There is some confusion and a lot of myths about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Some of that confusion has been intentionally created by a certain set of detractors who, for whatever reason, would like to see AXANAR stopped and the dreams of over 13,000 donors and hundreds of thousands of fans dashed. Ironically, most of those detractors are not donors but rather people who, for whatever reason, just don’t like us and feel entitled to interfere.
So, one of the best ways to deal with this intentional interference is to directly address some of the misleading statements and allegations these folks are making. At their heart, there are good questions that need answers, so we’re happy to do it. And, please remember, you’re always encouraged to contact us if you have questions of your own.
MYTH # 1 – AXANAR IS MAKING A PROFIT
Axanar Productions is operated as a non-profit corporation and we are currently working toward being recognized as a 501(c) 3 federally tax exempt non-profit entity.
Some people claim that the fact that we pay some staff a modest salary makes us for-profit. That is not the case. According to the IRS and every standard business practice, a non-profit can pay employees salaries. Donors know about these expenses and almost unanimously approve of the expenditures as the donors have seen the tremendous amount of work that Alec, Diana and the team have done over the past 18 months.
MYTH # 2 – AXANAR BUILT A FOR-PROFIT STUDIO
There are two pieces of this myth that Axanar Production’s detractors try to conflate to support their argument.
The first part is whether or not Axanar Productions is a For-Profit studio. In this case, the word “studio” means a business venture focused on the development and production of TV, film and web content. As we explained above, that’s not the case. Axanar Productions is entirely focused on making Star Trek fan films. If Alec, Rob, Diana and the team want to make other films, those will be done through a separate production company as is standard business practice in Hollywood.
The second part relates to the physical facility Axanar Productions calls “home.” This is the rented warehouse we converted to a sound stage, which we like to call Ares Studios. Just like Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek Continues, the other two big fan films, Axanar Productions has created a “studio” to shoot our film, store its sets, etc. The cost of converting this space into a soundstage was a big piece of what we raised money for in the Axanar Kickstarter campaign. Some of that money was also intended to cover the monthly rent of the space ($ 12,500 a month).
After AXANAR is produced, we will still have a roughly $ 250,000 liability on the books for two years’ rent. Someone needs to pay that rent.
As a result, a small group of backers and fans have developed a plan to set up a separate company to take over the management of the sound stage, pay the rent and reimburse Axanar Productions for the cost of the build-out. That company will assume the $250,000 liability for the remainder of the lease. To do that, the new company will need to be a for-profit entity and raise investment dollars for capital.
We consider this to be a win-win for everybody. The new entity will reimburse Axanar Productions all the money that was spent on upgrading the building and those funds will go into the production.
As the details get worked out, we’ll be sure to bring you up to speed.
MYTH # 3 – THE LAWSUIT IS ABOUT MONEY
In their filing, the plaintiffs have told us this is not about money, it is about copyright infringement. The fact that Axanar has raised over $1 million, or is building out a warehouse to shoot in, or has paid those who have dedicated their lives for the past year and a half to making Axanar a reality, are not part of this suit. Some people (fans and detractors) make assumptions as to why Paramount/CBS is suing Axanar and no one else. Since we are the ones who are dealing with this lawsuit on a daily basis and know things the public does not, we can tell you quite simply, it isn’t about money.
As we have said, every time fans or “legal experts” have commented about this lawsuit, they have been wrong. So please refrain from speculation. I can guarantee you it won’t be as interesting or accurate as what is happening behind the scenes!
And as for us, we’ve made our desired outcome clear: we want see if there’s a way a mutual understanding between all parties can be reached that sufficiently addresses CBS and Paramount’s concerns and still allows Axanar Productions to tell the story 13,000 fans have asked us to produce by financially backing our efforts with PRELUDE TO AXANAR, the build-out of Ares Studios and the AXANAR feature film.