If showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN and his team from THE AVALON UNIVERSE can shoot three different and highly complex fan films simultaneously, then I can definitely do a blog that covers two things at the same time, right?
Those two things are 1) the release late last year of a new Avalon Universe fan film THE TRUTH WITHIN, starring CHUCK MERÉ as Captain Lance Ramirez and VANCE MAJOR as Engineer Erick Minard, and 2) Team Avalon’s current efforts to wrap up their fan series by tackling not one, not two, but THREE ambitious fan films all at once!
First, let me show you their latest fan film…
For those unfamiliar with the Avalon Universe, Chuck Meré joined the cast for their second episode, AVALON LOST, which also marked the departure of series lead TYLER DUNIVAN. Chuck stayed for two additional episodes, DEMONS and AIR AND DARKNESS, before departing the series along with co-star VICTORIA FOX. Tyler Dunivan returned to the series shortly thereafter with the episode COSMIC STREAM.
Meanwhile, Vance Major is a bit of a legend of Star Trek fan films, having written, produced,edited, directed, and/or starred in a total of 146(!!!) Star Trek fan films featuring his character of Erick Minard and the U.S.S. Constar. Many of his fan films feature interstellar “Facetime calls” between two or more characters, which are pretty easy to shoot (just record your lines into your computer or camera phone at home!). And indeed, The Truth Within looks more like a Minard/CONSTAR CHRONICLES fan film than a typical Avalon production.
Lots of questions abound, like why that simplified format, and does this mean that Chuck Meré is returning to Avalon or just making a cameo appearance? I ask both of those questions during this blog’s video interview below.
The second thing we chat about is something that I personally find even more intriguing. As some Avalon fans know (and are a little saddened by), the series will soon be coming to an end. The Truth Within marks the eleventh Avalon fan film (watch them all on this playlist), and only three more episodes remain: KNIGHTS OF THE VOID, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALBURS, and THE ONCE AND FUTURE CAPTAIN. (Dontcha just love the Arthurian titles?)
And these aren’t “little” episodes!
Knights is full of action and adventure. Crisis is a huge undertaking crossing realities with the same actors playing multiple characters from different universes and sci-fi franchises. (And thanks to Josh for letting me add a couple of fun characters to the script, including a “Space Elvis” tribute to STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES‘s show-runner JAMES CAWLEY. You’re all going to love this character!) And Once and Future Captain is a gripping and poignant series finale with a huge cast.
But rather than shooting these three films one at a time, Josh has decided to produce them all simultaneously. And we’re not talking about taking a long weekend to work on the first film Friday, the second on Saturday, and the third on Sunday. No, sir!
According to Josh, the cast and crew have already completed FIVE different shooting weekends at two different studios—WARP 66 in northern Arkansas and NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS in Kingsland, Georgia. Combined, that’s been TWELVE shooting days (a few of them in frigid cold temperatures!) with two pickup days still left to shoot. Coordinating so many different multi-day shoots over the course of half a year with dozens of cast and crew coming from multiple states to studios in multiple states takes an amazing amount of planning, coordination, and logistical mastery the likes of which would likely be overwhelming to many fan productions. (Wow, was THAT a sentence!) But somehow, Josh and the team made it look easy.
The shoots also marked a couple of firsts for Avalon, including the first time Vance Major actually attended a live shoot. Previously, Vance’s appearances as the Avalon Universe‘s Minard had been done remotely from his home in Kansas using a green screen background. But now Vance joined the fun in person, having an absolute blast.
Another first was having Tyler Dunivan serve as acting coach for the cast members while Josh handled the million other jobs he usually does as director/cinematographer/cameraman/producer/etc.—even though a few of the shoots had a separate cinematographer/cameraman, allowing Josh at least a little respite. But having Tyler, a trained actor himself, direct the on-screen actors took a huge weight off of Josh’s shoulders, allowing him to concentrate much more thoroughly on a whole slew of technical details. This has resulted in some of the best-looking footage ever for Avalon.
It’s because of these last two items that I invited Vance and Tyler to join Josh in discussing not only The Truth Within but also their experiences and participation with the recent plethora of film shoots. It’s the first time all three have appeared together here on Fan Film Factor, and the following video interview is a treasure-trove of great information for fan filmmakers everywhere. Check it out…