STARBASE STUDIOS shuts down, documents removal and damage of set pieces

The fan film world was jolted yesterday to learn that STARBASE STUDIOS, which had recently relocated from Oklahoma to neighboring Arkansas, has shut down—at least for now—due to the removal of critical pieces of their TOS sets and damage to items that still remain.

To document was was done to the sets, KENT “WORDS” EDWARDS and SCOTT JOHNSON, two of the four joint owners of the Starbase Studios sets (the other two owners being GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS…although it is possible that Dan has stepped away; I don’t yet have confirmation on that) have made a 22-minute video with the help of prolific fan film-maker VANCE MAJOR.

Here is that video…

You will notice that the video bleeps out the name of co-owner Glen Wolfe.  This is because Glen was the one responsible for the removal of the set pieces.

Now, before anyone starts targeting their phasers on Glen, I want everyone to understand that there are, in fact, TWO sides in this situation, each with reasonable grievances against the other side.

I have friends on both sides of this, and I have been speaking with them over the past two months off the record.  That was their request, and I have and will continue to honor it.  The hope on both sides was that this matter might be resolved before needing to make it public.  Obviously it hasn’t been, and now Scott and “Words” have decided to take the next step for them, which is releasing the above video.

I have promised each side that I will report this story as fairly and objectively as I can, quoting each of them with minimal editorializing.  I have been told that Scott is now willing to speak on the record, and I’ll reach out to the other side shortly to see if they are ready, as well.

However, the one thing I can report on right now is why the police are not getting involved in what appears to be a case of theft and vandalism.  And that’s because it’s not.  Glen is a co-owner of these sets, and if he has a key (which he does), the police do not consider that to be breaking and entering.  Moreover, when there is a question of ownership, such cases are not considered criminal but rather under civil jurisdiction to be fought over by business lawyers.  In short, like it or not, this is a civil case…if it does, in fact, wind up in court.


I beg your indulgence if I don’t get around to reporting on this further until next week.  I’ll be volunteering at my son’s school all day for their Halloween carnival and then trick-or-treating with Jayden tonight.  Then I have to clear time to speak to folks on both sides of this mess and organize their comments into an objective and coherent presentation for all of you.  Please stay tuned.

VANCE MAJOR releases SEVEN TREK FAN FILMS in SEVEN DAYS!

Last month, in an interview with fan film maker VANCE MAJOR, I called him the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films.”  The interview included a list of over a dozen different Trek fan films that Vance had written, directed, produced, appeared in, and/or worked on.

But now, after releasing ANOTHER seven (yes, SEVEN!) Trek fan films—one per day!—in just seven days, I think I need to rechristen Vance the “Oompa Loompa of Star Trek fan films”…perhaps even Willy Wonka himself!

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VANCE MAJOR is the “WHERE’S WALDO of Star Trek Fan Films!” (interview)

Since he first made his debut as Chief Engineer Minard on the initial episode “Legacy” of the fan series STARSHIP VALIANT back in 2014, VANCE MAJOR has been involved with no less than FIFTEEN different Star Trek fan films and series…in positions both behind and in front of the camera.  That’s why I like to call Vance the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films!”

Here’s a complete list of the films he’s either produced, written, directed, or appeared in (or any combination of the above)…in addition to “Legacy”:

Starship Valiant – “The Ties That Bind”
“Pen Pals” and “Pen Pals 2”
Melburne – “Storm Front, Part 1”
V’Ger for Women
The Hunt
Melbourne – “First Duty”

V’Ger for Men
Dark Glimmer
Resistance
Dreadnought Dominion/Starship Valiant crossovers:
“Chain of Command” and “Command and Conquer”
and he worked for a short time on
Starship Republic – “Serpent of Yesterday”

Vance’s latest release is, I think, one of his best yet: the 7-minute Minard.  The episode provides a series of scattered glimpses into the professional and personal life of Vance’s engineering character as Minard advances through Starfleet.  There’s laughter, excitement, tears, and tragedy…all in just 7 minutes.  It’s worth checking out before you listen to our audio interview with Vance…

I already did a 2-part print interview with Vance back in April, and I invite you to read it, as well.  But I’m following that up with a new AUDIO interview that was only completed just a few short weeks ago.  In the brief time since we chatted, the prolific Mr. Major has released not just one but TWO more completed Trek fan films that were still in post production when we spoke: Minard and “Command and Conquer.”  (This fella is quick!)

Vance is a great guy and really interesting to listen to, but what makes this interview really compelling is that his fan films are so cheaply done…and he doesn’t mind that!  Many in the fan film community lament the passing of the high-budget mega-projects like Star Trek Continues, New Voyages, Renegades, and Axanar.  Barely two years ago, the future of Trek fan films seemed to hold such promise…

And it still does!  That’s what this interview is all about.  Sure, we might not see the hundred-thousand and million-dollar Trek fan films any longer, but the genre is far from dead!  Guys like Vance Major are keeping the dream alive and prospering, and he’s about to tell you how and why…


UPDATE: A month after this interview was posted, Vance Major set a new record by releasing SEVEN Star Trek fan films in just SEVEN DAYS!  All of them continues the Minard saga.  Read more about it by clicking here

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION/STARSHIP VALIANT team up again for “COMMAND AND CONQUER”!

Last November, the fan series DREADNOUGHT DOMINION returned from a 16-month hiatus with a new episode that crossed over with sister fan series STARSHIP VALIANT…an episode entitled “Chain of Command.”  You can read more about that endeavor here in this Fan Film Factor blog.

Written by Vance Major, Gary Davis, and David R. Wrenn, and directed by Vance and Gary, the scenes for “Chain of Command” were filmed separately in the states of Ohio, North Carolina, and Oklahoma (the former location of Starbase Studios) and then edited together into a 7-minute fan film.  It focused on the new CO of the USS Dominion trying to find a first officer.

It’s rare to see the full (or nearly full) casts of two different fan series cross over into a single fan film.  What’s even rarer is to see them cross over TWICE!

And it’s interesting that I said “cross over” because the latest film film to feature these two crews crosses viewers over into the Mirror Universe with a retelling of the “Chain of Command” story with the same characters but from the Terran Empire’s ISS Dominon and ISS Valiant.

It’s fun and fascinating…all at the same time!  Written by the same team, the directors were now Gary Davis and Kent Edwards.  And the locations still included Ohio and North Carolina, but Starbase Studios has now moved to Arkansas, and some scenes were also filmed in Georgia.  I’m told the entire production was shot last month (with a few scenes filmed in May) and edited together pretty quickly to come out with such a fast turnaround.

I’m going to provide links to three different fan films here.  The first is mirror universe “Command and Conquer.”  Below that is the prime universe “Chain of Command” for you to compare it to.  And finally, there’s a short vignette written by and starring Vance Major titled Project Defiant: “Dark Glimmer.”  Although it came out in late June, it’s a sequel to the newly-released “Command and Conquer.”

And look for a really great audio interview with Vance Major on Fan Film Factor this coming Friday!

And now, the prime universe “Chain of Command”…

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I just had an AWESOME fan film week! (personal)

My life isn’t usually all that interesting or exciting…at least, not all in one week.  But what a week it was!

(Actually, it was only really exciting if you happen to be a Trekkie interested in fan films.  If you’re my wife, it’s more like, “That’s nice, honey.  I’m glad you had such a good time.  Did you remember to empty the dishwasher?”

And that’s why I’m writing this blog—because I have now emptied the dishwasher, and I really want to tell you guys about the fan film filled week I just had…because you care, right?  (Aw don’t answer that; it’ll just kill my buzz.)

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Secure from battlestations…

I really hate when things go nuclear.  It happens all too often these days…especially online.  Neither party wants to give an inch, each believing he or she is in the right and the other is a total git and knee-biting jerk.  People start taking sides, arguments get heated, “evidence” is collected, and folks generally begin gettin’ real pissy.

That was yesterday.

JAMES HAMS and I went toe-to-toe, mano-a-mano for much of the day over what amounted to three words in a recent blog he wrote.  Granted, they weren’t just any three words, but the point is that the world wasn’t ending.  And yet, you’d never know from all the urgent text messages and e-mails I had to read and write throughout the day.  I’m sure James had a similar experience on his end.

Vance Major – peacemaker, diplomat, good friend

Enter VANCE MAJOR.  Vance is a friend of both James and myself, and he’s also one of Trek fandom’s calmest and coolest heads.  Think of Vance as Switzerland…only with a beard.  Not liking the escalation of tempers he was witnessing between his two friends, Vance stepped in, spoke to us both separately, and negotiated a “cease fire.”

In short, James will be removing those three words from his blog (along with half a sentence that will no longer make sense with the three words gone).  I’ll be telling the folks on SMALL ACCESS (and here on FAN FILM FACTOR) to stand down, secure from general quarters, cancel battlestations…whatever you want to call it.  We’ve both agreed not to mention the other—or their blog(s) or Facebook group(s)—on our own blogs in any negative way on a go-forward basis.

We’re both in agreement on this, and there’s no hard feelings.  There were definitely hard feelings yesterday, but it’s nice to know that things can, with a little give and take, be worked out without going to DefCon 1.

I’d like to thank James for being part of the solution…and also Vance for making that solution possible in the first place.  I much prefer writing a short blog entry like this one over writing a long entry like yesterday’s!

MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 2

Last time, we took a closer look at the new fan series MELBOURNE, shot at STARBASE STUDIOS and produced by VANCE MAJOR.  This low-budget production has guest cameos from and shout-outs to SEVEN other fan films and series, tying a fair portion of the fan film community together with some shared continuity.

In Part 1 of our interview, Vance talked a bit about his own background as a fan and a filmmaker, and how his experiences with other fan productions led him to create his own.  In the conclusion, we discuss more about the Melbourne project itself—its cast, production and post-production, and plans for the future.

So let’s get right to it…

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MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 1

At the end of March, a new Star Trek fan production titled MELBOURNE (just that, no “Starship” in front of the name) posted its debut fan film: “Storm Front, Part 1.”  One of several fan series shot on the sets of STARBASE STUDIOS (while they were still in their previous Oklahoma City location), Melbourne initially released two ultra-short vignettes, “Pen Pals” and “Pen Pals 2”.)  But fans were really waiting for their first full episode to see what this new fan production would be all about.

Most successful Star Trek fan projects have a driving force behind the production, and in the case of Melbourne, that driving force is show-runner/producer/writer VANCE MAJOR (his friends call him “Vman”), who lives in Kansas with his wife of 17 years and his newborn son, Royce.  I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Vance for a very friendly interview.  In fact, “friendly” is one of the best adjectives I could use to describe this warm and humble film producer from the Sunflower State.  Since having our interview, we’ve actually become good friends, have spent hours on the phone talking Trek and swapping “Daddy” stories, and he’s invited me to appear on camera in an upcoming episode of Melbourne anytime I can get myself over to Arkansas (the new home of Starbase Studios).

So here’s what Vance had to say…

Continue reading “MELBOURNE – Interview with VANCE MAJOR, Part 1”

MELBOURNE releases PART 1 of its first full episode “STORM FRONT”!

Lately, there’s been a lot of stuff coming out of STARBASE STUDIOS (all of it made before the recent move from Oklahoma City, OK to Harrison, Arkansas).  This recent explosion of fan films has included: “Chain of Command”Star Trek: The Federation Files– “His Name is Mudd”, Starship Valiant – “Crosses to Bear”, Starship Republic – “Serpent of Yesterday”, and a pair of super-short vignettes “Pen Pals” and “Pen Pals 2”.

The last two short fan films were also teasers for the latest production made at STARBASE STUDIOS…a new fan film (possibly series) called MELBORNE.  And no, the word “Starship” is not in the title—unlike many other projects.

Melbourne is the brainchild of VANCE MAJOR, a filmmaker from Kansas who also plays Chief Engineer Minard on Starship Valiant.  From its debut episode, it looks as though Melbourne is set somewhere between the end of Kirk’s five-year mission and the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture…featuring starship and uniform elements from both (apparently in a very purposeful way).

I’ll be featuring a full interview with Vance in a few weeks.  But for now, please enjoy Part 1 of Melbourne‘s first full episode debut, “Storm Front”…

DREADNOUGHT DOMINION and STARSHIP VALIANT cross-over in “CHAIN OF COMMAND”!

chain-of-command-dreadnought-dominion-and-svBack in April of 2015, a new Star Trek fan series called DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premiered with its initial episode, “Haunted.”  Three months later, a second episode, titled “Anchors Aweigh” (a bit of a prequel to the first episode), made its debut.  It wasn’t the only TOS-era fan series to feature the crew of a non-heavy cruiser class starship, but it was the first and only one to feature the crew of a Starfleet dreadnought-class starship based on the mid-1970s Franz Joseph Star Trek Technical Manual.

dreadnought-dominionThanks to a 3D model created by Kenneth Thomson, Jr. and Thomas Phong, the beauty shots of the tri-nacelled USS Dominion in the opening credits and during the episodes were gorgeous.  The two episodes were filmed primarily on the very impressive TOS sets in Starship Farragut’s Studio Two in Kingsland, GA (also the shooting location of Star Trek Continues).

A year earlier, another fan series, Starship Valiant, made its debut on YouTube with an introduction vignette titled “Legacy.”  Valiant was filmed using the TOS bridge set at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma City.  (The following year, a “special edition” version of “Legacy” with added footage was posted after Starbase Studios built a new sickbay set.)  Valiant has since completed principal filming on its second episode “The Ties That Bind,” although post production is still ongoing and the second episode hasn’t been released yet.

So what do these two fan series–filmed in different locations in different states during different years–have in common?  A man named Vance…

Continue reading “DREADNOUGHT DOMINION and STARSHIP VALIANT cross-over in “CHAIN OF COMMAND”!”