!”

Announcing the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER Award WINNERS!

First off, a very happy 56th anniversary of Star Trek to all of you!

And now, I am very excited (and somewhat relieved!) to announce the winners of the inaugural 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS. I say relieved because 1) it was waaaaay more work than I ever expected it would be, and 2) everything went more smoothly than I could have possibly imagined.

And for the latter, I have to give my sincere thanks to my panel of judges, each a showrunner of at least one fan film or series. These eleven judges (plus me) each watched just about 13 HOURS of Star Trek fan films! Many of them took notes as they watched, and all of them submitted their ballots in 18 categories prior to my deadline for them of August 15—giving me enough time to record and tally the vote totals, check them twice (like Santa Claus does), and get the certificates ready.

I would like to, once again, thank all of the judges and list them here by name…

  • SAMUEL COCKINGS (Trek Shorts)
  • GARY DAVIS (Dreadnought Dominion)
  • JOSHUA IRWIN (Avalon Universe)
  • PAUL JACQUES (Raincross)
  • MARK LARGENT (Stalled Trek)
  • MIKE LONGO (Star Trek Fan Productions International)
  • VANCE MAJOR (Constar)
  • FRANK PARKER, JR. (Project: Gemini)
  • DAN REYNOLDS (The Federation Files)
  • GLEN L. WOLFE (The Federation Files)
  • RANDY WRENN (Dreadnought Dominion)

Most of these judges unavoidably had fan films of their own entered, and so the rule was this: each judge had to select their top five choices in each category—their choices being worth 10 points for #1, 7 points for #2, 5 points for #3, 3 points for #4, and 1 point for #5. No judge was allowed to rank a fan film that they worked on among their top three choices. This kept them from “playing favorites” while also not penalizing them completely for agreeing to be a judge.

In the end, this process seemed to work out very well, and we had a very nice variety in winners. In other words, the same two or three fan films didn’t sweep all of the categories. In fact, out of 38 total entries, nearly half of them (16 films) won in at least one category. Granted, strong fan films would rack up high scores with lots of 7’s and 10’s, but lower scores of 5’s, 3’s, and even some 1’s often made the difference between coming in first, second, or third place…or just barely missing the cut.

Speaking of which, remember that each category will have THREE winners: Admiral Award, Captain Award, and Commander Award, for the aforementioned first, second, and third places, respectfully. (Note, there is also a special Cadet Award at the bottom of this blog.)

Continue reading “Announcing the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER Award WINNERS!”

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)”

A FATHERS DAY blog as my 11-year-old son JAYDEN discovers STAR TREK fan films…

In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to share something special and Trekkish that recently happened with me and my son.

Jayden is reaching the age where he’s developing his own interests that are completely separate from Daddy’s. He’s playing Roblox and Terraria and a bunch of other games on his computer that I’ve never heard of. He watches YouTubers with names like Mr. Beast, Flamingo, and Merg. He codes, builds robots, and does karate. And now that summer has started, hours will go by where I’ll only see him when he comes down from his room for a quick snack (and it’s all I can do to make him eat a nutritious lunch!).

Ah, being the father of an almost-teen…

I am so proud of my not-so-little boy!

But there is one thing that we do almost every day, and that’s watch Star Trek together after dinner. I give the food a little while to digest, and then we’ll head off to my office where I’ll do 25-30 minutes of cardio on the bike while we watch (most of) an episode of Star Trek. It’s been our “thing” since Jayden was 5. We’re going in release order. We began with TOS, then TAS, then back to TOS because Jayden was really young when he first watched them, and I wanted him to remember. Then on to the first four movies, then TNG…with DS9 added as we hit season six of TNG. And of course, we watched Trek V and Trek VI when those came up in the chronological release order.

We’ve also watched LOWER DECKS, PRODIGY, and STRANGE NEW WORLDS—but not DISCOVERY or PICARD. In the case of Discovery, too much @$&%ing swearing, and in the case of Picard…SPOILERS!

Anyway, Jayden has become quite the little Trekkie (thank heaven!) and sci-fi nerd. The other day at the comic book store, he begged me to buy him a stuffed xenomorph from Alien(s)—which he’s seen, of course—with a zipper for a mouth and a second mouth-tongue inside. (We named him Zipley.)

Jayden holds the newest addition to the family: ZIPLEY!

Most recently, we’ve made it to the end of TNG. We only have “All Good Things” left to watch, but it’s time to switch back over to DS9 and complete season two. We’re two episodes away from watching “Crossover,” the first episode of any Trek to feature the Mirror Universe since TOS’s “Mirror, Mirror.”

Not certain whether Jayden would remember that early episode, I fished out the ol’ remastered Blu-rays to watch that as a special “extra” before heading back to DS9. I’d done the same thing earlier in season two when we did a detour to watch “Errand of Mercy” then “The Trouble with Tribbles” and finally “Day of the Dove.” Those three were all in anticipation of DS9‘s “Blood Oath,” which featured the return of Klingons Kor, Koloth, and Kang from those episodes. So as you can see, I am doing all of this VERY methodically!

Last week, we viewed “Mirror, Mirror” and, as I watched the following scene, I got a crazy idea…

Continue reading “A FATHERS DAY blog as my 11-year-old son JAYDEN discovers STAR TREK fan films…”

Here are the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARD entries for BEST SHORT SCENE…

As I announced last week, the final submissions for the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS were made official on June 1, and now the panel of twelve judges—each the showrunner of a Star Trek fan film or series—get to have their chance to pick the winners in 18 different categories…

  • Best Fan Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Writer
  • Best Lead Actor
  • Best Lead Actress
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound Design/Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects (CGI)
  • Best Special Effects (non-CGI)
  • Best Musical Score
  • Best Costuming
  • Best Hair & Makeup
  • Best Original Character
  • Best Micro-Budget Fan Film (total production cost $1,000 or less, not including set construction)
  • Best Short Scene (up to 2 minutes)

This final category is one that I personally find fascinating!

Think abut the long history of Star Trek, and there are some amazing episodes. But there are also some really impactful SCENES, as well. Let your mind and memory wander back to the scene of Edith Keeler being killed and Kirk’s reaction (“You deliberately stopped me, Jim. I could have save her. Do you know what you just did?” “He knows, Doctor. He knows…”), the scene of Kirk relieving Matt Decker of command on Kirk’s personal authority as captain of the Enterprise (“You’re bluffing…” “Vulcans never bluff…”), Khan stranding Kirk in the middle of a dead planet (“Buried alive…buried alive…” “KHANNNNNN!!!!!!”), Picard appears as Locutus for the first time (“From this time forward, you will service…us.” “Mr. Worf, fire…”), and the list goes on and on.

Yes, those impactful scenes were from some of the best episodes and movies—but not always. The climactic scene of three Losiras about to touch Kirk, McCoy, and Sulu o the shoulders just as Spock and a security guard beam in and shoot the Kalandan computer in “That Which Survives” was an exciting scene in an otherwise average episode.

And what about Star Trek fan films? Do WE have really exciting, dramatic, and impactful scenes? The judges and I decided to find out by offering the category of Best Short Scene (up to two minutes) for all entries. In retrospect, two minutes may have been a tad too short, and perhaps two and a half or even three minutes would have produced more submissions in the category. So we’ll probably increase the runtime limit next year as we figure out ways to improve the contest going forward.

But for this year, we received 10 solid submissions for Best Short Scene out of the 38 total fan films entered. And it’s an interesting collection of scenes—some serious, some funny, some exciting and suspenseful, some poignant and intense. Take a look at the following, and feel free to share in the comments which one(s) YOU think is/are the best and why…


Continue reading “Here are the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARD entries for BEST SHORT SCENE…”

The 2022 SHOWRUNNER AWARDS now have their final 38 entries!

My friends, the great experiment: THE SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

In January of this year, two new fan film competitions launched, to join the third (the long-running annual BJO AWARDS) in celebrating our fun and quirky little niche-of-a-niche-of-a-niche of fandom. The first of the two new yearly award shows to begin—and conclude—was the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, where the directors of the submitted fan films became the judges (and were not allowed to vote for their own fan film, of course). And once those awards were handed out, it was time to launch of the new SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

Both first-time contests had fresh and unique aspects to them. For example, for the past almost-decade, ERIC L. WATTS of the Bjo Awards automatically entered any Star Trek fan film from the previous year that met the eligibility requirements. So a fan filmmaker didn’t have to do anything to be considered for a Bjo aside from release an eligible fan film in the previous year. The Directors Choice and Showrunner Awards, however, each required a small $10 submission fee to enter (in order to prevent a flood of entries). The Directors Choice also opened their contest to fan films beyond Star Trek—Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.—while the Showrunner Awards limited ourselves to only Star Trek fan films.

All three competitions have the standard categories like Best Fan Film, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Hair and Makeup, etc. But the Directors Choice introduced some interesting outside-the-box categories like Best Ensemble Cast, Best Foreign (non-U.S.) Fan Film, Most Canon Fan Film, Best Animated Fan Film, and Best Parody.

Meanwhile, the Showrunner Awards created categories for Best Original Character, Best Scene (a short clip up to two minutes in length), and Best Micro-Budget ($1,000 or less) Fan Film. We also decided to do something the other two contests don’t do: give out THREE awards per category rather than just one winner and five finalists or one winner and one runner-up.

I keep saying “we” when referring to the Showrunner Awards. That’s because our panel of twelve judges—each the showrunner of a Star Trek fan film or series—brainstormed, discussed, and voted on our categories, entry fees, and rules. Among those rules is that we will use ranked-choice voting, each judge selecting their five favorites in each category in descending order. First choice gets 10 points, second gets 7, then 5, 3, and finally 1 point. A judge cannot vote for their own fan film in any of the top three slots.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the Showrunner Awards was our decision expand eligibility to a 5-year window. For our 2022 awards, any Star Trek fan film released from January 2017 through December 2021 could enter. Of course, that aspect of the “great experiment” carried some risks…

Continue reading “The 2022 SHOWRUNNER AWARDS now have their final 38 entries!”

The 2022 SHOWRUNNER AWARDS are now open to any STAR TREK FAN FILM released in the last FIVE YEARS!

The 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS are now accepting submissions! Entries can be submitted until the end of the day on May 31, 2022. Winners will be announced on September 8, 2022. Here is the entry form:

https://www.cognitoforms.com/JonathanLane1/2022StarTrekFanFilmSHOWRUNNERAWARDS

The Showrrunner Awards are the newest annual competition exclusively for Star Trek fan films and will be unique in a couple of very significant ways. The first is that the window of eligibility is not just a release within the previous calendar year but any Star Trek fan film released with in the last FIVE years (January 2017 – December 2021)! Once a fan film wins a Showrunner Award in a specific category, it is no longer eligible to win in that category again.

The other unique feature of the Showrunner Awards is that there will be THREE winners in each category: ADMIRAL, CAPTAIN, and COMMANDER level…each with a digital certificate (sorry, there’s no way I can afford physical plaques).

Following the example of most industry film festivals, the Showrunner Awards will require a small entry fee ($10) for each fan film submission, which allows a qualifying entry to be considered in the main category of Best Star Trek Fan Film. Each additional category will cost an extra $1, plus there is a small processing fee. To keep operational costs down, payments will be accepted only by credit card only (no check, Paypal, Venmo, Zelle, or Crypto at the moment) and are processed by the third party service STRIPE.

The money raised will help me cover the annual expenses for FAN FILM FACTOR (domain hosting, support, site security, etc.). While I truly appreciate the monthly contributions from my 8 patrons, the money from my Patreon falls well short of my ongoing costs for keeping this blog site going.

Here is a list of categories for the Showrunner Awards:

  • Best Fan Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Writer
  • Best Lead Actor (submitter may enter up to three actors)
  • Best Lead Actress (submitter may enter up to three actresses)
  • Best Supporting Actor (submitter may enter up to three actors)
  • Best Supporting Actress (submitter may enter up to three actresses)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound Design/Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects (CGI)
  • Best Special Effects (non-CGI)
  • Best Musical Score
  • Best Costuming
  • Best Hair & Makeup
  • Best Original Character
  • Best Scene (up to 2 minutes)
  • Best Micro-Budget Fan Film (total production cost $1,000 or less, not including set construction)

The last three categories are really intriguing to me and were suggested by members of our twelve-member panel made up of Star Trek fan film showrunners…

Continue reading “The 2022 SHOWRUNNER AWARDS are now open to any STAR TREK FAN FILM released in the last FIVE YEARS!”

The BJOs are BACK, baby!

Beginning in 2015, the world of Star Trek fan films has had its own, exclusive annual awards show…thanks entirely to the exhaustive efforts of ERIC L. WATTS and the panels of judges whom he has assembled each year. It’s a daunting task: keeping track of, viewing, and scoring so many Star Trek fan films. A typical judge might have to devote as many as 10 or 20 hours to what is essentially a volunteer task. And of course, that effort increases exponentially when you get to Eric Watts himself!

The name of this annual competition was changed to the BJO AWARDS in 2018, in honor of BJO TRIMBLE, credited with saving Star Trek from early cancellation in the 1960s by organizing the “great letter-writing campaign.” Bjo was a guest of honor that year and graciously agreed to the name change. And they have been the Bjo Awards each year since.

Well, ALMOST each year since…

Last year, 2020, was—if you can remember that far back—just a little f’d up. (Yeah, I said “f’d”!) The world transformed into an alternate reality of shutting down and shutting in, and like nearly all social gatherings, the annual TREKLANTA convention, where the Bjo Awards are announced, could not safely take place in person. The event went virtual, but without a physical venue to present at and hand out plaques, Eric elected not to hold the Bjo Awards last year.

Bjo Award plaques are always presented in person.

This year, however, even though Treklanta is still not taking place, Eric has decided to once again resume the Bjos. But what to do about the “missed” year? Traditionally, each year’s Bjo Award nominees are Star Trek fan films released during the previous calendar year. Fan filmmakers don’t actively “enter” the competition. Instead they automatically qualify if they meet the following requirements…

1) Be a live-action dramatic presentation set in the Star Trek universe, not animated or CGI, or a satire or parody of Star Trek.
2) Have “Based upon Star Trek, Created by Gene Roddenberry” (or similar) in the title sequence, opening credits or closing credits. (This requirement may be waived under certain circumstances and at the sole discretion of Treklanta.)
3) Have been released to the Internet (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) during the previous calendar year.
4) Have an entry on IMDb.com with full cast and crew credits listed.

It’s #3 in the above list that’s the problematic one…

Continue reading “The BJOs are BACK, baby!”