Going against my better judgment (that’s screaming at me, “Jon, stop typing NOW!”), I’m going to jump head first into the latest controversy surrounding a recent comment claiming that Axanar has “poisoned the well” for all other fan films.
Buckle up, folks!
First, a little background for those of you scratching your heads and wondering what in the name of Surak I’m talking about. By now, most of you know that Axanar got sued for copyright infringement by Paramount and CBS in late December and, instead of rolling over and begging for mercy, doubled-down and hired a top intellectual property law firm to defend them pro bono. This only served to make the whole case even more prominent in both the news media and among Trek fans in general.
Second, at the beginning of March, Star Trek Continues launched their third crowd-funding campaign, deciding this time to switch from Kickstarter to Indiegogo. The primary reason for the switch, most observers believed, was that Indiegogo allows campaigns to keep whatever funds they generate, regardless of whether or not a project reaches its donation goal. Kickstarter, the other major crowd-funding platform for projects, requires a campaign to reach or surpass their stated goal or else the project gets NOTHING. That’s the risk of using Kickstarter, and several Trek fan film projects have wound up with zero when they failed to reach their posted contribution goals.
A good example of this frustration came last June when the start-up fan series Star Trek: Captain Pike generated a very impressive $77K in pledges on Kickstarter. However, despite raising an amount that would make most other fan series green with envy (many smaller productions struggle just to get to $10K or $20K), Captain Pike end up with zilch because they’d set their Kickstarter goal at an ambitious (too ambitious, it turned out) $112K. Missing their goal meant that $77K disappeared—POOF! Pike later switched over to Indiegogo and raised about the same amount over two campaigns, but this time they got to keep it.
So why doesn’t everyone switch over from Kickstarter to Indiegogo? An increasing number of Trek fan films have done just that. But there’s still some big reasons to think twice before making the move:
1) Kickstarter has TRIPLE the site visitors that Indiegogo has. This recent article from last November estimates that Indiegogo gets about 9 million unique visitors a month while Kickstarter reports 25-27 million.
2) Indiegogo also has more campaigns active at any given time (about 10,000) than Kickstarter (about 6,000), so there’s more competition for the donors’ attention (and dollars!) on Indiegogo. And with fewer donors visiting Indiegogo in the first place, that’s a recipe for lower crowd-funding totals right there.
3) Also from the same article I referenced above: “The media loves Kickstarter…so it does get way more coverage than Indiegogo. The reason for this infatuation is Kickstarter’s strict quality controlled image. They deliver higher quality products so journalistic types don’t have to wade through campaign after campaign of rubbish to find a story. This means that, on Kickstarter, your campaign has more opportunities to garner a bit of press coverage. Big advantage.”
Third, Star Trek Continues set a very ambitious goal of $350K for their latest crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo. Their reasoning seemed logical. Their first Kickstarter campaign in late 2013 set a goal of $100K and raised $126K in thirty days. Their next Kickstarter (“Kirkstarter 2.0,” they called it) in early 2015 also set a goal of $100K and blew past it for an eye-popping total of $214.5K in just thirty days! That extra money allowed STC to construct a dazzlingly accurate Engineering set and fund three additional episodes.
So logically, considering that they had climbed from $126K to $214K over their first two campaigns, their third would be on track to break $300K, right? And heck, why not set a slightly higher goal of $350K? After all, switching to Indiegogo meant that STC would keep whatever they generated, even if they just missed the $350K goal.
But they didn’t “just miss it.” Even with a 60-day campaign period (twice the length of each of their Kickstarters), STC’s Inidiegogo campaign has fallen waaaaay short. With just a week left to go, they’ve managed to raise only $150K from 1,700 backers. (Their first campaign had 3,000 donors and their second had 2,600.)
Before I continue, I need to make a VITALLY IMPORTANT statement:
I LOVE STAR TREK CONTINUES!!!
I’m a donor to STC. I gave $100 to their latest Indiegogo campaign. I recently wrote a very glowing 3-part feature article about the history of STC on FanFilmFactor.com and encouraged donations to their campaign.
I also love Axanar. Despite the “feud” between the two showrunners, Axanar’s Alec Peters and STC’s Vic Mignogna, I admire and like them both. Hey, it’s a free country, and if I choose not to hate someone’s guts, that’s my right, y’know?
All kidding aside, I really do respect the passion, talent, and commitment of both show-runners and both projects, and I wish we could all just get along. Barring that, though, I just wish there was less trash talk.
And let’s face it, there’s been a LOT of friction between Alec and Vic over the past few years. But to be honest, I don’t recall ever hearing a podcast interview or reading any public statement where Alec has torn down STC in any way. I know Alec thinks Axanar is better in many ways than STC, but that’s hardly going to do more harm than the head of the Coca Cola Bottling Company saying he thinks Coke is better than Pepsi. The vast majority of Alec’s comments about STC itself have been extremely complimentary.
And that brings us to last week…
Vic Mignogna did a podcast interview on April 22 where he spoke about STC but also commented at length on the lawsuit that Axanar is currently having with CBS and Paramount.
Now, before I start commenting on Vic’s comments, let me just say in fairness to him that, up until recently, Vic has not been vocal (either in interviews or his own postings) in blaming Axanar for the disappointing donation totals of STC’s latest campaign. I can only imagine how the frustration must have been growing for everyone on the STC team. They weren’t just falling a little short; they were falling a lot short, and that’s got to feel at least somewhat demoralizing for one of the undisputed leaders of the Star Trek fan film world. If I were Vic, I’d want to find something or someone to blame, too. And at least in this podcast interview, and also in a recent video message to donors from the top of Vasquez Rocks, Vic chose to point that finger of blame directly at Axanar.
Admittedly, Vic never mentioned Axanar by name, but his true meaning was pretty obvious from remarks like this: “Well, it’s not been going as good as we had hoped, and I’m fairly certain, as are most of our production team that the reason for that is the ‘other production’—that shall not be named—who behaved in such a way that they brought down a lawsuit on themselves. And I think it’s really poisoned the well for the rest of us.”
Now, leaving aside for the moment the irony that such a comment is, itself, poisoning the well against Axanar, let me say that—and here’s where I’m gonna piss off half of the people reading this—Vic is not entirely wrong. (There, I’ve said it.) And now I’m going to piss off everyone who just cheered my last comment: Vic is also failing to acknowledge a number of other significant factors that likely have themselves contributed to the disappointing crowd-funding result, at least in my opinion (which I am going to justify with examples in just a moment).
First, though, let’s give Vic his due and admit that Axanar probably shot the sheriff…
What I mean by that is that, although there is no way to know for certain if the lawsuit specifically made anyone say, “No way, I’m not giving my money to another Trek fan film because they’re all going to be shut down…” it would still be naïve for any of us to assume that didn’t happen at all. Heck, even I had that concern when I decided to give my hundred bucks to STC last month. In my case, it was a risk I was willing to take because of my love and support for the series. But then again, I’m not struggling to pay my rent, and I can afford to roll the dice on backing fan films I want to see. Others might not be so lucky, optimistic, or committed.
Now, let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that, if you’re going to simply blame Axanar for the lawsuit, then you’re kinda giving CBS and Paramount a free pass…since they were the ones who decided to file the complaint and scare the dickens out of the fan donors. But that’s splitting hairs. Let’s just give Vic the benefit of the doubt and say that the Axanar lawsuit probably didn’t help the world of fan films continue to make money from enthusiastic fans hand-over-fist.
But I can’t let Vic’s statements blaming it all on the lawsuit stand alone when there’s also a number of truths that might be inconvenient but really need to be stated and heard (well, read) by people before they drink any more anti-Axanar Kool-Aid.
And this is where I explain why Axanar didn’t shoot the deputy…
First up, as I stated previously, Indiegogo has only one-third of the visitors as Kickstarter. So that’s already going to affect the number of backers one gets…it has to! Sure, STC and other fan films do their best to attract potential donors directly to their campaign pages, but there’s also a number of donors who just come across the page, often while visiting another crowd-funding campaign page and seeing recommendations at the top of the page. With fewer site visitors overall, there’s less chance of folks just wandering in to have a look.
Second, as the article I referenced earlier stated, the general media is less likely to cover Indiegogo campaigns than it is Kickstarters. Now maybe it’s just me, but I can’t remember seeing as much media coverage for STC this time out beyond podcasts and blogs (which hit relatively small and focused audiences). Granted, it could be that the Axanar lawsuit has been sucking the air out of the room, but one would think that the news media, when writing those lawsuit articles, would also want to cover other major fan projects that were still actively seeking financial backing…rounding out the news story. If reporters simply checked out Kickstarter and not Indiegogo, they would not have found an active campaign from STC.
The third point that needs to be made—and this is really important, folks—is that there was a decline in crowd-funding totals that started many months BEFORE the lawsuit was ever filed. As I recounted in the recent Fan Film Friday blog I posted back in January on the history of Trek crowd-funding, between 2012 and 2014, there was a veritable “gold rush” of donations to Trek fan films resulting in nearly $1.2 million being collected. In fact, Axanar had taken in more than half of that haul and was gearing up for a new summer campaign in 2015.
But Axanar switched from Kickstarter to Indiegogo, and after raising $638K the previous summer on Kickstarter, their next campaign on Indiegogo took in only $475K and had 25% fewer backers than had donated the previous summer.
But it wasn’t just Axanar seeing a drop off. Star Trek: New Voyages had raised $65K from 1,100 donors on Kickstarter in 2014. But in 2015, they only hit $50,000 from less than 800 donors. And they used Kickstarter for both campaigns.
Donor fatigue? Possibly. Remember these were all half a year prior to the lawsuit. Other fan films struggled in 2015, as well. As I mentioned earlier, Captain Pike’s first Kickstarter failed completely. The same was true for Star Trek: Anthology, Star Trek: Equinox, and Star Trek: First Frontier. Of course, not every fan film campaign stumbled in 2015, though, but the ones that succeeded were taking in modest amounts. For example, after switching to Indiegogo, Captain Pike raised $65K, but a second follow-up campaign raised only $24K. Another start-up, Pacific 201, raised just $26K. And Equinox, when it did finally manage to fund, took in barely $6K.
And it wasn’t just the start-ups that were struggling in 2015. The high-flying Star Trek: Renegades had raised a total of $375K for their 90-minute pilot. But when they returned to the Kickstarter well in November of last year with a goal of $350K, they only barely made it with just 30 hours to spare! Although Renegades finished with $387K, had you checked on them just two days earlier, you would have seen the team biting their fingernails nervously still $25K short of their goal.
Even more of a nail-biter was a final Kickstarter at the end of 2015 for Star Trek Continues’ “sister” series, Starship Farragut. Their Kickstarter campaign had a much less ambitious $15K goal, but with just four days left, they were still $5K short! Fans pulled through at the last moment and pushed them just past the goal line (by a meager $787. Even though Farragut is a well-established fan series with nearly a decade of episode releases, they barely limped to their crowd-funding goal.
And as I said, all this was BEFORE the Axanar lawsuit!
So for STC to assume they’d continue the upward slope in donations in 2015 that they’d enjoyed previously in 2013 and 2014 was kinda like a person buying a stock that was steadily gaining value over the past year or two and being surprised to find the stock suddenly under-performing. Or to be less tactful, at least in my humble opinion, the $350K goal might have been just a teensy-weensy bit over-optimistic.
And finally, there’s one last mitigating factor that Vic might not be seeing, but it was flashing at me like a flare on the highway. They say timing is everything. Some people suggested that the reason Renegades’ and Farragut’s recent campaigns struggled so much is they were both competing with the holiday gift-giving season. When nearly everyone is saving up to spend their money on Christmas or Hanukkah presents, there’s not much left over for Star Trek fan film contributions.
What does that have to do with a campaign that started on March 4? The answer: Tax Day. Here in America, April 15 (or this year, April 18) can drain one’s bank account faster than you can say, “Hey, that’s MY money!” Granted, not every fan film donor is a tax-paying American citizen, but according to Diana Kingsbury of Axanar, about 2/3 of donors to their latest campaign were U.S. residents. And while there’s no “perfect” time to hold a crowd-funding campaign, some parts of the year might be less effective than others…such as Christmas and the period just before and after Tax Day in the U.S. when people’s money might be otherwise spoken for.
When all is said and done, $150K (with nearly a week left to get that higher) is nothing to sneeze at! That total actually places STC in second place as the MOST SUCCESSFUL fan Trek Indiegogo campaign to date, and sixth place overall if you count Kickstarters, as well. STC has raised more contributions than they did for their first campaign and has come close to reaching the amount they took in on their second campaign, despite switching over to Indiegogo AND the recent downward trends in fan donations PLUS scheduling right around U.S. Tax Day.
Now, had the well of donations truly been “poisoned,” then one might reasonably assume the donation damage would have been MUCH more severe. STC still managed to raise enough to film TEN episodes of Starship Farragut (or buy three new luxury sedans)! And while I realize that STC and Farragut are very different series with different costs and production values, I still think a little perspective is in order. Vic and his team are seeing the glass as extremely half empty right now, and mostly blaming Axanar for the lack of water.
Personally, I think the situation is much rosier than it appears…especially considering all the headwinds STC was sailing into! And that’s really the point I want to make today: while the Axanar lawsuit MIGHT be a factor in play at the moment, there may well be OTHER reasons for missing their very ambitious $350K goal. Especially salient: one can’t ignore the diminishing donation totals from campaigns that took place in the months before the lawsuit.
To conclude, I just want to congratulate STC and Vic Mignogna, and to thank them for all they have done. Despite what may seem like a disappointing donation total, the team should still feel proud, very proud for having raised so much in their latest crowd-funding campaign.
But please, to Vic and anyone else with something negative to say about any fan film or series: please don’t poison the well by accusing another fan project of poisoning the well. That really doesn’t help any of us.
To quote Benjamin Franklin: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately!”
In two weeks: our focus on the realities of crowd-funding shifts to a lively discussion with the people behind some of the most successful Trek fan film campaigns to date. What works best? Where are the land-mines you should watch out for? Is donor fatigue really setting in, and if so, is there anything fan filmmakers can do about it?
And in the spirit of the Ben Franklin quote above, if any of you would like to contribute to STC’s latest crowd-funding campaign, click here.
(And before anyone shouts that, after Vic’s comments, they don’t deserve our support, remember that Axanar has always been supportive of other fan projects. Let’s continue setting the example and be the bigger man…er, fan film. Let’s help our brothers and sisters at STC make more great Fan Trek for us all!)
Join the discussion 46 Comments
Great article… fair and accurate and you said a number of things that I had thought previously.
1. Moving to Indiegogo was a mistake for STC (and I was concerned about the move prior to the campaign). They were successful at Kickstarter. They had history there… their fans knew they were there… and for some reason… there are things that just bug me about Indiegogo (and I’ve seen other people say the same thing). Changing your pledge on Kickstarter is a lot easier too. They should have stayed at Kickstarter and had a goal $100,000 goal. They would have made it… and more.
2. While I did contribute to STC again, I did not pledge as much as I had pledged in the past… and the lawsuit against Axanar was one of the reasons.
3. I knew that Axanar would not reach their second fundraising goal because many of their fans felt,”Wait, didn’t I give to this production already?” Alec loves to point out that he said,”The first fundraising campaign was to build the studio.” He says that over and over and over. He beats us over the head with that. No offense to Alec, but he really does beat us over the head about that. Yet, here it is in black and white, from the Kickstarter page for Axanar in stretch goals,”AXANAR PRODUCTION COSTS – $ 325,000 – $ 425,000.” So, when Axanar raised over $600,000, everyone thought the production would be funded (yes, I know Alec came out after the successful Kickstarter and said they would still need to do another fundraiser for production). I understand that they underestimated costs and then they expanded the scope of the movie they wanted to make. I get it. I think though that, had Axanar made whatever movie they could have made with their first Kickstarter, we wouldn’t we discussing a lawsuit from CBS/P.
Like you, I can afford my pledges to show support for projects I believe in. I believe in Alec, Robert, and the rest of the Axanar team. If they get a chance to make their movie, I think it will be great. I have pledged to Axanar twice. I also believe in Vic and his vision for finishing the five year mission. What he and the STC crew has done is nothing short of amazing. I have pledged to STC twice. Does Alec and Vic have egos? You bet. Many entertainers do. I can look past their (apparent) dislike for each other though and support and enjoy the work that they do. It would be great if everyone could get along and work together. Of all the non-studio Star Trek shows out there, Prelude and STC are the only ones that I have seen that I have truly enjoyed. I find the rest of them mostly unwatchable (Renegades was average at best and I can’t get into Phase II).
Again, great article. You said many things that I have thought over time.
Well said. Both you and Jonathan are right on the money. My only difference in opinion is about PII/NV. I enjoyed it up until James Cawley handed over the Kirk role to someone else. An additional personal thought from my perspective is that if the court decides against Axanar I won’t feel that my 2 donations were losses. I still want to see Axanar and I want my blue rays of the feature, but the lawsuit against Axanar has been educational and entertaining enough to make it worth the price of admission/donation I paid to Axanar itself.
Highly educational. Thanks for the great article!
I agree with Jon on many of his points. He said what was needed to say, speaking what’s in the minds of many, if not all, Trekkies. I strongly agree that the ‘in-between years’ for Paramount films and TV shows, it was the crowd-funded entities that maintained and elevated interest so that Paramount could benefit financially from the new ST reboot and the probable new TV series. So, what’s the purpose of the civil suit? I just don’t see any. It is my opinion, that there’s plenty of business opportunity for all. Besides this keeps the quality of the product at a high level. This reminds me of Deming’s 14 points; Point #8 ‘Drive out fear in managers’. Maybe its fear as the motive? Time will tell. Thank you.
Another thing you might have mentioned is that a number of would-be donors don’t like the partial-funding model used by Indiegogo. From a donor’s point of view, the fact KS doesn’t bill unless the project actually achieves desired funding is a plus. I’ve seen this on other non-Star Trek projects where many donors were reluctant to contribute to an Indiegogo campaign but came out enthusiastically on a Kickstarter for the very same project because they knew they wouldn’t be billed unless the project achieved the minimum funding it said it needed. From the donor standpoint, partial funding can be the worst of all worlds — the project can’t execute but you still get billed.
Good point, Derek. Indiegogo is a bit of a mixed blessing. I think if I had to choose a venue for my project, I’d choose Indiegogo and risk the lower “haul” in order to make sure that I at least came out with something. But others don’t agree…most notably the multi-talented Mr. Tommy Kraft of STAR TREK: HORIZON. I told him that putting himself up on Kickstarter with a $250K goal for his next project was taking a big risk, but he’s willing to risk it–all or nothing. He needs $250K, and he doesn’t think he’ll get there on Indiegogo. And he doesn’t want to wind up with half or less and then find himself in the awkward position of trying to figure out how to do what he needs to do with “Project Discovery” having only a fraction of what he needs. He’s already 5% of the way there, by the way, and here’s the link for anyone who wants to support him: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/startrekhorizon/project-discovery
I have a personal policy for Indiegogo flexible that I won’t fund unless the campaign is close to its original goal or has a satisfactory plan to deal with underfunding. Few post such a plan, it seems. I recall Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ as one that did.
I absolutely agree on this point, it’s definitely something I consider before donating to an unfamiliar project.
No further donations from me till Axanar is in clear calm waters and the production is sailing along. Meanwhile I am staying in my cabin out of the fray and stormy weather….
Will the fan films be allowed to continue? The lawsuit snuffed out what looked to be a great film! Whether the others are allowed to continue who knows. I like the diversity in all the various productions. I guess after so long with out ST, I welcome all of them. But I’m not a canon purest either! I was really hoping for a Soval fix! I loved that character!
There was also the case with so many kickstarters in 2015 and many overlapping – many of us are not the money tree that some corporations think we are. Then during the middle of all those kickstarters and indiegogo campaigns was the one from Adam Nimoy for the documentary on his father.
Look, I gave my $25 dollars to the first Axanar Kickstarter campaign. I kept saying I’d give more later and I still plan to, should we get clear, but this would happen or that would happen and I couldn’t at the time. I think I’m in a slightly better position now, so hopefully Axanar, in some form, will come through so that I can give more to it. I liked Horizon quite a bit and the others have at least their passion for Star Trek going for them. I know there are some personal axes being ground and those things happen. What’s depressing is the public back-biting and the schisms in Star Trek fandom. We aren’t all going to like the same things and we don’t have to. What we need to do as fans and as makers of Trek-related fan films, is not tear at each other for having different tastes, different goals or different levels of involvement.
This article showed that there are many factors regarding “Crowd funded projects”. and was written very well. I am refraining from further donations for these because as stated money is tight . Not out of loyalty to any one particular project. If Vic wants to complain , that’s his precognitive to do so. But, and this is the biggest complaint I have with his comments. He is blaming the Wrong people . Axanar did not sue CBS and Paramount . They sued Axanar and its production .. So, Blame them. He is lucky he was not sued ( so far) .. And truthfully his production uses more of the IP than Axanar does , ( by about 100%). I honestly hope that the “Plaintiffs” drop this action. And the projects ( note plural) can continue to make fan requested programming. Bitterness between projects only fuels the fire.
Tanya, you are right on all counts. Vic has no right to complain as he failed to take the advice of the people whose advice he sought out. They told me he ignored everything he was told. His own hubris is most of the problem.
Having listened to the podcast and watched is YT blurb about how fans shouldn’t be afraid to donate because nobody made any money on STC, My thought is that if Vic thinks he and his are safe from Paramount/CBS because of that he’d better re-read the complaint against Axanar carefully. Money made by axanar et al at Axanar Productions is the least of the reason they came after Axanar and not even mentioned in the complaint. As you pointed out some time ago, this lawsuit is about IP–not money. Money is not even mentioned in the complaint. They may still come after STC and STPII/NV if they feel they are a threat to their upcoming series, money made or money lost.
I hadn’t heard Vic’s comments, but had thought similar things to what he said. But I hadn’t realized they’d upped the ante so much in each campaign. As a supporter of Axanar, STC and also STNV, I’m really bummed to see all this infighting. I wish Paramount/CBS would change their minds and let the fans all do their thing. But that seems unlikely. Even if Axanar wins (which could easily take YEARS), it will make everyone bitter. I’ll just have to make due with official Star Trek. But I prefer to hear many voices instead of one.
There’s one point that I don’t think you fully addressed; the perception of “flexible funding” by the backing public. Sure, they get to keep the money even if they fail to fully fund, but THEY GET TO KEEP THE MONEY EVEN IF THEY FAIL TO FULLY FUND. Two-edged sword. I’m less likely to gamble on a project, which looks like it might even be engineered to fail. They don’t meet their goal, so what obligation do they have to fulfill promises made during that campaign?
For that reason while I did in fact fund STC, it wasn’t to the level that I might have, despite the fact that I backed another independent project (through Kickstarter) to such a level that I flew from Toronto, To Seattle, to spend a few hours on-set and attend the wrap party. Flexible funding is a big red flag for me and it makes me think twice, three times, maybe four times before backing any project. There are already enough fly-by-night crowdfunding campaigns out there, without putting, “We get paid anyway” on a project, in poster type.
Agreed Rob. I funded STC this time around, but less than I did in the past. I honestly just don’t get a “warm and fuzzy feeling” with Indiegogo. I really think STC and Axanar should have stuck with Kickstarter.
“Flexible Funding” is an option when you submit a campaign on Indiegogo. It’s not automatic. It does, however, seem to be selected by the majority of those who start funding campaigns there. It’s also why it’s only an exceptional campaign that attracts my funding there; Con Man, Axanar, STC, and a campaign started so that the 9 year old child of an acquaintance could fund her first film (which did not use flexible funding). That’s 4 projects I’ve contributed to through Indiegogo.
I have contributed to 30 successful campaigns through Kickstarter, over the years, and have contributed to one more that is currently running. That ratio should highlight my reticence when it comes to “Flexible Funding.”
All I’ve ever wanted was for Vic to stand up and say to all of his fans “stop hating on Axanar. If you don’t support Axanar, leave them alone.” Well, I supported STC’s first and second Kickstarter, but I will never support STC again until Vic says something to his fans about the harassment. It’s a shame, too, because they were making a damn fine Star Trek.
You do realize Vic is at the forefront of the hate against Axanar and is the instigator of much of it? Vic was invited to the Prelude to Axanar premier and walked out and immediately started bad mouthing Axanar, claiming “They must have embezzled money because that couldn’t have cost $ 70,000”. We had to issue a C&D against him for his defamation. So Vic blasting us publicly is merely him doing the same thing he has been doing privately for two years.
Sounds like an asshat to me. I really don’t understand why anyone involved with other Star Trek fan projects would be even remotely against Axanar. It’s extremely disingenuous to me since they are doing the same exact thing and are basically screwed if the Paramount/CBS wins the lawsuit.
I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was a kid, but I will refuse to watch the new Star Trek series next year if CBS shuts down Axanar.
FOr that matter I am at a loss to understand why any of the fan productions would be against any other fan productions. The whole idea is for each one to be free to express and develop its vision of ST. I certainly like some better than others and may disagree with their take on things. Some may be truer to my idea of what ST is or should be like, but I’d never bad mouth any of them just because of that.
Also leaning heavily toward not watching any of the nu-trek if Axanar gets whacked.
Well, I can say that Axanar has supported more Star Trek fan films than any other production. We have actively supported Star Trek: New Voyages, Intrepid, Ajax, Valiant, Horizon, Anthology, Pacific 201 and Renegades. James Cawley has supported many as well. But there are some, who refuse to support any other project. They are well known for their selfishness.
Vic had the fanfare and the spotlight, and he had a great product, until Axanar raised the bar to an Olympic level. He could have just as easily shook hands and said “great film”, but again, we’re dealing with egos here, which left him little option but to walk out and start trash talking. Prelude had/has a professional feel, something we deeply associate with quality. He can’t compete on that level not because he doesn’t have that level of passion, but because he doesn’t have that vision. And just like any “Toddlers and Tiaras” mom would do when her child was upstaged. they stormed out and started trash talking. Personally, I’d take it as a compliment that someone at his level had to stoop to the level he did. If you don’t have haters, you haven’t reached the top yet. And for Axanar, it’s lonely at the top !
Sorry, one more comment regarding the low donations during the holidays. My household donated $300 to the MST3K kickstarter, and that meant zero dollars for anyone else. MST3K, as you know, broke the record for highest funded campaign, beating Veronica Mars.
Axanar did NOT “poison the well’, IMO… although I think it IS fair for Vic to make the suggestion (and hard for him to resist taking the shot…) =P
No… nu-trek shat the bed… and now they (jj, boborci, et al) are crying to their mommy (paramount) to stop the fan productions from making them look bad (even though nu-trek sucks @$$ all on their own…) =P
STC is excellent, but Axanar really captures the imagination of Real Star Trek Fans! …this creates competition for nu-trek. nu-trek can’t stand competition, OR THE TRUTH: that the emperor has no clothes (nu-trek *SUCKS*)
nu-trek FEARS Axanar, so they will pull whatever dirty corporate tricks they can get away with, to kill the competition (thus the lawsuit…) =(
soulless corrupt corporate nu-trek is killing fan productions, not Axanar. =(
I would say that Axanar is what new Trek should be and STC is what old Trek is. If you love the original Trek, STC is awesome. If you want to see what new Trek should be ((instead of what it is)), then Axanar is your thing. I like both.
Vic’s comments that the lawsuit has caused fans to be wary of donating is not supposition. They come directly as a result of dozens of emails and comments that have come in over the past couple months since our fundraiser started. I know because I am the person who is at the other end of the STC email address, and I oversee the social media. A small percentage of the feedback has been that the switch in platforms is to blame, but the rest are overwhelmingly all about the lawsuit.
We did adopt some of the suggestions offered by the Indiegogo team, but not all – mostly because they didn’t make sense for us for a variety of reasons. Some of the suggestions were borderline ridiculous and indicated clearly that they don’t know Trek fans well at all.
Lisa – Thank you so much for this information. I can understand how Vic may feel or what he may have spoken about; however, does he realize that all the ST businesses are producing a top quality product, be it a ST TV show or motion picture? Also, does he realize that STC has won more awards in the last three years than Paramount has ever won with ST TV. Vic should focus on that fact! Finally, does he understand the importance to all Trekkies on taking the lead on science and space technology, themes, and equipment, be it fictional or not, driving the E2T (extreme edge technology) to its boundary? Thank you for listening.
Thank you for sharing that information. It would be tough to argue that the lawsuit has had no effect whatsoever on the fundraising. However, there is another sector of fans, myself being one of them, who planned to donate but didn’t because Vic chose to take a side on the lawsuit publicly. I don’t know if we number in the dozens, but it is money that Vic left on the table because of it.
I backed STC on Kickstarter and as soon as they switched to Indiegogo, it was clear to me that I won’t spend money there. No clear reason give, questions ignored… I much prefer Kickstarter to any other crowdfunding site. I can understand if someone starts his project at Indiegogo, but I won’t follow someone leaving Kickstarter. And I know there are LOTS of former STC backers thinking the same way. What happened with Axanar did not influence my decision at all.
Personally I am not sure how anyone can wholly blame Axanar. Does anyone think it would not just be a matter of time before CBS/Para pulled this on some other fan production if it were not Axanar? Making fan productions for Trek has always had an element of risk that fan productions for say Star Wars do not have because of the clear rules and support by Lucasfilm. If CBS/Para would do something similar and support their fans this would never have happened.
I note that in Vic’s Indiegogo campaign the reward tiers have NO physical reward for the episode itself (blue ray or DVD) until the pledge reaches $225. This is ridiculous, as many of us actually enjoy the Blue Ray experience for its better quality of video and audio. So he needs a lesson in “price point” at manageable levels.
Second, this campaign is starting to buck up against ‘fatigue’ from the old donors. In reality, this business model SHOULD have enough backers to get fully funded at the “bread and butter” level of about $15 to $20. At one point the fans want to just watch the episode without having to buy tchotchkes like scripts and T-shirts. In reality he needs to find 10,000 fans willing to pay $20 otherwise his project is unsustainable. His other problem, I suspect, is that if he posts the episode for ‘free’ on the internet, eventually the fans will realize they can watch the episode without having to pay a dime. (We note this exact effect in trying to sell my wife’s comic, there’s a lot of folks, especially youngsters, who won’t pay anything if they can get it for free on the internet, even though it costs thousands of dollars to produce) So he’s actually structured his project to fail from the outset. Axanar has nothing to do with his funding loss.
This leads to my next point, namely, to be sustainable for multiple campaigns any crowdfunding project needs to get NEW backers at a decent rate: you CAN’T rely on the same backers from the first campaign to pledge on the 5th as much as they did on the first! So you need NEW BACKERS. I am not a Trek fan, I hated the JJ Abrams reboots. Looking at the reviews of STC I was not impressed, with the bottle shows and the “Iris” costume for the guest character that looked really bad, and that was just in the still! And, gee, in their fifth episode they went back to the civil war. Shades of “City on the Edge of Forever,” anyone? Then my brother got all excited about this one show, “Axanar.” I thought, yeah, just another. Right. My wife beat me over the head and said, “WATCH THIS!!!” and screened “Prelude.” Blew me away. I donated, and that was in the most recent campaign, not even the first.
And heck, if Alec pulls it off right, he can use the publicity of the lawsuit to get even MORE attention and get even MORE new backers. Vic’s production is, meh, OK. Fine for the fans that like that kind of thing, but that’s not for me. I saw “CIty on the Edge of Forever” 49 years ago, I don’t need to spend money to watch Vic’s version with different actors.
But Axanar? Yeah. I’m there. backing it all the way.
Dude, you don’t like STC? Fine… big deal. Don’t like his pledge levels? Don’t pledge. Simple. All of us can nitpick Axanar and STC for things that we perceive as right or wrong. You think you can do better? Go ahead; DO IT! A lot of people don’t pledge for the perks. Some fans, Axanar and STC, pledge not caring about the perks. I’ve yet to see a single perk from my first Axanar donation. You don’t see my emailing Vic and say,”WTF DUDE! Where’s my blu-ray of the movie?! Where are my patches?” Who gives a crap. Either you believe in what you donate or you don’t care and you don’t donate.
Let’s give all the bashing of the Trek shows a break. Everyone is starting to sound like a bunch of children. Enough. Grow up everyone. In the words of Bill,”GET A LIFE, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it’s just a TV show! I mean, look at you, look at the way you’re dressed! You’ve turned an enjoyable little job, that I did as a lark for a few years, into a COLOSSAL WASTE OF TIME!”
We’re talking apples and oranges here. You’re talking about the fans who will plunk down $89 for a fan film just because it has “trek” on it. And STC did great, with 2231 backers he got $89.21 per backer for the $199k. That’s actually very very good. But how long can that be sustained? How many diehard fans are out there that will CONTINUE to back STC at $90 PER campaign just because they want to see the next episode?
STC fell short of its stated $350k goal. Clearly there weren’t ENOUGH fans to make that happen. Why? Because of Axanar? Maybe to some extent, but that’s minor compared to the other reasons at play. I’m saying that pledge levels and rewards are a means to get NEW fans to back the project. You know, people who DON’T back a Trek project just because it has the word “trek” on it.
I didn’t back it because to me the stories weren’t compelling enough for the minimum price point of $70 for the first available tier to get even a download of the episode itself. I’d never seen STC before yesterday. As a potential new backer I was turned off based on price point for the reward.
STC is working post on its SEVENTH episode. At what point do even the diehard the fans stop paying $70 to $90 per episode? Do you really think that is sustainable for 20 episodes? 30? 40? I thought not. So eventually STC has to either 1) watch their funding dwindle as even the diehard fans get tapped out, or 2) get NEW fans, or 3) shut down production.
I’m just saying as a potential new fan STC did not win me over. And if they’re not winning me over, who else are they missing out on? The Kickstarter golden age has passed where backers threw money at any project that came along. They’re more cautious after many creators have not delivered. STC has to buck that trend, also. Yeah, that’s out of their control, but that’s the reality of crowdfunding today.
My wife has run 4 Kickstarters for her comic, and she’s very fortunate to get 50% retention from one campaign to the next. The old fans are great, we love them, but we have to focus on getting the new ones to make each campaign successful. We can NOT expect to rely on just the old fans. And although the first campaign didn’t get to its goal, each subsequent one has. So I have “do(ne) it.”
Not apples and oranges. Axanar fell 50% short of their second fundraising goal. Was that a failure? Well, Alec was “disappointed”, but he moved on. Is STC disappointed they didn’t reach their goal? Probably. The original plans for both Axanar and STC were smaller in scale. Their popularity, and success in funding, has allowed them to have bigger sets, better production values, etc.
One thing you are missing is that some donors can afford to give more than others. $100 to some people is equivalent to $5 for someone else. Donors donate in scale. You get a few people donate at the highest level makes up for a lot of people who donate $5 or $10. Nothing wrong with either of those. Every dollar helps the campaign. I do not think that Vic or Alec think less of someone who can only donate the minimum amount. Everyone works hard for their money. No one has been told they need to donate $70 to $90 per episode. I do not donate that much… no where near it. You make it sound like someone is holding a gun at people to donate. Fans who can donate will donate and fans who don’t… don’t… and in your case non-fans don’t donate. I like STC (and I liked Prelude). IMHO, both Prelude and STC have been better than the new Trek movies.
I have said many times that the goal for these productions should not be to have 5,000 donors donating $100. The goal should be to have more fans/followers who are willing to give $5 for the whole campaign. The STC Facebook page has over 100,000 followers. If everyone gave $5 you would have over $500,000. They would most likely make five episodes out of that. So, $1 per episode. That would seem more than fair to me. I bet Alec would love to have 200,000 Axanar fans who donated $5 each. Economies of scale.
Lastly, STC is not going to go on forever. Vic made it clear that his plan is to finish the five year mission. There isn’t going to be 20 more episodes.
Just for the record if Vic is going to complete the “5 year mission”, he’s going to have to do 2 ‘seasons’ of shows. In the ’60s a season was typically 22+ episodes and TOS ran for three seasons. If I remember correctly TOS was more in the range of 25 per season/year. Then again it’s been a long time since I watched it in its first run. STC has done what to date; 7 episodes? That leaves something like 40+ to go.
Vic has said publicly that he only plans to do 13 or 14 episodes of STC. The reason is simple: they can only produce, at most, about two full episodes a year. Vic is 57 years old, and he knows that he can’t keep playing a 35-year-old character for much longer.
Vic is 57? I met him at the last Farragutfest and I would have thought he was 10 years younger. Still, he can’t keep playing a 35 year old Kirk for too much longer. On the other hand, to then move on to a 45 year old Kirk, the TMP era, would require new sets and a substantial amount of funding.
Jonathan is correct. The original intent was that this was going to be the last fundraiser for STC. I don’t think that has changed. If it has, nothing was said publicly. We will see episode six later this month. Episode seven in the Fall. After that I am sure we will hear what the plans will be moving forward for the remaining three or four (hopefully) episodes. I imagine we could see them wrapping up the show after that run of episodes.
Not sure how that comment got changed. I typed in 53. Vic was born in 1962.
Oh, and in classic “Mike Wazowski’s” style from Monsters, Inc, on their Indiegogo page Vic’s face is COMPLETELY blocked in the video by the bright pink ‘start’ button before you launch the video. I see all the other cast members, but not Vic . . . .
Oh, and (sorry to keep adding notes here) another serious flaw on any crowdfunding page that STC is doing is there is NO description of the people, who they are, and what they’ve accomplished (It may be in the video, but I haven’t watched that yet because of the “Mike Wazowski” effect, above), nor does it say specifically if they deliver their product on time. It’s implied, but not explicitly stated.
So as a newcomer to STC and never have pledged, I don’t know who these people are, and I note that Linda Thompson (listed as the creator, not Vic) has only created one campaign (this one) and only contributed to one, so she’s not part of the crowdfunding community on Indiegogo. So why should I back her project if she doesn’t bother to back others’?
This campaign reeks of amateurism.
Please don’t bash STC too harshly, Daivd. This “amateurish” campaign did manage to raise just a smidge under $200K. That makes it the second-most successful Indiegogo campaign for a Trek fan film/series and the sixth best haul ever if we include Kickstarter campaigns. There’s fan campaigns right now that are struggling to get to totals that are only 1/10 of that amount. Perhaps some mistakes were made or opportunities missed, but I wouldn’t call STC amateurish.