From the creator of the SURVIVOR trilogy – someone is LEFT BEHIND! (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 2)

Last week, we started chatting with fan filmmaker MATTHEW BLACKBURN about his latest offering, LEFT BEHIND. Previously, Matthew had produced and released three other Star Trek fan films:

Each of these films focused on a single Starfleet officer or small group of officers down on a planet, facing an alien adversary, and without the help of a starship in orbit. Of course, on a practical level, this allowed Matthew to film at scenic locations near his home in the Mojave Desert near Los Angeles while not having to work with sets or interior locations that would need to look futuristic.

One notable quality to Matthew’s three previous films was his use of physical stunts like fights, falls, climbing, running, and other strenuous activities not typically seen in most fan films, as they are challenging to shoot properly.

Matthew’s latest release, LEFT BEHIND, again focuses on a single Starfleet officer trapped on the surface of a strange (and scenic!) planet, facing off against what appears to be a belligerent adversary. But this time, looks might be deceiving, as you will see…

When we last left off with Matthew, our interview had transitioned into what it was like shooting outdoors and the stunts that were involved…

JONATHAN – What was your most dangerous stunt?

MATTHEW – The most dangerous thing we did was on account of how windy it was. We’re talking 50-60 mph. I had the idea for me and Travis to tumble down a MUCH smaller hill after the first graboid attack, but as we were walking around the location, Travis saw a much larger hill in the distance. We both kind of knew without saying anything. He talked me into it. Katie had to prop herself up on top of another hill to get the shot as Travis and I hiked the mountain. She nearly got toppled over a couple times due to high winds, but she got it, and a few bits we used for the travelogue shots.

The stunt was nothing fancy. We just threw ourselves down the mountain and hoped it came out well. Hopefully it did.

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From the creator of the SURVIVOR trilogy – someone is LEFT BEHIND! (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 1)

The name MATTHEW BLACKBURN isn’t the most famous in the fan film community, but Matthew has just released his fourth Star Trek fan film in ten years, and he’s still going strong. The first three each had the word “Survivor” in them and all follow a general “pattern” of featuring nearly all of the action down on a planet where the protagonist(s) is/are separated from any help from the ship.  While down on the surface, they face a threat that usually involves running, climbing, and at least one solid fight scene. And all in all, these fan films are really quite excellent!

Matthew’s first fan film, STAR TREK: SURVIVOR, came out back in 2010 and features the story of a marooned Starfleet officer (played by Matthew) who is nearly dead before being found by a marooned Vulcan agent on a secret mission for the Vulcan High Command. A Vulcan survey ship is scheduled to arrive at the planet in three months time, but there isn’t enough food or water to last for that long if two people are consuming it. The importance of the Vulcan’s mission means that, logically, the human Starfleet officer should be left to starve. Pretty interesting, huh? The 10-minute fan film was made with a total of just four people, including Matthew’s wife Katie.

Matthew’s second fan film, SURVIVORS, came out seven years later (after the guidelines) and again featured a human and a Vulcan—played by the same actors—but this time they were the captain and his first officer. The production team had grown to six people for this 15-minute film, and I did a 2-part audio interview with Matthew, which you can listen to here if you’d like.

Finally, at the very end of 2018, Matthew released a third fan film titled LAST SURVIVOR, again made by just six people but this time featuring an initial landing party of four. The villain in this film was truly terrifying, and this final installment of the Survivor “trilogy” was unquestionably Matthew’s strongest effort yet. I did a two-part text interview with him that you can read here.

But now it seems that Last Survivor wasn’t so “final” after all, as Matthew and his team (still six people but a different six) released a fourth Star Trek fan film back in August, LEFT BEHIND, and it’s another very strong offering. See for yourself…

I reached out once again to Matthew for what will be our third interview. But it’s not just more of the same. Each time, Matthew shares some great stories and insights that he’s gained as a filmmaker. If you want to make fan films, too, consider the following interview required reading. And if you don’t want to make fan films, well, I think you’ll still really enjoy this interview…

Continue reading “From the creator of the SURVIVOR trilogy – someone is LEFT BEHIND! (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 1)”

The last SURVIVOR fan film is THE LAST SURVIVOR (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 2)

Last week, we began discussing the Survivor trilogy with creator and show-runner MATTHEW BLACKBURN. The fan series got its start back in 2010 with the release of the 10-minute fan film SURVIVOR, produced on a teeny-tiny budget and filmed entirely by just four people.

In 2017, a 15-minute sequel called SURVIVORS was released, this one produced by a team of six fans. Matthew wrote, directed, and starred in both films. This one was lighter and a bit more humorous than the first, although it was still a serious fan film.

And just as 2018 was ending, Matthew released his third fan film, using the same main characters as the previous film. Again with a 15-minute runtime (following the fan film guidelines), LAST SURVIVOR was perhaps Matthew’s most ambitious undertaking thus far…


In part one of our interview, we discussed Matt’s formal education (or lack thereof) in cinematic production, and how he was mainly self-taught and learned by doing. We then took a look back on what went into creating the first two fan films…before shifting our focus to Matthew’s latest release.

And that’s where we pick up…

Continue reading “The last SURVIVOR fan film is THE LAST SURVIVOR (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 2)”

The last SURVIVOR fan film is THE LAST SURVIVOR (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 1)

Back in 2010, a short 10-minute 24th century-era Trek fan film made its debut. Despite being ultra-low budget, it was actually quite ambitious, being shot in multiple outdoor locations by a team of just four people…two of whom appeared on screen. It was called SURVIVOR and was written, produced, and directed by MATTHEW BLACKBURN, who also starred in the leading role. The finished product was very well done and quite interesting.

Most fans thought Survivor was just a one-and-done effort, but seven years later in the summer of 2017, Matthew released a sequel: SURVIVORS. Still low-budget, this time six people had produced the fan film, and it was 15 minutes long and a bit more ambitious. It even had some very decent visual FX and strong performances for a fan film. Matthew and I chatted about both projects in one of my very first audio interviews here on Fan Film Factor.

At the very end of 2018 (two days before the new year), Matthew released what seems to be—at least from the title—the final installment of the Survivor trilogy: LAST SURVIVOR. It’s my favorite of the three, although they are each very enjoyable. Check it out…

I reached out to Matthew for another interview, wanting to know about the making of this latest production and whether any more fan films would be coming our way in the future. Matthew was happy to oblige, although this time the interview will be in text format…

Continue reading “The last SURVIVOR fan film is THE LAST SURVIVOR (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 1)”