Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ
Below you will find a growing list of answers to some of the many questions that we’re routinely asked, but you will find the most comprehensive answers in our official FAQ/Q&A threads on the Axanar Fan Group on Facebook. Be sure to join that group and stay abreast of the latest information!
About the History of Axanar Productions
When did Axanar Productions come into operation?
Axanar Productions was created in 2013 in anticipation of a March 2014 crowdfunding campaign to finance the twenty-minute short film, PRELUDE TO AXANAR.
What kind of company is Axanar Productions?
Axanar Productions is registered with the state of California as an S-Corporation. We are also operating as a California Non-Profit Corporation which is the first step towards achieving registration with the IRS as a federally tax-exempt non-profit corporation (commonly referred to as a 501(c)(3)). To date, Axanar Productions has not charged viewers to watch PRELUDE TO AXANAR, and had no intention of charging viewers to watch AXANAR. All fan donations raised have gone to the costs of producing the film.
After the AXANAR feature film, will Axanar Productions still remain as an operating business? If so, what will it do?
Axanar Productions’ mission is making fan films inspired by Star Trek. What the company does in the future will depend on the outcome of this lawsuit
How many people are employed by Axanar Productions?
Everyone who works on Axanar Productions projects is a volunteer; the company does not have any employees.
About The Lawsuit
Why did CBS & Paramount sue Axanar?
CBS and Paramount Pictures sued Alec Peters and Axanar Production for alleged copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed in December 2015, was settled in January 2017.
Why didn’t Axanar Productions get CBS and/or Paramount’s permission to make PRELUDE TO AXANAR and AXANAR?
After lobbying CBS for 4 years for fan film guidelines, Alec Peters asked Liz Kalodner, the SVP of licensing for CBS, whom he had met with previously, for a meeting at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention in August, 2015. CBS head of Star Trek licensing John Van Citters and SVP of Consumer Products Bill Burke attended. CBS told us, “We will not tell you what you can do, and we will not tell you what you can’t do, but we will tell you when you cross the line.”
Did Axanar Productions know it was going to get sued?
No. In fact, Axanar Production’s executive, Alec Peters, read about the lawsuit online—after it was filed—the same day it was published by the trade press. There was never a “cease and desist” letter or any other notice delivered to Axanar Productions or Alec Peters in advance of the filing. No phone call. Nothing. Which, considering Alec Peters’ history of volunteering for CBS on the CBS Star Trek Archive, and being a licensee at one point, is disappointing. It was also disappointing given that based on his meetings with CBS, Alec Peters believed he would be given some warning that would have allowed him to consider, and ideally resolve, CBS’s concerns before CBS sued him.
Did Axanar Productions attempt to settle the lawsuit when initially sued?
Axanar Productions made a settlement offer to Paramount and CBS within 24 hours of the lawsuit being delivered to the production’s offices, but it was rejected without a counter proposal. Axanar Productions continued its efforts to try and resolve this case as soon and as efficiently as possible, and remains optimistic that there is a mutually beneficial solution for all parties here.
Why did CBS and Axanar settle the lawsuit?
In the trial, the judge made a poor legal ruling, denying a Fair Use argument to Axanar. Fair Use is a matter of fact, and thus a jury decision, not a matter of law, and thus the judge was in error. This decision granted Axanar the chance to appeal any verdict to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. CBS, not wanting to deal with suing its biggest fans for the two years it would take for the appeal to get to the 9th Circuit, approached us to settle the lawsuit. It was in the best interests of both parties, and so Axanar is allowed to make two more 15 minute episodes.
About Producing PRELUDE TO AXANAR and AXANAR
PRELUDE TO AXANAR was released on YouTube a matter of months after it was funded. What has taken so long with AXANAR?
PRELUDE TO AXANAR and AXANAR are two very different kinds of films. As it was originally envisioned, AXANAR was to be a full-length movie while PRELUDE TO AXANAR is a mockumentary. PRELUDE TO AXANAR was a two-day shoot with actors sitting (for the most part) in front of a green screen. AXANAR, on the other hand, was envisioned as a narrative film requiring sets to be built, a larger cast and a larger number of professionals involved in everything from music to visual effects to editing and post production.
In generally takes an average of three to five years to make a feature film. Effects-heavy films (i.e. science fiction, fantasy, horror) can sometimes take even longer. Unforeseen events – like a lawsuit – can delay production even more.
Why do other fan films seem to take less time to produce than AXANAR?
This question usually results from a comparison of AXANAR to other Star Trek fan projects like Star Trek: New Voyages or Star Trek Continues. Other Star Trek fan projects, like New Voyages, Continues, Farragut, etc. are only 45-50 minutes in length and able to re-use sets, costumes and props they’ve built/acquired over time. And because several of those fan productions are set during the time period of the original series (TOS), they are able to share assets and copy already-designed assets from the 1960’s TV show.
Is the script for the AXANAR feature finished?
In August of 2015, Axanar Productions “locked” the script for the purposes of budgeting, set construction and costume design. However, it is common practice that scripts continue to be developed, which is why most shooting scripts have many pages of revisions.
Scenes may be added or eliminated; dialogue may change; characters may be dropped or new characters created, as we’ve just heard about with the new Star Trek feature film. According to writer/actor Simon Pegg: “…the way moviemaking works these days is that as soon as you have a structure and all the sets, and the kind of physical aspects of the film are locked in, the dialogue and stuff is always a moveable feast so we’ll be writing it right up until the edit…it’s a work in progress.”
Has AXANAR been cast?
Will the cast of PRELUDE TO AXANAR reprise their roles in the AXANAR feature?
All of the cast members from PRELUDE TO AXANAR – with the exception of Tony Todd (Admiral Ramirez) had agreed to consider reprising their roles in AXANAR. To this point, however, no deals are in place, so casting could still change due to scheduling conflicts or other reasons.
When will principal photography start on AXANAR?
We should start shooting this Spring.
How long will the visual effects take?
Axanar Productions relies on outside contractors to provide the visual effects (VFX) for AXANAR. How long it will take to complete the VFX needed to tell the story of AXANAR will depend on what kind of shape the production takes.
How long will editing and post-production take?
Axanar Production’s production schedule calls for 10 weeks (about 2-1/2 months) to edit the film.
Doesn’t everyone work for free on a fan film?
No. Several fan films have paid professional actors to appear in their films and crew to work.
But what other people are paid, if they’re paid at all, is a mystery to us. No other fan film production besides those produced by Axanar Productions has been as forthcoming about how their donations are spent by making any kind of public financial disclosure.
How can I help?
If you want to be part of the crew you may contact us at email@example.com.
Are you an actor? Most of the major roles have been cast. Nonetheless, there are many background and extra roles available in both the Los Angeles and Atlanta shoots. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t have either of those skill sets? Axanar still needs eager marketing associates — people like yourself that love Star Trek can help spread the word and be part of our team. Contact us at email@example.com.
And if you just want to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter, or at the local conventions, join us at the Axanar Fan Group on Facebook. Just search for Axanar Fan Group using the Facebook interface, or click here and we’ll pop right up.
How do I donate?
Stay tuned as we will soon be advertising our next fund raising campaign.