The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Four

Well, here we are with part four, so far we have covered a total of four separate guidelines. Although I have not dissected them in order these have been some of the more simple ones to be able to breakdown for you.

As we shift into the next half of this blog series, some things are going to get increasingly tricky to dissect and as such the guideline blogs may be further apart, this is due to the time that I need to investigate things properly which in turn I hope will enable me to give you, what I hope you need, to enable you to use what is within these blogs to guide you in making some exceptional fan productions.

In this blog, I intend to breakdown one of the most misunderstood guidelines and one that has been widely reported inaccurately.

4) If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

When people heard about this guideline they accused CBS of being greedy and only after money it was, in fact, one of the guidelines that upset so many people. On a personal note, it was painful to see the fallout from this one alone, one thing about the Star Trek fandom is we have a unique way of making the things we see on screen be it costumes, props or toys.

It took many by surprise that CBS would come up with this guideline, I mean why? What damage do we do building these things we see on screen, the simple answer is nothing. However, this guideline is not one aimed at the fans, but at the third party sellers that seem to pop up overnight online selling the very things that people like you and me, just simple fans! That have paid CBS a licence fee to be able to produce these items legally.

Even though 13 months later people are still, saying things like these third-party sellers do no harm or they sell things cheaper than people like Anovos or the other official licences, the hard and inescapable truth is they do more damage to the very thing we hold dear and that is the longevity of Star Trek.

The simplest way to put it is every Dollar, Pound or Euro paid to these people is one less given to the very people who need it to keep this 51-year-old franchise going. However, I can already hear it now “well they have millions why do they need it”, well like anything run by anyone, even by the person running that market stool we go to, or the man beside the road who sells you flowers or fruit, if things do not make money they stop! Now I do not know about you but do you want Star Trek to end because CBS does not make a profit from Star Trek?? I know I don’t?

Last June when John Van Citters appeared on the engage podcast this very guideline was poised to John by the podcasts host Jordan and it took less than 30 seconds for John to clear up the misinterpretation of it by this following statement,

“This is definitely an area of big big misconception” THEY MAKE THEIR OWN Anovos is a terrific example because this is, a this is a company that was Started by a couple of fans – (Read the full transcript below).

Therefore nothing has changed and we carry on like before, if we want to make our own costumes and props we can and this guideline is not aimed at us doing that, but if we want a professional looking uniform, phaser or tricorder we buy it from officially licensed partners and not a third parties, to me that is completely fair isn’t?

Below you will find the usual producer commentary, links and information you need to help you interrupt this guideline in your own way but with our help.


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


4) If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Paramount and CBS want you to use the officially licensed merchandise. This is because their manufacturers pay for those licenses, and if uniforms, props and the like are purchased from non-licensees, then revenues are hurt. However, Mr. van Citters said that fans can make and use their own costumes in fan films. To that end, much of Potemkin Pictures’ costumes are made by our cast and crew, or purchased and modified from off-the-rack clothing. Some are actually Halloween Costumes. Some were purchased before the implementation of the guidelines, and we continue to use those. But we are no longer purchasing “knock offs,” and are instead working harder at creating recreations of the designs from the Star Trek TOS movie era.


Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Basically what you’ve said. If you buying it, buy something that is officially licensed. Otherwise, make it yourself.  As I understand it, Roddenberry.com does sell licensed patterns and accoutrements.

https://shop.roddenberry.com/collections/uniform-patterns

There are quite a few websites and Facebook groups dedicated to Trek costuming, but I think most of these have some links to unlicensed materials, so I’m wary of sharing them.

Vance Major – Melbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I’ve seen something called the SENSE OF RIGHT ALLIANCE, Google it if you haven’t(you won’t regret it lol) and I think that’s what they want to avoid. Honestly, I’ll never pay 500 or 1000 for a uniform. I’m also not going to dress in a Halloween outfit, I’m going to look decent for a fan film. But when you look at the something like the SENSE OF RIGHT ALLIANCE, you just shake your head. I get not taking money from them, but I’m also not going to spend outside my means, whatever it is. At the end of the day, I’m not going to sense of right alliance my fan film. To me, that’s all they are asking.


Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, I can see the point with them not wanting you to buy from costumers but officially licensed outlets far too often pop up costumes makers have taken advantage of fans by taking their money and not delivering the product as promised. Many productions make their own uniforms because of this Hidden Frontier made their own James Cawley does as well as Intrepid.


Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

The issue with this guideline revolves around the uniforms mostly in my opinion. The only true licensee I believe is ANOVOS. The issue there is not only one of expense, but uniforms only come in one flavour. If you want a gold shirt, you’re a captain, a blue shirt is a first officer, etc. Uniforms almost have to be provided by some source who can customise them. Props are readily available through licensed commercial companies, readily available, and generally on the inexpensive side depending on the quality of the props you’re looking for.


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”



https://trekfanproductions.com/johnvancittersengagepodcast#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 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.



Websites to:

Purchase Uniforms:

Purchase patterns to make your own uniforms:

Purchase props:

Help to build props:

Misc Prop Google search:

Uniform Accessories:

Purchase:

Misc Google search:


Facebook groups that specialise in prop and costume making 



If you run a facebook group or know of any links or information you think would be of use in this post then please comment below.

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The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Three

In part two of the breakdown we looked at two of the easiest guidelines to adhere to, the simple additions of a disclaimer and the removal of “Star Trek” from the title of each fan production made.

In this part, we are going to break down the third guideline. To enable this guideline to be broken down as complete as possible I have split it into two parts so I will be referring to it as 3A and 3B.

So to start off with let us take a look at 3A.

3A – The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production.

This guideline was and still is misunderstood by a LOT of people, people seem to think that this guideline means you cannot use established characters, alien races or settings, this, however, could not be further from the truth, this guideline merely means you must come up with original stories and characters and not rehash anything that has already been done. For example,

You cannot

Take an episode of Star Trek and then remake it with your own people.

Reshoot any official Star Trek script you may have.

This would also cover things like NO Stills, Locations, or footage from ANY canon Star Trek Series or Film.

However, the simplest way of understanding this part of the guideline is that It does not! Stop you from borrowing from the established Star Trek universe, by using things like (but not limited to):

Alien races (Klingons, Romulans, Andorian E.t.c.)
Planets, (Vulcan, Andor, Telar Prime, Bajor etc)
Starships, ( NX-01, Reliant, Defiant, Enterprise)
Characters ( 7 of 9, Harry Kim, Kirk, Spock, Scotty)

Moving onto 3B

3B – If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

This part of Guideline 3 is pretty easy to get the meaning behind it, although easy to understand it does have somewhat of a dual meaning.

1 – If you plan to use anything non-Trek such as settings, characters or even a race from another series, such as Star Wars then you had better ask permission otherwise you may just find a DCMA from that IP owner, or worse yet a nice C&D from them.

2 -Music or other items from the Trek Universe that is not owned by CBS & Paramount.

Using Music as an example, a fair few people seem to be under the notion that all Star Trek theme music and soundtracks are owned by CBS and Paramount, this is not correct, and as such if you intend to use anything from the series or films in your production you need to get the permission of the copyright holders, as John Van Citters said in the engage podcast “we may own Star Trek but we don’t own the rights to Star Trek music” so with that said, you can not just lift a snippet of music from a soundtrack and insert it into your film.

To help you out as much as I can, I will try to include as many links as possible to the people who own the rights to the music as with this, it “should” allow you to contact them and ask for their permission.

So now I have broken them down myself let’s get to the info links and the commentary from the same fan producers who have added their voice to this series of blogs thus far and will continue to help me out throughout this blog series.


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.”



Producer commentary is not broken down unless stated so what you see will be either an interpretation of the guideline as a whole or broken into sections 3A and 3B”


Randy Landers – Potemkin Pictures

3A –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

You must be a creator and can’t use clips from the episodes and create  “new” episodes.  You can’t do a fan edit and create a “fan’s cut” of an episode. You can’t redo an episode’s VFX and place them among clips from the episode. You can’t use the original material as your own. Frankly, I’m not sure those sort of things actually fans films.

3B – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

It says 1) if you want to do a crossover with another series, you’d better clear it with them.  And 2) it ain’t our music. You better ask the owners of it before you go co-opting it for your fan film.

  • Are there any links or added commentary you think would be of benefit to add to this section

Potemkin Pictures has had composers create its own original music. While we occasionally will use a homage to the original series or TOS movies in our music, for the majority of the time, you’re listening to original music. This is something  I think separates us from a lot of other fan films.


Nick Cook – Intrepid

3A –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline? For example
    • This would cover things like NO Stills, Locations, or footage from ANY canon Star Trek Series or Film.
    • However, this does not! Stop you from borrowing from the established Star Trek universe things like but not limited to:
    • Alien races (Klingons, Romulans, Andorian E.t.c.)
    • Planets, (Vulcan, Andor, Telar Prime, Bajor etc)
    • Starships, ( NX-01, Reliant, Defiant, Enterprise)
    • Characters ( 7 of 9, Harry Kim, Kirk, Spock, Scotty)

I think you’ve pretty much nailed it. That said, using characters from the official productions, as long as you’re not using the original actors, would probably be overlooked. That’s entirely personal opinion though.

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline? For Example
  • This section is aimed at third-party content this would be things like but not limited to: Music scores (CBS & Paramount do not own the copyrights to any music produced for the official Star Trek works), Characters from other works such as races, planets or iconic characters like Han Solo, and Ships E.g. The X-Wing etc and settings from other IP such as Endor from “Return of the Jedi”.
  • Due to CBS and Paramount not owning the music rights to any Star Trek musical works it is advisable you contact the copyright holders for the music you wish to use.

I don’t have anything specific to add to this.


Vance Owen – Melbourne, Starbase Studios.

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, it’s hard to be original. Some people just don’t have a creative bone to save their life lol and that’s sad. Those are usually the people mooching off of those who have true talent. I honestly have never understood taking from a show directly. I’ve understood reinterpreting something from a show, but a direct rip off, jeesh. I lose respect so fast I can’t take um seriously after that. Especially when there are so many talented people out there willing to work with ya. It’s just lazy friggin people who want to cut corners and have no understanding of how things are. Using a clip from a show for a poster, that’s so cheap. Especially when you could make something fresh and new do easily. So I don’t hate this at all. This never even entered my mind “what?? I can’t steal someone else’s hard work and claim it in mind?” Get a life lol I can see them saying “don’t have Jim Kirk and Spock jump thru the guardian of forever….like so” to me, ok I get that. But they are not saying you can’t use Kirk and Spock standing at the guardian of forever looking for the next Pokemon go. people stress the wrong things on these guidelines and make um say whatever they want. To me, this makes the most sense. Could be wrong, I’ve been wrong before….ask my wife lol

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing. What is your interpretation of this guideline? Well, it’s pretty cut and dry. And in Melbourne, we did that anyway, before this came out. With the band, The Perfect Pursuit, they did our theme for our film. Cbs doesn’t own that. Just as it doesn’t with certain themes that people like to use in their films. I think it is their way to cover their butts in case the people who do own the music get a ticket and say “hey these people are using our music and you’re doing nothing about it.” They won’t be held liable. It’s kinda common sense to me. And sadly, people like to walk in and say “eh no one’s going to mind.” That’s easy to say if it’s not your music being used. As a musician, I’d be pissed if someone used my music without permission. I’m an artist; I have had my art plagiarised. Didn’t like it. People don’t think outside of that thought of what’s good for them, that’s just how some are. I think this is just to protect CBS from that situation

 


Ray Tesi – Republic

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Fan films SHOULD introduce original content and characters. I don’t think anyone wants to see a “low end” Kirk or Spock, and there is plenty of other content to draw on. If nothing else, it forces the fan production to be original. Leave the reproductions to the big boys. Renegades took the high road and dropped the Star Trek moniker so they could continue production. Kudos to them.

3B –

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

The guideline is laudable, but hard to enforce since the content is outside of CBS’ purview. We at Republic used a mix of existing Star Trek scores plus original musical scores. The original music was licensed for our specific use. When we uploaded our vignette to YouTube, the only music that they flagged was our theme, and once we provided the proper license documentation, we were good to go. This is good business sense, but hard to enforce.


Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

3A – 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Continues once got busted for using a background image from a TOS ep even tho they got away with it, in the end, IT means do not steal others peoples work! same as writing a book when stealing it from someone else’s. 

3B

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I think this is wise however youtube now lets people use certain star trek music with out getting in too much trouble you just can not monetize your channel. Or use JJ Verse music


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”



  • https://trekfanproductions.com/johnvancittersengagepodcast

{} 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 it and protect it


{} 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 we’re 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


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 the 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



= MUSIC INFO =


 

  1. http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Soundtracks
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Star_Trek_composers_and_music

Information related to the following soundtracks was taken from http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Soundtrack

  1. https://www.varesesarabande.com/ Nemesis, Star Trek 09, Into Darkness and Beyond.
  2. http://gnpcrescendo.com/wp/ – Insurrection, First Contact, Generations, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, The Best of Both Worlds (expanded soundtrack), The Best of Star Trek (soundtracks)
  3. https://www.discogs.com/label/878-MCA-RecordsStar Trek – VI and IV
  4. https://www.epicrecords.com/ – Star Trek V
  5. http://www.columbiarecords.com/Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  6. http://www.lalalandrecords.com/ – Voyager, DS9, Enterprise, Star Trek: The Original Series Soundtrack Collection, Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection, Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume Two, Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume One
  7. https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/index.cfm?CFID=92566692&CFTOKEN=88973315  – Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Ron Jones Project

Other Links

http://www.startrek.com/licensees

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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 affect anything but Fan Films, this means Audios dramas and alike are not bound by them.


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

Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:

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



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

Yes, I do. See above.

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

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


Vance MajorMelbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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

Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

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

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

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


Robin –  Dark Armada:

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

 


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

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



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

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

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

 


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

Some examples are:

Animated Examples:

Live Action Examples:

Potemkin Pictures

INTREPID

DARK ARMADA –

Starship Valiant

Dreadnought Dominion

Melbourne –

Other examples see here –

= So making films within 15 mins IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE =


Ref: Engage Podcast – Full Transcript HERE 

Time Index – 00:35:30 – Time Length

{} Jordan {}

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

{} JVC {}

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

Time index – 00:59:55

{} JVC {}

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

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


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


Ref Links:

 

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TREKLANTA 2017

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


BEST SPECIAL & VISUAL EFFECTS

FINALISTS

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

BEST SOUND DESIGN, EDITING & MIXING

FINALISTS

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

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC

FINALISTS

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

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING

FINALISTS

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

BEST COSTUMING

FINALISTS

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

BEST GUEST ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

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

BEST LEAD ACTOR OR ACTRESS

FINALISTS

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

BEST DIRECTOR

FINALISTS

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

BEST ORIGINAL STORY OR SCREENPLAY

FINALISTS

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

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

FINALISTS

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

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

FINALISTS

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

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

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

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INTREPID – Interview – With, Nick J Cook

Spanning almost a decade Starship Intrepid (formerly Star Trek: Intrepid) has produced Nine! episodes varying in length and scope, this fan series has been made possible by not only the dedication of all involved but the passion of one man Nick Cook.

Nick originally from London, UK moved to Dundee Scotland where after graduating from university he became a Nurse for the NHS (National Health Service) and is a husband and a father.

In 2007, Starship Intrepid’ first production “Heavy Lies the Crown” debuted.

Watch “Heavy Lies the Crown” below…



Since then Intrepid has featured in many news outlets in such as the UK breakfast show GMTV, CNN, ZDF and Channel 4 News. It has featured in three tabloids, The Guardian, The Scotsman, and The Daily Record.

GMTV Presenter and what some call Day Time TV royalty Lorraine Kelly even had a brief appearance in “Heavy Lies the Crown.”

One person, I wanted to speak to when I founded Trekfanproductions was Nick; over the last twelve months, I have come to admire his outlook on things, where most people have been very negative about the current state of fan productions as a whole. Nick has been a constant beacon of reason and level-headedness and to be honest he is someone a lot should look up to in the way they see things.

I reached out to him and asked if he would be interested in participating in an interview and I am honoured and humbled by his acceptance.



James) Hi Nick, Thank you so much for accepting my invitation to sit and discuss Intrepid with me.

Nick) Hey no worries I am honoured to be asked.

James) So Nick, Tell me more about you, as someone who has been in the thick of a fan production for almost a decade now, what! Does Star Trek mean to you?

Nick) I thought about that quite a lot recently, what with this being the fiftieth anniversary.

There are so many aspects to Star Trek; good storytelling, compelling characters, a rich universe of stories, social commentary, I could go on. Star Trek has been with me for a long time, I grew up with it, and it is almost part of my DNA.

I met so many of my close friends because of Star Trek. I met my wife because of Star Trek, and by extension had my daughter because of Star Trek. In addition, it has taken me places I never thought I would go. I doubt I would have been to California so often, or to Vegas. Yeah, it is just a TV show, but so much of the things that have made my life what it is are in some way linked to that TV show. Besides, I think that is pretty amazing.

James) I have to admit I feel the same I have been thinking just this past few months after everything with not only that lawsuit but with how Beyond was handled.

I guess in a way I am pretty meh about how the 50th has been handled, I love Star Trek but the 50th has sailed past with a whimper it kind of fails if you hold it up to Dr Who but hey ho.

To me and like you Trek is a part of who I am not only in the way I think day-to-day but also I guess in a way I try to lead my life, Acceptance of all things.

Trek REALLY does mean so much to me as if I am sure it does to others.

Nick with FIVE! Live action series and what now 13 movies and even an animated series do you have a favourite episode.

Nick) I have a few, but my all time favourite is probably Who Watches the Watchers. I will not bore you with why, but if you are interested, I wrote an article for Warped Factor on just that topic earlier this year. (Click Image below for article) 

James) I love that episode, I think it is one of the highlights of TNG It speaks very much to what in some way we struggle within our daily lives, acceptance that we are all equal no matter how advanced or different in the way we appear.

With this episode being your favourite what hits the other end of the scale as the one “you cannot stand”?

Nick) I know it has its fans, but I cannot stand Spock’s Brain or much of the third season of the Original Series. TNG’s Code of Honour is dreadful, but then so is most of that show’s first season.

Code of Honour probably wins the “Worst Ever” title just for being so racist in its execution. It has always been interesting to me that the Original Series did such a fantastic job with the writing and characterisation in its first season when Next Generation did such a terrible job of it.

James) You know I dislike “Code of Honour”, but I admit I have never seen it in the way you describe, after reading the way you see this episode I am now going to have to re-watch it, even if I cannot stand season one TNG.

As to “Spock’s Brain,” I have yet! To meet anyone who likes that episode lol! In fact, I find 90% of season three of TOS unbearable to watch it seems rather bad in its writing tbh almost a rush job just to push out another season. 

So what about Series, now I find this question tends to go one of two ways, people like them all or there is one series that is an I HATE it! where do you stand here?

Nick) I would have to say Next Generation is my favourite series.

I was a fan of the Original Series from the first time I saw it, but TNG took a while to win me over. It was not helped by the terrible standard of writing in the first season, but Michael Piller really kicked the show into high gear in the third season. So many of my all-time favourite Star Trek episodes are from TNG’s third season, so for that reason alone, I’d have to give the nod to Next Gen. Although Deep Space 9 and TOS are pretty close.

Worst Series

Honestly, I do not have one. I like them all. It is like trying to pick your least favourite child. I just cannot do it.

James) I am the same I love all the series, even Voyager! (YES Bill from Trek geeks lol I LOVE VOYAGER! LOL), Season One of TNG, and Season Three of TOS, erm not so much. 

Apart from Star Trek, what other TV series you watch and enjoy?

Nick) I don’t get to watch as much TV as I used to, but I always make time for Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. I am quite enjoying Westworld just now, and of course, I like Game of Thrones. I am looking forward to the final series of Ripper Street when it hits the BBC.

I love the Ron Moore Battlestar Galactica. Warehouse 13 was a lot of fun. The Original Twilight Zone still holds up very well. 30 Rock and Nurse Jackie are great, though I am way behind on both of them. I do watch The Walking Dead but lost interest a bit in season six. I could go on, but I should probably stop.

James) Like live series, there have been some amazing Star Trek games brought to the market, do you or have you played many? 

Nick) I occasional play Star Trek Online. I used to be an avid Star Trek role player and played a lot of Elite Force when that came out. My favourite game was probably the old 25th Anniversary Game and the sequel Judgment Rites. Starfleet Command was a lot of fun too.

James) OK, the last question in this part of the interview, What Trek Actors have you met in real life. 

Nick) I have met quite a few Trek actors over the years. I do not like to rate people, because good or bad you do not know what their frame of mind is on a particular day and you only really get a snapshot.

I really enjoyed meeting Marina Sirtis, she is very dry and sarcastic (sometimes a little too much) but so am I. Frakes was nice. Garrett Wang was very personable. I really enjoyed chatting to Don Marshall, who played Boma in The Galileo Seven. George Takei was pretty nice when I met him about twenty years ago as well. Scott Bakula was really personable and down to Earth.

James) OK JEALOUS much lol! Marina Sirtis is on my list of MUST meet people.

Moving on tell me about Intrepid! It is ten years old next year but let us rewind and go back to the beginning, what gave you the idea for it? 

Nick) I used to run the local Star Trek club, and for a number of reasons I had decided to wind it down. A few of us chatted a bit about doing an audio novel, but then Dylan Feeney, who wrote our theme, suggested doing a fan film. Steve Hammond later chipped in to say he had a camcorder and the rest is history.

Suffice to say, it turned out to be a hell of a lot more work than any of us thought it would be.

James) But worth it! Otherwise, it would not be ten years old next year.



James) Being one of the longest running fan productions, how do you feel if at all, that Intrepid is different to some of the others out there?

Nick) Perhaps the people who take the time to watch our films are better qualified to answer that question.

For my part, I am not really sure that we are. Most of us who make fan films do so because we want to play in the Star Trek sandbox, and while there are certainly differences in the way the various productions work, and the relative quality of that work, in the end, we are all pretty much-doing variations upon a theme. So I would have to say, apart from being the only Scottish production, I do not really think there is much difference.

Maybe others feel differently.

James) See I feel a tad bias not only because of the fact I am from the UK but I do feel it is you that makes it different, and that is because you tend not to come across as a jerk.

One thing I find about you’re humble and not full of yourself and I find that appealing when watching a film or TV series, many times you watch something and you respect the actor and then you see the person behind the character and it is an instant turn off lol but that is my opinion. 

Anyway, lol. What about the scripts, who writes them is this something you do or? 

Nick) I have written the bulk of them though Brian S. Mathews wrote our third film, The Stone Unturned, and Steve Hammond has written the script for our next film, Destruct Sequence. David Eversole, who contributed many of Potemkin’s scripts, has also written one for us.

James) Cool, so it is very much a group effort then, how long is the turn around on them? 

Nick) There is no set time it takes me to write a script. I have had some that I have churned out in a couple of weeks, to others that I have worked on for months.

It really depends on the idea, and how quickly it comes together in my mind, and on (virtual) paper. It is not unusual for me to be doing rewrites while we are filming, though that is usually a case of troubleshooting. We had to really cut back dialogue on one shoot because we lost time to bad weather and I was literally trimming dialogue between takes (which was not easy on the actors).

James) Ahhh good old UK Weather, Being based in Scotland, How far does the rest of the cast live in comparison to where you tend to shoot? 

Nick) Most of them are within about twenty miles, though a few are further afield (Glasgow, about eighty miles) some are from England, one is from Germany and another currently lives in Switzerland.

Most of us work full-time and a number of us have families. Scheduling time so we can get together and shoot can be quite a challenge, and we have occasionally had to cut or replace characters in scenes because we have not been able to schedule a particular actor.

James) Ah, So it is not just scripts that come from afar lol your cast do also, That is so cool, if not a logistical nightmare lol.

What about makeup and wardrobe, who runs this area, a lot of other fan productions I have spoken to either have a makeup artist as a part of the crew or they all chip in, Where is Intrepid with this? 

Nick) A number of people have contributed to that over the years. My wife Lucy, who plays Card, David, who plays S’Ceris, Laura who is an actor with the Abbey Theatre and has helped out on a quite a few shoots, and Roísín, who was an actor in a short we shot earlier this year.

The wardrobe is pretty much down to me, I have made at least twenty Starfleet uniforms for Intrepid. Over the years I have also bought some screen-used costumes and more recently some bits and pieces from Anovos. Alec Peters, who most people likely know from Axanar, was also kind enough to donate some distressed costumes from the old Star Trek Experience.

James) WOW! OK even if I dislike him that is VERY! Generous not to mention extremely kind of him to do that for you. Nice one.

What about the Cameraman, Director, and sound person, do you have someone who does this for you?

Nick) Steve Hammond has, for the most part, pulled double duty as director and camera operator. A local actor called J. Scott Murray was our camera operator for another short we shot last year.

James) Out of the episodes you have shot, what one is your favourite? 

Nick) Probably Transitions and Lamentations because of the crazy exterior shoot.

Terrible weather, getting soaked in a cave, and a big group of us camped out in the middle of nowhere. It was horrible, but it was also great fun and an amazing bonding experience.

James) Although I HATE camping, that does honestly sound like fun!



James) Having just told me about the cave location, what other places have you been to shot on location? 

Nick) We have shot in a number of places. Most of the interiors were shot against either green screen or limited set pieces in our home, though we’ve gone on location to Glen Doll, a forest just outside Dunkeld, an abandoned train tunnel, a crumbling limekiln on the coast near Lunan Bay, and technically Los Angeles. Oh, and we recently shot a short in San Francisco, which was a lot of fun.

James) Sweet! In all the places, you have shot what would be your best and worst places you have been? 

Nick) Two best places would be Glen Doll, which is a particularly beautiful and remote location about an hour from Dundee. We shot all the exteriors for our first two films there, and have been back on occasion for others. I also love visiting Los Angeles and working with the Hidden Frontier crew. San Francisco was great too.

In addition, Worst place. Any exterior shoot because it probably rained. A lot.

James) How many Episodes have you done in total. 

Nick) Nine, though only three of those have been thirty minutes or longer.

James) I recently after reading about Intrepid realised you did a few guest spots and crossovers, who would you say was your favourite guest star? 

Nick) I am not sure we really have guest stars, but Hidden Frontier’s Risha Denney is always fun to work with.

James) Yeah, you did do not forget Lorraine Kelly LOL!, talking of crossovers, what production if you could choose one would you like to cross over with? 

Nick) There are so many. I would love to do something with Hidden Frontier again. I would have liked to do something with New Voyages (James Cawley and I did discuss having him appear on Intrepid as Kirk once, though I doubt it would have been practical).

I would also like to work with Farragut. I have recently chatted to a couple of others about maybe doing something, but it has not really gone much beyond that.

James) Interesting! I look forward to a scope on this if it ever pans out :p, going back to the more production side of Intrepid. Running a fan production for as long as you have even if it has been on/off had it been costly? 

Nick) Yes though I have never kept a running total on it. Thousands certainly, and it keeps sucking up money, but then whose hobby doesn’t?

James) A hobby is something that does suck up money but in the end, it is for enjoyment so Intrepid must be a hobby you enjoy! With it costing as much as you said, how are you funded? 

Nick) Mostly we just go out and buy what we need. We were lucky as far as costumes were concerned because, in the beginning, I had already made costumes for most of the cast, so other than time and materials, which was a minimal expense.

Everyone involved with Intrepid has contributed, be it for materials for props, set pieces, fabric, petrol(gas) expenses, food, accommodation, the list goes on.

James) But worth it, Have you ever crowdfunded or plan to do so in the future? 

Nick) We are tentatively planning to crowdfund sometime next year, so watch this space.

James) I will do, Let me know when you plan it and I will run a blog or two to help promote it for you, So if you are planning to fundraise where is intrepid now then, do you have any “In the Can” episodes left to put out?. 

Nick) We have three shorts that are edited and awaiting sound work, effects and scoring. There is another film that is about 20 minutes long that is mostly shot and edited but awaiting one final scene and a lot of effects work.

I am hopeful we might get one of those shorts out the door in the next couple of months.

James) Excellent!, Speaking of editing After they are edited, do you watch your own complete episodes after? 

Nick) Steve Hammond edited our first film, and did the all the chroma keying and some of the effects work. I think he still likes to watch it for nostalgia every now and then.

I have edited more than half of our films, so I have usually seen them to death by the time they’re released, although I tend to watch at least once after that just so I can pick apart all the faults. You would be amazed how much time you spend second-guessing pretty much everything you do.

James) Actually I understand this completely, in the short time I have had this site live I have spent more time redesigning stuff and redoing stuff than I really should have, so I get that train of thought and how painful it can be sometimes lol.



James) So those are in the can episodes, what about new stuff, can we expect a new Intrepid film soon? And what are your plans to fund these? 

Nick) We are shooting Destruct Sequence, which I mentioned earlier, in January. That will probably be about fifteen minutes long. I also have two scripts that will probably be in the thirty-minute range (expect these to be split into two parts) called Echoes (written by me) and Down This Road Before (written by David Eversole).

In addition, we are seriously considering crowdfunding and any funds raised will go to producing these films.

James) That is awesome!, I see you say 5 minutes long I am going to take this as compliance of the new guidelines. With them being a cause of disagreement has this influenced Intrepid much or is it business as usual just with some minor tweaks here and there. 

Nick) It has moved the goalposts a little certainly. David Eversole’s script was written prior to the guidelines dropping, so I have been re-working it to fit within the limits.

The only real road bump for us is running time since David’s script was written as a 45-50 minute story. That said, most of our films have fitted within the thirty-minute range, so we are pretty comfortable working to that running time.

James) It does sound like you have the matter in hand when they dropped did they mean you had to scrap a lot of planned stuff? 

Nick) Not at all. Yes, we have had to work to shorten one script, but that was entirely our choice, and I was perfectly happy to do it. We have had to change our approach a little, but change is not always a bad thing.

James) I have to ask, what are your feelings on them, as I know to start with everyone was WTF boycotts doom, 

I just want to say here, you have been a constant breath of fresh air in not screaming doom and seeing them as an opportunity to push past them and carry on. You are one of a few who have publicly stated your respect for CBS Paramount do you think this is what everyone should feel or do you feel the anger is reasonable but maybe gone that little bit too far. 

Nick) I have no problem with the guidelines whatsoever. Like many, I was worried we might have to shut down, but I found the studio to be understanding of our concerns, and happy to address them. We have always been appreciative of the opportunity to play in the Star Trek sandbox, and we have always understood that we are guests.

The way the studio has handled our concerns has done nothing to change that opinion, and I’m confident we’ll be able to continue to make these films as long as we want.

Do I think the anger towards the studio is reasonable? For me, no. I do understand why people are angry; I just do not share that anger. Ultimately, I have no desire to invalidate anyone else’s feelings or tell them how to react, but I do think in time many people will come to realise just how reasonable the studio is being.

James) Thank you, Nick, for your candour, So moving on to the last question of this segment of the interview, 

Do you have any regrets in doing Intrepid? 

Nick) My only regret is trying to do a story arc. If I could start over, I would never have done that.

Part of me wants to say I regret being too ambitious, but I do not really. I just regret not having the time or resources to realise those ambitions. 

James) I find having regrets can be either good or bad, but you should never have them as they teach us important lessons in life.

Nick, I want to move on to the next segment and in this part, I would like to touch on your fan experiences, what other fan productions you enjoy and any advice you would like to impart on others. 

So, you were lucky enough to go to DSE50, As someone who so wanted to go but couldn’t, what was it like? 

Nick) Bit of a cattle market to be honest, but I enjoyed myself. I have to meet up with some friends and connect with some people I had not physically met yet, and hang around in costume, so I got what I wanted out of it. In addition, I had never been to Birmingham, so it was nice to visit, if only briefly.

James) Going to conventions, producing fan films and knowing a lot of the other fan film producers quite well I would say you have had a certain unique experience with the Star Trek Fandom, What would you say is your favourite part of it you have experienced thus far? 

Nick) Honestly, the acceptance and common ground you find with so many fans. It really feels like home, and for the most part, I have found the fan film community to be one of the best examples of that.

James) And what about the not so nice parts as like many in your position you must have had a fair share of not so nice experiences.

Nick) People who really believe having a fictional rank in a fictional fleet, or some other perceived status, gives them the right to boss other people around. I have met a few fans like that over the years, I am sad to say, and it never sits well.

James) Being within the fan production world, do you listen to or watch any others? 

Nick) There are just far too many to keep up with these days, but over the years I have enjoyed Exeter, Hidden Frontier, Farragut, Secret Voyage, Aurora, Continues, Phase II, Osiris, Dark Armada, the list goes on.

James) Do you have any you particularly like or dislike, I am not asking you to slate any as that would be wrong but in your opinion how would you compare them IF! At all? 

Nick) While I have favourites, I think there is something to learnt and enjoyed about all these productions.

I might not watch them all, I might not even like them all, but I do not think it is fair for me to compare them. They all come from different places, from people with different skill levels, talents, resources, and ideas, so I prefer not to play favourites.

James) And that is very fair, I like you have ones I just cannot watch for whatever reason but I am never vocal about it as it is not fair for me to do so. 

Well we are almost at the end only a few more to go, with your experience what advice would you give to someone wanting to make their own series, what should the aim for? 

Nick) Start small. Do not try to do complex story arcs with casts of thousands.

Make a short film say five minutes. Read about filmmaking, and writing, and editing. However, most importantly, just go do it and learn from your mistakes.

James) Lastly Nick, What would you like to say to the fans of Intrepid? 

Nick) Thank you for taking the time to watch, and for telling us when you liked or even did not like something. In addition, thank you for sticking with us all these years. We have always known we are not one of the “big guys” but we have fun doing what we do and we hope that comes through in our films even if they are not as polished as we would like.

James) Nick, Thank you so! Much of your time, it has been a pleasure and I am so grateful to you for giving me this opportunity. 

Nick) It has been My pleasure.



There we have it guys, keep an eye out on Starship Intrepid Facebook page for regular updates about their upcoming releases and I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did talking to one of the finest people I have had the chance to talk to.

We will, of course, bring you updates alongside anything Nick and co-post on their page on our Facebook page and within the Star Trek Fan Productions Group.



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