I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)

My life isn’t usually all that interesting or exciting…at least, not all in one week.  But what a week it was!

(Actually, it was only really exciting if you happen to be a Trekkie interested in fan films.  If you’re my wife, it’s more like, “That’s nice, honey.  I’m glad you had such a good time.  Did you remember to empty the dishwasher?”

And that’s why I’m writing this blog—because I have now emptied the dishwasher, and I really want to tell you guys about the fan film filled week I just had…because you care, right?  (Aw don’t answer that; it’ll just kill my buzz.)

Continue reading “I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)”

The stories BEHIND the stories… (personal)

Why do I do this?

I asked myself that question recently as I was preparing a multi-part blog on the history of the fan production Star Trek: Renegades (you gonna love it!).  The retrospective started out as a two-parter…then stretched itself to three…and finally finished up with four parts and more than 7,000 words!  Who in their right mind writes THAT much about a single fan film????  (Well, other than Axanar, but they had a lawsuit to write about!)

And it’s not like there’s any money in this, folks.  Maybe by the end of the year I’ll take in a few hundred dollars off of Google ads…if I’m lucky.  I pay nearly that much just for web hosting and online security!

As I did my research on the history of Star Trek: Renegades—researching dozens and dozens of different websites and articles, blogs and crowd-funding updates, and forums and Facebook pages—I finally realized the reason that I put so much time and effort into writing all these blogs and maintaining this web site…

Continue reading “The stories BEHIND the stories… (personal)”

Becoming a PROFESSIONAL TREKKIE! (biography blog #2)

It’s been a while since I wrote a biography blog…nearly a year and a half, in fact!  I’d started out thinking I’d write these regularly, as I’ve had some interesting adventures as a fan: sneaking onto the Voyager and DS9 sets at Paramount, writing the Star Trek reference book Starship Spotter in just 18 days, directing Majel Barrett Roddenberry doing voice-over for four hours…in her living room!  The list goes on.

But then I got busy writing about fan films, and suddenly it’s 17 months later with no second entry to follow up on the “to be continued…” that ended my first biography blog.  Time to fix that!  (I’m even adding a new tab to the main menu that says “BIOGRAPHY” in the hope it’ll inspire me to write more of these entries before another 17 months go by.)

When last we left off, it was December of 1993, and I’d just turned down a job working for MICHAEL OKUDA in the Star Trek Art Department!  (Was I nuts????  Read my first biography blog to find out why.)

So instead of doing graphics and animations for DS9, Voyager, and Generations, I stayed with my brother David and grew our fledgling multimedia company, 2-Lane Media, Inc.  Over the next two and a half years, we expanded to about a dozen employees doing websites for clients like Disney, Nestlé, Transamerica, and Tenet Healthcare.

But in 1996, we added a new client that would change my Star Trek life forever…

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FAN FILM GUIDELINES: Reality Check (Part 6) – The CARROT and the STICK

First I should mention (in a follow-up to our previous post) that the survey results are in.  I invited members of the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign to vote in an online Facebook poll: which ONE if the new fan film guidelines feels like it is the most problematic for fan filmmakers?  This would be the guideline that Project: SMALL ACCESS will focus on convincing CBS and Paramount to revisit and revise.  And there was a clear winner: Guideline #1.

However, Guideline #1 is actually a two-part guideline made up of the following:

#1a – The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total…

and

#1b – …with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

It’s possible for us to request a revision by CBS to one part of this guideline without necessarily changing the other part.  And so I divided Guideline #1 into two options, and together these were, by far, the highest vote-getters, taking more than 95% of the nearly 140 submitted responses.  So which one got the most votes?

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“ENTERPRISE – LADY” tribute music video

For over a year, this music video has been sitting in a menu area of Fan Film Factor called “THE CARGO BAY.”  When I began this blog site, I imagined that section would be a good place to drop miscellaneous content that didn’t fit in anywhere else.  But in the upcoming weeks, I’ll be doing a bit of top menu reorganization, and “THE CARGO WAY” will be jettisoned.  So I’m pulling out this video from its previous blog and creating a new blog for it so it can live elsewhere on the site.

So what the heck is Jonathan’s ENTERPRISE – LADY” tribute music video?  Well, back in 2002, I edited together my own Star Trek music video montage, a “love letter” to all the wonderful starships called Enterprise.

This music video was inspired by a similarly-themed montage that I saw at a convention in Cleveland, OH back in 1988.  That video also used The Little River Band’s “Lady” as a musical score (and I do love that song!).  But back then, there were only the TOS and TAS episodes, four movies, and one season of TNG.  Footage of the USS Enterprise in 1988 was  limited to the original, the refit, and the 1701-D…no bloody A, B, C, E or NX-01.  (Well, technically there was a bit of the 1701-A at the end of Trek IV.)

By 2002, I now had nine feature films, seven seasons of TNG (plus DS9 and Voyager), and the first two seasons of Enterprise.  There weren’t remastered VFX back then, and I didn’t have own DVD collections yet, so I worked off the VHS tapes I’d recorded from TV broadcasts of episodes (and that’s why you can see the UPN logo on all the NX-01 shots!).

I added a lot of little touches—the cuts match up to the beats of the music and, in many cases, the images match to the words of the song.  It was a labor of love that took me a few months to complete (and it eventually won a fan Star Trek music video contest at a Los Angeles Creation convention).

I invite you all to enjoy my little effort below…

My 6-year-old son JAYDEN does his first-ever STAR TREK PODCAST interview…and it’s ADORABLE!

I’d always hoped to one day have a child who would enjoy Star Trek as much as I do (or at least not hate it completely).  And I’ll freely admit that I’m a totally biased daddy who is super-proud of his Trekkie son.  But Jayden recently did his first-ever Star Trek podcast, discussing the TOS episode “Mirror, Mirror.”  And he just blew me away with one of the most priceless and hysterical interviews I could have ever imagined.

The podcast that Jayden (and I) appear on is called ENTERPRISING INDIVIDUALS, and it’s an interesting concept.  Each week, the show features a different guest from the world of Star Trek—authors, screenwriters, experts, and superfans—and they discuss their favorite episode (from any of the series) along with providing information and insight about themselves and their experiences with Star Trek.

It’s a fun way to do an interview, with just enough banter about the featured Star Trek episode to keep the interview from getting too monotonous…and just enough interview that it doesn’t feel like yet another “discuss-an-episode-for-an-hour” podcast.

When the Minnesota-based host, who goes by the handle of Ka1iban of Just Enough Trope Studios, first reached out and asked me which episode was my favorite, I’d actually said “The Doomsday Machine.”  But that one had already been taken by a previous guest.  So I suggested “Mirror, Mirror,” which Jayden and I had just finished watching as we make our way through TOS episodes each night while I exercise.  And then I suggested that it might be fun to include Jayden for part of the interview, as he’s a real fan…and the host agreed.

And Jayden didn’t let me down.  His 17-minute segment is PRICELESS!  The rest of the podcast with me is also a lot of fun, but yeah, Jayden’s segment is a MUST-HEAR and leaves my interview in the dust!

The full interview can be linked to here, and Jayden’s segment begins at about the 39:35 minute mark.  But to save you from having to scroll to the good part, I’ve created a version with just Jayden’s portion below…

(Oh, and that beard is water-soluble magic marker.  It washed off completely in 20 seconds.)

And while everyone ELSE talks about Industry Studios…let’s look at some WILDFLOWERS!

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!

Posted by Jonathan Lane on Friday, April 7, 2017

It’s my party, and I’ll reply if I want to…

If you tend to read the comments sections of my blogs, you know that I get quite a lot of posts from Axanar detractors looking to accuse Alec Peters or Axanar of this or that crime or incompetence or atrocity.  Seldom do I trash any of these comments, and I usually provide some kind of response because, well, isn’t that what a blogger is supposed to do?

But lately, it just seems like I’m spending hours and hours each week just reading and responding to all of these angry and challenging posts, leaving me less time to focus on fan films and even my family.  Granted, I still prioritize the latter two over doing any kind of response writing, but that just means I write most of my responses really, really late at night.  Or sometimes I have a little time during the day and try to sneak a few responses in.

This happened yesterday afternoon as I was having a marathon session of dealing with detractors like Rand Johnson saying things like this:

Let me remind you that it was you who FIRST started being a condescending, egotistical, pompous, self-righteous, conceited, ego maniac, holier-than-thou, hotshot, puffed-up, self-centered, snobbish and stuck-up blogger who defends a man who made outlandish claims he was going to make a fan film then spent all the money on crap he did not need to make a fan film. Then you attacked anyone who criticized that man and your hero worship of that man. Or criticized you for promoting and defending that man who took donor money and used it as personal income to financially benefit himself and his associates.

Man, just reading that again exhausted me!  And that’s just one comment, folks.  I get so many.

But then I received a call that has changed everything…

Continue reading “It’s my party, and I’ll reply if I want to…”

The CONTINUING MISSION podcast is back…with special guest: ME!

These days, there seem to be an almost infinite number of Star Trek-themed podcasts….and many of them fall under the branded umbrella of TREK.FM, including “Mission Log,” “Star Trek Rewatch,” “Literary Treks,” “Standard Orbit,” “To the Journey,” “Meta Treks,” and so many others.

Up until recently, however, one of my personal favorite of the Trek.fm podcasts was missing in action: “Continuing Mission.”  This particular blog focused on the ever-expanding world of Star Trek fan films, interviewing a different creator or creative team each week.  Throughout 2014, Trek.fm founder and overachiever, CHRISTOPHER JONES, would host every episode, twenty-five in total during that year.  He also hosted a bunch of other Trek.fm podcasts at the same time.  So it’s probably not surprising that “Continuing Mission” dropped from twenty-five episodes in 2014 to only two (yes, two) total podcasts in all of 2015.

In the first half of 2016, “Continuing Mission” had a brief, six-episode resurrection under the hosting guidance of my friend DENNIS CASTELLO.  In fact, I recorded a podcast for Dennis along with co-guest TOMMY KRAFT (of Star Trek: Horizon) shortly after the fan film guidelines came out.  Alas, that two-hour and twenty minute impassioned discussion never made it to upload, as Dennis found himself unable to keep producing quality episodes consistently.

And so, “Continuing Mission” had been languishing in podcast limbo for ten months until a few weeks ago when new host TONY ROBINSON was talked into resurrecting it yet again by the ever-convincing and always-charming Christopher Jones.  Tony still isn’t quite sure how he got roped into it, but he’s an ardent Trekkie from the U.K. currently living in Ireland, and he was willing to give it his best shot.

Tony’s first podcast debuted on February 25, featuring show-runner RAY TESI of Starship Republic (click here to donate to their Indiegogo).  And to follow that up, well, Tony’s latest guest has the initials J.L. and he just typed the words “Tony’s latest guest has the initials J.L.”  Yep, I was podcast guest number two (I’ve been called worse) on the new “Continuing Mission,” and my episode just went live yesterday!

So if you just can’t get enough of me rambling on and on here in print, feel free to listen to me ramble on and on through your speakers!  Discover the not-so-secret origin of Fan Film Factor, learn how I got a job working for Paramount licensing, and find out where I go to get all the latest news on Star Trek fan films to feature here on this blog.

This link will take you directly to my podcast interview.  Enjoy!

CORRECTION! — It was NOT CHEAPER (as far as I can tell) for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one

One little mistake…

On September 23, 1999, the Mars Surveyor Orbiter crashed into the red planet because of a very simple (some say “stupid”) error.  According to the NASA.gov website:

…one team used English units (e.g., inches, feet and pounds) while the other used metric units for a key spacecraft operation.

One little mistake…

The result was the loss of a $125 million satellite.

In early February 2017, I was IM’ing with one of my local producer friends, asking how much it costs to rent a decent studio/sound stage here in Los Angeles.  He IM’d me back: “About $15-$30K per day.”

That number intrigued and excited me.  It wasn’t long before I’d done the math and determined that–lordy lordy!–it was actually CHEAPER for Alec Peters to have built out Ares/Industry studios than to have RENTED an existing sound stage!  And the savings difference was in the six-figures!!!!

This was HUGE!  Or so I thought…

Continue reading “CORRECTION! — It was NOT CHEAPER (as far as I can tell) for AXANAR PRODUCTIONS to BUILD a studio than to RENT one”