The story BEHIND THE PURCHASE of the STAR TREK CONTINUES sets! (audio interview with RAY TESI)

Fans gave a sigh of relief in early February when it was announced that the STAR TREK CONTINUES sets in Kingsland, Georgia had been purchased by a fan filmmaker who intended to make the sets available to other fan filmmakers to create their Trek fan productions.  The new owner is a fellow by the name of RAY TESI, and his own fan project was STARSHIP REPUBLIC, which had released the 9-minute Serpent of Yesterday vignette in February of last year.

But I was curious about something: how was Ray affording all this?

Y’see, after releasing his fan film vignette, Ray launched an Indiegogo campaign to try to raise $16,000 to continue the production of his fan series.  That campaign only made it to $2,351, and the project was shelved indefinitely.

Now, I didn’t know whether Ray had purchased the sets from VIC MIGNOGNA of Star Trek Continues or had gotten them for free (turns out Ray bought them).  But I did know that the rent for the warehouse where the sets reside is tens of thousands of dollars per year!

So how is a guy who needed $16,000 in crowd-funding a year ago suddenly able to afford thousands of dollars a month in rent?  Did he win the lottery?  Rob a bank?  Blackmail a rich politician?

It turns out, fortunately(!), that it was none of the above.  In fact, when you hear the actual story behind Ray’s purchase of the STC sets, I think that you—like me—will gain a new respect for Ray Tesi and feel truly inspired and positive about the future of this wonderful fan resource.

Here’s the interview…

Ray Tesi in the center seat surrounded by the cast of Starship Republic

And for anyone wanting to see how awesome these sets are, here’s a walkthrough from a few years ago (before they added Engineering, which makes it all even MORE awesome!)…

STAR TREK CONTINUES transfers OWNERSHIP of their TOS sets!

Ever since STAR TREK CONTINUES released its 11th and final episode last November, fans have been asking, “What will happen to those amazing TOS sets???”  They can’t be turned into a Star Trek set tour because there’s already one of those in upstate New York, and James Cawley’s license with CBS is exclusive.  And despite some fans suggesting the sets just be sold/donated to a museum or to CBS itself, there are use too many set pieces to make relocating them anywhere near practical or cost effective.

The challenge for VIC MIGNOGNA, the showrunner for STC, is that the sets are currently housed in a building in Kingsland, GA that costs about $5,000 a month in rent (according to their 501(c)(3) non-profit filing from 2015).  As much as Vic wants to keep the sets open and intact, $60K per year is a LOT to ask any Trekker to pay to keep those sets open.

Enter: RAY TESI.  Ray will be the new owner of the TOS sets that were used by STC.  Ray is the executive producer behind STARSHIP REPUBLIC, which released its first fan film vignette, the 9-minute “Serpent of Yesterday” almost one full year ago.  I interviewed Ray here on Fan Film Factor when he was trying to generate funds through an Indiegogo campaign to complete their first episode.  The plans were to shoot the scenes on the Starbase Studios sets in Arkansas.  But with the current uncertainty regarding those sets, Ray wasn’t certain he’d be able to rely on Starbase to film his fan project.  Now he’ll film in Georgia instead.

Ray has decided to keep the name STAGE 9 STUDIOS, which is what STC decided to call their facility (named after the location of the original TOS sets on the Paramount lot back in the late 1960s).

Obviously, there’s more news to come on this (including plans to restart Starship Republic later this year).  I’ve requested an interview with Ray, but right now, here’s the press release that was just circulated by Star Trek Continues

Continue reading “STAR TREK CONTINUES transfers OWNERSHIP of their TOS sets!”

VIC MIGNOGNA posts a special “thank you” video from the sets of STAR TREK CONTINUES

This past Monday evening, STAR TREK CONTINUES show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA posted a very special video onto the STC Facebook page.  Principal photography was completed last February on the final STC episode, “To Boldly Go.”  Shortly thereafter, Vic walked the corridors of the amazing TOS sets on a rainy day in Kingsland, GA, filming himself using a selfie stick as he discussed his feelings about wrapping up the series after nearly six years.

In the background, you can see how the sets are laid out in the warehouse, what some of the Enterprise “walls” look like from the other side, and how close everything was from the edges of the soundstage itself.  They certainly filled that space.

Some of the TNG set pieces on display at the now-closed Hollywood Entertainment Museum

The video shows a quiet and thoughtful moment for Vic, similar to one I experienced several years ago during my final visit to the Star Trek: TNG sets on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.  For several years, I and friends from a local Trek fan club used to give docent tours in uniform once a month before the museum closed its doors forever.  While I can’t completely equate that experience to Vic’s in terms of time commitment and dedication, I still understand a little of how he felt when he made this video.

Everyone else was gone (or so it appears on Vic’s video), and it was a final chance to take in everything this project had meant to him personally for those many years.  Like Vic, I also did my final “set walk” alone.  I stayed there for about 45 minutes in silence (the museum was now closed to the public and we’d been helping get props organized and stowed—I was the last one there).  I sat in Picard’s chair, walked around Worf’s station, stood in the transporter, and took one last look at all the humorous details Mike Okuda had hidden in Geordi’s engineering cutaway of the Enterprise-D: Nomad, an airplane, the rubber duck.  And for no reason whatsoever, I gave one final tour…to no one.  I went through every part of the docent speech my friends and I used to give for the tourists, as I’d long ago memorized every line.  It was just a special moment with the sets…one last time.

And while Vic obviously still has access to his sets, I can imagine how deeply introspective he must have felt when he made this video—and I’m glad he decided to share it with us…

DVDs for STAR TREK CONTINUES? There’s good news and bad news…

Now that all 11 episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES have been completed and released, the question rings out: Will there be DVD’s available for sale?

Some Trek fans like having DVDs of their favorite fan films, and some productions have obliged.  However, with the guidelines now forbidding the sale or distribution of fan films on DVDs or Blu-rays, most fan producers are opting not to release their episodes on disc except in the rare circumstance where they are given directly only to people who worked on their productions.

However, Star Trek Continues hasn’t exactly been following all of those guidelines.  So the question of whether they will continue that philosophy and release DVDs anyway is certainly a fair one to ask.

And now STC has answered.  In an e-mail sent out Saturday, executive producer VIC MIGNOGNA said the following:

Thousands of you have been asking for years if our series would ever be available on DVD & Blu-ray. Because there is significant cost in having discs and artwork pressed & packaged, it’s not feasible for us to make physical discs since we cannot sell them. That’s the bad news….
Now for the good news.  From the cast & crew of STC, our Christmas present to all of you is this: ISO image files (files in the .iso format) of all four volumes (and all 11 episodes) of our series are now available for free download on our website at so you can burn your own DVDs & Blu-ray discs:
You can also download the artwork inserts & disc art for all four volumes for free as well!
But that’s not all! We have made available the full-sized 24”x36” posters of all 11 episodes for free, including a custom STC poster I created which is displayed in this newsletter. [See the image at the top of this blog -Jonathan] All of our final shooting scripts can be downloaded as well.
But that’s not all! Many of you have asked about the original music that has been composed & produced for STC. We are releasing all of that music for free download, as well as the artwork and disc art for “The Music Of Star Trek Continues.”
So let’s recap:

  • DVD & Blu-ray disc .iso files for all four volumes (all 11 episodes) of STAR TREK CONTINUES
  • Artwork inserts and disc art for all four volumes
  • The official posters from all 11 episodes, full-sized and ready to print
  • “The Music Of Star Trek Continues” CD file download
  • Artwork for the music CD case insert and disc
  • All 11 STC shooting scripts in .pdf format 

All for free!
Merry Christmas from STC!

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 6)


Last time, an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign in early 2016 gave the STAR TREK CONTINUES team just under $200,000 to produce more episodes of their fan series.  But a new set of fan film guidelines released by CBS and Paramount threatened to stop the production in its tracks by limiting episode length to 15-minutes, blocking ongoing series, and forbidding the use of paid professionals and Star Trek alumni on any fan production.  STC‘s episodes had been regularly violating several of these new guidelines, and while the new rules were not retroactive, they would apply to anything produced by STC going forward.

But the STC team decided to forge ahead anyway, arguing that the guidelines were only that—guidelines—and not some kind of new “law.”  They only said that fan productions that followed these guidelines would not be sued by the studios, NOT that those who didn’t follow the guidelines would be sued.

So STC announced their intention to produce four new full-length episodes with professional actors and crew, release all four in 2017, and then shut down their fan series for good.  The hope was that their amicable relationship with CBS would convince the studios to allow them to finish up, shut down, and go out on the high note.  It wasn’t the most optimum solution, of course.  STC had initially wanted to produce 13 episodes, and now they would only go to 11.  However, considering the harsh constraints of the new guidelines on fan films, being able to produce four full-length episodes—assuming the studios would let them do so without a cease and desist letter or a lawsuit—seemed to be more of a victory than a defeat.

But would CBS and Paramount allow then to actually do it?

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 6)”

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 5)

Last time, as 2015 came to a close, STAR TREK CONTINUES was well on its way to a royal fizzbin.  They purchased the entirety of the sets in Kingsland, GA, and released their sixth episode, “Divided We Stand.” STC‘s second “Kirkstarter” at the beginning of 2015 had brought in nearly $215,000 to fund their next two episodes and build two new sets: Engineering and a planet set similar to what existed for TOS back in the 1960s on the Paramount lot.  And then 2016 brought the release of those next two episodes, “Come Not Between the Dragons“and “Embracing the Winds.”

With eight episodes completed and released, STC was now way past the mid-point of what was originally intended to be a 13-episode run.  Show-runner Vic Mignogna never envisioned STC going past that number of episodes, and joked that he, now well into his fifties, couldn’t play a 35-year-old James T. Kirk forever.  Indeed, episodes 7 and 8 already began introducing plot elements that would form into an ongoing story arc that would culminate in the series finale that would end Kirk’s five-year mission and lead into Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

But as 2015 drew to a close, no one suspected that 2016 would turn out to be an uncertain and controversial year, not just for STC, but for all Star Trek fan films.  And it all began just before New Years with the filing of a copyright infringement lawsuit by CBS and Paramount against another fan production…Axanar.

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 5)”

STAR TREK CONTINUES releases its SERIES FINALE! (includes special video intro by VIC MIGNOGNA)

Now listen to me very carefully:

  • Go into your kitchen.
  • Make some popcorn.
  • Go back to your computer (or TV if you watch YouTube there).
  • Close the door.
  • Turn down the lights.
  • Turn off your phone(s).
  • And watch the series finale of STAR TREK CONTINUES before anyone can spoil it for you.
  • Do it NOW…that’s an order!

There’s no need to say anything more, unless you missed “To Boldly Go, Part I” (in which case, watch that first and then follow my previous orders).

Comments with spoilers are welcome below, but if you haven’t watched the episode yet, for heaven’s sake, DON’T SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE!!!  Just…don’t.  Watch the finale first.  It’s 58 minutes and 10 seconds of absolute Star Trek bliss.

Also, don’t miss the final two installments of my “History of Star Trek Continues blog series this Friday and next.  Out of respect for those who don’t follow orders, I will be waiting until next Friday to get into any details about the finale.  I will also be including video segments from the STC panel discussion after the live screening).

Speaking of which, here is a SPECIAL INTRODUCTION by show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA that was given in Los Angeles before the screening…

And now, after fifty years, it’s time to finally witness the end of that historic five-year mission and celebrate this groundbreaking fan series…a precious gift to all of Star Trek fandom.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is why I’m here…


A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 4)


Last time: we took a look at the first three episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES to be filmed with $126,000 in funds donated from their first “Kirkstarter” campaign in late 2013: “Lolani,” “Fairest of Them All,” and The White Iris.

The last of these three episodes was filmed in January of 2015, just as STC was launching its second Kickstarter campaign (Kirkstarter 2.0, as they called it) to fund their next episode….and possibly more.  But before we get to the crowd-funding campaign, something even more significant was about to happen in the Georgia Studio where STC shared space with Farragut Films.

Farragut Films wanted out, and was ready to let STC take over the studio completely (along with the $4,000/month rent!).  The only problem: Farragut Films wanted to take their bridge with them.  After all, they built it!  But how was STC going to make more episodes without the most important TOS set of them all???

Later on at the end of 2015, STC would file for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, and their submitted paperwork became public record.  As such, we now know all of the details of what happened behind-the-scenes when Farragut Films moved out of the studio…

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 4)”

A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 3)


Last time: Having released a very impressive debut episode, Pilgrim of Eternity,” in May of 2013, STAR TREK CONTINUES was ready to bring fans even more episodes from what they imagined would have been the never-produced 4th and 5th seasons of TOS Star Trek.  They just needed one thing: money.

Vic Mignogna had funded their first episode himself as a way of telling fans, “Hey, this is what we can do.  Please donate so we can make more episodes like this.”  Some of the sets had already been built by the team at Starship Farragut, which agreed to share their studio with STC.  Other set pieces, like the briefing room and captain’s quarters, had been partially constructed in Oklahoma City for the never-made fan film Starship Ajax, and Vic purchased them from Ajax show-runner John Hughes to take to Georgia.

In 2012, Farragut Films moved to a larger studio in Kingsland, GA, with 10,000 square feet to expand into.  With their combined resources, the two productions were now able to have a TOS bridge, transporter, crew quarters, briefing room/mess hall, sickbay, and corridors.  New set construction—including improvements for the existing bridge—were overseen by local contractor William Smith, who became the de facto “custodian” of the entire set, as he lived close to the studio.

But a fan film needs more than just sets.  There was also rent for the sound stage, rent for the equipment, utilities, prop creation, costume production and rental, make-up supplies and equipment, and post-production costs for things like hard-drive storage.  Add to this costs for travel and lodging for out-of-town cast and crew plus food for everyone during the week and a half of filming.  And while most of the team were volunteers, some professionals were working at a discounted rate (about 10% of their normal fee).  It all added up!

STC-15Vic determined that if STC could raise $100,000 in a crowd-funder, they could afford to make three additional episodes.  The campaign was held in late 2013, and on November 6, the Kickstarter (or KIRKstarter, as they called it) finished with $126,028 from 2,981 backers.  That was more than enough for three new episodes!

Let’s take a closer look at each of them…

Continue reading “A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 3)”


It was truly one of the most extraordinary moments I’ve ever experienced at a convention.  And for the rest of my life, whenever someone uses the word “bittersweet,” my mind will remember seeing the finale of STAR TREK CONTINUES at L.A. Comic Con with the entire cast, some guest stars, writers, directors, VFX and make-up people, crew, about 200 fans…and my son Jayden.

But in addition to “bittersweet,” I would use words like amazing, inspiring, suspenseful, intimate, dazzling, heartfelt, loving, and incredibly satisfying to describe both this final episode and the nearly 90-minute discussion that followed.


In fact, when this episode is finally released onto the Internet on Monday, November 13, I recommend you rush to watch it as soon as you can and allow yourself NO advanced knowledge of anything.  There are truly unexpected surprises in this episode, and you don’t want them ruined.  “To Boldly Go, Part II,” as promised, will end Kirk’s five-year mission with drama, emotion, and an intensity seldom seen in fan films.


As director JAMES KERWIN commented to the audience, he loved hearing everyone applauding at just the right moments, some sniffles at others, all the reactions he was hoping for.  This one hits on all cylinders, folks, and is a beautiful way to wrap up eleven top-notch episodes and five unforgettable years of this beloved fan production.

Anyone wanting to put down show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA or trivialize the accomplishments of these dedicated and talented individuals…well, you’re going to need to do it elsewhere.  As a proud donor and follower of this celebrated fan series, I will stand up for Star Trek Continues every single time!

And speaking of Vic, he respectfully asked for anyone who was recording Sunday evening’s live panel discussion to please not share the video until after the episode had a chance to circulate…as many details were mentioned that could spoil the viewing experience for others.

So I have some wonderful footage from the Q&A session that I will share in a few weeks.  But for now—and I hope Vic will indulge a proud father—I would like to share this one SPOILER-FREE response to a question from my son Jayden, as Vic Mignogna explains his production in a way that any seven-year-old can understand…

Thank you, Vic, for that answer.  And thank to everyone on the STC team for sharing Vic’s dream with appreciative Trekkers who have waited five decades to see Kirk’s historic five-year mission finally reach its conclusion.