THE ROMULAN WAR presents a new MOTION COMIC Star Trek fan film: HOLOCAUST! (interview with MARK NACCARATO)

One of the biggest challenges right now for fan films (and Hollywood itself) is the global pandemic. And while COVID-19 hasn’t completely stopped production of either fan films or the larger entertainment industry itself, it has made shooting such projects much more challenging, somewhat more limited in scope and flexibility, and in a number of cases, more expensive due to the need to provide PPD and sanitizer and other mitigations for infection among the actors and crew.

So what’s the alternative?

Well, the most obvious answer is to do an audio drama. After all, voice-actors don’t need to be together in one place; they can record their lines at home or in a studio sound booth one at a time. And indeed, there have been Star Trek audio dramas of varying quality for many, many years. But they typically appear on YouTube with either one or a slideshow of still images. They’re meant to be listened to, not watched. So what if you want to create something for fans to see as well as hear during the pandemic?

Beginning in the middle of last year, several resourceful Trekkers began producing what I’ve decided to call “fandemic” films. These were fan films showing characters mainly in single shots, so that the actors would not have to be close to each other. Many (but not all) of these stories featured Starfleet officers talking to each other via subspace—like cosmic Zoom or FaceTime calls—with footage the actors recorded in their own homes.

But now fan filmmaker MARK NACCARATO has come up with a new idea for socially-distanced fan films which he calls a “motion comic.” There have actually been a few “proto” motion comics released prior to this, most notably a series of AXANAR COMICS (like this one) from creator TREY McELWAIN, where still artwork of a comic that he wrote and had an artist illustrate are presented one panel at a time with pans and zooms along with a narrator reading the captions out loud, sound effects, and music.

But Mark has taken things a step further. Although Mark also has voice-over narration (performed by KYLE GEARY) plus sound FX and music, his comic artwork isn’t merely still images with pans and zooms. Mark brought in an animator to actually MOVE the artwork.

Granted, it isn’t full animation like Star Trek: Lower Decks because Mark doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend. So the movement is simple, but still clever enough to provide a visually engaging viewing experience. Take a look…

The “Holocaust” comic book itself (without the animation) was initially published back in April of 2019 as the first of two such comics in Mark’s THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES anthology of tales with art by YUDHI SURYO and colors by ULULL AZM. You can read the original pure comic version of “Holocaust” here. And you can read the other comic, “Intruders,” here.

Continue reading “THE ROMULAN WAR presents a new MOTION COMIC Star Trek fan film: HOLOCAUST! (interview with MARK NACCARATO)”

Can THE ROMULAN WAR generate $1,000 more in just 36 hours???

It’s been a surprising (and rather inspiring!) Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for THE ROMULAN WAR, Part 2. Launched in late November with a $10K goal and sixty-day deadline, that target was reached on January 15 with two full weeks left. So showrunner MARK NACCARATO decided on a stretch goal of $14K.

Usually, stretch goals come with some special perk if you reach that higher level in donations, but Mark is trying it straight up with no extra perk. Actually, there is kinda a perk: if Mark reaches $14K, he’ll be able to give fans more film! Here’s what he had to say…

The Stretch Goal would cover another film shoot which allows us to add more alien characters, and it covers Indiegogo’s “platform and processing fees” which cut into our overall fundraising total.

Since announcing the new stretch goal two weeks ago, nearly $3K of additional donations have come in! That’s truly amazing. But the campaign ends at midnight tomorrow (Pacific Time), and the race is on!

One of the reasons the campaign is doing so well is that Mark has proven himself capable of using backers’ donations to deliver a top-tier, MUST SEE fan film with strong acting, fast pacing, and jaw-dropping visual FX. If you haven’t seen Part 1 yet, you totally need to check it out right now…

The other reason for the campaign’s success, I believe, is the opportunity for donors, at the $100 and $500 levels, to actually APPEAR in Part 2 of this cutting-edge fan film. At the $100 “Captain Access” level, you get to record your voice and have it be heard somewhere in the finished production…along with receiving digital downloads of posters, lobby cards, and the soundtrack, access to their members-only “Memory Alpha” site where you get early access to new releases and updates, and of course, your name in the credits.

And at the $500 “Admiral Access” level, you can actually be SEEN in the film (or you have the option to; nobody’s forcing you)! You also get all of the above plus a T-shirt and an Associate Producer credit in the film (which will appear on IMDb). Already, 14 fans have claimed the “Admiral Access” perk and another 16 opted for the “Captain Access” perk…resulting in about two-thirds of the donations made thus far. But the other third is from $25 and $50 backers, and they still get access to Memory Alpha, their names in the credits, and the $50 donors get the digital posters and sound track. And of course, you can give other amounts—higher or lower—if you have the means right now.

And that’s one of the things that surprised me the most about this campaign: that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic with huge economic uncertainties, and yet so many fans have contributed to this campaign. Yes, I know there are other more deserving charities out there, but fans supporting other fans is a very special thing, too…which is why I let folks know about campaigns like this one…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-romulan-war-part-2#

With just 3 weeks left, THE ROMULAN WAR Indiegogo is less than $2K away from its $10K goal!

I’ll be honest with you guys: I didn’t think this would happen. Traditionally, the holiday season is the absolute WORST time to kick off a crowd-funding campaign for Star Trek fan films. Everyone is spending their money on Christmas and Hanukkah presents, holiday travel, and not really paying much attention to social media posts from fan filmmakers asking for money. Plus, this year, the world has been economically (and metabolically) choked by COVID-19, and I doubted there would be much extra money out there that fans would have available for donating.

So when I saw the launch of this Indiegogo campaign to complete Part 2 of THE ROMULAN WAR, I didn’t expect that show-runner MARK NACCARATO would take in more than a few thousand dollars (if that!) of the $10,000 that was his goal before New Years. I even told him that I’d help push his Indiegogo in January and that it was smart of him to set a 60-day active period for the campaign because he’d likely be way short after the first month.

Man, was I wrong!

With three weeks left, Mark has managed to cross the $8,000 threshold with 58 backers (including me). Half of this amount is from 8 donors who gave $500 each for the “Admiral Access” level, which includes an actual role in the film (either on camera or just audio) plus all of the following:

  • “Associate Producer” credit
  • T-Shirt
  • Posters (Digital Download)
  • Your Name in the Credits
  • Access to “Memory Alpha”
  • Script (Digital Download)
  • Lobby Cards (Digital Download)
  • Soundtrack (Digital Download)

Another 14 backers donated $100 each for the “Captain Access” level, which includes a bunch of digital swag but also comes with the option of recording your voice to be heard somewhere in the film (this is the level I donated at, although I was already the voice-over guy for one of Mark’s excellent WAR STORIES enhanced audio dramas). There are also support levels at $50 and $25, and all levels include access to “Memory Alpha” where you can see special features and get an advanced look at all releases.

So why was I so wrong?

Well, it’s possible that, with COVID, many travel plans were canceled and fewer Christmas presents were purchased…so more money was available to donate. It’s also possible that those higher end perks (appearing in Part 2) were just too tempting to pass up!

But frankly, I think the real credit here goes to Mark Naccarato himself for crediting such an awesome Part 1. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out (it’s a MUST SEE fan film that has already been viewed 320K times!)…

In the end, the best motivation for getting people to donate to your next project is to do a really amazing job on your previous project. And Mark did just that!

So if you have a few bucks lying around and aren’t financially precarious right now, please consider donating a little to help push this Indiegogo over the finish line (or at least spreading the following link)…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-romulan-war-part-2#/

THE ROMULAN WAR Indiegogo for PART II is 33% of the way to its $10K goal!

It’s been just about two months since the first part of the long-awaited THE ROMULAN WAR debuted on YouTube. Stunning to watch with blow-your-mind visual effects, this mockumentary-style fan film tells the story of Earth’s war with the Romulan Empire that resulted in the founding of the United Federation of Planets a hundred years before Kirk’s first five-year mission. It is a MUST-SEE fan film, and if you haven’t watched it yet, then for the love of Grogu, click here to view it!!!

That 24-minute fan film was completed with the help of a $10K Indiegogo campaign (which actually took in more than $13K). Now it’s time to crowd-fund the post-production on Part II, and that will require another $10K for mostly the same sort of things: the remaining principal photography, editing, visual effects modeling & animation, film score, ADR, and other post-production expenses.

The new Indiegogo campaign kicked off two weeks ago and has already taken in $3,330 from 24 backers (including me, of course!). The campaign is set for a 60-day active period, meaning that Mark has taken in a third of what he needs in just a quarter of the time he needs to. That’s actually very impressive, considering how hard the pandemic has hit the global economy AND the fact that it’s currently holiday season…traditionally the most challenging time of the year to crowd-fund fan films.

One of the reasons for Mark’s fundraising success, I believe, is the quality of Part I. But also, the perks are unique and rather compelling. Following the fan film guidelines, Mark is offering no physical perks (which also save him the cost of shipping!). Instead, at the lower levels, in addition to getting your name in the credits, there’s exclusive access to the “Memory Alpha” section of their website—which means a first look at all their content before the public sees it—as well as 8 different custom poster designs (check them out here) by CGI miracle worker SAMUEL COCKINGS, each of which can be printed out as an 11″ x 17″ poster.

But wait, there’s more!

At the fairly reasonable $100 donation level, you can actually be a part of the Part II fan film…or rather, your voice can. You’ll be offered the option to record your voice to have it used in the production. And at the $500 level, you actually get to appear in the film! Or you can just do a voice-over if you don’t want to be on camera. And in addition to all the other perks, donors at this level will be listed as “Associate Producer” in the Part II credits (and on the film’s IMDB entry and their website).

This is a really exciting project, currently scheduled for completion next year…assuming it’s funded. And that’s where you come in. If you can afford to make a donation (even a small one), please do. If not, you can still help by sharing the following link to the Indiegogo campaign with your Star Trek fan friends….

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-romulan-war-part-2#/

THE ROMULAN WAR premieres at last! (audio interview with MARK NACCARATO)

Back in September, fans were treated to the premiere of the long-awaited STAR TREK: FIRST FRONTIER, in production for five years with a 5-figure (possibly 6-figure) budget. Now, barely seven weeks later, we get our SECOND long-awaited, “top tier” fan film, this one more than three years in production (although the script dates back nearly a decade) and also with a solid 5-figure budget.

The first hints of THE ROMULAN WAR fan film appeared back in 2017. Not to be confused with the fan series THE ROMULAN WARS (plural) from show-runner LEE GARTRELL in Arkansas, this work-in-progress fan film from show-runner MARK NACCARATO in Tennessee is a straight-up two-parter—presented in the same “mockumentary” style as PRELUDE TO AXANAR. Many fans assumed that Mark had been inspired by Prelude to make a fan film in a similar format, but in fact, he’d had the idea and written the first draft of the script three years before Prelude ever premiered. Great minds think alike!

By the time 2018 hit, The Romulan War had most of its scenes filmed and was crowd-funding for mainly post-production costs with a $10K Indiegogo (which ultimately took in more than $13K). With visual FX by the sensei of CGI, Great Britain’s SAMUEL COCKINGS, the trailers and stills from this dynamic fan film created a palpable excitement throughout the community. Frustratingly—but unavoidably—post-production would stretch out another two-plus years. However, unlike other fan films, The Romulan War served fans an almost constant stream of “hors d’oeuvre” vignettes and trailer/prequels and even a couple of short comic book stories.

The two trailer/prequels—PREAMBLE TO WAR and the just-released SHIPS OF THE LINE—serve not only to tease the full fan film but also to expand upon it with footage and story points not included in the final release due to time limitations. So consider the above two vignettes required pre-viewing if you haven’t watched them yet.

Likewise, Mark released six different “enhanced” audio dramas (voice-over performances of actors reading the logs of people who were part of the war, augmented by graphic imagery and short animations, including CGI). These short films, called WAR STORIES, can all be viewed on this playlist. (One of them stars yours truly!) And finally, there are the two short comic book stories INTRUDERS and HOLOCAUST, each of which also ties into the main fan film.

And speaking of which, I bet you’re dying to finally see it. So without further ado, I am proud to present to you The Romulan War, Part 1…

And now that you’ve watched that amazing fan film, let’s get to know the person behind it, Mark Naccarato, and all about his journey getting from there to here…

THE ROMULAN WAR is set to premiere OCTOBER 19 – releases new “SHIPS OF THE LINE” trailer/prequel!

It’s nearly here! After years and years of anticipation, the long and eagerly-awaited fan film THE ROMULAN WAR will officially premiere (at least, Part 1 will officially premiere) on October 19, 2020 on the Romulan War Youtube channel. And leading up to it, sh0w-runner MARK NACCARATO has just released a new trailer/prequel called “SHIPS OF THE LINE.”

What is a “trailer/prequel,” you ask? Shouldn’t it be either one or the other? Well…maybe. In the case of The Romulan War, Mark initially conceived of the project long before the guidelines constrained the runtime of Star Trek fan films to two 15-minute parts. As such, the original script was written to be sixteen “chapters” and would have wound up way over the time limit. Mark shot most of the footage in the summer of 2017, a year after the guidelines were announced. But rather than try to tweak the script down to less than a half hour, he shot what he needed to shoot and figured he would edit the final film down later during post-production.

As such, there is lots of quality footage that sadly needed to be left on the digital cutting room floor. Or did it? “Ships of the Line” and its predecessor trailer/prequel “Preamble to War” fulfill two purposes. They both serve as trailers to drum up excitement, showing scenes from the upcoming fan film(s). But they also include “bonus” footage that won’t appear in The Romulan War 2-parter.

Each trailer/prequel stands alone as an individual fan film with a unique title and story, so it won’t technically violate the guidelines. (That said, both use footage from Star Trek: Enterprise—also a guideline “no-no.” However, CBS didn’t seem to mind it last year when “Preamble to War” came out, and hopefully they won’t care this time either.)

The new 5-minute vignette webisode examines the challenges Starfleet faces in the early months of the war assembling a fighting force that can take on the Romulans. Because of this theme, “Ships of the Line” features, once again, the unrivaled animation skills of the C├ęzanne of CGI, SAMUEL COCKINGS. Mark said of Samuel’s efforts, “He burnt the midnight oil and put in some major overtime to get all the shots done for SOTL in time. There are some amazing shots in here.”

I agree! You can check it out below…

And if you haven’t seen “Preamble to War” yet, you should watch that, too…

And finally, I heartily recommend all six of Mark’s WAR STORIES enhanced audio dramas (which are primarily log entries read/performed by trained actors—plus one read by me—but augmented by interesting graphic images and animations as the narratives unfold). You can watch these original and engaging offerings on this playlist.

Next stop: October 19 and the premiere of The Romulan War!

“HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova” – The latest enhanced audio drama from THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES!

Considering that THE ROMULAN WAR fan film project began production three years ago and hasn’t yet been released, show-runner MARK NACCARATO has certainly released a ton of original content for it!

Along with a series of really amazing trailers (all of which can be viewed here), behind-the-scenes production briefs (available here) and the online comic book short stories “Holocaust” and “Intruders,” Mark had also previously released five extraordinary “enhanced” audio dramas called WAR STORIES. These short vignettes would normally be considered pure audio dramas (something which, regrettably, I don’t have the time nor resources to cover here on Fan Film Factor), except for the fact that they each also include an animated visual component.

Most of these War Stories vignettes feature photos along with brief computer animations, while others contain short video clips or even VFX shots. The final effect is to create a series of “personal log” voice-overs from various characters who experienced the Romulan War from a diverse series of perspectives. In fact, one of those characters was voiced by yours truly! You can view and listen to all of them on this YouTube playlist.

With production finished and post-production nearing completion, Mark has just released a sixth War Stories installment called “HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova.” It features the earth colony visited by the NX-01 crew in the sixth episode of Enterprise, along with some video clips and a few new VFX scenes. Let’s check it out…

Not too shabby, huh? I reached out to Mark for a little more background on this newest release, along with asking for the latest updates on The Romulan War fan film and when Mark expects to finally have it ready for viewing. Here’s what he said…

Continue reading ““HUNTING GROUNDS: The Battle of Terra Nova” – The latest enhanced audio drama from THE ROMULAN WAR: WAR STORIES!”

New teaser for THE ROMULAN WAR: “Nightingale”!

Back in June of 2018, show-runner MARK NACCARATO managed to crowd-fund more than $11.6K for an ambitious new fan production titled THE ROMULAN WAR. Set during that critical interstellar conflict that resulted in the founding of the United Federation of Planets, this exciting project will feature the same “mock” documentary format as PRELUDE TO AXANAR with a number of trained actors and some incredible VFX by fandom’s #1 CGI hit Brit, SAMUEL COCKINGS.

The Romulan War has had some unfortunate and unavoidable delays during post production, including the passing of a close family member of Mark Naccarato’s last year. But in the meantime, Mark has released a wonderful series of enhanced audio dramas focusing on compelling “War Stories” from various participants in the war—from admirals to MACO grunts to civilian freighter pilots to the inventor of the Warp 7 engine. Each vignette features an audio monologue augmented by a series of graphics and animations…and each is 100% MUST SEE viewing. You can watch all of the “War Stories” vignettes here.

Mark has also released a series of short teasers and trailers over the past two years, and last week, he posted his latest offering: a teaser clip entitled simply “Nightingale.” The VFX by Sam Cockings are, as usual, pulse-pounding and breathtaking—as is the music. And amazingly, this teaser tells a full story in less than 35 seconds (well under the 15 minutes allowed by the guidelines!). Take a look…

For those wanting a little more background to the story of this ill-fated vessel , Mark also posted this…


The Tale of the Nightingale

DATELINE: May, 2156 – After a brutal nuclear attack on the Centauri colonies which killed over 450,000 civilians, the medical ship Nightingale mounted a rescue operation to evacuate the survivors of Alpha III.

A refitted transport left over from the Cochrane Expedition seventy years earlier, Nightingale was old, slow, and unarmed. Escorted by two Intrepid-class light cruisers, the medical ship managed to take on approximately 5,500 sick and wounded refugees when long-range sensors detected enemy movement. Nightingale and her escorts left the system, bound for Tau Ceti, with two Romulan Raptor-class heavy cruisers in pursuit.

The Romulans chased the Earth convoy for nearly two days when the escort ships decided to break formation and try to cover Nightingale’s escape. The escort ships, Republic and Sirius, were not heard from again. When Nightingale began braking maneuvers to hide inside a gas cloud, the Romulan cruisers caught them.

Subcommander Chulak, who led the Romulan assault, reported in his log that “those who are not healthy enough to serve the Empire don’t deserve to live. They should be thanking us for the mercy we’ve shown them.”

This clip from The Romulan War: A Star Trek Fan Production features the voice of L. Honey Hereth, visual effects from Samuel Cockings, and an original music piece by Nashville composer Mark Allen.

Continue reading “New teaser for THE ROMULAN WAR: “Nightingale”!”

PREAMBLE TO WAR – the Romulans are coming!

Now, you might think I’m talking about the new Star Trek: Picard series (which features Romulans quite prominently), but I’m not. Instead of looking forward into Star Trek‘s future, I’m referring to an eagerly-anticipated fan film that looks BACK into Star Trek‘s past.

It’s a past that we frustratingly did NOT get to see when Star Trek: Enterprise was canceled after only four seasons. Fans were deprived of what promised to be an exciting season five that would have shown the preamble to the Romulan War with Earth and the Coalition of Planets…a war that would inevitably lead to the founding of the United Federation of Planets.

But now, thanks to fan filmmaker MARK NACCARATO, fans will finally get to see one Trekker’s vision of how that interplanetary war transpired. Sure, it’s not canon (no fan film ever is), but his production THE ROMULAN WAR will still be lovingly and meticulously crafted, with trained actors and jaw-dropping CGI effects by the “star witness of the stars,” SAMUEL COCKINGS.

Already, Mark has released a series of “enhanced” audio dramas where voice-over recordings of personal logs and correspondences, read aloud by accomplished actors (and also by yours truly), are augmented by images and animations. This series of poignant vignettes, titled WAR STORIES, recount emotional experiences during The Romulan War from the point of view of an admiral, a foot soldier, an engineer test pilot (me!), and a freighter jockey. If you haven’t listened to them yet, click here. They are a MUST SEE (well a MUST HEAR)!

In the meantime, as we await the big premiere of The Romulan War fan film (told in the same “mockumentary” style as Prelude to Axanar), Mark has given fans one last tantalizing peek at the upcoming story. Titled PREAMBLE TO WAR, this vignette is also told in that same mock documentary format and features two of the characters who will appear in the final fan film…along with some awesome VFX, wonderful editing, and a really cool original music soundtrack composed by ANDREW CURRIER.

The five-and-a-half-minute mini-fan film does feature about 90 seconds of ultra-short clips and stills from various Star Trek: Enterprise episodes, which is a fan film guideline “no-no.” However, with only 1,170 views so far, and with the new Star Trek Picard series premiering in less than two months, will the newly-merged ViacomCBS even bother with such a minor infraction and risk the fan backlash? Probably not…at least, I hope not, as this is a very nice addition to the hundreds (thousands, actually!) of Star Trek fan films out there.

Take a look…

Star Trek FAN FILMS are most certainly NOT DEAD…here’s what’s coming down the pike!

No, not THAT Pike! But if you know one of those crazy people who keeps saying that Star Trek fan films are “dead” or that the guidelines or the Axanar lawsuit “destroyed” Trek fan films forever…well, it’s time for a little reality check!

Not only are Star Trek fan films alive and thriving, but we’re about to be inundated with new major productions at all levels of funding ranging from pocket-change to six-figure budgets.

The past year has already been loaded with a plethora of new fan film releases: Galaxy Hopper, Galactic Battles, Temporal Anomaly, Avalon Lost, The Fighting Fourth, Last Survivor, Diplomatic Relations, Desperate Gambit, The Holy Core, Dreadnought Dominion, All Ahead Full, Children of Eberus, The Looking Glass, Confrontations, To Have Boldly Gone, Repercussions, Stunt Doubles, and the just-released Line of Duty. And those are just the ones I’ve covered here on Fan Film Factor! Check out the Star Trek Reviewed blog for a ridiculously more detailed list including all of the smaller fan productions that I don’t usually have a chance to get to.

But you ain’t seen nuthin‘ yet!

Within the next six months, a host of exciting NEW Star Trek fan films are scheduled for release onto YouTube—some of them eagerly anticipated. Last week, I reached out to some prominent fan filmmakers to get updates on their productions and when fans will get a chance to finally see them.

Here’s just some of what you can look forward to in the very near future…

Continue reading “Star Trek FAN FILMS are most certainly NOT DEAD…here’s what’s coming down the pike!”