A surprise trailer for A LONG WAY FROM HOME blows away fans! (interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)

I bet you didn’t see this coming! Well, at least I certainly didn’t. But most fans were taken completely by surprise last week to see a 90-second sneak peek at a fan film that seemingly no one knew about: A LONG WAY FROM HOME. Well, that’s not entirely true. Show-runner SAMUEL COCKINGS, the CGI wind beneath many fan filmmakers’ wings, knew about the project (because it’s his project!) as did the actors from the fan film community who will appear in it. This includes NICK COOK from the long-running fan series INTREPID, as well as NIMRAN SAUND from Samuel’s previous fan film masterpiece TEMPORAL ANOMALY.

Nick and Nimran are also both slated to appear in Samuel’s next “mega” fan production, the five-way fan film crossover event CONVERGENCE. But delays due to various issues (including COVID) have caused the release date to be pushed back quite a bit. So we weren’t really expecting to see anything from Samuel for a while…well, if you don’t count all of the other fan films he’s been working on lately like: STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION: “We Are Many,”THE ROMULAN WAR: Part 1, the AVALON UNIVERSE, YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, TALES FROM THE NEUTRAL ZONE: “Endosymbiosis,” and lord knows what else at this point! Oh, TREKYARDS…don’t forget those podcasts!

So, yeah, we weren’t really expecting a brand new, unannounced project from Samuel, let alone one with an actual completed trailer that looked and sounded amazing! See for yourself…

With nearly 2,000 views in the first week, there with 165 likes and only one dislike on YouTube! When have you ever known only a single Trekkie out of thousands to have any complaint with something Star Trek related? (And who the heck is this person???)

Anyway, I had a lot of questions for the British Boy Wonder of CGI. So let’s hear what Samuel had to say…

Continue reading “A surprise trailer for A LONG WAY FROM HOME blows away fans! (interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)”

THE ROMULAN WAR premieres at last! (audio interview with MARK NACCARATO)

Back in September, fans were treated to the premiere of the long-awaited STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, in production for five years with a 5-figure (possibly 6-figure) budget. Now, barely seven weeks later, we get our SECOND long-awaited, “top tier” fan film, this one more than three years in production (although the script dates back nearly a decade) and also with a solid 5-figure budget.

The first hints of THE ROMULAN WAR fan film appeared back in 2017. Not to be confused with the fan series THE ROMULAN WARS (plural) from show-runner LEE GARTRELL in Arkansas, this work-in-progress fan film from show-runner MARK NACCARATO in Tennessee is a straight-up two-parter—presented in the same “mockumentary” style as PRELUDE TO AXANAR. Many fans assumed that Mark had been inspired by Prelude to make a fan film in a similar format, but in fact, he’d had the idea and written the first draft of the script three years before Prelude ever premiered. Great minds think alike!

By the time 2018 hit, The Romulan War had most of its scenes filmed and was crowd-funding for mainly post-production costs with a $10K Indiegogo (which ultimately took in more than $13K). With visual FX by the sensei of CGI, Great Britain’s SAMUEL COCKINGS, the trailers and stills from this dynamic fan film created a palpable excitement throughout the community. Frustratingly—but unavoidably—post-production would stretch out another two-plus years. However, unlike other fan films, The Romulan War served fans an almost constant stream of “hors d’oeuvre” vignettes and trailer/prequels and even a couple of short comic book stories.

The two trailer/prequels—PREAMBLE TO WAR and the just-released SHIPS OF THE LINE—serve not only to tease the full fan film but also to expand upon it with footage and story points not included in the final release due to time limitations. So consider the above two vignettes required pre-viewing if you haven’t watched them yet.

Likewise, Mark released six different “enhanced” audio dramas (voice-over performances of actors reading the logs of people who were part of the war, augmented by graphic imagery and short animations, including CGI). These short films, called WAR STORIES, can all be viewed on this playlist. (One of them stars yours truly!) And finally, there are the two short comic book stories INTRUDERS and HOLOCAUST, each of which also ties into the main fan film.

And speaking of which, I bet you’re dying to finally see it. So without further ado, I am proud to present to you The Romulan War, Part 1…

And now that you’ve watched that amazing fan film, let’s get to know the person behind it, Mark Naccarato, and all about his journey getting from there to here…

Surprising NEW CAST MEMBER added to CONVERGENCE! (audio interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)

If you think of fan films without visual effects as being like plain chocolate bars, then there’s one person in our community who is definitely nuts!

Yes, folks, it’s time to check in once again with the elf who cobbles the CGI shoes, the beaver that builds the digital dam, Great Britain’s own SAMUEL COCKINGS. I like to joke that it’s quicker to list the fan films and series that Sam hasn’t worked on than those he has. And while that’s certainly a bit of an exaggeration, the fact is that in 2019 alone, Sam did the VFX for two episodes of DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, two episodes from the AVALON UNIVERSE, LINE OF DUTY from Aaron Vanderkley in Australia, THE FEDERATION FILES: “THE EQUINOX EFFECT”, WAR STORIES from the upcoming THE ROMULAN WAR fan film (which he’s also working on), plus his own mega fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY. In addition to all of this, Sam releases regular weekly episodes of TREKYARDS (click here for the YouTube playlist) with STUART FOLEY plus reviews, interviews, and other special Trek and scifi features.

Considering how busy he is, it’s a wonder Sam has the time to make yet ANOTHER Star Trek fan film, but back in 2018, he crowd-funded through an Indiegogo campaign $7,385 from 114 backers for CONVERGENCE (surpassing two stretch goals)! The fan film itself is a crossover of characters, aliens, ships, and/or actors from five different fan films: INTREPID, DARK ARMADA, RENEGADES, STARSHIP REPUBLIC, and Sam’s own TEMPORAL ANOMALY.

Although one green screen shooting weekend had already brought together four of the cast members (the European ones), the Indiegogo would fund a second green screen shoot, this time also flying in actor JIM VON DOLTEREN from America to Britain. The idea was to schedule the shoot for mid-2019 and release the completed film before the end of the year.

But that didn’t happen.

So what did happen? Well, why don’t I just let Sam tell you that himself…?

Hmmmm…a lot to unpack there. With so much news about the project, Sam and I had an informative one-on-one chat to go a little deeper into the significant casting change, the last year of production, progress on the visual effects, and the timing for production in 2020 and release in early 2021. Take a look…

TREKYARDS: Mission America II – Crowd-funding now…with AWESOME PERKS!

Can you believe that TREKYARDS has been going on for nearly FIVE years??? Do you even know what Trekyards is? You don’t? Oh, man…are you missing out!

Trekyards is a Youtube channel with more than sixteen million views and 50,000 subscribers watching over two-thousand videos! STUART FOLEY (from Canada) and SAMUEL COCKINGS (from Great Britain) release new shows almost daily spotlighting the various ships and vessels from all eras of Star Trek and all genres of sci-fi…plus they do interviews and provide reviews of new episodes, old episodes, toys and collectibles…you name it, they talk about it with two different accents and often with other people from the Trek community (some of them famous)!

Of course, the vast majority of their shows are transatlantic, with the two hosts separated by space and time (well, timezones). But every so often, these two fellows meet in person. And while the universe doesn’t suddenly implode in some timey-whimey vortex of infinite impossibility, it does set one or the other (or both) back a decent amount for international air travel and lodging. In fact, the last time Stuart and Samuel got together for a Trekyards show, it was two years ago.

But over the next twelve months, Stuart and Samuel have FOUR different, special trips planned. But they need the help of supporters to make those events possible for them, and so they’ve set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise $12,000…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/trekyards-mission-america-ii

So where are they planning to travel to, and what will they be doing there?

Continue reading “TREKYARDS: Mission America II – Crowd-funding now…with AWESOME PERKS!”

THE ROMULAN WAR releases newest WAR STORIES: “THE FIGHTING FOURTH”!

A week and a half ago, I reported that MARK NACCARATO, who is completing the fan film THE ROMULAN WAR (due out in the next few months), was about to release the fourth of his WAR STORIES vignettes: “The Fighting Fourth.” That happened for the general public this past weekend, and I have to say that this was my favorite War Story so far! (And since I starred in the third one, you know I’m being sincere.)

Before continuing, I just want to remind everyone to please donate a few bucks to their Indiegogo campaign. Although they surpassed their original goal, additional footage for the main film was shot by AARON VANDERKLEY in Australia, and Mark needs to reach $14,000 to cover Aaron’s additional expenses. He’s $980 short…can you help him out?

Anyway, this latest release is another “enhanced” audio drama, although I think I’d call this a full-on fan film! The difference is that “The Fighting Fourth” actually features a video recording of the main character, not simply the audio recording of log entries “enhanced” with display readouts and various animations. The footage features actor CHEWE NKOLE playing crewman Evander Littlejohn, and the African actor (now living in western Australia) turns in a very strong performance.

Also worth mentioning is sensational CGI effects done by everyone’s favorite British invader, SAMUEL COCKINGS of Trekyards. So we’ve got what I believe is the first-ever Star Trek fan film produced on three different continents (North America, Australia, and Europe), and a really fun and well-crafted 5-minute look at yet another intriguing aspect of The Romulan War

You can watch the other War Stories vignettes here.

THE ROMULAN WAR fan film is now being made on THREE CONTINENTS!

One of the fan productions I’m most looking forward to at the moment is MARK NACCARATO’s project focusing on the battles and strategies of THE ROMULAN WAR with Earth. Presented as a war documentary (similar to Prelude to Axanar), Mark’s stories will pick up where Star Trek: Enterprise frustratingly left off: just BEFORE the ware between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Star Empire began.

Leading up to the planned May 2019 premiere of the full fan film, Mark has released a series of short “enhanced” audio dramas called WAR STORIES. They typically present personal logs or subspace correspondence made by someone involved in the war, usually recorded by a trained voice actor reading the script. (I say “usually” because I am definitely not a trained actor, but I recorded one myself!) The releases, while available in audio format for listening only, are ALSO available on YouTube with added VFX and other graphics to look like Starfleet archival footage. They’re REALLY cool.

For anyone who hasn’t seen and heard these War Stories releases yet, you can view them all on this YouTube playlist. They are only 17 and a half minutes total, so it’s not even that much of a time investment. In fact, anyone who says you can’t tell a decent fan film story in 15 minutes or less NEEDS to watch these four productions, as they each do it in under five minutes! (Well, one is a two-parter.)

This is one of the few fan projects set in the NX-era. Another is the series of amazing and powerful short films produced by AARON VANDERKLEY in Australia. If you haven’t watched them yet, you should check them out.

Now Mark Naccarato and Aaron Vanderkley have joined forces for the latest War Stories production, “The Fighting Fourth.” So that’s America and Australia teaming up for the first time. BUT! Let’s also add in a third continent—Europe—as Britain’s own SAMUEL COCKINGS, the hardest-working Trekpert in geek fandom, has lent his talents with some amazing CGI animation. Just take a look at this trailer…

“The Fighting Fourth” will be released first to donors very soon. So if you’d like to see it early, contribute a buck or three to the still-active Indiegogo campaign (now funding post-production costs).

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR fan film is now being made on THREE CONTINENTS!”

TEMPORAL ANOMALY is finally released…it’s about time! (audio interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)

The time has finally come! After nearly six years, TEMPORAL ANOMALY has been released to astound and amaze Star Trek fans. Written, directed, and produced by SAMUEL COCKINGS—the King, Ace, and Jack of all trades involving CGI animation—back in 2013, Temporal Anomaly has traveled a long and challenging path on its way to completion. This included an e-mail directly from CBS saying, “You can’t release this fan film!”

Yep, for only the fourth time, CBS stepped in to put the kibosh on a Star Trek fan film project (the others being Axanar, Federation Rising from Tommy Kraft, and “He Walked Among Us” from Star Trek: New Voyages. Considering there are literally several hundreds of Trek fan films, the VAST majority never hear from CBS. But Samuel did…just weeks before releasing his half-decade labor of love.

The fan film world was all ready, one year ago, to see this long-awaited masterpiece. In fact, I even featured a 38-minute audio interview with Samuel in mid-February of 2018 in anticipation of a March release. But then CBS contacted Samuel, and things came to an immediate halt!

However, in a very unexpected turn of events, Samuel was able to convince CBS to allow him to make certain changes and release the fan film after all, even negotiating a one-time exemption from the 30-minute limit to allow for his full 50-minute film to play out as scripted.

Unfortunately, making the required changes—which included stripping out the music track and finding a composer to re-score the entire feature—took nearly another year. In the meantime, Samuel made other improvements to the VFX, CGI backgrounds, etc. The result is one of the most visually stunning and impressive green screen Trek fan films you are ever likely to see.

And see it you shall, right now (in two parts)…

Pretty amazing, huh? Now take a listen to a FANtastic new audio interview with Samuel. This time, we discuss exactly what happened with CBS and how Samuel was able to convince them to change their minds and let him release Temporal Anomaly…and even make it 50 minutes long! We also discuss the fan film world in general, what makes good CGI, behind-the-scenes stories from Samuel’s production, and updates on his next fan project, Convergence.

If you’re thinking of listening to the following interview before watching the fan film—DON’T DO IT, MAN! There are spoilers in the interview! Watch Temporal Anomaly first, and THEN listen to this…

NEW TRAILER from the AVALON UNIVERSE!

JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX burst onto the Star Trek fan film stage this past Halloween with the unexpected release of GHOST SHIP. Shot using real actors and high production design on the TOS sets in Kingsland, GA and on the new WARP 66 Studios’ bridge sets in Arkansas, Ghost Ship was fun a “Star Trek meets The Walking Dead” fan film that took the community by storm. Part 1 already has more than 167K views on YouTube, and Part 2 over 70K. (You can listen to a great audio interview with both producers here.)

One of the things that got fans’ attention was the Kelvin-verse Starfleet uniforms juxtaposed with TOS sets and warp nacelles for a Constitution-class starship that glowed blue. What universe was this???

Well, now we know, as there is a new trailer for upcoming fan films from Josh and Victoria in what they are calling the AVALON UNIVERSE

There is also a new Facebook page for the Avalon Universe (featuring the crew of the USS Excalibur). On Facebook, there’s the following posting:

The second fan film taking place in our "Avalon Universe" has begun filming. We'll meet new characters, and see interesting new design elements including visfx, LCARS readouts, uniforms and even unique divergent Starship and shuttle designs, and a new starbase dry dock design all from the amazingly talented Samuel Cockings and his crew of CG artists. The story is co-written and directed by Victoria Fox!
Look for it soon along with information on our crowd funding campaign, which will bring you more stories from this interesting alternate reality.

Filming for their second episode wrapped yesterday in front of a green screen in Arkansas. Plans currently call for the second episode to debut on February 1…along with a crowd-funding campaign for episodes 3 and 4.

Although I plan to do another interview with Josh and Victoria next month, I did ask Josh if he had any other details about what fans could expect from the Avalon Universe going forward…

Continue reading “NEW TRAILER from the AVALON UNIVERSE!”

SAMUEL COCKINGS 2013 and SAMUEL COCKINGS 2018 take a look forward and back at TEMPORAL ANOMALY!

For SAMUEL COCKINGS, the Harry Potter of CGI, it has truly been a long road getting from there to here. “There” was 2013 when he launched a Kickstarter to fund his fan film project, STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY. A month later, he’d raised £1,741 (about $2,700) with 27 backers. Compared to some of the Trek fan films at the time, this was a “humble” amount, but it was enough to assemble half a dozen actors, get them into Stafleet uniforms, and film them in front of green screens for a nearly hour-long fan video movie.

And then five years happened.

To be fair to Samuel, he was doing anything BUT procrastinating during that time. His skills and resources were constantly expanding, and his abilities to create a better and better looking fan film around that green screen footage were growing by the day!

Early last year, however, just as he was finally planning to debut his long-awaited fan film, Samuel released a trailer that included footage of Picard, Riker, Worf, Troi, etc.—who would be in a short 90-second “prologue” to the film—and got the attention of CBS (and not in a good way). But rather than shut him down completely, CBS worked with Samuel to find a way that he could release his fan film and not have to toss all of his hard work. So…kudos to CBS for finally taking a chill pill.

Those CBS changes have required nearly ten months to complete, but now Temporal Anomaly is nearly ready to premiere later this month. And when it does, I’ve got a great audio interview with His Royal Trekness that you’re all gonna enjoy listening to.

But right now, in anticipation of the impending release of five and a half years of work and dedication, Samuel has posted a special video which takes a look back at the journey…including footage of himself from 2013 and his initial Kickstarter campaign plus comparisons of shots and CGI from back then with what we’ll see in just a couple more weeks.

Take a look…

THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!

Hey, guess who developed the Warp Seven engine?  Me, that’s who!

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I had help (will have help?) from my NX-Zeta project team, and from MARK NACARRATO, the show-runner of the upcoming fan production THE ROMULAN WAR.  Oh, and it wasn’t really me; it was Lieutenant Geoffrey Christopher of the United Earth Space Probe Agency.  But he looks and sounds a lot like me.

I suppose I should back up a few steps and explain what the heck I’m talking about…

For those of you unfamiliar with The Romulan War, it’s going to be an amazing Trek fan film picking up where Star Trek: Enterprise left off…at the beginning of the war between the Coalition of Planets and the Romulan Empire.  Filming on the production is all but completed, and now the finishing touches of post production—editing, VFX, sound, music, etc.—are being applied.  Release is planned for 2019.

Of course, with the limitations of the fan film guidelines, it would be nearly impossible to recount the entire war…despite using a “mock” documentary style similar to Prelude to Axanar.  So Mark came up with an interesting idea to push the envelope a bit—WAR STORIES.  These are short vignettes that are essentially audio dramas…just with a little something “extra” added: images with simple animations.  These “enhanced” audio dramas are presented as the logs of various Starfleet officers who served during the war, and the logs are accompanied by computer readouts and archival photos with some short video clips.  Less than a full fan film but more than a simple audio drama.

Last August, Mark released the first War Stories, the two-part “Sleep Is Hard to Find.”  If you go to that blog page, you’ll see that yours truly provided some of the Photoshop work to get the actors’ faces onto NX-era uniforms.  A month later, Mark released the second War Stories, “They Want Us Dead.”  That one didn’t require my Photoshop services, but the third release, “Final Flight,” did.

It also required my face…

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES – new release “FINAL FLIGHT” starring…me!”