So as the chimes of midnight draw ever closer – A Star Trek Continues Blog

Four Years and 27 Days ago that’s when Star Trek Continues debuted its first episode “Pilgrim of Eternity” and now we are heading fast towards their final episode, which will be a two-part episode called “To Boldly Go”.

In the course of the last four years, the team at Star Trek Continues have continued to live up to their goal in both making a final season of the original series but also never letting their fans down in producing the content that they have said they would. Over the last 4 years, the money Continues has raised has gone towards making what will total 11 full-length episodes, 3 shorts, expanding the sets and more importantly to any Star Trek fan recreating the feel, look and love of The Original Series.

So as the chimes of midnight draw ever closer to the dreaded finish line that we all knew was coming, but we held out hope that maybe, just maybe would be a long time off, it was on May 26th of this year Star Trek Continues lead Vic Mignogna posted the following on the STC Facebook page



Not much is known about what the final episodes will consist of but what we do know about episode 9 is it will have a very! Familiar face added to the crew in the form of the one and only John de Lancie (AKA Q from TNG, DS9 & VOY), I am so excited to see what his role is in this.

One other key point of episode 9 is that the story will be co-written by Kipleigh Brown, now not only has Kipleigh started in Enterprise back in 2004 as Crewman Jane Taylor (The Forgotten) but anyone who plays Star Trek Online will know that she has a very important role within that universe as well by providing VO work for the character Kuumaarke.

Now, I can hear your minds going HUH! NO FAIR especially after reading the part about John de Lancie being cast in this episode is that not a breach of the guidelines, well here is the kicker, Yes and No!

Back when the guidelines were forged (June 2016) Continues had already done their fundraising to finish up their planned run, although they had planned for 13 episodes that plan had to be changed due to factors outside of their control, in an update to their Indiegogo campaign dated Jun 30, 2016, at 4:09 AM  Linda Thompson made this statement,

“As many of you know, CBS has created a set of guidelines for fan films going forward.  CBS’s John Van Citters mentioned in a recent podcast that existing fan film productions will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and that each production’s intentions toward Star Trek are key in determining its future”. (Full statement can be found here)

So even though, Continues is yes essentially breaking guideline 1 The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes”

And guideline 5 – “The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed in any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.”

By means of continuing with their production and hiring former Star Trek alumni, there are a few things people do tend to forget when crying, no fair and I feel these 4 points need to be hammered home

1) In essence, STC are covered by the “grandfather clause” which John Van Citters stated

“These guidelines are meant for films on an on a going forward basis”

2) But a lot of people seem to forget that John also said this in the engage podcast

“That’s correct and we have had a  long history with fan  productions and fan initiatives of  various kinds where were very much eager  to have fans involved in Star Trek I’m  not sure what the best way to  elucidate on all this is but we want  fans involved very much so we just want  them all involved in the right way  that’s going to be best for fandom as a  whole is going to be best for Star Trek  as a whole and is going to help us  evolve and bring Star Trek to a to a  bigger and brighter future.

We do treat every use of our IP on a  **case by case**   basis we do not like paint  with a big broad brush and tar and feather everything in a specific way  just because that is the most expedient  we have been in contact with different  fan film groups over the years as well  as recently I’ve had in the past week a couple of groups have reached out to me  looking for clarification hopefully what  I’m able to do today will provide some  of that in answering some of the  questions.”

3) Many people and Vic himself have stated that if told to do so by CBS they would STOP production without hesitation.

4) Alongside the three points I have covered above, there is one crucial thing missing in a lot of people simple understanding of the guidelines, and that is they are just that guidelines, not laws, rules, orders, must abide by or even commandments, so unlike one particular production that is bound to them due to a legal settlement the cast and crew of Star Trek Continues can continue with what they promised the fans and donors back in May 2016 and that is to wrap up their journey.

So I hope that clearing up a few misconceptions that people are buying into, we can now get back to what is important and although tremendously gloomy, is the fact that if you are attending one or all of the following

You are in for a colossal treat and so lucky to get to see what although will no doubt be a sad moment for everyone, not only those who have come to love Star Trek Continues but also for the many people involved in bringing this groundbreaking production to life.

So let’s help these guys go out in style and celebrate what they have done for us all and not get drawn into the mediocrity of other people’s jealousy.


If you haven’t done so already you can get tickets for these conventions at the following links.


Star Trek Continues can be found at the following 


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The Trekzone Interview – Part Two – It’s Time To Take A Stand!

In part one we got to know more about who Matthew Miller is, what he loves about Trek and his hopes for the new Trek series.

In this part, we probe a little deeper into what started Trekzone.org, what is Matthews history with Trek Fan Productions and why he decided to take a stand against Alec Peters and Axanar.



James) Hey Matthew, thank you for taking the time to continue our interview Since Trekzone is not entirely a “podcast” as such, as it features a more video content than audio, I would class it as a Vlog but what would call Trekzone.

Matt) TREKZONE.org is Australia’s first Star Trek fan site, going boldly since 2003.  With that said a lot more effort is going into The TrekZone Spotlight which focuses on science fiction in general to avoid some franchise owners taking offence to me raising advertising revenue (not that it ever has been a concern.)

James) You currently work with Network 10, what would you say is your history with this type of medium?

Matt) I started the video podcast back in 2013 as I geared up for the tenth anniversary of the site, it was very rough in those early days… with a lack of budget and a lack of space in my rental home for a set, but working on TV means I have to create that medium!

Eventually, I bought my own house and decided that I didn’t want a physical set again so I’m renting studio space which has helped make the 2017 season the best yet.

James) Did this start as a hobby or did you have any formal education in video and audio formats?

Matt) I studied film and television for my tertiary education in Perth, I have a diploma of the screen (sound) but a lot of what I know came from volunteering at our local community TV station (aka, public access station)

I worked with a small team on a breakfast show, we were live an hour a day featuring guest interviews and breaking news from overnight feeds, it may not sound like much but for a community TV show, it was revolutionary haha.

James) Trekzone has now spanned over 10 years in total, what else have you done using the knowledge base you have?

Matt) I produced a short-lived fan series called Eternal Night which has a couple of playlists on my YouTube channel.  As I mentioned above, I have a need to produce TV-quality products and I just couldn’t pull it off without a budget so I mothballed the idea… until now. (As River Song would say though, shh! Spoilers.)

James) Dam! I hate it when people tell me they are working on things, but won’t tell me what it is HAHA! I am nosey like that.

Quickly going back to your work experiences in community TV do you think this helped you create Trekzone?

Matt) Yes, My three years with community TV in Perth were key, I think, in my current position to create The Trekzone Spotlight with no crew (I shoot, present, produce and edit all by myself in my studio.)  I’m also a segment producer for a show called The Couch where I make travel segments and other content outside of a Sci-Fi setting.

James) Ok, so about Trekzone, why choose the medium of Video and not a podcast or Blog?

Matt) As I work in TV it has brainwashed me into only being interested in making video.

James) LOL! So What inspired you to create your podcast other than being brainwashed lol

Matt) Trekzone started as a year 10 IT project and sat idle making many grand claims for about 9 years. It wasn’t until 2012 when I was finding my feet in Brisbane full time and settling down for my life that I made a crack at it and am still plugging away with the same basic ideas – the episode reviews are carrying on for just over 4 years now!

James) Why Trek and not random Sci-Fi?

Matt) I started on Trek exclusively, but broadened to general/random SciFi when I realised I was being very niche in my episodes.

James) Funny you say that lol, I have something lined up that if all goes well should be launched in Q4 2017 or Q1 2018 but shhh shhh “spoilers” LOL!

How many episodes of Trekzone have been produced to date?

Matt) There are 13 Trekzone Interviews, 12 SciFi Weekly and 27 Trekzone Spotlights

James) How hard is it to come up with each topic? Since your podcasts vary a lot, does it require a lot of planning in advance?

Matt) In 2017 I’m trying to be a lot more regular than previous years, in November 2013 I was going to be doing monthly but that didn’t work out.  Sci-fi WEEKLY didn’t quite work either, so there may be spurts like this week (3 eps in four days, and I’ve got Carlos coming up next week.)  Not sure yet, see what happens.

James) How is Trekzone funded?

Matt) All me. Google sent me my first AdWords cheque the other month, it took me about four or five months of YouTube ads to reach the payment threshold!

James) Like me then, 100% self-funded, and even IF! I was trying to garnish funds from elsewhere, it would be through Affiliate links like I am doing with CBS All Access.



James) Would you ever try a crowdfund for Trekzone?

Matt) No. I tried a campaign a few years back for Eternal Night and only managed to bring in a couple hundred dollars, then I realised that this is MY hobby and I do it because I want to.

People enjoy watching the episodes, but maybe that’s because it’s free – all they have to do is sit through an ad or two (please.)

Trekzone is only run and funded by me. There is no one else. That’s why I speak in the first person on the social media channels, I think it makes it more personal, and I certainly feel that with several regulars now keeping up with me as I release new content.

James) With you being self-funded and unlike me, as I am in a written format which is cheap as chips lol, how much does an episode cost to produce?

Matt) I’m not going to give away exact figures, but there is studio space for me and the guest at an hourly rate, time on the transcontinental fibre per minute, my subscription to Adobe, my PC (which needs an upgrade now that I’m churning green screen keys out!), my time could also be factored in if we were working ‘in the real world.’

James) So not cheap then :-s I know I couldn’t afford to run my site if it cost me a lot and I am lucky with the package I got from 1 and 1, £5 PCM.

Over the last 5 years since things have moved up a gear in the work you are doing with Trekzone, who have you interviewed?

Matt) That list is really extensive. From Anthony Montgomery, Doug Drexler, Larry Nemecek, Rod Roddenberry, Dominic Keating, Richard Dean Anderson, Grant Imahara, Vic Mignogna, Tim Russ and so much more.

James) Would you say that your interview technique has changed much since your early days?

Matt) You can tell, especially in the early days, who were good talent because of their! Really carried the podcasts…

However, my chat with Alice Krige was one of the very early ones I would not encourage people to watch, sadly, as it was very stiff and very early (in terms of graphics, sets and my abilities.)

James) I have to admit I am still finding my way in how I interview people, I have to work in such a way to get around time zone differences as atm most if not all of the people I interview are based overseas with a big difference in time zones.

Even though you say you were wooden, there had to be some things about it that you look back and think yeah that was really good.

Matt) Learning about Alice Krige’s past and her film project from the Perth film festival was a highlight, it’s just a shame it was my second interview and was delivered with such wooden gusto by me hurts my brain.

James) Do you have a favourite Podcast you have done?

Matt) Dominic Keating was a great talent, Richard Dean Anderson was generous with his time (I was one of two video interviews while he was here) and meeting Australia’s only (so far) astronaut was awesome.

James) If you had to say what podcast you found the most cringe-worthy what would it be?

Matt) Alec Peters springs to mind. The way he turned on a dime when I asked him to explain his finances was incredible and led to the best bit of my series (73,000 other viewers agree.)



James) Ahhh the “Phone a Friend” one LOL! That one I did find a little funny more than cringe worthy but that’s me.

You have done some “location” based podcasts, can you tell me some of the places you have been.

Matt) I’ve followed Oz Comic Con to Perth, Melbourne and Sydney to record interviews with guests.  I’ve been working on a US trip for over a year now (can I get in with Trump closing the borders!?)

James) Ah well the USA sucks LOL! Come to the UK, as a member of the Commonwealth lol I am sure you will have no problem lol.

Out of those places you just mentioned, can you tell me the best and worst places you have been?

Matt) I had to interview Dr Andy Thomas in the middle of the World Science Fair, it was so noisy and crowded, which hurt the interview (especially since they set me up right next to the speakers from a radio station’s OB!)

James) Oh, how nice of them.

No doubt over the last 5 years you have not only altered your interviewing technique, but I am sure your equipment has changed. In all the interviews you have done are there any you wish you could go back and redo because you are watching them now and think a man that looks BAD!

Matt) My worst quality production would be my chat with Tori Higginson (Stargate Atlantis’ Dr Weir) and Grant Imahara (Mythbusters)… I had attempted to use a two camera setup using my Lumia 1020 but it did not work out very well.

James) What made these in your eyes so bad?

Matt) Ellie Goulding claimed to have used the Lumia 1020 exclusively on one of her music videos and it looked very good… when I used it, it was shocking.  Lesson learnt!

James) I am glad I do not have to worry about such things “yet” lol!

We are coming to the last bit of this segment, so a few more questions then I’d like to move on.

Is there anything about Trekzone you are thankful for, such as perks you have gained from connecting with a lot of people around the globe?

Matt) I have made friends with quite a few studios in the US, which allows me to be the only SciFi video podcast that employs satellite links (although they’re deep water transcontinental cables now, that’s not as catchy as a ‘satellite link’!) to chat with my guests and not rely on Skype too often (from this year, I’ll be employing production houses in any state I don’t have studio access… so every podcast will be full high-def goodness.)

James) Looking back on your podcasts, you have new digs as of 2017, what prompted the change?

Matt) I moved house after my Dad passed away and the only space in the new house for the studio was in the garage.  It’s summer in Queensland and I just melt walking from the car into the house, there was no way I was going to be able to build a set in there without modifications like air con and a light grid etc etc etc, and then I would have to look at the packed away set every day and I just thought there had to be a better way.

Thankfully, I worked out a deal with some studio space locally where they have all those things I need and it looks so much better than anything I could’ve whipped up at home. (It’s taken me a few eps of this new season to get the angles, lighting and key right… so have a look at the latest ep with Gary O’Brien which gives you a good sense of how things will be for a while to come.)

James) Moving on, you have produced an Audio Drama but a little birdie told me you were thinking of moving into live action productions, so I would like to touch base on your history within filmmaking.

Have you ever written a screenplay before and if so how many have you completed?

Matt) I wrote a bunch of fanfictions back around 2006/07 under the working title Star Trek: Poseidon… it was basic and never for public consumption again! (Not sure if it’s still out there on the web archive…)  When I got stuck into Eternal Night in 2012/13 I had many concepts, but eventually gutted out several log entries for a ‘first’ season ending with a 40-minute news bulletin to build up some B-plots for season ‘two’ which took a different turn (utilising audio and set in 2406/2386.)

Those B-plots were going to come into play for the third season (live action) but it never eventuated.

James) So this is going to be a semi-continuation of your Audio Drama, cool.

When writing a screenplay, how long does it normally take for you to complete one?

Matt) I got on a roll there at one stage and turned out to 300 pages of script for the ten-episode second season in about two months… it was relatively easy because it was a season-long story arc that wrote itself towards the end, then the hardest part was breaking it up for flow and cliffhangers etc.

James) What aspect of writing a screenplay gives you the most pleasure

Matt) I enjoy building characters from scratch, having some of my dreams imprinted on them and exploring a fictional world in my mind through their eyes.  The challenge for me is believable dialogue; the actors chuckled with some of the more intimate moments I’d scripted.

James) Out of all the screenplays you have written, are there any you wish you do over?

Matt) I wish I could tell that second season better. Heck, I wish it was produced beyond its fourth episode – but I didn’t want to crowd fund so I never had the ability.

James) Crowdfunding does have its perks, but also its drawbacks. Which one of your scripts and films are you most proud of and why?

Matt) From a production standpoint, that honour has to go to the season one finale.  All by myself I wrote, shot and edited the news bulletin – I even starred in it at one point.  I managed to get a guy in a chopper to give me two traffic reports, I had WA Police Media offering feedback on one of the plots, we went to hospitals and filmed pieces to camera – just like a real news hour.

James) When writing a screenplay, have you ever drawn upon other Trek episodes as a guide on how you’d like things to feel or look?

Matt) I love DS9’s emotional episodes, season four’s The Visitor, season six’s In The Pale Moonlight for exampleIra Behr is a talented writer, as to René Echevarria.

James) those are two! My all time favourite episodes 🙂

From an outsider’s point of view looking at, what would you think is the biggest surprise anyone would see when producing a fan production?

Matt) Just… how… long… it… takes.  I mean, seriously! We sat for eight hours reading the dialogue for the ten ep second season. (My lead actors were troopers that day!)

James) I think a lot of people seem to forget it’s not as simple as shooting in order etc, also sometimes you have to do a few takes to get the look you want, I just do not like it when things take 23 takes or more lol.

What is the toughest thing about getting a project completed?

Matt) The budget!

James) Lastly then we must move on so I do not take up much of your time :-p

With you thinking about moving into the live production side of things, How do you feel about the fan film guidelines?

Matt) The guidelines are awesome, and no – I’m not paid to say that – I truly believe that the guidelines will help smaller productions like mine cut through the noise from the ‘big guys’ and we are all on a level playing field now… I still won’t crowdfund, but I can now tell a 15-minute story and it won’t be beaten or looked down on for not being a 50-minute epic shot on built sets.



James) Ok, recently you took a controversial stand towards this subject so I would like to probe into why and your experiences with the yet to be made a project called Axanar.

So I guess the first question is, even though we ALL knew what was going on what made you choose to interview Alec Peters

Matt) With the lawsuit hanging over him and a LOT of loyalists hanging around, it seemed right to interview him to place myself ‘on the radar’ of many more fans… I learnt that from work, where we do things that we know will bring in the ratings – people may not like that, but it’s a fact of the business.

James) That was understandable and at the time it was such a hot topic for so many people. Being totally honest, what was it like to interview Alec Peters, as when the interview came out there were a lot of opinions on it, ranging from you ganged up on him to you hate him.

Matt) I don’t hate the man, despite what he may say.

As I said in my recent chat with Christian Gossett, I wish him every success with Axanar now that he can make the two fifteen-minute films – but history says he won’t / can’t.

James) How much fallout has there been from your interview with him?

Matt) I still see viewer figures for part two (with Bawden & Pedraza) increase, there’ll be the occasional loyalist who’ll post their view on the subject but that’s about it.  Perhaps I’m not as biased as certain other individuals…?

James) I have to admit I tip my hat to you, you do deal with them better than I lol, but with all the mixed feedback on the interview and its follow-ups, one has to ask why! Did you cover the Axanar Lawsuit knowing how certain “followers” would cause issues for you?

Matt) I was chatting with the editor at a larger Trek news site and asked why they weren’t covering it… they said because it’s such a divisive issue and they don’t want to deal with the fallout.  I agree that it has divided Trek fan film fans, but I disagree with the whole backing away from the fallout… it is worthy of coverage because it affects so many people and that fallout is par for the course when it comes to coverage hot button issues.

James) To say they do not want to “deal” with the fallout is shady at best tbh but then again each to their own, I personally have not bothered doing a big coverage of it because this issue has caused a LOT of hassle for so many and I felt if I am honest, I wish this certain person and the production had never hit the fan film scene.

One thing that came out of the interview you did was Alec branded you a hater, how do you feel about that?

Matt) I disagree that I’m a hater, that label was placed on me by Peters (along with ‘immature child’ while asking for a follow-up interview) because I questioned financial records.

James) Ah, OK…

I have to ask as like myself a lot of people were “Pro” Axanar at the start, did you ever class yourself in this way or have you always been a down the line kind of guy?

Matt) I don’t go one way or the other with any fan film, to be honest, I’m just not that invested in them.  That said, I enjoyed Prelude just like I enjoyed Continues, Hidden Frontier, Intrepid, Chance Encounter etc.  It’s good to film sometime.

James) Even though this was settled and in essence should be fading away there is still a very strong vocal minority who still are calling for boycotts, etc., How do you feel the fallout from the Axanar lawsuit is going to affect everyone from this point forward both fans and fan Trek?

Matt) While the loyalists shout from the rooftops of a deserted town saying that it’s all over and things will never be the same, I still believe this has levelled the playing field for everyone… now you don’t need to raise a million dollars to be seen and heard (the reason I believe my crowdfunding for Eternal Night failed.) I’m even considering reviving my series.

James) Do you think the Settlement is the end?

Matt) No. I’m not going to say more than that because of some conversations I’ve had off-the-record

James) How do you feel about the settlement?

Matt) Alec Peters is a very lucky man.

James) Do you wish this went the whole hog and he went to trial?

Matt) Well, I was preparing to go live every day with Carlos to cover the trial… it would’ve been fascinating to watch.

James) IF! This had gone to trial, Do you think he honestly could have won

Matt) No.



James) Ok, so about this podcast, “The Stand” as I call it, WHY! Now, after so long, after the settlement?

Matt) It’s always been there but as an impartial observer. Since Alec and his minions can’t see that, I asked myself why bother tiptoeing the line?  So I speak up for what I believe in.

James) What has been the response to it?

Matt) There has been some murmuring, but mostly quiet… they seem focused on Shawn and Carlos.

James) LOL, WOW! I would have thought people would have been pitchforks at dawn over it lol, Can you tell me what made you take more of a stand on this subject matter and not play the line like you did before?

Matt) I received a long winded email from Mike Bawden when I asked him about the fan production aiding Axanar in the move.  In one sentence we went from amicable professionals to adversaries.

James) Erm, how Public Relations of him, can I ask what was in the email or at least see what he said that changed your mind so drastically…..

Matt) 

James) Erm, ok, not touching that one lol, so moving on, Do you think the coverage that TrekZone and Axamonitor have done is the right thing to do, even after all the grief you guys have gotten and still get from it?

Matt) Absolutely, People deserve the truth, whether they believe it or not is up to them… but Alec can’t just get away with taking people’s money and then not delivering – that’s exactly why St fan films have been turned on their head the way they have. Metaphorically, Alec ran into the common room of fandom with a bomb and blew himself up.

Then again, I have to thank Alec for forcing CBS & Paramount to build guidelines because it will allow my production to be on a level playing field with others out there (speaking of, what big names are still in production?)

I’ll probably be releasing my first post-guidelines fan film before he even gets one frame in the gate…

James) I guess there are some good things that came out of this lol, Hey I have met some really cool people so in a way I am thankful to Alec just like you lol :-p

One last thing on this subject, Do you regret getting involved in this massive cluster f**k?

Matt) No. I believe I’ve provided unbiased coverage where possible, I’ve allowed Alec Peters to speak for 30 minutes before questioning his finances, I gave 70 minutes to PR man Mike Bawden, I gave 44 minutes to Jonathan Lane (a “pro-Axanar, self-proclaimed independent blogger”.)

One thing we know Alec likes to say is how we amount to nothing because of reasons! But how do you define success and how do you measure it?

I define success by what you’ve done. My 52 podcasts in three and a half years speak for my success. How do I measure success? Stop talking about what you’re going to do AND DO IT.

James) I agree, success is different for everyone, I do not measure success in the way he does to me it is just being happy with people I love around me as in this world there are some people with nothing.



James) Ok We are hitting the home stretch now and I would like to wrap things up so only a few more questions promise lol.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to: make their own series, what should the aim for?

Matt) Do what TOS did best, focus on the characters, applies the KISS method – keep it simple stupid.

James) What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own production like Trek Zone?

Matt) Don’t. You’ll hurt my rating :P. Seriously though, work out what you want to do and how you want to do it, I spent nine years trying to figure that out… and I’m up to year 5 trying to work out Eternal Night.

James) Do you have any regrets in doing Trek Zone?

Matt) Not getting started on it sooner.  Maybe I could be even bigger today then?  But I am happy with how things have played out.

James) Lastly, What would you like to say to the fans of Trek Zone?

Matt) Thanks.  Your kind words – especially in this week on the new stuff – makes me happy to know that there are a few out there that hang out for the next release, and you’re the reason I’m pushing myself to make more content more often.

James) So Matt, that is it I want to thank you deeply for your time as I know the big time difference between us made this a bit tricky, but before we sign off, is there anything else you would like to say?

Matt) I think we’ve covered everything. This was fun!



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The Trekzone Interview – Part One – WHO! is Matthew Miller

Trekzone.org is Australia’s first Star Trek fan website launching in 2003 Trekzone, was a year 10 High School IT project for its host Matthew Miller, although it sat idle for a few years in 2012 Matthew finally decided to turn it up a notch and really get into producing content for his site.

In February 2012 Matthew launched a short-lived fan series called Eternal Night, but it was in Apr 2013 that things really took off for Trekzone when Matthew attended the red carpet event for Star Trek Into Darkness, where he managed to interview some of the main cast from the film. Since then Matthew has managed to interview some really big names not only from the Trek universe like Doug Drexler, Anthony Montgomery, Alice Krige, Rod Roddenberry and Walter Koenig. But Matthew did not just stop there and in the space of ten years, Matthew has managed to pull in some other big names from the Sci-Fi universe adding the likes of Richard Dean Anderson (SG1) & Joe Flanigan (Stargate Atlantis) to his list.

However, Matthew and Trekzone have not stopped there, and in 2016 Matthew took to the road and produced a mini-series of blogs called Sci-Fi Weekly where he got the chance to meet some of the top scientists in Australia for example Dr Andy Thomas – Australia’s first astronaut, Dr. Anton Wallner, Dr. Geoff Campbell and Dr. Brad Tucker, although a short-lived mini blog series it was one that drew a lot of interest to his site and more recently Matthew was one of the main followers of the Axanar lawsuit producing content that covered, the particulars of the lawsuit and how it has changed the fan film world forever.



James) Hey Matt, tell us a bit more about you.

Matt) I’m a thirty-year-old broadcast engineer in the real world, which sees me working in television making sure people can keep watching our TV signal.  I like a good bottle of scotch, a decent TV show (Designated Survivor is a good one right now… I’ve only seen the pilot so far though.)  I dislike frauds and people who make huge claims but fail to deliver.

James) Other than Trek, what other TV shows do you like to watch?

Matt) Babylon 5, Stargate are a couple of other Sci-Fi shows I like, also enjoying Dick Wolf’s Chicago series of shows and a few others on TV right now.

James) Well, you should like Stargate lol you have interviewed a few of the main cast :p how awkward would that be if you interviewed someone you had no idea who they were,

As a keen Star Trek fan, do you play any Trek Games, and If not Trek Games then what ones?

Matt) I recently discovered Steam has the entire back catalogue of Age of Empires, man that was a cracking series for its time (and they released a remastered version of number 2!)  In the Trek universe, Armada II, Bridge Commander, Birth of the Federation were amongst my ‘lay by’ purchases when I was a junior… I remember waiting for hours for the install and crossing fingers hoping the graphics card was up to spec!

James) So know we know the basics of who you are and some of your likes, because I am nosey lol, what is your day job?

Matt) I work in TV here in Brisbane, they’re good to me and it’s fun to be behind the camera at work – which allows me to not be too burnt out while producing The Trekzone Spotlight (I do feel that they are different sides of the TV business so it’s good fun.)

James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you. What Trek Actors have you met in real life if any?

Matt) Thanks to The Trekzone Spotlight, I’ve met Nana Visitor, Connor Trinneer, Rene Auberjonois, Anthony Montgomery and a few others… also met a few of the guys and girls from Stargate (Richard Dean Anderson was a highlight, so awesome!)

James) I so need! To start doing Cons I think I need to get out more lol. With Trekzone do you go to many Star Trek Conventions?

Matt) One dedicated Trek con when I was 10… we had lunch with Tim Russ! Australia doesn’t get too many dedicated cons, the audience would be there for it though…

James) That is kind of like the UK We have Cons but I think the only Trek-centric one is Destination Europe, everything Trek-centric seems to be states side mostly.

So moving on out of 5 live action series, 1 animated one do you have a favourite Trek Episode and if so why this one?

Matt) That’d be a tossup between DS9 season 4’s The Visitor, TNG Season 6’s The Inner Light and VOY season 3/4’s Scorpion parts 1 & 2.  I love some good character focused eps (and Scorpion because the Borg get their ass kicked!) – OK, you only said episode… but can YOU just pick one from 728!? ;).

James) Erm, I guess not for me though I have my go to episodes which I guess they can be considered “favourites”. Out of all the features do you have a favourite Star Trek Film?

Matt) First Contact.

James) Hmmm That is a good choice but, I think a lot of people pick that one, it is one of my faves but my fave film I think and it is controversial lol is Nemesis, not for the story as such as let’s face it, it does lack in a lot of areas but it is just different enough yet similar to be a good trek film. Do you have a favourite Trek Actor/Actress?

Matt) Nana Visitor… she went on such a ride with her character that was so rigid in the beginning, striving for independence for herself and her people after the Occupation, but over seven years developed deep friendships with these aliens that came straight after the Cardassian’ and started running the space station… she even fell in love with the shapeshifter.

James) Worst Trek Episode Why?

Matt) VOY’s Threshold. Need I say more?

James) The Jane Paris BABIES! Lol. Favourite Series & Why?

Matt) Tossup between DS9, for its gritty take on Trek and Enterprise for its optimistic vision of our near future (despite an out of character third season.)

James) Worst Series & Why?

Matt) TOS, purely because I grew up on TNG and those 60’s elements are so 60’s. (It’s not bad, it’s just very different… or original.)

James) You know I am the same, everything seems to be TOS saturated, yes I get it, TOS is what launched 51 years of greatness but like you TNG was my baby but it’s not my fave : -O.

You recently covered a few fan films and you have interviews people like Vic from STC, Do you watch any Fan Films do you watch?

Matt) I’ve caught Hidden Frontier (that series got me excited for my fan series, and then I met Carlos who worked on it!) Continues, New Voyages. Most recently Chance Encounter – good flick.

James) I remember seeing Hidden Frontier YEARS! Ago then I drifted away from fan films it was not until Renegades did I come back and play catch up. Can you rank your top five (if you have them)?

Matt) Chance Encounter, Hidden Frontier, Continues, Intrepid, New Voyages (I haven’t seen much of James’ series.)

James) I have seen all of them you have listed and like you, I have not watched many NV episodes yet, TBH I think once I watched a lot of STC and a few stand alone ones I was TOS’ed out, BUT! I plan to go and watch some of them over the next few weeks as I want to see the ones with some of the TOS cast in.

What other Star Trek fan productions do you watch/listen to etc (Podcasts, YouTube shows etc)

Matt) I’m so short on spare time that I don’t catch very much else.

James) TBH, I am the same with having to “try” to cover as many fan productions as possible, I tend to skim through podcasts to bits that I am keen on hearing, I try to catch Sunday G&T as often as I can, I do watch yours when you interview someone I want to see and Trek Geeks I skim but Dan and Bill do it weekly so I always know I can go to their site and catch up.

As someone who has been involved in the fan community for a lengthy period now, what would you say is favourite parts of the Trek Fandom?

Matt) Meeting strangers with a shared passion the world over.

James) Worst Parts of the Trek Fandom (any bad experiences)?

Matt) Stubborn individuals that believe their way is the only way (to tell a story, to report on facts or even about other people.)

James) Man your diplomatic LOL, do you have any funny stories to tell

Matt) Not necessarily funny, but the spread of Trek fans always surprises me… there are Trekkies in the same suburb as me!

James) What makes you thankful to be a part of this amazing universe

Matt) Finding it tough to be thankful as this universe as thrown a few curve balls at me in the last six months, but I’m in a good place now and cracking on with the podcasts and staying busy for a while.



James) Moving on, we have covered your likes and dislikes in regards to the last 5 live action series, but now I want to tackle DISCOVERY.

I guess the first basic question is, are you looking forward to it?

Matt) Very much so, I’m hoping that The Trekzone Spotlight can help me delve deeper into it.

James) When you first saw the trailer for Discovery were you worried at all?

Matt) I was concerned that they’d be repeating the same ‘mistakes’ as Enterprise (doing a prequel because there is nothing left to explore post VOY)

James) See, I liked Ent a LOT so I get what you mean but I am keen on seeing another new prequel tbh lol. What do you think about the casting choices thus far?

Matt) Very good, it’s another group of relatively unknown / niche actors which are what TNG-era Trek has been about.

James) What are your hopes for Discovery?

Matt) That it survives the first season.

James) Well we know now, that they have ordered another 2 episodes and things do look real good for Season 2.

The departure of Brian Fuller has caused a lot of miss information being floated and a lot of “vocal” fans crying that it now means this series’ days are numbered, are you concerned at all?

Matt) I think Brian should’ve focused on one project at a time.  Does anyone know what J. Michael Straczynski is doing?

James) LOL I would prefer some of the old crew to replace him over J. Michael Straczynski tbh but each to their own 😛

What look do you hope they go for, we know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?

Matt) Has to prime timeline and character driven – we don’t need a million dollars of special effects to make good Trek.

James) I think with the latest trailer, it is going to upset a lot of people but! I am still excited. What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE LOL?

Matt) Avoid the Arcanis sector at all costs.

James) LMFAO! You mean do not Axa it LOL!, another controversial point, that seems to have upset a few people is CBS’ decision to place it on CBS all Access in the states and Netflix worldwide  Do you think this move is a good or bad idea?

Matt) It is… interesting.  In one way it frees the series from the pressure of rating success, but on the other, there are more accurate viewership figures than broadcast TV’s Nielson boxes.

James) When I first heard of this choice I was not overly happy as tbh Netflix UK, not so good LOL but I think it is the way things are moving now, people in the UK at least tend to watch TV less and less and want to be able to watch things NOW!, I think this is the way things are heading tbh.

Do you think online streaming is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now, is TV on its way out?

Matt) That’s an interesting question, given I work in TV… I think free to air will stick around as long as it has things you can’t get elsewhere (in Australia before broadband internet our prime time was all the American shows, usually on a 6-9 month delay because our TV season is Feb-Nov, but now there is mostly reality TV or sport and news during the day because that’s not available anywhere else.)

That said, in the US it’s different because it is the world premiere of episodes each week… free to air and cable has its niche that way.  It is still the most popular medium to reach the masses.



That wraps up part one, in part two I talk to Matt about what his best and worst interviews were, his history in fan productions and what made him stand up and take a stand against that fan production that just doesn’t seem to go away. 

 


Trekzone can be found online at the following links

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The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One

It has been nearly a year since the release of the vaunted “Fan Film Guidelines” and it has taken time for many to be able to fully digest them and dissect them enough to understand what they may mean for fan films.  Furthermore, personally I wanted to understand what the fallout was from them, was this the end to ALL fan films or was this just a hiccup and then things would carry on as normal but with some alterations.  As history has presented us with all big changes to the status quo the landscape does change and there are always some casualties, as a result of their implementation a few fan films decided to shut up shop or retool to remove the Star Trek aspect altogether, however for the vast majority things carried on but as expected they had to alter things to enable the productions to move forward.

From the “about section” of Project Small Access

However, unlike the Borg some fans did not adapt and as a result a very small yet vocal group of fans have banded together to express their dislike for the guidelines, on the same day the guidelines were announced a group on Facebook calling themselves “Project Small Access” popped up with the goal to semi-boycott the new Star Trek series due to air on CBS All Access, they plan to achieve this by hosting “Viewing Parties” to hurt CBS “in the wallet”.

Admins and Moderators Of “Project Small Access”

Nevertheless after looking through the group seeing it’s Admins and reading its post history the group seems to be just another Axanar group due to the Admins being Axanar’ PR rep Mike Bawden, Known Axanar Surrogate Jonathan Lane who is joined by three other very loyal Axanar supporters but the strong pro Axanar vibe you get from its posts it is clear to see that there is an ulterior motive to the group and its goals. the timing of the group’s appearance is extremely suspect as not only is the group run completely by loyal Axanar supporters its inception was less than six months into the Axanar lawsuit.

An example of the hate directed towards CBS

Although the group started out with a somewhat ill-advised ethos in thinking that a disgruntled group of supposed fans (less than 1300) could try to somewhat hold CBS to ransom with the notion that they could influence change to the guidelines by using the tactics they use or they will not sub to All Access is misguided at best, diluted at worst. However, the worst thing is the group now stands, for the most part, as a group that has just descended into a free for all of venom towards other big named fan film productions and a strong dislike towards CBS in general, this is not only worrying but it tarnishes what Star Trek is all about, the acceptance of all things and the ability to adapt and change. Alongside this worrying facebook group there have been several petitions set up and a lot of extremely vocal folk saying on social media saying they will boycott all officially sanctioned CBS work or even pirate it as a result of the guidelines.


So enquiring minds want to know why have the guidelines been met with a very small but strong vocal opposition by fans and not by the fan films themselves, The answer is anyone guess, to date I have spoken to over 60 independent fan film productions about this and other fan production related issues and, while all of them have their own views on the guidelines varying from they love them too, they hate them, one fact that is undeniable is they all respect the need for them and more importantly respect CBS as they own the Star Trek IP and belongs to them so it is up to them how to they choose to protect it. But here is the thing, these guidelines are here to stay and they are not going to change or even go away overnight, and as it stands we have to work with them and show CBS we can play by the rules.

One thing that was passed along to me in so many conversations is until CBS handed them down, no one had any real idea of the boundaries that were acceptable to CBS for a production to operate within, before the guidelines there had always been the “unwritten” rules that pretty much everyone followed and many knew but unfortunately things started to escalate to the point even these unwritten rules were being ignored by a few and by one in particular. It took one production to push CBS & Paramount to the breaking point of what is acceptable even to them and with this the good old days of semi-unrestricted fan film production into the ground to a halt.

So why a blog series about the guidelines

Well, the principal reason I decided to do this is that almost everything you see online regarding them is so negative and, to be honest depressing, YES! They changed the playing field for fan films, but did they kill them NO! And that is important to communicate not only to whoever wants to read this blog series. So with the negativity and calls for action that surrounds the guidelines, I reached out to some fan film producers of varied experiences to see if they would like to take part in forming these blogs with their own views and commentary, I was extremely honoured and excited that the guys I reached out to decided to accept and have their voice added to these blogs. One key thing we all felt is it is very important to share our knowledge with the next gen of fan films.

These blogs will be split into sections as not to overwhelm you all at once and will be released as and when we have pulled our resources together for each section.

So this is part one of what may! Be ten parts, WHY? Ten parts the idea of these blogs is to break these guidelines down in an easy how-to for ALL fans to be able to make their own fan films without the all the negativity and misunderstanding and that is why I have teamed up with various people from different fan productions as these are the people who know more than others on what is involved in bringing a fan film to life.  


It should be noted the Fan Film Guidelines DO NOT effect anything but Fan Films, this means Audios dramas and alike are not bound by them.


CBS and Paramount Pictures are big believers in reasonable fan fiction and fan creativity, and, in particular, want amateur fan filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek.  Therefore, CBS and Paramount Pictures will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional and amateur and meet the following guidelines.

Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:

1) The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.  



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

A single, self-contained story cannot exceed 15 mins or 2 15 min segments.  It does NOT prohibit characters or setting from being used to create another single, self-contained story.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

We no longer can refer to them as episodes. They are fan productions. Captain Walker and the crew of the Tristan can appear in any number of self-contained stories/productions providing that they’re not more than 15 mins in length (or two 15 segments).

  • Are there any links you think would be of benefit to add to this section such as lists to strong short stories or links on “how to make a short in 15 – 30 mins”

https://www.youtube.com/user/Potemkin1711/videos

Only 4 of our 48 productions to date are more than 15 mins in length.  You have to be willing to avoid “beauty shots” or lingering on a character’s reaction or melodramatic pauses. Life doesn’t include those anyway. You don’t have to start the story in the beginning. Start it in the middle and let the audience figure it out. For heaven’s sake, they’re not stupid.

I’d recommend not relying on the two-parter as a crutch. Give us a short story!

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I think this is very intentionally worded to prevent people trying to market themselves as a series. That said, I also think there’s some room for interpretation. The time limits are pretty black and white but there’s nothing that specifically precludes using recurring settings and characters, as long as you’re not doing story arcs or direct sequels.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

Yes, I do. See above.

  • Are there any links you think would be of benefit to add to this section such as lists to strong short stories or links on “how to make a short in 15 – 30 mins”

Not specifically, but I think if you look at the films Randy Landers’ Potemkin Pictures are producing, or the last couple of films we’ve released, you’ll get a fair idea of what appears to be tolerated. Which is not to say that couldn’t change.


Vance MajorMelbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, honestly I’ve already played the same character over several shorts, and no one’s come knocking at my door or taken down my films. I think ppl can look at the things I’m doing and see that what little bending I am doing is in good faith, these are just guidelines, not rules. It’s the spirit of the law, not the letter. Hell, it’s not even law, like I said it’s a guideline.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

If they are made with passion. You watch um, no one’s going to mistake what I do for what’s on tv or compete with the big guns. If they do, they don’t get out much lol but I do bend that rule to some degree while respecting it somewhat. I had an idea when I started doing my stuff and I’m compromising on it because it is not my franchise. However, it’s my time to do with it how I choose. So I can compromise to some degree and respect the guidelines. But as I said, no one’s going to mistake me for what CBS is doing. And I think I have been very creative with the things I’ve put out, and what I’m waiting to put out. So….spirit of what’s intended. Even if not the letter.

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Just exactly that, however, I would allow for a 30-second intro that would lead into the opening act.  Most Tv shows do not carry long intros anymore

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

Yes, But you have to follow the formula exactly and not make it look like a story arc.

Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Having had the opportunity to contact John van Citters and CBS directly, they seem adamite that it’s basically one story and you’re out, meaning no follow-up episodes using the same “crew.” On our Indiegogo page, we stated that we were looking to do a total of 6 episodes of Starship Republic. Of all of the questions I asked CBS about the crowdfunding campaign and its perks, this was the only item they indicated was “out of line.” The good news is that CBS is still allowing fans to play in their sandbox.

  • Do you think that you can make follow up episodes as long as they are “self-contained stories” and not “part 2 or 3” of the same story?

I think there are ways around the guideline, and I don’t think CBS will be “lawsuit happy” if you do, but I think it’s treading a fine line.

Robin –  Dark Armada:

“The guidelines set by CBS are just what they are…….. Guidelines, as it was explained in the podcast they’re not supposed to be rules and CBS, isn’t going to inspect every single fan film about these guidelines. The Star Trek Fan Film community used to live by a certain code or ‘unofficial rules’, until some decided to break that code and all hell broke loose. But it’s really just common sense: making a fan film means you play with someone’s intellectual property and in our case, CBS and Paramount have graciously allowed us to do that for over a decade. The risk that they would ask you to stop is always present, so do you think it’s wise to sell DVD’s, ask for money/donations, build a studio, pretend to be official Star Trek? Only a few thought it was. Most fan productions followed a few simple rules: don’t make a profit, don’t sell DVD’s or similar merchandise and make clear it’s a fan production. The only difference today is that these rules are now officially presented as guidelines by CBS. Follow them and you’re safe from any legal action. Most important about these guidelines are that your intentions are good (the common sense stuff I mentioned before), that it’s a production by the fans for the fans out of love for Star Trek (and of course…. don’t pull an Alec). My advice would be not to try to desperately work around the guidelines, but realise that they are a way for CBS to allow us to play with Star Trek as fans. Some of these guidelines weigh heavier than other. I think I don’t have to explain that collecting more money is a worse guideline to ignore than the one about the length of your film. Whether your film is 15, 30 or 45 minutes long, make sure your intentions are good and put a lot effort, a lot of work and a lot of love into it”

More Producer Analysis is on its way. 


Vic Mignogna from Star Trek Continues on Fan Films and CBS/Paramount

Vid Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbjgYZ1kzE8



  • One thing this does not say is you cannot use the same characters to tell further stories. Ref: 

For example, DS9: “In Pale Moonlight”, TNG: “Eye of the Beholder”, TNG: “Face of the Enemy”, ENT: “A Night in Sickbay”, VOY: “Message in a Bottle”, VOY: “Life Line”

All these episodes focus on one! Character from each series, yes there are one or two scenes with other cast members but the story revolves around one centric character.

 


There are so many fan films out there that have managed to stick to the run times as set out in this guideline it has been done and can be done.

Some examples are:

Animated Examples:

Live Action Examples:

Potemkin Pictures

INTREPID

DARK ARMADA –

Starship Valiant

Dreadnought Dominion

Melbourne –

Other examples see here –

= So making films within 15 mins IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE =


Ref: Engage Podcast – Full Transcript HERE 

Time Index – 00:35:30 – Time Length

{} Jordan {}

“There was somebody else that asked  uh 15 minutes for the film does that  include the credits and tell me if the  answer is right the answer is yes but  now like if you’re if it comes to minutes and  seconds  fine but go for  minutes right I mean  like these are doing shave it down”

{} JVC {}

These are guidelines there they are intended to be something that gives structure and lets people know that these the limits they can operate within where they know they’re not going to get a knock on the door well we don’t we don’t go house to house anyway there they’re not going to hear from us they’re not going to get a phone call they’re not going to get an email  they’re not going to get anything that is going to ruin their day one way or another and in and make them you know feel bad or like they’ve done anything wrong that they’re guidelines we’re not we’re not going to be able to provide the level of feedback that’s like you know I got this really great scene but if I include this scene or  this one really cool shot  I don’t want to cut anything else from  it’s going to make the film 15 minutes and 30 seconds what do I do that’s up to you and your you know  creative decisions were not looking to get into that, were not approving any material we don’t want to get involved in your script choices your costume choices”

Time index – 00:59:55

{} JVC {}

and what I’m what I’m honestly  hoping will happen with the with these  guidelines with a  15 minute or 30 minute limit on this and a  fifty thousand dollar crowdfunding limit  I think it’s going to be easier for people to hit their goals quickly and  easily and get their projects underway  I think with the 15 minute limit I think with some of the things that are here is it’s going to make it easier than ever for more people to pick up cameras everybody’s walking around with a  high definition video camera in their pocket now which is it’s amazing  that that’s where we’re at you buy  computers and there’s a capable video editing software preloaded on it’s an amazing time for that what we want to do is we want to drive more films forward more fan voices not fewer we want more we want we want to see more people express their creativity for Star Trek and hopefully out of that will be able to find new ways to take advantage of this and see  Star Trek continue to grow and evolve.

I’ve definitely had people express their concerns about what this means it’s a big adjustment there’s no question people have gotten people have gotten used to full like 1960’s length episodes of you know 50 minutes  plus 90minute feature films but that’s what we do we’re producing full-length episodes within and Paramount’s producing  amazing amounts of I mean they did the  budgets that are involved in a Star Trek motion picture now are beyond  anything I could you know possibly have  believed  years ago that that kind  of budget would be available to Star Trek


How to make a short film in fewer than 15 mins here are some tips on how to make a short film:


Ref Links:

 

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TREKLANTA 2017

Even though this is their third annual Star Trek Convention under the name TREKLANTA, officially Treklanta was launched back in 2011 under the original name, “TrekTrax Atlanta.” it was in late 2014 they changed their name to the easier-to-pronounce, easier-to-remember and less confusing “Treklanta” so while many will only recognise the Treklanta name for the last three years this convention was actually its seventh annual convention.

As always the TREKLANTA Star Trek Convention, kicked off in its normal geek filled style a weekend filled with famous faces and Trek fans alike celebrating the one thing that brings us all together in the mad universe we call Star Trek.

This year’s convention had its normal celeb panels and guest speakers, Miss Klingon pageant and even a Star Trek themed wedding,



Although it is not every day you see a Star Trek themed wedding this was not the only thing that was spectacular to occur this year. The 2017 Treklanta also had something rather unique planned in it being the first time they held their Bjo Awards ceremony.

In 2016 following another successful run of its well known Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards, which were presented by Carel Struycken, Tracee Lee Cocco and Jack Stauffer but also by the famous husband and wife duo, Bjo Trimble and John Trimble. Bjo and John were responsible for the letter writing a campaign that helped save Star Trek. During her time helping to present the awards, Bjo revealed to Eric L. Watts that she was so overwhelmed with how well the awards went, upon hearing this Eric asked Bjo if she would endorse the awards by allowing them to be renamed in her honour, and she modestly agreed. So going forward the Star Trek Independent Awards will now be known as “The Treklanta Star Trek Fan Film Bjo Awards”.

Although it has only been about a week The Bjo Awards have already earned their own moniker the Bjo’s, however In much the same way that the motion picture industry’s “Academy Awards” are sometimes referred to as the “Oscar Awards” the Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards has renamed itself as “The Treklanta Star Trek Fan Film Bjo Awards” and the physical item that is presented to each winner will be referred to as “the Bjo Award.” Personally, I have to admit I was brought up to date by Eric himself in the correct terminology for these prestigious awards and the official name is a much more fitting name for such an Important person in Trek history, and I do hope the Bjo’s is not a term that becomes too widespread.

Like previous years the awards are sponsored and this year’s awards were sponsored by none other than Larry Flemming the man behind so many Star Trek Fan Film roles, I reached out to Larry just to ask him how he became involved in sponsoring this year’s awards and he had this to say.

“Hey, NP. I have been a Star Trek fan from the beginning. I have also been in a number of fan films, so I know what they go thru. I met Erik when he was wanting to get a fan group together and helped get Treklanta going. I continue to support him and all the great groups making fan films. In our new era of CBS monitored fan films, it’s even harder. I’m resting up after a long weekend helping Axanar move to Atlanta, so I support everyone making films. LLAP”Larry Fleming

A complete history of Treklanta can be found > HERE < and a complete list of its previous winners can be found > HERE <

In addition, if you want to find out all the goings-on at this year’s Treklanta visit their Facebook and website for a full rundown of its guest and the panels they held.



The 2017 Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards, a.k.a. The Bjo Awards were presented at and by Treklanta on April 30, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia.

You can watch the awards ceremony above or skip the video and scroll down to the list of names and categories.

The panel of judges included Diana Dru Botsford, Keith R. A. DeCandido, John DeSentis, Matthew M. Foster, Andrew Greenberg, Robert Greenberger, Cheralyn Lambeth and Archie H. Waugh. The Masters of Ceremonies were Eric L. Watts and Brian Holloway. The presenters included David Gerrold, Gary Graham, J. G. Hertzler and James Horan. The award plaques were sponsored by Lawrence L. Fleming.

BEST SPECIAL & VISUAL EFFECTS

FINALISTS

  • Red Shirt
  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Dark Armada “Out of Time”
  • Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”

BEST SOUND DESIGN, EDITING & MIXING

FINALISTS

  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Star Trek Dark Armada “Out of Time”
  •  Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC

FINALISTS

  • Needs of the Many
  • Red Shirt
  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Dark Armada “Out of Time”
  • Star Trek: Horizon

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

FINALISTS

  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  •  Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

BEST COSTUMING

FINALISTS

  • Needs of the Many
  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Starship Valiant “Crosses to Bear”
  • USS Danubia “Force Contact”

BEST GUEST ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

  • Gigi Edgley as Eliza Taylor – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Jacy King as Dr Carol Marcus – Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Clare Kramer as Commander Garrett – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Erin Gray as Commodore Gray – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Jason Carter as The Priest – Project: Potemkin “Room Service”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

  • Matthew Trammell as Dr Matthias – Project: Potemkin “The Last Child”, “The Talinar Incident”
  • Michele Specht as Dr Elise McKennah – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Grant Imahara as Sulu – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Cat Roberts as Palmer – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Kim Stinger as Uhura – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Tim Kaiser as Admiral Gardner – Star Trek: Horizon

BEST LEAD ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

  • Harriet Fettis as Elisabeth – “Needs of the Many”
  • Aaron Jay as Ben – “Needs of the Many”
  • Christopher Doohan as Mr Scott – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Vic Mignogna as Captain James T. Kirk – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”, “Embracing the Winds”
  • Paul Lang as Captain Harrison Hawke – Star Trek: Horizon

BEST DIRECTOR

FINALISTS

  • Aaron Vanderkley – “Needs of the Many”
  • James Kerwin – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Julian Higgins – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Tommy Kraft – Star Trek: Horizon
  • Wayland Strickland, Scotty Whitehurst – Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

BEST ORIGINAL STORY OR SCREENPLAY

FINALISTS

  • Aaron Vanderkley – “Needs of the Many”
  • Greg Dykstra, James Kerwin, Vic Mignogna – Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • James Kerwin, Vic Mignogna – Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Tommy Kraft – Star Trek: Horizon
  • Dave Galanter, Paul Sieber – Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

FINALISTS

  • “Needs of the Many”
  • Project: Potemkin “The Last Child”
  • “Red Shirt”
  • Starship Valiant “Crosses to Bear”
  • Trek Isolation “Out of the Fire”

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

FINALISTS

  • Star Trek Continues “Come Not Between the Dragons”
  • Star Trek Continues “Embracing the Winds”
  • Star Trek: Horizon
  • Star Trek: New Voyages “The Holiest Thing”
  • Starship Farragut “The Crossing”

Below you can find a complete rundown of each award and its winner along with a table of all finalists that were considered.

 Release Date & IMDb LinkSeries Name & Web Site LinkEpisode Title & Online Video LinkRun Time
11/17/2016Needs of the Many“Needs of the Many”0:06:28
21/31/2016Star Trek: New Voyages“The Holiest Thing”1:03:53
32/26/2016Star Trek: Horizon“Star Trek: Horizon”1:42:35
43/9/2016Starship Deimos“The Lucky One”0:07:05
53/12/2016Starship Farragut“The Crossing”1:12:37
63/16/2016Red Shirt“Red Shirt”0:24:31
73/28/2016Battlecruiser Kupok“Sanctuary”0:07:56
84/2/2016Star Trek: Natures Hunger“The Darkside of Starfleet Justice”0:15:42
94/3/2016Star Trek: Intrepid“Nemo Me Impune Lacessit”0:11:10
104/10/2016Starship Tristan“Relics and Regrets”0:07:14
114/17/2016Project: Potemkin“The Last Child”0:20:53
124/21/2016Starship Deimos“Aftermath”0:06:09
134/27/2016Project: Potemkin“The Talinar Incident”0:08:11
145/4/2016Project: Potemkin“The Hunt”0:10:31
155/28/2016Star Trek Continues“Come Not Between the Dragons”0:42:20
165/31/2016Project: Potemkin“Inquiry”0:05:39
176/9/2016Star Trek: Revenge“Star Trek: Revenge”0:02:00
186/28/2016Starship Tristan“The Chronicles of Lanclos”0:08:59
197/17/2016Project: Potemkin“All in a Day’s Work”0:08:27
209/1/2016Assignment: Earth“Boredom”0:04:28
219/3/2016Star Trek Continues“Embracing the Winds”0:43:56
229/11/2016Starship Tristan“The Greater Good”0:06:27
239/20/2016Project: Potemkin“Destinies”0:07:37
249/27/2016Trek Isolation“Out of the Fire”0:06:41
2510/12/2016The Federation Files“His Name Is Mudd”0:47:25
2610/18/2016Starship Tristan“Be Careful What You Wish For”0:15:00
2710/21/2016Star Trek: Raven“Voyager Continues”0:32:03
2810/24/2016Project: Potemkin“Room Service”0:07:37
2910/26/2016USS Danubia“Force Contact”0:28:50
3011/3/2016Dreadnought Dominion“Chain of Command”0:07:38
3111/10/2016Starship Deimos“Pas de Trois”0:14:51
3212/9/2016Starship Valiant“Crosses to Bear”0:22:33
3312/10/2016 “Out of Time”0:31:20

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Ambush – Interview with Greg Lock

“Ambush” will introduce you to a new ship and crew that exist in the Star Trek Universe, The USS Ambush. Set just after the events portrayed in “Balance of Terror”, the original series episode. By focusing on a single away mission to rescue a captured Commander, “Ambush” will shed some light on how the Federation ultimately dealt with the Romulans, after the initial incident involving Kirk and The Enterprise. As you’ll discover in the film, the crew of the “Ambush” are a very unique and specialised group of people, who would always be the first choice to deal with a delicate matter such as the Romulans. Although the crew’s existence is well known to the Federation, they’re not keen on their existence being bragged about. The name of their ship is not the only thing controversial about this crew.

“Ambush” is going to be an exciting film and nothing like anything previously shown on Star Trek. It’ll have something for everyone, from the hardcore fans to the casual fans and for those who just like great Sci-Fi films. After a successful Kickstarter in 2014, we’re still working away (Including building sets from scratch) to bring this film to you.

Ref: Facebook page

James) Hey Greg, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with me about you, Ambush and more.

Tell me about yourself, what is your day job, what you do in your spare time and general interests?

Greg) I’m Greg Lock and I’m the creator of Ambush. My day (and night) job to pay the bills is a Paramedic, with the Ambulance Service. However, I also freelance as a Film Set Builder and Model Maker. I love making models, music and films. I play the guitar, drums, and piano and love synthesisers. In 2008, I graduated from the Arts University of Bournemouth, UK with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Film Production, Specialising as a Production Designer.

James) That is a job I do not think I could do TBH, I hate blood lol. I have seen some of your models and have to admit I am jealous as I really suck at making models, I tried when I was a kid and gave up as they always turned into a gluey mess lol. 

Obviously, you love Trek as you’re as doing your own fan production but what other shows do you like to watch?

Greg) Other than Star Trek, my other favourite TV shows would be The Walking Dead, Dexter, 24, Game of Thrones and Arrow. The usual stuff I guess, though not into The Flash and really struggled with Gotham, which is a shame as I’m a massive Batman fan and that’s mainly because of my love for the Arkham Rogues.

James) Do you play many games a fair few people I talk to within the fan film community do not tend to play many Trek games like STO or if they do play any games they tend to be the older ones like Academy etc, are there any games you like to play?

Greg) I’m not much of a gamer, though I will really get into a game when a good one comes out, such as GTA5 and I’m online with Star Wars: Battlefront (you can like both, ones a Sci-Fi and the other a Fantasy), Really looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2.

James) Moving on to Trek, Have you managed to meet many Trek actors? 

Greg) What Trek actors have I met in real life? Well… William Shatner, Walter Koenig, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby, Wil Wheaton, John DeLancie, Kate Mulgrew, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan McNeil, Robert Picardo, Jeri Ryan, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimmerman, Rene Auberjonois, Scott Bakula, Domonic Keating, Connor Trinneer, Anthony Montgomery, Jeffery Combs, David Warner, Christopher Lloyd, Greg Grunberg and Karl Urban. Not to forgetting Trek crew, Nicholas Meyer, Ronald D Moore and Ira Steven Behr.

That’s all at conventions, apart from Patrick Stewart whom I met an actor’s Q&A in a West End Theatre and was proud of myself for getting him to talk about TNG in front of all the actors who wanted him to talk about Shakespeare!

James) OK now I feel so unworthy LOL, I have met a total of ZERO so with you meeting pretty much everyone who I want to I am feeling a bit sad now, but then again I am not much of a convention person tbh so maybe that is why I have not met anyone. 

So you have met a lot of “Trek Royalty” as I call them, this next question may be a little hard as I find meeting actors in real life tends to sway your perception of how they act in things, but do you have a favourite Trek episode? 

Greg) My favourite episode is The Enterprise Incident. Love the whole espionage element of it, a great follow up to Balance of Terror and classic Spock romantically stalling for time whilst Kirk steals the cloaking device.

James) Do you have a fave Trek film?

Greg) My favourite Star Trek Film is controversially The Final Frontier, the justification on this can be heard on the Spocklight Podcast about this film where I was the guest speaker. But basically, the film is the best showing of the trinity of Kirk, Spock and McCoy and other things, including being the first ever thing of Star Trek I saw.

Listen to the podcast! My favourite Trek actor is DeForest Kelley, Dr McCoy is my all time favourite character and I wish I could have met DeForest before he passed away. He always seemed really humble and kind in his interviews. But out of the actors, I’ve met its Walter Koenig. Such a humble chap and an absolute joy to speak to, I had a great chat with him about his collection of figurines when he told me with a cheeky smirk that he does own every version of Chekov they’ve made! 

James) Although I can agree with many STV is a bad one, I think TMP and Into Darkness are the “Worst” Trek films ever made TBH, but then one thing I have come to understand is that everyone has a difference of opinion and what I find bad others find enjoyable, this is what makes everyone so interesting, how boring would life be if we were all the same.

Is there an episode you just cannot stand, I may have a feeling about this one for you since your fan production is Enterprise era based but I may be wrong. 

Greg) My worst episode would have to be “These are the Voyages”, Enterprises Finale. You don’t really need a reason.

James) I knew it and TBH that episode although it would not be my worst is a HUGE! Let down it screams “Can’t be fooked” and that is a shame as Enterprise had so many ways it could have ended but I guess when your cancelled midseason you have to come up with a way to end it, I just wish it could have been better.

Greg) My favourite series is again controversially, Enterprise, but followed very closely by The Original Series. I just found Enterprise to be really refreshing and would have loved to have seen it go to 8 seasons. I remember finding the Season 3 Xindi Arc really gripping and thought Enterprise, unfortunately, got axed just as it was getting good.

James) I loved! Enterprise, like you I found it so different it was a totally fresh take on the Trek universe and like you I wanted to see more, you just have to look at the NX-01 Refit to see this series had so much to give us. 

So what about a “worst” series, do you have one? 

Greg) I don’t really have the worst season, I guess TNG is at the bottom of my list. But it’s not rubbish, just preferred the other series.

James) Are there any fan productions you watch and are any you would rank better than others?

Greg) As for the fan films I like to think I watch a fair few. Prelude, Renegades, Exeter, Continues, Phase 2, Intrepid, Horizon. I don’t think it’s fair to rank them though as there’s too much difference with the production value of them.

James) Horizon I LOVE! It is my fave fan film out of them all tbh, and made with such a small budget which makes me respect it so much, what about other fan productions, are there any YouTube shows or podcasts you listen to? 

Greg) The only other Trek-related thing I watch/listen to is Spocklight, which I should give a shout-out to as it’s done by a good friend of mine, who’s also starring in Ambush! I respect YouTube shows like Trek yards, but I just don’t find analysing the ships interesting, I’m into Trek for the stories, characters and escapism. It’s great what they do, just not my cup of tea.

James) I think this next set of Questions may be something you have strong feelings about being you loved Enterprise and this is set just after it, so it’s almost like they have big shoes to fill. 

So, Discovery are you looking forward to it and do you have any feelings on things like the ship design, casting etc? 

Greg) Yes, I’m looking forward to Discovery, Star Trek is always best as an episodic show. I wasn’t impressed with the trailer. I think (and hope) that the VFX will be better, they were just desperate to get something out for Comic Con.

I am not too keen on the ship design. I get their reasons for it, just don’t find it believable as a ship that precursors the Constitution Class. I think the casting choices are great, Michelle Yeoh is always great and the idea of James Frain as Sarek is awesome.

James) From what I have seen in various interviews regarding the ship design, they have said it has changed and there is even a rumour that we will see why it has its design, something to do with the Shenzhou being destroyed and repurposed into what we will see as the Discovery. However, I am very sceptical about that, I guess we will see when Discovery airs. 

If you had one hope for Discovery, what would you say it would be?

Greg) I simply hope that Discovery is great, gets Star Trek back on the map and has plenty of references for us Trekkies. Be nice to see some bridging the gap between Enterprise and The Original Series.

James) By now we all know Bryan Fuller has left the production like many this caused me some concern how did you take this news? 

Greg) I wouldn’t say I’m concerned with the departure of Brian Fuller, yeah he’s great and liked Star Trek, but Star Trek did service a long time without him, it’s not the end of the world, we still have Nicholas Meyer I think, who I rate more!

James) Yep, Nick like it or not was the saviour of the TMP era films, I feel if they got TWOK wrong then we would not have had 4 more films based in that era. 

Because, DSC, is going to be set in a previously unknown period of Trek history, is there anything you are hoping for in the look and feel that we see on screen? We know its prime time line but do you hope it’s more prime than Kelvin or vice versa?

Greg) I hope the look is all reminiscent of The Original Series. This is where the JJ films went wrong. I get that The Original Series is very dated and more of a period piece, but that’s what happens when you set your show in the future. Even Enterprise is showing its age in areas. But I strongly think you just need to make subtle changes and shoot and light it in a contemporary way.

This is exactly what we’ve done with Ambush and I really like the look I have. It looks more modern than The Original Series, but my characters and ships won’t look out of place next to characters and ships from The Original Series, well that’s my opinion anyway. 

James) What do you hope they do not do with Discovery, as in PLEASE DO NOT GO THERE? 

Greg) No more rebooting, that’s all I ask. And no forgetting about the 50 years of Trek that have already been.

James) the Last question on this subject then I want to move on, Do you think the move to put it on All Access is a good or bad idea? 

Greg) The All Access thing was a disappointment to hear about at first, however being in the UK I believe we’re getting it on Netflix, which I have. Yeah, terrestrial TV as we know it is going. Hence why in the UK you now need a TV License even if you don’t own a TV but use iPlayer. I think they’ve recognised that we want to binge watch a series now.

James) Moving on to your experience, what other productions and films have you either starred in or work with?

Greg) I have plenty of experience at youth theatre and acted in countless plays with that. Also back during my Film Degree, I would happily act in all films being made by my friends and they would in mine, back before we could pay actors or know any actors who would show up for free.

James) I always enjoy watching things with unknown actors in as to me personally it gives you the chance to see “new” talent and it makes you realise that even the best actors in the started somewhere. 

If you had to pick a “favourite” performance of yours what would you say it was? 

Greg) One of my favourites roles I’ve acted in which you can all see is the main part in the short film “The Shift”



It was a film made by good friend David Trumble and co-wrote with me, it’s based on many of my experiences as a Paramedic so has sentimental value. It was a hard film to make as it was all done throughout the nights but fun at the same time.

James) Is there anything you find hard exceptionally hard to achieve as an actor? 

Greg) In terms of what I find hard as an actor? I can’t cry on cue and I’m not great at accents.

James) Accents, er never ask me to do anything but Irish (I am English with Irish heritage) lol I like you cannot do them as they all sound the same. 

Moving onto other aspects of Filmmaking experience, how many screenplays would you say you have written? 

Greg) I’ve lost count of a number of scripts I’ve written but I can tell you I’ve written 3 feature length screenplays. One of them was written as a sequel to “The Shift” and featured a lot more of my experiences as a Paramedic, as by that point I had worked long enough to accumulate enough stories for a feature length.

James) How long would you say it takes you to complete a screenplay? 

Greg) How long it takes me varies a lot. A feature-length can take me a month on an off to present the first draft, the first draft of Ambush was done in about a week, but has gone through many revisions before we started shooting.

James) What gives you the most pleasure when writing, and what elements of the craft do you find most difficult? 

Greg) I enjoy writing dialogue and that’s what I find easiest to write, I like to think of myself like Kevin Smith in that sense as he’s first to admit that he’s not great at writing action.

James) Lastly as I am keen to move on to Ambush, Which one of you scripts and films are you most proud of and why? 

Greg) The script I’m most proud of is the sequel to “The Shift”, called “Blue Call” (the term used in London, where I worked for blue lighting a patient into the hospital).

James) Sooo, Greg let’s talk about Ambush, 

Describe your role in the production of Ambush and how a typical shoot played out from your Perspective? 

Greg) My role in Ambush is the Writer, Director, Producer, Production Designer, Set Builder, Actor and general organiser of everything!

James) So, you have your fingers in all the pies so to speak, which is a great thing to see such a hands-on approach. 

How is/was Ambush funded? 

Greg) Ambush has been funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign raising £4,600 approximately.

James) Why a “Star Trek” fan film, When and why did you decide to create a Fan series based upon Star Trek? 

Greg) I had always wanted to set something in Star Trek as it’s the world I’ve loved from a young age. Due to the amount of work involved in making a film and a number of people involved. It’s getting harder and harder to get everyone together from my film degree days to make a film, we all have lives and actual jobs to live and have to earn real money to pay our bills. The truth is I’m probably only able to make one more film with my old friends and if I was to do a swan song it would have to be Star Trek as that’s what inspired me, to begin with.

James) That is awesome that you choose Trek to be your swan song but also sad that it means you most likely will not be able to film with these guys again. 

What year/ century is Ambush set in? 

Greg) Ambush is set in the 23rd Century, 2266 to be precise, right in the middle of TOS Season 1. The main difference we have compared to other fan films is real sets and not replicas of original series sets (which I have no problem with), we also don’t have any starship action. The whole film is set during an away mission and no time is spent on the actual ship. We haven’t used a single bit of green screen, every background you see on screen is really there! It’s just a 1 episode affair but formatted like a pilot for a series we won’t make. I had an idea for a ship and crew and am using this film as an opportunity to show them off.

James) That is kind of sad that we may not see further adventures of this cast and crew. So real background means you must have shot on location a lot where in the UK did you go to shoot? 

Greg) We shot the film on locations around Dorset, UK and on sets in some warehouse space that kindly donated to us. The most impressive location we shot in were some caves and cliffs on the Dorset coast, they were so alien looking it turned out that episodes of old school Doctor Who was shot there. When the BBC needed a location for Skaro during the Tom Baker era of Doctor Who they shot where we have shot Ambush.

James) Was there any drawbacks or issues surround shooting in that location, as you know the UK weather is not stellar for outdoor shoots? 

Greg) The only issue we had was the weather. It rained on every day we shot outside and had to postpone one shoot day, but got there in the end.

James) If you had the chance to do a “crossover” with any other Fan Film Production, who would you like to do this with? 

Greg) I’d be up for crossing over with any other fan production, there’s not many UK Based ones set when we’re set, so the story would have incorporated some time travel or extreme flashbacks. But I’d be really up for collaborating with any UK production as we do have a lot to offer.

James) Yeah, this is true off the top of my head there are around 6 or 7 UK based Fan Productions and all bar yours I am sorry to say have set their productions in mid to late 24th century, which does not get me wrong is cool as many fan films tend to opt for TOS era, it, unfortunately, means productions like ambush are kind of stuck for this potential. 

Do you think social media plays an important part in any Fan production?

Greg) I think social media is integral now with any fan production. A lot of the really successful crowdfunded projects had massive social media following before launching their funding campaign and it’s obvious that that’s how they were able to amass a lot of money.

With Ambush, we launched our social media campaign the same time as our Kickstarter campaign. We were doing okay and managed to raise the minimum amount in 2 days, but we really got noticed when Axanar shared our Facebook page and ended raising 4 times what we set out to raise.

James) I have to say that is a great result, and I take my hat off to the followers of Axanar for helping you out, 

Moving on to the cast and crew of Ambush, Who in the show is most like their character? 

Greg) The person who’s most like their character? Simple, Me! I play First Officer Eugene Gibson, he’s immature, rebellious and easily offended just like me. I basically when writing this character based him on me knowing I’d be playing him. It’s a cop-out I know, but I’m not as well trained in acting as others in Ambush, so took the easy route.

James) There is nothing wrong with writing what you know; in fact, I find the most believable characters in anything I watch tend to be ones that mirror the writers in some way. 

With the UK is not a huge country, unlike the US, do your entire cast live close by or does it take a lot of forwarding planning to get everybody in one place. 

Greg) There are about 150 miles in total between the cast and crew of Ambush, so it does take a fair bit of planning as we have to consider travel and accommodation.

James) For Ambush, who does the makeup and wardrobe?

Greg) It’s a family affair as my sister, Amber Lock who works as a freelance makeup artist did the makeup for Ambush, including the Romulan ears and eyebrows. My mum, Jane Mearns who trained as a seamstress made the costumes, mainly the Romulan ones which had to be made from scratch and the Ambush jackets which had to be heavily customised.

James) I bet you owe them some favours now then for doing all that work for you.

You said before you are working closely with some film school buddies, are these people involved in more than the acting side of things?

Greg) My Director of Photography is also my co-producer, Tom Saville. To be frank I couldn’t be making the film without him. He works full time in post production in the industry, so his time is precious. But he doesn’t only film Ambush, he’s been editing away and doing all the VFX. I’m also fortunate to have Ricky Wallace of MadMan Shipyard who has kindly been making the CG models of the ships for Ambush.

James) Moving on to a subject that like it or not has impacted many fan productions I would like to get your view on the Fan Film guidelines, we are now almost a year from their inception but they controversy doesn’t seem to be going away and there is still a very vocal yet small band of people who are still trying to get these changed. 

How have these changed your production in terms of the premise of the film and has it had any impact on the script? 

Greg) In terms of content the script isn’t going to change much. We had characters and ships like Kirk, Spock and Enterprise being mentioned by name, but that’s being cut. Most people know by now that our film happens after the episode “Balance of Terror” so we now make subtle references to that event, without being obvious.

James) What about any plans you had to either continue Ambush or impede the plans you had for Ambush? 

Greg) Ambush was always going to be 1 episode, so we’re not worried about not being able to continue it.

James) What are your feelings on them, as everyone has had different reactions to them, how did it make you feel when they came out? 

Greg) Initially I did think the guidelines were extreme, but that’s Paramount’s right. The more I thought about it though, I realised that it gave me some creative restrictions and the fun would be getting Ambush to fit in those guidelines. If the guidelines mean that fan films in the future can potentially be exhibited at endorsed Star Trek events, I’m all for it.

James) Do any of them have you worried or concerned at all?

Greg) The guideline that I’m most worried about though is the no physical perks. But at the end of the day, I have an obligation to our loyal backers before the guidelines came out. Since the guidelines, I’ve noticed much larger and more well-known productions ignoring the guidelines completely and not being shut down, so hopefully, my little British film will be okay by giving the gifts to my backers.

James) Do you think they are actually going to negatively impact further Star Trek fan films? 

Greg) I don’t think the guidelines will negatively impact Trek Fan Films, just put us on the same playing field, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

James) How do you feel the fallout from the Axanar lawsuit is going to affect everyone from this point forward both fans and fan Trek?

Greg) The fallout from Axanar is just the guidelines, which were probably going to come sooner or later.

James) Thanks for that Greg, we are now moving into the last segment of the interview. 

What are your experiences within the “Star Trek” fandom as a whole? 

Do you have any good and bad experiences? 

Greg) I think the best part of Trek fandom is just the universal love and respect that making a fan film gets. It truly is amazing.

The worst part is, unfortunately, all the hate that can easily come your way. Last year I simply acknowledged the support that I had from Axanar and Alec Peters, because of that I was immediately branded and stereotyped. People started judging me and my film without knowing anything about either. Ambush even appeared in a “Hitler Rant” video! That bit I just found funny and humbled!

But the general hate and backlash I got were ridiculous. As apparently you’re allowed to acknowledge support one receives, who figures? Then when I stated that I would happily comply with the guidelines that came out you start seeing posts like “surprise surprise” and you’re branded as a turncoat, even though you always stated you’d follow any guidelines that came. Confusing, but it is just a small group of people in the grand scheme of things. Rant over.

James) I was not aware you were in one of “those” videos, man that’s bad, but hey things have moved on now and I am “hoping” people are starting to move on from all the drama surrounding that “issue”. 

In your experiences, in making films and from having a degree in the film what advice would you give to anyone wanting to make a film? 

Greg) Work with what you have. I knew that I’d never have space or resources to build a full-size bridge set. So I purposely made sure the story of Ambush did not need one. Work out what you have and make the best you can with what you have. You can actually achieve a lot if you scale things down.

James) that is a great bit of advice and one that many should follow, with Ambush do you have any Regrets?

Greg) The only regret I have is taking so long.

James) Lastly Greg is there anything you want to say to the fans of Ambush, who are watching and waiting for you to release your film?

Greg) Bear with us. The film is coming this year. I know we’ve taken a lot longer than anticipated and that’s mainly due to me, getting married, buying a house and going through a career change took a great deal of time. Plus many of the professionals we had got more actual paid work, which is great for them but does mean that Ambush has had to be on the back burner for a while. This project has been a massive learning experience on so many levels.

Thank you for sticking with us, we’re getting there and hopefully, you won’t be disappointed with what we release.

James) Thank you so much, Greg, for taking the time to sit and talk to me.

 

Follow Ambush on their social media to get updates and inside info on this amazing production. 

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Crowdfunding and Fan Films Pt 1

As part of a blog series I am doing on Trekfanproductions, I am hoping to obtain as much participation as possible from as many individuals as I can, so I have constructed this poll to ask people who regularly do or have previously donated to a Star Trek fan production.

The aim of this poll is to gain and insight on this subject in the hopes it will allow me to form a supposition of what the issue maybe surrounding the drop in donations, going towards Star Trek fan films.

This poll has been active on Facebook since April 23rd and the results thus far can be seen > HERE < but in the interests of fairness to all, I have brought it over to Trekfanproductions to enable everyone to see it and participate.


Edit – People have been saying that they do not wish to vote due to the potential of identification, this poll is completely anonymous and not even I can see anything but the vote cast, I do hope this alleviates any concerns.


The harsh reality is we all know crowdfunding is essential to many fan productions continuing to create and complete their projects. Nevertheless, over the last 12 months we have been seeing a big diminish in the donations being achieved, which has resulted in some fan films being cancelled or postponed, for example, Starship Republic only obtained 15% of the $16,000 they needed to progress into pre-production, this, however, has not been the only casualty of diminished donations recently Axanar, which had previously managed to obtain almost $1.6Mil in donations (the most ever crowdfunded in Trek Fan Film history) launched a new crowdfund campaign for Industry studios that they retrofitted with donor funds with the goal of funding the studio for at least the next 7 months, and they had lofty hopes it would allow them to continue seeking funds in this manner for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless this recent crowdfunding campaign failed to reach anywhere near the goal they hoped or needed to keep the studio open, furthermore this now means the $1.6 mil they raised and put into the studio was for nothing, with the studio now in the hands of the landlord and to add insult to injury this means no film being made (regardless of the lawsuit) at the studio that they said was the justification of the money being spent in the manner it had been, as a result they are now moving across country to pastures new to start again.

So we are left with a big question what has gone wrong? with what was once a non-issue to the various fan films wanting to obtain funds through donations.

Below there are some options as to what I and others think maybe the issue, however, if you feel you have different viewpoints then please use the comment section below.

Please remember this poll is to help! ALL Fan productions and the comments section is not a place to start a flame war and anyone doing so their comments will be removed and further participation will be blocked!.

Thank you.



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Star Trek: Horizon – The Most Successful Star Trek Fan Film Ever! Made, Passes 5 Mil Viewers

“Horizon so aptly named both for its majesty and its grand power. 250,000 years ago one race united the entire galaxy, for the first time, in peace. But there is always the separatist one who will not join the whole. The Arioui a race of beings unlike any the Iconians had ever known, sought to lay waste to the galaxy and the Great Alliance, to rebuild it anew. They were cunning. One-by-one, they turned the galaxy against its protectors. And when the races of the Great Alliance turned their attention to destroying the wrongly accused Iconians, the Arioui secretly constructed their greatest weapon…”



Horizon, is simply one of the best Star Trek fan films I have ever seen, back in 2015 when I first saw a trailer for it, I was so excited and apprehensive at the same time as unlike some other fan films I have seen prior to this most of Horizon was shot using green screens and very little physical sets which if done badly makes anything really hard to watch, but there was something about Horizon that just drew me to it. Was it the fact it was a continuation, although a non-canonical one to Enterprise the fifth live action series that was cancelled at the end of season four back in 2005 or was it because it featured the Iconians a race we have never really seen in Star Trek bar two episodes, to be honest, I am not sure but looking back on it I have no regrets about the excitement I felt for this amazing film.

A few things that simply resonate from this film and some of the main factors that make this simply one of the best fan films I have seen is, the film has an experienced cast with all of the actors having done some previous work within the industry, the music was a totally original score which for most Fan Trek is almost unheard of, the look of the film is simply amazing from the uniforms which are almost identical to the ones seen on Enterprise right down to the VFX which could easily be mistaken for the real thing, which is not bad what so ever on the budget of less than $30k.

Iconian Featured Star Trek Episodes: Contagion &  To the Death


Back in 2012 when I began the odyssey that would become Horizon, I wanted nothing more than to marry my passion for filmmaking with my love for a show that inspired so many amazing and wonderful changes in my life. I hoped people would like it and I assumed some would watch it, but I never expected the reception the film has received. I can’t thank the fans and viewers of Horizon enough. They’ve literally propelled me into the next stage of my career and my life.” — Tommy Kraft, Exec Producer 

” I can’t speak for everyone but there was never any doubt that the film would reach 5 million, and I have no doubt it will double that at some point. Horizon is a complete, stand-alone Star Trek film that can be enjoyed by anyone. When you hear that people watch it over and over you know that the movie has staying power and the viewership will grow. I look forward to more of Tommy’s work reaching these milestones.” — Paul Lang, Captain Hawke


The Story of Horizon…

The Horizon story starts back in 2013 when Tommy Craft first conceived the idea for Horizon, Horizon was to be Tommy’s biggest project to date, and certainly, one that back then was an ambitious one for someone who had experience in filmmaking but not had made one of this magnitude. With a series of blogs posted on his YouTube page the story of Horizon started to take shape for all to see and follow.

Tommy’s documented journey of Horizon can be watched > HERE <

Horizon to Tommy was not just another fan film project but one that was born from a personal struggle; back in 2012 not long before he began work on Horizon Tommy was fighting with depression and turned to Trek to help him cope, in an interview with Jonathan Lane in February of last year Tommy had this to say about why he set Horizon in the 22nd century a time setting that only one other fan film has done thus far.

“My depression started in 2012, not long before I began working on Horizon. Enterprise, the character of Captain Archer, and working on the film served as huge inspirations and passions for me that helped guide me through that initial episode and find some ways to cope. There was also this huge religious de-conversion to atheism involved that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Captain Archer, always being the explorer, inspired me to explore beyond my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, and what I found—basically, science; I found I have a huge passion for it—changed my life for the better in a lot of ways.”

Having suffered from depression myself I know that Trek can and does help coping so I can relate to this so much, and I take my hat off to Tommy for not only using trek to battle his inner demons but also making a Film that will no doubt help others in the way Trek helped him.

So fast forward 12 months to April 2014 the team behind this ambitious project launched their Kickstarter with a small target of $10.000 and in less than a month they broke it and raised more than $20.000 and the film was funded and the hard work in getting this project from page to screen began.



Skipping ahead again to February 26th 2016 and the film was released despite a bit of worry from the donors over at Kickstarter as the film had been slated for release in December 2014, but as anyone within the film industry knows delays happen even to the films with the biggest budget but the wait was finally over and it was well worth the wait.

It is no small endeavour to create a 102-minute long feature film that was almost entirely shot and rendered on green screen with such a tiny budget (this is very much fan-level comparison to what was done with Battlestar: Galactica – Blood & Chrome, right down to the camera motion and seamless transitions from location to location). On a technical level alone, the team behind Horizon deserved some massive congrats on pulling this off.

Since Feb 2016 the viewership of Horizon has been fast yet steady and in the space of six months surpassed the numbers accumulated by the controversial fan film “Prelude to Axanar”.

Despite Horizon surpassing what formerly was considered the highest viewed Star Trek fan film made in August of 2016, this event was tarnished by instead of congratulations by Axanar they hit back with claims of brought viewers and none genuine numbers, this was a spiteful move from the team at Axanar and regardless of its intent did nothing to sway the viewers from watching Horizon and as a result Horizon has now become the most viewed Star Trek fan film made to date.

This is a testament to Tommy Kraft and his team behind this truly inspiring fan film as it shows not only dedication but a love for what they did.

In fact, Horizon was so successful it lead Tommy to plan a follow up called FEDERATION RISING, however, due to the Axanar lawsuit we will now not get to see what would have been yet another amazing film.

In April 2016, co-producer Tommy Kraft issued the following regarding a proposed follow-up production.

“STAR TREK – HORIZON” SEQUEL, “FEDERATION RISING”, SHUT DOWN.

“Earlier today, executives from CBS reached out to me and advised me that their legal team strongly suggested that we do not move forward with plans to create a sequel to Horizon. While this is a sign of the current climate that we find ourselves in with Star Trek fan films, I want to personally thank CBS for reaching out to me, rather than including us in their ongoing lawsuit against Axanar.

It was conveyed that the reason CBS was reaching out to me was due to the legal troubles stemming from the Axanar case. Again, CBS did not have to reach out personally. The message I received felt more like they were giving me a heads up before we got too involved in another project, rather than a group of angry executives swinging a hammer.

On behalf of myself and Ryan Webber, my co-writer and co-producer on Federation Rising, we appreciate your initial support and are saddened that we cannot bring you what we believe was a fantastic feature film. However, rest assured that Ryan and I are committed to continuing our storytelling partnership with an original project. We also welcome other fan productions and fan film lovers to join us in this new venture.

While we initially planned to debut our Kickstarter for Federation Rising this Saturday, we hope that you will instead stand with us as we announce an original sci-fi project that Ryan and I have been co-developing in addition to Federation Rising. We’re incredibly excited to tell you about this completely original story that follows the ideals set forth by Star Trek that Ryan and I have been such huge fans and admirers of our entire lives.”


So what is the plot of Horizon in a nutshell?

Horizon is set within the same era as Star Trek: Enterprise, picking up where that series concluded. The film centres on the discovery, an NX class ship like Archer’s Enterprise, and its crew. Captain Harrison Hawke leads a principally human crew. The one exception is Lieutenant T’mar, a Romulan defector conveyance vital tactical data to Starfleet. Horizon covers the Romulan war mentioned in Enterprise, and conjointly takes parts of the temporal conflict, bringing that to a conclusion.

The film opens with a prelude that includes the last living members of a race legendary within the Star Trek galaxy, the Iconians. They have been defeated by another race that created an excellent weapon known as Horizon. The two Iconians take and conceal the weapon; therefore, it cannot be used again.

The first scene brings us to 2160 and begins with Discovery heading back to earth to get T’mar and her Romulan secrets to Starfleet Command, however, they are not out of danger with three Romulan warbirds in hot pursuit. The Discovery takes serious injury and suffers many casualties. The Enterprise makes a surprise cameo, swooping in to save them at the last moment, in fact, the Enterprise makes many little cameos throughout the flick, which Enterprise fans will love! Just like they will love Horizon.

With Discovery limping back to space dock to undergo vital repairs and debrief. During their debrief they learn from T’mar that the Romulans are building devastating weapon with-in 2 light-years from Earth. A fleet of Vulcan and Earth ships, as well as the freshly repaired Discovery, head out to seek and find and destroy the weapon, known as Horizon. The fleet comes under fire by Romulans, and it’s left to the discovery to destroy the weapon with their new prototype torpedoes. The torpedoes cause a surprising spatial rift that form and Discovery are forced through.

The crew notice themselves in orbit above the planet Horizon that is that the planet we see being pulled through a gate like structure at the beginning of the film. While investigating a structure on the surface they’re found by Daekon, a Romulan deserter from the twenty-eighth century and a combatant within the temporal cold war. We learn that he’s the mysterious man from the future within the Enterprise series. The crew of Discovery works to defeat him and at last fully destroy the weapon, ending the temporal cold war to a detailed end at long last.

The story of Horizon is a canon-worthy outing for the Trek franchise, official or not this fits right into the universe with little trouble, the script is so tight and the story is so compelling I am sad that we will not get to see a follow up but I am happy that I can always get my fix of the Discovery and her crew when I need it from just loading up Horizon on YouTube.



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The Melbourne Files – Part Three – Larry Fleming

This week we catch up with Lawrence Fleming, the man who plays Science Officer Ray Dora.

Lawrence has enjoyed films and filmmaking since he was young and since then he has had a distinguished career acting in various different genres including many Star Trek fan films and he has produced almost a hundred productions.

Lawrence (Larry), is not only an actor and produced he in his spare time likes to ride motorbikes, go climbing and has been an NRA instructor for many years, with his firearm safety training it adds to his already vast range of experience as this makes him an asset on any set that uses guns for its production.

Check out Larry’s


As part of the Melbourne files, I found myself talking to a wide range of people and when it came to talking to Larry, I found myself thinking about someone with Larry’s experience how do I conduct and interview and not come off and a rank amateur. However, with Larry, I found him extremely approachable and he welcomed my questions like a true gentleman and not what I expected at all from someone with his experience.

Therefore, without further a due let us move on to the interview itself.

We caught up with Larry while he was on set shooting

 Jumanji – (YES the one with the Rock) 

Therefore, his answers are a little shorter than normal. 

“It’s Kind of a sequel. They enter a video game. You know there will be some funny moments with Jack Black also in the film. “

Larry Fleming



James) Good Afternoon Larry, First, I would like to thank you for your time for agreeing to answer these questions for me.

WOW! I just looked at your IMDB I am a little speechless, I have to admit I am nervous writing up a Q&A for you now lol  

Larry) Ha, it just means I have worked a lot no big deal.

James) LOL, Well for anyone who does not know you or has read your IMDB, can you tell me a little about yourself?

Larry) I like doing different things. I get bored doing the same thing repeatedly. During my lifetime, I have flown planes, raced motorbikes, climbed mountains, and repelled down. I go to concerts, rock, jazz, and opera. I am ultimately curious about the world and want to see and experience as much as I can.

I dislike people that are uncaring about others. I also dislike large crowds as if I am stuck in one and cannot get around that also includes being sat in traffic. I do not mind speaking to a crowd just hate being stuck. I guess it is because I am a bit claustrophobic.

James) With your hectic schedule other than Star Trek, what other TV shows you watch if you get the time that is?

Larry) I love the Big Bang Theory mainly because I relate to the characters. I grew up in a house where both parents did not go to High School. I like all hero movies, from any source, Marvel, DC, anything. I also like Detective shows, I love puzzles and like to try to figure out Who Done It.

James) I have to admit that is one of my favourite things about “Detective Shows” the who done it thing is one thing that draws me to watch them, If they are too easy it drives me nuts lol,

With the history you have in Star Trek fan films, tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does it mean to you

Do you have a favourite Episode?

Larry) I like the Cage or Menagerie. It was the first and left an impression on me.

It is hard to imagine the world where you cannot tell what really reality is and what imagination is.

James) I have to admit I have only seen the Cage and what I guess what would be called its follow up to it The Menagerie a hand full of times, so I am not up to speed on them. I am going to have to take the time to revisit the TOS I think, TNG onwards I have seen so many times I can tell you the episode name from just the first few seconds. Yes! I am that sad lol.

With those episodes being your favourite ones, do you have one you would class, as your “Worst” episode?

Larry) I do not remember the episode, but they had hippie like characters playing music. They brought too much of reality into the show. I also thought the hippie movement was stupid too.

James) I think that episode is The Way to Eden yes I had to Google it lol. I am feeling rather bad here not knowing my TOS, as I should L

Do you have a “favourite” and “worst” series?

Larry) If we are talking Star Trek, it has to be TOS. I grew up watching this series. I like all the other versions, but I really like the original.

James) A lot of people I think either find the TOS as their fave or are on the fence like me, I like it but for me and like you I guess it is because I grew up with it TNG will always be my fave.

Because you like to go and Cosplay and attend conventions a lot, have you met many Star Trek Actors?

Larry) All the TOS actors except, Deforest Kelly also most of Next Gen crew, I have met most Star Trek actors over the years because I go to as many Cons as I can.

James) That is one thing I wish I had more time to do I have only ever been to one Con and that was years ago the last question in this segment do you play any Star Trek games like STO etc.

Larry) None Surprisingly, I play World of WarCraftTom Clancey’s The Division and Elder Scrolls.  I love games with the large territory to explore.


 


James) I have never seen the appeal of WOW many people I know play it. Moving on to your experience in filmmaking, you have been in a lot! Of fan films, can you tell me what ones you have been a part of?

Larry) I have appeared in six or seven different Star Trek fan films. It is amazing being on the set of the Enterprise or whatever the production ship name is.

James) Can you tell me what ones you have been a part of?

Larry) Sure,

James) OK a lot then lol, Is there anything you are currently working on?

Larry) Nothing.

🙂 I retired from all the hard work jobs and am only acting.

James) From your IMDB, you have worked in multiple areas: film, television, web, what is it that makes you pick the projects?

Larry) I work in all three. Mainly whatever script idea I like.

James) How easy has it been for you to move between areas?

Larry) They are all the same as far as filming goes. It is just the format that changes.

James) What do you see as the appeal of the various formats?

Larry) Everyone has a method of watching. We try to offer what people want.

Fan films cannot make money, so free sites like YouTube work best.

James) Was there a particular event or time that you recognised that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?

Larry) When I was young, I grew up in Hollywood and wanted to be a part of it.

When my family moved away, I thought I was through with that dream but I found that I could raise funds as a producer from anywhere and started doing that over 15 years ago. Then when Georgia passed the film-friendly tax laws, filming began moving here. I prefer acting to anything I have been involved in thus far.

James) What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you personally?

Larry) Empathy for the characters if you care about them, then their conflicts in the film seem more real.

James) What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and how do you feel about Hollywood atm as they seem to reboot or rehash a LOT Of work.

Larry) I love old movies even black and whites. There were not so many films back then so I think they had to be better. We have become cookie cutter in the industry now, remake after remake.

James) I have to agree, I have been saying it for years that all these reboots just seem lost to me gone are the days of the new films that inspire many, it seems to reboot or just a rework of a classic that ends up being rubbish (YES! Ghostbusters I am looking at you)

When watching a film and you get angry at it, what sets you off? Are there common qualities in cinema today that you dislike? Is there something you try to subvert, avoid, or rebel against in your work?

Larry) I like drama and suspense. I hate when they use standard methods to create the suspense. Like “Let’s split up”. Be creative and come up with something unexpected.

James) When inspiration is waning, like when you feel creatively sapped, what do you do? How do you stay fresh?

Larry) I watch movies I choose a film for the way it will make me feel. I love happy conclusions or at least when the heroes save the day and all seems good.

James) What is harder: getting started or being able to keep going?

Larry) I find keeping going is harder. Starting is easy.

There are so many distractions along the way that can interrupt your progress. Stay focused.

James) How do you know when your story has finished and when to walk away?

Larry) It has never finished. You try to get it to a stopping point where the conflict seems to stop. That is why we have sequels.

James) That is so true, going back to the reboot and rehash in Hollywood at the moment, we all hear so often about the lack of original stories in the world. How do you stay fresh in the face of an idea like that?

Larry) You have to really look for fresh ideas and have the courage to work with them. It seems that the money people and controlling content. If it worked before, we will try it repeatedly and again.

James) Have you done your own stunts in many films? In addition, were they hard to do?

Larry) I have a Black Belt in TAEKWONDO, so basic stunts are easy. I like doing them. I have only done stunts in my independent films.

The Big guys want you in SAG so that their insurance will cover you.



James) I am going to quick fire some questions at you about your acting history and experience, tell me the first thing you think of

When did you first realise that you wanted to Act

Larry) When we had, the main character hurt (offset) and needed to be replaced. I stepped in and had a blast.

James) What do you like most about being an Actor?

Larry) I get to be someone different all the time. I get to be on set and once I know my lines, the rest is a simple direction.

James) What parts of Acting do you not enjoy?

Larry) Being on camera

James) What steps did you take to enter this field? – Training etc

Larry) I took some classes; the rest was just getting in there and learning. I learn best by doing.

James) Tell me about your experience as an Actor?

Larry) I tend to take now leading parts. I like helping the scene take place with only moments of leading it. It takes a team to pull it off and I enjoy watching the Teamwork.

James) What gives you the most pleasure as an Actor?

Larry) Completing my scene and hearing wrap a great job. 🙂

James) What elements of the craft do you find most difficult?

Larry) Emotions When you method act you have to become the character.

James) Do any famous actors inspire you?

Larry) Yes, Sean Astin is the top of my list

James) The hardest role you have ever played, and why

Larry) Working is a sub-freezing environment and trying to act like its warm.

James) The most fun role you have ever played and why.

Larry) Getting to have something (not real) explode in front of you and act hurt and injured.

James) What sort of person is going to love this character?

Larry) I hope someone that likes what I like. I try to imagine the character and perform the way I would like to see it.

James) Is it easier to play this character or to be you?

Larry) All characters are I, in a way.

James) What makes a good scene partner?

Larry) Someone that can connect as an actor we are not all working by ourselves.

James) That was great thanks, Along with acting, I see you have produced many films. Can you tell me more about that?

What does an Assistant/Exec Producer do?

Larry) Exec Producers are money getters. If the name is big, people want to be a part. If you are lesser know, then you have to knock on doors, so to speak.

James) Describe to me, how you’d run a project from beginning to end.

Larry) Each project has basic steps. I could write a book on the exact steps.

  • Find a script – I am always reading scripts
  • Put a production team together – get with friends
  • The cast for the film – find a ringer to attract funds.
  • Start raising money – which and be from day one and last throughout
  • Put together a filming schedule
  • Put the pieces together – Post-production
  • Market and release

James) With your resume being as extensive as it is, have you ever had a time when you had to deal diplomatically with different personalities?

Larry) Every time we film. Creative people are a different breed, need to be encouraged, and complimented all the time no favouritism either…

James) Do you ever take a step back and appreciate what you have made thus far?

Larry) For a short while, it is soon on to the next project.

James) Has there ever been a time where you needed to change your producer-style to accommodate a team or team member have you ever been really challenged by a cast member?

Larry) Early on when I was getting started I was not leading, but letting the project lead me. We ran out of funds a few times and everything would stop.

I prefer to lead now.

James) What kind of routines do you tend to keep for filmmaking to keep you organised or do you even have one.

Larry) I keep folders of past work that aid in the next one. Budget plans, lists of equipment and workers location ideas etc.

James) Many people either have a main job or never stop working on new films all the time with like no time to enjoy what they are doing. How do you earn a living and sustain the career you love,

Larry) I had a Day job working as a consultant in IT. I never really liked that work, but I was good at it. I am retired now and my basic needs are met from retirement funds.

James) Do you think social media is the future of televised series and films, just as you use YouTube etc now is TV on its way out.

Larry) In some form, yes, but we have too many options right now and it is harder to make money.

The pool is too diluted.

James) How do you find the right music for a scene?

Larry) I leave that to the creative sound producers. It is amazing what they can do.

James) What do you know now that you wish you had known at the beginning?

Larry) You can do this on your own. It is not a weakness to get help. It is actually more fun working with those you know.

James) How do you handle being challenged about something that you decide but someone else really disagrees with it?

Larry) Choose your battles. It is not always important to win. If it is wrong, let them fail and learn. I liked helping young filmmakers get started. They all started with grand ideas that I knew would not work. Let them learn.

James) How do you not waste time. How do you get everything you need to get done, done in an allotted time scale?

Larry) It is OK to waste time sometimes. We all need to take a break. Once the project is underway, you just keep at it. The harder you work, the greater the reward.

James) How do you encourage people and get them achieve the best they are capable of?

Larry) Compliment them. Listen a lot. It is like having a spouse or children – Especially children.

James) How do you encourage people and processes to move faster when on a tight time scale?

Larry) Help them to stay focused and be prepared. Downtime is time to go over your lines, not to always socialise.

With so many factors shaping a film’s success or failure, and so much required going into a film just to make it, and even more to make it well, what do you do so it does not ever feel not worth the effort?

James) How does a typical day (for you) begin when you are in full swing production?

Larry) Arrive on set and check the schedule, if you do not already have the updated copy. Exec producers do not do the daily work once the funds are raised.

James) Moving on now to Melbourne, Being an actor in many other fan productions was Melbourne an easy task or did you find the role lead to many challenges in making things fit from script to film?

Larry) I enjoyed the role from start to finish. The direction was well thought out and helpful.

James) Describe your role in the production, how did a typical shoot play out from your perspective?

Larry) I did not produce this film but would have treated it like any other production. Let us get this done.

James) Can you tell me more from your perspective about the story. How is it different from other Fan Productions you have been in?

Larry) It has a Star Trek feel, which makes it the same, but the story was unique. The writing was great and that is what made it work and fun to do.

James) What research did you carry out in the preparation of this role, what challenges and responsibilities did this present in making it something unique?

Larry) Memorise the lines, read the script multiple times standard procedures for this really. I already had years watching Star Trek under my belt.

James) So with your experience in the Star Trek Fan Film world, I want to ask you about the “Fan Film Guidelines,”

What are your feelings on them, as I know to start with everyone the reaction was different but many people were angry how did it make you feel when they came out?

Larry) CBS is running scared they want the franchise, but do not understand it as well. When they saw a production as good as they could make for a lot less, well it is hard to swallow. I hope reason will win out.

James) Can you expand on that a bit? We have seen in recent court filings that the guidelines are a result of Axanar; do you want to see Axanar made?

Larry) I want to see all fan films made including Axanar.

James) Do you feel they crossed any lines?

Larry) I think that CBS thinks they crossed the so-called line. CBS kept quiet for years and only complained when they wanted to make a new series. It is unfortunate that they picked the anniversary of Star Trek to cause problems.

James) Do you feel that the guidelines are a direct result to Axanar and Alec Peters?

Larry) I think that the suit and guidelines are a direct link to Axanar, BUT if it were not them, CBS would have picked on someone else. They are flexing their muscle and are trying to eliminate all work better than their own. CBS should have purchased/bought into the fan film (s) of choice and put their logo on them. Go with a winner instead of an unknown that their new series will be.

James) Do you think they are fair?

Larry) No – The guidelines are stupid and CBS painted themselves into a corner. I hope that reason wins out, but I am a Star Trek fan regardless of who makes what…

James) Thanks for that, I appreciate your view on this since you have been involved in as many fan films as you have, so moving on What Fan Films do you watch?

Larry)

  1. Farragut Films
  2. Star Trek Continues
  3. Starship Melbourne
  4. Starship Tristian, Potemkin
  5. Renegades
  6. Natures Hunger

James) What would you say are yours? Best and worst parts of the Star Trek Fandom,

Larry)

  • The best part – The people
  • The worst part –  CBS/Paramount

James) lastly Larry, What advice would you give to someone who wants to?

Act

Larry) Get out there and do it. Learn and get better each performance.

James) Make their own fan film.

Larry) Get help for the first one or two, mistakes cost money.

James) Co-Produce

Larry) Enjoy what you do the rewards are often missing.

James) Larry, Is there anything else you would like to tell me from your perspective of someone involved in the fan film world? (The good, the bad, how you see the current world of fan productions)

Larry) To summarily, Enjoy what you do, that may be your best reward. Do not be afraid to ask for help, we all need it from time to time. Do not be too proud to take a lesser role. Do not get discouraged.

You will be turned down after your best audition, simply because you do not fit the role in the eyes of the casting team. Make and act the way you would enjoy watching.

James) Thank you, Larry, for taking the time to answer these for me.

Larry) Thank you and my best.


So, guys, that is part three, and although I started off scared with the prospect of interviewing Larry BUT! I enjoyed it a lot, I feel I have gotten to know the man who has acted in so many Fan Films a lot better, and it makes me want to watch Melbourne even more!

Hurry up Vance lol 😛

As always thank you for reading and your continued support with the blog.

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