“MUDD’S MISSION” from THE FEDERATION FILES sets a bunch of fan film WORLD’S RECORDS!

Okay, I admit that there is no Guinness Book of World Records for Star Trek fan films. But if there were, the newest release from THE FEDERATION FILES, “MUDD’S MISSION,” would hold a whole bunch of ’em!

Mudd’s Mission” is the twelfth production from this long-running fan series which began in late 2016 with their debut episode, “His Name Is Mudd.” Since then, showrunners GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS in northern Arkansas have released the following:

This latest offering is partially a sequel, of sorts, to their initial offering from six year ago in that it features the return of several characters from “His Name Is Mudd“—most notably Harry Mudd himself, deliciously played both times by fan filmmaker DAVID WHITNEY from STARFLEET STUDIOS in Iowa (producers of the fan series VOYAGER CONTINUES, PROJECT PROMETHEUS, and QUICK TREK). Also reprising roles from the original were JIM VON DOLTEREN as Captain McCann, ROBERT WITHROW as Admiral Withrow (a recurring character whom he also played in multiple episodes of STAR TREK: PHASE II), JOSHUA MALONE as Harry Mudd’s son Corey, and MICHAEL L. KING playing Captain Jackson Bishop (a role he originated on the fan series STARSHIP VALIANT).

In total, eleven actors returned from “His Name Is Mudd” for the sequel, the other six I didn’t list playing different characters than before. But having eleven returning actors isn’t enough for the record books. Many ongoing fan series have large casts. However, before I tell you what does mark “Mudd’s Mission” for a record, take a watch so I don’t spoil anything for you…

The thing you probably noticed immediately was the sheer number of actors listed in the closing credits. A jaw-dropping total of 45 people(!!!) appeared in this fan film…many in multiple roles. For example, CHALEN EVERTS, a producer who recently released this fun behind-the-scenes video from a weekend of filming, played two different security officers and also an Andorian. These 45 actors traveled to Arkansas from a total of 11 different states, and represented at least four other fan series in addition to participating in The Federation Files. That’s gotta be a couple of records right there! (Actually, His Name Is Mudd had 52 actors.)

But perhaps the most impressive “record” was how many episodes of TOS were referenced, either directly or indirectly, in this fan film. Glen and Dan are already well-known for keeping TOS alive and healthy with such fan films as “The Green Manifesto,” which features Major/Colonel Green from the TOS episode “The Savage Curtain, and “No Good Deed,” in which Glen constructed a nearly-identical set recreation of the S.S. Botany Bay from “Space Seed.”

“Mudd’s Mission” obviously references the two TOS Harry Mudd episodes, “Mudd’s Women” and “I, Mudd.” It also recreates a portion of the K-7 Space Station seen in “The Trouble With Tribbles.” But that’s not all…!

Continue reading ““MUDD’S MISSION” from THE FEDERATION FILES sets a bunch of fan film WORLD’S RECORDS!”

Production assistant on THE FEDERATION FILES makes an awesome BEHIND-THE-SCENES video about the experience!

CHALEN (pronounced SHAY-len) EVERTS was taking community college classes at North Arkansas College in Harrison when she heard from one of her friends about someone nearby looking for people to help out on, of all things, a Star Trek fan film!

“I’d never seen Star Trek all the way through,” says Chalen. “I still haven’t. Actually I am a Star Wars fan…lol. But I was very interested in acting in film, and it was the closest opportunity to me.” So she decided to take up the offer to help out. The only problem was that she had no idea how to get in touch with showrunner GLEN WOLFE!

“At the time, I didn’t have Facebook,” Chalen continues, “so I created an account just to get in contact with someone I didn’t know. So now it’s a running joke that I got on Facebook just to talk to Glen Wolfe.”

Glen has nothing but praise for Chalen: “She’s been with us since VOICES FROM THE PAST and fit in perfectly from day one. She volunteered to do ‘anything we needed,’ and we took her up on it. She has helped me in every facet of producing all of the subsequent episodes.”

Even though it’s over an hour’s drive each way for her to get to the TOS sets at WARP 66 STUDIOS, Chalen has become an essential part of THE FEDERATION FILES fanthology series…on both sides of the camera! She played one of the three Vulcans on the moon base in NO GOOD DEED. And for their latest episode, MUDD’S MISSION (premiering next month), Chalen actually brought four of her friends (all the way from Wisconsin, where she’s originally from) to be extras!

She also worked with JOSHUA IRWIN on the AVALON UNIVERSE fan film AGENT OF NEW WORLDS. According to Josh, Chalen came through for him in creating the cave interior set when Glen was sick and couldn’t do the build. “She saved our shoot!” recalls Josh. “Normally, I call Glen the superhero of the fan film world. But Chalen was the superhero for us that day.”

“From my point of view,” says Glen’s filmmaking partner DAN REYNOLDS, “Chalen has been a steady rock as a production assistant for several Federation Files episodes. She shirks at no menial tasks that we ask of her and is ready at a moment’s notice to help with anything we need.”

Bright and cheery, Chalen posted a video last week of footage she shot behind-the-scenes during two of the filming days for Mudd’s Mission. I already reported on one of those shooting days, as a late June heat-wave turned one of the non-air-conditioned WARP 66 studio buildings into a veritable oven baking both cast and crew. Chalen was there, doing her usual production assistant tasks, but also shooting a bit of her own footage of what was going on both on set and off (and even in her car!).

Continue reading “Production assistant on THE FEDERATION FILES makes an awesome BEHIND-THE-SCENES video about the experience!”

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)”

The shoots must go on – filming MUDD baking in an OVEN!

You’ve probably heard it on the news—or maybe you’re experiencing it yourself. There is a massive “dome of heat” sitting across much of America right now with temperature records being broken left and right. Even in the higher elevation Ozark Mountain area, the mercury on the thermometer outside read 95 degrees last Saturday. And it wasn’t just any kind of hot. It was the southeastern U.S. in June…meaning sticky, humid heat that melts you into a puddle of sweat even if you’re standing in the shade!

But inside WARP 66 STUDIOS in the town of Flippin, Arkansas, well, it was even HOTTER!!! Actually, I should specify that inside one of the WARP 66 Studios, it was even hotter. That’s because their TOS sets occupy two different locations. The bridge and shuttlecraft sets live in a nice, air-conditioned building owned by DAN REYNOLDS in Harrison, AR, and even though the lights and warm bodies can heat things up a bit, those two sets remain pretty comfortable.

However, things are much different in Flippin! GLEN L. WOLFE constructed a metal building on his property that currently houses the transporter room, briefing room, sickbay, corridors, and a swing set area. The building has no insulation, and only one small room inside for the actors to prep has a small A/C unit. The rest of the building is “cooled” by running small fans to move the air around. But when it’s 95 and humid outside, those poor fans are fighting a losing battle, and with the hot lights and bodies inside, you may as well be filming inside of an oven!

“It was dead air inside and hotter,” said Dan Reynolds, who served as director of photography for this oppressively sweltering Saturday shoot. “Thank goodness Glen built it with extremely high ceilings.”

Interestingly, not one but TWO different fan films shot simultaneously on those super-hot sets. The first and more significant of the two (in terms of total footage filmed) was for the next episode from Glen and Dan’s “fanthology” series THE FEDERATION FILES. Titled “MUDD’S MISSION,” this new production brings back two colorful characters from the series’ very first release back n 2016, “HIS NAME IS MUDD“: Captain Charles McCann of the U.S.S. Constitution, played by JIM VON DOLTEREN, and the irredeemable Harcourt Fenton Mudd played with flair by DAVID WHITNEY.

DAVID WHITNEY as Harry Mudd with DAN REYNOLDS (left) and JOSHUA IRWIN (right)

David, who lives in Iowa, actually filmed his scenes a couple of weeks ago during a much more pleasant weekend. “Up until June,” said JOSHUA IRWIN, showrunner for the AVALON UNIVERSE, who was also there this past weekend filming pick-up shots for that team’s upcoming release THE NEEDS OF THE ONE, “the weather in Flippin can be pretty mild. In fact, late spring this year has been cloudy and rainy, even into May. But June is about the farthest you can do it. July and August are out for shooting there, and we don’t typically schedule anything until September again.”

So why not simply cancel the hot shoot and come back some cooler day?

Continue reading “The shoots must go on – filming MUDD baking in an OVEN!”

Announcing the WINNERS of the first annual 2021 DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards!

Up until now, fan films (specifically Star Trek fan films) had only one annual awards competition devoted exclusively to their sub-genre, and those were the BJO AWARDS. Now there are three. The SHOWRUNNER AWARDS will begin taking submissions next week for Star Trek fan films, with winners announced on September 8, 2022. But yesterday, the Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS announced their winners and honorable mentions.

Launched by fan filmmakers DAN REYNOLDS and GLEN L. WOLFE of WARP 66 STUDIOS in Arkansas, creators of the fan series THE FEDERATION FILES, the Directors Choice Awards were open to fan films of any genre (not just Star Trek) released during calendar year 2021. The judges were the directors of those submitted films. In order to take part, a director had to cast votes in each category for a fan film other than their own or be disqualified from winning.

Submissions were accepted during the month of February, and Dan Reynolds had this to say about their early trepidations: “We weren’t really sure how the initial response to our inaugural launch of the Fan Film Directors Choice Awards was going to turn out, but we soon realized that we struck a nerve with the fan film community. We knew we were on the right track, and within a few short weeks after our announcement, we received over 30 entries.”

Glen Wolfe echoed Dan’s sentiments: “From its inception, we wanted to fairly honor those hardworking fan film producers with recognition directly from their peers. This experience has been extremely positive, and I think that the films entered and those winning awards should show that the Fan Film Directors Choice Awards was a success and has encouraged us to continue it indefinitely.”

Dan concluded: “I’m very happy with the diversity of fan films that were included this year. We had Star Trek, Star Wars, James Bond, Harry Potter, and Indiana Jones fan films entered this year, and we hope that expands in the coming years. I was also very happy that the winners were from all the represented genres.”

And speaking of winners, that’s the perfect segue into presenting the results of the very first annual Fan Film Directors Choice Awards

Continue reading “Announcing the WINNERS of the first annual 2021 DIRECTORS CHOICE fan film awards!”

YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 5)

In Part 1Part 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. The completed production was finally released onto the Internet in April 2022…

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 37-year trek… (Part 5)”

THE FEDERATION FILES shows fans the S.S. BOTANY BAY in “No Good Deed” (video interview with GLEN L. WOLFE)

THE FEDERATION FILES fanthology series is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. That’s because GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS in northern Arkansas have decided that no era of Star Trek history is out of bounds for them to explore. This has included everything from the 1950s through today into the 23rd century and beyond to the 24th century. It’s a really fun fan series to follow.

Most recently, in what is their overall eleventh completed fan film since their first release (“His Name Is Mudd” back in 2016), The Federation Files takes us both into the Trek movie era and also back to 1996 when the SS Botany Bay was launched following the Eugenics Wars. (You remember that, right? It was only a quarter century ago.)

But for those two eras, Glen managed to construct two unbelievably believable sets for a fan-produced film (plus a Vulcan moon base command center set). The first unbelievably believable set was was a recreation of Kirk’s San Francisco apartment from Star Trek II and III. The other was the interior of the aforementioned Botany Bay in a sequence that looked like it could have been built at Paramount Studios back in 1967!

Granted, as I said, these were fan-produced sets, so they’re not precisely identical. But they’re close enough that a viewer can squint a little and accept that, yes, Saavik has walked into Kirk’s apartment and a Vulcan wearing a space suit has entered the sleeper ship containing Khan Noonien Singh and the genetically-engineered supermen.

Take a look at “NO GOOD DEED”…

This fan film was released way back in early November, and I had wanted to interview Glen months earlier than this. But in December, Glen became seriously ill—as in “had-to-be-hospitalized-and-nearly-died” kinda ill. Rumors flew that he had caught the more deadly delta variant of COVID. Others said he had pneumonia…or both! Either way, it took Glen months to recover, but I am pleased to report that he is now on the mend.

In the following video, we discuss what happened to put Glen into the hospital, along with discussing these impressive set recreations, production of this latest episode, Glen’s experiences being involved with other fan films and series, and all sorts of other things that come up when two Star Trek fan film-o-philes get together and geek out. Oh, and at the 42 second mark, you even get to hear me sing (oy vey!)…

Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards submission deadline is THIS TUESDAY!

Three weeks ago, I announced that submissions were now open for the first annual Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards, organized by GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS. Any fan film (not just Star Trek) released onto the Internet during calendar year 2021 is eligible for submission. Glen Wolfe reports that participation, so far, has been encouragingly strong so far.

The deadline to enter is this Tuesday, February 22, and if you want to submit your fan film, you can do so here:

CLICK HERE TO APPLY FOR THE FAN FILM DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS

Voting is done exclusively by the directors of the submitted films, and directors cannot vote their own films—otherwise, there would likely be massive ties with each fan film getting one vote! Ballots are due back no later than March 15, and any director who does not return their ballot by that deadline will have their fan film disqualified from winning anything.

When entering, the submitter can choose up to five categories for which that fan film can be considered for an award:

  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Costuming
  • Best Make-up/Hairstyling
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Music
  • Best F/X Make-up
  • Best Audio Mixing
  • Best Lighting
  • Best CGI FX
  • Best Green Screen
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Parody
  • Best Foreign Fan Film
  • Best Animated Fan Film
  • Best Editing
  • Most Canon Award
  • Best Ensemble
  • Most Valuable Crew Member

After all of the ballots have been tabulated, a “Best In Fest” winner will be determined as the fan film that receives the most votes overall in all of the categories combined (so it’s advantageous to submit your film for the maximum of five categories).

Winners will be announced on April 5, and each winner will be e-mailed an award certificate. If you’ve entered or are planning to (before the end of Tuesday!), I wish you the best of luck!

Submissions now OPEN until Feb. 22 for the Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards!

Last month, I announced TWO new annual award shows for fan films debuting this year. Up util now, Star Trek fan films were honored annually by the BJO AWARDS. However, now the Bjos will be joined by the Fan Film DIRECTORS CHOICE Awards and (later this year) the Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

The two new competitions will be different in several logistical ways, with many details of the Showrunner Awards still needing to be worked out (by me and my team). In the meantime, however, coordinators GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of WARP 66 STUDIOS are launching the Directors Choice Awards today (February 1), with submissions being accepted for any fan film (not just Star Trek) publicly released in calendar year 2021. The YouTube/Vimeo publication date stamp will be used to verify eligibility.

Submissions are open from February 1 through February 22, 2022. Anyone can enter any fan film with a submission fee of $10 by filling out the form on this web page, but only a maximum of three films by the same director can be entered.

Voting is done exclusively by the directors of the submitted films. (So for INTERLUDE, for example, even though I am the one submitting and paying the entry fee, I won’t be the one voting since I wasn’t the director.) Directors cannot vote for their own films—otherwise, there would likely be massive ties with each fan film getting one vote! Ballots are due back no later than March 15, and any director who does not return their ballot by that deadline will have their fan film disqualified from winning anything.

When entering, the submitter can choose up to five categories for which that fan film can considered for an award:

  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Costuming
  • Best Make-up/Hairstyling
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Music
  • Best F/X Make-up
  • Best Audio Mixing
  • Best Lighting
  • Best CGI FX
  • Best Green Screen
  • Best Screenplay
  • Best Parody
  • Best Foreign Fan Film
  • Best Animated Fan Film
  • Best Editing
  • Most Canon Award
  • Best Ensemble
  • Most Valuable Crew Member

After all of the ballots have been tabulated, a “Best In Fest” winner will be determined as the fan film that receives the most votes overall in all of the categories combined (so it’s advantageous to submit your film for the maximum of five categories).

Winners will be announced on April 5, and each winner will be e-mailed an award certificate. To all the fan filmmakers who choose to enter (and hopefully, there will be many), I wish you the best of luck!

Click here to enter your fan film.