Announcing TWO new FAN FILM AWARD SHOWS coming in 2022!

File this under: “Great minds think alike…” or perhaps under, “This is what you get for missing staff meetings, Doctor.” Either way, GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS of THE FEDERATION FILES and I had the same idea at the same time, and now there are going to be TWO new fan film awards shows coming your way in 2022!

In my case, the idea of hosting an annual awards show for Star Trek fan films has been percolating in the back of my mind for a few years…not as a way of competing with the annual BJO AWARDS but as simply an additional opportunity for Star Trek fan filmmakers and their productions to shine.

As the new year dawned a few days ago, I was able to finally enjoy a break from the blogging “sprint” that took up much of my December. And I decided that, if I was really serious about creating some Fan Film Factor awards show, now might be a good time to do some thinkin’…

At first, I tried to come up with a name—and you know how much I like things that abbreviate to “FFF.” The Fan Film Festival Awards? Nah. Fan Film Faves? Cheesy. Fan Film Friends? Family? Flamingos? Jeez, I had nothing decent!

Okay, time to try a different approach vector…

So I shifted to thinking about judging. I mean, I suppose it could just be me deciding the winners and losers, but no one fan should possess such power! And, sheesh, what a way to completely piss off almost all of my friends, right? Nope, I needed a panel, but whom? When I finally answered that question, the name for the awards show fell easily into place: THE SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

I’ve always felt there should be a fan film awards competition where members of the community judge each other’s work…and who knows more about what it takes to make a fan film than a showrunner? But I didn’t want too many judges, so I decided to limit my invitations to showrunners who had successfully released at least four or five completed Star Trek fan films.

Of course, the next concern was making sure there weren’t too many entries. Goodness knows that VANCE MAJOR alone (one of the judges) could enter dozens—maybe hundreds!—of fan films all by himself! So I decided that, unlike the Bjo Awards, the Showrunner Awards will feature a nominal entry fee (maybe $10) plus an additional $1 for each special category like Best VFX, Best Music, Best Film Editing, etc. As I’m learning from entering my fan film INTERLUDE in various film festivals, this is how most of them work with application fees.

Speaking of Vance, or any of the judges, how do we make certain that all of them don’t simply vote for their own fan film, and we wind up with a 6-way or 10-way tie each year? Glad you asked…

Continue reading “Announcing TWO new FAN FILM AWARD SHOWS coming in 2022!”

Please VOTE for INTERLUDE in the 5th Annual IndieBOOM! Film + Music Festival!

It was late 2017 when the IndieBOOM! Film Festival debuted with a category exclusively for “FAN FILMS”—one of the first major film competitions to do so. Created by the team at the award-winning Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, IndieBOOM! offers categories for filmmakers, musicians, and screenwriters working in all short-form formats and genres. In addition to Fan Films, their other categories include Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Horror/Sci-Fi, Experimental, Eusic Videos and Musicals, Animation, Series, Commercials, Dance, and Songs.

In 2019, the winner in the Fan Film category (and also the Sci-Fi category) was “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” from THE FEDERATION FILES. In 2020, the winning fan film was BATMAN: THE SCHEME IS SOUND, which (even though it wasn’t Star Trek) was written, directed, and produced by the man who composed the music for my fan film INTERLUDE: KEVIN CROXTON. And at the beginning of 2021, the announced winner in the category was a Star Wars fan film from Mexico titled JUNDLAND: NO MAN’S LAND.

Now, that we’re in 2022, I think it might be time for a Star Trek fan film to win again. What do you think?

This year’s official selections in the IndieBOOM! Fan Film category include two live-action Star Wars films (one from Australia and one from the USA), an animated Ghostbusters short from the USA, a live-action Jurassic Park fan film from the UK, a James Bond fan film from the USA with kids playing all the role, and two live-action Star Trek fan films from the USA. One of those is my fan film Interlude, and the other is an amalgamation of two fan films from The Federation Files (USA) released over the past two years.

Obviously, I’d like you to please vote for Interlude, although the choice is certainly up to you!

Voting is done by watching on Vimeo, and every view counts as one vote. So watch early, watch often! (Actually, if Vimeo works like YouTube, then each computer browser can log only one vote…so no cheating, I guess!)

Voting runs continuously from today through January 16. Here is the link to view and vote for Interlude

https://www.indieboomff.com/interlude-star-trek.html

And maybe give it a like while you’re there, just so I know there’s someone out there watching Interlude.

The first prize for the most viewed film over all of the various categories wins $500. If Interlude wins (fingers crossed!), I intend to donate the prize money to the AVALON UNIVERSE GoFundMe so my DP and Film Editor on Interlude, JOSHUA IRWIN, can produce even more awesome Star Trek fan films. I fully expect to see him winning IndieBOOM! next year!

I encourage you all to check out each of the wonderful films selected as finalists. And if you do choose to vote for Interlude, I thank you.

2021 Star Trek Fan Film YEAR IN REVIEW!

Well, it’s been another year, and the CBS guidelines still haven’t killed Star Trek fan films! In fact, even focusing on just the highlights, this is still gonna be a loooooong blog. But that’s a GOOD thing…unless you’re the guy who has to write it up. But I don’t mind. In fact, I’ve actually written 108 blogs this year…94 of them about Star Trek fan films and the others a mix of editorials, reviews of new CBS Star Trek episodes and series, tracking the now-settled Star Trek/Dr. Seuss mash-up lawsuit, and sadly a few eulogies).

It’s always a challenge how to organize these year in review blogs, but this time, I think I’ll just go chronologically, highlighting the biggest releases for each month. However, before I do that, I’d like to acknowledge a few key people who go beyond simply making fan films and actually give of themselves to the greater fan film community in significant ways…

VANCE MAJOR – The creator of the fan-favorite character of Erick Minard, Vance has produced nearly 150 Star Trek fan films in total…including 30 this year alone covering both the CONSTAR series as well as other fan films released under the NO BUDGET PRODUCTIONS banner. (Because he’s released so many, I’ll be leaving most of Vance’s films off of this year’s highlight list…lest this blog becomes longer than War and Peace!) Vance has also been helping some of his actors make the transition to producers. In previous years, this included GREG TEFT and GREG MITCHELL. This year, PAUL JACQUES and SEAN REIMER joined that expanding group. And in addition to providing these wonderful opportunities, Vance is also spotlighting fan filmmakers regularly on his PIZZA ROLL DIARIES and CRITICAL, NOT CYNICAL video podcasts.


DAN REYNOLDS and GLEN WOLF – In addition to producing the Star Trek anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES, Glen and Dan also maintain TOS set replicas in their WARP 66 STUDIOS facilities, allowing those sets in northern Arkansas to be used by other fan filmmakers, as well.


RAY TESI – Another fan who owns TOS set replicas, Ray bought the STAR TREK CONTINUES/STARSHIP FARRAGUT sets from VIC MIGNOGNA and now allows them to be used by fan filmmakers at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland,GA.


SAMUEL COCKINGS – If you see amazing CGI visual effects in a Star Trek fan film, there’s a good chance that the British “Royal of Rendering” created them. Indeed, at this point, it’s almost shorter to list the fan films that Sam Cockings hasn’t done the VFX for! While top-level CGI isn’t a requirement for a good fan film, it can add a professionally polished look. Sam spends an unbelievable amount of his time doing this for his fellow fan filmmakers, and it makes such a big difference for so many.

Continue reading “2021 Star Trek Fan Film YEAR IN REVIEW!”

INTERLUDE Confidential #23: VERSION v3.0 is a hit with 25K VIEWS…time for FILM FESTIVALS!

It’s been a week since we debuted the newest release of INTERLUDE, our third version, and the response has been phenomenal. Already, there are more than 25K views on YouTube, 1.7K likes, and more than 200 comments. Here’s a small sample:

  • Real Star Trek again! Love it!
  • This is how you make a pre-Kirk Prequel. I rest my case.
  • So amazing. Great music too
  • this is incredible
  • MORE, MORE, MORE!!!
  • Outstanding!
  • This is real STAR TREK , Bless You All !
  • Ok, that rocked!! Nice appetizer as we await the main course.
  • Awsome! Your deflector shields are better than the TV shows.
  • I think Roddenberry would be proud!
  • This is terrible

Oops, that last one just kinda snuck in there. Actually, I included it because, for the first six days, it was literally the ONLY negative comment out of the hundreds we’ve received so far. We’re now up to two negative comments.

What JOSHUA IRWIN and I have found most shocking is how quickly the views have gone up considering that the previous versions already have over 200K views between the releases to the AVALON UNIVERSE YouTube Channel plus the releases to the AXANAR YouTube Channel. Obviously, 25K views in the first week would be understandable on the Axanar channel, as they have 108K subscribers. But version 3.0 is only up on the Avalon channel at the moment…and that one has only 13.7K subscribers.

So right now, Interlude v3.0 has TWICE as many views as Avalon has subscribers!

One of those views came from an Interlude donor who posted the following comment: “I just watched Interlude for the first time. Terrific work all around! It’ll definitely be something that I come back for repeat viewing.”

Wait, for the FIRST time??? But he donated! I asked why he hadn’t watched Interlude when it first came out back in April. Turns out he just never got around to it, and when I sent an e-mail update to my donors about the release of v3.0, he decided to watch it on his lunch break right then and there.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few bits of news with you all. The first is that I’ve finally started entering Interlude into film festivals. I just made the cut-off deadline for the annual IndieBOOM! festival, which was one of the first and only competitions to include a category exclusively for Fan Films. And as of yesterday, Interlude is an OFFICIAL SELECTION for IndieBOOM! (More on that news in January!) And then I decided to take a crack at the L.A. Sci-Fi and Horror Festival because they also have a Fan Film category.

Wish us luck!

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #23: VERSION v3.0 is a hit with 25K VIEWS…time for FILM FESTIVALS!”

INTERLUDE Confidential #22: Presenting INTERLUDE version 3.0!!!

Geez, Lane! How many times are you going to re-do your frickin’ fan film???

Back in April, we premiered a version of my AXANAR Universe fan film INTERLUDE with PAUL JENKINS playing the chief engineer of the ill-fated U.S.S. Artemis. At the time we shot those engineering scenes, Paul was still directing the Axanar sequels and had been a great help behind-the-scenes advising my directors JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX along with myself on ways to work collaboratively on finishing up the production. Giving Paul a small role in Interlude seemed like a fun way to acknowledge his generous help, and Paul was happy to appear in our film.

Then things soured between Paul and Axanar producer ALEC PETERS—Paul was no longer director, lawsuits were filed, fire and brimstone came down from the skies, rivers and seas began boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. (Wait, that was Ghostbusters…who here loved Afterlife?)

Anyway, just as we were about to release our just-completed Interlude fan production on April 5, Paul informed us that he no longer wished to appear in the film and demanded we remove his footage. There wasn’t time to replace his scenes before the big premiere (he contacted us just a couple of days prior), but thanks to some scrambling and about 22 hours of round-trip driving from Arkansas to Georgia and back by Josh and his good friend TYLER DUNIVAN, we were able to get Interlude version 2.0 out just two weeks later, with Tyler replacing Paul as the engineer. You can watch that release here…

A couple of months later, while I was making a video about the editing process of Interlude, Josh asked me if I’d be okay if he created a special version of Interlude just for himself using a different transition between the first portion of the film (the battle sequence) and the epilogue documentary. You can watch the transition that we used at the 6:37 mark in the above video.

But Josh had always wanted to do a different transition using an alternate take of Garth where the camera slowly zooms out from a close-up. Victoria, as director, wanted to go a different way, but now that Interlude had been released, Josh was curious how the other transition would have turned out.

And so was I!

Truth to tell, I was never all that crazy about the transition that we ended up with and never even knew that we had an alternate take available. Josh said the new transition would be closer to what I’d initially had in the original comic book version of Interlude…a direct cut from the younger Garth to the older Garth as though he were emerging from a recollection of a haunting memory.

“Make it so!” I told him. A few hours later, I watched the new alternate transition for the first time.

My friends, it looked amazing! Such a small change, and yet it felt so much more impactful. And then I had a thought…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #22: Presenting INTERLUDE version 3.0!!!”

‘Tis the season for GIVING…to FAN FILMS!

When folks come to me for advice on crowd-funding their fan projects, I always tell them the same thing: DON’T LAUNCH YOUR CAMPAIGN DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON!!! Ever since 2015, I’ve noticed that fan film crowd-funders that try to raise donations in November and December often struggle to reach their goals or even fail outright. The holiday season seems to be a “donation desert” for fan films.

It makes total sense. Nearly everyone is buying Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanza or Festivus) gifts for friends and family. And before COVID, people used to take expensive vacations during the holidays to visit family or just get away—remember when that used to happen? Charities, of course, usually choose this time to appeal to that ol’ spirit of giving and approach (hopefully) generous donors to give a little sumthin’. And soon Christmas bonus checks are spent before they even get cashed, and bank account balances do their impression of the Titanic.

I get that…not the time for fan films to ask for money.

But this past Monday, I received a bunch of e-mails from various places informing me that “Giving Tuesday” was here. So now we apparently have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and…Giving Tuesday? When did that become a thing? Actually it started in 2012 at New York City’s famous 92rd Street Y (where I went to summer camp back in 1981) and has grown into an international movement to encourage a little healthy philanthropy among the manic bargain-hunting.

I wasn’t able to write a blog in time for this year’s Giving Tuesday because I just had cataract surgery early this week, and it took away my ability to see the text on my computer screen for a couple of days. Today is the first day I’ve got reliable sight back enough to compose a blog.

I’d actually been meaning to post something reminding folks about the ongoing Fan Film Factor Patreon to cover my annual expenses for keeping this blog site running. Currently, I’m taking in enough in monthly donations to cover the costs of domain registration and hosting, technical support, and security services.

But last month, I added a new annual expense: a $160/year Pro Account for Zoom. You might have noticed that I’ve been doing more video interviews with fan filmmakers lately. Zoom is an easy way to reach multiple people and record the interview calls. And Zoom is free as long as your call is less than 45 minutes or has only one other person on it. But my interviews go 60-90 minutes, and I often have multiple people on at the same time.

So with “Giving Tuesday” happening, even though we’re in the middle of the “fan film donation desert,” as I call it, I thought this might be a good time to post a little reminder about my Patreon

I’m looking for monthly contributions of $1, $2, whatever folks can spare to help cover the annual expenses of Fan Film Factor

PATREON link: https://www.patreon.com/fan_film_factor

Continue reading “‘Tis the season for GIVING…to FAN FILMS!”

“The very BEST of Star Trek FAN FILMS” is now available for viewing!

For the past two and a half years, I’ve been quietly working on a “secret” project for Star Trek fan films. I mean, it wasn’t purposefully a secret. I just never bothered to mention it to anybody…

…until now, that is.

The idea behind this 75-minute montage was to collect what I considered to be the “best” scenes and sequences from the many, many, MANY Star Trek fan films that have been released during the last two decades or so.

It wasn’t easy choosing!

First of all, what does “the best” even mean??? The best…what? Acting? Directing? Story? Visual Effects? Make-up? Costumes? Sound quality? Music? Editing? Well, yes to all of the above! But few Star Trek fan films actually check ALL of those boxes. So once again, I was left the challenge of deciding what “the best” actually means.

I ultimately created two criteria for inclusion in the video. The clips needed to (in my determination):

  1. Make an average viewer who wasn’t really familiar with this sub-sub-sub genre of ours react with something akin to, “Wait, this is a FAN film???”
  2. Leave the person watching the clip wanting to see more of that particular fan film or series.

Once I knew what I was looking for, I needed to do a LOT of looking! That’s one of the reasons this project has taken as long as it has to complete. But I did discover something important early on. Really short clips (on the whole) don’t work. You need at least a minute or two—and sometimes even three minutes or more—to convey the power and impact of a sequence. Otherwise, you just get disjointed VFX sequences and isolated snippets of dialog that don’t really pack much of a punch. You have to give the viewer a chance to get the “flavor” of a sequence and a grasp of what is going on.

Ultimately, I ended up selecting about three dozen clips and sequences from fan films spanning the last decade and a half…for a total run-time of 75 minutes (an average of two minutes per segment). Sadly, I couldn’t include content from many of my closest friends in the fan film community. (I didn’t want this video to go on forever!) And so I sincerely apologize to anyone who didn’t make it into the final selections. It wasn’t personal, and I love you all and the wonderful work you and your teams bring to us.

Continue reading ““The very BEST of Star Trek FAN FILMS” is now available for viewing!”

Why is the Fan Films & Audio Dramas Facebook group REJECTING posts about the AVALON UNIVERSE? (editorial)

I’m extremely troubled about something that happened last week on Facebook, and I’m not sure what to do about it other than bringing it to the attention of my readers.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been putting in a fair bit of effort over the past few weeks trying to help encourage donations to the current GoFundMe campaign for the AVALON UNIVERSE fan series. They’re doing pretty well so far, about 18% ($3.6K) of the way to to their $20K goal. If you’d like to give a little sumthin’, by the way, here’s the link:

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

Now, helping fan productions get the word out for their campaigns is nothing new for me. Over the past three months, I’ve written multiple blogs about SAMUEL COCKINGS’ TREK SHORTS crowd-funder back in May and GARY DAVIS’ campaign for DREADNOUGHT DOMINION in June. Naturally, I’d also want to help out JOSHUA IRWIN with his Avalon GoFundMe…not only because he’s a Star Trek fan filmmaker but because he did an awesome job as DP and editor on my fan film INTERLUDE and because he’s a good friend.

So last week when I posted to Facebook a “progress” graphic like the one at the top of this blog, I shared it with the usual collection of Star Trek and fan film groups on Facebook that I’m a member of. I do this with all Fan Film Factor and related posts to increase visibility, and invariably, I either see an immediate “Your post has been shared with your group” message or, within a few minutes to a few hours, “An admin has approved your post.”

What I don’t usually see is a DECLINE notice like this one…

Huh?

Now, two things immediately struck me as odd about the note from the admin at the bottom. The first was that a Facebook group called “Star Trek Fan Films & Audio Dramas” was restricting anything related to JJ Trek. There’s almost no Star Trek fan films set in that universe anyway, but why exclude the few that are? I mean, even if you loathe J.J. ABRAMS and the motorcycle he rode in on, why should the “sins of the producer” also be an albatross worn around the neck of a fan filmmaker? (What a wonderful mix of metaphors!)

So I looked at the rules of the group, just to be sure. And lo and behold…

7) No Kelvin universe fan films will be permitted. Nor will discovery based fan films

Continue reading “Why is the Fan Films & Audio Dramas Facebook group REJECTING posts about the AVALON UNIVERSE? (editorial)”

INTERLUDE Confidential #20: Editing from ROUGH CUT to PICTURE LOCK…

I didn’t create INTERLUDE simply to make an AXANAR Universe fan film. Sure, that was one of the goals, but it wasn’t the MAIN goal. As a blogger focussing on numerous Star Trek fan productions, I wanted to better understand how these projects came together. But more than that, I wanted to SHARE my experiences with my readers—especially those interested in creating fan films of their own—to “pull back the curtain” on every aspect of development from writing a script to budgeting, crowd-funding, pre-production, production, and ultimately post-production.

Of course, the post-production blogs needed to wait until AFTER Interlude was released (didn’t want it spoiled!). But it’s now been out for more than two months (and closing in on 100K views on YouTube for the final version…watch it here), and so I can finally start talking about what went into the last phase of development…

…starting with EDITING!

In many ways, editing a film is one of, if not the most important part of the entire filmmaking process. Don’t just take my word for it! Countless articles on the Internet like this one highlight the critical role proper editing plays in the creation of a successful film project. Quoting the article…

What most people not in the film or video industry don’t realize is that film and video editing is an art form. Editing is arguably the most important element of film or video production. It is in the editing, the art of arranging pictures and dialog and sounds, that a finished film product is able to communicate a story first envisioned by its writer, and subsequently by a director and producer to its intended audience. Days, weeks, even months of shots captured on film or video must be studied, interpreted, analyzed, and finally distilled into a story lasting a fraction of the time it took to capture it all.

People outside the film making industry have little or no idea about “post production” and the crucial part it plays in the production of a film or video work. It is because of the significant importance of this phase of film and video production that the process takes an extended amount of time to complete.

Indeed! And in fact, it took JOSHUA IRWIN (our editor), VICTORIA FOX (our director), and me (the producer) four full months of working together to get Interlude from its first rough cut to its final picture lock version that was sent along to music composer KEVIN CROXTON for scoring. Those four months were filled with intense hard work, painstaking attention to detail, and some passionate “discussions,” as three very creative and talented people didn’t always agree 100% of the time.

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #20: Editing from ROUGH CUT to PICTURE LOCK…”

INTERLUDE Confidential #19: Watching ARES STUDIOS come alive…

INTERLUDE is knocking on the door of a combined 75,000 views for “version 2.0.” You can watch it on the AXANAR YouTube channel or the AVALON UNIVERSE YouTube channel…or both!

A few weeks ago, I published a blog looking at three scenes from Interlude that wound up on the digital “cutting room floor.” But one of the most talked about aspects of that blog was a clip that I included showing 18 minutes of the actual shoot itself…filming the stunning opening scene looking down from above onto the bridge with all sorts of activity going on. Fans of Axanar and ARES STUDIOS loved getting a glimpse into all of the action happening on that set.

Well, folks, there’s a LOT more where that came from…and I’m going to share it with you starting today!

As producer on Interlude, most of my job was done by the time we got to the weekend of our two-day shoot at Ares Studios on November 2-3, 2019. In addition to writing the script, I was in charge of budgeting, crowd-funding, paying for things that needed to be paid for (everything from chest emblem patches to camera and lens and light rental to hair and make-up supplies to renting chairs and tables to the caterer himself…plus about a hundred other little and not-so-little things!).

Another part of my job was to make sure we had the right people at the studio on the right days—actors, extras, production crew, even an on-site medic—that they knew where to be and when and that their gas, travel, food and lodging was paid for if/when necessary. My efforts were designed to make it possible for VICTORIA FOX, JOSHUA IRWIN, and the entire amazing Interlude production team to shoot the scenes of our fan film over two 10-hour days with everything they needed ready and waiting for them.

In short, I was the guy setting up the buffet table so all of the guests could have a good time at the party. So once the party got started, what was left for me to do?

Well, there were still some minor fires that needed putting our during those two days—figuring out where to put the hair and make-up people, handing my credit card to people I hardly knew to go make emergency runs to Home Depot or Target or wherever. But for the most part, the producer wasn’t really needed on set.

But that provided me with a very unique and special opportunity…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #19: Watching ARES STUDIOS come alive…”