Three new fan films from STARSHIP DEIMOS in seven months…and more POTEMKIN news from RANDY LANDERS!

I try to cover each new fan film from POTEMKIN PICTURES soon after it’s released. But with seven different creative groups all working simultaneously, occasionally I’ll miss one or two.

I had this somewhat embarrassing realization a couple of weeks ago when I went to watch the latest offering from the STARSHIP DEIMOS creative team, “Butterfly Effect.” It was quite good (as are nearly all of the releases from the Deimos team). And I noticed that this particular episode was written by VICTORIA AVALON, who plays Captain Gabriel of the USS Deimos. Victoria had written all but two of the first eight episodes of Deimos, but I hadn’t seen her name as writer for a while (I checked, and it’d been about two years). Victoria—who also helped write the STARSHIP FARRAGUT episode “Conspiracy of Innocence” back in 2014—writes some very strong scripts, and “Butterfly Effect” was no exception.

But when the episode ended, YouTube (as it usually does) automatically loaded up another video, and it was another episode of Starship Deimos: “Blood Crystals.” I let it play, and remembered that I’d started watching it back in February, but I’d never finished it…and I totally forgot to blog about it! Oy vey. It was also a very good episode.

Then YouTube loaded another Deimos episode for me, “The Solomon Gamble” from last October. I’d never watched that one at all! Then I went to check my blogs and discovered, much to my horror, that my last Deimos blog was last June(!!!) about their episode “Children of Eberus.” I’d missed covering THREE new episode releases. Oh, the shame!

So here they all are, in the order they were released over the past seven months…

I noted that, in the past seven months, while Deimos had just released their THIRD completed fan film, the other Potemkin creative teams were trailing:

  • MARIE CURIE – 2 episodes (November and March)
  • TRISTAN – 2 episodes (December and April)
  • BATTLECRUISER KUPOK – 1 episode (November)
  • ALEXANDER – 1 episode (February, but that was the series premiere)
  • TRITON – 0 episodes (most recent was May 2019)
  • ENDEAVOUR – 0 episodes (most recent was December 2018)

I remembered asking Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS at one point about this inconsistency, but many of my current readers might not have read his original answer. So I decided to ask Randy again, this time wondering if his and his wife’s recent move from Alabama to Kentucky might have affected the schedule and perhaps have spelled the end for one or more of the above-listed fan teams (and remember, we DON’T call them fan series!).

Here was Randy’s response…

Continue reading “Three new fan films from STARSHIP DEIMOS in seven months…and more POTEMKIN news from RANDY LANDERS!”

STARSHIP DEIMOS goes on location with their 12th episode “CHILDREN OF EBERUS” (field report from RANDY LANDERS)

It’s kinda strange when two months feels like a “long time” between fan film releases. But when it comes to POTEMKIN PICTURES, two months is almost “red alert!” That’s because for the past several years, these folks have been releasing an average of a dozen or more Star Trek fan films per year. Currently, they have six different creative teams working on six parallel fan series—each on their own schedule with their own personnel—creating short fan films on ultra-low budgets.

These folks aren’t trying to bowl anyone over with super-slick sets or elaborate costumes and props. Instead, they simply try to tell interesting stories and hopefully have some fun while doing it.  You can view all of their many fan film releases on their website.

I’ve decided to do something a little different than I usually do (which is announce the latest episode, say a few words about Potemkin Pictures, maybe include a short quote from show-runner RANDY LANDERS, and then show the episode). But when I watched “Children of Eberus,” the twelfth episode from the STARSHIP DEIMOS creative team that was released a week ago, I marveled at the amount of outdoor footage. While such scenes might look cheap and easy to shoot, there’s actually a lot more moving parts and careful considerations than you might think.

So this time, I asked Randy to tell us all about the challenges of filming this episode and some of the funny behind-the-scenes stories. But first, let’s check out the episode itself, shall we…?

Continue reading “STARSHIP DEIMOS goes on location with their 12th episode “CHILDREN OF EBERUS” (field report from RANDY LANDERS)”

A closer look at STARSHIP DEIMOS: “Diplomatic Relations” (interview with LEE DREW)

This blog might be called Fan Film Factor, but POTEMKIN PICTURES is a fan film FACTORY…having produced about 70 different fan films for six active (and one completed) fan series. You can view all of their releases on their website. Show-runner RANDY LANDERS manages to release an average run of twelve episodes each year, although last December he finished with a bang, posting four fan films in four days to bring Potemkin’s 2018 total to FIFTEEN fan films!

Of course, all of the various Potemkin productions are ultra-low budget. The actors are a mix of local community theater folks from Alabama and neighboring southern states, drama school students, and fans who just want a chance to have some fun acting in a Star Trek fan film. The same is true of the production crew, who are about as far from being “Hollywood professionals” as you’re likely to find. They’re just in it for the fun and the love of Trek.

Of course, not everybody “gets” Potemkin Pictures. Compared to the sleek, semi-professional fan series like Star Trek Continues and Renegades, or the ultra-polished looking productions like Horizon and Axanar, Potemkin’s offerings don’t even come close. And they’re not meant to. If you want to watch those top shelf fan productions, then by all means, do so. But don’t judge Potemkin for all they don’t achieve. Look at what they DO achieve.

To provide a better perspective into what I mean, I’m doing something a little unusual with the most recent release from STARSHIP DEIMOS, one of Potemkin’s six ongoing fan series. “Diplomatic Relations” debuted in February, less than 9 minutes in length and attracting a respectable 1,370 views over the past six weeks or so.

Typically with Potemkin Pictures, I post a short blog announcing the latest release, complimenting the creative team, and getting a brief quote from sh0w-runner Randy Landers. But this time, when I asked Randy to say a few words, he wrote back: “Interview LEE DREW about his personal project. “Diplomatic Relations” is his baby. Starred, wrote, directed, choreographed the fight.”

Great idea! So I reached out to Lee to talk about what went into what looks like such a simple fan film to have made. Take a look at the finished production itself and then read about what went into it. I think you’ll be very surprised…

And now, here’s Lee…

Continue reading “A closer look at STARSHIP DEIMOS: “Diplomatic Relations” (interview with LEE DREW)”

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases their eighth episode: “The Deimos Factor”!

Two weeks after releasing their sixth and seventh episodes just one day apart, the production team for STARSHIP DEIMOS just debuted their eighth episode, “The Deimos Factor.”  If it seems like Deimos is pushing its production warp engines to ludicrous speed, it’s actually much simpler than that.  All of the fan series from POTEMKIN PICTURES ran into a many-months-long delay last year when show-runner and main editor RANDY LANDERS (who also directed each of the latest releases) had quadruple bypass surgery last August.  He’s fine now, by the way.

Randy’s ultimate goal is to release one fan film per month under the Potemkin Pictures label, and it looks like he’s rapidly getting back on schedule.  With seven different fan “series” in active production, plus the 36 episodes of the completed Project: Potemkin, Randy has released a jaw-dropping 62 separate fan films in 8 years, ranging in length from a couple of minutes to nearly an hour.  That’s an amazing accomplishment.

I’ve heard a small number of fans recently disparaging Randy and his fan films, claiming there is weak writing or minimal character development or just complaining about the low production values.  I say: “Nonsense!!! Malarkey!!!  Horse pooey!!!”  What Potemkin Pictures has done is to assemble separate casts of people over five dozen times, get them to perform and complete enough full scenes to create finished productions, edit those scenes together, add VFX and music, and release those completed episodes on a very consistent schedule fro nearly a decade.  Along the way, they built home-made sets, got inexpensive costumes to look like Starfleet officers and assorted aliens, and even had some make-up.

As for the scripts, while not every one is a cinematic masterpiece, they have all managed to be unique and non-repetitive.  They focus on different characters and different scenarios…just like Star Trek.  There are episodes with lots of cast members and ones with just two or three.  There’s first contacts, prime directive dilemmas, space battles, mind control, alien rituals, medical emergencies, diplomatic missions, Starfleet bureaucracy and intrigue, personal crises, spatial anomalies, drama, humor, triumph, and tragedy.  It’s never the same thing twice.

You try to do that 62 times and see how diverse your scripts are!

Anyway, you can watch all 62 productions here on the Potemkin Pictures website.  And you can watch their 63rd release, “The Deimos Factor,” right here, right now…

 

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases TWO fan films in FIVE days!

POTEMKIN PICTURES now produces five active fan series (even though they don’t call them “fan series,” since the guidelines don’t allow those) plus another two with episodes in post-production, plus the 36 episodes of the completed Project: Potemkin fan series.

You might remember back in early March when Starship Tristan released two new episodes (their 11th and 12th productions) within a week of each other.  Now its time for Tristan‘s sister series, STARSHIP DEIMOS, to have two releases, this time just five days apart!  In this case, it’s Deimos’ 6th and 7th episodes.

Prior to these two, the last fan film to come from the Deimos Production Crew debuted nearly a year ago.  The reason for the delay, followed by the quick double release, was that show-runner and main editor RANDY LANDERS (who also directed both of these latest releases) had quadruple bypass surgery last August, and much of the work had to be pushed back.

These latest two episodes could not have been more different from each other.  The first, “Prodigal Daughter,” takes place mainly on a Klingon battlecruiser and features “action” fight scenes (hey, those aren’t as easy as they look!), and it focuses on a single member of the Deimos crew.  At the end of the episode, we are told there is also a new captain on board, even though we don’t meet him yet.  The previous captain, Jeremy Quinn, was played by actor TERRY SELF.  The new captain, Mark Stone, is played by TONY ANDERSON, taking his place as one of the few black actors to command a starship in Star Trek fan films.

The second episode, “Shattered Sky” (which actually shows the new captain), had scenes filmed on location at a historic landmark in Birmingham, AL, other scenes filmed on their bridge and lounge sets, and still others in front of green screen with composited backgrounds.  Nearly all regular members of the crew were featured throughout.  So it was a pretty ambitious production, all things considered.

Also, Potemkin Pictures has begin to use ADR (voice dubbing) to record dialog separately into a microphone after a scene is filmed.  The process results in clearer sound quality, but sometimes the words don’t synch perfectly to the lip movements.  Oh, well…it’s a fan film, the The Avengers.

You can view all of the Potemkin Pictures releases on their website.

And here are the latest two adventures of the crew of the USS Deimos

DEIMOS Production Crew releases new episode: “The Archive”!

Yes, folks, there are still other Star Trek fan films out there, and DEIMOS is one of them.  Formerly known as the fan series Starship Deimos, the umbrella”brand” POTEMKIN PICTURES has now dropped their fan series names (because the fan film guidelines prohibit it) and simply has tabs for each of their five endeavors, sorted by production crew.  You can view episodes from all the teams on the Potemkin Pictures websiteDeimos is based in Alabama and led by Potemkin Pictures creative head RANDY LANDERS.

The latest offering from the Deimos crew (their fourth production), the 11-minute long “The Archive,” features all of the main Starfleet characters plus a Romulan captain from their previous episode.  Like the rest of the Potemkin Pictures fan films, what this low/no-budget production lacks in style and pizzazz, they make up for in heart and dedication.  You can view “The Archive” below…

STARSHIP DEIMOS releases its first post-guidelines episode, “Pas de Trois”

starship-deimos-pas-de-troisWhen STARSHIP DEIMOS last released a new episode, it was April…and the fan film guidelines were still two months away.  Now it is November, and like its sister productions from Potemkin Pictures, Starship Deimos is also now changing the title of the series with each new episode (since the new guidelines do not allow any continuing series).

And thus is Starship Deimos‘ newest episode also its first “stand-alone” fan film: “Pas de Trois.”  And for those of you who (like me) don’t speak French, the title translates to “Dance for Three.”  It’s a ballet term where one male dancer partners with two female dancers…or two males and one female.  (Keep this clean, people!)

This episode introduces what appears to be the overarching story arc of the series: The USS Deimos is assigned to a region of space where the Federation and two other interstellar powers all have interests.  It calls for a delicate mix of diplomacy and cowboy improvisation.

Deimos films in Pelham, Alabama, where Potemkin Pictures show-runner RANDY LANDERS moved with his wife last year.  Another Potemkin Pictures series called Battlecruiser Kupok also films there.  Meanwhile, back in Georgia where Randy used to live, Starship Tristan is filming and releasing new episodes, also under the Potemkin Pictures banner.  You can view all their various series here.

And you can watch “Pas de Trois” below…