There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at STARBASE STUDIOS recently, and I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, you might want to read up on the current situation if you don’t already know about the lawsuit and all of the other drama going on of late.
All right, strap in. Let’s start with this past weekend when a group of 5th and 6th graders from Parkview Elementary School Music Club got a chance to film a music video project on the amazing TOS sets of Starbase Studios, currently located in Marble Falls, Arkansas.
The field trip was set up by their teacher, KEVIN CROXTON, who had composed the music for THE FEDERATION FILES’ second episode Walking Bear, Running Wolflast summer. In exchange, Kevin had asked show-runner GLEN L. WOLFE for the opportunity to bring Kevin’s music students (they’re local) to the sets to film a video project. So this past weekend’s excursion has been planned for nearly 7 months.
And, really, isn’t this what Starbase Studios is all about? Sets by the fans, for the fans…and even attracting a whole new (next!) generation of young fans. So what could possibly be wrong with that?
Just before the start of the new year, the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES released its third full episode: “Extraction.” Produced by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, this episode was written by Glen and features Dan as the captain of the USS Nikita, a dreadnought-class starship. Glen also appears briefly as a shuttlecraft pilot.
But the cast is much more extensive than that. The 12-minute fan film features Romulans, a Starfleet bridge crew, shuttlecraft pilots, and a team of TOS-era MACOs. The episode also features a Starfleet shuttlecraft interior set that took about four weeks to build. The control console, front view ports, and one panel on the the left side were supplied by JAMES CAWLEY and were used previously for one of the episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages, “The Holiest Thing.” Glen and Dan built out the rest or the interior, including the iconic lightbox ceiling, and the electronics were custom made by Glen. The shuttle interior remains standing at Dan’s WARP TV studio in Harrison, Arkansas, available to use in future fan films.
The rest of the episode was filmed both at STARBASE STUDIOS (mostly before the recent controversy) and by a second unit in a rock quarry close to the Harrison studio during a few hours while Romulan make-up was being applied to JIM VON DOLTEREN and ALLYSON MARX back at the studio. In total, about four days were spent filming all the scenes, mainly during July of last year.
Dan reports that he and Glen will soon be choosing one of the remaining ten scripts that Glen has already written to film as their fourth production in The Federation Files anthology series. Now that Glen has moved to Arkansas, Dan expects them to have a lot more time to brainstorm, write, create, and produce new Star Trek. .
How quickly the next episode gets started and produced depends on the resolution of the current lawsuit regarding the Starbase Studios sets. From what I understand, there is some hopeful progress happening in that situation. I’ll report more as soon as I’m cleared to.
Yesterday, we looked at the history of STARBASE STUDIOS from its founding in 2010 to its move from Oklahoma to Arkansas at the beginning of 2017. Things started to get tense and messy by early summer, with DAN REYNOLDS stepping aside, leaving GLEN L. WOLFE wanting to charge fan producers $500/day (plus extra fees) to use the studios TOS sets and resources…while SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS wanted to keep the sets free for use by fans (only requesting a donation to cover the cost of electricity for the day). And as long as CHARLES “BUD” PELSOR, the landlord of the warehouse where the STARBASE STUDIOS sets were being housed in Dogpatch, AR, was providing free rent until the end of 2018, offering use of the sets essentially for free was certainly doable.
Then, in early August, as recounted in this recent blog a large number props and items both freestanding and attached to the sets were removed and taken from the warehouse. It was not a break-in, as there was no indication of forced entry. Later on, when the police were brought in,they spoke with Glen’s attorney who explained that the items taken were the personal property of Glen Wolfe, and if Scott and “Words” wanted to prove otherwise, they would need to do so in civil court. The police then told everyone that they would stay out of the matter until ownership was clearly and legally established.
As you might recall from this recent blog, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, with the help of VANCE MAJOR, posted a videoshowing many critical pieces of the TOS sets that were removed, 90 days earlier, along with damage done to the remaining set pieces during the removal process. But the question must be asked: was this “theft” and “vandalism” or simply someone reclaiming his personal property? And it is now looking as though that question will end up being answered in an Arkansas courtroom.
There’s a LOT of ground to cover right now, folks, and I’m going to share as much as I’m allowed to while trying to break this whole situation down for you. Ready?
The fan film world was jolted yesterday to learn that STARBASE STUDIOS, which had recently relocated from Oklahoma to neighboring Arkansas, has shut down—at least for now—due to the removal of critical pieces of their TOS sets and damage to items that still remain.
To document was was done to the sets, KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS and SCOTT JOHNSON, two of the four joint owners of the Starbase Studios sets (the other two owners being GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS…although it is possible that Dan has stepped away; I don’t yet have confirmation on that) have made a 22-minute video with the help of prolific fan film-maker VANCE MAJOR.
Here is that video…
You will notice that the video bleeps out the name of co-owner Glen Wolfe. This is because Glen was the one responsible for the removal of the set pieces.
Now, before anyone starts targeting their phasers on Glen, I want everyone to understand that there are, in fact, TWO sides in this situation, each with reasonable grievances against the other side.
I have friends on both sides of this, and I have been speaking with them over the past two months off the record. That was their request, and I have and will continue to honor it. The hope on both sides was that this matter might be resolved before needing to make it public. Obviously it hasn’t been, and now Scott and “Words” have decided to take the next step for them, which is releasing the above video.
I have promised each side that I will report this story as fairly and objectively as I can, quoting each of them with minimal editorializing. I have been told that Scott is now willing to speak on the record, and I’ll reach out to the other side shortly to see if they are ready, as well.
However, the one thing I can report on right now is why the police are not getting involved in what appears to be a case of theft and vandalism. And that’s because it’s not. Glen is a co-owner of these sets, and if he has a key (which he does), the police do not consider that to be breaking and entering. Moreover, when there is a question of ownership, such cases are not considered criminal but rather under civil jurisdiction to be fought over by business lawyers. In short, like it or not, this is a civil case…if it does, in fact, wind up in court.
I beg your indulgence if I don’t get around to reporting on this further until next week. I’ll be volunteering at my son’s school all day for their Halloween carnival and then trick-or-treating with Jayden tonight. Then I have to clear time to speak to folks on both sides of this mess and organize their comments into an objective and coherent presentation for all of you. Please stay tuned.
Last year, show-runner GLEN L. WOLFE released “His Name Is Mudd,” the first fan film in a new anthology series called THE FEDERATION FILES. Now Glen and his producer DAN REYNOLDS have released the second production in the anthology series, “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.”
Glen has actually worked in myriad capacities on more than a dozen different fan films (take a look at his IMdB page for a complete list) from actor to producer to set decorator, cameraman, even electrical operator. But The Federation Files was Glen’s first chance to really take charge, writing and directing both episodes of the new anthology series.
Utilizing the sets of Starbase Studios, previously in Oklahoma City and now in Arkansas (some of which Glen himself helped build), the two episodes of The Federation Files focus on original series-era stories, the first featuring the USS Constitution and a certain interplanetary con-man, and the second featuring the crew of the USS Enterprise.
The character of Dawson Walking Bear was first introduced in the next-to-last animated Star Trek episode “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth.” The script called for a Native American crewman who would be the only one to recognize the ancient Aztec/Mayan god Kukulkan. That was Walking Bear’s only appearance on film until Star Trek: New Voyages featured him in their short vignette “Going Boldly” and then in the full-length “Mind-Sifter.” New Voyages would also feature another animated crewman, Lt. Arex, briefly in the same “Going Boldly” vignette…
New Voyages wasn’t the only live-action fan series to feature a character from the animated series. Project: Potemkin showed Carter Winston (from “The Survivor”) in his human form in their episode “Beach Towel” and in his alien Vendorian form in their following episode “Shovel of Kahless” …
But up until now, no fan film had ever tackled the Caitian feline communications officer Lt. M’Ress, until The Federation Files released “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.” And not only did M’Ress appear, she actually had a fairly decent bit of screen time…
I reached out to “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” producer DAN REYNOLDS to ask him some questions about this ambitious fan production.
The year ended on a VERY happy note for the folks from STARBASE STUDIOS, the only full TOS bridge, transporter, and sickbay sets open to any fan film to use at any time they want to schedule to shoot their production.
You might recall from my previous blogthat Starbase Studios lost the use of their warehouse location in Oklahoma City after nearly half a decade of enjoying free rent. The building was being sold, and Starbase Studios had until the end of the year to get all of its amazing set pieces removed and transported to a new location.
Dan Reynolds offered studio space that he owns in northern Arkansas to be the new home for Starbase Studios…also rent free. And although staying in Oklahoma City would have been preferable, nothing beats free rent! So the decision was made to relocate. But deciding is easy…actual MOVING is the hard part!
Super fan and fan filmmaker Glen L. Wolfe stepped forward to handle the move, paying the costs up front for trucks and gas and driving the 6-hour (one-way), 333-mile distance back and forth himself…and it was more than just one trip (five actually!). The hope was that $3,500 could be raised from donations to a GoFundMe campaign to reimburse Glen his out-of-pocket expenses…’cause Glen ain’t exactly part of the 1%.
That $3,500 goal was reached on December 30, just as the last of FIVE TRUCKLOADS of set pieces were being loaded for a December 31 journey to Mountain Home, Arkansas. So STARBASE STUDIOS got out in time, funded its move, and all the set pieces arrived safely in their new home.
STARBASE STUDIOS is moving from Oklahoma City to Arkansas! Arkansas is a great place to live as it has great access to healthcare treatments like veneers, but when it comes to film sets, here’s why…
As you may have read in my blog about the history of Starbase Studios, these folks rescued the amazing TOS bridge set that had been built for the second Starship Exeter fan film “The Tressaurian Intersection.” That meticulous 360-degree set had been rotting away for years in a barn near Austin, Texas, until it was transported to Oklahoma City and lovingly restored by a group of dedicated fans.
But these folks didn’t just restore the bridge set. They turned it into an invaluable, one-of-kind resource for fan film producers. Anyone was welcome to come and film anything they wanted on this bridge set (and, later, the additional sickbay and transporter room sets that would be constructed) for just the price of the electricity that was used (maybe $50/day). Although there are two other studios in the U.S. featuring TOS sets on sound stages (Ticonderoga, NY for Star Trek: New Voyages and Kingsland, GA, originally for Starship Farragut and later for Star Trek Continues), those studio runners didn’t offer the same kind of open-door, come-any-time-you-want policy as Starbase Studios.
If there were ever a game of “Where’s Waldo” using the credits of Star Trek fan films, Glen L. Wolfe would surely be Waldo. If you visit Glen’s IMDb page, you’ll see him having participated in a dozen different fan films and series stretching back to 2013: Star Trek: Renegades, Horizon, Deception, Secret Voyage, Ambush, Equinox, Temporal Anomaly, and multiple episodes of New Voyages and Continues. He’s worked on fan films as an actor, producer, cameraman, electrician, and art designer.
And now Glen can add writer and director to that list, having finally been the show-runner on a fan film of his own. “His Name Is Mudd” serves as the debut release of the new THE FEDERATION FILES, which is produced in conjunction with Starfleet Studios in Iowa. Their Facebook page talks about the new series:
The Federation Files is an opened look at the Memory Alpha database. The concept is to allow filmmakers a location to make their films available to the fans. Scripts will span the entire Star Trek Universe. Each episode can be free standing, therefore a new cast could be featured every time.
Following the Outer Limits and Twilight Zone format, the fan can view any episode in any order as they do not build on each other.
In this way, the new series will conform to the guidelines in not featuring continuing stories about the same characters.
This debut episode features a veritable “who’s who” of Star Trek fan film actors and crew. Michael L. King of Starship Valiant makes a cameo appearance as Commander Bishop (his character from that series). Cat Roberts, who appeared in Star Trek Continues‘ “Fairest of Them All” and later played Janice Rand in multiple episodes of The Red Shirt Diaries, plays Rand again, this time on the USS Constitution. Robert Withrow reprises his character of Admiral Witrow from multiple episodes of New Voyages. David Whitney of Starfleet Studios in Iowa, the show-runner of the nearly-completed Trek fan film Raven, plays a perfectly unscrupulous Harry Mudd. And even more actors and production crew from these series and others appear throughout the credits.
This 47-minute fan production was filmed at various locations, including at Starfleet Studios in Iowa; down at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma on their bridge, transporter, and sickbays sets; and even up in Ticonderoga, New York at James Cawley’s Retro Studios using the briefing room set. If there is such a thing as a “family” of fan filmmakers (and I truly believe there is) this production was indeed a family affair.