Psychedelic Trek: LOST & FOUND is a total star trip! (video interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN)

MATTHEW BLACKBURN isn’t as well known as many fan filmmakers. He doesn’t hang out on the various fan film Facebook groups, he doesn’t release dozens of fan films each year, he doesn’t do crowd-funders or shoot his films on elaborate sets or feature jaw-dropping VFX. He doesn’t cross over with other productions or do a lot of interviews (except with me). And he only ever posts something to Facebook when he’s completed a new fan film.

That said, Matthew has just released his fourth full-length (15-minute) Star Trek fan film in five years and his fifth overall. Matthews’s first fan film, STAR TREK: SURVIVOR, came out back in 2010 and featured 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. The film was produced by a total of four people, one of them being Matthew’s wife.

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.

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.

Late last year, Matthew released the first of his fan films NOT to have the word “Survivor” in the title. LEFT BEHIND was an action-packed fan film with fights and stunts amid an almost tongue-in-cheek plotline—a very unique offering! That one got a two-part text interview, too.

Although each film stands alone, they can also be watched as a longer storyline. Interestingly, each release is a different TYPE of film: pscho-thriller, buddy adventure, terrifying physical and mental struggle against a more powerful being, and comedic action/adventure survival story.

Matthew’s latest offering once again stands out—both alone and together with the others—as a truly unique genre film. This time, the theme is “mind trip” in a big way, as you never really know which way is up or down, who is who, and what exactly is going on until the very end. Although some fans weren’t crazy about such an odd format, it’s actually a very challenging story structure to edit together and make work. Personally, I think it’s a very strong effort, very ambitious, and definitely worth checking out…

Like Matthew, I decided to switch things up a bit, since we’ve already done text and audio interviews. So this time, we went for a video interview…

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.

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

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)”