SKY FIGHTER is now available for public viewing on YouTube!

SKY FIGHTER isn’t technically a fan film, but it is a fan-funded, fan-made film. Although writer/director LUKAS KENDALL has a listing on IMDB, his credits were fairly limited…at least until now, that is! With the completion of the Sky Fighter independent sci-fi themed film, Lukas is officially a writer and—more importantly—a director.

At times, the most cynical voices voices in our fan community deride fan filmmakers for simply “copying” someone else’s intellectual property (ViacomCBS, Lucasfilm, Marvel, Warners) rather than just coming up with an original story and setting and characters that they can own outright. And while it’s true that the vast majority of Star Trek fan films are made by hard-core Trekkers who just want to play in that existing sandbox/universe and don’t care about launching full Hollywood careers, Lukas—although a Trekker himself—was the rare exception. He wanted more.

Lukas had written a full feature-length movie script that he also wanted to direct. But such things cost mega-bucks (even the cheap ones!), and those who supply financial backing and investment for such projects are typically uncomfortable putting their money behind a first-time director. In other words, Lukas knew he was heading down a path where he’d likely hear that an investor loved his script and knew the perfect person to direct it…and that person would not be the writer.

But this script was Lukas’ vision, and he didn’t want to share or (more likely) hand over creative control to someone else. But without showing what he could accomplish as a director himself, his chances of selling the script AND also being allowed to direct it were slim at best.

So Lukas came up with a plan…

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SKY FIGHTER is finished and available for donors! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL, part 2)

Last week, we began a fascinating discussion with LUKAS KENDALL, who, after raising $31,000 in an Indiegogo campaign a year ago, set out to direct a short sci-fi film that he wrote himself: SKY FIGHTER. The 15-minute vignetter story is part of an expansive full-length feature film which Lukas will be pitching to production studios. Sky Fighter will serve as a proof of concept to illustrate not only what the completed film could look like but also how competent of a director Lukas can be.

As a first-time director, studios might be more willing to buy his script and give it to someone else to direct, and Lukas doesn’t want that. This is his dream, and he is going all out to turn it into a reality.

Although the film was just completed a few weeks ago, it hasn’t yet been shared with the general public because that would disqualify Sky Fighter from consideration in most film festivals. However, backers to the original campaign were given a password-protected private link to a screening copy, and those wishing to donate to a new campaign (to fund a Blu-ray and music CD) will also be given special access to the completed film…and it is absolutely worth checking out! Here is the trailer…

A donation as low as $5 gets you immediate access to the backer-only link—and donating a little more gets you other cool stuff…

And now, the conclusion of our deep-dive interview with Lukas Kendall…

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SKY FIGHTER is finished and available for donors! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL, part 1)

A little over a year ago, a Star Trek fan named LUKAS KENDALL set out to do something that some folks out there have suggested: crowd-fund something NEW that isn’t Star Trek so there’s no questions of rights or ownership. Of course, the big question was (at the time) whether people would donate to a fan-funded project that wasn’t part of an existing franchise like Star Trek or Star Wars or superhero, etc.

The crowd-funding campaign was atypical in a couple of ways. In addition to taking a very tongue-in-cheek approach in the pitch to donors and offering music CDs as perks (Lukas sells ’em as a business), Lukas included the full 12-page script for the short film for potential backers to read and evaluate.

The unusual approach worked, and Lukas was able to blast past his $25K goal on Indiegogo and reach $31K to produce what was intended to be a short segment of a longer, full-length movie that Lukas wanted to direct himself. The short segment was called SKY FIGHTER and was a self-contained story. But it also fit into the larger full-length feature, and the plan was (is) to use the 16-minute Sky Fighter to try to sell the larger project to production studios.

Coming on board to work on the project were two names VERY familiar to the Trek fan film community: ROBERT MEYER BURNETT to edit and TOBIAS RICHTER and the Light Works to do the visual effects.

Last week, the completed Sky Fighter premiered exclusively to backers, and it is masterful…a top quality production in every way. Rob outdid himself on the editing and Tobias, well, when has he ever failed to impress? And Lukas himself did an extremely strong job directing.

In order to keep Sky Fighter eligible to be entered into film festivals, the completed production cannot be posted publicly to the Internet yet. However, if you want to see it now, a new Indiegogo campaign has been set up to cover cost overruns and the production of Blu-ray discs and CDs (the music is incredible!). For as little as $5, you can get an exclusive link to the finished film. Click below to donate…

The goal is $5,000, and Lukas is already 21% of the way there. In the meantime, the trailer is publicly available right now…

Lukas was eager to talk about his first foray into directing and share a behind-the-scenes look into this amazing production. Let’s get after it…

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SKY FIGHTER wraps studio filming!

Well, that was sure quick!  Man, with all the crowd-funding campaigns we’ve had this summer, it seems like ages ago—at least to me—that the sci-fi genre SKY FIGHTER fan film (to be edited by Axanar‘s ROBERT MEYER BURNETT) was clawing its way to reach a $25,000 goal on Indiegogo.

Ultimately, the campaign took in more than $31,000, allowing writer/director LUKAS KENDALL to create his dream project: an excellent 12-page script (which he shared on the Indiegogo page) that would serve as a short “proof-of-concept” to sell a larger full-length feature script that he also wrote and wanted dearly to direct.

Filming would be straightforward, done primarily on the Laurel Canyon Stages’ “Spaceship Sets” (which you’ve seen dozens of times in multiple films), with a couple of very quick “memory/flashback” scenes that would be shot in an outdoor location.

Let me turn the mic over to Lukas and an update he sent to donors earlier this week…

We shot the majority of the live-action footage this weekend at Laurel Canyon Stages—and it went great! Here I am with stars Tom Maden (Scream: TV Series) and Jess Gabor (soon to be seen in Shameless). I am smiling because we were done! (We still have to shoot the flashback/memory scenes, which we’ll do in the next two weeks.)

The shoot went better than I could have possibly imagined. There are three aspects to directing: camera, performance and then, essentially, storytelling—having everything work together to tell the story. The camera and I are just getting acquainted, but fortunately, ace cinematographer Dan Marks with his amazing team (put together by his producing partner at Outdoor Voices, Levi Smock) had that well in hand. (The Laurel Canyon Stages spaceship set was so spectacular, as dressed by production designer Ben Ralston, the stage staffer even said it was the best he had ever seen the set look.) I concentrated on performance and storytelling, and I am convinced we got all the pieces we need for Robert Meyer Burnett and I to tell the story in the editing room.

To the cast, crew, and all of you Indiegogo supporters, I just want to say, having watched all the footage as it went down…I think you gave me a directing career. That is an astounding gift and one I will never forget.

More updates to come!


It’s gonna be a NAIL-BITER for SKY FIGHTER!!!

I have to be honest with you guys: I didn’t think it was gonna happen.  With many recent crowd-funding campaigns for Trek fan films clawing their way to $10K (if that!), how was a NON-Star Trek fan film by a first-time director gonna possibly take in $25,000???  And beyond that, SKY FIGHTER‘s writer/director LUKAS KENDALL had selected the all-or-nothing “Fixed Goal” option on Indiegogo, where if you don’t reach your goal, you get NOTHING (just like on Kickstarter).

I mean, who does that????  If you’re gonna use Indiegogo, at least choose the “Flex Goal” option and keep whatever you raise, regardless of how much or how little.  But as Lukas told me in this interview, he was going all in…$25K or bust!!!

I was also curious about Lukas’ somewhat unorthodox approach, including posting his complete script for the Sky Fighter short film for anyone to read, using a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor to describe himself and his project, and including among his perks certain ones that seemed a bit (purposefully) outrageous.

Would this work?  Could this work?

The answer may just turn out to be YES, but it’s gonna be SUPER-CLOSE!  With just two days left (the campaign ends this Thursday at midnight Pacific Time), the Sky Fighter Indiegogo is nearly 90% of the way to its $25,000 goal.. at $22,248 as I type this.

Lukas, who gained a following producing CD collections of popular science fiction TV and movie scores, has been relying on those same followers for a lot of his donor support, and it’s certainly been working.  Among his most popular perks are the “Best of Both Worlds” signed CD ($20 + shipping), the Return to Tomorrow – Making of ST:TMP book ($35 + shipping), and especially the Star Trek TOS CD box set & 50th Anniversary 4 CD set ($199, free shipping). That latter bundle saves people around $100.

There is eve a weekend on Martha’s Vinyard for $1,000 where you get to spend a Friday-Sunday in August with Lukas Kendall’s MOTHER!  She’ll even take you out for dinner on Saturday night.  (I told you there were some outrageous perks.)    Donate $1,000 and you get to go through Lukas’ crap in the basement!

C’mon, folks!  Let’s get this Indiegogo campaign across the finish line…


Get on board the SKY FIGHTER Indiegogo! (interview with LUKAS KENDALL)

I get a lot of requests to cover  crowd-funding campaigns for fan films here on this blog.  Many of those requests I politely decline because the projects have no connection to Star Trek, which is where I focus most of my attention.

So why did I decide to feature a non-Star Trek fan project like SKY FIGHTER?  Well, there actually is a connection to both Star Trek and Trek fan films.  First, show-runner LUKAS KENDALL produced many of the Star Trek music compilations on CD over the years.  And second, Lukas is a close friend of ROBERT MEYER BURNETT and tapped him to edit the final Sky Fighter short film.  Rob, as many of you know, was the editor of the highly popular Prelude to Axanar fan film and was, until recently, slated to direct the remaining two episodes of the Axanar trilogy.

But that wasn’t the only thing that intrigued me enough to want to bring this new Indiegogo campaign to your attention.

The first thing I noticed about the campaign was the tongue-in-cheek humor.  While some projects take a somewhat light tone here and there, this one is going all-in with comedy.  Lukas even calls himself “a highly qualified un-qualified person” and makes sure to mention that “I am not stupid!”  He even included an illustration to hammer home that point…

Also really funny were some of the perks.  Most of them are serious items of some value, but a few were eye-popping in their obvious outrageousness…

Click to enlarge…

But it wasn’t just the humor that got my attention.  Lukas also made the unusual decision to post his entire script for the short film for all to read (rather than keeping it secret, as most productions to).  And it’s definitely worth reading, folks—I was very impressed.

Also, the short film is a “proof-of-concept” that will apparently lead to a full-length feature…and there is already an offer on the table!

And last but not least, this $25,000 Indiegogo is an all-or-nothing Fixed Goal campaign…meaning it either makes the goal or the production gets nothing (which is usually the caae for Kickstarter).

Fortunately, Lukas has managed to generate almost $9,000 (as I type this) from nearly 100 backers with 23 days still to go.  Needless to say, I asked him about that early success straight away when we chatted…

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