Reason #4 to donate to the AVALON GoFundMe: NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!

Your mission: find an actress—young, positive attitude, who lives in Oklahoma—willing to appear in a volunteer Star Trek fan film. Oh, and she needs to be of Native American ethnicity.

You have two days.

When you donate to the AVALON UNIVERSE Star Trek fan production, you’re paying for a get-it-done attitude and a proven track record. Over the past few weeks, I’ve provided three solid reasons to lend your financial support to this hard-working fan production crew: Jakande Lives, Do It for Pixi, and The Team. This week, I’ve saved the best for last—the most compelling reason to donate to their GoFundMe campaign, which just happens to be located at this link:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/zdn4p-AvalonUniverse2021

These folks never give up…ever! No matter what obstacles God, the gods, fate, the Universe, and/or or the Flying Spaghetti Monster throw their way, showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN and his team will always find a way to get their fan film(s) finished.

Avalon Universe has already released SEVEN high-quality fan films (two of which were two-parters of 30-plus minute length) in less than three years. And even as they try to crowd-fund another three productions, they’re already hard at work on a fourth fan film: AGENT OF NEW WORLDS.

And therein lies a tale…

Continue reading “Reason #4 to donate to the AVALON GoFundMe: NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER!”

Reason #3 to donate to the AVALON GoFundMe: THE TEAM!

Fan films are like weddings. (Ha, got your attention!)

Think about it. Weddings can be as cheap and simple as a trip to City Hall or a few friends in the backyard. Or they can be expensive galas with hundreds of guests and all the trimmings. Or they can be anywhere in between.

And so it is with fan films. We get everything from cardboard sets and scenes shot with cell phones to professional-looking productions with trained actors, meticulous sets and costumes, top-quality recording equipment, and budgets into the five-figure range and sometimes even beyond that.

In general, the larger and more ambitious the wedding, the more critical it is that a team of planners and managers be involved to make sure everything goes smoothly. You get one chance at the actual ceremony, and it’s all that the behind-the-scenes planning that can determine if the wedding is a triumph or a disaster.

The AVALON UNIVERSE fan films aren’t exactly Kardashian weddings (thank goodness!), but they are still pretty impressive, with production quality a few steps above the majority of Star Trek fan films out there. This is not meant to diminish those other fan films. All fan filmmakers deserve support and encouragement. But when you donate to an Avalon Universe crowd-funding campaign, you know your money will be well-spent, and the finished product will look and sound and be amazing.

Oh, and speaking of donating, Avalon has a crowd-funding campaign going on right now, if you’d like to back it…

https://www.gofundme.com/zdn4p-AvalonUniverse2021

Like a successful wedding, a well-run fan production requires careful planning and preparation, and that means having the right people in the right jobs…not just during the shoots but in the months and weeks leading up to the director yelling “Action!” for the first time.

As I mentioned last week, I wasn’t initially planning to be part of “Team Avalon,” even though I consider Avalon Universe director/showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN to be a close friend. (Josh was my Director of Photography and Editor on INTERLUDE.) What I did offer to do was to advise Josh and his producer, PIXI NEREID, on strategies for crowd-funding…advice I’ve also offered to other fan filmmakers over the years.

But before I knew it, Pixi had jumped into action, adding me to the production crew’s Facebook chat, giving me access to their Slack productivity app account where the cast and crew keep all of their online resources, and inviting me onto the kick-off production meeting Zoom call. So that’s how I became a part of “Team Avalon,” and it’s given me a fascinating look into who these fine folks are and all that they’re doing to make the wedding…er, fan film extra spectacular and go off without a hitch.

Let me tell you about the team…

Continue reading “Reason #3 to donate to the AVALON GoFundMe: THE TEAM!”

THE FEDERATION FILES “rescues” another uncompleted fan film in “FRIENDS AND FOES” (interview with MICHAEL DEMPSEY, CAMREN BURTON, and GLEN WOLFE, part 2)

Last time, we began looking at a Star Trek fan film from 2007 that had been partially filmed but was never completed. Titled STAR TREK: ORIGINS – “THE WOUNDS OF WAR,” the script was written by CAMREN T. BURTON and produced by MICHAEL DEMPSEY, who also starred as a young George Kirk serving on a starship commanded by Robert April, 30 years before the original series.

In 2020, GLEN WOLFE of the Star Trek anthology fan series THE FEDERATION FILES, decided to “rescue” this unfinished fan film, create a framing story around it, and release the completed production as an original anthology episode titled “FRIENDS AND FOES.” Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet…

We began the three-person interview focusing initially on Michael, who lives in the Lexington, Kentucky area, and Camren, who lives in the Tri-Cities region in southeast Washington state. They discussed their backgrounds, how they first teamed up, and the early evolution of the project. I hadn’t yet gotten to Glen, who lives in northeastern Arkansas, but I’lll be rectifying that shortly.

First, however, let’s dive back into 2006-2007 and learn more about how Michael and Camren prepared to get this production ready for filming…


Glen Wolfe, Michael Dempsey, and Camren T. Burton

JONATHAN – Once you had a script, what happened next? How involved were each of you in pre-production and getting things ready?

CAMREN – As it turned out, being more than halfway across the country from everything severely constrained my ability to contribute to the project…beyond creativity.  I reviewed audition tapes with Mike, and we did agree on casting. (Mike was going to be playing George Kirk, long before CHIRS HEMSWORTH!) I particularly remember loving JAMES BUTTERFIELD’s audition as Deyziel because he nailed JOHN BILLINGSLEY’s vocal mannerisms for Phlox, and it was like looking at a younger Denobulan in human disguise. Mike found talented locals in his area with costumes, and we had a few enthusiastic fans around the country contribute with making props.

JONATHAN – Was it easy or hard finding people to be a part of the production?

MICHAEL – I had a very small group of people who were part of that team, and they were all great to work with. But it was hard to pull people in for this. For some reason, there wasn’t much local interest in doing a Star Trek production around here—I really don’t know why. We have a huge independent film base in Kentucky, but I had a really difficult time getting people to join us…even casting roles for it was really difficult. There was just no interest.

JONATHAN – Eventually, though, you had your cast and crew in place. Did production go fairly smoothly?

Continue reading “THE FEDERATION FILES “rescues” another uncompleted fan film in “FRIENDS AND FOES” (interview with MICHAEL DEMPSEY, CAMREN BURTON, and GLEN WOLFE, part 2)”

THE FEDERATION FILES “rescues” another uncompleted fan film in “FRIENDS AND FOES” (interview with MICHAEL DEMPSEY, CAMREN BURTON, and GLEN WOLFE, part 1)

One of the most unique and intriguing aspects of the fan series THE FEDERATION FILES is that it is a true anthology series. Each new episode features entirely different characters and settings and even eras. We’ve seen Star Trek episodes in the present, the not-too-distant future, the 23rd century, the 24th century, and even a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Essentially, these folks can tell any Star Trek or Star Trekkish story that they want to.

And by “these folks,” I mean GLEN WOLFE and his partner DAN REYNOLDS, the co-owners of WARP 66 STUDIOS in northeastern Arkansas. They have a growing collection of TOS set recreations, allowing them to create fan films from that era, but they’ve gone far beyond that both in terms of space and time.

Recently, Glen Wolfe “rescued” (my word) a fan film from several years ago that was partially filmed at Retro Studios in Ticonderoga, NY (before it became the official TOS Set Tour) but never completed. That fan film was STAR TREK: EQUINOX, written by CAMREN T. BURTON and starring GARY LOCKWOOD reprising his role of Gary Mitchell from the TOS episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and JOHN SAVAGE reprising his role of Captain Rudy Ransom from the Star Trek: Voyager “Equinox” two-parter. Glen came in, created a new 24th framing sequence, and finished the ill-fated fan film half a decade later. You can read more about that project here.

Late last year, Glen decided to do an encore with another uncompleted fan film from 2006-2007 called STAR TREK: ORIGINS – “The Wounds of War.” Once again, Glen produced a framing sequence and incorporated filmed elements of the the original footage to create an entirely original production—a new episode of the The Federation Files that he chose to call “FRIENDS AND FOES.” Let’s take a look…

This two-part blog interview was actually a somewhat challenging to put together. Obviously, I had some questions for Glen, as The Federation Files‘ show-runner as well as writer/director of this latest episode. But there was also the writer of the original uncompleted episode (again, the aforementioned Camren T. Burton) plus the executive producer and star of the original fan film, MICHAEL DEMPSEY.

What’s so difficult about interviewing three people? Well, I usually try to interview people together, but this time, it was three separate interviews that I’ve needed to merge into one that flows smoothly. (In other words, I need to make you guys think they were all in the same room or zoom call or email chain together when they really weren’t.) But the other challenge was that Michael’s portion of the interview needed to wait several months because he actually contracted a rather serious case of COVID-19 before I could interview him!

So with that as an intro, let’s get into it…

Continue reading “THE FEDERATION FILES “rescues” another uncompleted fan film in “FRIENDS AND FOES” (interview with MICHAEL DEMPSEY, CAMREN BURTON, and GLEN WOLFE, part 1)”

Presenting INTERLUDE – a Star Trek fan film in the AXANAR Universe!

(I know you wanna see INTERLUDE! Feel free to scroll down to the bottom of this web page, then come back to read the full blog entry.)


I was a fan of AXANAR even before the launch of their first Kickstarter campaign back in early 2014. And when PRELUDE TO AXANAR was released that summer, I was ecstatic. There had never been any fan film like this one, and it FELT like the Star Trek I had grown up with…something I couldn’t say about the newest Trek movie releases from Paramount and (later) television releases from CBS.

Later that summer, I jumped at the chance to volunteer to help pack and ship perks to donors (of which I was one, of course), and I got to know ALEC PETERS, DIANA KINGSBURY, ROBERT MEYER BURNETT, and a bunch of other folks involved with the production. Heck, I even joined the gang along with RICHARD HATCH (may he rest in peace) at a P.F. Chang’s in Long Beach after a convention for an awesome dinner experience.

By 2015, I was writing weekly “Fan Film Friday” blogs for the Axanar website about other Trek fan films…something that led to the creation of Fan Film Factor half a year later. Fan films in general, and Axanar in particular, had quickly become a major part of my life as a Trek fan.

Interlude was born in stages, but I can trace its initial origin back to June of 2017 when I was reading Alec’s new 2-part Axanar script. The legal settlement with CBS and Paramount forced him to trim the full-length movie script down to two 15-minute segments that would be filmed in the same mock documentary style as Prelude.

By this point, the amazing half-completed bridge set was being packed up and moved cross-country from southern California to Georgia, and I was looking forward to seeing how bridge scenes would be incorporated into the “mockumentary” format. But to my shock and horror, there were NO bridge scenes in Alec’s new script…only the same “talking heads” dialog and VFX as there was in Prelude. Huh?

What I didn’t know at the time was that Alec had purposefully left out any bridge scenes because he wasn’t certain whether he’d be able to raise the funds to complete the set. However, not knowing why there weren’t any bridge scenes, I mistakenly assumed Alec just felt like he couldn’t squeeze them in and still tell the story properly. So as a way of demonstrating that it was possible to have bridge scenes, I wrote a new version of the script…what I call my “alt-Axanar” script. Alec won’t be using it (he’s fine with his own version), but someday after the two Axanar sequels are released, I’ll publish it here on the blog just for fun.

Continue reading “Presenting INTERLUDE – a Star Trek fan film in the AXANAR Universe!”

YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 35-year trek… (Part 5)

In Part Part 2Part 3, and Part 4, we got to know STAN WOO and JOHN ATKIN. Back in 1985, Los Angeles-based Stan convinced GEORGE TAKEI and JAMES SHIGETA to play Hikaru Sulu and Admiral Nogura, respectively, in a low-budget fan film titled YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL. Although much of the film was shot between 1985 and 1987, it remained unfinished even in 2010 when Canadian Trek fan John offered to help Stan finally complete the film.

Along with help from Hollywood writer PAUL McCUDDEN, Stan and John expanded the short 15-minute script to bring in new characters in new locations. The first original footage for Yorktown since the 1980s was shot in 2011 and 2012, as two different scenes featuring Klingons were filmed with lines spoken entirely in the Klingon language.

In the meantime, VFX artist ROLAND BARON created CGI models of the U.S.S. Yorktown, a Klingon K-fighter, and the terrorist vessel Nagaer based on sketches from ANDREW PROBERT, who designed the refit Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Motion Picture as well as and the Enterprise-D. A short trailer spotlighted Roland’s amazing work…

MORE SHOOTS…LOTS OF ‘EM!

The year 2012 ended with two major shoots that took place at Capilano College, based in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The first shoot was filmed in November in front of a green screen and featured CHARLES EDWARD BAE (who had provided the Klingon translations) as the Klingon Colonel Qumeq, publicly lambasting the evils of the Federation to an audience over a newsfeed.

Charles Edward Bae in full Klingon make-up and garb

The second shoot happened at the same location in December but was not simply another green screen. John elaborates, “IAN GUSTAFSON had access to an amazing set at Capilano College. The set was one that had been used on a small independent sci-fi movie, but Ian and Charles modified it so much that it is just about unrecognizable to its original form. The set was transformed into ‘Deck 19, Section 6’ of the U.S.S. Yorktown.”

This was for a new sequence set before the refit, showing the terrorist attack and the death of Jeffrey Pond’s fiancée Lt. Katherine Baetz, played by ZLATINA PACHEVA. This opening sequence will be the only footage in Yorktown to feature the classic TOS-style Starfleet tunics, which were purchased from Anovos and then adorned with Yorktown patches (custom-designed and manufactured by STAR TREK: SECRET VOYAGE fan film costumer JOE KEREZMAN).

George Kayaian (right) on his set for Starship Antyllus, doubling as the Yorktown Hangar Bay control room.

A final piece of the opening segment was supplied the following April in 2013 by none other than GEORGE KAYAIAN, who had begun shooting his own new fan series in New York called STAR TREK: ANTYLLUS. “I had seen some of George Kayaian’s earlier fan film work on YouTube,” John explains, “and I had seen pictures of his small bridge set that he was building on Facebook. I thought that it would be perfect for our Hangar Bay scene and asked if we could use it in the film, and if he would be interested in playing an officer in that scene.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Continue reading “YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 35-year trek… (Part 5)”

The latest in FANdemic Star Trek – THE FEDERATION FILES: “The Green Manifesto”…

Okay, I’ve decided to coin a new term: “FANdemic Star Trek film.” Because let’s face it, the global COVID-19 crisis isn’t going away anytime soon, and we’re gonna need to wear masks and social distance at least until a safe vaccine is developed and disseminated (and people actually take it!).

But Star Trek fan filmmakers are a dedicated and tenacious bunch! And just because most of Hollywood has shut down doesn’t mean fan films have to. We simply need to do things a little more creatively and carefully. Already, we’ve seen several pandemic-produced fan film releases from all over the world. One of the first, HORREUR POST ATOMIQUE from France, told the story of three survivors of World War III living in bunkers, just before first contact with the Vulcans. Then LOOK FORWARD TO THE DAY showed a socially distancing Kirk, Spock, and McCoy having a futuristic Zoom call. Two weeks later, JENS DOMBEK, “The German Spock,” released a one-man (well, one-Vulcan) fan film called I AM SPOCK. And even VANCE MAJOR has released two CONSTAR CONTINUES films post-pandemic (and I’ll be featuring an audio interview with him soon).

So for lack of a better word, I’m going with “FANdemic” film. And the latest example of one was written only three and a half weeks ago, filmed shortly thereafter in Mountain Home, Arkansas, and released this past weekend from WARP 66 STUDIOS and WOLF/REYNOLDS PRODUCTIONS. It’s the seventh overall fan film from the fan series THE FEDERATION FILES (you can view all of their releases on this YouTube playlist). Because their anthology format covers the entire history of the Star Trek universe, stories have ranged from the 20th and 21st centuries to the 23rd and 24th centuries.

Their latest production is set solidly in the 21st century during the time of World War III and focusing on Colonel Green from the TOS episode “The Savage Curtain” (although in this fan film, Green is still a Major). His genocidal campaign in the 21st century resulted in the deaths of 37 million people. Green believed he was cleansing the gene pool—a hero in his own mind and to scores of followers…an evil homicidal monster to others and to the annals of future history.

But how did he kill so many people so quickly? This fan film seeks to shine a light on this dark question with a little help from today’s headlines. Producer and director of photography DAN REYNOLDS (who also appears in the film as the scientist who engineers a deadly virus) suggested to writer GLEN WOLFE the idea of creating a story about a pandemic. Glen then researched the character of Colonel Phillip Green.

Continue reading “The latest in FANdemic Star Trek – THE FEDERATION FILES: “The Green Manifesto”…”

“VOICES FROM THE PAST” – the sixth fan film from THE FEDERATION FILES (audio interview with GLEN L. WOLFE)

When is a Star Trek fan film NOT a Star Trek fan film? Or is it vice-versa? For GLEN L. WOLFE, writer and director of the sixth installment of the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES, “Voices from the Past,” any distinction is totally blurred and probably irrelevant. No matter what “Voices” might seem to be, it is at heart VERY much a Star Trek fan film!

Granted, it certainly doesn’t look like a Star Trek fan film. There are no starships flying around, no one wearing Starfleet uniforms, no Klingons or Romulans or Cardassians in sight. No main characters from any Star Trek TV series or movie are walking around. “Voices” doesn’t even take place in the 23rd or 24th century. And yet, it’s 100% a Star Trek fan film!

The fact that no scene takes place on a 23rd century starship is particularly surprising considering that Glen and his partner DAN REYNOLDS are the co-owners of WARP 66 STUDIOS in northeastern Arkansas and have access to a number of very high-end TOS-era sets like the bridge and sickbay. Indeed, over the course of the past three and a half years, The Federation Files has released these five fan films all set in the 23rd/24th century:

But this time, Glen has something very different in mind, and very unique in the world of Trek fan films. Without spoiling it for you, how about you just give it a look-see for yourself…

At nearly 39 minutes, the two parts of this fan film exceed the 30-minute limit imposed by the ViacomCBS guidelines, but I doubt these are the droids the license holders are looking for…as it would be highly unlikely that the casual viewer might mistake “Voices” for anything resembling Star Trek. So I’m guessing Glen and Dan are safe for the time being.

I always enjoy chatting with my pal Glen, especially after the release of a new Federation Files production. So once again, I’ve got a great audio interview with this mover-and-shaker of the Star Trek fan film community…

INTERLUDE Confidential #3: neither RAIN nor SNOW nor TORNADOES will stop these filmmakers!

VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN didn’t think it was necessary that I write this blog. “We do this sort of thing all the time,” they told me. “It’s part of our job.” Well, maybe for work where they’re being paid professionally, but this is a FLIPPIN’ FAN FILM. And what they did this weekend meant a lot to me personally, and I want to tell you folks about it.

First though, I need to ask: what is it about INTERLUDE that invites acts of God, fate, or just Murphy? Do you remember last May when the Arkansas River flooded and trapped my composer KEVIN CROXTON on one side for days? Or the stray dog that delayed my GoFundMe rollout? Or the woodpecker trapped in the chimney? If you’ve forgotten, here’s the blog that listed everything that went wrong leading up to the launch of the Interlude crowd-funder.

Knowing our track record, I had a Star Wars-like “bad feeling” in the pit of my stomach when we scheduled the Sickbay shoot at WARP 66 Studios for the second weekend in January. It wasn’t that I was worried about bad weather in Arkansas. It’s a southern state, and at most, it’ll get four or five inches of snow over an entire winter season. And as for tornadoes, while there have been some during the winter months, those mostly come in the springtime there.

No, I was worried about Cleveland.

The fellow who is playing the wounded Admiral Ramirez in Interlude, DAVID BUTLER-AGRINSONIS (read more about him here), lives in Cleveland, OH. And when I booked his flight to Fayetteville, I had visions of a huge Noreaster or Polar Vortex hitting the northeast and upper midwest and grounding his plane. I purposefully looked for connecting flights to Fayetteville through Raleigh, NC rather than Chicago just to try to minimize the risk of winter storms screwing up our January shoot.

DAVID BUTLER-AGRINSONIS will be playing a wounded Admiral Ramirez in INTERLUDE.

Turns out that I should have been more worried about snow and tornadoes in Arkansas…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #3: neither RAIN nor SNOW nor TORNADOES will stop these filmmakers!”

Things that go IndieBOOM! – three Trek fan filmmakers win big!

The winners of the third annual IndieBOOM! film festival awards have just been announced, and three Star Trek fan filmmakers did really well. The first, GLEN L. WOLFE (along with DAN and KELLY REYNOLDS) took the FAN FAVORITE overall grand prize of $500 for their recent fan film THE EQUINOX EFFECT, filmed at WARP 66 Studios in Arkansas. You can listen to an interview with the three of them here. As a side note, Glen also won for best FAN FILM in the first IndieBOOM! film festival in 2017 with HIS NAME IS MUDD…the first of THE FEDERATION FILES anthology fan series.

The second Star Trek fan filmmaker didn’t win for a Trek fan film—even though he had one entered, as well—but he did take first place in the FAN FILM category with a 1960s BATMAN musical fan film titled THE SCHEME IS SOUND. This fellow is Emmy Award winner KEVIN CROXTON, who teaches music at Parkview Elementary School in Arkansas, and each year his 4th and 5th grade music club students produce a musical fan film in a specific genre. In 2018, it was Star Trek (THE BUNNY INCIDENT—which was also a finalist this year). Right now, Kevin and the kids are working on a JAMES BOND themed fan film for 2020.

The third Star Trek fan film to take a first place award was THE LOOKING GLASS from Neutral Zone Studios (directed by MIEK HEATH). However, even though it was entered in the FAN FILM category, The Looking Glass actually took the first place award in the SCI-FI category, in which it was also entered.

Rounding out the eight finalists in the FAN FILM category were two films from the UK (one a Dark Knight theme and the other XBox vs. Playstation), one Halloween themed fan film from Canada, and a Lost Boys sequel from the USA. The annual IndieBOOM! film festival is one of the only competitions to offer a category open specifically to fan films.

On a personal note, I couldn’t be happier with the results. While I certainly support and celebrate ALL Star Trek fan filmmakers, Glen Wolfe and Kevin Croxton are both part of the team for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE. They’re also both residents of the state of Arkansas, along with my directors JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX…so a lot of Star Trek being made down there in Arkansas, folks!

A few people asked me why The Equinox Effect didn’t win the FAN FILM category as well as the overall prize. According to the rules, the film with the most views per category wins first place in that category, and the film with the most views overall wins the grand prize of $500. So if Equinox won overall, wouldn’t it have also won its category?

Continue reading “Things that go IndieBOOM! – three Trek fan filmmakers win big!”