“ONCE MORE WITH FEELING” is a HYBRID fan film/table reading…

What do you do if you want to make a Star Trek fan film and you can’t afford costumes, sets, make-up, lighting, and all of the other bells and whistles?  This was the challenge facing Australia’s MATT MILLER, who had previously tried on multiple attempts to create Trek fan films with limited resources.  Matt explains his frustrations and the shortcomings of those productions in this heartfelt video.

So “Once More with Feeling” works as a title on various levels.  Matt’s latest attempt at a Trek fan film is, of course, his own attempt to do it better, once more, with feeling.  The “feeling” comes from what is a hybrid, of sorts, of a traditional Star Trek fan film and what would be a dramatic table reading for an audio production.  The actors provide very passionate performances, even though they are reading directly from scripts in the visuals.

Table readings are, of course, fairly standard in the theater, which is where Once More with Feeling! was originally performed as a stage play (written by Harry Kurnitz) in 1958, starring Joseph Cotten, Arlene Francis, and Walter Matthau (who won a best actor Tony award for it).  Two years later, it would be made into a film starring Kay Kendall and Yul Brynner.  (And yes, in 2001, “Once More with Feeling” was also the title of an all-musical episode of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer.)

For this Star Trek fan film, the title also appears to harken to the structure of the story, as a disgraced Starfleet captain describes his tragic, final battle for a young woman who has come to his home, she tells him, as part of a college research project.  However, if you watch until the very end of the film, you will discover yet another reason for the title.

This is undoubtedly a different kind of fan film, and somewhat jarring in places due to its basic structure.  The outer space starship CGI visual effects, created by Trekyards’ SAMUEL COCKINGS, are outstanding and take the viewer deep into the fan film narrative.  But cuts to the actors, standing in a virtual “lounge” of some kind, wearing normal clothes, reading from scripts, jolts the viewer out of the imaginary Star Trek universe back into reality.

Reaction online has been generally very positive (with the expected outliers, of course).  I believe that all fan films should be given respect and viewed with an open mind—this one being no exception.  So take a look at what can be produced on a low budget, with few resources, when the writer/director thinks outside the box…

TREKYARDS and VIC MIGNOGNA go behind-the-scenes of STAR TREK CONTINUES!

TREKYARDS is a force of nature in Star Trek fandom.  So is STAR TREK CONTINUES.  Put the two of them together, and there’s something really special in store for Trekkers!

Trekyards, for those who don’t know, is the brainchild of STUART FOLEY and SAMUEL COCKINGS.  Together, these two uber-fans have produced more than 500 webshow videos spotlighting ships from Trek and other sci-fi franchises, interviewing actors and production people from Star Trek, doing video podcasts, and filling the Internet with enough smart, funny, and fascinating content to eat up as much of your free time as you desire!

Star Trek Continues, as you undoubtedly know, was a cutting edge fan series that presented the final two years of the USS Enterprise‘s 5-year mission under James T. Kirk.  Using professional actors and technical crew, featuring noted sci-fi celebrities as guest stars, and displaying industry-level production quality on exact recreations of the TOS sets, STC set a standard of excellence seldom if ever matched in the realm of Trek fan films.

Although STC has completed its 11-episode run, fans still cherish this labor of love and the careful attention to detail that went into it.  And while STC has released a few special features here and there focussing on things like the music scoring, editing, and VFX—and Fan Film Factor published this exhaustively-researched complete history of STC—there hasn’t been a real “deep dive” into all of the  behind-the-scenes production secrets of this amazing series.

Until now, that is!

Trekyards is introducing a new webshow series spotlighting Star Trek Continues, hoping to cover EVERY fascinating detail of this beloved fan project with insight from those who produced it.  Up first, in a 20-minute interview about their first episode, “Pilgrim of Eternity,” Captain Kirk himself, VIC MIGNOGANA, talks about finding and convincing retired actor Michael Forest to reprise his role of Apollo, Vic’s feelings about other Trek fan series, and what gravity has to do with the color of the walls on the set!

Here’s the first installment of this new MUST-SEE Trekyards series…

I spoke to Trekyards co-host and editor Samuel Cockings about this new offering and learned some very interesting things—including why fans really need to tune in and support it…

Continue reading “TREKYARDS and VIC MIGNOGNA go behind-the-scenes of STAR TREK CONTINUES!”

Fan Films, Assemble! Announcing: CONVERGENCE!

So, have you seen Avengers: Infinity War yet?  Pretty cool how a whole bunch of Marvel characters who each have movie series of their own—Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy—all come together in a single movie to fight the bad guys.  If only something like that could happen with Trek fan films.

Oh, wait…

SAMUEL COCKINGS, whose fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY will debut later this year after he makes certain changes requested by CBS, has just announced his latest Trek fan project: CONVERGENCE.  This new production has been a closely-kept secret for several months now, and those folks who did know about it were sworn to secrecy.  And certain nosey bloggers who did know about the project were told only that it was code-named “Star Trek Avengers.”  In fact, even the title Convergence was only revealed to the actors a week and a half ago when they all, um, converged on the U.K. to film some initial scenes in front of Samuel’s green-screen backdrop.

What makes this project extra-exciting is that it will be a full-on fan film CROSSOVER featuring actors and characters from multiple different long-running Trek fan series.  In attendance at this initial shoot were NICK COOK from Intrepid (Scotland), ROBIN HIERT  from Dark Armada (the Netherlands), and CHRIS BURDETT and NIMRAN SAUND from Temporal Anomaly (England)  They came together to film some of the initial scenes along with some promo videos, including this fun one…

Eventually, the plan is to add on actors from an additional two fan films/series for a total of FIVE.  That will be a record, as there have been a number of two-series crossovers (for example Hidden Frontier and Intrepid) and multi-fan film cameo appearances (three actors from New Voyages appeared in the pilot episode of Starship Farragut, and Vance Major featured several quick cameos of fan film notables in his later episodes of the Minard Saga).  But this isn’t just the Falcon briefly appearing in Ant-Man or Hulk joining Thor for Ragnarok…this is full-on Avengers, man!

Samuel launched a new Facebook page for the project, complete with photos introducing the cast.  He’ll be adding one new photo per day for the rest of this week.  In another month or so, Samuel plans to launch a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to complete filming (including transportation to the U.K. for all of the cast) as well as post-production.  And yes, he fully intends to follow all of the the fan film guidelines.

More Convergence news soon!

TEMPORAL ANOMALY concludes talks with CBS, gets small guideline EXEMPTION and release plans!

Well, folks, there’s some good news, some bad news, and some rather shocking news involving the fan production STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY.  As you might recall from this blog update that I posted last month, CBS had contacted show-runner SAMUEL COCKINGS with some concerns over his soon-to-launch fan film.  Weeks earlier, Samuel had released  this trailer that raised a few red flags with the corporate Star Trek copyright owners.

Specifically, there were four concerns.  The first was easy to fix.  The fan film guidelines don’t allow for the name “Star Trek” to be part of the title.  No problem there:”Temporal Anomaly – A Star Trek Fan Film” it is!

The second problem was length, about 50 minutes long.  The guidelines specify a maximum of two 15-minute separate fan films.  Of course, Star Trek Continues released five full-hour episodes after the guidelines were announced (four of them having been filmed and produced after the announcement), and STC was never stopped by CBS.

The third problem was that the trailer included footage taken from actual TNG movies with Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, and Troi on the bridge.  Using existing Trek footage is a no-no.  Granted, Samuel only needed it for a brief intro sequence at the beginning and a short epilogue at the end, but still…not kosher with the suits at CBS.

And finally, there was the music, nearly all of which is existing copyrighted scores from various Star Trek TV series.  Although many other fan films liberally use existing Trek background music, Temporal Anomaly had gotten on CBS’s radar, and the studio wasn’t going to ignore the obvious.

So what’s the good, bad, and shocking news?

Continue reading “TEMPORAL ANOMALY concludes talks with CBS, gets small guideline EXEMPTION and release plans!”

CBS contacts and delays the STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY fan film!

Okay, no one panic!  CBS isn’t going all lawsuit-happy again.  In fact, it’s possible that their experience in the Axanar lawsuit has resulted in a new approach to dealing with Star Trek fan films that concern them: Ask questions first, shoot later.

The first time post-lawsuit that CBS contacted a fan filmmaker with concerns was early in 2016 when Tommy Kraft was trying to raise $250,000 for Star Trek: Federation Rising, his sequel to Star Trek: Horizon.  CBS requested strongly (but politely) that Tommy shut down the project, and he complied.

CBS has been pretty quiet since then when it comes to fan films, until now.  SAMUEL COCKINGS recently released his trailer for STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY,  a fan production he has been working on for five years.  I interviewed him about that project here.  For reasons that will likely become super-obvious when you view the trailer, this planned fan film raised some red flags with CBS for not following a few of the announced guidelines.

Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly was supposed to premiere today on YouTube.  Instead, apparently CBS has asked for (apparently, again, politely) for some changes before it gets released.  Samuel Cockings just posted this announcement to the Temporal Anomaly Facebook page:

Hello Everyone,

While the intent was to release Temporal Anomaly today we were contacted by CBS and are now delaying release of the film until those discussions are concluded and resolved. These have been polite communications and we thank CBS for their approach in dealing with these concerns.

We had hoped to release the project in its pre-guideline state as Temporal Anomaly was written in 2013 and filmed in 2013/2014 however a public release of this now dubbed “Directors Cut” is no longer possible.

A public altered edit of the film may be able to be produced but we are in the early stages of that.

Thank you for the support and interest you have shown, there will be an update on Kickstarter for our backers shortly.

Samuel Cockings

More news as it becomes available…

At last – a NEW TRAILER for STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY! (audio interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)

What?  You’ve never heard of the fan film project STAR TREK: TEMPORAL ANOMALY???  Where have you been for the past five years?

Just kidding.  Most members of the fan film community have never heard of this production…even though it goes all the way back to 2013.  In fact, along with Star Trek: Renegades and Star Trek: Deception, Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly was one of the first three Trek fan films to ever fund successfully on Kickstarter.

But while the other two projects were ultimately completed (Deception later in 2013 and Renegades in 2015), Temporal Anomaly seemed to be stuck in a time loop of always appearing to be “coming soon.”  Seven months after their Kickstarter took in £1,741 (about $2,000 at the time), fans saw this pretty simple teaser:

Not much to write home about by today’s fan film standards, but back in 2013, that looked like a pretty cool green screen-based fan project.

A year later in late 2014, a new teaser promised a 60-minute long fan film (up from the original 20 minutes originally announced) coming in 2015…and the visual effects were looking much more exciting:

But 2015 did not bring the completed fan film.  However, that year brought the following newer, even more impressive 2-minute trailer that showed an increasingly impressive compositing of green screen actors against a wide range of starship interior backgrounds.  We also got to see even better VFX and brief clips of Picard and Riker on the bridge of the Enterprise-E:

That was nearly three years ago.  Since then, nothing…

…until now!

Earlier today, writer/director SAMUEL COCKINGS released a brand new trailer for Temporal Anomaly along with a promise to release the finished film NEXT MONTH!

This new trailer is the best-looking one yet and really blew me away:


So why did this project take so long to finish?  And why do so few fans even know about it?   I posed these questions and many others to Mr. Samuel Cockings during an eye-opening audio interview, which I proudly present to you below…


Look for a follow-up interview next month when Star Trek: Temporal Anomaly is released onto the Internet in its entirety!