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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEBLz3w6a7U&feature=share


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?

( SEE ABOVE STATEMENT )



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 >

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797449?hl=en

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.

USEFUL LINKS 


Ref Links 


The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part One


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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 http://www.sylvesterphotography.com/ 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 😛

Martin)

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.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=638237099586647&set=a.104923856251310.6877.100002010885803&type=3&theater

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

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=876414912435530&set=a.876414885768866.1073741912.100002010885803&type=3&theater

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?

Martin)

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.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=883858191691202&set=a.301026949974332.67018.100002010885803&type=3&theater

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?

Act

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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The Melbourne Files – Part Three – Larry Fleming

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

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

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

Check out Larry’s


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

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

We caught up with Larry while he was on set shooting

 Jumanji – (YES the one with the Rock) 

Therefore, his answers are a little shorter than normal. 

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

Larry Fleming



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a favourite Episode?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


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

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

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

Larry) Sure,

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

Larry) Nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

When did you first realise that you wanted to Act

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

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

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

James) What parts of Acting do you not enjoy?

Larry) Being on camera

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

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

James) Tell me about your experience as an Actor?

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

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

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

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

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

James) Do any famous actors inspire you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Larry) All characters are I, in a way.

James) What makes a good scene partner?

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

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

What does an Assistant/Exec Producer do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I prefer to lead now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pool is too diluted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James) Do you feel they crossed any lines?

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

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

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

James) Do you think they are fair?

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

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

Larry)

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

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

Larry)

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

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

Act

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

James) Make their own fan film.

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

James) Co-Produce

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

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

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

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

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

Larry) Thank you and my best.


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

Hurry up Vance lol 😛

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

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