RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)

The new year didn’t start off well for Star Trek fan films…or for me.

On the FAN FILM FORUM Facebook group, 2024 began with an early morning post (well, early for me waking up in Palm Desert, California) from RANDY LANDERS of POTEMKIN PICTURES. Over the past eight years, I’ve published a staggering 90-plus blogs on the numerous fan film releases from Potemkin‘s many, many creative groups. And I still wasn’t quite caught up! Their two most recent releases, “EMPYREAN” from STARSHIP CALIBORN and “HONOR AND TREACHERY” from SCOUTSHIP QAB’ELTH were both on deck for early 2024 coverage. In fact, Randy had just given me the names of the team members from Caliborn whom I should reach out to for the blog about “Empyrean.”

Randy’s post to the Fan Film Forum Facebook group started with him proudly announcing that Potemkin Pictures would NOT be crowd-funding in 2024. They had all of their expenses covered. Yay! A year ago, I had helped promote their previous campaign and even tossed in a few bucks myself. Granted, announcing that you’re not going to crowd-fund seemed, to me at least, like announcing that you’re not going to plant tomatoes in your garden this year. I mean, it’s good to know that you’re covered on tomatoes…is that the right reaction?

But then Randy also said something a little odd…and rather controversial, as it turned out. He suggested (somewhat forcefully and resentfully) that other fan productions shouldn’t crowd-fund either. In other words, “I’m not going to plant tomatoes in MY garden, so no one else should plant tomatoes in THEIR garden either!”

This was, to say the least, a bit shocking to some people. And not just people doing crowd-funding campaigns. As the day went on, folks from all over the fan community were IMing with variations of “WTF?” and suggesting/demanding that I remove Randy’s post from the Fan Film Forum Facebook page.

Meet the new year…same as the old year?

Continue reading “RANDY LANDERS tells me to no longer provide coverage of POTEMKIN PICTURES releases on FAN FILM FACTOR… (editorial)”

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases their 22nd fan film “DREAM TIME” (interview with writer DAVID EVERSOLE and actors TUCK STEVENS and DASHAWN KELLEY)

It was March of 2016 when STARSHIP DEIMOS released their first episode, “THE LUCKY ONE.” Now, more than seven and a half years later, they released their 22nd completed fan film, “DREAM TIME,” this past September. As usual for releases from POTEMKIN PICTURES‘ numerous creative groups (there are currently six active teams), the story is intriguing. But even more intriguing is the story behind the story, which was conceived by the late HOMER WILLIAM EVERSOLE and then completed posthumously by his brother DAVID EVERSOLE, both of whom have written numerous fan film scripts for Potemkin Pictures.

Another interesting aspect to this latest release is that the starship Deimos has now seen its fourth captain take command, following stints by TERRY SELF as Captain Jeremy Quinn, TONY ANDERSON as Captain Mark Stone, and most recently VICTORIA AVALON as Captain Sian Gabriel. The newest captain, the recently-promoted Timothy Harper, is played by returning cast member TUCK STEVENS, who has served in various producer roles on Deimos throughout the last half-decade.

And finally, actor DASHAWN KELLEY is an actual working actor with nearly two dozen film credits on his IMDb page…only a handful of them fan films for Deimos. Up until now, his character of helm officer Daken has had relatively limited screen time. But in this latest release, Daken is the main character, and Dashawn gets ample opportunity to show fans his acting chops, which he does very impressively. In fact, let’s all take a look at “Dream Time“…

With these three individuals each contributing significantly to the success of this fan film, I’ve decided to give each of them his own interview segment, beginning with writer David Eversole…

Continue reading “STARSHIP DEIMOS releases their 22nd fan film “DREAM TIME” (interview with writer DAVID EVERSOLE and actors TUCK STEVENS and DASHAWN KELLEY)”

STARSHIP WEBSTER’s tenth release, “WHERE MONSTERS DWELL,” is downright EERIE! (interview with YLONDA SCROGGINS PERKINS and JORDAN CONSALVI)

With well over A HUNDRED Star Trek fan film releases (you can access them all from here), the one thing you can count on from POTEMKIN PICTURES is variety. Over nearly a decade and a half(!), their offerings have run the gamut from action and adventure to comedy, tragedy, romance, space battle, mystery, intense drama, and even a few dabs of horror. The latest production to come from the STARSHIP WEBSTER Creative Group, based in Lexington Kentucky, certainly falls into that latter category with one of the creepiest fan films I have seen in a very long time!

That eeriness of the episode came across to the viewer thanks, in part, to the excellent direction by CHELSEY L. BOSTON and showrunner RANDY LANDERS, as well as a complex and disorienting script written by BOBBY NASH. But the lion’s share of the work conveying the intensity of an invasive mindscape that this film depicts came from the two leading actors, YLONDA SCROGGINS PERKINS as Science Officer Katz and JORDAN CONSALVI as Vos. Take a look for yourself…

As these actors are relative newcomers to the fan film community, I thought it might be fun to get to know the two Kentuckians together in a single interview. So I asked them both the same set of questions…

Continue reading “STARSHIP WEBSTER’s tenth release, “WHERE MONSTERS DWELL,” is downright EERIE! (interview with YLONDA SCROGGINS PERKINS and JORDAN CONSALVI)”

STARSHIP TRISTAN relaunches as a green screen production with “SEEING IN THE DARK” (guest blog by RANDY LANDERS)

A quick introductory note from Jonathan…

Usually, I write the blog entries ’round these parts. But every so often, a fan filmmaker writes something up that essentially does my work for me! This time, it was POTEMKIN PICTURES showrunner RANDY LANDERS, who just posted the latest release from the STARSHIP TRISTAN creative group: “Seeing in the Dark.”

Although this was the 22nd Tristan fan film (you can view them all here on the Potemkin website), I’d begun to wonder if they were still active. It had been more than two years since their previous release, “36 Hours,” and a full year since the one before that, “Reclamation.” And unlike their sister production team, STARSHIP DEIMOS, the Tristan folks didn’t seem willing to make the long drive from Birmingham, Alabama up to Lexington, Kentucky to use the Potemkin sets that Randy took with him (and expended) when he and his wife relocated to the bluegrass state in late 2019.

Three new creative groups sprang up in Lexington—STARSHIPS WEBSTER and CALIBORN and SCOUTSHIP QAB’ELTH—and as I said, Deimos cast members were making the drive up to shoot there. But what of Tristan?

In a comment posted on the new video release on YouTube, Randy explained everything that was going on with Tristan both then and now. So with his permission, I’m just going to let Randy tell his own tale this time. But first, let’s watch the latest Starship Tristan release…

And now, here’s Randy…

Continue reading “STARSHIP TRISTAN relaunches as a green screen production with “SEEING IN THE DARK” (guest blog by RANDY LANDERS)”

STARSHIP CALIBORN releases their third fan film: “RECIPROCITY” (interview with BILLY SWANSON)

Certain states have become nexuses of fan film production: Arkansas, Georgia, and now Kentucky. Of course, it helps when those states contain studios with permanent sets like WARP 66 STUDIOS (Arkansas), NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS (Georgia), and POTEMKIN PICTURES (Kentucky). In the case of the latter, three different creative groups are now in active production of Star Trek fan films: STARSHIP WEBSTER, KLINGON SCOUT SHIP QAB’ELTH, and STARSHIP CALIBORN. All three rely on the talents and hard work of fans and friends mostly living in the areas in and around Lexington, KY, coordinated by the efforts of Potemkin Pictures Poobah RANDY LANDERS. (You can view all of Potemkin‘s many dozens of releases from a dozen different creative groups on their website.)

So when I saw a new release from the Caliborn folks, “RECIPROCITY,” I reached out to Randy, as I typically do, for some background on this latest effort. And that’s when Randy recommended that I speak with episode writer and lead actor BILLY SWANSON, as he is the “voice” of Caliborn.

Well, far be it from me not to speak directly with the “voice”! So I reached out to Billy for a quick interview, which appears below. But first, let’s take a look at “Reciprocity”…

And now, here’s Billy…


JONATHAN – Randy said that you are now the “voice” of Caliborn. Does that mean you are officially the showrunner?

BILLY – Yeah, I saw that!  I am indeed the showrunner for Caliborn.

JONATHAN – So what does being a showrunner entail for you specifically, Billy?

Billy Swanson as Captain Hawk

BILLY – As showrunner, I work with Randy to arrange the chapters (films) accordingly and set up the space to shoot (ha!). Being the showrunner puts me in the position to guide the tone of the overall “volume” (of chapters) that the various films fit into.

When Randy and I decide on a script, I then run it past ROBIN KUNKEL and ANDREW ORTWEIN for their ideas regarding shot composition and what other unique ways we can film.  Andrew has a great mind for storyboarding and lighting, as well as ways to accomplish more unique shots!  Robin is also a hell of a photographer and broaches the script with a different perspective I enjoy in terms of reasonably scheduling the order of the shots we need, the shots we would like, and the nice-to-have-but-not-a-priority shots, so that we can fit all of that into a reasonable day’s shoot for the actors.

The feedback from this team also helps with initial rewrites to help with narrative and vocal flow for us to present to the actor, to mitigate day-of troubleshooting.  It is a lot like Randy’s shot lists, but with more technology and fun pictures! I also facilitate the shoot crew and work with the production team to prepare for the next chapter (storyboarding, lighting, costume, and directing).

JONATHAN – Are you writing all of the scripts entirely by yourself, or is that task shared among several writers?

Continue reading “STARSHIP CALIBORN releases their third fan film: “RECIPROCITY” (interview with BILLY SWANSON)”

“SIREN’S SONG” is VICTORIA AVALON’s swan song from STARSHIP DEIMOS… (interview with VICTORIA AVALON)

There are certain people in fan films who are, for want of a better word, prolific. They seem to pop up nearly everywhere in multiple fan productions. Sometimes they play a minor role or background character. And occasionally, they play major characters in one or more fan films or series.

VICTORIA AVALON is definitely one of these prolific people!

About a year and a half ago, I featured a Zoom interview with Victoria along with GARY DAVIS and RAANDY WRENN of the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, where Victoria has played their Chief Medical Officer Maurine Farrell for many years. Later this year, she will take over as the commanding officer of that starship, replacing Gary’s character of Captain Jason Brusseau, as Gary transitions to more behind-the-scenes tasks on Dominion.

But for the longest time, I had been wanting to interview Victoria about her OTHER gig as a commanding officer: portraying Captain Si├ón Gabriel of the STARSHIP DEIMOS, one of the multiple ongoing fan projects produced by one of POTEMKIN PICTURES‘ many creative groups. (You can view all of their hundred-plus releases here.).

Unfortunately, as they say: “every time God opens a window, He closes a door…” (or something like that). And so it came to pass that Victoria is departing Deimos with the release of their latest release “Siren’s Song”…

I asked both Victoria and Potemkin showrunner RANDY LANDERS what led to Victoria and her character leaving Starship Deimos, but neither wished to discuss the matter, and I didn’t want to pry.

According to Randy, Victoria’s Captain Gabriel will be replaced in the center seat by TUCK STEVENS, who previously played the chief engineer, Commander Timothy Harper. I’ll have more information from Randy about the cast changes when Deimos releases its next episode later this year.

But right now, since this is my final opportunity to interview Victoria about her time with Potemkin Pictures and Starship Deimos, let’s do just that…

Continue reading ““SIREN’S SONG” is VICTORIA AVALON’s swan song from STARSHIP DEIMOS… (interview with VICTORIA AVALON)”

POTEMKIN PICTURES asks fans to help out with expenses (10 DAYS LEFT!)…

It’s the first crowd-funder for 2023, and it comes from RANDY LANDERS and the various creative teams of POTEMKIN PICTURES, based primarily in Lexington, Kentucky with a creative team also located in Alabama (both groups are shooting fan films this weekend, by the way). But unlike most crowd-funding campaigns that utilize a service like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or GoFundMe, Potemkin is going a different route. They’re simply asking for PayPal donations to be sent directly to [email protected]…no middle man.

While there’s no official perks, Randy has offered the following: “Donors can request a perk of their own choice, and we will do our best to accommodate them, if reasonable.” So no asking for their full-size shuttlecraft model…

But if you’d like one of their tunics or to do a voice-over for one of their films, hey, it couldn’t hurt to ask!

There isn’t any specific goal for this campaign, nor is there a tracker available to the public to check the totals. But as of right now, they’ve collected $1,160 from 15 different donors (including me). “Last year, we had $1420.87 last year.” says Randy. “We would like to pull in between $1300 and $2600 this year to fund all 13 planned films, including new tunic sweaters for STARSHIP DEIMOS and STARSHIP WEBSTER, and a few location shoots that require usage fees.” That’s actually not too bad, all things considered, as it averages to barely $100-$200 per fan film.

But the bulk of the funds raised (more than 75% of donations) goes for lumber, paint, and hardware for the construction, maintenance, and improvements for their sets. Take a look at what they already have…

And of course, there’s also props, wigs, make-up, and other miscellany…

What makes Potemkin Pictures special—in addition to its longevity (having been producing fan films continuously for over a dozen years!)—is how many opportunities it offers fans to participate in the production of completed Star Trek fan films. Over its lifetime, Potemkin Pictures has birthed a dozen different creative groups who have released 108 individual Star Trek fan films! (You can access them all from this page on their website.) Six of those creative groups are still active, releasing on average a combined ten or more new fan films each year. That’s a staggering amount of chances for a fan to work either in front of or behind the camera and have a lot of fun.

But even at an ultra-low budget level, fan films still cost money, and your support can make a BIG difference, even if it’s just a tiny bit. This year’s campaign ends on January 31, so you’ve got less than 10 days left to donate. And once again, contributions can be made directly via PayPal using the account [email protected].

PROJECT: POTEMKIN returns with “THE CASTAWAY”!

Before there was ever a Fan Film Factor website, I was composing weekly fan film blogs over on the AXANAR website as a “guest writer,” just dipping my own toes into this ever-expending ocean of content. And back in August of 2015, with just three completed blogs under my belt, I tackled my first interview with a fan filmmaker (and my first-ever two-part blog) when I chatted with RANDY LANDERS of PROJECT: POTEMKIN.

It seems like such a long time ago!

I don’t say that merely because almost seven and a half years have passed since I published that blog. Heck, the Earth is 4.5 billion years old…seven years is nuthin’! Although back then, there was no Axanar lawsuit yet, no fan film guidelines, and Project: Potemkin was the ONLY fan series that Randy was producing from his home in Albany, GA.—with “only” 26 episodes released thus far (they would finish with nearly 40)! Randy had begun the fan series four years prior in 2011 and, by 2015, was knocking out new episodes nearly once a month!

Since then, Randy would move twice—once to Pelham, Alabama and then more recently to Lexington, Kentucky. And wherever he went, he would recruit more actors and production people who wanted to help make Star Trek fan films! It wasn’t long before there were way too many folks to limit to just ONE fan series. So POTEMKIN PICTURES went on to launch eleven other fan productions, some one-offs and others releasing multiple films under various “creative groups” including: STARSHIP TRISTAN, STARSHIP DEIMOS, BATTLECRUISER KUPOK, STARSHIP ENDEAVOUR, STARSHIP TRITON, HOSPITAL SHIP MARIES CURIE, STARSHIP ALEXANDER, STARSHIP WEBSTER, STARSHIP CALIBORN, SCOUT SHIP QAB’ELTH, and FIREHAWK.

(You can watch all of their releases from their website.)

Project: Potemkin would release their final epilogue episode, “ROOM SERVICE,” in October of 2016, a little over a year after our interview and after moving to Alabama. At least, we all thought it was their final episode. At the beginning of December of 2022 (six years later), a brand NEW episode of Project: Potemkin was released titled “THE CASTAWAY,” with former series lead JEFFREY GREEN reprising his role of Captain Alec Grigory—along with a few other familiar faces from Potemkin‘s original 6-year run. Take a look…

As you can see, the fan film ends with an announcement that Project: Potemkin will be returning in 2023…which will bring the total number of active Potemkin Pictures creative groups back up to five. So expect to see a LOT more fan films!

As if to save me time, Randy Landers was kind enough to post the following behind-the-scenes write-up of the episode onto Facebook, meaning I simply have to copy-paste the following for you…

Continue reading “PROJECT: POTEMKIN returns with “THE CASTAWAY”!”

You don’t have to live like a “REFUGEE” if you’re on the STARSHIP DEIMOS! (interview with RANDY LANDERS)

The fine folks at POTEMKIN PICTURES consistently continue to dutifully deliver a steady stream of finessed fan films mostly monthly. (Did you catch all the awesome alliteration in that previous sentence? Hey, a blogger’s gotta keep you on your toes, right?)

Anyway, their latest release comes from the long-running STARSHIP DEIMOS creative group, their 20th completed fan film in six years. “REFUGEE” is an intriguing story and worth viewing…

There’s actually a LOT going on behind the scenes in this little fan production. For more insights and info, here’s Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS…

Continue reading “You don’t have to live like a “REFUGEE” if you’re on the STARSHIP DEIMOS! (interview with RANDY LANDERS)”

An unexpected obstacle (or two) that wasn’t a death sentence for STARSHIP CALIBORN’s latest release: “DEATH SENTENCE”…

The creation of a fan film (like the creation of any creative work) can often involve the unexpected. And in those cases, the persons doing the creating often have to adapt, adjust, and put in extra efforts that they hadn’t previously planned for. Otherwise, the unexpected can become a death sentence for a project like a Star Trek fan film. And indeed, the mark of a good creative team is how they tackle those unexpected challenges and still complete their production.

And that’s what happened with the second release from the STARSHIP CALIBORN creative group: “DEATH SENTENCE.” One of many teams producing fan films for POTEMKIN PICTURES at the moment, the majority of those involved with Caliborn are based in the Lexington, Kentucky area near showrunner RANDY LANDERS. Usually, Randy also takes an active role in either writing and/or directing Potemkin Pictures releases. But this time, his efforts were limited to film editing and playing a (comic) relief helmsman on the Caliborn named Peter Reigert, a recurring and somewhat incompetent officer who keeps getting booted off various ships.

“Death Sentence” was directed by ROBIN KUNKEL, who joined Potemkin Pictures recently and was listed as a producer on Caliborn‘s first release “WAR TARG” earlier this year. The writers were HOMER EVERSOLE and his brother DAVID EVERSOLE, both of whom had separately started writing Potemkin Pictures episodes back in 2016. In fact, David penned “The Night the Stars Fell from the Sky,” the most-watched of any Potemkin fan film with 155K views.

“Death Sentence” was the brothers’ first collaboration, originally intended to be an episode of STARSHIP WEBSTER, the other Starfleet-based creative group located in Lexington. However, when COVID hit and the Webster folks suspended production until the pandemic eased up, the Eversoles adjusted their script for Caliborn instead. Tragically, Homer passed away a year ago at the too-young age of 56, before seeing his final fan film completed. This is how it turned out…

But while losing one of the writers was certainly a blow, that wasn’t the unexpected obstacle(s) that needed to be dealt with. Let me tell you what was…

Continue reading “An unexpected obstacle (or two) that wasn’t a death sentence for STARSHIP CALIBORN’s latest release: “DEATH SENTENCE”…”