The INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $11,000!

Yesterday, the GoFundMe campaign for my fan film INTERLUDE crossed $11,000! Although this might not seem as significant a milestone as crossing the half-way point or crossing $10,000…it’s very exciting to me personally because it means I’m doing my job properly. (Also, most of the detractors never thought I’d raise more than $5K-$10K at the most, and now even some of them are impressed!)

Y’see, unlike many folks who make fan films, I don’t have any background or experience in filmmaking. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. While I’m a decent graphic designer and can edit as a novice with iMovie on my Mac, I’m not a director or VFX artist or lighting specialist or cameraman. I can’t compose music, build sets, create props, do make-up, or even sew uniforms and costumes. I’m not a sound FX guy, and while I’ve done a couple of fan film voice-overs, I’m not an actor and won’t even appear in my own fan film! All I did was write a script.

So why am I here at all? What’s my bag, baby?

The simple truth is that I’m here to convince people like you to give me your money. In return, I’ve assembled a very talented team who are going to make an amazing fan film for all of you to enjoy. It’s going to have the quality level of PRELUDE TO AXANAR (or as close as we can get!) and be able to stand beside its “siblings” (Prelude and the two Axanar sequels) as a proud part of the expanded “Axanar Universe.”

But in order to do that, things (some of them kinda expensive) needed to be paid for.

Believe me, I would have loved to have just written a check or charged everything to a credit card. But I simply don’t have the financial means—certainly not at the level required to match up to the other Axanar fan films. And even though the Ares bridge set is now complete (or 98% of the way there), this fan film is more than just the set.

So with essentially no skills, no experience, and no money, what the heck am I doing trying to make a fan film???

Well, let me tell you what I do have…

Continue reading “The INTERLUDE GoFundMe tops $11,000!”

Just posted: PAGE 7 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Has it been six weeks already? Wow, this summer is flying by! When I posted page 1 of this comic on June 18, the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE had been up for a week, and we’d just crossed the $3K mark with 53 donors. Now we’re at $10,415 with 144 donors (plus a few more via Paypal)!

That is so awesome, and I can’t tell you how amazing it feels to have so many people supporting me and sharing this crazy dream of making a fan film. But we’re still not quite there yet, so once again, here’s the link to the GoFundMe campaign for Interlude.

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

Please donate or at least share. And now, let’s wrap up the comic…

SPOILER ALERT!

Yep, one last time, here’s your warning. The “Stardate 2245.1” comic book short story is pretty much the same plot you’ll see in the fan film Interlude. So if you don’t want to know what’s going to happen, for the love of Garth(!) don’t read the 7-page (plus cover) comic below. So say we all.

Okay, let’s discuss the last page…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 7 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…

The typical “life cycle” for most crowd-funding campaigns (especially for Star Trek fan films) is a burst of excitement and donations at the beginning, then a slowdown in the middle, and (if you’re lucky) a smaller burst at the end just before the deadline. I’ve seen it dozens of times.

The problem for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, however, is that I decided to use GoFundMe instead of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The latter two have built-in deadlines—usually 30 or 60 days—before the campaign must either reach its goal or fail.

But GoFundMe is open-ended. Conceivably, I could still be raising money for Interlude when Earth makes first contact with the Vulcans 44 years from now! Of course, I don’t plan to do that. At some point, I will need to shut this campaign down and deliver a completed fan film to you all. The question is…when?

We had a FANtastic first month, taking in nearly half of our goal from more than 100 backers ranging from $5 and $10 and $20 donors to donations in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars! But in the past couple of weeks, although donations are still coming in, the pace has slowed considerably…which is consistent with the crowd-funding “life cycle.”

Unfortunately, without a specific deadline, it’s unlikely that we’ll get that final boost. And even if I do set an artificial deadline (which I am about to do in this blog), it’s not likely that we’ll reach or exceed the $19,500 goal that our budget calls for.

However, as I mentioned last week, my budget blog back in June mentioned that my numbers purposefully erred on the high side in order to provide flexibility for trimming and cutting various items just in case we didn’t make our goal.

So this past week, I sat down with my directors, VICTORIA FOX and JOSHUA IRWIN, and went through every line item with a fine-toothed comb. We sliced, we diced, we cropped and capped. And in the end, we came up with a minimum that we’ll need to commit to making this fan film…as well as the date we’ll need to have those funds by in order to be ready to shoot the first weekend of November.

So what’s our “point of no return”?

Continue reading “And the INTERLUDE GoFundMe “POINT OF NO RETURN” is…”

Just posted: PAGE 6 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!

Yesterday, the GoFundMe campaign for INTERLUDE crossed the $10,000 threshold (on our way to $19,500) with 140 backers! Plus there’s a handful of Paypal donors. And of course, donations are always welcome right here…

https://www.gofundme.com/interlude

And without further ado, the blog…


SPOILER ALERT!

As we present the next-to-last page of “Stardate 2245.1,” I’ll remind you all once again that, if you want to be know nothing about my Axanar Universe fan film Interlude, then you should stop reading now and find another webpage to visit. The comic story is almost the same as the fan film story. So if you want to be completely surprised by Interlude, staying on this blog entry is pretty much the worst place you could be!

There, I said it.

As much as I love every single panel of every page of artwork that my illustrator DANIEL FU produced, if I had to pick a favorite, Page 6 would be it. Go ahead and scroll down to the bottom of this blog page to check it out and then come back up here, because it truly is a beautifully composed masterpiece.

I recall that Daniel and I spent a lot of time on this page, discussing it both before and after he had produced the first clean version. Initially, Daniel’s bridge background in panel three wasn’t accurate to the photos of the actual set, and while I hated asking my poor, overworked artist for a redo, I also felt it was very important that this particular panel look like the real thing.

And here’s why…

Continue reading “Just posted: PAGE 6 of the INTERLUDE comic “STARDATE 2245.1”!”

INTERLUDE GoFundMe – How long to the point of no return?

When I launched the GoFundMe campaign for my Axanar Universe fan film INTERLUDE, I knew going in that there were three possible outcomes…

  1. Total failure – I was using GoFundMe (not Kickstarter or Indiegogo) with no perks…would that even work? If I’d only managed to take in a few thousand dollars in the first month or two, I’d likely need to refund the donations and give up on my dream project.
  2. Smashing success If I quickly blasted past my $19.5K goal in a few weeks, then full speed ahead and maybe even start planning for a second production.
  3. Something in between.

We’re definitely in the third scenario, folks, which is fine. In fact, I kinda expected it. When I wrote my budget blog, I even said the following:

If we come up short, we’ll need to figure out ways to trim things. For that reason, I’ve “erred on the side of caution” and created my budget to assume costs on the high side. That way, if we don’t make our goal, we’ll hopefully still have enough to make a decent fan film by streamlining and trimming things from the budget.

And that’s where we are. It’s been a little over a month, and we’ve just crossed the half-way point to our goal. We’re at $9,768 as I type this…plus another $100 or so in Paypal donations. It’s a solid start, and donations are still coming in. But they’ve slowed down (as they usually do after a quick start), and I need to look at practical considerations now.

In order to film in November, we need to commit to certain things by September. For this reason, I can’t simply keep up the GoFundMe until we reach our goal (even if it takes months or years). We have to figure out a “point of no return.” What is the minimum we need to get this project filmed? Can we do it for $17K? $15K? $13.5K? Do we have enough with just the nearly $10K raised so far?

Obviously, if we have to cut things out of the budget, we won’t have all the bells and whistles. But for me, it’s more important to turn this dream into a reality. So I’m going to sit down with my co-directors, VICTORIA FOX (who is also my producer) and JOSHUA IRWIN and start figuring out what can be trimmed, and by what date we need to lock down our GoFundMe to either commit to filming in November or else delay the production until we’re better funded. (I think we’ve taken in enough to no longer need to consider canceling the project.)

So what do I need from you folks right now?

Continue reading “INTERLUDE GoFundMe – How long to the point of no return?”

ST: Discovery’s ANTHONY RAPP shares film festival performance nomination with two TREK FAN FILM ACTORS!

Okay, this…is…just…plain…COOL!

Although the CBS fan film guidelines say that Star Trek actors can’t appear in Trek fan films anymore, the rules don’t say anything about being nominated in the same category for an independent film festival award!

In this case, the film festival is INDIE SHORT FEST – the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. And this is no minor film festival. ISF-LA has regular bimonthly screenings in Hollywood and Burbank and features judges from across the movie industry and film schools. In July alone, over 200 independent short films were considered for judging in various production and performance categories.

And that’s where we find Star Trek: Discovery‘s ANTHONY “Paul Stamets” RAPP going head-to-head against two actors from the latest Avalon Universe fan film, Avalon Lost: CHUCK MERE and VICTORIA FOX. None of the above are nominated for anything involving Star Trek, but it’s still an interesting intersection. Typically, most Trek fan film actors aren’t of the caliber to qualify for inclusion in major film festival award shows…and certainly don’t appear nominated in the same category as actual Star Trek actors!

For this show, the award nomination is actually for the very unique category (at least as far as I’ve seen), “Best Acting Duo.” Many times, an actor’s true abilities can be highlighted and enhanced through an amazing chemistry they share with a fellow actor in the same production. This category recognizes when that “magic” happens.

Chuck and Victoria are nominated for a film titled Before My Eyes, about a faulted relationship seen through the eyes of a grieving woman and a regretful man. Directed by Mason Bowen.

Antony Rapp is nominated alongside VIVIAN KERR in a film called Scrap. Kerr plays single mom Beth who get fired and finds herself living in her car, struggling to hide her homelessness from her estranged brother Ben (played by Rapp). Directed by Leena Pendharkar.

Normally, I’d be rooting for the Star Trek actor (regardless of how I might feel about his TV series). But this time, my heart belongs to Chuck and Victoria…not only because they’re fan film actors but because Victoria is also producing and co-directing my fan film INTERLUDE! (Remember to please donate!)

And I might as well spill the beans: Victoria is also going to appear in my fan film, albeit in a small role. Victoria is immensely talented, and while lately I’ve been seeing more of the “production” side of her skills, I’ve also watched her perform in both fan films and actual films. And her acting skills are top notch. In fact, if you have a chance to watch this newly released film by my other director, JOSHUA IRWIN, I highly recommend you check it out. Victoria appears in it (as does the lead actor of the Trek fan films Ghost Ship and Avalon Lost), and it’s just a really well-crafted, entertaining film.

In the meantime, I’ll keep you all posted on who wins the ISF-LA award for “Best Acting Duo” for this round.

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!”