Yesterday, I published part 1 of an interview with ALEC PETERS, executive producer of AXANAR, discussing, among other things, the financial update he just posted last week (you can read it here.)
Axanar had a net loss of $150K overall, funds covered personally by Alec, as they exceeded the $1.2 million raised from the various crowd-funders. In 2017 alone, expenses for Axanar Productions totaled just over $35K, of which approximately $26K was paid to cover final legal expenses for items not included in the pro bono agreement with law firm Winston & Strawn.
Although Axanar Productions never completed its filings for 501(c)(3) status in California, there is currently some consideration of trying to make OWC Studios into a tax-exempt charity, considering the work they’re doing with film education in the local Georgia school districts.
Alec and I went on to discuss work being done towards the completion of the USS Ares bridge by a team of volunteers, along with future intended uses for the set and studio. And then we began talking about the upcoming Axacon event scheduled for November 2-4 (order your tickets here!) when Alec dropped a bombshell that he expects to LOSE $5,000 on Axacon. Rather than being a profitable endeavor and helping to fund production of the final two Axanar fan films, this convention is going to cost Alec quite a pretty penny!
And that’s where we pick up our interview, already in progress…
This past Friday, ALEC PETERS published a blog providing the latest “AXANAR Financial Update.” (You can read it here.) In the blog, Alec explains that Axanar Productions is now serviced by one of Atlanta’s largest and most prestigious accounting firms, Frazier and Deeter, and that Axanar Productions owes no taxes currently due to a business loss of more than $150,000 over and above the $1.2 million donated by supporters in 2014 and 2015. This loss was money put in by Alec Peters personally to cover expenses not covered by contributions.
One would assume that a large and reputable accounting firm would not take on as a client any corporation with obviously shady dealings, potential embezzlement, tax fraud, etc.—and that they would do their due diligence prior to signing up any new client. So the fact that Frazier and Deeter, which has in the past advised Pinewood Studios where many Marvel movies have been shot in Atlanta, decided to represent Axanar Productions argues against many of the spurious claims of “corruption” by Axanar detractors.
The majority of the numerical specifics of Alec’s update were included in a single paragraph:
There were $ 35,103.78 in Axanar expenses in 2017, of which approximately $26,000 was legal expenses left over from the lawsuit. These were the only legal expenses from the CBS/Paramount lawsuit, as we received over $1M in free legal services from Winston & Strawn. However, our pro-bono agreement was that we paid all actual expenses which consisted of deposition and expert witness costs. I personally paid those costs as well as the other costs in 2017 in order to keep the studio and operation going.
While Axanar Productions had attempted to file for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status back in California, those plans were tabled after the move to Lawrenceville, Georgia. Now, Alec and his advisers are considering starting the process of making OWC Studios into a 501(c)(3) since they’re working on an educational program for local high schools and colleges in the Atlanta area that have video and film programs.
In anticipation of that, and in preparation for the upcoming Axacon event from November 2-4 (get your tickets here), Alec and his team are also working to complete the amazing USS Ares bridge set. There’s obviously a LOT going on with Axanar (in addition to ramping up to film the two sequel episodes), and I though this might be a good time to have a little chat with Captain Garth himself, Alec Peters…
Every so often, just for a shats and giggles, I head over the the Axamonitor blog site to see the latest “news” CARLOS PEDRAZA has to “report.” It’s funny because, while some people like to see the AXANAR glass as half-full (if not more so), Carlos does his best to convince folks that the Axanar glass is 99% empty. I noticed, in one of his latest updates, that Carlos included such catastrophic sub-headlines as…
Axanar Could ‘Take Years’
Failed California Studio
Abandoning Nonprofit Plans
Bait and Switch?
No More Axanar
And that’s just ONE blog update, folks!!!
Sheesh, with “news” like that, it’s hard to imagine any reason to smile in the land of Axanar fandom. So why am I and so many others still smiling?
Despite naming his blog site “Axamonitor,” Carlos seems to be very—what’s the word?—selective in what he actually “monitors” and chooses to include. So if there are any positive things to say or good news or report about Axanar, you’re unlikely to find it there.
Fortunately, there’s other places on the Internet to get the rest of the story…including here. And so that’s the subject of today’s blog: all the GOOD news that’s happening right now in the world of Axanar….
ALEC PETERS has just announced that his new studio in Lawrenceville, GA now has a corporate sponsor that has purchased naming rights. So allow me to introduce… OWC STUDIOS!!!
For anyone who listened to Axanar Podcast #41 last December, you’re already aware that OWC Digital (OWC stands for Other World Computing) is Axanar‘s second largest single contributor (behind Alec Peters himself), having donated well over $20,000 in computer hardware and software for director/editor Robert Meyer Burnett to store all the digital footage and edit it. Their equipment was already used to edit Prelude to Axanarand the Vulcan scene.
To give you an idea of how large high-quality digital video files can be, most of us can go to Best Buy and purchase a consumer hard drive with up to four terabytes (a terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes). Axanar was given a drive with 64 terabytes…and it’s already half-full!
And when you’re dealing with files that are so large, it’s not enough to simply have a big hard drive; you need software to make sure it can access and edit those files quickly and smoothly without crashing or taking seven hours to open a file. Those are the kinds of solutions that OWC Digital provides for Hollywood production companies and others in related industries.
OWC Digital is a privately-held company with offices in Woodstock, IL (just northwest of Chicago) and Austin, TX. According to figures I was able to find on the Internet, in 2011, they had sales revenue of $88.3 million with 137 employees. The company was on the Inc. magazine 5000 “Fastest-Growing Privately Owned Companies” and “Computer and Electronics Top 100” lists from 2007 through 2013.
The founder and CEO of the company is Larry O’Connor, who is a big fan of the Axanar project. Back in 1988, at age 14, Larry started up LRO Enterprises selling computer memory chips via America Online. In 1994, the company had grown to fill 6,500 square feet of office space and was renamed Other World Computing (OWC). By 2008, OWC had grown to fill a 37,000 square foot space and, a year later, had installed a wind turbine that generated twice the electricity that OWC needed to run their facility…making OWC the first technology manufacturer/ distributor in the U.S. to become totally on-site wind powered. Pretty cool, huh?
So now OWC has partnered up with Alec Peters and his new production company Rocketworx to sponsor a studio just outside of Atlanta dedicated to producing fan film and independent sci-fi projects. This is the press release that I just received announcing the deal…