Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
So the settlement we reached with CBS says we stick to the Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines for the most part, the most limiting of which is that there can be no more than two 15 minute episodes of a fan film. Add to that is the guideline that there can be no sequels or prequels, meaning no on going series. CBS clearly meant to kill any chance of there being an ongoing Star Trek fan film series like Star Trek New Voyages or Star Trek Continues.
So with those limitations, how can we possibly tell the story of Axanar in two 15 minute episodes? Well, honestly, it’s a challenge, but kind of a fun one. Prelude to Axanar was 21 minutes with credits and so not that much longer than 15 minutes, and we told a pretty good story with that. This was one of the main things we discussed at the Axanar Planning Meetings last week, and we got some pretty good discussion going and a lot of ideas.
What is clear is we have to tell the story of the Battle of Axanar. That is, after all, what Axanar is all about. While the full Axanar movie was slated to be between 90 and 120 minutes, the Battle of Axanar itself was only 30 minutes. of that.
Now, we don’t just want to use our 30 minutes for a battle, as after all, Prelude to Axanar was really good at putting the war in a larger perspective. What did peace mean? What did the Federation stand for? And how did Starfleet view its duty to protect the Federation? The values that the Federation were built on are integral to the story of Axanar.
And so while the battle will be a main focus of what we produce, the Axanar Peace Mission is also important, not only because a young cadet Kirk took part in it and earned the Palm Leaf of Axanar, but because we have two great characters that have been working behind the scenes and their story is crucial to Axanar. Also, we want to see Garth and his crew. Kenji Tanaka, the Ares first officer and Garth’s best friend, Inteligence officer Corax, Tactical officer Tara Wagner and chief engineer Alexi Leonov all are important. Plus we have other Starfleet Captains besides Sam Travis and everyone’s favorite Sonya Alexander. After all, Starfleet is not just humans! So there is the Vulcan captain and the Andorian captain’s who we both need to see.
Can we do it all in 30 minutes? You bet. And we think it will be awesome. We will also be releasing the full script to all donors at some point, because we want you to all know the full story.
Plus there will be surprises along the way. There is a lot to the story of Axanar.
Join the discussion 34 Comments
Just a thought……Are you able to do any very short…say 2 mins each …. introductions of the various characters outside of the two 15 min Axanar movie… as insight of those characters…. so that the time is not spent in the movie itself? Either in a short intro movie or a web-based bio? Just thinking of how you can save screen time and yet get the background needed and still comply with the rules of the agreement.
Hello Carl, great idea, I really love the idea of a series of short Bio’s to help with character development and tell back story without being a true prequel or sequel. A 15 minute bio from each character’s perspective on a specific event … say the Battle of Axanar would allow a lot of story to be told, albeit very transparent!
Good luck, I’m very excited to see what the excellent Axanar team comes up with.
…sound good, Cap’n! 🙂
Its too bad you can’t do like Kirk and Spock in Wrath of Khan, if Days were like Minutes.. if you see what I mean Admiral..
I really liked the documentary style of the prelude and Richard Hatch role in it. I’ve always wanted him to have a recurring role on nxg or ds9.
Will the full script be the original 90-minute film that you intended, the new 30-minute 2-part version, or(squeee!) both?
The full script will be released to donors.
those includes donors that donated for Prelude to Axanar?
Prelude perks are fully fulfilled. If you haven’t donated to Axanar, you will get a chance to!
Thank you for the update – I’m still excited about/looking forward to what is to come!
I bet you can do it and I will continue to contribute. Thanks to you and your team for standing the course.
would like a copy of ur origanal 90 or 120 movie for private veiwing if u have it as i am a fan of ur work and it will not be uploaded
What if the whole story was done in an episode format. You can then release episodes of the whole situation over a preappoved time format.
From out of left field and not that related to the topic at hand. Is the historical timeline from Starfleet Battles (Task Force Games, Amarillo Design Bureau) covered by the same copyright mob that’s causing the Axanar Project so much grief? If not, then much of the subject matter is the same (even better, I think) and could be a long term way around the problem. Good luck.
Awesome! Can’t wait
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There are two thoughts that might allow you to give a background look at the character development leading to Axanar. First could be a news program, in the style of Robocop and Starship Troopers, that would show news sound bites of the characters involved. The second could be a scene at Starfleet Academy in the future, with the class learning about Axanar, either by news footage or a hologram recreation.
Already been discussing these ideas! 🙂
Well Prelude told a good story so I’m sure you all will come up with a good solution – Looking forward to it!!
Would it be feasible to keep story, visual settings and characters while changing all names, logos and references? Then you’d be able to keep your incredible cast. It’d be really lovely and amazing to see the full feature length vision realised. It wouldn’t be “Star Trek” per se, but the story would be still be there.
By the way, you folks have done such a good job. I only just discovered all of this a few weeks ago. I was blown away.
Best wishes with it all.
We really want to tell a Star Trek story!
Can you give us ideas on how to donate now? Im really liking how the perks came to fruition and the imagination behind them. Plus that script is totally going on my Star Trek Timeline bookshelf!
Wallace, we will have a fund raiser soon. Right now, click on the “Join the Mission” link to be on our email list!
Suggest that, especially given the time limitations, that Admiral Ramirez and Kharn not be recast. If I’m correct that Tony Todd is no longer available. Refer to them of course, but I assume neither would show up in battle scenes anyway. I just think the final product would hang together better as a package with ‘Prelude’ if there isn’t a casting change mid-stream.
Given that both tend to have owned the screen, recasting wouldn’t be really practical I think. Beside it enables cutting the time down and editing for better continuity, while leaving their parts whole in the script that goes to the fans/donors later.
How about telling the story using clearly distinct vignette pairs (same actors playing completely different characters telling tangential yet separate stories). Set the story from broader perspective in the first 2 films, tell the story of the initial ramp up and engagement in the next 2 films from the perspective of two or more separate-canon crews, and finish with a cliff hanger in episode 5 and conclusion in episode 6 (again, not related to 1-4) from the perspective of completely different set of crews/ships/commands/species? Finagle your production to compartmentalize the vignette pairs while communicating an overall arc that’s defensible as distinct works.
1 and 2 wrap their arc with Command characters, spear-tip negotiations failing and incursions killing off those crews. 3 and 4’s arc ends with tragic heroics and distinct battle conclusions, and 5 and 6 tell the story of a separate, final battle, the heroic victors’ story and such. Each pair has nothing to do with each other; just 3 fans making 2 films each about the same war.
While I wish there were some loophole that you could exploit to get more than two 15 minute episodes out of this, there is no doubt in my mind that CBS and Paramount had a full team of copyright lawyers examine every word of the settlement six ways to Sunday to make sure that no such loophole existed long before said settlement ever found its way to your desk. While the suggestions of unrelated characters being the primary focus of each episode or pair of episodes solves part of the problem, it is still flawed in that the common overarching story connects it all. The only suggestion I have seen on here so far that might be workable is the idea of posting character bios on the site that fill in their individual parts of the story and, when taken as a whole, paint the complete sequence of events from “Prelude” all the way up to what the film will tell. The only other suggestion I might offer is to novelize the events preceding the film and post that on the website. As both a writer and an avid reader, this seems the more appealing option, provided you can find a suitable writer for the task (I would love to do it myself, but I am an unknown and you, rightly, would not want to risk it on someone like me). Still, I hope you can find a way to get your entire story to us eager fans, even if only 30 minutes of it can be on film.
As for donating, I most definitely wish I could. I absolutely believe in Axanar and what it stands for; doubly so since I hope to make a Star Wars fan film in the not-too-distant future. Alas, my monthly disability check barely covers my living expenses, so donating money, even for something I feel so strongly about, is just not possible for me. Just know that, though I cannot offer any financial support, I will always support you and your projects in every other way.
I believe that if three distinct parties create three consecutive but isolated stories then there is no injury to the settlement. I can hire the same actors and write a script picking up where any fan story ends, yes? The test is if a single entity crafts more than two related episodes, not how many related episodes are created. Just define what constitutes a “fan” and determine the necessary distance between them.
Also, what defines related episodes? If Axanar creates a character “Bob”, can I separately further “Bob”‘s story with Axanar’s approval, but without asking CBS since I’m a distinct party? What defines a distinct story told about the same event in different time windows? Does either of those questions matter if the “fan”s are distinct?
So, Alec, is that all it would take; produce and distribute all the episodes you want, just break up the ownership?
The trouble with that is that the follow up segments, in that situation being produced by someone other than Axanar, would be bound by all of the ludicrous restrictions CBS/Paramount has imposed on fan films. The specific issue would be with rule number 5 in the guidelines, stating, “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.” As much of the Axanar cast are professionals, someone trying to recast them for a follow up would be excluded from doing so. Axanar was granted some leeway on this, being allowed as part of the settlement to retain the cast they already had, but if you or I were to create a sequel or prequel to Axanar, we would not have the grace from the settlement, meaning we would either have to recast the roles with amateurs or tell the rest of the story with a completely different set of characters. So, while having someone else to pass the Axanar production torch to would, in theory, be a good idea to work around the settlement, because of the number of professionals involved with Axanar itself, some of whom have been involved in official Star Trek productions, it would end up with the sequel/follow up being incongruous with the original. That’s why I said that it seems writing is the only way to get the rest of the story out there.
Understood. The settlement does impair the employment of professional acting and continuity, which is why I maintain that to affect the film version Axanar is attempting it would be necessary to compartmentalize ALL aspects of the productions, meaning unique characters, bookended stories that don’t overlap and distinct production ownership for each two episode set. If amateurs are required, that’s fine; just find professional quality amateurs. 🙂
The stickiest bit I imagine would be securing the three distinct production ownerships.
How granular does the compartmentalization have to be? Can two production crews utilize the same sets/models? Is recasting the same amateur actor across different productions as different characters allowed, or can two separate production entities reference the same fan-created character? Any of those would help, but I believe the letter and spirit of the settlement can be honored and still end up with 90 or even 120 minutes of story telling broken up in groups of two films. A nice touch might be the first and last episodes acted and produced by the professional Axanar crew to bookend the collection in a more polished manner.
These guys are talented and resourceful. Never give up. Never surrender. By Grabthar’s Hammer…
Perhaps a methoid to tell the story is by using various media- for instance combining the Axanar Films with short clips, a in depth wiki and “educational” academy films about various technology. There is no reason it needs to be a film- a companion app in the stile of a textbook for instance.
By becoming more innovative and making the experience more immersive using diffrent storytelling and communication… That would be a beautiful thing.
We agree 100%! You are reading our minds!