Just posted: PAGE 5 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Another week, another $700 for the ol’ GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE. We’re just about half-way, and at this rate, we’ll make it to our $19,500 goal by mid-October. But we don’t have until mid-October—more on that situation at the end of this coming week.

In the meantime, we’re just $442 away from passing the $10K threshold. So if you haven’t donated yet or would like to increase your donation a weeeeee bit, operators are standing by…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

By now, you know that the spoiler alert is there because this comic book one-shot tells the same story as INTERLUDE. So if you want to be completely surprised by the fan film when it comes out, then completely don’t read the 5 pages (plus cover) at the end of this blog.

Heed my words, humans.

Okay, if you’ve stuck around, you might be wondering how close the comic will be to the final fan film. The dialog is pretty darn close, but it’s not an exact match. The comic book needed to be truncated in places in order to keep it at just seven pages and not have all of the artwork covered up by word balloons.

But there’s also two places where you’ll discover that the comic and film will diverge quite a bit. One of those two places is at the end. But since we’ve still got two pages to go, I won’t spoil that for you just yet. I’ll discuss that divergence in two more weeks.

The other place where the two versions are different comes closer to the beginning—in fact, it’s right after the opening VFX sequence. Originally, the shooting script matched the comic book much more closely. But after VICTORIA FOX, my producer and the co-director for Interlude, read the shooting script, she had some feedback.

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t looking forward to making any more changes. I’d already sat with this script for nearly two years, tweaking it here and there, and I was pretty happy with it. So was ALEC PETERS. Why mess with “perfection”?

Well, it turns out it wasn’t quite perfect just yet…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 5 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – MUSIC!

Quick update: after four weeks, the INTERLUDE GoFundMe campaign is just a few hundred dollars short of the HALFWAY point! Please donate anything you can spare…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude


Two weeks ago, I showed you how I worked with CGI artist LEWIS ANDERSON on the VFX for the opening 20-second sequence for Interlude. Then last week, you got to watch my sound-mixer, MARK EDWARD LEWIS, add some awesome sound effects to the sequence.

Now it’s time to shine the spotlight on KEVIN CROXTON, my music composer. In 2018, Kevin wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning musical Star Trek fan film THE BUNNY INCIDENT with his fourth and fifth grade students. Oh, and did I mention (about 47 times!) that Kevin has won an Emmy?

Kevin was eager to get to work composing music for Interlude. He adores Star Trek and LOVES Axanar. The idea of writing music that would evoke both Prelude and classic/movie Trek intrigued him (and me!). But he had one request. Before composing music for the Interlude “commercial” and also for the longer “ask” video, he wanted Mark to add in the sound effects for the VFX sequence. That way, Kevin could compose around the louder and quieter beats.

For anyone who didn’t watch all the way to the end of the video in last week’s blog, here’s where things were left with my minute long “commercial” after Mark was finished adding the sound FX…

Note that the last scene from Prelude to Axanar was taken directly from the final fan film…complete with voice-over, sound FX, and music. This would later become problematic because I had no way to separate the three elements. But Mark added really amazing sound effects under the new VFX footage, along with quiet swishing noises when each of the intro titles zoomed in.

Now it was time to see what Kevin could do…!

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – MUSIC!”

Just posted: PAGE 4 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

As usual, a quick check on the GoFundMe campaign. While donations have slowed, they’re still coming in and inching us closer to our $19,500 goal. Right now, we’re 45.3% of the way there and 118 donors, with some promotional pushes planned over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, if you haven’t donated yet, have a little extra to spare at the moment, or simply want to help us spread the word, here’s the link…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

The spoiler warning is there to remind you that this short comic book story is pretty much identical to what you’ll see in INTERLUDE when it’s finished…only the comic is two-dimensional drawings without sound or motion or all the other cool stuff you see in fan films.

Interestingly enough, we’ve reached the point where I need to start being very selective in choosing which panel(s) to show at the top of the blog entry. I always like to show some thumbnail, as it increases the visibility of the link when I post to Facebook and Twitter. Also, if I don’t set the thumbnail, Facebook and Twitter will use their mysterious algorithm to decide for themselves with thumbnail to use…and that could inadvertently end up giving away an important spoiler.

So as you can see from the image at the top, I’ve chosen something very ambiguous to display while still showing off the amazing artwork of my illustrator DANIEL FU.

And speaking of Daniel, I’d like to take a moment to point out something that many of you might not have noticed. Sure, his art looks awesome…with great composition that moves the eye around the page, dramatic expressions and poses, confident line work, and contoured contrasts of light and shadow.

But did you notice the colors? I mean, they’re bright and vibrant and all, which is important for this era of Star Trek (before things got darker and less saturated in the later TV series like Discovery and Enterprise). But it’s more than just that.

When Daniel and I discussed the story and pages, I art directed him that I felt it was important to distinguish the two bridges—Ares and Artemis—which are, of course, identical. And they’re both at red alert, meaning they both should be colored to reflect that emergency battle status. So how could Daniel make two identical bridges, both tinged red for battle status, look different?

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 4 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Sound FX!

If you liked last week’s blog about the previs that went into the opening 19-second VFX sequence for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, then you’re probably going to find this week’s blog just as fascinating.

But first, a reminder to please donate to our GoFundMe campaign (we’re nearly halfway to our $19.5K goal—just cracked $8.7K!)…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Okay, let’s get this blog rolling!


I really feel like I’m walking with giants. This is totally my first rodeo. I’ve never executive produced a fan film (or any film) before. BUT!!! Through goodwill, good fortune, good nature, or just blind luck, I’ve managed to attract some incredibly skilled and experienced people to direct, produce, do casting, create visual FX, and take on other important tasks to make Interlude amazing. And isn’t that what fan films are all about—bringing together people who love Star Trek?

Three of those tasks were still required for completing the opening sequence for Interlude. My CGI guy, LEWIS ANDERSON (not his real name), had already produced this amazing VFX masterpiece…

But of course, there was no sound yet. We still needed music, sound effects, and someone to mix them together so that the music didn’t overwhelm the sounds of the engines/torpedoes/explosions…and also vice versa. These three tasks were the job of two of my “giants”: KEVIN CROXTON and MARK EDWARD LEWIS.

Kevin is a musical composer who has won an Emmy Award (and yes, I will say that over and over and over again!) and now teaches music in Arkansas. Last year, he wrote and directed the musical Star Trek fan film THE BUNNY INCIDENT starring his 4th and 5th grade music students.

Mark was the sound-mixer on PRELUDE TO AXANAR. He also did editing and sound-mixing on two episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages (plus dozens of other independent films and shorts), and will be doing the editing for the upcoming Axanar sequels. Mark has access to all of the original sound effects for Prelude, and he was happy to mix them into my fan film, too.

The only question now was kind of a chicken-and-egg one: who works on the opening sequence next? Does Kevin write the music first, or does Mark add the sound effects first?

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Sound FX!”

Why I am NOT “neutral” about NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS…

I need to clear the air regarding myself and NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS, the TOS sets in Kingsland, GA that were originally used for STARSHIP FARRAGUT, later used for STAR TREK CONTINUES, and were recently purchased by RAY TESI and opened up to any fan filmmaker who wanted to use them, was able to pay $300/day, and was willing to follow the fan film guidelines.

I want to state for the record that I wholeheartedly SUPPORT Neutral Zone Studios and encourage anyone who is a fan of Star Trek fan films to support them, as well, through their Patreon campaign:

https://www.patreon.com/neutralzonestudios

As many of you know, I was originally scheduled to film two of my scenes for my fan film INTERLUDE there. Ray Tesi was 100% on board. In fact, when I was considering bringing my son Jayden to Georgia watch the shoots, Ray told me that he’d make sure the entire studio was lit up (all the lights and buttons) before we arrived so that when Jayden walked in, the first thing he’d see would be the USS Enterprise in all of its glory. Ray was even going to see if he could manage to drive up for the day from Florida to finally meet me in person and watch the shoot.

But over Memorial Day weekend at Neutral Zone Studios‘ Fan Appreciation Weekend 2, Ray informed my directors, JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX (who were there shooting interviews with VIC MIGNOGNA, MICHELLE SPECHT, and CHRIS DOOHAN to help promote the studio’s Patreon campaign) that Interlude was no longer welcome to use the sets.

Although ALEC PETERS, who was similarly banned, accused Vic of being the reason for Ray’s sudden change of heart, Star Trek Continues make-up artist, LISA HANSELL, posted this comment on Facebook the Monday after the event…

Now, all things considered, I should probably feel angry, hurt, insulted, frustrated…and to be honest, I did feel those emotions quite deeply for a short time. But I moved past it.

However, something happened this past weekend that has left me wondering if others haven’t let this go as I have. And I now feel that it’s important to state publicly that I have forgiven Ray and Lisa and (if he was involved in the decision) Vic…and anyone else who pressured Ray Tesi into changing his mind about letting my production film at NZS.

So what happened this past weekend?

Continue reading “Why I am NOT “neutral” about NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS…”

Just posted: PAGE 3 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

First, a quick check on the GoFundMe campaign: another three days, another $320 for a total of $8,651 from 111 donors. There’s also another $50 from Paypal donations, bringing us 44.6% of the way to our $19,5000 goal after three weeks. It’s all good, folks.

To donate or if you’d just like to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

Once again, a friendly reminder that this 7-page (plus cover) comic book story is nearly identical to what you will see when INTERLUDE is completed and released. So if you don’t want to know anything about my fan film—and that’s fine!—please stop reading now and don’t look at the page artwork below…’cause that wouldn’t be quite as fine.

Let’s talk briefly about the captain of the USS Artemis: Imari Jakande. When I first wrote up my “alternate” script for the two Axanar sequels, I’d named the captain of the ArtemisKyle Donovan,” and I didn’t really think about his race or background. I just needed a person in the center seat of that starship. Kyle could just as easily have been Kylie, as well. Race, gender, ethnicity…they just weren’t as important to me at that moment as getting my thoughts down on paper (well, keyboard) before they faded from my mind. Initially, I don’t even think the original three or four pages of the scene with the Artemis and Ares took me more than 15 minutes to write.

So when I first expanded that sequence into a seven-page comic book script, I left the character’s name as Kyle Donovan. My illustrator, DANIEL FU, suggested making him a black man, and I had no problem with that. Good idea! And when the page artwork came in, I loved what I saw.

A few weeks later was when I first showed the artwork to ALEC PETERS. I had already gotten his thumbs-up to do the comic, but I wanted him to be able to review the progress. After all, it was important to me that this story be acceptable “head canon” for the Axanar “universe.”

Alec liked the artwork, but suggested that, since the captain of the Artemis was black, perhaps he should have an African name. By this, Alec didn’t mean African American but rather from the African continent—like Uhura—with an authentic African name.

As Alec did with the Axanar character of Sam Travis, who was named after a famous military leader, I wanted my character to have an African name with some historical significance.

Turns out that was much easier said than done!

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 3 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Previs and VFX!

First, a quick update on the GoFundMe campaign for the INTERLUDE fan film. Since Monday’s blog, we’ve gained over $400 (2% closer to our goal of $19,500) for a current total of $8,331. We’ve also crossed the 100 backer threshold (currently at 109). So steady as she goes…!

As I say each time, if you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude


This is the first in a series of three weekly blogs I’ll be posting about the opening VFX sequence for my fan film Interlude and how it went from an idea in my head to looking like this…

When I first set out to raise money to make Interlude, I knew I needed to show something. Obviously, without costumes or a cast, we couldn’t shoot any actual footage. Of course I’d feature the creative people involved, but doesn’t typically create high excitement unless some of those people are Star Trek celebrities (which fan filmmakers can no longer use). So what’s left? Well, VFX, of course!

I spoke to my CGI guy, LEWIS ANDERSON (a pseudonym my friend is using) and asked if he’d be willing to churn out a quick visual effects sequence from my script to show what Interlude might look like. “Sure,” he said. “Shoot me over the script, and let me take a look at what you’re thinking.”

Easy-peasy. I sent him the full script, but highlighted the opening scene…

After receiving it, Lewis messaged me back: “Shouldn’t be a problem, Jon. Do you have anything storyboarded?”

As a matter of fact, I did! I actually had FOUR different storyboards!!!

The first wasn’t actually a storyboard so much as a more detailed description of the sequence that I had written up for my comic book artist, DANIEL FU, when I decided (a year earlier) to turn this script into a one-shot AXANAR comic book called “Stardate 2245.1” . The description I wrote up for Daniel was divided into three comic book panels and looked like this…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE intro: “getting from there to here” – Previs and VFX!”

Just posted: PAGE 2 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

A quick check of the GoFundMe campaign before we begin. After two weeks, we’re already on the cusp of 100 BACKERS(!!!) with a total of $7,901—more than 40% of the way to $19,500. That’s FANtastic progress! If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, today’s blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

If you do NOT want to know what my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE will be about, if you want to want to go in completely cold with no idea what happen, then stop…

reading…

NOW.

Seriously. This far. No farther. Go to a different website or read another blog. Final warning.


Okay, for those brave/curious/impatient souls who are left, what IS Interlude about anyway? So far, I’ve kept things pretty vague. Here’s what it says on my GoFundMe page:

INTERLUDE is an exciting vignette story that shows fans whom those D7s were shooting at, and why those targets were so important.  The story is about honor an sacrifice, bravery and duty in the face of a surprise sneak attack that leaves no time to plan or react with anything other than one's true self.

I’ve mentioned previously that the reason for the story was to explain the absence of Admiral Marcus Ramirez from the Axanar sequels. The real reason, of course, is that actor TONY TODD no longer wished to be a part of the production going forward. So there’s a point in my script where Ramirez gets severely wounded, but beyond that, I’ve given few details.

The reason for the vagueness is that Interlude is actually a pretty fast-paced story. It starts in the middle of a space battle and spends most of its (estimated) ten minutes in that same tense situation. While there’s drama and action, the majority of the dialog happens between just two characters…one of whom is Captain Kelvar Garth of the USS Ares.

I always thought of this story as a small but important part of the tapestry of Garth’s life…a tapestry that includes PRELUDE TO AXANAR, my short story “Why We Fight,” another short story I haven’t written yet called “Why We Explore,” the two upcoming Axanar sequels, and perhaps even the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”

Combined, all of these stories help to piece together the puzzle that is Kelvar Garth, the victor at Axanar and the personal hero of Captain James T. Kirk. Who is Garth? We only saw a fleeting glimpse of the true man at the end of “Whom Gods Destroy,” and I for one want to learn more.

So here’s Page 2—along with the cover and Page 1—of another piece of the Garth puzzle (click to enlarge the images)…

Read mor

Set Cancellations, Scheduling Conflicts, Costume Conundrums, Stray Dogs, Trapped Woodpeckers, and Acts of God…what I DIDN’T expect when I decided to make a fan film!

Before we begin, quick crowd-funding update! After ten days, 88 backers have already donated $7,621 to INTERLUDE (nearly 40% of the way to $19,500!). That’s amazing! If you haven’t donated yet, or if you’d just be willing to help spread the word, here’s the link:

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And now, today’s blog…


“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Man, am I learning that lesson with Interlude!

Over the years, I’ve interviewed countless fan filmmakers, and the one thing that nearly all of them have in common are stories of unexpected crises that pop up out of nowhere…demanding to be dealt with quickly lest the project get partially or completely derailed.

I never truly appreciated what these show-runners go through until I became an executive producer myself. My fan film hasn’t even started shooting yet, and already I’ve had to deal with some of the weirdest occurrences that I could have ever imagined—including emergency dog rescues, woodpeckers in chimneys, and an honest-to-goodness flood—all of which have conspired to try to delay the launch of my crowd-funder!

The dog actually DID delay it. You all probably remember how a stray canine in Alabama crossed the highway in front of ALEC PETERS and CRYSSTAL HUBBARD, and how they spent the next two hours trying to keep the dog safe (keep it from trying to cross back) until help could arrive. And those two hours ate up the window for livecasting Axanar Confidential that Monday night, forcing us to delay the roll-out of the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE until the following night.

But wait till you hear about some of the other Murphy’s Law moments I’ve had over the past month and a half…

Continue reading “Set Cancellations, Scheduling Conflicts, Costume Conundrums, Stray Dogs, Trapped Woodpeckers, and Acts of God…what I DIDN’T expect when I decided to make a fan film!”

Just posted: PAGE 1 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

The GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE launched a week ago, and it got off to a very exciting start! We’re currently nearly 1/6 of the way to our $19,500 goal with $3,089 from 52 donors (including me). And although donations have slowed a bit over the last few days—that’s to be expected on most crowd-funders—they’re still coming in. So…YAY!

What this means for YOU is, if you haven’t donated yet and want to see Interlude get made, please consider making a donation (or at least share the link with friends whom you think might be interested in helping us out).

What this means for ME, of course, is that I have to find ways to keep fans excited about this project! And that brings us to today’s blog entry…

As many of you know, Interlude got its start as “feedback” for ALEC PETERS after I read his first draft of the two 15-minute Axanar sequel fan films (shortened from the originally-planned 90-minute feature length production). I noticed his script contained no scenes on the bridge, and so I wrote a few for him. I didn’t know at the time that Alec wasn’t sure if the USS Ares bridge set would ever be completed (this was back in June of 2017), which is why he left out any scenes on the bridge.

Encouraged by Alec, however, I decided to create an Axanar comic book using one of my bridge scenes, following the lead of super Axanerd TREY McELWAIN, who was already publishing the second Axanar comic in his “Tip of the Spear” series. In fact, he let me “borrow” his artist, DANIEL FU to illustrate my short story.

It would be a 7-page one-shot—beginning at the exact moment that PRELUDE TO AXANAR ended on its cliff-hanger: “Stardate 2245.1 – The D7 enters the war!” Three D7s approach the camera, the lead one firing a torpedo. The comic would show their target…and why that target was so critical to the war. The story is about honor an sacrifice, bravery and duty in the face of a surprise sneak attack that leaves no time to plan or react with anything other than one’s true self.

The comic is now complete—ready to be shared with all of you. Over the course of the next seven weeks, I’ll be releasing one page per week. Many of you have already seen the cover, so this week is page 1.

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 1 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”