A winning streak of SUCCESSFUL Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDERS!

Lately, it seems like I’m covering a LOT of crowd-funding campaigns raising money for a variety of Star Trek fan films. That’s because it’s been a really pretty busy few months…with more campaigns to come!

Fortunately for our wallets, though, four campaigns have just successfully reached their funding goals (or come very close!), clearing the way for the newcomers. So let’s take a brief look at the fan productions that scored recent wins…

THE TEARS OF J’KAH

Two week ago, I reported on how BENNY HALL raised $49,183 (of his $50K goal) for his second Trek fan film THE TEARS OF J’KAH…from just 13 donors! This post-guidelines crowd-funding record was accomplished with the help of some very generous friends and contacts who each made donations of $5K and even $10K.

AXANAR – shoot #3

Last Thursday morning, ALEC PETERS launched a “tiny” (his word) fundraiser on Ares Digital trying to generate $3,400 to cover expenses for the third AXANAR shoot at Ares Studios in Larenceville, GA on March 15. By Sunday evening, he’d taken in more than $5,000!

The surplus will go into the upcoming fundraiser for the “big” fourth shoot. That on is scheduled to happen in Los Angeles and will include GARY GRAHAM playing Vulcan Ambassador Soval plus a bunch of other aliens, each of whom will require a top-level make-up artist. Combined with the cost of studio rental, travel, lodging, etc., this is expected to be around a $30,000 expenditure (although a final budget is still being worked out).

The Axanar fundraiser for Shoot #4 will launch on Ares Digital right after shoot #3 wraps on March 15…with the long-awaited debut of the FULLL TRAILER! You can watch it debut live by clicking here.

STARSHIP INTREPID – “ECHOES”

For the first time in its decade-and-a-half history, those INTREPID folks from Scotland have sought some financial assistance from fans and supporters. NICK COOK set the goal at a humble $2,500 (or thereabouts, since they get their money in pounds, not dollars) with a 60-day deadline. Earlier this week, with less than two weeks left and with the help of 72 backers, they hit their goal.

CONSTAR CONTINUES

With an even more humble goal of $1,175, VANCE MAJOR launched his latest GoFundMe campaign back in December. It’s taken a little while, but this past Monday morning, he also reached (and slightly surpassed) his goal…with the help of 24 backers (including me).


My congratulations to all of the projects I’ve just mentioned, and my thanks to those of my readers who chose to donate in order to help make these fan film dreams into realities.

So what’s left that still needs crowd-funding help (besides Axanar)? Glad you asked!

Continue reading “A winning streak of SUCCESSFUL Trek fan film CROWD-FUNDERS!”

My sincere apologies to VANCE MAJOR

I know a lot of people in the fan film community—friends, comrades-in-arms, friendly acquaintances, long-distance buddies—but few of them do I feel closer to than VANCE MAJOR. You might have heard of him…’cause I mention him a lot on this blog!

Last month, I posted an audio interview with Vance when he released 51 new episodes of THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES and 18 special editions of the MINARD saga of fan films. Earlier this month, I posted a blog promoting his new GoFundMe campaign for CONSTAR CONTINUES…which I hope you’ll consider donating to.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be featuring audio interviews with two guys named Greg—GREG TEFT and GREG MITCHELL—both of whom worked on Constar with Vance in significant production roles. Vance requested that I interview them separately to give each fan filmmaker a chance to shine. And I’m happy to do it!

The reason is that I love Vance…I love him like a brother. In fact, he frequently calls me “brother”—although I think that’s just his word for “dude”—but “brother” just shows what a truly warm and loving heart he has for people.

I’ve literally lost sleep because of Vance—not because I worry about him but because he works an overnight shift and our calls frequently start after midnight my time (2am for him in Kansas) and can usually last an hour or even two! We’ve chatted about everything from fan films and fan filmmakers to Star Trek, superhero movies, politics, weather, triumphs, frustrations, and my favorite subject: our boys. Vance is a dad like me—and a damn awesome one!—and since my son is half a decade older than his, I can give him some “heads up” advice and also look back at those days gone by and silently envy Vance getting to live those wonderful moments himself.

Yesterday, I hurt Vance.

Continue reading “My sincere apologies to VANCE MAJOR”

INTREPID crowd-funder proves Jonathan absolutely WRONG!

January is a bad month for crowd-funding…or so I thought.

I usually advise people who ask (and advise them strongly) to avoid scheduling their fan film crowd-funding campaigns in December and January. Both months compete with the holidays. In December, people aren’t really paying much attention to requests to donate to fan projects. And by the time you reach January, many people’s wallets and bank accounts are recovering from holiday expenses like gifts and vacations. So if you can, wait until mid-February to launch your crowd-funder.

A good example of this was VANCE MAJOR, who kicked off his latest GoFundMe for CONSTAR CONTINUES in December. With previous Constar campaigns trying for a $500 goal, Vance had been able to cross the finish line within days. But that was in March. This time, with a goal of $1,175 for costumes and props, Vance took in just a few hundred dollars over the first few weeks, and even now, more than a month later, is only up to $675 from 17 backers (including me). He’s getting there, but it’s definitely slower this time out. Was I right about December and January?

I thought I was…which is why I scratched my head when I saw NICK COOK launch an Indiegogo campaign for STARSHIP INTREPID‘s next fan film, “Echoes.” The long-running fan series out of Dundee, Scotland is trying to raise $2,600 for:

  • Travel expenses
  • Room hire (location rental)
  • Food for the actors
  • Props and costumes
  • Make up
  • Associated consumables (such as batteries)
  • Post-production expenses

With a goal more than double what Vance was asking for, I contacted Nick Cook and suggested we hold off doing a crowd-funding feature/interview here on Fan Film Factor until February—expecting that he (like Vance) wouldn’t get too far over the next few weeks.

It’s only three days later, and Intrepid‘s campaign is already nearly 40% of the say to their goal with $1,036 from 28 backers (including me). Boy, was I wrong! But why was I wrong?

Continue reading “INTREPID crowd-funder proves Jonathan absolutely WRONG!”

Time to give VANCE MAJOR a little money for CONSTAR CONTINUES (he only needs $700)!

We love VANCE MAJOR. How could we not? Whether you watch and enjoy his nearly 70 fan films, avoid them completely, or simply chuckle at the cord in the doorway and/or grumble when the sound of the blowing wind drowns out a line of dialog…you can’t deny that Vance is the beating heart of Star Trek fan films.

Sure, Vance isn’t producing snazzy, Hollywood-quality fan films with Oscar-caliber acting, cdazzling VFX, meticulously-tailored costumes, and pitch-perfect sound. But what his is doing is so much more important: he is having FUN—and he’s inviting us all to come along on his amazing…trek.

Last month, I published a blog featuring an audio interview with Vance, celebrating the release of 51(!!!) brand new fan films from THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES—ready for binge-watching over the holidays—plus another 18 special edition re-releases of fan films from Vance’s MINARD saga. And even with all of that, he’s still not done! Vance is planning to produce even more fan films!! In fact, in just a few more months, Vance will be shooting ALEC PETERS himself as Garth at Ares Studios in Georgia.

Vance has always been known as a man who can do a LOT with very, very little. I’ve joked in the past that he funds his film projects with the loose change he finds in the cushions of his sofa. And for the most part, that’s true. But costumes and props are the exception to keeping things ultra-cheap. Sure, you don’t have to buy the custom-made $500 screen-perfect versions that Anovos offers, but even an inexpensive Halloween costume can run $25-50. And keep in mind that Vance needs to have a variety of different sizes, as Star Trek fans cover a wide spectrum of body types. And Vance opens up his roles to many, many fans (even me!).

Vance has crowd-funded costumes/uniforms before, and he doesn’t ask for much. For his current GoFundMe crowd-funder, he’s only looking for $1,175…and he’s already got $475 of it (including $40 from yours truly). So if you have a few bucks left over after the holidays, please consider clicking below to donate to a very worthy and dedicated fan filmmaker…

https://www.gofundme.com/f/constar-continues

The YOUNGEST cameraman…er, camera BOY in fan films?

The instant message came in about 7:00 pm a week ago Sunday night. VANCE MAJOR, currently planning an early December release of about FORTY fan films running over ten hours total(!!!), needed a favor from me.

He first asked if I had an early DS9/Voyager-era Starfleet uniform. Of course I do! What kind of a nerdy Trekkie does he think I am??? Then he asked if I had a black turtleneck that I could wear under it instead of the usual blue-gray shirt. A little trickier, of course, but it turns out I also own a TNG 5th season Picard jacket with the shirt he wears under it…and that shirt has a high black turtleneck collar. So yes, I had exactly what Vance wanted.

But why?

Turns out Vance needed a quick scene for one of his upcoming CONSTAR CHRONICLES episodes. A friend of his had offered to film himself for the scene and send it to Vance a few weeks ago, but the friend didn’t come through, and Vance was running out of time. In fact, he asked if I could record the scene in the next day or two.

There wasn’t much dialog. Vance IM’d me the full scene…

(Camera is very shakey cam and in your face)

Captain! Hiding all the quadlithium in the Romulan star had the exact effect you said it would. Multiple spacial rifts opening everywhere.... the chain reaction....This will be a Galactic extinction level event. The shockwaves are destroying everything in their path. Nothing will survive.

(Puts his free hand over heart like mirror universe does)

For the Phantom.

The idea was to have me dressed as a Mirror Universe commander, sending my final message to the evil Erick Minard (in the Mirror Universe, they pronounce it “MY-nard”) about his evil plan. In Vance’s films, the low-budget way to do 24th century Mirror Universe is to wear black turtlenecks under Voyager-era uniforms.

Wait a sec…did Vance say “shakey cam”?

Continue reading “The YOUNGEST cameraman…er, camera BOY in fan films?”

CONTINUING CONSTAR GoFundMe gets 50% of the way to its goal in just 19 hours!

There’s just something about VANCE MAJOR that makes fans want to give him money! Maybe it’s his adorable son Royce, Maybe it’s the three dozen Minard fan films he’s made. Maybe it’s the photos from his shoots that he posts almost daily to the Fan Film Forum Facebook group. And maybe it’s because he knows you can see the cord in the doorway of his scene and he just doesn’t care because he’s more interested in having fun and telling a good story.

Whatever the reason, Vance has won the hearts and minds of scores of fans, and his crowd-funding campaigns quickly reach their goals. Granted, these goals are usually in the mid-hundreds of dollars and not difficult to achieve. But whenever Vance launches a campaign, it’s always completely funded before I even have a chance to mention it here on Fan Film Factor.

Not this time, though!

I’m in Colorado this week and next visiting my family…while the rest of fandom is in Las Vegas enjoying Star Trek celebrities and the eighth plague suffered by the Egyptians in the Old Testament’s book of Exodus.  But that means a brief pause in fan film blogs till I get back. So I have the opportunity to slot in this quick shout-out to tell you all about Vance’s new campaign before it gets fully funded in a few more hours (or less!).

Vance isn’t offering any perks, and his CONSTAR CHRONICLES fan series won’t premiere until December (read more here). But he already wants to shoot additional episodes in 2020, and he needs to buy more uniform tunics and props. The goal this time is $1,100 (his first foray into four-figure funding), and in the first 19 hours, he’s already halfway there.

So if you want to be part of this Major movement, part of Vance’s victorious vision for Constar contributions, just click over to the following link and make a donation…

https://www.gofundme.com/f/continuing-constar

VANCE MAJOR releases binge-watching dates for THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES!

VANCE MAJOR has become a legend of sorts in the fan film community. He has unapologetically released over thirty different Star Trek fan films…all on his terms. And while I wouldn’t go so far as to say he chooses quantity over quality—he and his teams work very hard on each individual project—it’s fair to say that Vance’s films aren’t the most “polished” you will find out there.

So why watch them…and for that matter, why make them?

The answer lies at the very heart of what fan films are. And “heart” is the reason Vance continues to play in this small corner of the Star Trek sandbox. He LOVES making fan films. And he loves the people who love making fan films with him. He loves writing the stories and bringing his actors and production crews together. He loves visiting fan-made TOS sets or going out on location wearing Starfleet tunics. And he loves seeing the ideas that start in his head slowly take form and materialize into complete fan films that he can share with others.

Who cares if there’s a cord in the door…or the uniforms don’t fit right…or you can see where the bridge set ends and the wooden wall panel starts? Who cares if the wind is blowing too loud into the microphone or a scene is filmed in Vance’s living room? If you want $8 million episodes, watch Discovery. If you want $50,000 episodes, watch Star Trek Continues. But if you want to see what a Star Trek fan can create with the cash in his wallet, the loose change he finds in the sofa, a handful of fan donations, and sheer optimism and willpower, then Vance is your man!

As I said, Vance has already completed thirty-something separate Trek fan films in what I’ve chosen to call the Minard Saga. They all feature his character, Erick Minard, who—thanks to the mysterious Valhalla Stone—has lived from the pre-TOS era to the DS9-era of Star Trek. And not only has Minard appeared in Vance’s fan films, but he’s also appeared in cameos in many other fan series. You can see every appearance of Minard in this dedicated YouTube playlist!)

You might think that after writing, directing, producing, and appearing in so many Star Trek fan films that Vance would choose to take a break for a while. And he almost did. But the siren call was too much for him, and Vance returned for one or two more films.

Oh, heck…who am I kidding??? He’s planning to release another THREE DOZEN fan films!!!

Continue reading “VANCE MAJOR releases binge-watching dates for THE CONSTAR CHRONICLES!”

VANCE MAJOR cameos in STARSHIP ANTYLLUS: “Desperate Gambit” (interview with GEORGE and ANYA SHEILA KAYAIAN)

I love it when fan filmmakers come together.

GEORGE KAYAIAN has been creating Star Trek fan films since George Bush was president…the first George Bush, that is! ANYA SHEILA KAYAIAN is only nine years old and wasn’t even around for the second President Bush. VANCE MAJOR has been appearing as fan favorite character Erick Minard since 2014 when he first donned the engineer’s tunic in Starship Valiant.

And now these three people all have something in common: they’ve each appeared in the latest, twelfth episode of STARSHIP ANTYLLUS: “Desperate Gambit.” For George, his character of Captain Holt Allen has commanded the USS Antyllus since this fan series first debuted in 2013. And daughter Anya has appeared in a couple of episodes before this one—most recently the 11th episode: “247”—and helped out on a bunch of others. (You can check out her very full IMDB page here.)

But now Anya is joining the Antyllus bridge crew as a brand new alien character named Sharb. How they solved the challenge of how to show a child as a bridge officer is one of the reasons I consider this ultra-low budget fan series to be so masterful: they do so much with seemingly so little. I asked Anya what she thinks about this new character, and she said: “I think Sharb is very intelligent, which shows off a part of me… it was a joy to play him!”

You can watch Anya’s debut in the full 29-minute episode below…

As you can see, Vance Major has a decent sized cameo as Minard. George appeared briefly in one of the three dozen or so Minard saga fan films that Vance produced, and George will be appearing in a couple of episodes of Vance’s upcoming Constar Chronicles films. The two fan filmmakers have become good friends, and recently, Vance had this to say about George…

Continue reading “VANCE MAJOR cameos in STARSHIP ANTYLLUS: “Desperate Gambit” (interview with GEORGE and ANYA SHEILA KAYAIAN)”

Major CONTROVERSY for NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA – the bad, ugly, and the good…

Over this past weekend, two fan films that were scheduled to shoot on the TOS sets at NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA (formerly used by Star Trek Continues and Starship Farragut), made major announcements based on some unexpected new pricing policies implemented by the studio at the last minute. It wasn’t pretty.

Previously, Neutral Zone Studios, purchased last year by RAY TESI, had followed the lead of the now-defunct Starbase Studios in Oklahoma and (later) Arkansas of charging fans only for the cost of electricity and utilities but otherwise allowing the use the sets for free for any fan production to film on. Of course, nothing is really “free,” and the costs for rent and upkeep had to be paid by someone…and in this case, it’s been Ray Tesi.

Just this past month alone, Ray had to write $6,000 in checks for rent, utilities and his annual insurance on the facility and sets. In a typical year, Ray’s out-of-pocket costs—just to keep the sets from winding up in the dumpster—is about $42,000!

To try to help with expenses, Ray launched a Patreon campaign almost a year ago seeking small monthly donations from fans. While it’s doing modestly well—currently taking in about $800 a month from 64 backers—that still leaves Ray with nearly $33,000 in annual expenses. For a guy who is paying for this venture out of his retirement fund , this is a significant commitment. And frankly, I personally think more fans need to step forward and help Ray cover his costs…because if Ray runs out of money, these sets really will wind up in a dumpster.

But more on that in a moment. First, let me tell you about what happened this past weekend—both the bad, the ugly, and the good…

Continue reading “Major CONTROVERSY for NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, GA – the bad, ugly, and the good…”

The race to $500 for VANCE MAJOR is nearly over in just 48 hours!

Hurry, or else you won’t have a chance to donate!

The last time VANCE MAJOR, creator of the MINARD saga and currently producing the upcoming CONSTAR CHRONICLES, asked fans for donations, it was last July. He needed $500 to buy uniforms for his multi-episode Constar project. Just as I was getting ready to post something about the campaign, 72 hours after launching it, Vance shut it down. Why? Because he’d managed to raise the $500 he needed (plus an extra $50 to cover the commission to the crowd-funding service).

That $500 allowed Vance to complete 15 fan films (which will debut later this year), with a bunch more in post-production at the moment. But now he wants to produce some additional stories, but he needs a few more uniforms and certain props to make that happen. So once again, he’s reaching out to the fan community.

This time, it’s only been 48 hours, but Vance is nearly there again! As I write this, he’s at $401…just $99 to go to reach $500. If you’d like to help push him over the top in record time, click the link below:

https://www.gofundme.com/extra-constar-chronicles-minard-saga-films

And hey, if Vance reaches his goal before you can donate, and you still really want to help out a fan film, consider giving a few bucks to DREADNOUGHT DOMINION for their upcoming project “Redemption at Red Medusa.” (Check out the trailer here.) You can donate to their active crowd-funding campaign here:

https://www.gofundme.com/dreadnought-dominion

And finally, if you still feel like you haven’t donated enough today, the folks over at POTEMKIN PICTURES are building a full-size shuttlepod…with a design halfway between Trek movie-era and TNG-era. It’s taking shape nicely, as you can see here on Facebook.

In what I consider to be an interesting experiment, Potemkin opted NOT to use a crowd-funding service and is instead simply taking in donations directly through PayPal at producer@potemkinpictures.com. And if you donate $189, you get to name one of five shuttles they’ll be using (one model, five names).

So far, two of the five shuttles have been named. C.W. THOMPSON named the USS Deimos shuttlecraft “Ernest J. King” and LARRY FLEMING named the USS Endeavour shuttlecraft “Raptor.”

What would YOU name your shuttlecraft?