CBS and Paramount ruined my 50th Anniversary!!! The whole year–January to December–they just ruined it. First, no sooner had Christmas ended, they sued Axanar, my favorite Star Trek fan film ever. And in doing this, the studios split fandom into a Hatfield and Dr. McCoy feud. Then, just when I thought the anniversary year might be saved after all when J.J. Abrams announced the lawsuit would be “going away” and fans allowed to make their films…WHAM!…ridiculously Draconian guidelines were created by the studios that seemed purposefully designed to end Star Trek fan films as we know (and love) them.
I was so pissed that I started the SMALL ACCESS campaign on Facebook to protest these new guidelines and try to get them revised. Hundreds and hundreds of fans joined me on my impassioned quest, sharing their anger and frustration, as well. Some threatened a full-on boycott of all things Star Trek: the new movie, the new TV series, novels, licensed merchandise…you name it. They suddenly wanted nothing to do with Star Trek anymore. And several of them were encouraging me to do likewise.
For the record, the SMALL ACCESS campaign was never about a full-on boycott. The idea of SMALL ACCESS was actually meant as a way for fans to watch the new Trek TV series while still sending a financial message to CBS. By viewing episodes together in small groups with a “designated subscriber” and everyone sharing the subscription cost, CBS stood to lose 50-85% of potential revenue for their streaming service from fans who participated in our campaign. Certainly not enough to kill Star Trek (unless we somehow made it to a million members or something), but potentially enough to get noticed…or so I hoped, and still hope.
I understood that some people who joined the SMALL ACCESS campaign wanted to do a full-on boycott, which was fine. I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone else how to protest. Boycotters were welcome to be part of the group; it just wasn’t the stated strategy of the SMALL ACCESS campaign.
As the premiere of Star Trek Beyond got closer, I noticed how angrily some people in the SMALL ACCESS group were talking about the new movie, about the other two rebooted films, about Paramount and CBS, and about fans who weren’t planning to boycott it entirely. I read those many comments and arguments, and it got me to thinking about what this year would have been like were it not for the lawsuit and the new constraining guidelines that threatened most–nearly all–Star Trek fan films.
This was supposed to have been the 50th anniversary of a cherished sci-fi franchise that had been left for dead nearly 47 years ago. At a time when there had been no new Star Trek in theaters or on television for three years (since the disappointing–to some–Into Darkness), we were now getting both a new movie AND a new TV series, plus an explosion of licensed merchandise alongside a flood of marketing and media coverage of our beloved franchise. Heck, just last week, special Star Trek anniversary editions of major magazines like Time, Newsweek, and Entertainment Weekly graced newsstands. Had the lawsuit and guidelines never happened, this year would have been a fanboy nirvana for my inner (and outer) Trekkie! Heck, I’d even spent a preposterous amount of money on a 5-day pass to Creation’s 50th Anniversary Star Trek convention in Last Vegas this year…a way to celebrate my own 50th birthday just a few months early.
And that was the catalyst for my “Come to The Great Bird” moment…
I thought long and hard about that convention. I’d already bought my tickets, and I wasn’t going to NOT go. And therein lied the rub! What was I going to do when I got there? Sit in a corner and mope? Walk past dealer table after dealer table with my nose in the air not even looking at stuff for fear of giving my dollars to prop up a licensee of the evil studio empire? Picket in front of the Rio Hotel in the 120-degree desert sun? None of those options seemed to be worth a $500 convention ticket.
I was making myself a T-shirt on the Spreadshirt website to advertise FAN FILM FACTOR.com, and I thought about making one for SMALL ACCESS, as well…with the parody CBS logo I’d designed with the “thumbs down” in the middle. After all, I was angry! People would see my shirt, and maybe they’d ask me about it, and I’d tell them…oh, I’d give them an earful! I’d wear my anger on my shirt with pride, I would!
Then the words of a short, wrinkled, and green CGI Muppet of a Jedi master from a different sci-fi franchise began to echo inside my brain…
Fear? Check. I had it the moment I first read about the copyright infringement lawsuit. Would Axanar never get made? Would other fan films suffer the same fate?
Anger? Check. I was SOOOO angry about the lawsuit and the guidelines. I had the snarky blue T-shirt already in my shopping cart!
Hatred? I was getting there. Certainly others had beat me to it, whether it be directed at CBS and Paramount, at J.J. Abrams and his over-caffeinated version of Star Trek, at Alec Peters and Axanar for angering the sleeping god, or just at other fans for not sharing the same opinion. I was so close to hatred, and that would lead to…
Suffering!! (At least according to Yoda and George Lucas, but I believed them both).
But who would be suffering? CBS and Paramount? They don’t know me from a hole in the wall. I could walk around in that T-shirt all weekend long, and no one at the studio would care. I could completely boycott the next movie and TV series, and really, neither studio would give a hoot. Right now, there are just over 1,200 people in the SMALL ACCESS Facebook group. If each of them boycotted the new movie, that might cost the studio $12,000-15,000…out of $40-$60 million. That’s barely a rounding error!
As for boycotting the new series completely, would that have any noticeable effect? It all depends on how much larger SMALL ACCESS becomes. Will we be thousands of people? Tens of thousands? Right now, watching in small groups would cost CBS between $36 and $50 per year per person. A full boycott only increases that potential loss to $72. So fans don’t really have to boycott the new show completely to make an impact.
“Then really,” I asked myself quietly, “who is suffering from me boycotting Star Trek completely?” Not the studios…
Y’see, even through “The Kelvin Timeline” wasn’t MY Star Trek, I actually enjoyed both of the previous two movies, and I suspect I’ll enjoy the new one (it’s getting some very positive reviews…even from hardcore fans). And heck, I’ve sat through some pretty painful fan films (but remember the FAN FILM FACTOR PRIME DIRECTIVE: there’s no such thing as a bad Star Trek fan film!), and if I could do that, watching Kirk fight a ridiculous red scorpion on an ice planet or seeing Dr. McCoy cure death isn’t all that awful.And more than that, my five-year-old son LOVES Star Trek! We watch TOS episodes together each night while I exercise. We dress up in uniforms and take pictures at Vasquez Rocks (what he calls “Star Trek Rocks”) and at Starfleet Academy in Sherman Oaks. And we’ve been doing this since he was a baby. He’s sat in the captain’s chair at the offices of Rod Roddenberry. He’s sat on the lap of LeVar Burton…even though Jayden has no idea who that guy was; he’ll know when he gets older. (And yes, I know I’m bragging. My blog…I get to brag.) He’s played with phasers and communicators and shuttlecraft and Trek action figures for years. He’s even a member of the the STARFLEET international fan club. And I love that, at least right now, my son loves Star Trek as much as I do!
Over the past few weeks, Jayden has been seeing an increasing number of posters and billboards around Los Angeles advertising Star Trek Beyond, words he can read while also noticing the USS Enterprise and someone who looks like Spock. He knows there’s a big, new Star Trek movie coming out, and of course he wants to see it…with Daddy! Why wouldn’t we? We saw The Force Awakens together in the theater and watched each non-JarJar Star Wars movie together. We watch Star Trek nearly every night. Why wouldn’t we go see this big, new, exciting Star Trek movie?
How would YOU explain the concept of an angry boycott to a bright-hearted five-year-old? Actually, don’t tell me because I don’t really want to know. I just want to watch Star Trek Beyond with my boy and see his eyes light up with wonder.
And that’s NOT to say that everyone needs to follow my lead! Indeed, this blog I’m writing today is not meant as a sermon or some “revelation” trying to draw others into the light. It’s simply me explaining what happened in my own mind to bring me to the place I am right now concerning Star Trek and my relationship to it.
And so I’ve decided that I want to enjoy the 50th Anniversary Creation Convention, really enjoy it…despite it being Creation, my ticket costing 500 bucks, my room costing more than a thousand dollars for five days, and despite the fact that one of the things that I cherish most right now–fans funding and producing their own Star Trek stories in amazing (and sometimes not-so-amazing) films–is being crippled by a series of overly restrictive guidelines written by people who just don’t understand what a valuable marketing resource fan films are to their franchise.
Despite all that, I want to see the new movie with my son…even it it means–gasp!–Paramount gets $25 of my money. I just want to forget all the fear, the anger, and the hatred for five days in Las Vegas and be a Star Trek fan again…to gush and cheer the actors, buy way too much overpriced unnecessary crap in the dealers room, walk down the hotel hallways proudly wearing my way-too-tight TOS Kirk tunic with the vice admiral braids on the sleeves. I want to enjoy the company of friends and fellow fans who share the same love I feel and who just want to celebrate this amazing show that, despite all odds, is still going strong five decades later.
And with that, I clicked the “remove item” button for the blue SMALL ACCESS T-shirt in my shopping cart. The protest will still be waiting for me again when I get back from the convention on Monday, and there will still be ample time in the months ahead to fight the good fight to save Star Trek fan films from the evil studio executives.
But for those two hours while I watch Star Trek Beyond with Jayden, and for those five days in Las Vegas, I’m just going to be that drooling, giddy Trekkie fan boy. I’m going to “fan up,” if you will.
After all, the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek is a once-in-a-lifetime event. And if I miss it simply because of my own choice to be angry and hateful, then the only one suffering–when all is said and done–will be me.
Join the discussion 43 Comments
I’m on the opposite side.
My Dad and I watched the original Star Trek when I was three years old together. And now he is gone and those are the memories I had, growing up in the years of re-runs watching with him.
CBS and Paramount did the [Worst] dishonorable thing I could imagine in my entire life.
I’m am So Done with CBS and Paramount I cannot begin to express my anger.. and stronger emotions.
I am not in your seat, I did not spend $500 on a ticket.. and I bare no ill will towards a real [fan] but CBS and Paramount are not [fans] they are Righteous Rights Holders.. and that is all that they are .. ever were and ever will be. I am done with their Trek.
As I said, John, I’m not telling anyone else how to go with this. I just wanted to explain my own thought process. If you’re done with Star Trek, so be it. It’s your choice to make, and I wish you well.
But to be clear.. I am laser focused on CBS and Paramount Trek and any other of their “Rights” properties.
Randall C is completely correct. Trek [before] CBS and Paramount 2016 distorted and warped its memory and just dissed anyone whoever enjoyed it [before] the 50th Anniversay is fine to me.
I just don’t think I should reward someone brandishing Legal Weapons of mass destruction against a fan base. Wrong is wrong and they know it, they are not innocent.. they chose not to discuss things or listen.. they just slammed the door on anyone and everyone.. on the 50th Anniversary. Ok fine, I have choices to.. mine is. I am done with your 2016 and Beyond Trek.
John, I am right there with you. I have been a fan of Star Trek since the first episode aired in September 1966; a 12 year old boy who watched wide-eyed as a fantastic universe opened up before his eyes. I have been watching the fan films for over a decade, marveling at the love and talent poured into each one. World Enough and Time ranks right up there with The City on the Edge of Forever, The Inner Light, and the other greatest episodes of Trek. Star Trek Continues has produced amazing episodes. Axanar was poised to be the greatest film of them all, far surpassing all of the JJ Trek garbage the studios have dumped on us the last several years.
CBS and Paramount can go suck battery acid. I am done with them.
Jonathan, great article, and that being said above, if I were in your position, I would do the same thing you’re doing. Your son has one heck of a father! I am heading right over to Facebook to join Small Access. Happy 50th!
Thanks, Rick. We’ll see you over at SMALL ACCESS. There’s two more days of polls left, and then I need to spend the rest of the week creating a focus group analysis report! (Seriously, you guys are gonna love it.)
Excellent piece brother! You are what a true Star Trek fan used to be from my old memories as a child when I first experienced TOS at ten years old. You love Trek to the fullest, enjoy all it produces, but your are Trekkie who puts up a good fight when needed in a positive creative way. Enjoy Vegas dude, enjoy the movie with your wonderful little boy. I have a son of my own and know exactly where you’re coming from. You’ve just become one of my Star Trek fan heroes.
Thanks, Charles. That’s going up on the wall. 🙂
I have so much Star Trek media that I will enjoy watching time and time again that I can live without anything new. They aren’t listening to fans so I won’t support CBS or Paramount. What am I missing that’s so important that I’m suffering? The crumbs they toss us? Are you so hopelessly addicted you’ll take anything they feed you even if you don’t like it just to have more Trek? I’ll live without seeing anything else. I’m not cutting Star Trek out of my life. I’m just not buying anything new but have decades of old stuff to enjoy.
Man, it’s 1987 all over again! 😉
Honestly, I hate to say it, but I don’t know if I’d take a 5-year old to any of the reboot Trek films. They are astoundingly violent. I told my 11-year-old I need to screen Beyond before deciding whether to allow her to see it. Sad that it’s come to that. 🙁
Just food for thought – not a criticism, Jonathan. Every parent must make their own decisions for their own children!
I went to beyond and it actually wasn’t much more violent then the Killing Game episodes of Voyager. There was some blood but nothing horrible.
Sooo you dont find the ship being ripped apart with hands on board violent?
How about the deaths of tens of thousands in star trek into darkness? not violent?
How about the death of billions in star trek 2009? not violent?
You dont need a pool of blood, to see violence on the screen.
Hello Jonathan Lane, thank you a wonderful thought out article. In a way, I understand your position, considering the fact I feel as if I’m at the same cross road point with you on Star Trek. Although the outrage and anger died down for too, I’m at that point of questioning as well. I guess it’s that question that you posed “Where do I want to go from here?” The answers, at least for me, is just to enjoy it in my own way by creating a new path in between that cross road by turning something negative into a positive, So, by all means you should still go to the movie with your son. I might even follow my own advice to see it more out of curiosity than anything else Afterwards, I’m going to wait and see how I feel about approaching my new path with Star Trek..
Having already spent $500 dollars for tickets, not going would accomplish only a waste of money to no effect, but I think you missed and opportunity. Question why not combine the two shirts into one blue shirt with Project small access on the back and Fan Film Factor on the front? Would that not have portrayed Project Small Access as being about the love of fan films rather than hatred of CBS/Paramount? It would also have given us a visible presence at a well-recognized venue to make our case to a lot of potentially like-minded individuals and helped increase the pressure on CBS to rethink the new guidelines.
My comments and videos I posted on Project Small Access:
were never about hatred for CBS or Paramount. I didn’t hate them then and don’t now. I simply think they are being stupid. My comments were about love for ST and the Prime Universe as art rather than mere product. I think that I, like most fans who are boycotting, simply want CBS/Paramount to love that as much as we love it, or at least recognize that there is a market there. I fully realize that this effort may accomplish nothing, but it all but certain that fan films as we have come to know them will be gone forever if we don’t try. I understand the reluctance on the part of many fans to aggressively boycott at least the first weekend, but those people need to understand and recognize that CBS and Paramount don’t want to be friends with the likes of those who are making fan films such as Axanar, Horizon, and Renegades. Every overture to make nice with CBS, every ticket purchased to that movie, simply confirms their decision to effectively ban those efforts. It is a case in which they must learn what is is to be our enemy that they may better appreciate what is is to be our friends, to paraphrase a line from “The World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.”
This is not the Star Trek Universe. It is the real world, in which one can’t assume mutual goodwill and a genuine willingness to compromise on both sides of a dispute, and CBS has demonstrated via the lawsuit against Axanar and the new fan film guidelines that they neither bear the current ilk of fan film makers much if any goodwill and have little if any willingness to compromise. To change CBS/Paramounts minds requires that they see there is a cost to that approach. The only way that we have is to hit them in their bottom line because that is the only thing that really matters to them. Only then will they have any real reason to listen to the fans.
As to Alec Peters going to the movie I think that is the right decision. The end goal here is that there be greater friendship between the fan community and CBS/Paramount, that they regard us as advocates and promoters of their brand rather than rivals and competitors. Should we win this fight, and make no mistake, this is a fight for fan films and even for certain kinds of free speech, Alec Peters and fan film producers will still have to deal with the suits at CBS. Completely alienating them is stupid and counterproductive. Alec and the rest of the fan film makers have to play nice with them, We, the fans, do not. My calls to boycott are an attempt to use that in the service of the cause.
A successful boycott might even enable the Axanar defense to demonstrate in court that the commercial impact of fan films is positive, because it enhances fan loyalty for the brand.
If it becomes clear at some point that the effort has failed, then boycotting all things Star Trek forever may accomplishes nothing more than a change in viewing habits and would be as silly as not going to Comic-con after you’d already bought tickets.
So if you have already spent the money, by all means, go to Comic-con, but use it as an opportunity to state our case and show solidarity for fan film makers. If not I would recommend boycotting the movie and the new series until the 2017 first-quarter results come in for CBS/Paramount. That gives it time to hit home with investors.
Strategy, not hate.
My family and I bought tickets to the Vegas convention and we are also going to be there. But I am done with the CBS Paramount after this convention. My family is in agreement with regards to boycotting any future projects from the studio. They have slapped us all in the face after the fans kept an interest in Star Trek going, while the studio slept for the last 11 years since the end of Enterprise and gave us two crummy movies. Jonathan I respect your option and hope that your campaign gains momentum, but this fan has seen a studio that doesn’t give a damn for those that kept their franchise alive for the last 50 years. The fan films sparked new interest in Star Trek and only wanted to pay homage to characters from the older series and bring in new characters and story lines. CBS/Paramount would have only benefited from these films and instead turned the 50th anniversary year into a huge let down for those that were the most faithful. The best way to hit them in the pocket book is to download the episodes for free online or find a streaming site if you are interested in the new series.
Exactly! No more money in their pockets until we get a fair shake on those guidelines.
I have very specific reasons for having absolutely zero interest in either the new movie OR the new series that have nothing at all to do with any lawsuit. Rather, it has to do with them trying to cram things down my throat that have no business there. Star Trek has NEVER been politically correct. That nonsense only started with this movie and this series, and it needs to stop.
Doing things because they’re politically correct is not Star Trek. It is cowardice. In his grave Roddenberry must be whirling like a tornado. Doing the easy-peasy was NEVER Roddenberry, and it should NEVER be Star Trek. Star Trek takes the hard road and tells the hard stories that will make people listen and grow, not the namby-pamby nonsense they want to foist on us now.
I won’t be watching any CBS or Paramount products until after I watch Axanar. The fans own Star Trek, not some faceless staff lawyers. If CBS/P wants to make money on the deal, or have some realistic guidelines, that’s fine. This draconian stuff is BS. Join me or not.
The PC stuff I wouldn’t even really mind all that much (well, maybe a bit) if it were vital to the plot in some way, but this thing with Sulu’s orientation (haven’t seen the movie yet – don’t plan to) feels like just one more attempt at shoving the LGBT agenda down everyone else’s throats. I’ve seen this at work in other movies & tv shows & it’s all so very clumsy & awkward. I already have a pretty good mind’s -eye picture of it – “Clumpity, tripity, bumpity, I’m Sulu, the gay helmsman”. “Hiccupity, plopity. flopity, I’,m a boy with a boyfriend”. No wonder George Takei weighed in against using Sulu’s sexual preference as a plot device. I’d be mad as hell. Yes, I get it, you’re allowed to marry, now. Huzzah for you, couldn’t be more pleased. No, I’m not coming down on the gay community. My own daughter is openly pansexual. I got no kick with any of it. I just wish Hollywood would stop beating me over the head with the LGBT aluminum bat. Enough with the militant routine, already.
Great post, Bob! Don’t know how you got it past the moderators, but great post! Thank you!
WOW Bob, that was a pretty absurd post. You know, if you are going to go off on the movie’s take on Sulu’s sexuality, you might want to actually SEE the movie so you know what you are talking about. So according to you, ANY mention of LGBT issue “feels like just one more attempt at shoving the LGBT agenda down everyone else’s throats.”
NO ONE is showing anything down your throat. It is a subtle and casual reference. You clearly just don’t want ANY LGBT issues in ANY media. Which frankly, is a bit ridiculous.
The scene you ridicule without even bothering to SEE is about as tame as it could be. If it bothers you THAT much, just pretend the guy holding Sulu’s daughter is her uncle. Unless you knew going in, you could easily mistake It for that. There’s no baseball bat of “gayness”, or whatever you think it is supposed to be, not at all.
The man who originated the role said that it was wrong to do because it was twisting Roddenberry’s vision of the character, a character which the originating actor has NEVER played as gay, not even in fan films. And that actor is himself gay, and HE didn’t like the idea either. Are you going to claim he has a problem, too? Or are you going to wake up and ask Hollywood to dial it down. There is no reasonable motivation for presenting 2% of the population as though they’re in everybody’s back pocket by the overwhelming prevalence of that presentation. Dial it down.
George Takei’s issues is NOT “Having LGBT issues shoved down his throat”. I have no problem with’s George’s opinion, I have a problem with the ignorance that claims the Sulu 5 second scene was “militant”, as said by a guy who didn’t even see the film.
Two totally different issues. You think George Takei agrees with Bob Franklin’s post? Seriously?
Frankly, I didn’t see it that way. 5 seconds of two guys hugging and walking arm in arm hardly seems like someone is “shoving the LGBT agenda down everyone’s throat”. I contrast it with the New Voyages episode (“Blood and Fire”, I think), where they made a huge deal about Peter Kirk being gay.
Uh. No one is trying to shove any agenda down any ones throat. Why does it bother you to see it in mainstream media? You just said your daughter is pansexual. Why wouldn’t you want her to be represented in media? By keeping it hidden and allowing heterosexual love to be the only thing shown you’re allowing her to have to remain hidden. Instead of making her feel comfortable enough to be herself.
My question is why did it take until now for this to happen?
The badgering is constant and incessant in the media. For a 2% fragment of the population why is it that the media seemed obsessed with making sure that it gets presented as though every other person is part of that segment instead of the fact that it is more like 1 in 50?
Seriously. Dial it down.
What badgering? Seriously. Who “badgers” you about LGBT issues? You see it on screen and you are so offended you consider it “badgering”?
When the media insists upon presenting homosexuality as though it is every other person that exists rather than as the 1 in 50 that it is that is badgering, plain and blatant.
Dial it down.
There were 20 or so principle characters in Star Trek Beyond, and ONE was seen with another man for 5 seconds. As before, your statements are exaggerated and not supported by any facts. NO media shows every other person as gay.
And 1 in 20 is, at 5%, still far *less* than representative for the whole spectrum of non-Kinsey-0 people; 3 in 20’d be more like it.
Pardon me for saying so, but it sounds like you may have some unresolved issues with your own family dynamic rather than issues with one scene in a 122 minute film. I disagree that a ‘Gay Sulu’ is ‘political correctness’, and I think they portrayed it beautifully in the film. (And if you see it, you’ll probably agree…)
At its core, Trek is about FAMILY. The family that the crew of the Enterprise forms, the family that each crew-member leaves behind as they boldly go, and the support that those families left behind gives to each other (something that many deployments overseas in the US Navy has taught me well). It’s a changing world we live in, technological, societal, religious, racial and sexual boundaries that we believed were ‘static’ fifty years ago was just an illusion. Because, the only constant in the Universe is change. The same holds true for parallel and alternate Universes….
While I doubt my counsel will change your mind, I can tell you as the father of a beautiful twenty-something daughter, I don’t care who she finds love with – just so long as she finds it. True, lasting, best friend and soulmate kind of love that I hope you have (I’ll assume) found. That and to be treated equally, is the only ‘gay agenda’ that I’m aware of.
It probably is funnier when someone like Peter Griffin says it. And honestly man I get it. Whether you agree with it or not the world is changing. So even if it’s not your thing at least try and keep an open mind.
Relax everybody. It’s just a parody film. Captain Kirk is a brat. Emotionally unstable Spock. Trans-galactic transporters, “super blood,” and a gay Sulu. It’s just a parody. Laugh a little! Once you understand and accept what the film is, it won’t bother you. You just have to accept it and move past it. After all…. “CBS/P is gonna do what CBS/P is gonna do” ( apologies to Captain Travis!)
The irony is that the fan films take Star Trek more seriously that CBS/P.
I don’t have a Facebook account, so I’ll join Small Access in absentia, if that counts any. Having watched TOS when it was on originally and through college, then on to TNG, DS9, and then halfway through VOY when I gave up on Trek altogether because the captain put her ship INTO jeopardy, I’m going to delay watching Discovery until others have seen it and provided feedback that I trust.
My wife and I are midway through binge watching the third season of “The 100,” and man, this showrunner understands the concept of tension, personal stakes, global (high) stakes, and the concept that the antagonist has a valid worldview and completely believes what they do is right. The BSG reboot did the same thing and left Trek Enterprise behind so much I couldn’t get past the first episode.
So the bar has been set higher by other productions. If Trek Disco doesn’t meet my expectations, I won’t even bother to subscribe. If word gets out it’s OK to watch, I’ll wait for all the episodes to be complete, then binge watch them all in one month, then cancel the subscription.
I posted a comment on one of the other blog entries a short while back. It’s difficult to keep up with, so I can’t recall if it was this blog or the Captain’s blog. I commented about how it seems to me that CBS/Paramount’s big issue is the ability to draw revenues. With the recent decision to drop the lawsuit and issue guidelines governing fan-fiction based on their IP, and the way it has crippled fan-films, seems to have proven my point. I believe even more now that they are concerned that hi-quality, professionally made fan films will hurt their income possibilities. If it can be done cheaper by a fan-film entity, why would advertisers want to fork out the kinds of money they do now for productions by the IP holder that are going to cost so much more? It makes sense, and they should be worried. However, that does not mean that the advertisers see it that way, nor does it mean they would really lose that much in revenues.
That all said, I have not gotten angry about any of this because I don’t see anger as helping or changing anything for the better. Anger clouds the issue and makes it harder to navigate a way out of the maelstrom and into calmer waters. CBS/Paramount reacted in anger with their guidelines and look what it has accomplished. It has effectively killed all fan-film efforts that show any sign of being well-made and looking professional. I have no idea what it will take to get CBS/Paramount to reconsider their position and their decisions, but I do hope that something happens to make that difference. I am a Star Trek fan from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, and I will always love the shows and movies. I thought the reboot movies were good, but they were so different from TOS that I was not sure I wanted to see an alternate universe, and am still not sure. I would pay to see the movies when I have the cash to do so, and if I could I would even pay to see the PPV series if it comes about. My current income is not enough to pay for a postage stamp, so movies and PPVs are out of my league right now.
Here’s hoping that this mess can be straightened out, and that CBS/Paramount can find their way clear to work with the fan-film entities instead of against them.
I found the blog entry I commented on previously. It isn’t as recent as i thought, but not that far back either. It is the Captain’s Log entry for March 29,2016, and my comment was posted on April 8, 2016.
I am angry at CBS/Paramount as well. The fans got together like never before and Alec is/was producing a fan movie like we had never seen! I WANT to see Axanar. And they are not charging us anything to watch this amazing movie. Those that have the money to donate were welcome to contribute, and those who did not were not obligated to, we would all get to enjoy it regardless.
Axanar stood to grab the attention of people from the younger generations and make them into Trekkies. This could only be good for Star Trek. Axanar was free advertising for their product, but done in a very professional way. Axanar stood as a bridge to grab the attention of those of us who loved BattleStar Galactica because it had several of our beloved actors involved.
The lawsuit did not, and still does not make sense to me. What possible good could come from it?
I am one of those people who has seen everything related to Trek, and enjoyed it all. I love JJ’s movies even though they are quite different from the old movies. I want to see more and more. BUT, that being said, I cannot sit by and accept the fact that Paramount/CBS have taken away something I was excited to see. They made a very foolish move and I believe it should cost them. I can only hope enough people feel like I do and will show them with their wallets.
I also love Star Wars and Marvel films. When they release a new movie I make a point of seeing it in the theater, not just for the experience, but also to support them and encourage them to keep on making more movies for me to enjoy.
When it comes to Star Trek Beyond, or Star Trek Discovery, I know some people who like to pirate, and I will still be able to love and enjoy their work without them getting a cent of my money. I am only 1 person and only have so much power. I will speak ill of them, encourage the negativity towards them, and not give them MY money until such time as they realize the mistake they have made and reverse it. If they never do, then they will never get my money again. I will still see the shows and movies, I just may have to wait a little longer to get a copy. I can happily live with that.
With all due respect, Jonathan, I believe more Trek fans have followed this story than perhaps you are aware. The recent attempts to crush fan films — or at least to relegate fan films to the status of garage projects — has left a bitter taste in our mouths of many fans — new and old. And some of us — myself included — would rather endure the demise of the series than contribute to the financial success of a franchise with such disdain for its fans. And I love this cast. I want to support them. But I can’t. And I think a lot of other Trek fans are in the same boat. So far, Beyond has been a commercial flop. Two weekends in and the film still has not made budget, let alone covered marketing and distribution. You may disagree with me, but I am willing to bet this has to do with a disengaged fan base. Trekkers carry this franchise, plain and simple. CBS/Paramount may not recognize you, but they can’t ignore all of us, and they can’t ignore the diminishing returns. Personally, I hope they take bath on Beyond. And if they come to their senses, I’ll be back. If they don’t, well, the franchise had a great run.
I still have very mixed feelings. Keep in mind that I’m very committed to the SMALL ACCESS protest campaign, and I’ve written up a 32-page Focus Group Report that I’m planning to ask fans to print out and mail to the studio executives (a new twist on a letter-writing campaign–as every “letter” will be a 32-page listing of red-line suggestions for revising the guidelines).
However, I’ve also seen the reaction of my almost-six-year-old son to seeing ST Beyond. He cheered at the end, “Yay, Starfleet won!” (Sorry, should have given you guys a spoiler warning on that one.) For the next five days, Jayden insisted on wearing a Star Trek uniform T-shirt each day to camp (he owns four, and we did laundry). And then he asked me if we could go see Star Trek Beyond again…and he NEVER asks to see movies a second time!
So what is a Trekkie daddy to do? How can I root for the demise of the franchise? Jayden is only just discovering the magic I’ve enjoyed for fifty years. I still love this thing called Star Trek, and I’m looking forward to seeing Star Trek: Disco Very. And I want fan films, too. I want it all. Am I being unrealistic? Perhaps. Maybe I can’t lead the SMALL ACCESS campaign and still root for Star Trek to live long and prosper. Or maybe I can. I’m going to at least try. If it’s a fool’s errand, then fool I be! 🙂
I will admit I “had” mixed feelings the first weekend.. but the word of mouth from the non-Trekkies who saw it was really.. not.. that.. good. They actually said Vin Diesel should have replaced Idris Elba.. strange casting suggesting I guess.. or they were looking, expecting? something else.
The disconnect between the studios and the property has been apparent for years.. its in a sad state.
The people being brought in to re-do the 80’s Trek in 70’s style do not bode well for the series.. and Discovery just demonstrates .. they still don’t get it.. so they are trying to move beyond it.. to get away from the “fan base”.. ergo.. they “don’t want to do Trek because its Not what they want to do.. all that previous [cannon] stuff has them confused and amused.. but they don’t want to do the work to take it into account. For vested fans.. its that work that makes the film or TV series worth it.. a random Klingon or Andorian reference every third episode.. is just not Trek.. if anything its “playing Trek as little kids would.. a momentary distraction for them” agony for the rest of us.
Axanar had a real basis in research and an abundance in striving to understand, accomodate and “manage” cannon.. it didn’t run away from it.. and it even tried very hard to “respect” the loose definition of “property rights” granted by Desilu Studios in the transfer to Viacom. Much of the proposed film was to be original content with a nod to the derivative origins. .. no less so that STTMP, Wrath of Khan or anything since.. are we to believe that Desilu imparted a right to the entire cannon of the English Language to CBS/P? The court will corral them somewhat.. but they posioned the well first.. and I’m sad to say they will bury Star Trek… because if they can’t attract an audience they don’t want anyone else to have it either.
The only salvation maybe a sale of CBS/P after its current studios are broken up and sold off as all studios are eventually broken up and sold off over time. MGM is gone, UA is gone.. they all go sooner or later. Maybe like AOL and Yahoo they will be broken up within less than a generation and Netflix or Google or Apple will cherry pick a few favorite properties.. after watching the alienation of the fan base and revive it.. later.. for now.. the magic is gone.. the light has gone out.. the curtain on Star Trek has fallen.. CBS/P killed the golden goose and its unrevivable under their watch. they are incapable of understanding.. unable to reverse course.
I really feel for the remaining original cast members.. it won’t be back in their lifetimes.. and we will all be the poorer for it.
50th Anniversay will go down in history.. with the ship
Steven, I couldn’t agree more.
Don’t care if Sulu’s gay. Gay people have children too, you know, so Demora Sulu’s existence is not in jeopardy. Otherwise, the sex life of a fictional character is only important as background. As an example, I cite the ‘Turn Around” scene in STID: it was relevant because it showed Kirk as an opportunist who had little regard for the rules or those he hurt when he broke them, and it showed Dr. Marcus as both aware of his nature and impervious to his supposed charm. It was relevant to the development of the two characters, and set the stage for some real growing up on Kirk’s part. If Sulu’s husband proves to be relevant to the development of Sulu’s character then great: otherwise, I don’t care.
What I do care about is the future of Trek.
For a long time that future depended solely upon fans, fan fiction, and ‘soft’ canon books published under license. CBS/Paramount, from the time they purchased the copyright, has been the beneficiary of this dedicated fandom. Now that the fans have demonstrated their willingness to shell out real money for Star Trek, the license holders want it. Make no mistake: if the sharks didn’t smell blood, (money,) in the waters, they would have no interest in fan productions whatsoever, as they demonstrated time and time again as state-of-the-art fan productions gained in popularity and technical prowess in the time between Enterprise and ST 2009.
But they are making a classic mistake: winning a battle at the cost of a war. When the JJ Reboot series comes to an end, as it must, and when Discovery is replaced with something that makes more money in the short term, what will they have left? Fandom is limited to 15 minute stories, (or 30 minute if they combine two episodes.) Certainly there is enough time to tell a tale using familiar characters, but those are excluded from consideration by the new guidelines. In half an hour it would be difficult to introduce a new cast and tell a relevant story, (though I’m sure there are geniuses out there who could accomplish this.
Once the official shows run their course, who will carry the flag until the next multi-million dollar offering? Who will even remember the last big one if nobody carries the flag? The studios have mistaken fan films for competition, which they are not. Instead, they should be encouraged to view them as free advertising. It was fan fiction, after all, that made TMP, TNG, and all that came after possible and even profitable. If not for fan fiction, this 50th anniversary would have passed much the same way the 50th anniversaries of Gunsmoke and Bonanza, (TOS’s competition at the time.) Didn’t you get an invite to their gala conventions?