A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2016-2017 (feature, part 5)

Last time, the world of Star Trek fan films was shaken to its core by a copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar Productions in late December of 2015 followed by a call to Tommy Kraft of Star Trek: Horizon in April of 2016 telling him to shut down his new $250,000 Kickstarter for his sequel, Star Trek: Federation Rising.

And what of STAR TREK: RENEGADES?  In November, they had raised a very impressive $375,000 for their new continuing series.  Even though CBS had rejected their offer to make Renegades into a pilot for a new Trek TV series (and by now, Star Trek: Discovery had been announced), the Renegades team hadn’t been told to stop.  So it was full steam ahead with plans to use the existing sets and CGI models and props to make an ambitious TWELVE half-hour webisodes per year (yes, per year…that was the plan), beginning with a two-parter called “The Requiem.”  It would feature both Nichelle Nichols as Uhura and Walter Koenig playing Chekov for one final swan song.

Although Trek fan filmmakers were feeling very uncertain (and downright nervous) at the moment—with the Axanar lawsuit dragging on for months and mixed messages coming from JJ Abrams and the studios themselves—the show must go on, as they say.  And so Star Trek: Renegades scheduled the first day of filming on “The Requiem” for June 22, 2016.

The initial scenes on day one were all green screen, featuring Nichelle and Walter, Tim Russ as Tuvok in full Vulcan make-up, and even Cirroc Lofton reprising his role as Jake Sisko.  The production would also feature other veteran Trek actors reprising their roles, including Terry Farrel as “Jadzia” (minus the Dax symbiont), Robert Beltran as Chakotay, Aron Eisenberg as Nog, and even Hana Hatae as a grown-up Molly O’Brien!  The sets were built, the costumes made, the studio rented…it was time to make an awesome new fan series!

And then the guidelines happened…

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2015-2016 (feature, part 4)

Last time, it had been a long road for STAR TREK: RENEGADES… getting from there to here.  “There” was a an idea back in 2006, on the last day of filming Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, of a “Star Trek meets The Dirty Dozen” fan series concept…maybe even a pilot to pitch to CBS!  And “here” was the Crest Theater in Westwood, August 1, 2015, for the red carpet premiere of a 90-minute, $400,000 Star Trek “fan” film with veteran actors and professionals working alongside amateurs and novices…all for the love and passion of a sci-fi franchise that hadn’t seen a new television episode in more than a decade!

In between were three different crowd-funding campaigns, many months of pre-production, two weeks of studio shooting with 61 actors and a total crew of 170, nearly two years of post production, and 637 different visual effects shots.  And it all led to this moment with a movie marquis on Westwood Blvd. in Los Angeles that read:

SKY CONWAY PRESENTS
STAR TREK RENEGADES

There were two showings, each with a limited number of tickets available (the theater only seats 460, and there were cast members and crew in attendance, as well).  The Renegades team made 325 tickets available to donors and the general public for the first showing at 4:30 pm for $20 each (and that’s when I made my first donation to the project).  And thanks to a friend of mine who worked on the production, I was able to get in again for the second 7:30 pm showing that was intended to be exclusively for cast, crew, and the media.

It was quite the happening!  The first showing was mainly fans, many in costume.  But after the theater was cleared from that audience, the red carpet and “runway” background were set up, the Paparazzi began to assemble (seriously, there were more than a dozen of them…including me!), and the limousines started arriving.  Yes, there were limousines.

Nichelle Nichols (who came to support her friend Walter Koenig), Adrienne Wilkinson, and Robert Picardo arrive on the red carpet for the premiere.

Wanna see what it looked like inside?

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2014-2015 (feature, part 3)

Last time, eight years after first being conceived in 2006 on the final day of shooting Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, the dream of STAR TREK: RENEGADES was nearly complete.  Two crowd-funding campaigns had provided the producers with $375,000 to spend (minus fees, perk production, and mailing costs).  All of the footage was shot (directed by Tim “Tuvok” Russ) in October of 2013, the final “locked picture” edit had been approved in April of 2014, and now it was time for music, sound, and visual effects (VFX).

Unfortunately, the money was now all used up, and the VFX were going to be significantly more expensive than they thought…like tens of thousands of dollars more!

Was Renegades ready for a THIRD crowd-funding campaign???

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2012-2014 (feature, part 2)

Last time, we took a look at the origins of the “mega” Trek fan film STAR TREK: RENEGADES, created by the same people who produced the first “mega” Trek fan film, STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN back in 2006-2008.  (You can read more about that earlier project in this blog entry.)

I say “mega” for a few reasons.  First, each production would wind up with a run-time of about 90-minutes, way longer than the vast majority of other Trek fan films.  Second, these were a professionally-produced “fan” films with industry veterans and a slew of Hollywood actors, some of whom were reprising their roles from various Paramount-produced Star Trek series and movies.  And finally, each had a budget in the six-figures.  At the time, most Trek fan films were low-budget or, at most, made it into the four-or-five-figure range.  But when you were spending more than a hundred thousand dollars (potentially a LOT more), well, that spells “mega” to me!

Of course, if you want to spend six figures, you need to first generate six figures…and back in 2012, no Star Trek crowd-funding campaign had managed to break above the low four-figure range.

But Star Trek: Renegades set out to change that reality in a BIG way.  In late September of that year, they launched a Kickstarter with a seemingly impossible goal: $200,000.  And if they didn’t reach it, they would get nothing…

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A history of STAR TREK: RENEGADES – 2006-2012 (feature, part 1)

RENEGADES: THE SERIES just hosted a movie theater premiere in North Hollywood, California for their first full one-hour episode, “The Requiem.”  But before there was Renegades: The Series, there was STAR TREK: RENEGADES, one of the largest, most ambitious fan film projects ever attempted.

Nearly four hundred thousand dollars in crowd-funding, multiple Star Trek veteran actors reprising their roles from the various TV series, paid industry professionals on both sides of the camera, two years in the making, enthusiastic plans to present this to CBS as a potential pilot for a new Star Trek TV series, and even a gala Los Angeles red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theater in Westwood.

Looked at through the hindsight lens of the constraining limitations of the post-guidelines reality we now live in, it’s hard to imagine that something like STAR TREK: RENEGADES could even have been attempted, let alone successfully completed and released with such fanfare.  How on earth (or in space) did they manage it?

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RENEGADES announces WORLD PREMIERE SCREENING in North Hollywood on JULY 12th!

Back in August of 2015, STAR TREK: RENEGADES held a red-carpet premiere screening of its 90-minute feature film at the Crest Theater in Westwood in Los Angeles.  It was a star-studded event with Star Trek celebrities galore, paparazzi, perks for sale, and even free popcorn (although tickets were a $20 donation for the fan film’s production costs).

Now on July 12th, 2017, RENEGADES: THE SERIES (now minus the “Star Trek“) will premiere in its entirety for the first time the full debut episode of its fan series: “The Requiem.”  (Part 1 debuted online back in February, but only for donors.  Two months later, Part 1 was made available for free to everyone.)

The big premiere will take place at 7:30 at the Leammle Theater (5240 Lankershim Blvd) in North Hollywood, CA.  Many of the cast and crew will be there, including Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Robert Beltran, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, and Justin McQueede.  After the screening of the full episode (Parts 1 & 2), there will be a question and answer session with the stars the creators.

Tickets are only $20 each and can be purchased here.

Although they set out to raise an additional $80K for their final post production efforts in a recent crowd-funding campaign (here’s a link to that), they only got as far as $30K.  So to help raise additional money, for a little extra, fans attending the event can get special VIP seating with the stars along with appearing in autographed photos with certain cast members.Here’s a breakdown on prices for each photo option:

$75 – Photo with WALTER KOENIG (autographed)

$150 – Photo with WALTER KOENIG and NICHELLE NICHOLS (autographed by both)

$250 – Photo with WALTER KOENIG, NICHELLE NICHOLS, TIM RUSS, and ROBERT BELTRAN (autographed by all four)

All photos will be autographed at the event and ready for fans to take home.

You can learn more about this web series on their website.  And here is an exciting trailer for Part 2 of “The Requiem”…

RENEGADES Indiegogo crowd-funder closes in on $100,000!

Renegades IndiegogoNearly a thousand backers have donated nearly $100,000 so far to help RENEGADES: THE SERIES (formerly Star Trek: Renegades) complete post-production on their two-parter “The Requiem.”  Considering that Renegades had previously generated nearly $400,000 for production, “The Requiem” (when released) will be the most expensive Star Trek fan film ever completed–at more than a HALF MILLION DOLLARS…wow!!

(Of course, Renegades is no longer technically a Star Trek fan film.  But in my heart, it will always be one.)

Their primary goal was $60,000 for this Indiegogo campaign, which they reached easily within the first week.  This would pay for post production entirely for the first episode of the 2-parter.  But with $150,000, they could complete post production on both.

Can they make it?  As of today, they’re just over $95,000 with just over two weeks left.  So it’ll be close!  If you’re looking for fan film to donate just a little more of your money to, click on over to the Renegades Indiegogo campaign and give what you can.  The campaign officially ends on August 31!

 

RENEGADES gets 96% of the way to their $60,000 KICKSTARTER goal in just THREE DAYS!!!

Renegades IndiegogoOkay, so maybe Renegades is no longer officially STAR TREK: Renegades, but we all know what it really is.  Sure, Chekov will now be referred to simply as “The Admiral” and Tuvok is now “Kovok,” the Federation is now the “Confederation,” and the comm badges are gone from the uniforms.  But it’s still a Star Trek fan film at heart, even if all the obvious and direct references to Star Trek have been surgically removed to avoid having to follow the new CBS and Paramount guidelines.

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RENEGADES posts dozens of production images!

Renegades cast montageThe fan series formerly known as Star Trek: Renegades and now officially renamed Renegades: The Series may no longer technically be a Star Trek fan series, but it still features a cast full of veteran Trek actors.  Among them are Walter “Chekov” Koenig, Nichelle “Uhura” Nichols, Tim “Tuvok” Russ, Terry “Jadzia” Farrell, Cirroc “Jake Sisko” Lofton, Aaron “Nog” Eisenberg, Robert “Chakotay” Beltran, Gary “Soval” Graham, Manu “Icheb” Intiraymi, and Hana “Molly O’Brien” Hatae.

Not all of them were supposed to be playing their original roles from Star Trek series like TOS, DS9, and Voyager…and now, of course, none of them are playing those roles (wink, wink).  But you can now see the entire cast along with extras and a plethora of amazing-looking aliens of a quality and intricacy that have never been seen in any fan production to date!

Renegades production image 1
Lars and Oliver Koenig in costume hanging around the set…

There are also several production images that have now been posted, with more promised soon.  These photos give a better idea of what the uniforms (sans chest insignia) will look like, and they also show the extensive amount of green-screen filming that will allow a wealth of potentially breathtaking CGI backgrounds to be added to what scenes they are filming.  Additionally, there are practical (physical) sets like a bar as well as hybrid sets like a starship bridge where the crew sit in actual chairs with real consoles, but the rest of the bridge background will be digitally added later.

Go to the Renegades Facebook page and/or Twitter feed for even more photos and updates!

STAR TREK: RENEGADES is now RENEGADES: THE SERIES

Renegades new logoWhen life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.  And when CBS and Paramount give you impossible guidelines to follow for your Star Trek fan series, then you make a non-Star Trek fan series, right?

The timing couldn’t have been worse for Star Trek: Renegades.  When the new fan film guidelines were released from CBS and Paramount, Renegades was completing principle filming on two-days of scenes featuring Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols reprising their iconic roles of Chekov and Uhura.  But suddenly, Star Trek: Renegades would be in violation of all of the following new fan film rules:

Must be less than 15 minutes and not be a series with recurring characters.

Title cannot contain the words “Star Trek.”

Cannot use imitations of commercially-available costumes or other licensed Trek items (like phasers or custom-designed comm badges).

and most important of all…

Cannot feature any actor who has previously appeared in any Star Trek series of film from Paramount/CBS.

Oh, and they cannot have raised more than $50,000 (Star Trek: Renegades took in $378,000) or given away any perks in exchange for donations (which they also did).

What is a Star Trek fan series to do…?

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