Category Archives: Fan Films

New “Guidelines” for Fan-Based Star Trek Fan Films

Greed and Jealousy.

These are the only two words I can think of to describe the new restrictions  guidelines that have been set forth by CBS and Paramount last week in regards to any new Fan Films based on Star Trek.  Here’s the link: http://www.startrek.com/fan-films?ecid=PCID-2617611&pa=affcj

Paramount and CBS included this statement along with their new rules:

Throughout the years, many of you have expressed your love for the franchise through creative endeavors such as fan films. So today, we want to show our appreciation by bringing fan films back to their roots. The heart of these fan films has always been about expressing one’s love and passion for Star Trek. They have been about fan creativity and sharing unique stories with other fans to show admiration for the TV shows and movies. These films are a labor of love for any fan with desire, imagination and a camera.  We want to support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon. It is with this perspective in mind that we are introducing a set of guidelines at Star Trek Fan Films.

Well, I’m sorry Paramount and CBS, but this statement in light of your your rules is total BALONEY.  More importantly, for a company that wants “…to support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon” it’s a slap in the face for anyone who has dreams of creating their own Trek stories.

This all started over the magnificent production of Axanar, a fan film many of us are anxiously awaiting.  Axanar is a prequel to TOS, recalling the war fought by Captain Garth in the years before he went mad (perhaps this will explain his later affliction).  It appears to be a compelling story, and from what I’ve seen of its trailer, it’s truly a labor of love.  For as it is created by fans and NOT corporations, it is the one of the  purest form of GOOD Star Trek I’ve ever seen:

Paramount and CBS  are livid over this and other fan films. The Axanar and other fan film productions (Star Trek Continues, Star Trek The New Voyages) wanted official guidelines for a long time, but I’m pretty sure they never expected anything this Draconian.

Some highlights include:

  • 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.  

Well, that pretty much prevents any new hour long episodes of the fan series.

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

But several professional actors have already gladly appeared in these Trek films (Lou Ferrigno, George Takei, Walter Koenig, etc)

 

  • CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.

 

Do they know how expensive it is to make a production? This financial limit would have been fine –about 10 years ago!

Now I know that not everyone likes all of the different fan films out there, and that’s fine– but this is not a matter who’s is best, but of the very RIGHT to CREATE them in the first place!  This creativity, born out of great love for Gene Roddenberry’s creation, must not bow to  being squashed by a corporate machine, who only wants to make money on their version.  What’s next, a ban on fan fiction and artworks?

I can only hope that these fan-funded films, (that their creators have made NO money on) will note that these are only guidelines, not rules, and that the creators of the many fan films out there will continue their loving, artistic recreations of our Star Trek universe, and not let these greedy, narrow-minded corporate armies throw them down.  Fan Films have the support of Trek fans world wide, if they get sued, I’m sure we fans will protest.

Shall we let CBS/Paramount  know we DO NOT APPROVE?  I urge you to write or e-mail these bozos and remind them of this little exchange between Spock, Kirk, and Landru in The Return of the Archons: 

Kirk: Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life. The body dies. The fault is yours.

Spock: Are you aiding the body,or are you destroying it?

Kirk: Answer the question.

Landru: Peace, order, and tranquillity are maintained.The body lives, but I reserve creativity to ME.

Spock: Then the body dies. Creativity is necessary for the health of the body.

I can only hope that these fan-funded films, (that their creators have made NO money on*) will note that these are only guidelines, not rules, and that the creators of the many fan films out there will continue their loving, artistic recreations of our Star Trek universe, and not let these greedy, narrow-minded corporate armies throw them down.

*UPDATE:  A reader has informed me that Axanar HAS made money on it’s production. (This is what started the whole lawsuit in the first place)  I was not aware of all of the aspects involving Axanar.  I do agree with CBS on this point.  I do hope Axanar will go through, but yeah, they shouldn’t be making money on it. (Thanks Andrew Saxon)

As Captain Kirk proclaimed in Return to Tomorrow: “Risk is Our Business!”  Let’s hope the fan film makers will continue to take risks.  LLAP.

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