A few days ago, I posted a blog looking back at the MANY fan film news stories I covered on Fan Film Factor over the past year—nearly 75, believe it or not! (Not bad for a sub-genre that some predicted would be all but extinct by now.)
But what were the fan film news stories from 2017 that had the greatest impact on the world of Star Trek fan films? Well, guess who just made a Top 10 list of that very thing!
I’m sure some folks won’t agree with all of my selections. Heck, some of the stories I chose aren’t even directly Star Trek-related. But hey, everyone’s got opinions, right? And if you think a different fan film story should have made it onto the list, feel free to tell me in the comments. (That’s a sneaky way of turning a “Top 10” list into a “Top 10 Plus” list!)
And so, without further ado, here’s the biggest fan film stories of 2017…
“Why are you even bothering with this blog?” one anonymous poster wrote to me a little over a year ago. “Star Trek fan films will all be gone soon, even your precious Axanar, and you’ll have nothing left to write about!”
Well, I’m still here…and so are Star Trek fan films! (And I really hope that anonymous person is reading today’s blog because he wasn’t just wrong; he was VERY wrong!)
2017 was a BIG year for Star Trek fan films…possibly one of THE biggest! And that’s kinda funny considering how many people told me that the fan film guidelines would spell certain doom for Trek fan films. Even I thought that at first!
I will admit that, one year ago, things did seem kinda bleak in fan film land. The Axanar lawsuit was less than a month from trial. The Axanerds and Axa-detractors were going at it like Hatfields and Dr. McCoys. The guidelines had been in existence for half a year, and already the long-ruinning Star Trek: New Voyages had halted production, the also-long-running Star Trek: Dark Armada had released its final episode at the end of 2016, Star Trek: Renegades had become Renegades: The Series-that-n0-longer-had-anything-to-do-with-Star-Trek-beyond-all-the-acrtors, and Star Trek Continues had announced their intention to produce only four (as opposed to six) final episodes to complete their fan series.
But I believed in fan films and the people who make them. I had faith that the genre would continue despite the guidelines—perhaps even because of them (since they now gave Trekkers official permission from the studios to create their own productions…albeit within some overly-strict limits).
And Trek fan films certainly didn’t die! In fact, they kept me pretty darn busy with news, features, and interviews all year long. Anyone who believed Trek fan films were on their deathbed at the end of 2016 should join us on this trip down Memory…er…Lane (!) as I take a look back at what fan film news made my blog’s headlines over the past 12 months.
This special post will list the biggest Fan Film Factor news articles for 2017, in order by month, with links to each one of those blog entries if you want to dive in deeper.
And be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a few final words from me about what’s coming in 2018…!
It’s no secret that the creator of The Orville, SETH MacFARLANE, is a major Trekkie. He’s said as much in interviews. But few fans realized that Seth’s preoccupation with our favorite sci-fi franchise went BEYOND simply watching it or collecting stuff or even doing Captain Kirk impressions. Yep, Seth MacFarlane actually made his own Star Trek fan film!
And no, I’m not talking about The Orville (although many have argued that he’s made a kind of Star Trek “fan film” in creating that show). I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness amateur Star Trek fan film…where a teenaged Seth sits in the center seat on a home-made bridge set, wearing a do-it-yourself command tunic, barking orders at a friend wearing pointed ears while an AMT model of the refit USS Enterprise—complete with a drooping left nacelle—speeds across a blue screen chroma-keyed with a cheesy black hole space effect.
Here, take a look…
But believe it or not, Seth MacFarlane would go on to have many MORE opportunities to publicly geek out as a Trekkie…from playing James T. Kirk on real TV to hiring Patrick Stewart and even appearing on two actual Star Trek episodes!
Three months ago, I shared a link to a fan video from 2016 that featured a modern take on the trailer for STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN. The updated trailer was created by JONATHAN WORMAN, a talented video editor based in Toronto, Canada who has worked on commercials, music videos, shorts, and documentaries over the past eight years. Posting under the name “Orange Band,” Jonathan’s Wrath of Khan trailer has already garnered more than 100,000 views on YouTube.
Then, last month, Jonathan Worman did it again! This time, he tackled STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. And…wow! Considering how relatively slow the pacing was for the first Trek feature film (I still think it’s a good movie…just slow), this new and updated trailer makes the film look like a real thrill ride!
As with the modern Khan trailer, I can only imagine the excitement from fandom had this been the trailer released in 1979. (That said, we were all still pretty ecstatic anyway when The Motion Picture premiered—our first new live-action Star Trek in over a decade!)
And while the Khan trailer has taken nearly a year to reach 100K, this Motion Picture trailer has already surpassed that total Modern Trailerin just five weeks! (Amazing what happens when a video goes viral.) So take a look at what all the excitement’s about…
And for comparison, here’s what the original 1979 trailer looked like…quite a difference!
To mark this 51st anniversary of Star Trek and the theatrical re-release of the Director’s Cut of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (in theaters September 10 and 13), I’ve decided to feature a somewhat different kind of Trek fan film today.
Most fan films feature fan-written scripts with fan actors, fan-generated visual and sound effects, etc…some with small budgets and others with big budgets. But as far as I’m concerned, fan films don’t stop there!
Sometimes fans can show their innovation and cleverness by taking existing Star Trek footage from the five decades of countless episodes and 13 feature films, editing and manipulating it in new and creative ways.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of this recently is a fan-edited version of the trailer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. JONATHAN WORMAN is a talented video editor based in Toronto, Canada who has worked on commercials, music videos, shorts, and documentaries over the past eight years. Last summer, he released a brilliant “modern” version of a trailer for this beloved fan favorite feature film. Imagine if you had seen THIS trailer back in 1982…wouldn’t it have blown you away???
And as a fun comparison, here is the actual trailer that Paramount Studios released for the second Star Trek feature film…
Happy 51st anniversary, Star Trek! And happy 35th anniversary, Wrath of Khhhaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnn!!!!
UPDATE: In November, Jonathan Worman released a new modern trailer, this time for Star Trek: The Motion Picture! Take a look at the finished product on this blog page…
It’s been a while since I wrote a biography blog…nearly a year and a half, in fact! I’d started out thinking I’d write these regularly, as I’ve had some interesting adventures as a fan: sneaking onto the Voyager and DS9 sets at Paramount, writing the Star Trek reference book Starship Spotter in just 18 days, directing Majel Barrett Roddenberry doing voice-over for four hours…in her living room! The list goes on.
But then I got busy writing about fan films, and suddenly it’s 17 months later with no second entry to follow up on the “to be continued…” that ended my first biography blog. Time to fix that! (I’m even adding a new tab to the main menu that says “BIOGRAPHY” in the hope it’ll inspire me to write more of these entries before another 17 months go by.)
When last we left off, it was December of 1993, and I’d just turned down a job working for MICHAEL OKUDA in the Star Trek Art Department! (Was I nuts???? Read my first biography blog to find out why.)
So instead of doing graphics and animations for DS9, Voyager, and Generations, I stayed with my brother David and grew our fledgling multimedia company, 2-Lane Media, Inc. Over the next two and a half years, we expanded to about a dozen employees doing websites for clients like Disney, Nestlé, Transamerica, and Tenet Healthcare.
But in 1996, we added a new client that would change my Star Trek life forever…
As you know from reading my many blogs, there’s a heck of a LOT of Star Trek fan films out there! And thanks to the annual Lucasfilm Star Wars Fan Film Awards (which have been going on since 2002), there’s at least as many (if not more!) Star Wars fan films out there!
But surprisingly, there’s almost no crossover Star Trek/Star Wars fan films on the Internet. And it’s not as though the idea of crossing the franchise streams is completely alien. Fans have edited together scenes from both franchises to create clever mash-ups where the USS Enterprise battles a Star Destroyer or Captain Picard confronts Darth Vader over the view screen. But try to find a film where fans themselves portray the characters of both realities at the same time, and you’ll be looking for a long while.
Fortunately, you don’t have to look…I found one for you!