It was quiet…too quiet. At least, that’s the way it’s seemed lately when it came to STARBASE STUDIOS in Arkansas…an amazing fan film resource of TOS sets including the Trek community’s only 360-degree USS Enterprise bridge. Since 2011, Starbase Studios has been used to shoot scenes for literally dozens of various Star Trek fan projects.
Starbase Studios has had a rather turbulent nine months, beginning last August when a significant number of props and set pieces were removed from the warehouse where the sets were being stored. This was followed by a lawsuit where one of the owners, GLEN WOLFE, sued the other owners, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, for ownership and monetary compensation. Fan filming there all but screeched to a halt for several months while both sides tried to negotiate a compromise.
With some outside assistance, a settlement agreement was signed earlier this year, and the sets are now owned by Glen Wolfe (50%), Scott Johnson (25%), and GLENN MILLER (25%)…although many of the items removed have not yet been returned. With the exception of a one-day video shoot with Parkview Elementary School students this past January (which had been reserved six months earlier), no filming has happened on the Starbase Studios sets since the new year began.
That changed this past weekend when a “who’s who” of Starbase Studios personnel got together in Marble Falls, Arkansas for a very special video shoot. Among the participants were Glen Wolfe and Scott Johnson, seeing each other in person for only the second time since the lawsuit was settled. Would they find a way to get along? Would that old feeling of camaraderie from fan filming Star Trek rekindle their friendship? Or had things been pushed too far for healing to happen?
Needless to say, I was dying to find out! And fortunately, Kent “Words” Edwards, who organized the weekend production, was nice enough to call me from the road and do a quick audio interview.
So let’s check in on Starbase Studios and see what’s up and what went down this past weekend…
Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished. When last I reported on STARBASE STUDIOS, things looked like they would finally work out. An agreement that had been in negotiation for three arduous months had finally been agreed to and signed by all parties. The Starbase Studios lawsuit filed by Glen Wolfe was dropped, and it seemed like things could return to normal.
The new owners of the sets would be GLEN WOLFE (50%), SCOTT JOHNSON (25%), and GLENN MILLER (25%). KENT EDWARDS would no longer own any part of the sets but would continue to be involved with Starbase Studios, LLC, and working with fan filmmakers.
Although the sets would remain in their current location in Marble Falls, Arkansas until the end of this year, after that, plans were that they would be moved into a fantastic new building with heat, A/C, electrical, and best of all, bathrooms! Free rent would be provided by the building’s owners, Glen Wolfe and his wife, and fan productions going through Starbase Studios would be able to continue using the sets essentially for free. It was looking like Starbase Studios had gotten through the rough waters and emerged safely on the other side of the river.
Yeah, well, don’t get out of the boat just yet, folks…
When last we left STARBASE STUDIOS…aw heck, just read the blog, folks! But long story short, VANCE MAJOR and I had worked tirelessly (and I mean that) for months trying everything we could to get these two parties—GLEN L. WOLFE on one side and SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS on the other—to compromise and reach a place where they could reasonably settle their lawsuit over the ownership of the Starbase Studios sets.
It was like pulling teeth…from a Klingon targ!
Every time we thought we had a settlement ready to sign, another problem seemed to crop up. But then, by the middle of January, we finally had an agreement that everyone could live with. Glen was taking it to his lawyer to review, but he was planning to sign it, send it along to Scott and Kent, and finally Starbase Studios could heal and move forward, once again becoming a place where fans could create amateur Star Trek film projects on professional-looking TOS sets.
That agreement was never signed.
So why the headline saying that a settlement has finally been reached? Well, folks, it’s been an…interesting…three weeks!
Read Part 1 of this blog entry if you haven’t already. Did you do it? Good.
So it was now a few weeks before Christmas, and VANCE MAJOR was ready to tag out and I was ready to tag in to try to get this compromise settlement for STARBASE STUDIOS to the finish line. Vance was exhausted, but he got the runners 90% of the way there. Just a few teensy details left to work out…or so I thought.
Keep in mind, neither Vance nor I is a lawyer. Instead, we were just trying, as friends, to help SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT EDWARDS work out a way where GLEN L. WOLFE would drop his lawsuit against them, and Starbase Studios could continue without fan filmmakers having to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to use the Starbase Studios TOS sets.
By the time I tagged in, there was a full legal settlement agreement already written up by Glen’s lawyer, ready for Scott and Kent to sign. But they still had some issues with it. One of the biggest was that Scott decided that he didn’t want Glen to own 100% of the Starbase sets. But he was willing to split them 50/50. Would Glen agree? Scott didn’t think so. And frankly, neither did Vance.
“Look,” I said to Vance, “Maybe he’ll say no, and we’ll be back to square one. But if Glen says yes, then we’re there! It’s worth it to at least ask him.”
Vance agreed to make the call. Five minutes later, I had Glen’s answer…
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes at STARBASE STUDIOS recently, and I’ll get to that in a moment. But first, you might want to read up on the current situation if you don’t already know about the lawsuit and all of the other drama going on of late.
All right, strap in. Let’s start with this past weekend when a group of 5th and 6th graders from Parkview Elementary School Music Club got a chance to film a music video project on the amazing TOS sets of Starbase Studios, currently located in Marble Falls, Arkansas.
The field trip was set up by their teacher, KEVIN CROXTON, who had composed the music for THE FEDERATION FILES’ second episode Walking Bear, Running Wolflast summer. In exchange, Kevin had asked show-runner GLEN L. WOLFE for the opportunity to bring Kevin’s music students (they’re local) to the sets to film a video project. So this past weekend’s excursion has been planned for nearly 7 months.
And, really, isn’t this what Starbase Studios is all about? Sets by the fans, for the fans…and even attracting a whole new (next!) generation of young fans. So what could possibly be wrong with that?
Yesterday, we looked at the history of STARBASE STUDIOS from its founding in 2010 to its move from Oklahoma to Arkansas at the beginning of 2017. Things started to get tense and messy by early summer, with DAN REYNOLDS stepping aside, leaving GLEN L. WOLFE wanting to charge fan producers $500/day (plus extra fees) to use the studios TOS sets and resources…while SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS wanted to keep the sets free for use by fans (only requesting a donation to cover the cost of electricity for the day). And as long as CHARLES “BUD” PELSOR, the landlord of the warehouse where the STARBASE STUDIOS sets were being housed in Dogpatch, AR, was providing free rent until the end of 2018, offering use of the sets essentially for free was certainly doable.
Then, in early August, as recounted in this recent blog a large number props and items both freestanding and attached to the sets were removed and taken from the warehouse. It was not a break-in, as there was no indication of forced entry. Later on, when the police were brought in,they spoke with Glen’s attorney who explained that the items taken were the personal property of Glen Wolfe, and if Scott and “Words” wanted to prove otherwise, they would need to do so in civil court. The police then told everyone that they would stay out of the matter until ownership was clearly and legally established.
As you might recall from this recent blog, SCOTT JOHNSON and KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS, with the help of VANCE MAJOR, posted a videoshowing many critical pieces of the TOS sets that were removed, 90 days earlier, along with damage done to the remaining set pieces during the removal process. But the question must be asked: was this “theft” and “vandalism” or simply someone reclaiming his personal property? And it is now looking as though that question will end up being answered in an Arkansas courtroom.
There’s a LOT of ground to cover right now, folks, and I’m going to share as much as I’m allowed to while trying to break this whole situation down for you. Ready?
Last November, the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINIONreturned from a 16-month hiatus with a new episode that crossed over with sister fan series STARSHIP VALIANT…an episode entitled “Chain of Command.” You can read more about that endeavor here in this Fan Film Factor blog.
Written by Vance Major, Gary Davis, and David R. Wrenn, and directed by Vance and Gary, the scenes for “Chain of Command” were filmed separately in the states of Ohio, North Carolina, and Oklahoma (the former location of Starbase Studios) and then edited together into a 7-minute fan film. It focused on the new CO of the USS Dominion trying to find a first officer.
It’s rare to see the full (or nearly full) casts of two different fan series cross over into a single fan film. What’s even rarer is to see them cross over TWICE!
And it’s interesting that I said “cross over” because the latest film film to feature these two crews crosses viewers over into the Mirror Universe with a retelling of the “Chain of Command” story with the same characters but from the Terran Empire’sISS Dominon and ISS Valiant.
It’s fun and fascinating…all at the same time! Written by the same team, the directors were now Gary Davis and Kent Edwards. And the locations still included Ohio and North Carolina, but Starbase Studios has now moved to Arkansas, and some scenes were also filmed in Georgia. I’m told the entire production was shot last month (with a few scenes filmed in May) and edited together pretty quickly to come out with such a fast turnaround.
I’m going to provide links to three different fan films here. The first is mirror universe “Command and Conquer.” Below that is the prime universe “Chain of Command” for you to compare it to. And finally, there’s a short vignette written by and starring Vance Major titled Project Defiant: “Dark Glimmer.” Although it came out in late June, it’s a sequel to the newly-released “Command and Conquer.”
And look for a really great audio interview with Vance Major on Fan Film Factor this coming Friday!