The last SURVIVOR fan film is THE LAST SURVIVOR (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 2)

Last week, we began discussing the Survivor trilogy with creator and show-runner MATTHEW BLACKBURN. The fan series got its start back in 2010 with the release of the 10-minute fan film SURVIVOR, produced on a teeny-tiny budget and filmed entirely by just four people.

In 2017, a 15-minute sequel called SURVIVORS was released, this one produced by a team of six fans. Matthew wrote, directed, and starred in both films. This one was lighter and a bit more humorous than the first, although it was still a serious fan film.

And just as 2018 was ending, Matthew released his third fan film, using the same main characters as the previous film. Again with a 15-minute runtime (following the fan film guidelines), LAST SURVIVOR was perhaps Matthew’s most ambitious undertaking thus far…


In part one of our interview, we discussed Matt’s formal education (or lack thereof) in cinematic production, and how he was mainly self-taught and learned by doing. We then took a look back on what went into creating the first two fan films…before shifting our focus to Matthew’s latest release.

And that’s where we pick up…

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The last SURVIVOR fan film is THE LAST SURVIVOR (interview with MATTHEW BLACKBURN, part 1)

Back in 2010, a short 10-minute 24th century-era Trek fan film made its debut. Despite being ultra-low budget, it was actually quite ambitious, being shot in multiple outdoor locations by a team of just four people…two of whom appeared on screen. It was called SURVIVOR and was written, produced, and directed by MATTHEW BLACKBURN, who also starred in the leading role. The finished product was very well done and quite interesting.

Most fans thought Survivor was just a one-and-done effort, but seven years later in the summer of 2017, Matthew released a sequel: SURVIVORS. Still low-budget, this time six people had produced the fan film, and it was 15 minutes long and a bit more ambitious. It even had some very decent visual FX and strong performances for a fan film. Matthew and I chatted about both projects in one of my very first audio interviews here on Fan Film Factor.

At the very end of 2018 (two days before the new year), Matthew released what seems to be—at least from the title—the final installment of the Survivor trilogy: LAST SURVIVOR. It’s my favorite of the three, although they are each very enjoyable. Check it out…

I reached out to Matthew for another interview, wanting to know about the making of this latest production and whether any more fan films would be coming our way in the future. Matthew was happy to oblige, although this time the interview will be in text format…

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From SURVIVOR to SURVIVORS – a 7-YEAR fan film journey (audio interview with Matthew Blackburn)

How many people does it take to make a Star Trek fan film?

Think about the actors, writer(s), director, camera people, sound people, lighting people, costumers, make-up, props people, set designers and builders, special effects, visual FX, music composers, editor…and don’t forget all the production assistants and even the folks who bring the snacks, do the catering, or just run our for pizza.

For the “big” productions, like Star Trek Continues or Axanar, the number can be 50 or even 100 people!  For some of the smaller productions, maybe one or two dozen.

But for a little fan film released in 2010, the answer was just…FOUR.  Titled STAR TREK: SURVIVOR, the 10-minute production featured just four names in the credits, including one name who was the writer / director / producer / star / director of photography / camera operator / editor / music composer / special effects / miniatures / make-up / visual effects / and additional voices guy: MATTHEW BLACKBURN.

Considering the small size of the production team, the fan film itself was quite ambitious…with on-location shooting at multiple locations, a lot of physical acting, diverse and dynamic camera angles, and original music.  And while a super-low budget necessitated the use of a few toys and collectibles in place of expensive animatronic monsters or familiar Star Trek actors, the story was darkly engaging, and the acting was surprisingly strong for an amateur production.

Seven years went by, and Star Trek: Survivor seemed content to hold its place in fan film history as a simple one-off project.  I’d written a blog about it early on for my FAN FILM FRIDAY feature on the Axanar website, and I was planning on bringing it over here to FAN FILM FACTOR eventually.  But before I could, Matthew Blackburn surprised me with a SEQUEL!!!

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