On Saturday, nearly THIRTY(!!!) volunteers showed up at the new location for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS in Lawrenceville, GA to help unload three super-sized moving trucks carrying the amazing sets that were originally constructed to be used in the full-length Axanar fan film. And even though that full-length film has been reduced in scope to two 15-minute episodes (agreed to in the legal settlement) and will now be produced in mocumentary style like Prelude to Axanar, those sets are still VERY nice and VERY usable by other fan films and sci-fi productions. And so they’ve now been moved to a much less expensive location from their previous home at Industry Studios in Valencia, CA.
ALEC PETERS posted two live video segments to Facebook on Saturday, which I’ve compiled at the end of this blog entry for anyone who is curious to see what the move-in looked like. He also provided some interesting tidbits of information. And if you don’t feel like watching a 9-minute video, here’s a short summary of what he covered…
This past Saturday, my son Jayden and I drove to Industry Studios in Valencia to help pack up the Axanar Productions items for a move east to a new production facility in Atlanta, GA.
It was a sad day for me because I really loved Industry Studios. I’d loved watching it evolve from a stark, gutted building with no individual offices and a huge, echoing warehouse with loud concrete floors…into what looked like (to my eyes, at least) a high-end Hollywood studio and sound stage.
Jayden and I had watched for months with excitement as piles of stacked wood were cut, molded, and sculpted by industry professionals, slowly morphing into a starship bridge, a turbolift, a transporter, captain’s quarters, and a Klingon bridge.
Even though my visits weren’t particularly frequent, I still felt as though I were a part of Ares Studios (later renamed Industry Studios)—helping to fund it, volunteering to do everything from carrying carpet rolls up the stairs to assembling IKEA furniture, and even sorting and packing perks. I watched all the work that went into making the dream of a studio dedicated to Star Trek fan film-making (not just Axanar) grow and take shape from basically nothing into a facility that fans could be truly proud of.
I can already hear the detractors typing feverishly about the hubris of starting a “for profit” studio based on donations obtained from unapproved use of copyrighted material owned by a Hollywood studio. And I’m sure others out there are already halfway done with comments about the folly of signing a 3-year lease on a location with a $12,000 monthly rent when all Alec Peters ever needed to do was make a simple fan film, not build a full sound stage!
All are fair points when viewed with 20/20 hindsight—and all are arguments made and countered hundreds of times over. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. Instead, I want to give you a tour of Industry Studios…
Last month, I published a blog where I provided a copy of the AXANAR financials, along with reporting on the go-forward plans for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS and INDUSTRY STUDIOS. Obviously, those plans have changed quite a bit over the past few weeks—as Tuesday’s blog pointed out—but the financials remain constant because they’re now a matter of public record.
In that same blog from last month, I also invited readers to submit their own questions for Alec via the comments section and received dozens of inquiries. It was a mix of questions from supporters and detractors, some about the financials and some about other things, but I submitted every one to ALEC PETERS, requesting that he try to respond to as many participants as he could.
It’s been a busy few weeks to be certain (with the Indiegogo campaign and finding new studio space in Atlanta). But a few days ago, Alec submitted his answers back to me. And so, without further ado, let’s see what he had to say…
As I reported previously, ALEC PETERS of AXANAR PRODUCTIONS worked out a deal with his landlord that was unexpectedly positive in that it allowed him to vacate the Valencia, CA studio (where he has been paying $12,000/month in rent) eight months early with no financial or legal penalties. And the landlord has even offered some partial reimbursement for the donor funds that were used to improve the facility and convert the warehouse into a studio and sound stage. Industry Studios will continue, and Axanar Productions will still be allowed to film in it, but the landlord will now be in charge, and the sets will need to be removed.
Ah, the sets. Nearly complete, they really are quite gorgeous and very well constructed. They are also quite large and can’t simply be stored in someone’s living room or garage. So Alec has been forced to find another home for them, and apparently, that home has been found in Atlanta, GA.
Axanar Productions just released the following statement to donors…
In Part 1, I outlined the dire situation that ALEC PETERS and AXANAR PRODUCTIONS were in regarding INDUSTRY STUDIOS. The dream had turned into a nightmare as money was running out. A new Indiegogo campaign had pretty much stalled far short of its goal, and it was looking like all the work and donor money that had gone into creating a very impressive film studio and really awesome sets might end up having all been in vain.
It was a dark time, and I’ll admit that I was actually way more defeatist than Alec. But Alec couldn’t afford the luxury of self-pity or panic. He had a problem to solve, and he wasn’t giving up. In fact, Alec actually did his best to lift my spirits as he tried to navigate a course forward…despite the odds stacking up against him. Say whatever else you want about the guy, but you can’t deny that he’s a fighter. Alec refuses to go gently into any good night. Where other people (including me) would have thrown in the towel and given up long ago, Alec Peters has always pushed on.
Reality is not always kind or fair, and sometimes life hands you a Kobayashi Maru. Over the past few days since ALEC PETERS‘ announced the departure of AXANAR PRODUCTIONS from INDUSTRY STUDIOS, there have been discussions, debates, and some knockdown/drag-out arguments. Was money squandered? Should Alec have just rented a studio or filmed the Axanar movie on the New Voyages TOS sets in upstate New York? (Even Alec himself looks back and wishes he’d done that.)
But hindsight is a gift we are usually given way too late to act on it. I should have bought Microsoft and Intel in 1991. Hillary Clinton should have campaigned in Michigan and Wisconsin. NBC should never have canceled Star Trek.
However, all the Monday-morning quarterbacking in the world doesn’t change the fact that there is an unpleasant reality right now for Alec Peters and Axanar Productions that must be dealt with, and it boils down to these four things…
Yesterday, as many of you probably already know, ALEC PETERS broke the Internet by making this announcement. Although the INDUSTRY STUDIOS Indiegogo campaign has raised $20,000 and still has 14 days to go, it looks like it will fall far short of the $60,000 goal (or their six-figure stretch goals). And this has necessitated some hard decisions on the part of Alec, his team, and a few key donors.
It’s also led to a flurry of activity, accusation, and antagonism (I love alliteration!) on the part of the Axanar/Alec “detractor brigade”…along with a whole bunch of rumors that I’ve seen spring up like, well, like wildflowers during a California super-bloom!
And speaking of wildflowers, I’ve had a wonderful spring break vacation with my family this past week. We visited Santa Barbara, Solvang, and finally Pismo Beach. And this past Wednesday, while Wendy and Jayden enjoyed a lovely beach day, I took the car and drove 200 miles round trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument…a.k.a. “the middle of nowhere.” Paved roads are a rarity there, but in a good rain year, the wildflowers can be stunning! And this year, the bloom was indescribable…except through photos (and not even then, because you can’t smell photos).
So what do wildflowers and dirt roads have to do with Star Trek fan films and Industry Studios? Absolutely nothing! But unfortunately, the timing of Alec’s announcement corresponded with the final two days of our family vacation along the scenic Central California coast. Today we drive 190 miles down US 101 back to L.A. Then we unpack.
And while I have a lot to say about the breaking Industry Studios news and the crazy rumors (like eviction or that there never really was a landlord—sheesh, really???), I just don’t have the time at the moment…I have to pack up my computer in just a few more minutes! Also, the situation itself is still developing and unfolding, and new details will be coming over the next few days and weeks.
So yes, expect some coverage here on Fan Film Factor with Jonathan’s usual colorful commentary. But for right now—since it’s my blog and there’s no rules about what I can feature—I’d like to invite you to enjoy a different kind of colorful commentary and enjoy a sampling of 45 (out of 600!!!) of the best wildflower photos that I took at Carrizo Plain last Wednesday. Just click on any of the images below…
A day-trip to the middle of nowhere yielded one of my best wildflower picture days ever!
As previously announced, the Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for INDUSTRY STUDIOS (formerly Ares Studios) in Valencia, CA is now live…and kicking butt, it seems! With a stated goal of $60,000 to cover rent, utilities, insurance, off-site storage of sets (when not in use in order to clear the sound stage), payment processing fees, and perk production and fulfillment ONLY (no salaries), the new campaign had already taken in more than $6,0o0 (10% of their primary goal) in just the first two hours!
There was a question whether fans and donors would stay loyal to AXANAR (which will be filmed in Industry Studios) after the difficult year of 2016 was filled with legal proceedings and a parade of accusations and vitriol directed by detractors at Alec Peters, the man behind both Axanar and Industry Studios. In fact, one detractor has recommended on Facebook that those wishing to “spread the truth” donate $1 so they can post critical comments to the campaign. I don’t have confirmation that such a thing has happened yet, but it wouldn’t be particularly surprising…sadly.
So far, the momentum appears to be on the side of the donors and supporters. The campaign has stated that the money raised will go toward helping to fund a facility that can be used for multiple fan, independent, and student films at little-to-no cost for the production itself.
It’s a very cool idea, and one that apparently already has the interest of one local Los Angeles film school. Also, the campaign has finally revealed which non-Axanar production will be the first to use the studio. For months, Alec Peters has been stating that’s he was in discussions with producers eager to use the studio…and both supporters and detractors were wondering who. Now it’s been announced that this production will be Personal Space, which had starred the late Richard Hatch in its soon-to-be released first season. Season two will be crowd-funding soon and be co-produced by Axanar Productions.
Keep in mind that none of the money raised in this campaign will go to fund the filming of the Axanar fan film (a stipulation of the legal settlement with CBS and Paramount). Therefore, none of the perks offered have any Axanar anything (sorry if you wanted more patches, folks)…with one exception. A special “Origins: Behind the Scenes of Axanar” documentary will be released on Blu-ray with footage and commentary on the making of Prelude, the “Vulcan Scene,” and the never-released Heroes vignette…as well as background info on the Four Years War.
It looks to be an exciting month! You can find out more about the campaign and make a donation if you’d like by clicking this link:
Fan Film Factor has sorta become an unofficial meeting ground where Axanar supporters can get together, kick back, relax, and then tear into each other like rabid dogs.
Actually, we try to keep it mostly civil (with varying amounts of success and failure), but once every so often, a post comes along that just gets me a’typin’ and speakin’ my mind!
Such a comment came in early Friday morning from a detractor by the name of JO MOINE. I had published a blog on Wednesday providing coverage of the recent donor memo issued by AXANAR PRODUCTIONS outlining their future plans and finally releasing their financial statement. While some of the detractor comments were (not surprisingly) snarky, Jo Moine took it one step further. She wrote:
Somehow that doesn’t make me feel any better. Can’t actually put my finger on why, though. Oh wait – Alec blew $1.4 million with little to show for it, and is asking for more money. Why would anyone think he would manage more money wisely at this point? If you are thinking of giving him more, Jonathan – please don’t. Think of the children!
“Think of the children!” she said. Perhaps the comment was simply meant to be flippant, but having a six-year-old son myself, I seldom take any call to “think of the children” lightly. And so I took a good, long look at myself…because what Jo was asking me to do had produced such a profoundly visceral reaction that I wondered why I felt so strongly. Am I really just following a leader with my blinders on into financial oblivion? Was I duped. If I can’t justify my loyalty to this project and put the reasons into words, maybe I should just follow Jo’s advice…
So I asked myself: why am I still so loyal to Alec Peters? Why am I and thousands of other Axanerds still so supportive of this project when there’s dozens and dozens of detractors out there badgering us to just walk away and belittling us almost constantly for refusing to do so?
It didn’t take long to come up with my answer. And if you’ve been having any doubts of your own, or if you just want some reassurance that the detractors are, after all, completely wrong in their disdain for this project, this is what I wrote back to Jo Moine…
On Wednesday evening, I posted an update about AXANAR PRODUCTIONS‘ plans for the future, and I included some information about Industry Studios operating as a non-profit entity and being entirely separate from Axanar Productions. I then received a number of posted comments correcting me that the DONOR MEMO issued by ALEC PETERS stated that it was Axanar Productions and not Industry Studios that was going to be the non-profit entity.
Not wanting to have incorrect information on my blog site, I reached out to Axanar PR Director MIKE BAWDEN yesterday and asked him to clarify for me which entity was going to be the non-profit one and how they would interact with each other. Understand that I’ve been talking to Alec and Mike about their plans for the past several weeks, but not in great detail. And in fact, some things were still in flux until very recently (such as the timing of the launch of the Kickstarter). So I’d gotten a few things stuck in my head in the wrong way that I’d subsequently reported incorrectly in my previous blog, and now it’s time to make sure I get everything right!