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!”

GHOST SHIP appears out of nowhere! (audio interview with JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX)

The vast majority of the fan film community had no idea that GHOST SHIP was coming (including me)!  But just a few weeks ago, on Halloween, the newest full-length Star Trek fan production from JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX debuted on YouTube.

Although shot mainly on the STAGE 9 STUDIOS starship sets previously used for Star Trek Continues and Starship Farragut, I learned from interviewing Josh and Victoria that some scenes were also filmed at the Arkansas sets originally known as Starbase Studios.  Their visual FX were done by Trekyards’ CGI genie SAMUEL COCKINGS, who will soon be releasing Temporal Anomaly and Convergence.  Even VANCE MAJOR makes a cameo as the character Erick Minard.  So these guys definitely got around the fan film world to make their project.

And what an impressive production it is!  A “Star Trek meets The Walking Dead” mash-up, of sorts, the film combines spooky zombie horror tropes with comedic moments and fun characters to create a wonderfully enjoyable space adventure.  And it follows the guidelines completely, including dividing the fan film into two less-than-15-minute segments.  The cast is made up of trained actors along with a crew of experienced film producers.  The result looks great, sounds great, and is written, directed, and edited at a noticeably high level.

That might be one of the reasons that the views for Ghost Ship have exploded on Youtube.  When I conducted our interview on Wednesday of last week, Josh and Victoria were excited to see their total views had climbed over 8,000.  Well, guess what?  As I write this 8 days later, they’ve gone viral with more than 105,000 views!

Before I get to the fan and interview, let me take a moment to mention that GHOST SHIP and a growing number of other Trek fan films would not be possible without the generosity of RAY TESI, present owner of the TOS  sets in of Kingsland, GA.  Ray makes these sets available for free (well, the cost of electricity used during the shoot) to any fan filmmaker following the guidelines.  But the $3,000/month rent is paid out of Ray’s own pocket.

Currently, there is an opportunity for fans to contribute a little bit each month (even a dollar makes a difference) through a PATREON.  Right now, fans are donating $163 of that $3,000 monthly expense, but there’s always room for more help from our community.  To donate, go to:

https://www.patreon.com/stage9studios

And now, here are parts 1 and 2 of Ghost Ship

Pretty good fan film, huh?  Want to learn more about how it was made, how long it took to complete, and where to go to find a dozen convincing zombies in southern Georgia?  Take a listen to this really fun interview with writer/director Joshua Irwin and producer Victoria Fox…

JOSHUA IRWIN as Commodore Joseph Austin and VICTORIA FOX as Commander Amanda Beck in GHOST SHIP

CONVERGENCE winds up 134% funded, releases TEST SCENE Teaser!

At midnight Pacific Time last Friday (while I was on East Coast time in Atlanta…don’t worry, folks, Axacon coverage is coming later this week!), the 5-way crossover fan film CONVERGENCE finished up its Indiegogo campaign with $7,385 from 114 backers!  This was a third over their posted goal of $5,500, and allowed them to surpass two stretch goals.  The first (at $6,000) would cover the Indiegogo fees and perk production costs, meaning that all $5,500 could go to the production itself.  The second stretch goal ($7,000) will fund both a new late TNG/DS9 era uniform for actor Jim Von Dolteren (of a quality to match the others) as well as a special behind-the-scenes bonus video with interviews, bloopers, and “making of” features.

Even though Indiegogo offers the “In Demand” status for any campaign that exceeds its goal (meaning, you can continue raising money even after your campaign “ends”), sh0w-runner and Hobbit ring-bearer (to bring them all, get it?) SAMUEL COCKINGS has decided that he’s now got enough to make this happen.  So the campaign is now officially closed.

As you might remember, Samuel was contacted by a concerned CBS when they saw the trailer to his other upcoming Trek fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY.  And even though discussions with CBS were cordial, and Samuel reached an agreement when Temporal Anomaly could be released with some changes and is now allowed to exceed the 30-minute runtime limit, Samuel prefers not to poke the bear when it comes to the Trek copyright holders.  He set out to raise $5,500.  He did so, got a little extra to improve the finished project, and now he doesn’t need to keep taking in more money.

On the final day of the campaign, Samuel released a sneak-peek “test scene teaser” showing what Convergence will look like when finished.  Well…kinda.  Y’see, it’s a TEST scene, and it still needs quite a bit of work.  Samuel says it’s got the wrong LCARS, it’s missing a Master Systems Display, a dedication plaque, and possibly some extra crew members in the background.  The sound and music aren’t finalized yet either.  “It’s a work-in-progress (WIP),” Samuel told me with the enthusiasm of someone tackling a challenging project that he’s really excited about.  And I’m also excited!

And I think, after you watch this sneak-peek video, even though it’s still rough around the edges, you’ll be excited, too…

LAST CHANCE to donate to CONVERGENCE (new “4th wall” video available)!

The Indiegogo campaign for the multi-crossover fan production CONVERGENCE ends in less than two days!  Convergence unites actors and elements from FIVE different fan films and series—Intrepid, Dark Armada, Starship Republic, Renegades, and the soon-t0-be-released Temporal Anomaly—under the direction of fan CGI wunderkind SAMUEL COCKINGS.

The campaign has already met its primary goal of $5,500 and currently sits at $6,040.  But if Samuel can reach $6,400, he’ll be able to afford an improved late-DS9/TNG movie-era uniform…or possibly even something a little more, shall we say, futuristic (since one of the characters will be traveling back from the future).  I’m pretty sure he can make that goal before things close up.

And the campaign will be closing up.  Although reaching a goal on Indiegogo allows a campaign to continue raising funds after the campaign “ends” (it’s called “In Demand” status), Samuel has no intention of doing so.  Since he’s offering a lot of really exciting perks, he doesn’t want CBS to think that he’s trying to turn this project into an online shopping site.  (Right now, Samuel has a good relationship with CBS after making the changes they requested to Temporal Anomaly before releasing it…which is why it’s been delayed.)

So once this campaign is over, it’s over—and the perks will no longer be available.  If you want any of ’em, donate NOW!

There are also currently some exciting stretch goals.  At $7,000 (certainly within reach!) fans will get to see special behind-the-scenes features: bloopers, interviews, making-of documentary, etc.  $8,000 will see the addition of a NEW SCENE in the corridor (which requires a new virtual CGI “set” be created), available as a special direct-to-donors extended cut.  $9,000 funds a second exclusive NEW SCENE, this one in Engineering.  And $10,000 will allow Samuel to create a new shuttle design rather than using the existing Type 11 shuttlecraft we’ve all seen before.

So take those credit cards out of your wallets (assuming you’re so inclined!), and let’s try to give our Trekyards buddy a donation boost as far as we can:

Click here to donate to Convergence.

And here’s a fun little video with NICK COOK and ROBIN HIERT that knocks on that fourth wall a little while showing the quality that can be expected once this ambitious cross-over fan production is completed…

CONVERGENCE releases one of the BEST crowd-funding videos I’ve ever seen!

With less than seven days to go, and within striking distance of his goal, Trekyards co-host and treknology trexpert SAMUEL COCKINGS is filling his final week of his Indiegogo campaign for CONVERGENCE with new videos.  Currently at $4,755 as I type this, they’re just $845 (14%) away from their goal of $5,500…although Samuel would love to reach $6,000 to cover Indiegogo fees and perk costs.  And if he reaches $7,000, he’ll release bonus behind-the-scenes content.  (There’s also other stretch goals beyond that.)

Samuel has saved the best videos for last.  Already, there was a fun interview on Wednesday with NICK COOK, who will be reprising his role of Captain Daniel Hunter of the fan series Star Trek: Intrepid.  And on Friday, Samuel posted another interview with actor CHRIS BURDETT from the upcoming fan film Temporal Anomaly.  Both of these gentlemen will be starring in Convergence.

While both of those interviews were very well-produced (good lighting, good sound, interesting questions and answers) and are certainly worth viewing if you’re a fan of fan films, it was the video Samuel released this morning that blew me away.

This 3-minute vignette is now my second favorite crowd-funding “ask” video ever.  Why is it my second favorite?  Well, nothing will likely ever surpass this video (and the four that came after it) from Star Trek Continues‘ “Kirkstarter 2.0.”  But the reason this Convergence video gets the secondprise (get it?), is because it has so much fun while asking folks to donate.

Begging for money is never easy, and fan films who go the crowd-funding route have taken various approaches from serious to whacky.  Sometimes it’s easy because they have big celebrities or they’ve already filmed or released other work to show what they can do.  But sometimes, you’ve just gotta work with what you have.

And that’s what Samuel did, combining a script for the video with ad-libs and outtakes to produce a very real, creative, sincere, and funny video that just makes me want to throw my money at them!  Take a look, and see if you agree…

For anyone planning a crowd-funder, bookmark this video and the others in Samuel’s series.  And speaking of which, our Mr. Cockings promises another two interviews over the next two days, followed by what he calls a “4th wall-breaking viral video” on Tuesday and the first full teaser with actual footage on Wednesday.  The campaign ends Friday.

To donate, click here.

 

CONVERGENCE launches new INDIE-GOGO campaign (audio interview with SAMUEL COCKINGS)

Welcome to CONVERGENCE…a fan production uniting FIVE accomplished fan films and series from FOUR different countries into ONE amazing crossover event!

And YOU can help make it all possible.

These folks have already completed one video shoot with four of their five primary actors: NICK COOK from Star Trek: Intrepid (Scotland), ROBIN HIERT from Star Trek: Dark Armada (The Netherlands), and CHRIS BURDETT and NIMRAN SAUND from the upcoming Temporal Anomaly (Great Britain).  They also have a number of jaw-dropping VFX created by SAMUEL COCKINGS, life-long Star Trek fan and co-host/co-creator of the popular webseries “Trekyards.”  Some of this CGI will include the Archer-class starship from the original Star Trek: Renegades, as well as the villains from that fan film, the Syphon.

Their project is already well underway.  But now they need $5,500 to complete it, and they’ve just launched a new Indiegogo campaign. Fan donations will allow Samuel to fly in his full cast for a second studio green screen shoot to get the rest of their scenes filmed with proper lighting, sound, and staging.  This will include their final main actor, JIM VON DOLTEREN from Starship Republic, who will be flying to the U.K. from America, along with the others.

They’ve got some really nice perks that you can choose from, and thanks to a series of preview teaser promos released over the past month, the campaign is already off to a decent start, taking in about 9% of the goal in the first 24 hours (including $60 from me).  It also has one of the most impressive “ask” videos that I’ve seen for a crowd-funding campaign in a very long time.  Check it out…

After you watch that video, you’ll probably be excited enough to donate.  But even if you’re not, you should listen to this really awesome audio interview with Samuel.  Not only do we discuss Convergence, but we also discuss Temporal Anomaly, his interactions with CBS legal, the fan film guidelines, and a host of other topics that you’re certain to find, as Jean-Luc Picard would say, engaging…

Click here to donate.

Final CONVERGENCE puzzle piece revealed in new TEMPORAL ANOMALY teaser!

Over the past three weeks, 3D animator incredibus SAMUEL COCKINGS has released three teasers for his upcoming multi-crossover fan film, CONVERGENCE.  The project, already well into production, will be holding an Indiegogo shortly to cover expenses, and these three teasers are meant to build interest and excitement leading up to the launch of the campaign.  (Yep, crowd-funders, that’s the way you should do it!)

One of the intriguing “mysteries” about Convergence was the question of which fan films/series will be crossing over—there will be five in all.  The first teaser revealed that Star Trek: Intrepid show-runner and star NICK COOK would be reprising his fan favorite role of Captain Daniel Hunter of the USS Intrepid.  The second teaser revealed that the fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada would also be part of this crossover, with that series’ show-runner and star, ROBIN HIERT, playing his character Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia.

The third and final teaser filled in another two pieces of the puzzle.  JIM VON DOLTERAN of the Trek fan series Starship Republic will also be appearing, captaining a starship of the futuristic Archer-class, which was seen in the original Star Trek: Renegades fan film (before it de-Trekified itself).  Also appearing in Convergence will be the alien Syphon race, the terrifying bad guys from Renegades.

So with four fan films/series accounted for, fans still didn’t know the fifth…until yesterday when Samuel Cockings posted an unexpected FOURTH teaser!  But this time, the teaser didn’t include footage from Convergence but rather from his upcoming (and long-anticipated) fan film TEMPORAL ANOMALY.  (You can listen to an audio interview with Samuel about this project here.)  This project’s release was delayed by CBS, but Samuel was ultimately granted a small guideline exemption in exchange for making certain adjustments, which are still being completed.

But the big news is that his new teaser, featuring an intriguing two-and-a-half minute scene from the final film, reveals that Temporal Anomaly will be the final of the five fan productions crossing over, specifically the character of Captain James Munro.  Take a look…

THIRD and final CONVERGENCE teaser fills in two more pieces of the puzzle!

For the last couple of weeks, show-runner and “Trekyards” super-duper CGI trooper SAMUEL COCKINGS has been releasing a new teaser for his new fan project, CONVERGENCE, each weekend.  Convergence will be a mega-crossover event, bringing together (according to Samuel) FIVE different fan films and series.

The first couple of teasers gave fans the initial two pieces of the puzzle.  One of the cross-over fan series would be Star Trek: Intrepid, featuring Intrepid show-runner and star NICK COOK reprising his fan favorite role of Captain Daniel Hunter, as shown in the first teaser…

The second teaser revealed that the fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada would also be part of the cross-over equation, as that series’ show-runner and star, ROBIN HIERT, would be playing his character Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia.  Here’s the second teaser…

That left three more cross-over fan films/series still a mystery…until last Saturday when the third and final weekly trailer made its debut.  Two important (and surprising!) pieces of the puzzle were revealed with this announcement/introduction by Samuel:

STAR TREK: RENEGADES and STARSHIP REPUBLIC.  That’s right!  While the Renegades team have moved to a non-Trek universe, we are officially carrying on the torch for their Star Trek pilot and telling a new story with parts from the Star Trek: Renegades ‘verse.

Also joining as our final captain is JIM VON DOLTEREN from Starship Republic!  He will be flying to the UK to ensure that all our captains can be in the same room at the same time for some important scenes and to get the best quality production possible!

At some point in the next week or three, the official crowd-funding campaign for Convergence will launch, and fans will discover who the final character(s) is/are and from which fan project.  In the meantime, you share in the excitement as you view Samuel’s rendition of the Archer-class starship from Renegades and Jim Von Dolteren’s voice-over debut in the third and latest teaser for Convergence

CONVERGENCE teaser number two features ROBIN HIERT of Dark Armada!

The last time fans saw ROBIN HIERT playing the role of Captain Alexander Richardson of the USS Batavia, it was December of 2016 in the finale of the popular Dutch fan series Star Trek: Dark Armada

(Technically, Robin also made a brief cameo in one of the final Minard Saga films.)

In the last minutes of that finale (spoiler warning!), fans discovered that the entire series thus far had been taking place in the Kelvin timeline (24th century), and we finally got a glimpse of Captain Richardson from the prime timeline.

At the time, Robin Hiert told me that a new sequel series, Batavia, would start filming the following year (2017).  But it’s now far into 2018, and no episodes of that series have emerged yet.

And so, fans of Dark Armada will be very happy to see and hear that Captain Richardson and the USS Batavia will play a part in the upcoming multi-fan film crossover event CONVERGENCE from “Trekyards” CGI guru SAMUEL COCKINGS.  The second teaser was released this past weekend…

And for those who missed it, here is the first teaser again featuring NICK COOK of the fan series Star Trek: Intrepid

Samuel will be releasing a third and final trailer this coming weekend before launching an Indiegogo campaign to fund production and post-production on this FIVE-WAY crossover.  Which other fan films/series will be included in the crossover besides Intrepid and Dark Armada?  You won’t have to wait too long to find out!

Speaking of which, I’ve been shown a rough cut of the “ask” video for the Indiegogo page…and it looks really amazing.  To others looking to create crowd-funders, all I can say is watch this video and take careful notes!

Because several Convergence scenes and VFX sequences have already been shot and rendered, Samuel is able to provide some clips from the film itself, plus excerpts from behind-the-scenes interviews along with lots of footage taken during shooting on the green screen set with the main four actors.  So yes, you’ll definitely learn which other three fan films/series will be a part of this major cross-over event once the Indiegogo launches in a few more weeks.

In the meantime, remember to visit Convergence on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Convergenceastartrekfanfilm