Could the new LOWER DECKS be the STAR TREK series fans have been waiting for?

Get ready for an, ahem, animated discussion…and probably a whole bunch of really angry response comments!

These days, if a new Star Trek series from CBS All Access debuts to universal or near-universal acclaim, then it’s probably premiering in a different universe! In THIS universe, Trek fans are an infamously hard-to-please/easy-to-piss-off mob with social media pitchforks and YouTube podcast torches.

I know; I’ve been one of them…kinda.

Granted, I’ve probably kept more of an open mind than many, and with the exception of the last two episodes of the first season of PICARD, I actually really enjoyed that series. But you guys know how critical I was of DISCOVERY‘s first season—and season two, while significantly better, didn’t completely escape my blogs of shame!

And so, like many fans, I reacted to details about the new STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS series (debuting next month) with some serious trepidation…although still trying very hard to keep an open mind. It hasn’t been easy. The very concept of the new series scared the crap out of me!

I mean…an animated comedy???

Star Trek has survived being animated before. The 22 episodes from Filmation in 1973-74 had a few true gems (“Yesteryear” and “The Slaver Weapon”) and some major klunkers (“The Infinite Vulcan”). But it was generally a well-executed series. As for comedy Trek, episodes like “The Trouble with Tribbles,” “A Piece of the Action,” and movies like Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home showed that you could certainly add a bit of comedic flair to Trek and get a pretty decent result.

Don’t say that Star Trek can’t be funny!

But could an animated series designed purposefully for non-stop gags and punchlines still work as Star Trek? Would fans accept such a tongue-in-cheek approach to a universe that we’ve dearly cherished and believed in for all these decades?

Well, CBS (now VCBS, I guess) and ALEX KURTZMAN have decided to find out—and I suppose we will, too, on August 6…and more likely on August 7 when the fannish mob once again takes to social media to make their opinions known (probably quite loudly).

But I am going to go out on a limb and say that, in my gut, we fans might just be getting the Star Trek we’ve been demanding for so long now from both CBS and Paramount!

Before diving into my reasons for that bold prediction, however, if you haven’t seen the latest trailer yet (released on July 12), then please have a look…

Also, a short scene from the first episode was just released yesterday…

And now, let’s cry “Havoc” and let those dogs of war slip a little…

Continue reading “Could the new LOWER DECKS be the STAR TREK series fans have been waiting for?”

INTERLUDE clip gets 7.8K views (and 1K likes) in 15 HOURS!

Wow…what a difference a successful YouTube Channel makes!

I posted a link to the 48-second “sneak peak” clip from INTERLUDE last week as part of a blog explaining why we were going to miss our announced premiere date of July 25, 2020. Long story short, the music isn’t done yet. But I wanted to give folks a taste of how the music sounded. So I cut a short clip and posted it. The video got 363 views over six days.

Last night, ALEC PETERS debuted the same video clip on the AXANAR YouTube channel. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is…

I woke up this morning to see that the clip has now had over 7.8K views and 1K thumbs up (versus only 35 thumbs down)…so YAY! Of course, the channel has 89K subscribers—no wonder it got so many views so quickly. But hey, I’m not complaining!

I also read though the comments, and there were a number of questions and topics that came up repeatedly. So I thought I’d respond to them here if anyone is interested and/or curious:

1. When is Interlude coming out?

Soon. As I explained in last week’s blog, KEVIN CROXTON is about halfway done with the music, then MARK EDWARD LEWIS will add in the final sound effects and balance the sound levels. We’re also awaiting one final VFX sequence from LEWIS ANDERSON. Then we’re pretty much D-O-N-E.

2. The music is too loud/voices are too low.

Yep. As I said, the sound-mixing gets done last (since you need all the music before you can balance the levels). This clip was simply to give folks a taste of the music, and it’s a work-in-progress.

One of the most FUN things about making this fan film is showing you folks the behind-the-scenes steps of making a fan film. I didn’t want this clip to be polished and perfect…yet. It’s more interesting to hear the music raw before sound-mixing and then compare it to the finished product in order to get an appreciation for what sound mixing can do.

3. We waited ten years for 48 seconds???

Sigh. First of all, Interlude isn’t Axanar. We only started crowd-funding a year ago. And for the record, Axanar had its first crowd-funding campaign in 2014…six years ago, not ten. (Why people keep saying “ten years” is beyond me. Counting to six isn’t hard…you don’t need to round to the nearest ten!) And remember that Axanar was sued for a year, had to move across the country, then finish the bridge, raise money to replace the funds that were lost during the lawsuit while filming couldn’t happen, and then had to go through the many and complex steps of actually producing a fan film.

Axanar has now had multiple shoots, and only one 2-day shoot remains…a shoot that can’t happen while the international pandemic is still shutting down union productions everywhere. And if you’d like to donate to Axanar so that it can be finished, please click on the link below…

https://aresdigital.axanar.com

Continue reading “INTERLUDE clip gets 7.8K views (and 1K likes) in 15 HOURS!”

INTERLUDE Confidential #12 – The best laid plans of fans and filmmakers…

Um, about that July 25th release date…

As I’ve said before ,when I first set out to make INTERLUDE, my goal wasn’t simply to make a Star Trek fan film. I wanted to EXPERIENCE making a Star Trek fan film and then share that experience with with all of you through these blogs.

But there was one fan filmmaker moment that I hadn’t experienced yet—until now, that is. Over the decades-long history of Star Trek fan films, many projects have announced their premiere dates…only to miss them. For some fan films, multiple premiere dates were missed.

Well, you can now add Interlude (and me) to that list. After announcing my premiere date in this really cool trailer that I edited together…

…I can now confirm that Interlude will NOT be coming to YouTube on July 25th after all. And I sincerely apologize. It won’t be delayed too much—and I can say that because I know what still needs to be done (more on that shortly).

To quote The Talking Heads, “You may ask yourself: ‘Well, how did I get here?'” The answer isn’t as simple as “letting the days go by.” Lots of people have been working really hard on post-production. But since these blogs are meant to assist other and future fan filmmakers by sharing my experiences (both good and bad), here’s what happened…

Continue reading “INTERLUDE Confidential #12 – The best laid plans of fans and filmmakers…”

How I spent my first crowd-funded $12 on INTERLUDE…

As filming dates rapidly approach, things are getting really exciting for both AXANAR and INTERLUDE! And while ALEC PETERS updates everyone on the progress of his fan film, I’m going to write a series of blogs about the happenings on the Interlude side of the fence…since it’s a really fascinating journey we’re on. I want to share that journey with all of you as much as I can; that’s what blogging is all about!

I’m not planning to write a blog whenever I pay for something for my fan film. But your first time is always special, and I wanted to tell you about it.

But first, I’d like to share a another special moment that came at 12:16am on June 23, 2019—12 days after I’d launched my crowd-funding campaign for Interlude. I received what was to be the first of nearly 100 daily e-mails from GoFundMe…

Wow. Just…wow.

It’d taken me a couple of weeks to get my bank account properly linked to my GoFundMe account. But truth to tell, I hadn’t realized that GoFundMe gives you the money each night just after midnight for any donations your campaign receives that day. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how they did it, but getting money transferred each night at midnight felt like having elves or leprechauns visit and leave money behind! Some days, I’d receive less than $10 while other days would see deposits into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars! For for three months, those “Your money is on the way” e-mails appeared almost every night. It was soooo weird.

Anyway, I let that money accrue, and the balance in my bank account just kept growing. As of the beginning of September, my account balance was over $19,000. (This is a separate bank account set up for the campaign, not our main joint account.)

But then came the moment that I knew was inevitable. After watching the money only go INTO the account for three months, I was finally going to have to make my first payment FROM that account. And even though, as executive producer, I’ve always known I was going to have to one day start spending those crowd-funded dollars, it still felt weird…and a little scary! After all, once money is spent, it doesn’t come back without more crowd-funding. And I gave donors a very specific budget.

To make things even more scary, my first expense was completely unplanned for and unbudgeted. (See? I toldja we’d forget something! That’s why we need contingency.) Fortunately, the unexpected expense was (this first time) was only twelve bucks…

So what cost us just $12? Glad you asked…

Continue reading “How I spent my first crowd-funded $12 on INTERLUDE…”

URGENT – Watch fan film BLADE OF HONOR (with Richard Hatch and Tim Russ) on AMAZON PRIME before the end of THIS SATURDAY!

Well, this is huge news!

A crowd-funded fan film, BLADE OF HONOR, has just made it to AMAZON PRIME! The totally original fan film (NOT based on Star Trek) is intended as a pilot for a sci-fi series and stars the late RICHARD HATCH (from Battlestar Galactica and Prelude to Axanar), who turns in a remarkable performance, along with TIM “Tuvok” RUSS from Voyager, ARON “Nog” EISENBERBERG from Deep Space Nine, and JAMES KYSON from Heroes.

This film contains a touching tribute to Richard Hatch at the end, as Blade of Honor was Richard’s final performance before he passed away in early 2017.

But you need to watch it TODAY (Friday) or Saturday at the latest…and tell all of your friends and family to, as well. It’s important because Amazon has a “rankings” system which rates how productions do and helps them with marketing if they do well. But that happens only in the first 48 HOURS…so don’t wait!!

IMPORTANT – You must watch it all the way through (39 minutes including extras after the closing credits) and then give it a five-star rating at the end if you want your viewing to count positively toward Amazon’s rankings.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can watch it for free. If not, you can rent it for $1.99 or buy it for $4.99…

CLICK HERE TO WATCH
BLADE OF HONOR WITH RICHARD HATCH

Blade of Honor was originally crowd-funded with $92,000 raised from fans in a 2016 Kickstarter and a follow-up 2017 Indiegogo to finish post-production. In addition to the actors listed above, numerous members of the fan film community were also involved, including BRANDON STACY (Star Trek: New Voyages), JULIAJ MORIZAWA (Star Trek: Hidden Frontier), RIVKAH RAVEN WOOD (Star Trek: New Voyages/Hidden Frontier), RYAN T. HUSK (Star Trek: Horizon), and several others. Axanar Post Production Supervisor and Editor, MARK EDWARD LEWIS, directed and produced it, and many Axanar production crew were involved.

In other words, this truly is a crowd-funded fan film that’s made it to the “big time”! Please help make sure it’s not the last one by viewing it yourself all the way through before the end of Saturday and giving it a 5-star rating. Even if you just play it in the background on your computer with the sound off, it’ll still count. But do yourself a favor and watch the tribute to Richard Hatch at the end (starts at 27 minutes). There won’t be a dry eye on your face.

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!”

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!”

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!”