The Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS return for 2024…submissions are now OPEN through MAY 31!

Earlier this month, the winners of this year’s DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS were announced. Now it’s time for the other major award competition dedicated exclusively to fan films to kick off: the annual SHOWRUNNER AWARDS.

Unlike the Directors Choice Awards, which are open to fan films from any genre, the Showrunner Awards focus EXCLUSIVELY on Star Trek fan films…allowing our little niche of a niche of a niche both to shine as well as providing a friendly venue for Star Trek fan filmmakers to compete directly against each other.

As the name implies, the judging panel for the Showrunner Awards is made up of a dozen fan film showrunners, and I’ll spotlight them in an upcoming blog. Another unique aspect of the Showrunner Awards is that each of our nearly two-dozen categories recognizes THREE winners, with the top film in that category earning an Admiral Award, the second-place finisher receiving a Captain Award, and the third highest judged film winning a Commander Award. Each award is personalized for that fan film and sent to the entrant as a digital printable certificate.

A final element that distinguishes the Showrunner Awards is that the eligibility window for submission is more than just a single year. In fact, it is currently 5 years (anything released between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2023), giving a fan film that may not have won in a previous year because of strong competition additional chances to earn an award (no film is allowed to win twice in the same category).

That said, it’s been recommended that we shorten the window from 5 years to a less expansive 3 years, and that will happen for next year’s awards. I was going to do it this year, but one of our judges rightly pointed out that such a major change should be announced beforehand just in case a filmmaker was waiting to enter an older fan film. So next year the window will shrink from 5 to 3 years, but we’re still at 5 years this go around.

As always, the cost is $10 per entry plus $1 for each category beyond Best Fan Film that the submitter wishes to enter—things like best director, best actor/actress, best VFX, best music, etc. This year, we’re adding a new category for Best Green Screen Compositing, bringing the total number of categories to 23.

The submission period is now open through May 31, 2023. After that, judges will have until the middle of August to view and vote for their top five fan films in each category, with the most points going to each judge’s top choices. (A showrunner judge is not allowed to vote for any of their own fan films in any of their top three slots.) Winners will be announced, as usual, on September 8, the anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek on NBC back in 1966.

Anyone can submit a nomination using the following form page:

Good luck!

Announcing the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARD WINNERS!

Happy 57th Star Trek Anniversary, everyone! And just as I did exactly one year ago today, I am announcing the winners of this year’s SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!!

But first, I would like to thank the judges (each a showrunner himself) for once again doing an amazing job, watching five hours and 42 minutes of Star Trek fan films, and getting all of their ballots in before the August 15 deadline. We did have one judge reluctantly bow out due to time commitments—MARK LARGENT is working hard to finish the next (and last? I hope not!) STALLED TREK animated puppet parody THE DUMBSDAY MACHINE by later this year. And he wasn’t certain he’d have the time to watch and judge all 21 entries.

The remaining ten judges (in addition to yours truly) were…

  • IAN RAMSEY – STAR REKT parody music videos

As we did last year, the scoring worked in the following way. For each of the 22 categories (four of them brand new this year), every judge would vote for his top five choices in descending order (his own fan film(s) could NOT be in the top three slots). In the final tally, each top choice would get 10 points. The second choice would get 7 points. The third would get 5 points, then 3, and finally 1 for the last choice. Then I would add up the total number of points in each category, determining a first place (Admiral Award), second place (Captain Award), and third place (Commander Award) winner.

This year’s voting produced some unexpected results. In some categories, the three winners were far, far ahead of the rest of the pack, having banked many of the top two or three spots from a majority of judges. (Those 10 and 7 scores stack up quickly!) In some other categories, things were a bit closer, with only a few points keeping nominees out of the top-level award tiers. And for Best Fan Film, there was only a ONE POINT difference separating the first and second place winners. Exciting!!!

Continue reading “Announcing the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARD WINNERS!”

Here are the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARD entries for BEST SHORT SCENE…

While all of the fan film award competitions feature categories that are common to every contest—like best fan film, best director, best actor, best music, etc.—what makes life extra interesting are categories that are unique to each competition. For example, the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS have categories for Best Ensemble Cast and Best Portrayal of an Existing Character…categories that other fan film contests don’t offer.

In the case of the SHOWRUNNER AWARDS, we just added four new categories this year for Best Props, Best Original Set Design, Funniest Fan Film, and Most Clever Easter Egg. But returning from last year is one of our most unique categories—and one of my personal favorites!—Best Short Scene. This award is for a single sequence from a fan film that is two minutes or shorter, a sequence that is particularly exciting or gripping or dramatic or memorable. The standout elements can be the acting, writing, directing, editing, VFX, music, or any combination. The question is: which short scene does a judge find to be most impactful?

Last year, we had ten fan films that entered submissions into this category. This year, only five submissions came in for Best Scene, but they are each excellent! And best of all, each has a 60% chance of winning an award because we present an Admiral Award, Captain Award, and Commander Award in each category. (Remember that for next year, fan filmmakers: enter a short scene for a good chance at winning!)

I’ve just started creating the online ballot for the judges to record their votes in each of our 22 categories (that is a lot of work for both me to make the form and them to watch everything and fill it out!). And I need a convenient place for them to access all the short scenes in one place. What could be more convenient than a blog page, right?

If you’d like to view all of this year’s 23 fan film entries in their entirety, click here. But now net’s take a look at the five submissions for this year’s Best Short Scene, in alphabetical order by fan film…






The 2023 SHOWRUNNER AWARDS now have their final 21 entries!

Submissions for this year’s Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS are now complete. It feels like only yesterday when I announced the entrants for last year’s inaugural competition! (Well, maybe not yesterday…but certainly not a full year ago!!!) For our previous running, we had a whopping 38 Star Trek fan films submitted, totaling just a smidge under 13 hours of viewing time for our twelve judges.

This year, our number of entrants is a smidge below two-thirds of that: 21 fan films. That lower total isn’t too surprising to me. Last year, a quarter of our submissions came from one person, VANVE MAJOR, who decided to enter TEN of his CONSTAR saga fan films! Vance, who announced his final retirement from Star Trek fan filmmaking last year, has decided to sit it out this time, which is fine.

Other fan films like SQUADRON, THE HOLY CORE, BEYOND THE SUN, AGENT OF NEW WORLDS, PACIFIC 201, INTERLUDE, STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, and CHANCE ENCOUNTER won enough awards last year that their creators didn’t feel the need to enter again, as a fan film is only allowed to win once in any specific category. One fan films has returned this year for a second chance at the winners’ circle, but most haven’t, resulting in fewer entries.

And speaking of entering the same film multiple times, I’m considering shortening the window of eligibility from 5 years to something less, like only 2 or 3 years. I still feel strongly that fan films should get at least one extra chance to compete, rather than being eligible in only a single year. But while the first year’s submissions spanned the full five years of eligibility (2017-2021), all but 3 of our 21 submissions for this year were for fan films released during the previous calendar year of 2022. It’s certainly something for the judges and me to discuss going into 2024’s contest, but feel free to chime in with a blog comment or e-mail to me your thoughts.

In the meantime, I am very excited about this year’s entrants because there will be ample more widely-competitive categories this time. Last year cleared out many of the “giants” (from a whole bunch of years) that were, admittedly, extremely hard to compete against. But that leaves this year with a significantly more level playing field.

So while the judges have only about 60% as many films to watch and judge this year (and only 5 and 2/3 hours needed to view them all), I suspect that judging those submissions is going to be MUCH harder. We shall see.

Like last year, the winners will be announced on Star Trek‘s anniversary of September 8, 2023. There are 22 categories this year, with three winners in each category: Admiral, Captain, and Commander level. I salute all of our 21 entrants for 2023, and I wish each of them the best of luck and encourage you, the reader, to watch as many as you can…

Continue reading “The 2023 SHOWRUNNER AWARDS now have their final 21 entries!”

MEET THE JUDGES for the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!

If you haven’t entered your Star Trek fan film(s) yet, the deadline is coming up in just over two weeks! Click here for the submission form page…

Last year, the Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS had a FANtastic panel of twelve judges (including yours truly) who reviewed and voted on 38 submitted fan films. They all did a spectacular job!

Unfortunately, not everyone was available for a second year, and a few had to step down. But as they say, whenever a captain closes a hangar bay door, somewhere he/she/they open a viewport—or something like that. As such, I was able to replace the departing judges with new judges, some of them new to the world of fan filmmaking, others experienced veterans. And all of them, of course, remain showrunners of either a Star Trek fan film or series.

A showrunner plays a special role in the production. Sometimes they are also the writer and/or director and/or producer and/or a whole slew of other positions. But the most important thing about a showrunner is that they are where the buck stops. They are the central force that inspires, manages, coordinates, and motivates the team to finish the project. Yes, others involved in the project can also make sure that things get worked on and completed, but most often, the showrunner is the main person that a production cannot live without.

As such, showrunners tend to know about all aspects of filmmaking (or, like me, they were forced to learn fast!). So even if they don’t have enough skills or expertise to tackle every task themselves, they work closely enough with those who do to make sure they have the resources they need to get their specific job(s) done. And that’s why they make such great judges for fan films.

It’s no small commitment to agree to be a judge in a film competition. One needs to watch perhaps a dozen or more hours of the work of others—and watch carefully enough to remember (or take notes on) specific strengths and weaknesses in performance, technical production, and a host of other items in what will be, this year, a total of 22 separate categories! As a reminder, each judge submits their top five choices in descending order for each category, and they cannot vote for any of their own fan films as their top three slots.

And so, in appreciation and acknowledgement of their invaluable assistance in making these awards both effective and successful, I would like to take a blog moment to spotlight these talented fans who have each worked so hard to bring the labors or themselves and their teams to your computer screen.

In alphabetical order…

Continue reading “MEET THE JUDGES for the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!”

This year’s SHOWRUNNER AWARDS feature FOUR new categories!

Today’s blog post is brought to you be the number FOUR. There are just over four weeks left to enter fan films in the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS, four fan films have already been submitted, and this year, we are featuring four new categories.

But before I tell you about those new categories, just a few quick reminders…

First, here is the link to submit a Star Trek fan film for consideration in year’s competition:

Any Star Trek fan film released onto YouTube and/or social media between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2022 is eligible for entry. There will be three tiers of winner in each category: Admiral (first place), Captain (second place), and Commander (third place).

The deadline for submission is May 31, 2023. The entry fee is $10 for consideration as Best Fan Film and then $1 additional for each category beyond that. Here are the categories that we featured last year (and will have again this year):

  • Best Fan Film
  • Best Director
  • Best Writer
  • Best Lead Actor (submitter may enter up to three actors)
  • Best Lead Actress (submitter may enter up to three actresses)
  • Best Supporting Actor (submitter may enter up to three actors)
  • Best Supporting Actress (submitter may enter up to three actresses)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound Design/Mixing
  • Best Visual Effects (CGI)
  • Best Special Effects (non-CGI)
  • Best Musical Score
  • Best Costuming
  • Best Hair & Makeup
  • Best Original Character
  • Best Scene (up to 2 minutes)
  • Best Micro-Budget Fan Film (total production cost $1,000 or less, not including set construction)

Going into this year’s launch, I reached out to our twelve showrunner judges (including myself) for ideas of new categories we might want to introduce based on feedback from last year. In some cases, fan filmmakers themselves had suggestions. For example, Australian writer/director/producer AARAON VANDERKLEY suggested a category for Best Original Set Design (something he and his team work very hard building), and the judges really liked that idea.

Of course, for a category like that, we needed to figure out some guidelines. For example, what should we do about sets like the TOS ones at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS? Not only would fan films that were shot on those particular sets be tough to beat, but multiple fan films shoot on those same sets…meaning it would be difficult to choose between two or more entries that were filmed there.

In the end, after some discussion, we decided to include on the submission form “for sets constructed for this specific fan film and/​or the fan series it is a part of.” Since Neutral Zone‘s sets were constructed for STAR TREK CONTINUES, which is no longer eligible to enter (their last episode debuted on YouTube in late 2017), nothing else shot there would be eligible.

Continue reading “This year’s SHOWRUNNER AWARDS feature FOUR new categories!”

The Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS return for 2023…submissions are now OPEN through MAY 31!

With the conclusion of the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS two weeks ago (click here to view the winners), it is time to enter the next big award show devoted exclusively to fan films: The Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS!

As the name implies—and unlike the Directors Choice Awards—the Showrunner Awards are open exclusively to ONLY Star Trek themed fan films. Also as the name implies, our judging panel is made up of Showrunners from Star Trek films and series (as opposed to just directors). Like last year, we have a panel of twelve judges, although a few stepped down and a few new judges were added. I’ll be doing a blog spotlighting all of our judges in the next couple of weeks.

For me personally, I think one of the most interesting aspects of the Showrunner Awards is that they cover a period of FIVE YEARS of eligibility. Most fan film award shows are open to fan films released solely within the previous year. But this year, for example, any Star Trek fan film released between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2022 qualifies for entry should someone wish to submit it. In this way, a fan film gets “a second chance” (or a third or even fourth chance) to win. And since no film is allowed to win in the same category more than once, the field is cleared somewhat each year, and a fan film doesn’t suffer from “bad timing” because it happened to come out the same year as a really strong and dazzling fan film.

Another unique aspect of the Showrunner Awards is that each category has THREE winners: Admiral (1st place), Captain (2nd place), and Commander (3rd place). This increases the number of happy faces by 50% over award shows that feature only a single winner and single runner up.

The submission period is now open through May 31, 2023. After that, judges will have until the end of August to view and vote for their top five fan films in each category, with the most points going to each judge’s top choices. A showrunner judge is not allowed to vote for any of their own fan films in any of their top three slots.

Anyone can submit a nomination using the following form page:

The cost is $10 per submission to enter for Best Fan Film, and then any other specific category—like best director, best music, or best scene—is an additional $1. (This is how entries are structured in independent film festivals…they just have much higher prices!) This year, we are adding FOUR new categories, which I will spotlight in an upcoming blog.

Winners for 2023 will be announced on September 8, 2023…the anniversary of the first airing of Star Trek. Good luck to all entrants!

Announcing the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER Award WINNERS!

First off, a very happy 56th anniversary of Star Trek to all of you!

And now, I am very excited (and somewhat relieved!) to announce the winners of the inaugural 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS. I say relieved because 1) it was waaaaay more work than I ever expected it would be, and 2) everything went more smoothly than I could have possibly imagined.

And for the latter, I have to give my sincere thanks to my panel of judges, each a showrunner of at least one fan film or series. These eleven judges (plus me) each watched just about 13 HOURS of Star Trek fan films! Many of them took notes as they watched, and all of them submitted their ballots in 18 categories prior to my deadline for them of August 15—giving me enough time to record and tally the vote totals, check them twice (like Santa Claus does), and get the certificates ready.

I would like to, once again, thank all of the judges and list them here by name…

  • SAMUEL COCKINGS (Trek Shorts)
  • GARY DAVIS (Dreadnought Dominion)
  • JOSHUA IRWIN (Avalon Universe)
  • PAUL JACQUES (Raincross)
  • MARK LARGENT (Stalled Trek)
  • MIKE LONGO (Star Trek Fan Productions International)
  • VANCE MAJOR (Constar)
  • FRANK PARKER, JR. (Project: Gemini)
  • DAN REYNOLDS (The Federation Files)
  • GLEN L. WOLFE (The Federation Files)
  • RANDY WRENN (Dreadnought Dominion)

Most of these judges unavoidably had fan films of their own entered, and so the rule was this: each judge had to select their top five choices in each category—their choices being worth 10 points for #1, 7 points for #2, 5 points for #3, 3 points for #4, and 1 point for #5. No judge was allowed to rank a fan film that they worked on among their top three choices. This kept them from “playing favorites” while also not penalizing them completely for agreeing to be a judge.

In the end, this process seemed to work out very well, and we had a very nice variety in winners. In other words, the same two or three fan films didn’t sweep all of the categories. In fact, out of 38 total entries, nearly half of them (16 films) won in at least one category. Granted, strong fan films would rack up high scores with lots of 7’s and 10’s, but lower scores of 5’s, 3’s, and even some 1’s often made the difference between coming in first, second, or third place…or just barely missing the cut.

Speaking of which, remember that each category will have THREE winners: Admiral Award, Captain Award, and Commander Award, for the aforementioned first, second, and third places, respectfully. (Note, there is also a special Cadet Award at the bottom of this blog.)

Continue reading “Announcing the 2022 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER Award WINNERS!”

Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 2)

In Part 1, we took a look “under the hood” at the engines running three of the most significant and well-known of the annual awards competitions for Star Trek fan films: the BJO AWARDS, the DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, and the SHOWRUNNER AWARDS. Of course, only one of these three is technically “annual” at this point, as the latter two competitions only got their start in January of this year while the Bjos have been running each year since 2015.

Why this deep-dive into the inner workings of three different awards shows? Why not? Most fans see only the end results of these competitions…who were the finalists, who were the runners up, and which films and filmmakers ultimately won. But what happens behind the scenes?

Last time, we looked first at the challenge of finding judges, and how ERIC L. WATTS of the Bjo Awards sets himself the Herculean task each year of finding people “…who have a professional credit in the Star Trek franchise or are Star Trek fans working in the television and film industry, are not in any way personally associated with any past or present Star Trek fan film.” Add to that these people must be willing to watch hours and hours of Star Trek fan films for no money and little more than a thank you for their efforts.

DAN REYNOLDS and GLEN WOLFE went in a different direction for the Directors Choice Awards, opting to require the directors of the films entered to cast ballots for the winners in all categories in order for their own films to quality (and of course, a director could not vote for their own fan film). And finally, I assembled a panel of twelve Star Trek fan film and fan series showrunners (including myself) to judge the Showrunner Awards.

In all three cases, the judging panel was made up up ten or more judges, all publicly identified for the contest. This is, of course, by no means a requirement when holding a fan film contest, although it does inspire more confidence in the results knowing the the people judging the entries have a practical and experiential knowledge of the categories they are judging.

The next thing we looked at was the method each awards show used to gather and organize information on the entries. Eric would determine the submissions based on the Star Trek fan films released in a calendar year that met the eligibility requirements and then type in all of the names of the nominees himself.

Dan and Glen and I, instead, allowed the filmmakers themselves to fill out online forms, changing a nominal $10 entry fee for each fan film entered. The Showrunners then tacked on an extra $1 per each category entered, while the Directors Choice simply limited the number of categories per entry to no more than five. And in the end, all three contests rely heavily on Excel spreadsheets to record the immense amount of submission information.

So what’s left…?

Continue reading “Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 2)”

Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 1)

So you say you want to create a fan film awards competition! Actually, unless you want to work really, really hard, you probably DON’T want to create one…at least, if you want to do it right. And when I say “do it right,” there isn’t only one correct way to organize and run a film contest. In fact, there’s several different approaches, all of them totally valid.

The challenge is to set everything up so that the process runs smoothly and inspires confidence in both the process and the results. That’s what I mean by “do it right,” and it takes a surprisingly sizable amount of work. DAN REYNOLDS, who along with GLEN WOLFE, ran the recently-completed DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS, said, “The sheer enormity of organizing was difficult. There was a lot of checking, double checking and triple checking. I don’t think we knew just how much work it really would be to pull something like this off.” Glen said that he mostly concentrated on “…getting ballots returned in a timely manner, getting the presenters to turn their videos in in a timely manner, and then getting the whole award ceremony edited while juggling real life.”

ERIC L. WATTS lists off an even longer “to do” list for the annual BJO AWARDS, including…

  • Recruiting top-level, high-calibre judges;
  • Finding eligible fan films for consideration (filmmakers don’t actively enter the Bjo Awars—Eric includes all qualifying Star Trek fan films released in a calendar year);
  • Researching release dates, runtimes, cast and crew credits, and creating a spreadsheet that sorts and organizes that data; and
  • Spending hours and hours and hours creating the actual ballot.

And of course, none of this includes marketing the awards show and announcing its winners, answering questions from the fan community, and of course, nagging the judges to get their ballots in on time! Plus, there’s a whole host of other efforts involved.

One of the biggest challenges is logistics. And like the duck gliding gently across the smooth surface of the lake, most fans never get to see all of the intense paddling that goes on just beneath the surface to make these fan film competitions run like well-oiled machines.

So if you’re interested in “peeking under the hood,” today’s blog is for YOU…

Continue reading “Let’s look inside the SHOWRUNNER Awards and other fan film competitions (Part 1)”