Did peer pressure make MATTHEW MILLER openly LIE about AXANAR?

During our marathon 3-hour “Blogger Battle of Axanar,” Australian Trekzone.org blogger MATTHEW MILLER and I discussed many things, including telling the truth about Axanar…something that I noted the detractors seldom do. It’s one of the reasons I spend so much time correcting the record here on Fan Film Factor, because if I don’t, and the lies get told over and over without challenge, they can insidiously supplant the truth.

One such example came early in Part One of our podcast debate when Matthew asked me about “most” of the main cast and crew leaving after PRELUDE TO AXANAR when ALEC PETERS decided to build a studio. I challenged Matthew’s choice of the word “most,” as that’s one of those lies that’s been told and retold so many times it’s taken on urban legend status. So I counted the people who left and those who didn’t. The final score: 5 people left and 15 stayed. So “most” actually stayed. Matthew admitted in the discussion that I had “schooled” him. But really, I just stated the truth and backed it up with facts.

Which brings us to this past Wednesday, and the latest Axanar lie…this time directly from the mouth of Matthew Miller himself. It came at the end of an re-edit of our 3-hour discussion, awkwardly trimmed down to 26 minutes of “best of” clips taken mostly out of context. This was followed by a two-minute editorial wrap-up where Matt ended with a massive false statement regarding Axanar and Alec Peters. It was such an obvious lie that I had to rewind and listen a second time to make sure I hadn’t misheard…

“Irrefutable fact,” huh? In what alternate universe? Did Matthew not watch this video tour of Industry Studios…?

Did he not see the Vulcan Scene…?

But according to Matthew, the $1.5 million went towards neither [the studio nor the film]. Really, Matt? None of it??? It was WTF time…!

Continue reading “Did peer pressure make MATTHEW MILLER openly LIE about AXANAR?”

THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!

Hey, guess who developed the Warp Seven engine?  Me, that’s who!

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I had help (will have help?) from my NX-Zeta project team, and from MARK NACARRATO, the show-runner of the upcoming fan production THE ROMULAN WAR.  Oh, and it wasn’t really me; it was Lieutenant Geoffrey Christopher of the United Earth Space Probe Agency.  But he looks and sounds a lot like me.

I suppose I should back up a few steps and explain what the heck I’m talking about…

For those of you unfamiliar with The Romulan War, it’s going to be an amazing Trek fan film picking up where Star Trek: Enterprise left off…at the beginning of the war between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Empire.  Filming on the production is all but completed, and now the finishing touches of post production—editing, VFX, sound, music, etc.—are being applied.  Release is planned for 2019.

Of course, with the limitations of the fan film guidelines, it would be nearly impossible to recount the entire war…despite using a “mock” documentary style similar to Prelude to Axanar.  So Mark came up with an interesting idea to push the envelope a bit—WAR STORIES.  These are short vignettes that are essentially audio dramas…just with a little something “extra” added: images with simple animations.  These “enhanced” audio dramas are presented as the logs of various Starfleet officers who served during the war, and the logs are accompanied by computer readouts and archival photos with some short video clips.  Less than a full fan film but more than a simple audio drama.

Last August, Mark released the first War Stories, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard to Find.”  If you go to that blog page, you’ll see that yours truly provided some of the Photoshop work to get the actors’ faces onto NX-era uniforms.  A month later, Mark released the second War Stories, “They Want Us Dead.”  That one didn’t require my Photoshop services, but the third release, “Final Flight,” did.

It also required my face…

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!”

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 3 of 3)

Congratulations, folks, you’ve made it to Part 3!  I’m assuming you’ve already sat through Part 1 and Part 2 of the debate about all things AXANAR between myself and Australian blogger MATTHEW MILLER of Trekzone.org.  The first two parts have received a few hundred views each, with lots of comments made on both sides of the Axanar controversy.  But now it’s time to wrap things up with some of our most controversial discussions yet…

We begin by shifting our focus from CARLOS PEDRAZA and Axamonitor to Matt’s own Trekzone.org blog?  Is he providing fair coverage, or does Trekzone suffer from the same skewed “telling only half the story” that Axamonitor (and some would say Fan Film Factor) suffer from?

Then we move onto one of the most controversial hot-button questions: have the Axanar detractors gone too far in their stalking and cyberbullying?  How far is too far?  And is the behavior just as bad on the supporter side, or is that sinply the false equivalency of “what aboutism”?  And what does coffee have to do with anything?

Of course, we spend a little time debating whether ALEC PETERS paid himself a salary or just reimbursed himself for out-of-pocket expenses.  And did other folks like VIC MIGNOGAM or JAMES CAWLEY ever earn anything personally from money paid by donors?

Moving on to the future of Axanar, we discuss the USS Ares bridge set.  After hundreds of thousands of dollars in fan donations and out-of-pocket payments by Alec himself, and after thousands of man-hours in labor…will the bridge ever be used to film any scenes of the Axanar story?

And finally, even if Axanar never gets made, does Alec still deserve credit for making it as far as he did…despite all of the headwinds, a year-long lawsuit from two billion-dollar corporations, a move across country, and the almost constant attacks by dozens of detractors?

And what if Axanar does get made?  What will it take to get a positive comment out of a detractor like Matthew Miller or Carlos Pedraza?

Is there ANY common ground to be had?  Find out as the Blogger-Battle of the Axanar concludes…

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 2 of 3)

Last Wednesday, we debuted Part 1 of a three-hour discussion and debate about all things AXANAR between myself and Australia-based Star Trek blogger MATTHEW MILLER.  We both have very strong feelings about the Axanar project and its show-runner ALEC PETERS, and we’ve never been particularly shy about sharing those feelings and opinions in various public forums.

But now we’re doing in it the same forum at the same time, voicing our disagreements directly to each other to see if there’s any common ground…or if the two sides of this controversy are destined to simply never come together.

Last time, we primarily discussed the building of Ares Studio, followed by some brief commentary about the fan film guidelines.  And just before ending Part 1, we left off having just scratched the surface of our next (BIG!) topic: the copyright infringement lawsuit.

In Part 2, we’ll be discussing the lawsuit in much greater depth, including…

  • Should Alec have fought the lawsuit as intensely as he did, or should he have just settled and moved on?
  • Did CBS and Paramount offer a settlement when the lawsuit was first filed?  If not, when did they first make a settlement offer…and what were their terms?
  • Why did Alec and CBS/Paramount finally decide to settle the lawsuit two weeks before trial?
  • Were the final settlement terms more favorable to Alec, to CBS/Paramount, or pretty much even?
  • What would have happened if Renegades, New Voyages, or Star Trek Continues had been sued instead of Axanar?

Then we shift gears to the Axanar supporter/detractor conflict…

  • Why have things escalated so much over the years?
  • What role have CARLOS PEDRAZA and his Axamonitor blog site played in exacerbating the tensions?  (Carlos tells us himself!)
  • Are Carlos’ blogs telling only half the story and thereby reinforcing pre-existing detractor biases?
  • Does Carlos rush to publish negative blogs and purposefully avoid reporting positive Axanar news like Axacon (which still hasn’t been covered on Axamonitor after six weeks)?
  • And what about Fan Film Factor?  Am I telling only half the story, too?

And now the Blogger-Battle of Axanar continues…

And check back Wednesday at 2:00pm Pacific Time for Part 3!

The BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR! (part 1 of 3)

Okay, folks, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for!  (Well, maybe not ALL of you…but at least a few hundred, I’m sure.)  Earlier this week, I revealed the “origin story” of this two-way interview where blogger MATTHEW MILLER from Trekzone.org and I discuss and debate all things AXANAR.  Now it’s time to put our money where our mouths are (Australia  and Los Angeles, respectively).

Today in Part 1, after a friendly introduction and a brief discussion of some of what we both feel are the inherent strengths of the 2014 fan film Prelude to Axanar, we jump right into some of the most controversial questions regarding this polarizing fan production, starting with the creation of Ares Studios with donor money…

  • Did “most” of the principal cast and crew abandon the project after ALEC PETERS decided to use crowd-funded money to build a “for profit” studio?  Or is that just a rumor-turned-urban-myth?
  • What exactly is a “for profit” studio anyway?  Is someone gonna go out and buy a 60-foot yacht with all the cash that comes in?
  • Was the decision to try to turn a Valencia warehouse into a soundstage a mistake in the first place?
  • Did CBS ever tell Alec (before the lawsuit) not to create a studio or not to make more Axanar?
  • Did the Axanar donors know (back in 2014) that they were donating to build a soundstage, or were they misled to believe they were donating only to produce a fan film?

And we finish up Part 1 with a couple of other hotly-debated topics…

  • Was Alec Peter sued by CBS and Paramount because Axanar was “too good?”
  • Were there “unpublished” guidelines for fan films before June of 2016?
  • Were the guidelines, once they were announced, intended to stop Axanar…or were they targeted on Renegades and the other “arms race” fan productions?

Sound intriguing?  Well, strap in for Part 1 of the Blogger-Battle of Axanar

Come back for Part 2 on Monday and Part 3 next Wednesday.

Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!

These days, I don’t typically engage directly with the AXANAR detractors.  There’s no point.  I’m not gonna change their minds, and they’re certainly not gonna change mine.  Any “discussion” we get into quickly breaks down into all the old beating-dead-horse accusations and rumors and criticisms—often with a generous helping of vitriol and vulgarity—and frankly, it’s just a waste of my time.

And yet, in just three days time, I’ll be posting (in conjunction with Trekzone.org) an epic 3-part discussion and debate between myself and noted Axanar detractor MATTHEW MILLER…and I do mean epic!  Take a listen to the teaser that Matthew just posted…

When we set out to have our across-the-globe (Matt’s in Australia) audio “smackdown,” we had no idea how long the discussion would last or how heated it would get.  There were no rules and only a loose outline of topics/questions to guide us.   Our intention was to keep things civil, and for the most part, we did…although not completely.

When all was said and done, we’d managed to go at it for nearly three hours over the course of two days of Skype calls!  On the second day, I’d caught my son’s cold, and if you listen carefully, you’ll probably hear from my voice the exact point when the day one conversation ended and day two began.

What makes this interaction between me and Matthew so interesting and enlightening (and dare I say “fun”?) is that we actually interview EACH OTHER.  Matt’s done scores of interviews with notable Trek people, as have I.  So rather than simply having one of us interview the other, we ask questions back and forth…and tough questions at that!  And best of all, unlike the recent pay-per-view Michael Hinman/Carlos Pedraza podcast on Alpha Waves Radio, this one is not only presenting BOTH sides of the controversial topic (rather than a simple echo-chamber), but it’s also absolutely FREE to listen to!

So how did this whole “Blogger Battle of Axanar” come to be?

Continue reading “Coming in 3 days: the BLOGGER-BATTLE OF AXANAR!”

Thank YOU for two reasons…

I know that nearly everyone in America is busy saying “Thanks!” today for this and that.  Even before I woke up this morning, I received about a dozen private and public messages from folks thanking me for being their friend, for writing this blog, for reading their blog or listening to their podcast, and for just being me.  And to them I say: “Right back atcha!”

But I feel it’s very important for me to thank YOU today for reading my blog.  It truly means the world to me!  And not just because I made $5.97 over the past week in ad revenue (although, hey, nothing to complain about).

I’m thanking you for two reasons…

1) Love it or hate it, you’re coming here to read what I write, or listen to the folks I interview.  That feels amazing, especially since I put so much time and effort into this blog.  Whether it’s a multi-part blog feature about the history of a long-running fan series, a 2o00-word editorial, a short 350-word news update, or an hour-long audio interview, all of that takes time to produce.

For example, tomorrow I’ll publish a 55-minute audio interview with the show-runners for the just-released fan film GHOST SHIP.  In addition to watching the half-hour fan film (and then re-watching it), I also had to set up the interview (clear time in my schedule to match theirs), conduct the interview, go back later and remove the “um”s and long pauses and places where we accidentally talked over each other (that took about three hours to edit), listen through the finished interview once again, take screen caps for the feature image and interviewee photos, and then write a 400-word intro for the blog.  So it’s nice to know that at least a few hundred (or few thousand, if I’m lucky) people are reading and listening.

2) I love fan films.  I don’t know how it happened, but it did.  And now that I’m hooked, I want to spread the love and appreciation.  It’s why I keep doing this blog: not just for me as an ego trip, and not just for you as a fan base…but for all of the fan film creators out there who work even harder than I do.  They deserve our support, and Fan Film Factor is here to celebrate them all (or as many as I can cover before I run out of time!)

So on behalf of myself and of the FANtastic community of fan filmmakers out there, thank YOU for visiting my blog.

An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?

Welcome back to another emotionally-charged episode of “As The AxaCon Turns”…the fan film controversy that asks the eternal question: Is Lane ever gonna stop blogging about this crap???

Well, I thought I was finished on Monday when I posted this blog about the detractors trying their darnedest to interfere with any chance of success for AxaCon by inundating the host convention, SphinxCon, and its chairman, DAVID WEINER, with all sorts of negative public and private comments about ALEC PETERS, AXANAR, and the invited guests (including yours truly).

Because it’s important to today’s blog, let me remind you what started the whole upheaval.  Noted Axanar detractor and frustrated New York Mets fan SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN posted this lovely comment onto the SphinxCon Facebook page…

Yeah, that happened.  Then everything else happened.  Then I blogged about it.  That lit up the fan film quadrant of the Internet for many hours on Monday while I took my son to see the King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center.  There were literally hundreds of comments waiting for me to read when I got home!

But one message stopped me in my tracks.  It was an APOLOGY from Shawn O’Halloran to Dave Weiner for disrupting his convention page!

It’s probably best if I let Shawn speak for himself with this screen cap that Dave sent me…

Continue reading “An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?”

DETRACTORS try to torpedo AXACON! (news and editorial)

Perhaps “torpedo” isn’t the right word.  Sabotage?  Interfere with?  Mess up?  Mock?  Belittle?  Bash?  Brutalize?  Bully?  Eliminate?

Whatever you call it, at least a couple of dozen AXANAR detractors (possibly more) seem to be making a concerted effort to convince the organizers of SphinxCon in Atlanta not to host the first AxaCon as a “con-in-a-con” on November 2-4.  Earlier this year, detractors had made similar efforts to pressure Eric L. Watts of Treklanta to disinvite ALEC PETERS as a guest…so much so that Eric asked to write a guest blog addressing their behavior.

The same day I was conducting my interview with ALEC PETERS about AxaCon and how it came to be an “add-on” to SphinxCon, the detractors were descending on the SphinxCon Facebook page with a wave of attempts to throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Last time it was Eric Watts.  This time they needed to get their message out to DAVE WEINER, the organizer and chairman of SphinxCon 2018.

Dave Weiner, Chair of SphinxCon

Dave lives in Decatur, GA with his wife Joanna and what he refers to as the “two house cats of the apocalypse.”  He has been active in The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association since 2014.  He is responsible for TRMN’s online infrastructure and branding.

TRMN has held two conventions a year for the past 5 years–one in Raleigh, NC called HonorCon and one in Minneapolis, MN called MantiCon.  SphinxCon will be their first in Atlanta, although Dave and many of the directors and deputies have experience running and working on other cons (including Dragon*Con).

Dave wanted to share what’s been going on since this past Friday because it has been very disturbing to him as a fan and as a convention organizer.  Having now observed the detractors firsthand and their attempts to try to put a positive “spin” on their actions, Dave would like set the record straight on exactly what has happened.

To do this, he has provided me with a large number of screen caps of posts, messages, and other communications…and those will make up the majority of this blog.  You can then decide for yourself how you feel about all of this…

Continue reading “DETRACTORS try to torpedo AXACON! (news and editorial)”

A magical STAR TREK moment with my son…

One of the benefits of doing my own blog is that every so often I can share things with all of you that are personally special.  Today, it’s something that just happened with my seven-year-old son.

Longtime readers of Fan Film Factor know that I’m bringing him up with a proper appreciation of Star Trek.  Sure, if given the choice, he’ll watch Star Wars first.  But the kid loves Star Trek, too, I and love sharing it with him.

For the last few years, our Star Trek “routine” has been to watch half an episode or so while I do cardio, just before my little cadet’s bedtime.  We’re watching everything in the order it debuted.  We watched all 79 (well, 80 with “The Cage”) episodes of TOS, then all the animateds.  Then we went through TOS again ’cause I felt he’d appreciate it more now that he was older.  Then we did the first four motion pictures in order.  And just a couple of months ago, we started on Next Gen.

Keep in mind, for what I’m about to tell you, that my son has pretty much seen nothing of TNG, and certainly not Star Trek Generations.  All he knows of the Enterprise-D crew so far is what he’s seen in the first ten episodes.

And so it was that we were watching “Hide and Q” and got to the scene where Riker grants the deepest wishes of his friends.  Wesley ages up to an adult.  Geordi is given his sight.  Worf gets a horny Klingon woman.

Knowing that this was as far as the wish fulfillment went, I paused the Blu-ray and asked my little guy what he thought Picard wanted the most.  I was going to suggest that the captain wanted his hair back, but what I heard next stopped me in my tracks:

“I think he wants a family, Daddy.  I think he wants kids.”

Wow.  As I said, my son has never seen Generations.  But somehow he knew that this was Picard’s deepest wish.  Lucky guess?  Perhaps.  But either way, I’m writing this blog today to show to him in a couple more years when he gets older and we finally watch the seventh Trek film and see Jean-Luc Picard get his deepest wish—a family with kids—inside the Nexus.

Thanks for letting me share this moment with you.  And I thank my little guy for fulfilling my deepest wish.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone.