Now THAT was a STAR TREK DAY…I am SO excited now to be a fan!!!! (editorial)

What a difference five years makes!!

No, you are not accidentally reading yesterday’s blog where I compared the anemic celebration of Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary with the announced “Star Trek Day” livecast and events scheduled for the 55th anniversary. In that blog, I asked whether NO Star Trek really was “better” than BAD Star Trek? And honestly, I thought the answer was obvious…so much so that I worried that folks on Facebook would make fun of me for writing 2,210 words on a question as easy as “Is the sky green?”

Man, was I surprised!

Nearly a thousand views of yesterday’s blog, and every few seconds another “DING!” from Facebook where someone added a comment in one of the dozen or so groups where I posted a link. While many folks agreed with me that even low-quality Star Trek provides room for improvement (and CBS Trek HAS been improving)., others passionately disagreed. They felt angry and betrayed, insisting that the sacrifice in quality isn’t worth it. Star Trek needed to remain pure and true to GENE RODDENBERRY’s vision. And if it didn’t, if Star Trek simply became “bad TV” (which they felt the new shows were) then better to have no Star Trek at all…if forced to make that binary choice.

I almost couldn’t believe how many fan still felt so thoroughly negative about the newer Star Treks. Frankly, it kinda brought me down as the day went on knowing how many fans would really choose to have no new Star Trek at all over at least something…no matter the quality. By the time the Star Trek Day livestream started, I was almost too bummed to watch it.

In fact, I started out NOT watching it because I had to pick up my son and drive him home from Robotics. By the time we returned, the first half of the online event was already over, but I noticed folks posting all over Facebook, excited about the characters joining the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise under commad of ANSON MOUNT’S Captain Christopher Pike on in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Perhaps you saw the following…

Now, I did shudder a little at the Andorian/Aenar make-up—assuming that’s what he is. But despite being somewhat different than established canon, it still looked pretty cool (WAY better than first-season Star Trek: Discovery Klingons). And I’m not sure yet about those uniforms. On the other hand, being able to see a younger Nurse Chapel and Cadet Uhura is intriguing to me. It’s a bold move, and not entirely outside of the realm of canonic possibility. We’re at a time now when Kirk is likely already serving aboard the Farragut (in his early 20s), so if Uhura is a few years younger than that, it works. As for Dr. M’Benga, he could totally have been on the Enterprise at that point. And there’s a crew member named La’an Noonien Singh? KHANNNNNNN!!!!!!

But wait! What was this emotion I was suddenly feeling? Oh, yes…excitement!

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STAR TREK at 55…is NO Star Trek really “better” than BAD Star Trek? (editorial)

Today is “Star Trek Day“…marking 55 years since the first-ever episode of Star Trek was aired on NBC Television back on September 8, 1966.

In celebration of this special day (at least for us Trekkers), ViacomCBS announced a series of panels that will stream live today at 5:30 PM Pacific Time/8:30 PM Eastern Time from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. These panels and a number of related special events will be free to watch on StarTrek.com/Day. The panels will also be available to stream for free in the U.S. on Paramount+ and Paramount+’s Twitch page. After their initial airing, the panels will be available on-demand on Paramount+’s YouTube Channel and on Paramount+.

To go along with this announcement, the studio released this wonderful montage video…

Seriously, how cool was that? I mean, even if you aren’t a fan of the newer CBS Star Trek series, this whole event is pretty impressive. Indeed, that same Skirball Cultural Center will be running an exclusive Star Trek: Exploring Strange New Worlds exhibit for four months beginning in October. During that time, a new animated Star Trek series titled Star Trek: Prodigy will be debuting not only on the subscription-based Paramount+ streaming service but also on the children’s broadcast channel Nickelodeon. This will be the first Star Trek series in 48 years to be targeted specifically at kids (the next generation of Trekkers).

But that’s not all! Next year will see the debut of ANSON MOUNT as Captain Christopher Pike in the brand new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds…a return to episodic Star Trek where storylines won’t stretch over entire seasons featuring ever-escalating risks, challenges, and dangers. Instead (we’re desperately hoping!), it’ll be good old-fashioned Star Trek the way we’ve loved it in the past.

And of course, we’ve got Q, Guinan, and the Borg Queen coming to Star Trek: Picard, and whatever the U.S.S. Discovery is gonna do now that her nacelles detach. (Okay, maybe not EVERYTHING is coming up roses.) Oh, and we’ve still got two-thirds of a season of Star Trek: Lower Decks coming out each week.

But hey, let’s stop for a moment and take a look back—way, way, waaaaaaaay back in time (with the help of a Guardian named “Carl”) to a year you all might barely remember because it was soooooooo long ago. That year, of course, was…

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The multi-franchise crossover fan film GALACTIC BATTLES will totally blow you away…and a new BEHIND-THE-SCENES video tells how they did it!

Back in early 2015, a group of young fan filmmakers out of Vancouver, Canada launched an Indiegogo campaign trying to raise $15,000 (Canadian) to complete their production. It would be a crossover fan film featuring the ships and characters from Star Trek, Star Wars, Mass Effect, and Halo. They had already been working for nearly two years, starting out pretty slow with just a few artists, all of them new to the pipeline process of working together on an open, collaborative, community-driven movie project.

By 2015, they had managed to build a team of 20 digital artists, two sound designers, several actors (including Mark Meer from Mass Effect), one dedicated screenwriter, two social media coordinators, and many more. Along the way, they picked up sponsors that donated some pretty amazing free hardware, software, plus meeting and studio space. Having now developed an industry-grade pipeline process, they just needed $15,000 to finish this incredibly ambitious project.

Their Indiegogo failed…badly. Only $2,574 (Canadian) was raised from just 68 donors.

But they weren’t giving up! Even though everyone was working for free in their spare time, the team still managed to complete filming over the next 12 months. Now they needed to finish post-production. The script called for a staggering 200-plus CGI shots, and that would require the team to pay for server fees, Google Drive fees, and additional software licenses.

They launched a second Indiegogo in 2016, with a much lower goal of only $2,000 (Canadian). This time, the failure wasn’t as awful…mainly because the goal was so much lower. Nonetheless, the team only came out with $850 from 15 backers. That didn’t mean they couldn’t finish—they were determined to!—only that it would take a little longer

Two and a half years later, on December 21, 2018, GALACTIC BATTLES – The Ultimate Crossover Fan Film finally debuted on YouTube. Over the following two weeks, they generated over 67K views with a 30-to-1 ratio of likes to dislikes. Nearly everyone who’s contacted me about this fan film has said it’s a MUST-SEE…and I think they’re right!

I reached out to director CALVIN ROMEYN (who plays Han Solo in the film), and he says that there will be a behind-the-scenes video coming out in a few weeks. But I don’t want folks to have to wait to see this ground-breaking new fan film, so go watch it now…and be sure to stick around till the very end!


UPDATE

While it was more than “a few weeks,” the behind-the-scenes video was released on June 29, 2019, and it’s definitely worth 25 minutes of your time to check out…

The SGT. PEPPER version of STAR WARS?

It was 50 years ago today…that Sgt. Pepper blew the world away!

Actually, it’s been 51 years plus a week—May 26, 1967 saw the debut of THE BEATLES’ eighth studio album SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND.  Professor Kevin J. Dettmar called it “…the most important and influential rock and roll album ever recorded” in the Oxford Encyclopedia of British LiteratureSgt. Pepper changed popular music forever.

Ten years later (almost to the day!) on May 25, 1977, GEORGE LUCAS released a little film he’d been working on called STAR WARS.  (You may have heard of it.)  This movie changed Hollywood forever.

Like the chocolate and peanut butter in the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, The Beatles and Star Wars don’t seem to have much else connecting them.  And yet, if somehow combined, might they not become something totally mind-blowing???

Well, guess what: someone did just that…and knocked it out of the galaxy!

Get ready for PRINCESS LEIA’S STOLEN DEATH STAR PLANS, a full 13-track musical album (from a duo calling themselves PALETTE-SWAP NINJA) that merges Star Wars: A New Hope with the full Sgt. Pepper album in a way that is indescribably amazing.  (Yeah, I know this is supposed to be a blog site about Star TREK fan films, but Solo: A Star Wars Story is still the #1 movie in theaters right now, so I’m making an exception.)

Dan Amrich and Jude Kelley

The two genius musicians behind this mash-up masterpiece are San Francisco-based guitarist/singer DAN AMRICH and Boston-based keyboard player and digital drummer JUDE KELLEY.  The two met back in 2003 playing an 80’s cover band in the Bay Area.  And even though Jude moved to the east coast a few years later, they still collaborated.

It took them FIVE YEARS to complete the full Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans album, and it debuted one year ago on the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and the 40th anniversary of Star Wars.  Video editor KATRIN AUCH masterfully matched scenes from A New Hope to the music to create a series of MUST SEE videos that, combined, have millions of views on YouTube.

Take a look and then come back for some more background information about this project and what happened when it first debuted on the Internet…

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Star Trek / Star Wars – A TALE OF TWO GALAXIES (feature)

coverAs 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!

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