THE HOLY CORE premieres! (interview with GARY O’BRIEN)

It’s not easy making a set-based TNG-era Star Trek fan film! Unlike TOS, where there are multiple set recreations where fans can film, TNG sets are much more difficult to construct and maintain. Most often, 24th century Trek fan films go the route of compositing actors filmed in front of a green screen with digitally-generated backgrounds.

Such was not the case with GARY O’BRIEN from Great Britain. His first Trek fan film, the must-see CHANCE ENCOUNTER, was released in 2017 to rave reviews from fans. While filmed primarily in outdoor locations, it also featured an elaborate shuttlepod interior set as well as a turbolift constructed for the production. The whole film was produced for an unbelievably meager $2,700 crowd-funded from fan backers via Kickstarter.

For Gary’s next TNG-era project, however, there were a LOT of sets to build (you can see some behind-the-scenes video in this blog entry). Once again co-written with Gary’s friend PAUL LAIGHT, this new script—titled THE HOLY CORE—was much more ambitious and would require $11,000 (£8,700) to produce. Unfortunately, a 30-day Kickstarter campaign in early 2018 failed to reach more than half-way to the goal, and so no money was collected from backers.

Just when all seemed lost, however, an angel donor named ALEXANDER MAYER stepped up with an offer to fund the entire project. Gary and Paul were ecstatic and immediately got to work turning The Holy Core into a fully realized fan film. One year later, here is the result…

Although Gary has produced a plethora of behind-the-scenes updates and videos, there were still a few things I figured the fan viewers might like to know. So here’s a short interview with the director and co-writer of The Holy Core

Continue reading “THE HOLY CORE premieres! (interview with GARY O’BRIEN)”

THE HOLY CORE will premiere THIS SUNDAY!

Good news, everyone! THE HOLY CORE will make its debut this Sunday. Last year, this fan project failed to reach its $12,000 Kickstarter goal but was later funded with a private donation from a single backer. Work has continued in earnest since then, and I’m preparing a fun interview with director and co-writer GARY O’BRIEN, who also directed and co-wrote the wonderful CHANCE ENCOUNTER (a must-see TNG-era fan film with over 108K views on Youtube).

Unlike Gary’s previous effort, The Holy Core required the construction of multiple TNG-era sets, including a captain’s ready room, the engineering station on the bridge, the three command chairs in the “crescent” on a Nebula-class starship, and a deflector control room. Everything looks FANtastic, and you can read more about the construction of these amazing sets in this blog.

I’ll have more on The Holy Core next week—along with the full half-hour (in two parts, of course!) fan film itself. In the meantime, take a look at this sneak peek announcement from Gary…

THE HOLY CORE releases its first TRAILER!

In any list of the top 10 Star Trek fan films of all time, I will always include CHANCE ENCOUNTER, from British writer/director GARY O’BRIEN and co-writer PAUL LAIGHT. It doesn’t have dazzling VFX or edge-of-your seat action. In fact, it’s a “quiet” story that treats viewers to some top-level acting, emotionally engaging characters, and lovely music…all wrapped in a skillfully directed and edited package that I consider to be a MUST-SEE fan film.

So naturally, I and others have been most eager to see what Gary and Paul do for an encore! A year ago, Gary launched a Kickstarter for what was, at the time, about $12,000 (American). But it failed to get even half-way to its goal, and so Gary received nothing…since Kickstarter requires a project to fully fund before awarding pledged donations.

However, a single “angel donor” came forward in May with an offer to fund the entire production, and Gary was now set up to create THE HOLY CORE, a TNG-era fan film with more action and VFX than his previous release…but the promise of the same great level of acting, directing, engaging characters, and quality of presentation.

This project also called for the construction of some ambitious TNG-era sets for a Nebula-class starship…including the captain’s ready room, deflector control room, and even the engineering station on the bridge! Could Gary and his team pull it off? A series of production updates teased us with quick glimpses into how good these sets were looking. I posted a blog back in December collecting all of these updates in one place. It’s worth checking out.

In the meantime, Gary has just released his first official trailer for The Holy Core, and it looks really impressive (especially all of those amazing sets)…!

HOLY CORE! This is gonna be an AWESOME-LOOKING fan film!

One of the best TNG-era fan films I’ve seen is Chance Encounter, co-written and directed by GARY O’BRIEN out of Great Britain.  It was crowd-funded in mid-2016 for a measly $2,500 (£1,700) and released in February of 2017.  Since then, it’s piled up nearly 85K views and was a finalist in three different categories in this past year’s BJO Awards.

So what is Gary doing for an encore?

The answer to that was almost a very disappointing “nothing,” as a Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of this year for THE HOLY CORE resulted in pledges that didn’t even reach half-way to Gary’s $11,000 (£8,700) goal…and with Kickstarters, if you don’t make it to your goal, you get zero.  But then, a month later on May 7, Gary announced that an angel investor had given him the full amount necessary to complete the entire Holy Core production…!

As you can see from the above Twitter video, there were quite a number of ambitious sets planned for this project, all of them shown with exciting-looking virtual CGI animations.  But could Gary pull off building all of these sets for real…?

Continue reading “HOLY CORE! This is gonna be an AWESOME-LOOKING fan film!”

It’s a MIRACLE as THE HOLY CORE finds an ANGEL DONOR!

This is turning out to be a week of VERY good news for Star Trek fan-funded projects!  As I reported yesterday, the Star Trek rock band, The Roddenberries, managed to just reach their $9,500 Kickstarter goal with less than an hour left!  The Romulan War was able to extend their Indiegogo campaign an extra 30 days, and now they’re now nearly 75% of the way to their $10,000 goal.

But by far the most shocking (in a VERY good way!) news came yesterday when writer/director GARY O’BRIEN announced that his newest fan film project, THE HOLY CORE, has been fully funded by a single donor!

At the end of March, the situation wasn’t nearly as rosy for The Holy Core, as their $12,000 Kickstarter (about £8,700) didn’t even reach the half-way point and received nothing.  That was surprising for many of us, as Gary’s previous fan film, Chance Encounter, is considered one of the best ever low-budget Trek fan films.

I spoke to a very disappointed Gary after the failed Kickstarter, asking if he might try an Indiegogo instead (or multiple campaigns) and perhaps make the film in smaller installments.  Gary wasn’t sure what he would do next, and I didn’t want to press him.  Then, a week or so later, Gary told me privately that he might have found funding, but to please keep it under wraps until he knew for certain.

As the weeks went by, things sounded increasingly hopeful.  But I was still asked to hold off sharing anything until the money was “in the bank.”  After all, Murphy’s Law is still a thing.

And then yesterday, it all became official as Gary posted this video…

I asked Gary if this donor had requested to remain anonymous, as the video seems to go to great lengths not to provide a name.  Gary replied…

Actually he hadn’t confirmed either way when I shot the video, so I played it safe and didn’t mention him. However, literally 10 minutes ago, he got back to me and says he’s happy for me to tell people.  So…

He’s ALEXANDER MAYER, and he was the single largest backer of Chance Encounter. He’s about my age and hails from Germany. He’s a big TNG and Voyager fan and likes to back projects he thinks look good. Among others, he has funded Tommy Krafts’ sci-fi film about the Runaway androids (not sure if he funded it all or not though). Other than that, I don’t really have much info.

Well, I for one would like to personally THANK Herr Mayer for his super-generous support of these three fan films!  Hopefully, when fans see the quality of The Holy Core, perhaps they will realize that Star Trek fan films are still a thing worthy of their support and donations.

HOLY CORE, BATMAN! This TREK fan film KICKSTARTER has only 5 DAYS LEFT!

Lately, some of my readers have complained that the fan film guidelines have essentially ended quality Star Trek fan films.  “You can’t make a decent Trek fan film in just 15 or 30 minutes,” they say, “and limiting crowd-funding to just $50,000 is ridiculously constraining.”

To them I reply, “Watch CHANCE ENCOUNTER!”  This 20-minute TNG-era fan film out of the U.K. had real actors, real sets, a fantastic script, wonderful directing, emotional music, great effects…you name it!  And it was made for just a few thousand dollars (or rather, pounds, since they’re all British).

Now these guys want to make another fan film…and they’re struggling to reach their Kickstarter goal of $12K.  They’re nearly halfway there, have raised an impressive $5, 345 from 74 backers (including me)…

…BUT THEY HAVE ONLY FIVE DAYS LEFT!!!

And the problem with Kickstarter is that, if they don’t reach their goal, they get ZERO!  Show-runner GARY O’BRIEN and co-writer PAUL LAIGHT are trying very hard to reach out to fans.  They’ve produced multiple spotlight videos, have been living on Facebook, and even did a podcast.  But so far, they’ve only made it half way…and time is running out!

Please help.

This is the kind of quality Star Trek fan film you’ve been wanting to see, folks.  But without donations, you won’t see it.  That’s why I’m pushing so hard to assist these guys…because I really want to see it, too!

Here’s the link to donate:

Please consider making a pledge.  But whether or not you do, at least share that link on Facebook, Twitter, in chat-rooms, forums, e-mail lists, skywriting, smoke-signals, semaphore…whatever you’ve got!

And just to get you a teensy bit more excited, here’s their latest spotlight video with a look at their LCARS…

Today is a good day to PLEDGE…to “The Holy Core” Kickstarter!

Hey, folks.  Just a friendly reminder that the Kickstarter for THE HOLY CORE, a new Star Trek fan project from the folks who brought us CHANCE ENCOUNTER, has only 13 days left to go!  There’s already 53 backers, and they’re up to nearly 1/3 of the $12,000 they need to raise.  But remember that if they don’t make it to their goal, they get nothing…zero, zip, zilch, nada.  And that would be such a shame.

The key right now is to help SPREAD THE WORD (and donate, if you haven’t already)!  Send out and share links to their Kickstarter campaign page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1512203744/the-holy-core-a-star-trek-fan-film

They’ve already shared a few cool videos of some of what they’re planning for this TNG-era fan film.  This video spotlighting their transporter effect was just released:

Then there was this one from last week showing the design for the Vitan satellites, which will play an important role in the planned 30-minute fan film:

And here’s the Kickstarter campaign video for the overall project:

Please consider making a donation, or at least helping to spread the Kickstarter link:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1512203744/the-holy-core-a-star-trek-fan-film

Thank you.

Why you ABSOLUTELY should DONATE to this KICKSTARTER for THE HOLY CORE (from the makers of CHANCE ENCOUNTER)!

One of my favorite Star Trek fan films is CHANCE ENCOUNTER, co-written by PAUL LAIGHT and GARY O’BRIEN, and directed by Gary.  This 20-minute, TNG-era fan film was a perfectly-acted love story with wonderful music, tight editing, very nice costumes and uniforms, and even some physical TNG-era sets.  Usually for this era, fan films just shoot actors in front of green screens and composite in the complex 24th century starship interiors as background images.  But these guys built an actual shuttlepod cockpit and turbolift set.

It’s been over a year since Chance Encounter debuted, funded with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that raised £1,862 (about $2,700).  Since then, many fans have wondered when we might see another fan production from this team.  The answer was revealed last Thursday when Gary and Paul launched a new Kickstarter for their second project: THE HOLY CORE.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE!

This time, they’re trying to raise £8,700 (approximately $12,000) for a much more ambitious production.  This one will be 30-minutes long, following the fan film guidelines and split into two 15-minute parts.  Once again, there will be physical sets, this time augmented by CGI backgrounds.  Here’s a test shot that appears on their Kickstarter video:

And that’s just a TEST…wait’ll they shoot the real film!!!

And for anyone wondering if this’ll be just another love story disguised as a Star Trek: TNG episode, the answer is no.  This time, things will be much more fast-paced and filled with deep ethical and moral questions.  The crew of the USS Vigilance, a Nebula-class starship, has a mission to help the inhabitants of the planet Vita II.  But things aren’t as they first appear, and the crew must wrestle with the difficult topics of faith, science, sacrifice, and destiny itself.

Assuming Gary and Paul reach their goal (they are already 15% of the way there after just five days…including $175 from me), they intend to release the completed fan film next February or March.  I’d really like to see that happen, folks

As such, I’ll be publishing reminders about this Kickstarter over the next three and a half weeks, and I hope you’ll join me in both donating and spreading the word.  This one is really worth it!

And now, here’s a message from show-runners Gary O’Brien and Paul Laight…

Continue reading “Why you ABSOLUTELY should DONATE to this KICKSTARTER for THE HOLY CORE (from the makers of CHANCE ENCOUNTER)!”

CHANCE ENCOUNTER creators announce NEW Star Trek fan film: THE HOLY CORE!

I love Brits who make Trek fan films!  A year ago, writer / director GARY O’BRIEN and co-writer PETER LAIGHT released their first-ever Star Trek fan film CHANCE ENCOUNTER…and fans were blown away.  Superb acting, touching story, well-directed, fantastic costumes and VFX, perfect music, and even custom-built shuttlepod and turbolift sets—it’s a MUST-SEE fan film well worth 20 minutes of your time to watch if you haven’t already.

This entire magnificent production was funded for just £1,862 (about $2,700) raised through a Kickstarter.  And now, Gary and Peter have just announced a NEW crowd-funding campaign (coming in March) to try to raise £7,000 – £8,000 (about $10,000)…well within the $50K limit set by the fan film guidelines.

Speaking of the guidelines, I asked Gary about film length and crowd-funding perks:

We are structuring the script to split in half at the 15-minute mark, and so we are aiming for an overall run-time of 30 minutes for the story. We have yet to decide whether to make that two separate uploads of 15 minutes or not.  That choice will be made much later in the process I think.

As for perks, we will probably only offer wallpapers, scripts, etc.  Our hope is that anyone who donates does so to see the film get made.  The simpler the perks, the more money we can put on screen!

Like Chance Encounter, the new film, The Holy Core, will be set in a time period about midway through TNG, likely 2368 or thereabouts, with a cast of all new characters.  And while Chance Encounter was basically a love story, Gary says…

This time we will touch on several themes, such as scientific pursuit, the roles of religion, and a little hint of romance, too.

The new campaign will start up around March 1 and run through the end of that month.  Filming will likely happen over the summer (once sets are built and cast members selected), and the finished film(s) will likely debut in late 2018 or early 2019.  Obviously, a lot can happen before then, but Chance Encounter stayed pretty much on schedule all though production.

So start saving your pennies (or pence) for a very exciting crowd-funder coming in just five more weeks.  And here’s something to get you in the donating mood…

I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)

My life isn’t usually all that interesting or exciting…at least, not all in one week.  But what a week it was!

(Actually, it was only really exciting if you happen to be a Trekkie interested in fan films.  If you’re my wife, it’s more like, “That’s nice, honey.  I’m glad you had such a good time.  Did you remember to empty the dishwasher?”

And that’s why I’m writing this blog—because I have now emptied the dishwasher, and I really want to tell you guys about the fan film filled week I just had…because you care, right?  (Aw don’t answer that; it’ll just kill my buzz.)

Continue reading “I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)”