COZMO’S Kickstarter needs $32,284 in the next week…or else!

Kickstarter is a harsh mistress. Since its inception in April of 2009, Kickstarter has held to one simple rule that has confounded, frustrated, and in some cases terrified crowd-fund organizers:

If your campaign doesn’t reach its goal, you get nothing.

So why risk using Kickstarter when other crowd-funding platforms like Indiegogo and GoFundMe allow campaigns to keep all donations made—even if a goal is not reached?

The simple answer is that Kickstarter campaigns, on average, take in about 2.35 times as much as Indiegogo campaigns (and way more than GoFundMe’s). Perhaps this disparity is because Kickstarter backers feel more confident that a project they support will happen rather than fearing their donation night disappear into a crowd-funding black hole if a campaign comes up far short of its goal. Or maybe it’s because Kickstarter does more marketing, has more site visitors, or simply has a better reputation in general for more high-quality projects than other services. Likewise, the same article linked to above says that conversion rates are 3x-4x higher for Kickstarter campaigns than for Indiegogo.

Whatever the reason, Kickstarter has the greater potential payoff, just with an increased risk of getting nothing. Because of this, determining the right amount to set as a goal on Kickstarter is critical. Ask for too much and fail to get there, and you’ve just wasted months of work. Ask for too little, and you might make your goal but wind up with less than you really need.

This was the dilemma facing the folks making episode 2 of COZMO’S (the same folks who made s Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem”). They need $100K to make this film, and so that’s what they asked for. And with a week left, their campaign is doing pretty well. So far, 341 backers have pledged more than $67K (including two $10K donors!) to bring them 2/3 of the way there.

But with only seven days left, it’s gonna be a nail-biter!

The producers recently sent out an update reminding folks that episode 2 and beyond will be more serious than the pilot:

Though we understand that the pilot may have been a bit too much on the slapstick side, we wanted to point out that it was directed by Animal House alum, Stephen Furst. He had put his own twist on things, as Hollywood directors often do. Then again, The Orville started out as a comedy and has now pulled back those strings to become more of a Star Trek drama, which most people are loving.

The new episode will lean more toward the dramatic side of storytelling, utilizing a piece of sci-fi literary history penned by Damon Knight that was also used to create an extremely famous Twilight Zone episode. The episode was called “To Serve Man.” Of course, we’ll be throwing in some new twists in the Cozmo’s fashion.

With a cast including Star Trek and sci-fi genre veterans, and amazing make-up and effects by Hollywood professionals, this is a project definitely worth supporting…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2

Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!

With all of the Star Trek themed fan films out there, some folks have asked why fan filmmakers don’t take the next logical step and use their skills, resources, and crowd-funding successes to make some original content?

Well, someone has done just that…and now they want to do it again!

The folks who brought us Star Trek: Renegades and the two-part Renegades: “The Requiem” cast a collection of Star Trek and sci-fi notables in a completely new sci-fi universe…more specifically, in a dive called Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill. Some of the more notable names in the cast included Ethan Phillips (“Neelix” of Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Picardo (“The EMH Doctor” of Voyager), Aron Eisenberg (“Nog” of Deep Space Nine), and Claudia Christian (“Susan Ivanova” of Babylon 5). The original director was Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5), who tragically passed away shortly after the live action scenes were shot in early 2017.

With the production footage “in the can” (as they say), it was time to raise funds for post-production…with a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in November of last year that blasted past its $16K goal to finish at a stunning $54.4K from 865 backers! This allowed the pilot for COZMO’S to be completed and released (for backers only) earlier this summer.

Because the series is being shopped around to studios, the full pilot episode is not accessible unless you’re a donor to either the first campaign or the current campaign for episode two (at a level of at least $35). However, the creators have posted the first ten minutes of the half-hour pilot for the public to view. So take a look…

Aside from the obviously high production quality (lighting, sound, camera work, etc.) and the impressive acting, what stands out the most is the amazing combination of make-up and VFX that weaves itself so seamlessly through nearly every scene. Much of this is due to the masterful skills of the make-up team under the supervision of Vincent Guastini, whose professional work in Hollywood includes World War Z, Silent Night, Sushi Girl, I Am Legend, Scary Movie 4, and Dogma.

Would you like Vincent to turn YOU into an alien? Well, guess what! That’s actually one of the very tempting perks being offered in the just-launched Kickstarter for Cozmo’s episode 2…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atomicstudios/cozmos-goes-out-of-this-world-with-ep-2

Episode 2 also brings in some exciting changes to the way things were done in episode 1….

Continue reading “Help kickstart episode 2 of COZMO’S…from the folks who brought you RENEGADES!”

I just interviewed NICHELLE NICHOLS…how cool is that???

As many fans know, beloved Star Trek TOS actress NICHELLE NICHOLS is embarking on a year-long farewell convention tour…culminating next May in Burbank, CA. Although Nichelle had a minor stroke back in 2015, and she’s 86 years old, she’s still going strong enough to appear in nearly a half dozen cons around the country.

The last time I saw her in person was in late 2016, when my then six-year-old son Jayden photo-bombed a picture she was taking with WALTER KOENIG on a partial TNG bridge recreation at a convention in Los Angeles. I told Jayden to get out of Riker’s seat, but Nichelle insisted that he stay for a photo—and it’s one that I’ll always treasure…

I love Nichelle. I think it’s fair to say that all fans love Nichelle! I can’t recall ever hearing a single negative thing said about this warm, gracious, talented, and elegant actress who gave women of color in the 1960s and beyond a precedent-setting character to admire and aspire to someday be like themselves. And indeed, starting in the 1970s, Nichelle was recruited by NASA to encourage promising women and ethnic minorities to become astronauts—among them was Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, and Charles Bolden, the NASA administrator until last year.

Nichelle has always loved her fans right back, and has been one of the major Star Trek actors to agree to portray her character in multiple fan films (along with GEORGE TAKEI, WALTER KOENIG, GRACE LEE WHITNEY, TIM RUSS, ROBERT PICARDO, GARY GRAHAM, and a few others). Nichelle appeared as Uhura in both STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN and later as simply “The Admiral” in the de-Trekified RENEGADES two-part episode “The Requiem.” She will also be adding her voice talents to another upcoming Star Trek fan film.

So imagine my excitement and jubilation when I discovered that SKY CONWAY, Nichelle’s long-time friend and business partner (and the producer of Renegades and Of Gods and Men), is pitching the idea for a documentary on Nichelle’s life and ground-breaking career. After the success of Adam Nimoy’s tribute to his father, FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK, a similar spotlight on Nichelle Nichols seems like a no-brainer!

Sky has set up an Indiegogo campaign seeking to raise $25,000 (in just 16 days!) to create a “sizzle reel” to help pitch the full project to investors. This sizzle reel will include a two-day shoot on the Neutral Zone Studios TOS sets in Kingsland, GA. Just imagine Uhura back on the bridge of the USS Enterprise!

The brief crowd-funder got off to an explosive start, raising $10,000 in just three days. And it’s now nearly 60% of the way to its goal with just six days left. I’ve already listed it here on Fan Film Factor, but when I reached out to Sky Conway to get a quick quote from him or Nichelle, he invited me to write up some questions and do an actual interview.

Really? That’s totally awesome!

Continue reading “I just interviewed NICHELLE NICHOLS…how cool is that???”

RENEGADES has lots of MERCHANDISE for sale!

Looking for that perfect after-Christmas gift for the fan film aficionado in your life? How about something from the RENEGADES merchandise collection?

The Renegades folks first began producing their own branded perks waaaaaay back in 2012 when they held their first Kickstarter and raised an amazing $242,483 from 2,367 backers. At that point, the perks were fairly simple: a special edition DVD of the completed Star Trek: Renegades fan film (back then, producing DVDs with the words “Star Trek” on the cover as perks was allowed), a CD compilation of the music, and an extra DVD and soundtrack for Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, their first fan production from back in 2008. There was also an “I’m a Renegade” T-shirt and autographed cast photos.

The following year, their next campaign—an Indiegogo that generated an additional $132,555 from 1500 backers—introduced a prop replica of their Starfleet comm badge from about ten years after Voyager‘s return.

By the time they reached their fourth crowdfunding campaign in November 2015—a Kickstarter for the first full episode “The Requiem”that took in just over $378,000 from 3,379 backers—they had added a patch (of course!) and a mini-poster signed by all of the cast. And even though this poster saidStar Trek: Renegades,” remember that this was STILL half a year before CBS released their fan film guidelines (and two months before Axanar got sued for copyright infringement).

Of course, once the guidelines came out, Renegades quickly dropped the “Star Trek” from its branding (becoming Renegades: The Series), and surgically removed all traces of CBS-owned intellectual property from their next production.

The good news for show-runner SKY CONWAY and fans of Renegades is that this change in branding means that these folks can now sell whatever merchandise they want to based on their fan film content and CBS can’t say a darned thing…yay!

And sell it, they shall! The loot is all located on THE ATOMIC NETWORK website (that’s where Renegades and other productions from those folks are streaming from). And if you’re a fan of the Renegades fan series (as I am), you’ll find this all VERY exciting!

Here’s what they’re offering (with descriptions taken from their website)…

Continue reading “RENEGADES has lots of MERCHANDISE for sale!”

COZMO’S Kickstarter asks for $16,000…winds up with $54,397!

I think we can call this one a successful campaign!  The team that produced RENEGADES opened their Kickstarter to fund post-production on their new original series pilot for COZMO’S  to the general public on Tuesday , October 23… having already passed their $16,000 goal!  In fact, by the time they went “live,” donations had actually topped $22,000!

How did they manage that?

They invited supporters on their mailing list—who had already donated more than a million dollars to their previous successful crowd-funders for Renegades)—to get special access to a 48-hour “pre-launch” with exclusive access to certain perks.  Yep, if you’re crowd-funding, it helps to have an existing base of supporters to call on!

It also helps when you have a cast that includes actors from Star Trek and Babylon 5 in your pilot episode:

  • Ethan (“Neelix”) Phillips
  • Robert (“The EMH Doctor”) Picardo
  • Aron (“Nog”) Eisenberg
  • Claudia (“Susan Ivanova”) Christian
  • Plus many other professional actions from sci-fi and related genres

Also, the footage (which was all shot back in early 2017 using sets originally constructed for Renegades‘ “The Requiem”) was directed by Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5…who tragically passed away during June of last year).

The Kickstarter ended its 4-week run reaching $54,397 from 865 backers (including me).  You can read a brief interview with show-runner SKY CONWAY about the production that I posted just as the campaign kicked off.  And if you haven’t checked out the trailer for this hilarious “Cheers in Space” series from sci-fi lovers like you, take 82 seconds to check it out:

The campaign surged past two stretch goals.  At $40,000, fans were able to fund…

  • improved quality of music and postproduction
  • a release of Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Cozmo’s 
  • a release of exclusive Cozmo’s deleted scene #1

Once past $45,000, fans also unlocked…

  • a release of new Cozmo’s THEME SONG
  • a release of exclusive Cozmo’s deleted scene #2

Currently, the plan is to complete and release Cozmo’s by June of 2019 on the Atomic Network and to any donor who contributed $17 or more.

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.

 

COZMO’S Kickstarter blasts through its $16K goal…BEFORE it even launches???

If only every Kickstarter could be this way!  The 4-week crowd-funding campaign for COZMO’S from the team that produced RENEGADES went live to the general public Tuesday at 11:00 am Pacific Time with a goal of $16,000.  But it had already blasted through that goal and was above $22,00 when the world found out about it.  (Now it’s up even higher at nearly $25,000!)

How the heck did this happen???

Well, it helps when you have an existing database of thousands of fans who contributed to your previous successful crowd-funders for Renegades )to the tune of more than a million dollars!).  And it helps when you open your Kickstarter with a special 48-hour “pre-launch” with exclusive access to certain perks.

It also helps when you have a cast that includes actors from Star Trek and Babylon 5 in your pilot episode:

  • Ethan (“Neelix”) Phillips
  • Robert (“The EMH Doctor”) Picardo
  • Aron (“Nog”) Eisenberg
  • Claudia (“Susan Ivanova”) Christian
  • Plus many other professional actions from sci-fi and related genres

Also, the footage (which was all shot back in early 2017 using sets originally constructed for Renegades‘ “The Requiem”) was directed by Stephen Furst (Vir from Babylon 5…who tragically passed away during June of last year).

The project is billed as “Cheers in Space”…

Cozmo’s Thirsty Tentacle Bar and Grill is a local hotspot—well, local to anyone visiting an asteroid—where an enormous variety of lifeforms visit to party, do business dealings, find work, meet their true love…or just to get drunk and alien-watch. 

The owner of this esteemed establishment is, of course, Cozmo, a four-tentacled alien (played by Ethan Phillips), who has a knack for mixing stellar martinis and giving good advice.  His serving staff includes two humans, Kallie, played by Renee Olstead(13 Going on 30), and Ken, played by Drake Bell (Drake and Josh, Ultimate Spiderman). They’d love their jobs if it weren’t for one tiny detail—humans are the butt of the joke of the entire galaxy.

The hilarity never stops as zany characters like a hermaphrodite with blue hair (Robert Picardo), a crustacean-like madam (Claudia Christian), an alien who’s head is shaped like a….well, like a butt (Aron Eisenberg), and so many others swarm, bump, argue, laugh, and scheme at Cozmo’s!

It looks hilarious (and very well-produced!)…

 

Heck, I threw in $35 myself before lunchtime on Monday!

You can donate by clicking here.

I asked show-runner SKY CONWAY a few questions about the project…

Continue reading “COZMO’S Kickstarter blasts through its $16K goal…BEFORE it even launches???”

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.