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 Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Two

So we left part one with what I hope was a big shroud lifted on one of the guidelines that many seem to misinterpret or choose to ignore, and that is this 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.  

Although worded in a way that seems to negate the idea or possibility of producing more than the 2 x 15 episodes It is, in fact, something that you can work with! Not against!

During the last blog, you saw not just one, but 6 different perspectives of this guideline and how those productions have chosen to perceive it and work with it not by shunning the guidelines and saying hey, they are “draconian” but they have retooled their productions accordingly and decided “Hey, yes we can still move forward and carry on making the fan films we love, but with some adjustment.”

Yes the undeniable fact is that the days of the 45min+ long episodes have now gone the way of the dodo, but with some ingenuity, clever thinking and love in doing what you do, you can still produce content that not only you will enjoy making but content that will bring joy to many other Star Trek fans around the globe.

In this blog, we will be dissecting guidelines 2 and 8 and again, it is not only me who will be drawing on information I have found, but I have asked the same producers to help me out once again.

Below you will find commentary from the fan film “experts” and some useful links to information that will, we hope to help you with this guideline.

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

2) The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.

RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Paramount and CBS own Star Trek. We are privileged to play in their universe. If they want us to call them “Title” – a Star Trek fan production, then that’s what we need to do.

  • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

It will end the names “Star Trek Phase II,” “Star Trek New Voyages” and “Star Trek Continues.”

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?
    • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

I think this is probably the easiest thing to comply with.  I’m not sure what issues could realistically arise other than people wilfully ignoring it.

 Vance MajorMelbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?
    • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

I don’t think anyone should be doing this anyway. No fan film is official. This is one of the guidelines I have no problem with in any way. I think this shows the state of mind of that some fan filmmakers have gotten into, to an extent. Trying to be the next big thing in the Trek universe, and to me that’s sad. I think some have gotten away from what this should all be about. Having fun and telling fun stories. That’s what kinda sucks about things these days, it’s so easy to make things bigger and better and then we can let our egos get out of hand. But, who are we? We’re just kids just playing in someone else’s sandbox. We can’t ever forget that. And I think this rule is there to remind us that no matter how good we can get, it’s not our sandbox

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Star Trek Continues gets away with it little unfair we dropped Star Trek From the Lexington title long before this.   

  • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

Only to those who think they are above the guidelines, Star Trek Continues for example and that Voyager fan film. Star Trek First Frontier too

Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?
    • Is this a guideline that is one that will or could cause issues?

To me, this is a non-issue. Having a disclaimer is an everyday part of a business and has no bearing on the success or failure of a fan production.

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. 

Why Are There Only 3 Episodes Left of STAR TREK CONTINUES? Vic Mignogna from STC Answers!

Video Credit:

8) The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:

“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use.  No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.” 

RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Yep. No problem with that.


Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Again, straight forward. Use the disclaimer as provided. We’ve added it to the opening of all new films since the guidelines dropped. To be honest, I think this is actually a pretty good thing to have, and many fan films already had some sort of disclaimer attached. I rather like the wording of the one we’ve been given.

Vance Major – Melbourne/ Starbase Studios

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I get why they want us to do it. It’s kind of irritating, for a company that wants us to post so much that we are not affiliated that we have to keep putting disclaimers on there. It’s like there are so many hoops to jump thru just to make a friggin fan film, Lord forbid if you mistype a word lol or if you’re an honest to Gawd newbie that’s never even heard of these guidelines. That’s why I stick by they will go by the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. If you’re in high school and you make a film on your cell phone, I wouldn’t expect you to have this disclaimer up. Chances are you don’t even know it exists. Yet fan film marks live and die by these things like you’ll lose your house if you dot the wrong I or cross the wrong while I feel they keep people like me safer from certain things, again, no one is going to mistake my film for star trek beyond or discovery. And I’ve been very open, I’m in no way competing.

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Most fan productions were already doing this before the guidelines

Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Again, disclaimers are an every-day part of the business world. This is another non-issue in my opinion.

Robin –  Dark Armada: 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?


Everything below is to enable you to understand the reasons for disclaimers and why CBS has asked you to place one on your Fan Production, it is not an indication that you should try to Copyright/Trademark your work as this is not possible for a fan film made by using the Star Trek IP.

Before! you upload to YouTube I would strongly recommend you take the time to visit this page >

You will find important information such as:

What is a derivative work?

You need the copyright owner’s permission to create new works based on their original content. Derivative works may include sequels, translations, spin-offs, adaptations, etc. You’ll probably want to get legal advice from an expert before uploading videos that are based on the characters, storylines, and other elements of copyright-protected material.


Otherwise, you may end up seeing this image when you or others try to watch your film.


The other popular place for Fan Films to be uploaded to is Vimeo, like YouTube it has its own set of rules and regulations in regards to uploading videos and content. To view these click on the images to the left and it will take you to the different sections that will guide you further.


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The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One

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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, 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) 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…..


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!

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”

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:

  • 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



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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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: Continues – And We Say Goodbye….

So that’s a wrap…

After 3 Years, 9 Months, 20 Days, 23 Hours, 33 Minutes, 19 Seconds, Star Trek Continues has wrapped filming its last episodes and in a heartfelt message, STC actress Michele Specht posted this photo along with this message to her Facebook page today.

Here it is: The FINAL picture taken of our entire Star Trek Continues production team – during our final episode shoot. If you’ve seen our STC FB page, read our most recent newsletter, or seen the recent postings on this page, then you already know: STC has indeed been completed. We are wrapped. Our last 4 episodes have been shot, and are in post-production – and the link to Episode 8 will be emailed to IndieGoGo supporters at 12noon PST on April 1st, and then released online to the public on April 2nd! The other 3 will be released throughout the rest of this year.

I hope you can see how bittersweet this picture is… all these amazing people who were brought together because of Vic Mignogna’s dream and our mutual love of Star Trek, and became a family. I just realised… we started this process (building the sets, coordinating our team, etc) in 2012… So we indeed completed OUR five-year mission. WOW.

We are so very excited for you to see this amazing series come full circle… trust me, you will NOT be disappointed.

So what does this mean well simply that’s it they are done with their series, now I know a lot of people are going to cry foul and say this is all CBS’ fault for their Fan Film Guidelines, well nothing could be further from the truth.

In a blog posted on the STC website, they address this very issue with the following comment…

Weren’t you going to make 13 episodes? Did CBS make you stop?

“CBS is not responsible for the decision to end the series. We are doing 11 episodes instead of 13 because another fan group took advantage of the good graces of the copyright holders forcing them to protect their property and the interests of their license holders. In deference and gratitude to CBS, we are wrapping up earlier than planned. We always have stood, and continue to stand, with CBS.”

Please go to 

to see a complete list of their FAQ regarding the end of the series.

Therefore yes, unfortunately, it is indeed a sad day for the fans of one of if not the best Trek fan series to be made to date, but they have 4 episodes left to release with episode 8 being released in just over 2 weeks and then the rest released throughout 2017.

As Spock once said, “Change is the essential process of all existence.” Although this chapter in fan films is over and we say goodbye to some old friends, many doors old and new are opening and Star Trek Fan Films will continue to go boldly and keep pushing the envelope reaching new heights.

With many fan productions releasing new episodes and shorts in the coming year I am so excited to see what is coming, I have already seen snippets and early releases of what is in production and without spoiling things for you there is some AMAZING stuff coming. Yes! Star Trek Continues was one of a kind and in my eyes unique in terms of its production value and feel in recreating The Original Series, however, other productions are doing some fascinating stuff that I assure you with what they have planned they will fill this void.

Episode 8, “Still Treads the Shadow” will be released to Indiegogo backers on Saturday, April 1st at Noon PDT. It will be posted on YouTube and Vimeo for the public on Sunday, April 2nd at Noon PDT.

So mark your calendars, set your alarms and get ready to sit and watch what is certainly going to be a great episode.

In case you have missed their previous episodes here they are, sit back and enjoy….

  • E01 “Pilgrim of Eternity”

  • E02 “Lolani”

  • E03 “Fairest of Them All”

  • E04 “The White Iris”

  • E05 “Divided We Stand”

  • E06 “Come Not Between the Dragons”

  • E07 “Embracing the Winds”

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The Melbourne Files – Part Nine – Michael Sylvester

This week we wrap our current featured blog series about the fan film Melbourne by interviewing Michael Sylvester AKA Captain Nathan Cooper.

Michael, born on September 11th and has lived in Huntsville, AL since 1993. Is a keen photographer who owns his own company Michaels love for photography started when he was a child and has always dreamt of making a career out of his passion and it was in 2006 when he made that dream a reality.

Since 2006 Michael has enjoyed having his own business as a freelance photographer and has photographed over 100 weddings, over 200 Portraits, 3 military special events, 1 prom dance, 2 local parades, and around 50 non-profit events. In 2013 Michael found out that Star Trek: Renegades needed a photographer for its 3 weeks of filming in LA, he applied and landed a dream job as along with photography Star Trek is another huge passion of his.

Along with his job on the production of Renegades and his acting role on Melbourne Michael has also helped out other productions and was even an extra on the fan series “Starship Tristan”.

“I first met Michael online a few months before the first promenade-acon. He was so excited. I thought he was just another person. Had no idea that he was such an uber fan. But man, had a few phone calls with him and then meet him and I just clicked with him. He had such a warm personality to him, I invited him to the Melbourne dinner we all had that night after the event. As an honorary guest. I think it was a month later I gave him a guest role. He was just so excited, it was infectious. About a month before filming the captain we had planned, stepped away. And Michael had already memorised his lines. To Jeremy and me, it was a no-brainer. And our new captain was born. And honestly, as we were filming, I couldn’t see anyone else in that role. He had played it with such honesty. Hit every note we needed him to. The guy is such a great actor. He’s such a great friend. And he’s just an all out great person”

Vance Owen, Executive Producer, Melbourne.

James) Hi Michael, thank you for taking some time to answer some questions with me about you and your role in Melbourne.

 So let’s start with the obvious one tell me a bit about yourself.

Michael) Hi there, my name is Michael Scott Sylvester; I am 46 years old and live in Huntsville Ala.  I have been married for more than 10 years and been with her more than 20 years.

James) What do you do when you are not acting or helping out on fan films?

Michael) I am a photographer full time and deliver pizza for Domino’s part-time.

James) What are your likes and dislikes?

Michael) I love cheesecake, esp plain. I dislike people who have no respect for others or stuck up or judgmental.

James) Other than your obvious love for Star Trek, what TV shows do you watch?

Michael)  I love pretty much any kind of sci-fi shows, but I also love NCIS series, Bull, Scorpion, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow and Flash.  Arrow, hmmm, not sure about them.  But what they say is true and what they are going to do, then they will win me back.

James) I love the Dc Universe TV series although like you have yet to really follow Arrow, just seems a bit meh to me.

Are there any Star Trek Games you play?

Michael) I pretty much do not play Trek games, I know.  Many of my friends are shock by that.  But I do play Cards against Humanity card game.

James) Tell me a bit about your history with Star Trek what does Trek mean to you, did you grow up watching it or was it something you came across later in life?

Michael)  I remember when I was about 6 or 7 CBS was doing a marathon run on Star Trek and it was a Saturday night I think.  The very first episode I saw was Spock’s Brain.  I was hooked.  I forced myself to stay up all the way up to 7 am to watch them.

James) “Spocks Brain” lol sorry have to laugh if I saw that one as a starter episode I might have been put off, it is honestly one of the worst ones have seen.

Talking about best and worst Trek Episodes are there any you would run as your “favourite and your worst”?

Michael)  I know a lot of people call this one of the worst episodes ever made, but Spock Brain will always be my favourite because that was the very first one I had watched.

James) I get that I guess as the first Star Trek I ever saw was Search for Spock and that is one of my favourite films even though many tend not to like it, so do you have a worst Trek Episode?

Michael) As for what I think is the worst, wow that is pretty hard to choose.  I would have to say Enterprise season 4 Storm Front parts 1 and 2.  The travel back in time with the Xindi and World War 2, just did not like the story line and I was sitting there thinking, oh god, please do not let the rest of the season go like this.  Thankful they did not drag that storyline out.  Was happy the rest of the season got better.  I really did hate that they only had 4 seasons.  Wish they could have gone at least 2 or 3 more showing the building of the Federation, leading up to many of the things we see in TOS series.

James) That covers your favourite episodes, let’s swap that to series what would you class as your best and worst, starting obviously with your favourite series then your worst 😛


Favourite Series & Why?

My favourite series will have to be Voyager.  I love the fact that they were lost and trying to make their way home.  And the challenged of holding onto their standers of being Starfleet, humanity and spirit.  There were a lot of episodes where Janeway had to make some hard choices.  And I wonder, would I have done the same thing.

Worst Series & Why?

Worst series, okay this will not make sense at first, but Voyager.  LOL I know, I just said this was my favourite series, but there were some things in the show made me think what the frack was they thinking when they wrote this.  Chakotay and Seven Relationships was the big one.  Was not believable like Torres and Paris, they took their time building up their relationship.  Then there were a few episodes right after each other, where the main crew member let Janeway down and she was disappointed in them and hurt, would not be that bad if they spread that out some.  And seem a lot of the episodes mostly focused on Seven, which is really not a bad thing, but just seem like there was more of her story than the rest.

James) The whole Seven and Chakotay thing made me cringe like BIG time, I get the holodeck thing as she was experimenting but if you hold her up to his past flings its almost hey I know let’s just shove them together because “reasons” and I agree with the Tom and Torres thing it just was not believable I mean the untold love story of Neelix and Tuvok was more believable lol!!

So, Martin have you ever met any Trek actors in real life?

Martin) Well, that is funny that you asked that.

I had met Chase Masterson, Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, Robert Picador, Robert Beltram, Terry Farrell, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, I also got to meet Clint Carmichael who play the lead Nausicaan and the one who stabbed Picard from behind.  There a picture of him choking me on my facebook album.

And I have also met Mikki Val who been an extra in a few STNG, she is a wonderful dancer.

James) What Fan Films do you watch?

Martin) Too many to list,

James) Do you have a top 5?

Martin)  No top five, as long the story good and acting is decent I will watch.

James) Some people dislike Fan Films, are there any specific ones or type of fan films that just do not interest you?

Martin) Cannot get into the computer graphic fan films.  They just loose me.  I tried a few but… yeah had to click on something else.

James) The Last question in this section then moving on, to your experiences and history in filmmaking,  What are yours?

Best and worst parts of the Star Trek Fandom, any bad experiences?


Best – Watching something that fans that love the show and come together and do it.

Worst – Yeah, there was one, but not going into details about that.  Just I felt I got burned pretty badly and if they do another one, I am going to have a hard time supporting them.

James) WOW! That sounds bad and I won’t pry into it, So we will be moving on now…

What is your experience in Fan Films? – name the productions you have been in if possible. 

Martin) I had always love Fan films, esp. the Star Trek ones.  And as I had watched them, I kept telling myself, one day I will be in one myself.  I have been an extra for Starship Tristan with Randy Landers.  There was a lot of sitting around and waiting, but it was fun watching at the same time.  I hope to be able to go back and help out again.

James) What are you working on now?

Martin) Right now I am part of Shadowstorm Studio, involved with Melbourne.

James) Have you had any other experiences you’d like to share?

Martin)  I have done a few acting gigs here and there, not much; I have also done short videos including 2 music videos.  Had worked on a Zombie Music video, a horror short video which I got to play a victim and got eaten alive by three witches and I was the primary photographer for the first episode of Star Trek Renegades which is now Renegades the series.  But my main love is photography, but I am also hoping to get more involved with films also.

James) When you think about everything you have done and have planned how does it make you feel, do you ever just think oooh hold up it’s too much I need to slow down?

Martin) Sometimes it can get overwhelming with so much going on if you are not careful you can burn out and not know which way is up.

Right now I am working on interview videos myself I have done, working on Melbourne cards, working on a theme shoot script coming up next year.  Have a convention coming up in March I am preparing for and have 2 weddings and a few photo shoots photos I need to go through. An Alice in Wonderland music Video, which we just go done filming last week for this young lady 15th birthday.  So I am the one who video, edit, produce and direct it.  Which, those are getting done first.  They paid money.

James) Erm, ok that sounds like a LOT of work planned and I have enough stress just planning everything I need to in real life and maintaining TFP lol,

How would you say your viewpoint on filmmaking has changed in the last 18months if it has, is there anything you have become to love more than you thought you would.

Martin) I am really starting to enjoy the filming aspect and loved been behind the camera, but something happens I got to be in front of the camera with a part and now starting to think, hey I like this

Now I want to do more.  Acting, I can see myself laying down the camera and getting the front of it now.  And I really do hope it does not end with Melbourne because we are only doing so many episodes.

James) What has made you want to act more?

Martin) That first moment when I said my first lines, I knew this is what I really want to do and love just as much as photography.

James) What would you say grabs your attention when reading a script?

Martin) The story has to be great and grabs my attention. If the story is not that good, then I really cannot get into it.  Also when you have a director listen to your ideas even if they might not agree, but they listen.

James) What are you currently working on?

Martin) Right now I have a lot on my plate with my photography business.  This year I am doing at least 6 different conventions.

James ) Do you work in multiple areas: film, television, web, or are you focused in one area?

Martin) I was the primary photographer for the first Star Trek Renegades and I love being on set.  I hope to be able to do something like this again, rather been the photographer or in front of the camera.

James) How easy has it been for you to move between areas like acting, directing etc?

Martin) Not hard at all, Esp. when you love something.

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?

Martin) Had really never thought about it that much.  About 10 years ago I had a chance to perform with Richard Hatch in one of his classes and after the end of the class he came up to me and said I really surprised him that I should look into acting.

I never really gave it that much thought before till Vance and Jeremy asked me to be the Captain of the Melbourne.

James) I am going to fire some questions at you and I want you to just say the first thing that comes to about it…

Martin) OK  :-?

James) When did you first realise that you wanted to Act

Martin) The first day in Melbourne

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

Martin) Helping telling a story

James) What parts of Acting do you not enjoy?

Martin) Have not had one yet.

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

Martin) I can be anyone and not be myself.

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

Martin) Sometimes finding that moment that the producer or director is looking for.

James) Do any famous actors inspire you?

Martin) Too many to list but on top, Robin Williams.

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

Martin)  So far Nathan T Cooper, but hoping there will be more in the future.

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

Martin)  LOL Nathan T Cooper is the only one so far.  Because it is not me, I am someone different.

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

Martin)  Be more like hating him in the first film.

James) How is this role like you is it similar of different?

Martin) He cares for his crew and his friends just as I care for my friends and family

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

Martin)  Wow, either one is easy

James) What do you love about this character?

Martin)  I will get to see him grow and become a great Captain.  Well, I hope he does.

James) What do you hate about this character?

Martin) Oh watch the first film, you will see.  LOL

James) What is the biggest challenge about taking on this role?

Martin) Becoming a jerk.

James) Besides yourself, what celebrity would you like to see tackle this character?

Martin) John Barrowman.

James) Without giving anything away, what is your favourite line of dialogue?

Martin) That piece of junk… all I am going to say.

James) Besides you, which actor in this production is going to blow people away?

Martin) Wow, there are a few and some we really have not seen yet.

James) If you could play any other character on this show, who would it be?

Martin) The Doctor.

James) What makes a good scene partner?

Martin) How we play off each other.

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

Martin) Have not gotten to that step yet.

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

Martin) The flow of the story and needs to make sense.

James) What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?

Martin) Nothing really comes to mind right now, mostly have watched for just the entertainment part.  But now, when I watch a movie, tv show or fan film, I look at it in a whole new perspective.

James) How do you earn a living and sustain a career doing what you love?

Martin) I do photography and work for Domino’s delivering pizza.

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?

Martin) Oh yes, in fact, we do not have cable, everything is online we watch.

James) Have you ever had a time when you had to deal diplomatically with different personalities?

Martin) A wedding photographer, many many times.

James) When you get angry at a movie, 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?

Martin) When the writers have the actor or actress say or do something that is so stupid and make no sense at all.

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

Martin) Hmmm, I really do not know.  So far no problems getting started and no prob of keep going.

James) Thanks, I like that kind of questions it tends to reveal more than having time to think.

James) So I know you are keen on photography and that you took a role on Renegades tell me more. What exactly is the role of a Principal Photographer?

Martin) A principal or primary photographer is the one who does all the behind scene shot, promo shots of the stars.

James) What is your experience in Principal Photographer?

Martin) Work on Star Trek Renegades.

James) Describe what it is you look for when doing a photography shoot – Using Renegades as an example?  

Martin) The right moment when they are not paying attention and you capture that expression or look.

James) Apart from Renegades what other films have you been the Principal/Secondary Photographer? 

Martin) I have work on a few music video’s one with Santiago Carlos from Walking Dead.

James) Where did you study Photography or is this a hobby of yours?

Martin) Started off as a hobby than a business.

James) What is the key of lighting techniques and how to achieve them

Martin) When you are on set doing photos, sometimes flash can be a bad thing.

James) Moving on I would like to ask some more Melbourne-centric questions

Being an actor in Melbourne was this an easy task or did you find the role lead to many challenges in making things fit from script to film?

Martin) There were a few challenges but overall, I seem to fit right in for Cooper.

James) How would you describe your character in Melbourne?

Martin) I really do not know, but my character Nathan T Cooper, there is a whole back story that led him to where he is now and I hope to be able to do some flashback with this character before I get too old.

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

Martin) Watch a lot of Star Trek and BSG original and Stargate with O’Neil.

James) What other things did you find yourself doing on the set or after shooting Melbourne?

Martin) Mostly spent time on set and preparing for my scene.  But I do a lot of the Photoshop for the pictures that were taken.

James) With everything you have done in both Melbourne and your photography do you ever take a step back and appreciate what you have made thus far?

Martin) Well I have not seen any footage yet so I do not know yet, but I have with many of my photos I had taken.

James) As a standard question I ask everyone involved within the Fan Film community with the release of the “Fan Film Guidelines,” how did it make you feel when they came out?

Martin) Upset because I really wanted to do a full 30 min to 45-minute episodes, shoot I would have loved the last one we do be an hour long episode.

James) Do you think they are fair?

Martin) Some yes, some no.  Many of the rules have hurt so many fan films.  But at the same time, it is sad to see so many fan films stop and say no more.

James) Thanks, Martin, for your frank answers, ok well its time to wrap things up I guess, as we move into the last section, what advice would you give to someone who wants to?


Martin) Do not over do it unless it calls for that, just be normal, if that is possible.

James) Make/Star in their own (fan) film

Martin) Do it do it, then sends me a link or shoot me a message.  If possible would love to see or be involved.

James) Co-Produce

Martin) Be careful what you ask for,  LOL

James) Become a Principal Photographer

Martin) Be sure to listen to the director and be on hand and ready to at that moment.

James) Ok well I guess that’s it but 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)

Martin) The good part, something you can sit back with your friends and family and enjoy have a good laugh doing it and be proud of it.  No matter how the sets look, just make sure the story flows and not jumping everywhere.

Martin) The bad part, if this is your project, listen to people but you have the final say and some will not agree with you.

I think we have lost a lot of good stories out there because of the new rules.  I am hoping before we finish our 6 film episode the rules will change. 

James) Thanks Martin for your time. 

Well there we go folks, we have come to the end of the run of the Melbourne files, we did miss out some crew members that could not free up time to sit and chat with me so we will! Revisit this series when I can pin them down for an hour and get them to answer some questions about Melbourne for me. 

Until then I wish to Thank! The cast and crew of Melbourne for being some of the nicest people I have had the opportunity to talk with. 

Our next featured blog series starts in April and it is a ten-part series based on the Fan Film Guidelines, trust me it is not going to be boring and it is going to open a lot! of eyes. 

As always 

LLAP everyone.

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Engage Podcast With John Van Citters – The Fan Film Guidelines

This is a work in progress and has taken me well over 25 hours to transcribe and triple check, however, If you find anything completely out of place, then please let me know and I will amend as soon as possible.

My aim here is to make sure that EVERYONE has access to the podcast even if you do not want to listen to it.

John is a great man and he is here to help US! all make the best fan films we can make and in this podcast is shows just how much he cares.

To listen to the podcast click <> HERE <> go to  Episode 5: About Those Fan Film Guidelines… June 28, 2016

If you do not fancy listening to it then read the transcript and enjoy.

Key Time Indexes



Jordan {}

I am your host Jordan Hoffman and with me, today back in the booth is Brian who is not his usual post we are not on deck 44 today we’re on deck 46 today for a very special episode of engage the official Star Trek podcast. big news in Star Trek vile last week as even this morning big news Rihanna is doing a song for the soundtrack to Star Trek beyond and it is not called “Targ better have my Latinum” that’s a joke if you like Star Trek jokes it’s not called that it’s called sledgehammer and it’s a song that I heard actually I didn’t even really get a chance to hear because I’ve been very busy because it’s a big week and Star Trek and I want to cut right down to it we have a guest today very special guests fellow by the name of {JVC} John Van Citters in Los Angeles who’s beaming in on subspace so the reason we’ve got John here is this and this is no secret anybody who’s following news uh this week for the first time ever Star Trek has released “Guidelines” for fan films some of you listening know exactly what I’m talking about and some people might say what the heck is a fan film and why the heck do we need Guidelines.

Time Index – 00:02:15

{} Jordan {}

Well a fan films what it sounds like fan fiction but filmed or in this case videotape and how to do it the right way but why does it need to be a right way the wrong way well as a fan myself and someone who you know I’m not an employee of CBS technically and you know I enjoy looking at when I go to conventions the most fun thing I see our when people dress up in costumes they create a character either one out of their own head or they create the most lifelike Cardassian costume I’ve ever seen it’s the most exciting thing that I see I think we all know that what we love about Star Trek is the is the enthusiasm of the fans but there was a situation recently that is not a secret that is an ongoing litigation that’s happening right now between Star Trek and a particular fan production since it is ongoing litigation and I am not privy to those facts I don’t know anything about it on of a kind of granular level so to speak but I do know that it put a us! In a place that isn’t too isn’t the greatest in terms of being a Star Trek fan it’s not cool to have Star Trek and lawsuits in the same breath and what we’ve got now is a situation that I think is really terrific John and his group in LA have created a set of Guidelines that I think will prevent this from ever happening again and in time when the dust settles we were recognized that this is actually a fantastic thing that’s happened for fans and for fan films and for creativity and for Star Trek now when everybody anybody hears the rules they call man rules who wants rules I don’t want rules so initially there may be some scepticism frankly when I first read the rules I was like I have that one of the lake sense and where everyone doesn’t make sense but I had a conversation with John and John shed some light on it so I’m just kind of a neutral party here I don’t make Star Trek fan films you do what you got to do but I said to myself I think will be really great if John can come on this show and sort of explain what went into making these guidelines more than just you know putting up a blog post and having these guidelines be out there some thought that went behind each one explain them a little more nuanced into the conversation and then I think you’re going to come away with more of an understanding of went behind making these guidelines and that is what I wanted to do today so that’s what’s going to happen John are you out there.

{} JVC {} I’m here

{} Jordan {}

Awesome John is you prepared to discuss this

Time Index – 00:05:07

{} JVC {}

I’m definitely prepared to discuss this

{} Jordan {}

You were born prepared But before you do that who the heck are you John people know who I on the loud mouth behind the podcast who is John Van Citters what makes him tick what makes his warp core engine what makes the intermix chamber in his warp core engine overheat tell us a little bit about yourself

{} JVC {}

You’re pushing really hard for the metaphor there

{} Jordan {} I know I know

Time Index – 00:05:35 – WHO IS JOHN VAN CITTERS

{} JVC {}

Who am I, I’m pretty much a lifelong Star Trek fan who is lucky enough to have what I consider to be about the greatest job in the world. I’ve been around long enough to remember Star Trek when it was on prime time I very faint distant memories of that time I grew up in the seventies coming home after school and watching it I in the afternoons very angry when you know “Turnabout Intruder” was invariably on or “The Alternative Factor” and not “Mirror Mirror” “Amok Time” were not even more upset when the local TV affiliate decided to take it off in the afternoons

{} Jordan {}

Is it “Amok Time” or “Amok Time?”

{] JVC {}

It’s whatever the individual fan wishes to say it is what I’ve figured out over the years

{] Jordan {}

But like you know you don’t get it I was watching “Corbomite Manoeuvre” the other day and he says this is bear lock and then McCoy comes on the bridge and he says Balok message was heard all throughout the ship he just said Balok seconds ago and now he said, Balok.

{} JVC {}

But is not what’s great about Star Trek is there’s all these little idiosyncrasies where you know I mean or

{} Jordan {}

Opening scene of Wrath of Khan he says this is the Kobayashi Maru emphasis on MA! two seconds later Saavik says Kobayashi Maru what’s going on there if we can get that setup how we nowhere

{} JVC {}

literally in the original series I could never decide if it was screens or shields that they were raising a all of that’s great you know Ii love Star Trek growing up I getting you know Bjo Trimble’s Concordance the Franz Joseph’s Technical Manuals and Enterprise blueprints and those things just like absolutely hooked me on Star Trek having to stay up late to see it at on Friday and Saturday nights after the local news when they when they took it off the airing the afternoons was terrible because then if I missed an episode that I hadn’t seen yet or really wanted to see it could be a year before I’d see it again if not years depending on how schedules ran this is there was no streaming there was no there were no video tapes at that time it was it was it was a terribly dark time.

{} Jordan {}

Sounds like our it was a horror

{} JVC {}

It was a horror you’re much younger so you didn’t have to face the same horrors that I did

{} Jordan {}

Well maybe that’s true maybe that’s true

Time Index – 00:08:13

{} JVC {}

But ultimately I was lucky enough to get which you know you asked me who I am and what I do I’m vice president of product development for CBS I’m we do the licensing for Star Trek and I’ve been lucky enough to be doing that first for Paramount and then with CBS for almost 18 years now I’ve had an incredible amount of opportunity to work with anything and everything related to Star Trek and it’s been a spectacular ride but at the at the base of it all I’m a fan I’m a huge huge fan of Star Trek I’m thrilled today that I get to be here talking about Star Trek and someone will actually listen to what I’m saying about Star Trek which is pretty cool because most of the time my wife my kids will just kind of roll their eyes when I Started on it and I don’t blame them but it’s terrific so that’s you know a little bit about Who I am and

{} Jordan {}

I but it wasn’t you went into life thing I want to work for Star Trek you were working in business and it sort of just it was like those time Eddie’s in “City on the Edge of Forever” it was like a natural thing that had to happen it was it was bringing you to Star Trek was not just the guy

{} JVC {}

I spent most of my career before Star Trek working in the music industry and then immediately before getting hired at Paramount I had worked editing sales collateral materials for a large medical insurance company that was not quite as much fun to it was close

{} Jordan {}

Not the tricorder but something much less alright so I and you say you done this for 18 years now

{} JVC {}

Almost 18 years yes my I’ll hit 18 years this November

{} Jordan {}

And you’ve been involved so what is a day to day I mean I sort of know this because of my you know I’ve known you for a little while but beat your position is you’ve got your fingers in a little bit of everything if there’s a new Star Trek book I like a novel or one of the fun books like we have with Rob Portman last week or the comics I mean you are not involved so much as well you tell me how does your interaction what it was how would you describe what it is what you do that sort of involved in all these products as well as the toys and you know Pizza cutters and things like that what.

{} JVC {}

The thing that I really love about the job is that there are absolutely no two days that are alike in years I’ve never been over into a recording studio at CBS  to do a podcast this is a brand-new interesting day for me I some days I am sitting at a desk looking at a ton of t-shirt designs and cell phone cases and mugs and things like that there are other days where I get to do some pretty amazing things and it’s an incredible honour to do  day when Alan Dean Foster was working on the novelization of “Star Trek Into Darkness” was his chauffeur in LA and got to pick him up at the airport and take him over to bad robot where he got seen early cut of the movie and I had breakfast with them and talked a lot about his work over the years and it was it was just an incredible day to get to speak to an author of that magnitude about his work and how he approaches everything.

{} Jordan {}

And there is a so Star Trek of the will license itself out to people who are making official toys official costumes and your job to a certain extent is some of this is a once a quality control but you’re just kind of making sure that things are it true to the Star Trek vibe and you gave me an example and kind of leads to what we’re going to talk about with fan films of a time when you were reading some books a book proposal and you had to step in and say no that’s not what Wesley Crusher does no that’s not what you know it’s um it’s um you people who’s in charge of making sure well actors.

{} JVC {} – Nb: Example of Guideline 7 

Let’s be clear part of part of what I do on a day-to-day basis is exercised my childhood demons in the fact that in the nineteen seventies you couldn’t get a decent phaser toy I something that looked like a pistol and shot little plastic discs was not really inappropriate phaser in my mind so now I get to get to play a role in correcting that and that’s amazing but yes I definitely do I essentially quality control for Star Trek trying to make sure that things are appropriate to Star Trek and appropriate to the universe as well as not reflecting badly on Star Trek and the creation that we all love that you know what Gene Roddenberry set out to do and that so many other creators over the years have set up in the shows, the example that we have discussed was we had gotten a novel and in that novel there was a scene where you had Wesley Crusher with his new found traveller powers getting very angry with someone and actually reaching into their chests and pulling out their still-beating heart that’s not really in character for Wesley.

{} Jordan {}

It’s got your rainbow sweater minute messy

{} JVC {}

it will it’ll stain it’s kind of like gravy it doesn’t come out so easy but that’s it that’s not appropriate to the character you do something like that in and it becomes very hard to redeem who that is so we want to make sure that we ‘re working with the licensees and in this case with the with the authors and everything else do okay why are you approaching it this way that’s not really appropriate for the character what can we do to alter that and not impact the story are trying to tell negatively but also not negatively impact the characters that are absolutely beloved by people all over the world.

{} Jordan {}

right right which leads us to the point of things fan films, what you’re talking about is officially licensed quote unquote work somebody out there that wants to do the Wesley Crusher story their way he had nothing to do with you guys that is a totally different ball of wax as they say well at my bag of self-sealing stem bolts so what I which leads us to guidelines for fan films I let’s just sort of cut to the chase and say why now and what is the impetus of putting up.

Time Index –00:15:01 – Why Guidelines – Why NOW!?

{} JVC {}

What we’ve seen an explosion of fan films in recent years and we know that these come from averting a place of a very deep love for Star Trek and the  technological advances that have happened in the last years have enabled fans to tell their stories with more ease and more detailing and do some really amazing things and for many years we’ve used a simple guideline both the CBS and Paramount and in you know cooperation on this which is as Star Trek fan film is a is a is a fan creation that’s non-commercial while we thought that this was simple enough and help filmmakers understand the separation that we need to keep between professional content and fan films it’s becoming increasingly clear that not everyone is understood where that line is between non-commercial and our professional efforts and we decided to issue a set of guidelines that that should help give some shape to this and standardize our approach and the approach that fans can take to non-commercial fan generated content.

Now I’ve seen some muttering online about this that the guidelines are you know how this is this is intended to end fan films that are not the case at all that’s not what we’re trying to do here they’re not intended and fan films but with the explosion of crowdfunding abuses have very definitely crept into the process for many it became more about the item that you were donating to get then it was about supporting a fan production for its own sake the production Started spiralling larger and larger there’s something of an arms race about how many Hollywood names could be attached how many people that have previously worked on Trek how many famous actors could you involve and that’s not really in the spirit of fan fiction, not the not the fan fiction that I grew up with and that many people I grew up with which was more.

{} Jordan {}

Would you say that it can even sort of creating a barrier of entry for people who wanted to?

{} JVC {}

I’ve spoken with some people in including some people that have been involved preferably with fan films that that it that it has created a bit of a barrier of entry to some people because they’re Star Trek fans all over the world and they don’t necessarily have the ability to access Hollywood actors and people, and even meet people that have worked on Trek unless they are able to travel to one of the larger conventions so for a lot of people they felt like well I, I can’t get at this actor that actor I can’t get these people to tell my story I don’t know if I should bother I because I just can’t compete on the level that these other guys are playing at and that’s that’s unfortunate because regardless of what someone else is doing I would think it  would be great for fans to show their  passion, however, that is,

At Star Trek  Star Trek Las Vegas in  the costume contest last year we  Started offering a you know different  levels for the for the costume contest  because there are a lot of people that  were intimidated by the amazing costumes  that you see in there like I don’t know  if I want to enter the costume contest  I’m just going to get killed by this guy  that’s been working on this Borg for 10 years,

{} Jordan {}

Right and what’s unfortunate is that sometimes some of the most creative ideas actually

{} JVC {}

They come from anywhere

{} Jordan {}

Right -they- I know the guy I know some of these Borgs  who come every year they’re amazing they  work in the garage a year and they are  absolutely remarkable and they have  discretionary income and they’ve got the  time and they make it and it’s beautiful  and then somebody will have a very sort  of ah fun metaphorical almost like Wow  why didn’t I think of that but very  simple costume and it’s not a level  playing field well I would not say a level playing field but  it’s great that you have the different  categories for those different  costumes

{} JVC {}

I’m going to go to the  Ratatouille card here since that’s one  of my favourite Pixar movies but the  idea that anyone can cook  that you can get great things from  any corner and I truly  believe that about Star Trek fandom  we’ve got fans all over the globe in  every corner that you can imagine and  they have some terrific ideas and inspirations I want to see more fans  involved and I think the guidelines that  we that we have will make it easier for  more people to enter it will make it  easier for more people to complete films  with the shorter length that’s involved and we won’t see things spiralling off into the direction of how  many cool t-shirts or ships or things like that can I get for donating instead  of donating just because this person has a great idea for a film and I want to  see that story on screen.

Time Index – 00:20:00

{} Jordan {}

So I’m before  we get into the nitty-gritty of some of  the questions uh some more sort of a  larger questions did you just how did  you decide on the specifics of the  guidelines  I mean I you know what went into making  it happen to be  so they do you want  to call them to ten commandments go  right ahead but when you when you came  down from the mountaintop you know how did how did coming up with these 10 work out

{} JVC {}

Well a lot of consideration when into this I know people are quick to believe that the this is something that was dashed off hastily but that’s not the case at all we’ve made an effort here to  ENCOURAGE FANS! and to provide an outlet  for fans and to do so in a way that also  doesn’t infringe on the copyrights of  Star Trek or directly compete with  the efforts of either Paramount or CBS  or the who do on the rights to Star Trek  and there’s also a great many people who  have worked on Star Trek over the  decades and they have a bit of a  that they’ve got a bit of a stake in all  of this as well I’m I’m incredibly  fortunate to be a part of this amazing  thing called Star Trek but the way I  approach it that’s it I’m a caretaker as  long as I’m in the position it’s my job  to work  with Star Trek and trying every single  day to leave it a little bit better than  I found it when I took over and if I can add the legacy of Star Trek and even a  small way that’s something I’m  incredibly proud of and that’s  the way so many people that have worked  on Star Trek over the years and so many  of these amazing people that I’ve been  able to work with on different things  whether it’s the Mike and Denise Okuda on  the Star Trek encyclopaedia or Rick  Sternbach on tech manuals and things  like that it’s just an amazing  opportunity for all of us to try and  create something that goes beyond what  we see on the show but we all feel an  incredible responsibility to represent Star Trek properly and like I said to  leave it better than then we found it

Fanfiction, Fan Productions  they may involve incredibly complex  issues so are our discussions and in  getting to this involved people in a  number of areas it both Paramount and  CBS we both have a stake in Star Trek  how it’s presented and we have  obligations both to the fans as well as  to the company to protect the value of Star Trek and preserve the  value of Star Trek for future  generations and keep that value as  high as possible so that enables us to do things like this amazing new show  that’s coming from Bryan Fuller I  can’t even tell you how thrilled I am  about what’s in the works for that and a  lot of emphasis for this frankly came  from what we’ve seen happening with fan  films in recent years and it what we felt needed to be done in order to protect fan films for the long term and  that seems a little counterintuitive  that putting some form of what people  are considering to be restrictions on  fan creativity but it’s  something that needed to be done in order to cure some abuses that are that have been out there and to kind of  refocus this around the fan experience and around creating more stories rather than this kind of arms race about talent and fundraising

{} Jordan {}

And budget  also in the been sort of bloat if you  will about a project that goes you know  just keeps it keeps raising money keeps  raising money and never actually gets  anywhere  um yeah I know you’re a CBS employee so  you can’t comment on this but from my  point of view there are other franchises  that there are very few franchises  there’s  only two now franchises that have any  sort of guidelines in Star Wars and Star  Trek

{} JVC {}

That’s Correct

{} Jordan {} – {Star Wars Fan Contest} 

if um if you want to make a Batman film you can do it and put it online either know and what will happen is you either nobody will say anything or if it goes too far you’ll get a cease and desist from whoever owned the IP that or whatever it is and it’s kind of the wild west with Star Wars there is something called the FAN FILM CONTEST and they do have limitations and restrictions that as far as far as I can see are significantly!  Less lenient than the guidelines that you’ve positioned is that is that fair to say

Full Star Wars Rules can be found in this PDF > starwarsawardrules <

{} JVC {}

That is a is a fair thing to  say the “Star Wars Fan Film Awards”, the fan film contest limits the film to 5 minutes or under that certainly makes the dealing with the judging in a  contest and everything else far far easier to do I and there are a lot of restrictions in what you can do with  the film and in who can work on the film  etc what we’re doing is trying to  create a set of guidelines that are out  there and enable people to know if we stick within these we’re in not we’re  not going to hear from CBS we’re not  going to hear from Paramount we have  nothing to worry about.

{} Jordan {}

Would you correct me if I’m wrong like I  said earlier the last thing that you  guys want to do is get involved in any  litigation with any fan film

Time Index – 00:25:40

{} JVC {}

We  absolutely consider a lawsuit to be our  last resort that’s the last thing that we ever want to get into  that’s it’s definitely not where we want  to hit it at

Time Index – 00:26:02 – NOT removing old films

{} Jordan {}

So a couple of questions  that I got via Facebook when I mentioned  that we will be talking to you and I  just sort of that particular thing and  I’m going to try to answer them and you  tell me if I’m right or wrong number one  was the most common question was there are a lot of fan films that are out  there that do not meet the current guidelines they already exist there on  the internet people like them are you  going to chase them down and tell them  to remove from the internet.

{} JVC {}

Absolutely not!

{} Jordan {}

OK that answers at least fifty percent of all the questions I’ve got and they have named my name if you want you can even you know what these are

Time index – 00:26:30

{} JVC {}

Fan films that are already out there and there’s a long and rich history of Star Trek fan productions  we’re not then there’s definitely ones  that exceed the length requirement and  exceed do you know requirement of  you know not having professional Trek actors and things like that those are those were not going and chasing things  down retroactively we’re not going to  be contacting  YouTube or internet service providers and trying to you know  scrub the internet of the fan Star Trek  that is not the intent of this anything  that is already out there will remain  out there we have no intention of taking  anything down.

{} Jordan {}

While we’re going through  questions here John uh two quickies there was a guy who  contacted me again there everybody’s got  like these weird little I situations but  then one first person who did a fan film years ago and he just remastered it and he raised money but it’s longer than 30 minutes and it was just about to put  it online and now he’s worried that he  won’t be in compliance is this somebody  who needs to worry or this one’s you  know

Time Index – 00:27:30 – Active from June 2016 only!

{} JVC {}

These guidelines are meant for films on an on a going forward basis I if this is a film that’s already been existence before the fact that he’s you know remastering it to it to repost it in better quality that’s  not an issue for us.

{} Jordan {}

OK that’s what I figured now also let’s say somebody raises their money big follow the rules they shoot it they cut it they got it ready to go there are about to put it up on streaming platform do they contact you to view and send for review or, no I mean they just do it and I mean you’re not reviewing each of these are you?

Time Index – 00:28:10 – CBS are not reviewing fan films.

{} JVC {}

NO where we’re not reviewing your script we’re no reviewing your ideas were not reviewing your casting we’re not reviewing your creativity if you are done with your film and you feel if it’s within the guidelines and you’re happy with where it’s at and you have no more editing tweaks to make on it please by all means get out there to your public when your film is done your films done we don’t we don’t need to have you send it in and have us look at it  and make sure every element that you’ve  done it’s like Oh what do you do for that phaser yeah we’re not looking to micromanage what you do.

{} Jordan {}

So if somebody makes a new film and is in compliance with the guidelines put it online they will never hear from you if they’re  doing it right the only thing they’ll  hear from you is if you love it and say oh my god that was a great episode.

Time Index – 00:29.03

{} JVC {}

If they do it great they may hear from us and like a that was awesome but now I’m

{} Jordan {}

But they don’t hear that they shouldn’t feel offended

{} JVC {}

The idea is to make this simple and seamless

{} Jordan {}

Some of  those bigger productions a handful of them I have been in touch with them and without getting into the specifics about what they’re sort of forwarding plans are it’s not like you’re springing  a surprise on them nor they spring a  surprise on you is that correct

Time Index – 00:29:30 – Case by Case Basis.

{} JVC {}

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.

Time Index – 00:30:55

{} Jordan {}

I mean there’s even one there’s one particular production that people really like that they are on there you know changing things in order to keep going but to be in compliance with the guidelines changing names changing you know titles things of that nature is that fair to say.

{} JVC {}

Yeah over the weekend I saw reports that Star Trek Renegades had opted instead to a shifting course from what they  were doing and turn their turn  their plant film into their own a unique  in original direction and try and sort  of spinoff from what they had  originally created into their own unique  and original IP I that’s great I  encourage fans also to you know to express  their love for Star Trek by you  know creating their own worlds I think  that’s a terrific thing to do  I bend and ultimately much easier for them.

{} Jordan {}

Well, when George Lucas couldn’t get a really good Flash Gordon he made Star Wars right.

{} JVC {}

Absolutely and there’s a whole lot less cannon that you have to worry about that we’re now isn’t there a few creating your own.

{} Jordan {}

Which is not to say that is what if you want to do your own 15 minute thing God bless but if you want to do something else that but we don’t you talk about encouraging fans and I know that this you can’t get too specific about it but can you talk a little bit about what you’ve done with fans with regard to artwork and fiction.

Time Index – 00:32:27

{} JVC {}

What well what  yeah any you know it’s easy to  think that Star Trek is lately as is all  you know in terms of fan initiatives is all about fan films and that’s not it at all we’ve long encouraged fan creativity and in fan participation and Star Trek it gives that fan fiction gives  room for a lot of amateur voices to  express themselves through Star  Trek we’ve done that in a variety of  formats over the years we’ve had the “Strange New Worlds” fan fiction contest  with Simon & Schuster which we initiated  bringing back for the 50th Anniversary  and just announced the winners of  that recently two years ago we had a fan  art contest for our ships of the line  calendar now we didn’t run the contest  where it’s been  we’re going to turn over one image of  one month of the calendar to one winner  we turned the entire calendar over to  fan artwork and every image that’s in  it was created by a fan  we’ve had multiple contest to design Star Trek ships that have created  memorable designs both for Simon &  Schuster and in terms of the design of  the USS Titan and for the Enterprise F  that’s been featured in Star Trek online  and we got some amazing work for  that and what’s great about it is we’ve  discovered some new talent we could  have easily gone two very talented ship designers that we know Rick Sternbach and John Eaves and Doug Drexler and  they could whip something out easily but  we thought with those things wouldn’t be  great have a fan have the opportunity to  do this and we got some you know  different looks at things and I’m  incredibly proud of that record and  let’s not forget some Star Trek  was the last show in Hollywood that  still had an open script submission  policy even while I was still at the  studio anybody could send in a spec script and it would get read and it would  get evaluated and people had an opportunity to have their voice heard  and get consideration and that’s  an amazing thing about Star Trek.

Time Index – 00:34:44- Audio Dramas

{} Jordan {}

Another question that I got which I think the answer is pretty straightforward is somebody was saying well we’re recording on a long form radio play do they count or is it film only I think the answer is no right?

{} JVC {}

no if it’s an audio drama they definitely do not qualify under this these are fan film guidelines and films only but that does include also animation anything visual yes

{} Jordan {}

Yeah I think there was some confusion about that

{} Jordan {}

Yeah if it’s a visual representation of Star Trek that way that would that would qualify as a film animation computer animation etc

Time Index – 00:35:30 – Time Length 3

{} 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 I  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 their guidelines I 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  minutes  and  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 where we don’t want to get  involved in your script choices your costume choices

Time Index – 00:35:45 – license

{} Jordan {}

You’re coz you’re not licensing these things are unlicensed things it’s it’s up to the individual but these are guidelines

{} JVC {}

But we what we’re  asking for here honestly is we’re  asking for a level of cooperation from fandom themselves we-we have, I have responsibility everyday with  what comes across my desk to to look at  it and make sure that it properly  respect Star Trek that are properly pays  tribute to Star Trek that it properly  represents what people love about Star  Trek and what we feel very much that  that is what fans need to do with these  films that are a responsibility that we  that we all share in and as long as you’re representing Star Trek  appropriately and you’re doing it within  these guidelines where there are no issues  whatsoever

Time Index – 00:37:42

{} Jordan {}

A couple of other a key questions that came up a lot I don’t know I forgot myself I’m yes ok the money the dough right love this comes down a dough grand is the amount of the limit for raising money over you know these crowdsourcing platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter if you have a rich uncle and that rich uncle wants to give you a million dollars that’s not what you’re talking about here you’re talking about raising money over crowdsourcing is that correct?

Time Index – 00:38:12

{} JVC {}

We’re specifically talking about crowdfunding campaigns if you’ve got you know a rich Uncle Alfred who wants to you know throw  two hundred thousand dollars at you, it’s  like we’re not we’re not looking  we’re not looking at that where-where  we’ve seen problems creep in is with  large large crowdfunding campaigns with  a great deal of rewards involved in it  to where people are like donating the  money because they’re going to get a  cool piece of merchandise rather than  because they want to support a really  cool fan project

{} Jordan {}

right right and so  that’s where the number comes in because  that’s the number that you feel once it  reaches that threshold after that it Starts getting a little weird and the  producers Starts

{} JVC {}

It does and also I feel you  know strongly $50.00, where you’re  talking about  minutes should be able  to go fairly far all of this is definitely a conversation we hope  that we hope very much that this helps  kind of settle things with Star Trek fan  films that provide some clarity for  everybody and that we can see what is  working and what’s not working in and we  can we can we can follow up accordingly  with that I where WERE NOT! ISSUING THESE AS YOU KNOW FAN FILM LAWS these are  fan film GUIDELINES and when we want  people very much to operate within these  and respect both us and-and Star Trek as a whole  $50.000, over 15 minutes when people have  been used to seeing you know eighty thousand dollars spent  for a 45 minute episode or a hundred thousand dollars or a hundred fifty thousand dollars spent it to create  something much longer, for 15  minutes should go pretty far we’ve seen  we’ve seen some astonishing creativity  for even less money than this from  fan groups and I think this gives a target I know for Star Wars for anything I believe in their contest rules they don’t provide any guidance on money and for anything unofficial I believe they’ve said publicly that crowdfunding is forbidden we are  specifically allowing $50.000, of  crowdfunding

{} Jordan {}

Right right and that’s and then there’s also its 15 minutes and there is the option to do a part 2 if that’s the way if you must do that you have the option but that’s another that’s part of the 50.000, correct?

{} JVC {}

I believe 50.000, is available PER! 15 minutes

Time Index – 00:41:06 – Making or buying props

{} Jordan {}

OH OK now I the other thing that brought  up a lot of questions was regarding  costumes props and weapons things of  that nature that there’s  one of the guidelines states don’t have the  exact word in front of me I you know if  it is available through our license licensees the Licensors  then you know use that one

{} JVC {}

This is definitely an area of big big misconception

{} Jordan {}

Right because I was like hey if I want to make my own tricorder out of macaroni what the heck man I can do that right?

{} JVC {}

Jordan you are now committed to making a tricorder out of macaroni just so I can see it

{} Jordan {}

So can you can you shed a little light on that because that one did lead to some questions and I get it now you wake up you know Anovos one of your license makes gorgeous costumes but if somebody wants to make their own what do they do?

{} JVC {}

THEY MAKE THEIR OWN  Anovos is a is a terrific example  because this is a this is a company that  was Started by a couple of fans who did not yet even have an operating business  who did not yet have a license from  anybody else who came to us with a presentation and a plan and some samples of the quality of work that they felt  they could do and they have created a  business after that we looked at it  we were like yes let’s try this  they came out of fan ranks and they have spent over the years being a Star Trek license tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands of dollars at this point in development for their products they make exceptionally good quality stuff that looks screen accurate  that that wears well that is nicely  tailored and you’ve seen the stuff at  conventions it looks amazing but so out of support for Star Trek we would ask people that if you are doing the fan film that you not purchase stuff from unlicensed bootleg operators who do not help support official Star Trek in and create a climate where we can get more Star Trek so we’re asking that if we have stuff commercially available that  you consider using that on your on your projects we do have great quality stuff available from vendors like Anovos from QMX  etc and we  would like you to respect that and support their investment into Star Trek and dedication to Star Trek many times their materials are going to be a perfect fit and provide a great and very accurate shortcut for you but we’re not  looking to inhabit fan creativity we’re not looking to limit what you can do on  your episode like well they don’t have an officially licensed original series silver Lemay environmental suits so what do I do? I guess I have to cut that from my story know what you have to do then  is get our somebody who’s really  talented they can make one and  that’s fine we’re not looking to inhibit  that we’re not looking to get rid of the DIY ethic of Star Trek fans

{} Jordan {}

And correctly wrong and then once you’ve made it you’re hoping that the person is not going to turn around and sell it as a perk in there

{} JVC {}

Well yes where were we were hoping  people aren’t going to decide hey I did  a really good job making that I’m going  to go into business I doing that but I  completely get that when I was a kid and 10 years old  11 years old and I’d see a  Star Trek episode with a really cool  thing in and I’d be digging through everything in the house and like now here’s an old wrapping paper tube if I  take that in this coat hanger and this  cut out this piece of cardboard and  spray paint it silver what can it can I  make this thing that I saw in the  episode and I get that that’s part  of the fun of Star Trek that you were  talking about the costuming that you see  at these conventions where you see if  people showing up as the crystalline  entity and that that’s amazing and  that’s wonderful  and by all means please keep that  part of Star Trek going we’re not trying  to inhibit that if there is the  opportunity to use official merchandise  we would ask the fans help support the  franchise that they love so much.


Time Index – 00:46:00 – Axanar and Time Length 2

{} Jordan {}

So now that these guidelines are out there a question some people want to know is does this mean that the litigation that’s  currently undergoing with the project known as AXANAR are is that done is the suit OR are these two things that are not connected?

{} JVC {}

These are these are two things that are separate as of right now the suit is active and I can’t comment on pending litigation that’s not appropriate I can confirm that we’re continuing to  discuss settlement with the people  behind acts and are the fan film guidelines are a separate issue it is  something that different fan groups have  approached us about and asked us for  over the years and we have provided that  right, provided that now this is an effort to give fans the clearest picture of a framework for fan fiction films separate from the litigation it’s something we’ve, I’ve been working on in aspect or another for some time I first Started  thinking about it and

what could  happen how could it work where we can  try and bring fan films into the fold in  a more official basis and we’ve  done that were the first media company  to do that they’re there is the fan film contest there have been rules in the  past that have only covered parody and  satire that’s not the type of  storytelling that Star Trek fans want to  do they don’t they  you know it’s fun to poke some fun at certain tropes from Star Trek but Star Trek fans want to celebrate they  want to extend that universe they want to tell their own stories in it and we  don’t want to we don’t want to limit it that way we want to provide basic a basic framework that says here’s what  you can do to keep yourself  as a non-commercial entity and uh respect Star Trek in the professional Star Trek that we are working on and be able to have hopefully a great deal of fun I think I think that you know  I’ve heard from a lot of people and seeing a lot of chatter online in recent days about the length  guideline and people feeling that that  is untenable and that they can’t tell  the Star Trek story in 15  minutes or 30 minutes  I think that’s a bit insulting to Star Trek and the creativity of the fans that  I’ve mountains to some of the fan filmmakers I’ve met the idea that that Star Trek is capable of only telling one type  or length of a story that that’s  kind of ludicrous there are there are dozens of winners of the “Strange New Worlds” fiction contest over the years  that would disagree since that’s a short  story contest we have fiction writers  that write epic multipart books and we  have fiction writers that write shorter  simpler eBook novellas in the comics we have an incredibly tight canvas to work with we’ve got  pages and we’re just sitting in word balloons right around   pages of artwork there’s not that much that that is that is on the pages and it  takes a great deal of editing and focus on what story you’re telling  in order to do that but it’s it’s very possible and Mike Johnson  and Scott and David Tipton and others that we’ve had working on the  comics have done a masterful job of that

Time index – 00:49:36 – Rule about family friendly

{} Jordan {}

There’s a guideline in there that says it’s the only one that talks about like what the create the creative angle and says that you don’t want anyone depicting illegal or illicit behaviour drug use so you know deviant sexual activity etc but the show you know the show does the show was pushed envelopes over the years the characters go to interesting places I mean you know “In the Pale Moonlight – Captain Sisko”

{} JVC {}

That’s pretty dark

{} Jordan {}

One could argue he would say the end justifies the means in certain cases and maybe you complicit in the murder of a Romulan I mean

{} JVC {}

That’s that one of my favourite Star Trek episodes you’re absolutely right and there’s you know  there’s there some episodes that talk about genocide you know there’s a  heavy-duty stuff on Star Trek so what can you shed a little light on that  guideline because that seems to perhaps be a little contradictory

{} JVC {}

Yeah it on  its surface it is but again this is a guideline this is this is not this is  not the hand of Q coming down and in and dictating what you can do in your story  and you have to submit it and we’re going to you know send it through standards and practices and make sure that everything complies perfectly where  were we are not looking to do that where we’re not looking to get in your  business creatively Star Trek is absolutely depicted things like that  this is intended as a guideline that’s also intended as a means to protect us  and to protect Star Trek from things that are that are that are not appropriate for it or not good for it I part of what made Star Trek successful is doing episodes the deal with drug addiction psychological  effects of torture you know thank goodness there’s only one light in here  and not for I but there’s a responsibility we have to Star Trek  and the this seems like a crazy thought on first blush what are you protecting  it from but it’s quite real and it’s one thing for official Star Trek which is  subject to internal review to handle those things appropriately but it’s  another one unofficial third parties may want to do something that that we find  unacceptable or damaging to a beloved character I mentioned the thing about  Wesley Crusher before I’ve, we’ve had stories come across our desk didn’t have involved a beloved captain abusing a child  or getting ready to whip a child it’s  like no that’s not going to happen I’m or you know behaving in and  out of character or you know misogynistic way or something like that  actions that are fundamentally against who those characters are and why  they’ve become beloved characters so we have to protect against that we’re not  looking to review scripts as I stayed or your story decisions but with that  freedom you have to understand comes a responsibility to treat Star Trek with  the respective to do and not do anything that negatively impact on Star Trek or its various elements if your material doesn’t negatively reflecting on Star Trek but can comments appropriately on  societal and social issues in the finest traditions of Star Trek episodes like in  the pale moon like are a good example there won’t be any issues and in fact  your episodes will be much better that they’ll definitely be better Star Trek  if you do use them to comment on those things and that’s going to necessitate depicting certain unsavoury things

{} Jordan {}

So I don’t so what your saying is  there’s not going to be a review board out there saying oh the way your version of Captain Kirk did that he wouldn’t really do with that way that’s not in  his character now you’re not talking that level of uh of review but you know

{} JVC {}

Only if you’re a licensed author as you will be subject to that level of review as and good and thank god you’re there we need you on that wall but I but you know I but having Captain Kirk doing something you know profane and what is profanity is a long conversation but I think we know when we say it doing something that’s totally out of character for some sort of shock value reason that’s and that isn’t parody that correcting from wrong is where you say no these are these are Star Trek characters and we have to protect them

{} JVC {}

If you do something that’s going to be  damaging to the fundamental character of the Star Trek of beloved characters  Captain Kirk Captain Picard Beverly Crusher whoever it may be from across  the pantheon of Star Trek if you’re doing anything that’s going to damage  that it did that’s going to put them or  things like that in an overtly negative light that goes against what we’ve seen and what we know about these elements of Star Trek yeah that  then there will be a problem other otherwise like I said if you’re using it  to comment on societal and social issues yeah we’re not going to look we we’ve  all have a duty to Star Trek whether you’re a fan or an employee of CBS or Paramount in that respect to really honour what that creation is what Rick Berman and Gene Roddenberry and Ron Moore and Bryan fuller and all  of these amazing creators have done to create this just incredible  thing called Star Trek we’ve got a duty to  respect in and protect it

Time index – 00:55:17 – Music

{} Jordan {}

What about the music I know that there were some questions about you know people wanting to use music in their fan films

{} JVC {}

Well when it would I talk about fan films being a complex landscape this is this is one of the things that  immediately comes to mind because it  comes to mind on an on a daily basis for  us and projects that were working on  we may own Star Trek but we don’t own the rights to Star Trek music and we can’t grant those rights to fan films as  much as we might want to you know use  that opening theme whether it’s from TNG or from the original series all over the  place and get that music out there I was  listening to Star Trek music on my way here because that’s the kind of guy I am and in when we when we mentioned in the  guidelines things like new with needing  to clear any third party rights for  content in writing in the guidelines this is why we don’t control those  rights we can’t give you the rights to  the music it’s likely fans may want to utilize stuff that we can’t grant rights  to because we don’t own those rights Star Trek music is very much included in  that if you want to use Jerry Goldsmith’s Klingon themes because you  got this amazing Klingon attack that  you’re planning in your film or the  opening four tones from the TOS theme song or anything else from all the great Star Trek music you should contact the music publisher for that and secure those rights because we don’t have them  and we can grant them

{} Jordan {}

OK I think that’s all the questions I  had there were a couple of very specific  kind of weird sort of oddball questions  but I think you know as a general rule  the reason why you’ve created these  guidelines is that you don’t want to be  on the receiving end of you know what about this and what about that and what about this that you can’t do that  you know you’ve got a you’ve got a job  to do you what you were  you this is the creation of these  guidelines were more meant so that they would answer the questions for people so if there is a project that is not shooting yet that is in the process of  raising money they need to correct course a little bit and follow what you’re talking about here is  that a is that a proper way of stating  and

Time index – 00:57:28 – Run Time

{} JVC {}

That’s a fair statement and we  you know as I said earlier we try  very much to treat each use of the Star Trek Brand in each use of Star Trek on its own merits  we don’t look at everything  identically if we’ve had we’ve had  situations where we’ve been approached by a brief family or an Undertaker’s like in this guy’s last will and testament there’s this request  to put the Starfleet Delta on their  headstone we don’t even know what that  means but we know it’s from Star Trek  what do we do you know can we do  this and it’s like by all means if  someone is a is bigger fan of Star Trek  that they want to be there  the last thing the way they leave this  world than that is that’s amazing and  absolutely  here you go here’s the file for the logo  do it the best you possibly can and we’re not we’re not looking to treat  everything the same and a good part of a big part of that is what your what your intentions are with the brand and  how you’re looking to utilize it  what you’re looking to do with it so we  don’t approach everything the same again  these are these are guidelines of  participants stay within them there  should be no issues we can provide  flexibility to the degree that if you’re  looking for that variance on a few extra seconds of running timer know what want  to know what to do if you know your mom sent you five hundred dollars to add  to the budget little we don’t want to  micromanage fan projects that way we  do want to flush out what  non-commercial fan film means in a way  that’s clear and fair in an equitable everybody

Time index – 00:59:25

{} Jordan {}

And that also has to do with we spoke about earlier about who has the bigger Hollywood connections who can get an actor that known that has an affiliation with Star Trek that’s going to automatically make it seem quasi-sort of official because all that guy and he’s playing that character that is something that only a very might minus equal percentage of fan filmmakers can do and its sort of as you said earlier was it is against is an estimate of what fan films are all about

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 in and the sea  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 nineteen sixties  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

{} Jordan {}

And you’re still inviting people to come aboard in a very specific and ultimately fruitful way

Time index – 01:01:53 – They are watching fan films online to keep up to date, with concerns and experiences.

{} JVC {}

Absolutely and you know where we’re  definitely out there I mean  I believe me if people are saying  about fan films online web we’re aware  we’re aware  what’s going on  there’s the idea that there’s people  locked in a room somewhere and don’t  know I’m out at Star Trek Las Vegas I’ll  be a mission New York I’ll be a Destination Star Trek Europe this year  I’ll be a comic-con I’m out there this  is this is what I do I love it I live it  I’m amazed that I get paid to be a part  of it but don’t you know tell  anybody

{} Jordan {}

John analysis I’m going to give you my analysis here comes now that I’ve listened to speak for a very long time reminder I am not a CBS employee this time you and being responding to this right now here comes you ready

{} JVC {}

I’m always ready Jordan hoping it’s about to Tuvix

{} Jordan {}

A number of people who really were  loving certain productions and were  either involved as donors or just fans  of it’s going to take some adjustment  and it’s going to suck for a little while they’re going to be angry people are  angry when something that they like is that when people that people are angry anybody tells you what to do I get on the bus and somebody tells me to sit where I don’t want to say I get angry so people are going to get angry for a little while but in time fast-forward to a year from now we’re going  to have an ecosystem for fan films that  I think is going to be much better  than what we have right now and I that  there will always be some hardcore fans  that loved certain productions that  aren’t going to be continuing but I  really do think that for most people this is going  to be a very good thing and  me you know the current litigation with Axanar are there are people that are very you  now like to cause a fuss about that and you know that’s for the courts to decide  but that aside that has nothing to do with this you know you’re telling me that you’ve been in conversation with some of the creators of other bigger productions, not Axanar and there’s going to be ways for these creative people to do what they want to do in the context of these guidelines that is going to make Star Trek fan films mac 2.0 whatever you want to call it a pretty spectacular  place that’s my that’s my that’s my  statement on this guy

Time index – 01:04:28

{} JVC {}

I hope so I mean  it’s very hard for me to predict where things are going to go with groups that already have plans underway that may have cast people that under these guidelines would be you know not

{} Jordan {}

They’re going to be pissed about

{} JVC {}

Considering eligible not

{} Jordan {}

Going to hate you

{} JVC {}

Change is changing is  hard I mean I think if I were to get my  dinner table move my son to another spot  to sit down to eat his dinner he’d  probably lose his mind changes hard for  people there’s no question and  this is a big change over what people have gotten used to but what there  is to gain out of this is something amazing which is that there is a certainty where we where are the first studio in town of the first ones that are providing like look here are some guidelines for you to go out  and create in our universe without any threat and worried whatsoever that this is this is now a completely permitted  thing as long as you’re within these guidelines and that’s amazing because that’s unprecedented  no one else does that the guidelines  just don’t exist so I yeah it’s a little it’s a little scary  for us this is a big change for us this  is trailblazing and in many  respects

{} Jordan {}

If they’re if this were the episode parallels and we can look into a parallel I’ll universe there would be if you didn’t have this job but they didn’t have a guy like you working for CBS when these problems will come up there might just be something simple scrubbed so all the beat the hammer of justice comes down it and you’re there saying no that’s the last thing you want to do

{} JVC {}

If you had asked me five years ago if we  would get to the point where  we were but had guidelines that  officially permitted the use of  Star Trek  fan-filmed fan content like this I would not have believed it was something that would happen and yet here  we are and it’s happening and I  think there’s two ways to go with this you can you can look at this as a  shackles I and like well this isn’t exactly what I’ve known or like okay let’s figure out how we can use this creatively how we can use this to create a whole new frontier in and take Star Trek in new directions and new things to tell Star Trek is such a rich vast universe that you know we are I often talk to fans and they were there  are things like oh you know what would  be really cool to like you know learn something about how Starfleet medical  operates or this little story  about this one character you know what  what’s uh what’s more Dr Ben’site doing  these days or whatever it may be and  it’s like is that something that you want to do an entire season or store or  series about but probably not but is  it something that you could do a neat 15/30  minute film on and could be  really creative and really different  from anything else that’s been out there  for Star Trek absolutely and I I’m looking forward to people showing us what those are I’ve seen a couple of short Star Trek fan films online and it’s like wow that’s really cool you did  you did something neat with very  little and you created something in like 10 minutes that I was thoroughly  engaged by and  that’s amazing I mean you think  about the short films that Pixar  produces they go before their movies  and if you if you think that  that you can’t do great character  development and something really  compelling I the number of academy  awards that have gone to short films like that would belie that I mean that stuff is amazing and I often look  forward to those as much as I do the  feature like what’s the short film this  one going to be in and out like it’s really exciting

{} Jordan {}

A beautiful party saw Bob paper but was before finding Dory was beautiful was very short

{} JVC {}

I haven’t’ as it happen but I’m hoping tomorrow

Time index – 01:08:42

{} Jordan {}

I mean what why what would be the piper  of the Star Trek universe a beautiful  I you know a little picture in a frame  there well I think I think I think we’ve  said it all  so a very glad that we were able to bring you on today John because you know  it’s we want to shed some light on this on this topic because you know what  anything new pops up everybody has a lot of questions and it was important to me that people got to hear uh you know the  thinking that went behind it there will be some people that are still unhappy and there’s nothing we can do about that but I think by having many to most  people will understand what you’re  trying to do and the how compelled you are to protect the brand in this sort of new digital frontier and you know these are changing times and you know you’re reacting to that

Time index – 01:09:42

{} JVC {}

They  are changing times it is difficult there  are going to be there there’s definitely going to be shades of gray in  all of this there always are  I think that’s one of the things that  are attorneys tend to either appreciate  me for or curse me for in finding a lot of those shades of gray and you know different interpretations of things but we’re looking at this as a gas like I said a great new frontier and a great opportunity it’s something that we’ve never had before its brand new it’s going to be an adjustment for everybody involved it’s going to be it’s going to be an adjustment for me because it’s the this whole question is something that didn’t used to take up much of my time reconsideration that’s clearly going to take more of my time and consideration but the fact that there is an official permitted outlet for fans where you don’t have to concern yourself about my am I going to anger anybody if I do this it’s like they’re you’ve got a framework that you know there’s not going to be problem we’ll continue the dialogue with fans will continue seeing how everything works and where we’re very excited about where we’re at with it and I think that they’re going through

{} Jordan {}

Let me throw something at you I mean it’s a new day with this I mean in the past when people have had fan films and there have been conventions it’s kind of been like a well we can’t show it here so it’s sort of underground you know now this is all above board I know that you guys are never going to officially condone this because you can because they’re unlicensed but it’s not secretive it’s like oh this is a cool thing like you know I can talk about it I’m on the official quote unquote podcast is something really cool is out there it is something that exists mean

Time Index –01:11:38 – Official events and conventions

{} JVC {}

If you’re operating within the framework of this it’s going to open up new opportunities there’s no question at official events and conventions in the past we haven’t been able to grant permission to show fan films we haven’t been able to grant permission for fan film groups to exhibit in and fundraise for them if you’re in compliance with these that that is something that’s going to change mean whether there’s a lot of opportunities that comes along with this and that’s something that I’m very excited about because it’s going to help ramp up fan involvement and fan participation in consenting I can’t even begin to explain how

{} Jordan {}

That that isn’t that’s a really great and big point that we buried at the end of the show, John

{} JVC {}

I’m good at burying the lead man

{} Jordan {}

Well hopefully listen anybody who’s interested in this at all you listen it the whole thing either people are going to tune out in the first two minutes to listen to the whole thing so for the people that are listening to the whole thing there’s the Cherokee at the end of it at the end of the podcast there but I mean I was nothing official but I think that’s a really it’s just a new day it’s a new day for fan films and for CBS is like it’s like getting on it’s like we had an intervention it’s like we went to marriage counselling we got it all out in the open and now we’re talking about it and we have to hide and we can engage with one another we meaning the fan the fans that are making the films and the brand and the license and CBS and you know if everybody’s in compliance with these very generous guidelines then it’s all cool man it’s like it’s like Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra man it’s really great so I feel like I feel like I need I need a drink now this is a heavy-duty stuff so yeah I’m

Time Index – 01:12:00 – I just really hoping that these guidelines will help spur additional creativity

{} JVC {}

I’m incredibly excited about what’s to come I love Star Trek and everything associated with it as much if not more than then so many fans do and it’s been an incredible part of my life it’s helped shape Who I am as it has for many fans and I absolutely want to do what is best for four Star Trek as a whole both now and for the long-term health of Star Trek and I want to do the best that we possibly can be Star Trek fans who Star Trek there’s no question shows a lot to the I would put Star Trek fans against any other fan base anytime I think our fans are terrific they’re amazing and I just really hoping that these guidelines will help spur additional creativity it’s going to be different creativity but again it’s the first time that anything has existed officially like this it’s a brave new frontier and I’m looking forward to seeing what that brings it’s going to change is hard initially but I’m very excited about what’s to come I love Star Trek in all of its forms I love the technobabble I love everything about it and me just I can’t wait to see what’s next

{} Jordan {}

All right we’ll listen we’re going to cut it there are people that are going to have follow-up questions and they are you’re going to be around at the convention and you know you if people need to contact you they can they can they can figure it out they know how to get

{} JVC {}

People have already figured out

{} Jordan {}

Well listen to thanks for coming on and the next time we have you on I will be talking about other topics you know not only just new products that you guys are working on I can be the new encyclopaedia is coming out soon and but also just to talk about you know to fix and kings are and more and all the great characters that we love and John thanks again I think what you’ve done today is probably helped a lot of fans that needed more information get the info that they need

Time Index – 01:15:00 – Not intended to squash or maim creativity

{} JVC {} I hope I’ve helped to provide a little context about what we’re trying to do with this and what the guidelines actually mean that they do not intend to do, to squash or maim creativity were just hoping to guide and creativity in an in a slightly different way but a way that I think came very exciting if people seized the opportunity that presents

{} Jordan {} Cool alright man listen I’ll be seeing you in sin Las Vegas in the not too distant future

{} JVC {}   A lot sooner than I would like, A lot to do between now and then

{} Jordan {} Yes all right, live long and etc and we’ll talk to you soon.Yes all right, live long and etc and we’ll talk to you soon.Yes all right, live long and etc and we’ll talk to you soon.

{} JVC {} Okay thank you very much

{} Jordan {} you got it.

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Star Trek: Continues – Continues

It is the news we have all been waiting for and for some, it has caused a bit of unexpected controversy, but as they say “you cannot keep a good thing down”

Star Trek Continues has always shown to be the pinnacle of fan films not only of its productions values but in its way that it conducts its self with its fans and the powers at CBS.

The only downside! of this good news is, instead of 13 episodes as previously planned Continues will now wrap after its 11th episode.

Last year in preparation for the last of their planned episodes STC ran what would become their last ever crowdfunding campaign to enable them to fund their last remaining episodes although it fell short of its planned goals on Indiegogo it managed to gain enough money from private donations to secure the amount needed to ensure their plans could carry on. With enough funds to ensure they could meet its planned 11 episode run the cast and crew of Continues went radio silent in regards to what its next steps were, this obviously caused some contention among its donors and fans alike.

Nevertheless, these steps were taken by STC to keep their heads down due to the Axanar lawsuit and the mess that had caused but whatever they planned to do next it would require careful planning but most importantly it had to honour its commitments to their donors. it was not until three days ago that that silence was finally broken with this announcement.

The announcement you’ve all been waiting for! At the beginning of 2016, STAR TREK CONTINUES ran a successful fundraising campaign to produce the final episodes of our fan series. As promised, we’ve spent your hard-earned donations to our non-profit production company exactly as we said we would, and have been working around-the-clock to finish our final four episodes as quickly as possible.

Episodes 9, 10, and 11 are still in post-production and will be released throughout the year as they are completed. Episode 8 — “Still Treads the Shadow” — guest-stars Rekha Sharma (“Battlestar Galactica”) and will premiere at Fan Expo Dallas on Saturday, April 1!

We have even more amazing guest stars in these last episodes, culminating in a thrilling series finale by acclaimed science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer.

We want to thank each of you for your patience while we’ve been busy, and also for your support and encouragement throughout our run. It is our sincere pleasure to be bringing a conclusion to our beloved original series of “Star Trek” at long last. LLAP

Now to me and a lot! Of others, this is not only AMAZING news but certainly news that honestly we all thought would never come.

Even though there has been joy and a lot of celebration among the fans of STC lot of comments on social media seem to be asking the same thing, how can Star Trek Continues, continue?

Well we all know that in June 2016 CBS issued a set of “fan film guidelines” that many feared would spell the end of shows like Continues, and possibly mean that even they could not carry on, it is extremely important to remember these are guidelines, not rules and although for them to continue they would be in essence breaking them what you have to remember is every production regardless of compliance will be judged on a case by case basis so just because you comply with them does not automatically make your safe.

So with the news, STC will drop Episodes 8 – 11 do they have anything to worry about?

Honestly, I do not know, and I do not think even they know for sure, however, the realist in me thinks not STC have always had the utmost respect for CBS and their property and after numerous discussions with members of the cast and crew this viewpoint has not changed and never wavered at all, everyone at STC have always been above reproach in their dealings with CBS and although I cannot speak for the directly I know them well enough to know if CBS asks them to do something they will.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about remaining episodes of STAR TREK CONTINUES

How are you getting around the guidelines for fan films?

As CBS/Paramount has made clear, the guidelines are not laws; they are general parameters applied on a case-by-case basis. Since the implementation of the guidelines, we have stopped all crowdfunding activities and have focused strictly on completing the four episodes which had already been funded as of that time by fans’ donations to our 501(c)(3) non-profit. STAR TREK CONTINUES has always followed any and all instructions given to us by CBS regarding our production and will continue to do so.

Does STAR TREK CONTINUES have any type of special and/or official arrangement with CBS/Paramount?


Weren’t you going to make 13 episodes? Did CBS make you stop?

CBS is not responsible for the decision to end the series. We are doing 11 episodes instead of 13 because another fan group took advantage of the good graces of the copyright holders forcing them to protect their property and the interests of their license holders. In deference and gratitude to CBS, we are wrapping up earlier than planned. We always have stood, and continue to stand, with CBS.

Can we get DVDs/Blu-ray discs of the final episodes?

As we do not own STAR TREK, we cannot sell DVDs or Blu-ray discs. In the past, we’ve made a limited number of discs available as crowdfunding perks. However, since we are no longer crowdfunding, providing episodes to the public on DVD and/or Blu-ray discs is not currently feasible for us.

What will happen to the studio/sets? Will set visits/tours be available?

We don’t have a definitive answer on this right now, but we’re considering all our options.

So if you heading to the Fan Expo Dallas on Saturday, April 1! Then be sure to beat the rush to what will be the best seats in town and check out Episode 8: “Still Treads the Shadow”

But remember no spoilers please lol…..

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