COZMO’S Kickstarter needs $32,284 in the next week…or else!

Kickstarter is a harsh mistress. Since its inception in April of 2009, Kickstarter has held to one simple rule that has confounded, frustrated, and in some cases terrified crowd-fund organizers:

If your campaign doesn’t reach its goal, you get nothing.

So why risk using Kickstarter when other crowd-funding platforms like Indiegogo and GoFundMe allow campaigns to keep all donations made—even if a goal is not reached?

The simple answer is that Kickstarter campaigns, on average, take in about 2.35 times as much as Indiegogo campaigns (and way more than GoFundMe’s). Perhaps this disparity is because Kickstarter backers feel more confident that a project they support will happen rather than fearing their donation night disappear into a crowd-funding black hole if a campaign comes up far short of its goal. Or maybe it’s because Kickstarter does more marketing, has more site visitors, or simply has a better reputation in general for more high-quality projects than other services. Likewise, the same article linked to above says that conversion rates are 3x-4x higher for Kickstarter campaigns than for Indiegogo.

Whatever the reason, Kickstarter has the greater potential payoff, just with an increased risk of getting nothing. Because of this, determining the right amount to set as a goal on Kickstarter is critical. Ask for too much and fail to get there, and you’ve just wasted months of work. Ask for too little, and you might make your goal but wind up with less than you really need.

This was the dilemma facing the folks making episode 2 of COZMO’S (the same folks who made s Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem”). They need $100K to make this film, and so that’s what they asked for. And with a week left, their campaign is doing pretty well. So far, 341 backers have pledged more than $67K (including two $10K donors!) to bring them 2/3 of the way there.

But with only seven days left, it’s gonna be a nail-biter!

The producers recently sent out an update reminding folks that episode 2 and beyond will be more serious than the pilot:

Though we understand that the pilot may have been a bit too much on the slapstick side, we wanted to point out that it was directed by Animal House alum, Stephen Furst. He had put his own twist on things, as Hollywood directors often do. Then again, The Orville started out as a comedy and has now pulled back those strings to become more of a Star Trek drama, which most people are loving.

The new episode will lean more toward the dramatic side of storytelling, utilizing a piece of sci-fi literary history penned by Damon Knight that was also used to create an extremely famous Twilight Zone episode. The episode was called “To Serve Man.” Of course, we’ll be throwing in some new twists in the Cozmo’s fashion.

With a cast including Star Trek and sci-fi genre veterans, and amazing make-up and effects by Hollywood professionals, this is a project definitely worth supporting…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2

Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!

With all of the Star Trek themed fan films out there, some folks have asked why fan filmmakers don’t take the next logical step and use their skills, resources, and crowd-funding successes to make some original content?

Well, someone has done just that…and now they want to do it again!

The folks who brought us Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem” cast a collection of Star Trek and sci-fi notables in a completely new sci-fi universe…more specifically, in a dive called Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill. Some of the more notable names in the cast included Ethan Phillips (“Neelix” of Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Picardo (“The EMH Doctor” of Voyager), Aron Eisenberg (“Nog” of Deep Space Nine), and Claudia Christian (“Susan Ivanova” of Babylon 5). The original director was Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5), who tragically passed away shortly after the live action scenes were shot in early 2017.

With the production footage “in the can” (as they say), it was time to raise funds for post-production…with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in November of last year that blasted past its $16K goal to finish at a stunning $54.4K from 865 backers! This allowed the pilot for COZMO’S to be completed and released (for backers only) earlier this summer.

Because the series is being shopped around to studios, the full pilot episode is not accessible unless you’re a donor to either the first campaign or the current campaign for episode two (at a level of at least $35). However, the creators have posted the first ten minutes of the half-hour pilot for the public to view. So take a look…

Aside from the obviously high production quality (lighting, sound, camera work, etc.) and the impressive acting, what stands out the most is the amazing combination of make-up and VFX that weaves itself so seamlessly through nearly every scene. Much of this is due to the masterful skills of the make-up team under the supervision of Vincent Guastini, whose professional work in Hollywood includes World War Z, Silent Night, Sushi Girl, I Am Legend, Scary Movie 4, and Dogma.

Would you like Vincent to turn YOU into an alien? Well, guess what! That’s actually one of the very tempting perks being offered in the just-launched Kickstarter for Cozmo’s episode 2…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2

Episode 2 also brings in some exciting changes to the way things were done in episode 1….

Continue reading “Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!”

RENEGADES has lots of MERCHANDISE for sale!

Looking for that perfect after-Christmas gift for the fan film aficionado in your life? How about something from the RENEGADES merchandise collection?

The Renegades folks first began producing their own branded perks waaaaaay back in 2012 when they held their first Kickstarter and raised an amazing $242,483 from 2,367 backers. At that point, the perks were fairly simple: a special edition DVD of the completed Star Trek: Renegades fan film (back then, producing DVDs with the words “Star Trek” on the cover as perks was allowed), a CD compilation of the music, and an extra DVD and soundtrack for Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, their first fan production from back in 2008. There was also an “I’m a Renegade” T-shirt and autographed cast photos.

The following year, their next campaign—an Indiegogo that generated an additional $132,555 from 1500 backers—introduced a prop replica of their Starfleet comm badge from about ten years after Voyager‘s return.

By the time they reached their fourth crowdfunding campaign in November 2015—a Kickstarter for the first full episode “The Requiem”that took in just over $378,000 from 3,379 backers—they had added a patch (of course!) and a mini-poster signed by all of the cast. And even though this poster saidStar Trek: Renegades,” remember that this was STILL half a year before CBS released their fan film guidelines (and two months before Axanar got sued for copyright infringement).

Of course, once the guidelines came out, Renegades quickly dropped the “Star Trek” from its branding (becoming Renegades: The Series), and surgically removed all traces of CBS-owned intellectual property from their next production.

The good news for show-runner SKY CONWAY and fans of Renegades is that this change in branding means that these folks can now sell whatever merchandise they want to based on their fan film content and CBS can’t say a darned thing…yay!

And sell it, they shall! The loot is all located on THE ATOMIC NETWORK website (that’s where Renegades and other productions from those folks are streaming from). And if you’re a fan of the Renegades fan series (as I am), you’ll find this all VERY exciting!

Here’s what they’re offering (with descriptions taken from their website)…

Continue reading “RENEGADES has lots of MERCHANDISE for sale!”

COZMO’S Kickstarter asks for $16,000…winds up with $54,397!

I think we can call this one a successful campaign!  The team that produced RENEGADES opened their Kickstarter to fund post-production on their new original series pilot for COZMO’S  to the general public on Tuesday , October 23… having already passed their $16,000 goal!  In fact, by the time they went “live,” donations had actually topped $22,000!

How did they manage that?

They invited supporters on their mailing list—who had already donated more than a million dollars to their previous successful crowd-funders for Renegades)—to get special access to a 48-hour “pre-launch” with exclusive access to certain perks.  Yep, if you’re crowd-funding, it helps to have an existing base of supporters to call on!

It also helps when you have a cast that includes actors from Star Trek and Babylon 5 in your pilot episode:

  • Ethan (“Neelix”) Phillips
  • Robert (“The EMH Doctor”) Picardo
  • Aron (“Nog”) Eisenberg
  • Claudia (“Susan Ivanova”) Christian
  • Plus many other professional actions from sci-fi and related genres

Also, the footage (which was all shot back in early 2017 using sets originally constructed for Renegades‘ “The Requiem”) was directed by Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5…who tragically passed away during June of last year).

The Kickstarter ended its 4-week run reaching $54,397 from 865 backers (including me).  You can read a brief interview with show-runner SKY CONWAY about the production that I posted just as the campaign kicked off.  And if you haven’t checked out the trailer for this hilarious “Cheers in Space” series from sci-fi lovers like you, take 82 seconds to check it out:

The campaign surged past two stretch goals.  At $40,000, fans were able to fund…

  • improved quality of music and postproduction
  • a release of Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Cozmo’s 
  • a release of exclusive Cozmo’s deleted scene #1

Once past $45,000, fans also unlocked…

  • a release of new Cozmo’s THEME SONG
  • a release of exclusive Cozmo’s deleted scene #2

Currently, the plan is to complete and release Cozmo’s by June of 2019 on the Atomic Network and to any donor who contributed $17 or more.

COZMO’S Kickstarter blasts through its $16K goal…BEFORE it even launches???

If only every Kickstarter could be this way!  The 4-week crowd-funding campaign for COZMO’S from the team that produced RENEGADES went live to the general public Tuesday at 11:00 am Pacific Time with a goal of $16,000.  But it had already blasted through that goal and was above $22,00 when the world found out about it.  (Now it’s up even higher at nearly $25,000!)

How the heck did this happen???

Well, it helps when you have an existing database of thousands of fans who contributed to your previous successful crowd-funders for Renegades )to the tune of more than a million dollars!).  And it helps when you open your Kickstarter with a special 48-hour “pre-launch” with exclusive access to certain perks.

It also helps when you have a cast that includes actors from Star Trek and Babylon 5 in your pilot episode:

  • Ethan (“Neelix”) Phillips
  • Robert (“The EMH Doctor”) Picardo
  • Aron (“Nog”) Eisenberg
  • Claudia (“Susan Ivanova”) Christian
  • Plus many other professional actions from sci-fi and related genres

Also, the footage (which was all shot back in early 2017 using sets originally constructed for Renegades‘ “The Requiem”) was directed by Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5…who tragically passed away during June of last year).

The project is billed as “Cheers in Space”…

Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill is a local hotspot—well, local to anyone visiting an asteroid—where an enormous variety of lifeforms visit to party, do business dealings, find work, meet their true love…or just to get drunk and alien-watch. 

The owner of this esteemed establishment is, of course, Cozmo, a four-tentacled alien (played by Ethan Phillips), who has a knack for mixing stellar martinis and giving good advice.  His serving staff includes two humans, Kallie, played by Renee Olstead(13 Going on 30), and Ken, played by Drake Bell (Drake and Josh, Ultimate Spiderman). They’d love their jobs if it weren’t for one tiny detail—humans are the butt of the joke of the entire galaxy.

The hilarity never stops as zany characters like a hermaphrodite with blue hair (Robert Picardo), a crustacean-like madam (Claudia Christian), an alien who’s head is shaped like a….well, like a butt (Aron Eisenberg), and so many others swarm, bump, argue, laugh, and scheme at Cozmo’s!

It looks hilarious (and very well-produced!)…

 

Heck, I threw in $35 myself before lunchtime on Monday!

You can donate by clicking here.

I asked show-runner SKY CONWAY a few questions about the project…

Continue reading “COZMO’S Kickstarter blasts through its $16K goal…BEFORE it even launches???”

STALLED TREK scores Hollywood composer MAX McGUIRE to score its parody fan film!

Back in 2012, a brilliantly zany and devoted Star Trek fan named MARK LARGENT released the wildly hilarious animated parody STALLED TREK: AMUTT TIME.  This must-see fan film used 3D computer graphics to create puppet characters for all of the original series cast members and put them into a tongue-in-cheek version of the fan-favorite TOS episode “Amok Time.”

You can watch that parody fan film here…

This past August, Mark launched a Kickstarter for a brand new sequel, “The City on the Edge of Foreclosure,” with a relatively initial low goal of only $600.  He reached that in less than 8 hours (!) and wound up with a total of nearly $4,200…700% of the initial goal!!!

Among the things this now allows Mark to do is hire a professional musical composer, which he is allowed to do, as parody fan films fall under the protection of Fair Use and do not need to conform to the fan film guidelines.

But whom to hire…?

Max McGuire

The answer came to Mark (instead of vice-versa) when composer MAX McGUIRE reached out to him.  Max has composed music for a wide variety of projects including shows airing on FOX, ABC, NBC, E!, CBS and TBS…and more recently provided additional music for the hit Syfy/Netflix series 12 Monkeys under the guidance of lead composer Stephen Barton.  In March 2018, Max conducted his score for the short film All The World’s A Stage (starring Olivia Colman, who has been cast as Elizabeth II in seasons 3 and 4 of Netflix’s The Crown!) at Abbey Road Studios in London.  The short is currently showing at festivals around the world including the Academy Awards Qualifying Festival, Hollyshorts.

So what’s this well-known Hollywood composer doing asking to work on a fan film???

Continue reading “STALLED TREK scores Hollywood composer MAX McGUIRE to score its parody fan film!”

A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2016-2017 (feature, part 5)

Last time, the world of Star Trek fan films was shaken to its core by a copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar Productions in late December of 2015 followed by a call to Tommy Kraft of Star Trek: Horizon in April of 2016 telling him to shut down his new $250,000 Kickstarter for his sequel, Star Trek: Federation Rising.

And what of STAR TREK: RENEGADES?  In November, they had raised a very impressive $375,000 for their new continuing series.  Even though CBS had rejected their offer to make Renegades into a pilot for a new Trek TV series (and by now, Star Trek: Discovery had been announced), the Renegades team hadn’t been told to stop.  So it was full steam ahead with plans to use the existing sets and CGI models and props to make an ambitious TWELVE half-hour webisodes per year (yes, per year…that was the plan), beginning with a two-parter called “The Requiem.”  It would feature both Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and Walter Koenig playing Chekov for one final swan song.

Although Trek fan filmmakers were feeling very uncertain (and downright nervous) at the moment—with the Axanar lawsuit dragging on for months and mixed messages coming from JJ Abrams and the studios themselves—the show must go on, as they say.  And so Star Trek: Renegades scheduled the first day of filming on “The Requiem” for June 22, 2016.

The initial scenes on day one were all green screen, featuring Nichelle and Walter, Tim Russ as Tuvok in full Vulcan make-up, and even Cirroc Lofton reprising his role as Jake Sisko.  The production would also feature other veteran Trek actors reprising their roles, including Terry Farrel as “Jadzia” (minus the Dax symbiont), Robert Beltran as Chakotay, Aron Eisenberg as Nog, and even Hana Hatae as a grown-up Molly O’Brien!  The sets were built, the costumes made, the studio rented…it was time to make an awesome new fan series!

And then the guidelines happened…

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2016-2017 (feature, part 5)”

I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)

My life isn’t usually all that interesting or exciting…at least, not all in one week.  But what a week it was!

(Actually, it was only really exciting if you happen to be a Trekkie interested in fan films.  If you’re my wife, it’s more like, “That’s nice, honey.  I’m glad you had such a good time.  Did you remember to empty the dishwasher?”

And that’s why I’m writing this blog—because I have now emptied the dishwasher, and I really want to tell you guys about the fan film filled week I just had…because you care, right?  (Aw don’t answer that; it’ll just kill my buzz.)

Continue reading “I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)”

RENEGADES hosts a North Hollywood THEATER PREMIERE of “THE REQUIEM”!

Over a half million dollars.  Multiple crowd-funding campaigns.  Walter Koenig.  Nichelle Nichols.  Tim Russ.  Elaborately constructed sets.  Props.  Art design.  Lighting.  Make-up.  Broken air-conditioning in the studios.  Countless aliens in hot rubber masks.  A year in post-production.  Amazing visual FX.  Incredible music.  And those damn guidelines from CBS and Paramount that forced Star Trek: Renegades to evolve into RENEGADES: THE SERIES.

And then last night, at 7:30 in the Laemlee Theater in North Hollywood, CA, the moment we’d all been waiting for.  “The Requiem” was shown for the first time as a full-hour fan film on the big screen in front of an audience of hundreds of fans, actors, production crew, family, friends, and donors…and at least one blogger who crawled through L.A. rush hour traffic for 75 minutes to get there!

The inside of the theater looked like this…

Before the screening, actors posed for photos with fans who’d donated a little extra…

Aron Eisenberg, Tim Russ, Nichelle Nichols, Jason Quinell (donor), Walter Koenig, and Manu Intiraymi

And then it was time to start the film.  Things were running a little late, so producer SKY CONWAY’s opening introduction was simply, “Let’s start this thing!”

Continue reading “RENEGADES hosts a North Hollywood THEATER PREMIERE of “THE REQUIEM”!”

RENEGADES announces WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING in North Hollywood on JULY 12th!

Back in August of 2015, STAR TREK: RENEGADES held a red-carpet premiere screening of its 90-minute feature film at the Crest Theater in Westwood in Los Angeles.  It was a star-studded event with Star Trek celebrities galore, paparazzi, perks for sale, and even free popcorn (although tickets were a $20 donation for the fan film’s production costs).

Now on July 12th, 2017, RENEGADES: THE SERIES (now minus the “Star Trek“) will premiere in its entirety for the first time the full debut episode of its fan series: “The Requiem.”  (Part 1 debuted online back in February, but only for donors.  Two months later, Part 1 was made available for free to everyone.)

The big premiere will take place at 7:30 at the Leammle Theater (5240 Lankershim Blvd) in North Hollywood, CA.  Many of the cast and crew will be there, including Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Robert Beltran, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, and Justin McQueede.  After the screening of the full episode (Parts 1 & 2), there will be a question and answer session with the stars the creators.

Tickets are only $20 each and can be purchased here.

Although they set out to raise an additional $80K for their final post production efforts in a recent crowd-funding campaign (here’s a link to that), they only got as far as $30K.  So to help raise additional money, for a little extra, fans attending the event can get special VIP seating with the stars along with appearing in autographed photos with certain cast members.Here’s a breakdown on prices for each photo option:

$75 – Photo with WALTER KOENIG (autographed)

$150 – Photo with WALTER KOENIG and NICHELLE NICHOLS (autographed by both)

$250 – Photo with WALTER KOENIG, NICHELLE NICHOLS, TIM RUSS, and ROBERT BELTRAN (autographed by all four)

All photos will be autographed at the event and ready for fans to take home.

You can learn more about this web series on their website.  And here is an exciting trailer for Part 2 of “The Requiem”…