Alec Peters – A disgrace to the Star Trek community
It is with some sense of distaste that I find it necessary to write an article of this nature; which will fully document the unsavory aspects of one man's public misconduct and deep character deficiencies; but I feel it is an absolutely essential task since I have seen him carelessly smear and upset many good people and reputations – some of whom are prop collectors I have had multiple, honorable dealings with over 10 years or more; and it is morally unacceptable for me to allow these abuses to take place without speaking out.
This is admittedly far off topic from the original intent of this blog; which was and shall be in the future to enlighten the readers on Star Trek prop authentication; as opposed to human character authentication.
In the following article you will see an abundance of evidence, quite frequently
presented in the irrefutable form of actual screenshots containing Alec Peter's own malicious words – as taken from his public postings and forum entries - that outline a pattern of behavior which I am certain most reasonable people would take strong exception with. It seems to me in many ways to be more like the actions of some evil cartoon character as opposed to the conduct of a supposedly rational human being; yet it will be sadly evident how Mr. Peters:
? Clearly fabricates, misrepresents and grossly misstates people's opinions to suit his mean-spirited nature, and
? Has been observed to publicly denounce an item of memorabilia for sale on Ebay as fake and made derogatory implications about the motives of the seller in an attempt to warn other bidders away; only to then bid and purchase the item for himself and then later reveal it to be authentic.
The first example of, in my opinion, morally bankrupt actions on Mr. Peters part are the repetitive public character attacks he has launched inside his own Star Trek forum on any individual after banning that person from the site so that they would have no ability to respond to his twisted and, I believe, sometimes wholly, fabricated vicious assertions. I have heard from multiple sources that the basic reason Mr. Peters became upset with the following gentleman, who will be referred to as David (someone I've had several flawless Star Trek trades with over a dozen years; who is one of the earliest major collectors of Star Trek memorabilia and is even an acquaintance of the highly respected Greg Jein)
was that David refused to sell an authentic Star Trek: First Contact hand prop to Alec for the price that Alec decided was appropriate (which was $1500 instead of the $2500 amount that David had publicly offered the item at Similar pieces from "ItsAWrap" have sold on ebay for over $3000)
Mr. Peters, whose name and/or forum ID of "Linnear" appear in the screenshots below, together in the third screenshot, hurdled the following verbal barrage (this is just a small selection from numerous entries.) Note: I have hidden or altered the true appearance of the names of those people who are being unfairly targeted by Alec in the screenshots that follow, to protect their privacy; and have tried to display the minimal amount of dialogue needed to convey the essential vicious nature of the Peter's forum posts…
**Insert GFX Alec Peters 1
In just a few weeks Alec has heard of multiple new slanderous incidents, just another last night!!! David has a near perfect Ebay feedback rating, with over 500 positive feedbacks in total and NO negative feedbacks (on about 70 Ebay transactions) in the last year.
In Alec's short vicious rant above he accuses David of selling fake items, committing fraud, never giving refunds, and calls him a thief who shouldn't be given a chance to defend himself. Yes Alec, let's abolish that concept of giving an accused the right to defend him. We should all trust in your warped judgments.
When a concerned forum member who, like myself, had also experienced positive dealings with David, criticized the fact that Alec was smearing someone's online offline fannish and professional online business reputations; I was the next to become slandered by Alec Peters.
Trek Axanar donations used for Alec Peters own benefit...
CBS Studios inc' amended responses to Defendant (Alex Peters dba Axanar)
Case 2:15-cv-09938-RGK-E Filed 11/16/16 page 7 of 11
...property, and Mr Peters additionally hoped to continue to raise money from consumers of Plaintiffs licensed intellectual property (Axanar films) so that he could continue to create, and profit from plaintiffs intellectual property.
Mr Peters personally profited from Plaintiffs intellectual property by paying himself with funds raised from consumers of Plaintiffs intellectual property and by spending tens of thousands of dollars of those funds on his own personal expenses. Mr Peters used fan-raised funds to pay for the tires on his own Lexus, to service his car, to pay for his gas, each and every week for nearly two years, to pay for his girlfriend's gas for the same time period, to pay for two years of personal phone bills for himself, his girlfriend; and Robert Meyer Burnet, to pay for his health insurance, his car insurance, his annual AAA memberships, his TSA airport pre-check fee; and his personal travel to conventions, both in the United States and internationally. Mr Peters also used these funds to pay for tens of thusands of dollars in restaurant meals. Mr Peters and his girlfriend were provided with debit cards that they used to pay for these expenses from the Axanar Productions account-- which account was populated with funds contributed by Star Trek fans. Further Mr Peters company, Propworx, is housed in the studio facility that was rented and built out using funds from Star Trek fans. Propworx has not paid any rent to Axanar Productions for its use of this facility.
These funds, which Alec Peters personally profited from, were raised from consumers of Plaintiffs intellectual property. Instead of purchasing licensed Star Trek products, these consuers donated to Mr Peters "independant Star Trek film" project (aka Axanar). Any dollar that a donor spends on Axanar is a dollar that they do not have for authorized Star Trek merchandise or products. Additonally, if the activity by Defendants become widespread, or if Mr Peters was permitted to continue to create Star Trek productions from his studio paid for with fan funds, this conduct would have a direct economic impact on....
Partial Donation list:
diana burk- $100 Cmdr pack list, pre=order, $50 Second Lt, paypal backers,
Minka Leeser, 1207 10 1/2 St N, Moorhead, MN 56560-1521
David M. Sherwood, 42 Bradgate Road, Kimberworth, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, S61 1 LD U.K.
Kevinesan Pillay, #2 Norfolk Heights, van Heerden Street, Halfway Gardens, x102, Midrand Gauteng, 1686, South Africa.
Jacob Evans firstname.lastname@example.org $75
Craig Brown email@example.com $20
firstname.lastname@example.org, $10, Eric McMurtrey, 1060 Macon Hwy, Athens, GA 30606-4412 US
email@example.com, $15, Matthew Gallop, 496 Rte 102 Hwy, Burton, New Brunswick, E2V-3K4 Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org $5, Zoe Brain, 41 Burn St, Downer, ACT 2602 Australia
email@example.com, $5, Gordon Ballie 330 Distel Dr, MROSD, Los Altos, CA 94022 US.
firstname.lastname@example.org, $50, Bernd Kistenmacher, Forststrasse 21, Berlin, 12163, Germany
email@example.com, $70, Arwyn Hainsworth, 1670034, suginami, tokyo, 1670034, Japan
firstname.lastname@example.org, $70, Peter Mattsson, Gyllenstjarnas vag, 13 B,Karlskrona, Blekinge, SE-37140, Sweden
email@example.com, $70, Bjorn Fehr, Am Beethovenpark3, Cologne,Nordrhein-Westphalian, 50935, Germany
firstname.lastname@example.org, $130, Jason O'Mahony, Dept of Agriculture, Food & The Marine -IT Unit, Room 64 IFM Center, Eirco Building (Ground Floor) Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland
email@example.com, $90, ulf lundberg, Borgargaten, 11A, Arvidsjaur, 93331, Sweden
?? firstname.lastname@example.org, Torsten Caeners, ZiegelstraBe 12, Moers, NRW, 47443, Germany
email@example.com, $70, Regis Lutter, 22, rue des Bonnes Gens, Strasbourg, 67000, France
indigOz@ya.zu, $60, Mikhail Platonov, Moskovski prospekt, Apartment 35, building 351, Zelenograd, Moscow, 124482 Russian Federation
firstname.lastname@example.org, $45, Mr A J Haynes, 12 Fairfield Drive, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 5LB, UK
email@example.com, $125, Anthony Wiliams, 2 Teutonia Court, High Wycombe, Western Australia, 6057, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, S D Littledyke, c/o Dekapak Limited, Unit 4 Langthwaite Road, Langthwaite Grange Business Park, South Kirkby, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, WF9 3AP, UK
email@example.com, $138, Peter Phillips, 2 Milford Rd, Miranda, NSW, 222, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org, $130, Bryan Michenfelder, PO Box 241, St. Jacobs, Ontario, n0b 2n0, Canada
email@example.com, $70, Andrew Smith 60 Hawthorn Rd, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 7LY, UK==Diana Kingsbury, Axanar Productions, 28757 Industry dr, Valenica, CA 91355-5414, USA.
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, Matthew Hills, TFTS, Parry-Williams Building, Aberystwyth University, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, Ceredignion, SY23 3Aj, UK
email@example.com, $125, Dean Wolf, 700, 1816 Crowchild Trail MW, Cagary, Alberta, T2M3Y7, Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, David Tayler, 22 catherine st, safety bay, wa, 6169 Australia
email@example.com, $125, Russell Dicker, 125 St Helens Park Road, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 2Jw, UK
** axanar 1, axanar 6, axanar 10, axanar 11, axanar 13, axanar 15, axanar 16, axanar 17, axanar 42.
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, James Graham,10550-92 Street NW, Apt. 13, Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 1T9 Canada
email@example.com. $125, Iain Wheeler, 8/342 McCoobe Street, Cairns, Queenlands, 4870, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org, $135, Anthony Topsahalidis, 23 Gamet Ave, Wangaratta, Victria, 3677, Australia
email@example.com, $125, andrew harrison, 40 william Hudson Cres, monash, ACT, 2904, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org. $135, Thomas Moe, Hellmyrbruddet 31, Bodo, NO, 8011, Norway
email@example.com, $135, adam Rullis, 3/15 Tennison woods circuit, Bonython, ACT, 2905 Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org, $151, Norman Jaffe 5022 Chester Street, Vancover, V5W 3A8, Canada
email@example.com, $181, Roscoe Fay, 215 Fuller Road, Chatswood, NSW, 2067, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org, $195, Hugh R. Hogh, Simplonbaan 10, Simplonbaan 10, Iltrecht, Utrecht, 3524GL, Netherlands
email@example.com, $163, Nick Monks, C/o BG Greenside row Calton Square, Edinburgh, Lothian, EH1 3 AN, UK
firstname.lastname@example.org, $151, Scott Becker, 6162 Pebblewoods Dr, Greely, Ontario, K4P0A1, Canada
email@example.com, $150 Andrew Bolt, PO BOX 6563, East Perth, Western Austrlia, 6892, Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org. $163, Dennis J. Dunne, 25 The Waterside, Cappahard, Ennis, Co Clare, 00000, Ireland
email@example.com, $125, Marco Hartgring, De Jachthoorn 30, Swifterbant, Flevoland, 8255 EE, Netherlands
firstname.lastname@example.org, $203, Stephan Clark, 16A Sidewood Road, New Elthan, London, SE9 2HA, UK
email@example.com, $155, Paul Fijma, Woestduijnstraat 83, Almere, FLEVOLAND, 1335TS, Netherlands
adamjtait@firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, Adam Tait, 206 Cumberland Avenue, South Benfeet, Essex, SS7 1DY, UK
email@example.com, $125, Dimitri Koeznetsov, Boezemsingel 33, Alkmaar, 1821 AH, Netherlands
firstname.lastname@example.org, $130, Ron Rickert, Alleestarsse 40, Rheda-Weidenbrueck, 33378, Germany
email@example.com, $155, Richard Neal, 64 Greenways, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 4EF, UK
jiridvorak@centrum,cz, $140, Jiri Dvorak, Rytirova 776, Prah 4 - Kamyk, 14300, Czech Republic
firstname.lastname@example.org, $20, Lee Malyan, 21 Red Kire Close, Gateford, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S81 8WA, UK
email@example.com, $95, Christopher D'Esposito, Trig I-Imriekeb, Apt 6, Bronja Court, Marsascala, MSK 3534, Malta
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, Michael W. Anderson, 76/90 Northquarter Drive Murrumba Downs, Brisban, Queensland, 4503, Australia
email@example.com, $95, James Fryer-Kelsey, The Lodge/Colne Heights, Brook Street, Colne Engaine mr Colchester, CO6 2JB, UK
firstname.lastname@example.org, $135, Truls Bjorvik, Staervegen 23, Tromo, 9015, Norway
email@example.com, $95, Felix Malmenbeck, Forskarbacken 11, Lgh 1003, Stockholm, 11415, Sweden
firstname.lastname@example.org, $95, Lord mark A. Heyfron, 34 Barrington Drive, Pakenham, Victoria, 3810, Australia
email@example.com, $135, Louis Law, 5-5021 Sheppard Ave E, Toronto, M1S 4R6, Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org, $140, Jared Shrimpton, 8 Clonard ave, Geelong, West Victoria, 3218, Australia
jaheery@ usa.net, $125, John A Heery, 6 Firs Avenue, Muswell Hill, London, N10 3LY, UK
email@example.com, $135, Foli Ayivoh, Haingasse 6, Bad Homburg v.d.H. Hessen, 61348, Germany
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, Carol Taylor, 2234 3 Avenue nw, Calgart, Aberta T2n Ok6, Canada
email@example.com, $125, Sander Rodjk, Cannaertserf 67, 482GB, 4824GB, Netherlands
firstname.lastname@example.org, $125, 108 Thornberry, 108 Thornberry, Leterkenny, Co Donegal, na Ireland
email@example.com, $95, Luz Oliver Steinle, Markbeinweg 41, Neuenburg am Rhein, 79395, Germany
firstname.lastname@example.org, $105, Tim Cooke, 1404 Duord Dr, Ottawa, K1E 3G6, Canada
email@example.com, $125, archie christoper, 204 Canter Place SW, Calgary, Alberta, t2w3z2, Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org, $135,vaughan felk, 54 medcalf st, Warners Bay, NSW, 2282, Australia
email@example.com, $125, Eduardo Correa Lima, 402 Langford avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5S4B7, Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org, $135, Christophe Bram, Kasteelstraat 27, Wervik, West-vlaandeeren, 8940, Belgium
email@example.com, $125, Ian Engelberg, 123 Mackay st., Ottawa, K1M 2B4, canada
firstname.lastname@example.org, $135, Marcello Goria, Via Carmagnolia 13, First Floor, Milano, 20159, Italy...***pledged on kickstarter$70; charged on Backerkit $65; total $135.
A recent tar Trek forum message exchange....
The following video contains video clips and audio that may be copyrighted and trademarked by third parties. This is digital piracy. This is getting ridiculous. Ever hear of copyright and trademark Paramount/CBS piracy matters ? Respect artist's rights. Even on all copyrighted media the copyright law is printed, ""All content is protected by intellectual property laws and ANY use other that for private or public non-commercial purposes, even without receiving monetary compensation, is STRICTLY PROHIBITED." Also Star Trek is a TRADEMARKED protected and licensed property. Google the trademark matters, because they are more strict in enforcement that copyright.
Shortsircut1 commented, "You are correct MrTonyVision, Axanar does not own the rights,"....**BINGO !** Any additional new reuse is piracy or theft and trademark theft of other's owned I.P. Alec Peters is a lawyer. As a lawyer, he would be justifiably upset if someone used his Axanar video work without his permission and/or credit. Understanding the process of gaining clearance for copyrighted material is an essential part of anyone's education in this matter. I suggest you talk with film school instructor or lawyer about how to request this clearance. Educate yourself. AND Shortsircut1 commented, "but then no one should after all this time." An opinionated remark not based on any fact in this specific situation. Trademark & Copyrights do one thing, patents another different one. Apples and oranges BAD comparison in LAW. False comparison. The fact is Trademark and Copyrights protection has a finite time limit and have to be renewed by the owners. Paramount/CBS/ViaCom are still the owners. Axanar took illegal reuse of others I.P., got caught, and agreed to stop.
My factual and informative response here was deleted immediately after posting. This is more Axanar censorship against any opposing factual discussion of these matters. It's lying to the public by omission. To delete this second posting will confirm their continuing fraudulent intentions.
In episode 5 of Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast, CBS's Vice President for Product Development, John Van Citters, sat down with host Jordan Hoffman for an extended interview about the new fan film guidelines. Mr. Van Citters is in charge of Star Trek licensing, and was a major force behind the development of the guidelines. The interview ran a good bit over an hour.
This seems like a significant enough chapter in the Fan Film Guidelines saga to warrant its own thread.
I partially transcribed the interview. This was a very rushed transcript, and I am sure there are inaccuracies. I also omitted large sections. I am not a fast typist, so I tried to focus on the really important stuff. In particular, there's almost no transcription for the first 15 minutes. (The first 15 minutes are spent establishing Mr. Van Citters' bona fides as a Trekkie.) Hopefully, though, it will be enough for people who can't spare an hour-plus to listen to the full interview to get involved in the conversation about what it all means.
--BEGIN PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT--
HOST: Why now? What's the impetus?
JVC: We've seen an explosion of fan films in recent years and we know that these come from a place of very deep love for Star Trek and the technological advances that have happened in the last 10, 15 years have enabled fans to tell their stories with more ease and more detail and do some really amazing things. And for many years we've used a very simply guideline in cooperation on this, which is, a Star Trek fan film is a fan creation that's non-commercial. Well, we thought that this was simple enough and that it helped fan filmmakers understand the separation that we need to keep between professional content and fan films, it's becoming increasingly clear that not everyone has understood where that line is. Between non-commercial and our professional efforts, and we decided to issue a set of guidelines that should help give some shape to this and standardize our approach and the approach that fans can take to non-commercial fan-generated content. Now, I've seen some muttering online about this, that the guidelines are you know intended to end fan films. That's NOT the case AT ALL. They're not intended to end fan films. But with the explosion of crowdfunding, abuses have very definitely crept into the process. For many, it became more about the item you were donating to get than supporting the production for its own sake. The productions started spiraling larger and larger; there's something of an arms race about how many hollywood names could be attached, how many people who previously worked on Trek, how many famous actors could you involve. And that's not really in the spirit of fan fiction, not the fan fiction that I grew up with and which many people grew up with, which was more of a...
HOST: Would you even say it created a barrier of entry to people who wanted to...
JVC: I've *spoken* to some people including some people that have been involved peripherally in fan films that it has created a bit of a barrier of entry to some people because it has, There's Star Trek fans all over the world, and they don't necessarily have the ability to access Hollywood actors and people, even meet people who have worked on Trek unless they are able to travel to one of the larger conventions. So, for a lot of people, they were like, I won't be able to get this actor and that actor, I can't get these people to tell my story, I don't know if I should bother, because I just can't compete at the level that these guys are playing at. And that's unfortunate because regardless of what someone else is doing I think it would be great for fans to show their passion, whatever it is.
[JVC refers to costume contest and Ratattouie's "Anybody can cook."]
I think the Guidelines that we have will make it easier for more people to enter, will make it easier for more people to COMPLETE films with the shorter length that's involved, and we won't see things spiralling off into the direction of 'How many cool ships, or T-shirts, or whatever can I get for donating?" instead of donating just because this person has a GREAT idea for a film and I want to see that story on screen.
Fan films that are currently out there will not be retroactively shut down/scrubbed. "Absolutely not" says JVC. "Anything that is already out there will remain out there."
QUESTION: regarding a show that has been "being worked on for 20 years and he remastered some of it and was just about to put it up on YouTube." [Editor's Note: This presumably refers to YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, which is the only show that's been in production that long.]
JVC: "Guidelines are meant for films on a going-forward basis. If this is a film that has already been in existence before... that's not an issue for us."
"We're not reviewing your script, we're not reviewing your ideas, we're not reviewing your casting, we're not reviewing your creativity. If you are done with your film and you feel it fits within the guidelines and you're happy with where it's at... by all means, get it out to your public... We're not looking to micromanage what you do."
"If they do it great, they may hear from us to say, hey, that was awesome."
[So I interpret this as a very deliberate green light for YORKTOWN. But that's just my interpretation.]
THE BIGGER SHOWS? [Editor's Note: Huge swaths of this interview discuss New Voyages and Continues without naming them; they are referred to as "bigger shows." Which, fair enough, is how we all refer to them, too.]
JVC has been directly in contact with "several of the bigger shows".
"We do treat every use of our IP on a case-by-case basis... we have been in contact with different fan film groups over the years as well as recently. I've had in the past week a couple of groups have reached out to me looking for clarification and hopefully some of what I'm doing today will be able to answer that."
Over the weekend, I saw reports that Star Trek Renegades had opted to switch course from what they're doing... and try and sort of spin off into their own unique and original IP. That's great. I encourage fans to express their love of Star Trek by creating their own worlds, that's a beautiful thing to do... and ultimately much easier for them!
HOST: Another question that I got which I think the answer's pretty straightforward is somebody saying, "Well, we're recording a long-form radio play. Does that count as fan film?" And I think the answer's no, right?
JVC: No. Audio dramas definitely do not qualify under this. These are fan film guidelines.
HOST: But this does include animation... anything visual. I think there was some confusion about that.
JVC: Yes. If it's a visual representation of Star Trek that way that would qualify as a film. Animation, computer animation, et cetera.
HOST: There was somebody else who asked, 15 minutes for the film - does that include the credits?
HOST: And my -- tell me if the answer's right -- the answer's YES but NO...
JVC: These are guidelines. They are intended to be something that gives structure and lets people know the limits they can operate within where they know they're not going to get a knock on the door... well, we don't go house-to-house anyway... they're not going to hear from us. They're not going to get a phone call, they're not going to get an email, tehy're not going to get anything that is going to ruin their day one way or another or make them feel bad or like they've done anything wrong. They're guidelines. We're not going to be able to provide the level of feedback that's like, you know, "I've got this really great scene, but if I include this scene or this one really cool shot I don't want to cut anything else from, it's going to be fifteen minutes and thirty seconds; what do I do?" Um that's up to you and you know your creative decisions. We're NOT looking to get into that. We're not approving any material, we don't want to get involved in your script choices, your costume choices...
What we're asking for here, honestly, is we're asking for a level of cooperation from fandom themselves. We have or I have a responsibility every day with what comes across my desk to look at it and make sure that it properly respects Star Trek. That it properly pays tribute to Star Trek. That it properly represents what people love about Star Trek. And we feel very much that that is what fans need to do with these films. That is a responsibility that we all share in, and, as long as you're representing Star Trek appropriately and you're doing it within these guidelines, there's no issues whatsoever.
ON THE FUNDRAISING LIMIT
We're specifically talking about crowdfunding campaigns. If you've got rich Uncle Alfred who wants to throw two hundred thousand dollars at you, we're not looking at that. Where we've seen problems creep in is with large large crowdfunding campaigns with a great deal of rewards involved in it to the point where people are donating the money because they're going to get a cool piece of merchandise rather than because they want to support a really cool fan project.
and also I feel strongly that $50,000 when you're talking about 15 minutes should be able to go fairly far. All of this, you know, is definitely a conversation. We hope that we hope very much that this helps kind of settle things with Star Trek fan films, that it provides some clarity for everyone, and that we can see what's working and what's not working and we can follow up accordingly with that. We're not issuing these as, you know, fan film "laws"; these are fan film guidelines and we want people very much to operate within these and respect both us and Star Trek as a whole. $50,000 over 15 min when people have been used to seeing $80,000 for a 45-minute episode, or $100,000 or $150,000 to create something much longer, $50,000 for 15 minutes should go pretty far. We've seen some astonishing creativity for even less money than this from fan groups. I think this gives a target. I know for Star Wars for anything I believe in their contest rules don't provide any guidance on money and for anything unofficial they've said that crowdfunding is forbidden. We are specifically allowing $50,000 of crowdfunding.
QUESTION: Does the fundraising limit apply to the entire two-part 30-minute work combined, or to each individual 15-minute segment?
"$50,000 is available per 15 minutes."
THE PROPS RULE:
[This section transcribed by @ThankYouGeneR ]
Q: What about costumes, props, weapons, and things of that nature that one of the guidelines state that if it is available through our licensees licensors then use that one.
Mr. van Citters: This is definitely an area of big misconception
Q: Avonos makes some incredible costumes but if somebody wants to make some of their own, what do they do?
Mr. van Citters: They make their own!
Avonos is a terrific example because this is a company that was started by a couple of fans who did not yet even have an operating business, who did not yet have a license from anybody else, who came to us with a presentation and a plan, and some samples of the quality of work that they felt they could do. And they have created a business out of that. We looked at it and we were like, Yes, let's try this. They came out of fan ranks and they have spent over the years being a licensee tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars at this point on development for their products.
They make exceptionally good quality that looks screen accurate, that wears well, that is nicely tailored, and you've seen this stuff at conventions. It looks amazing. So out of support for Star Trek we would 'ask' people that if you are doing a fan film that you not purchase stuff from unlicensed bootleg operators who do not help support official Star Trek and create a climate where we can get more Star Trek. So, we're 'asking' that if we have stuff commercially available that you 'consider' using that on your projects. We do have great quality stuff available from vendors like Avonos, from QMX, etc. And we would like you to respect that and support their investment into Star Trek and dedication to Star Trek.
Many times their materials are gonna be a perfect fit and a great an accurate shortcut for you... but we're not looking to inhibit fan creativity, we're not looking to limit what you can do on your episode, like 'Well, they don't have an officially licensed Original Series silver lame environmental suit so whadda I do? I guess I have to cut that from my story.'
Nope. What you have to do then is get somebody that is really talented and can make one. And that's fine. We're not looking to inhibit that, we're not looking to get rid of the DIY ethic of Star Trek fans. We're 'hoping' that because you made a good one you don't turn around and say "Hey, I'll go into business doing that".
When I was a ten, eleven year old kid and I'd see a Star Trek episode with a really cool thing in it then I'd be digging through everything in the house, and go 'Ah here's an old wrapping paper tube. If I take that and this coat hanger and cut out this piece of cardboard and spray paint it silver can I 'make' this thing that I saw on the episode?' And I get that. That's part of the fun of Star Trek that you were talking about the costuming that you see at these conventions. You have people showing up as the Crystalline Entity and that's amazing and that's wonderful and please please, keep that part of Star Trek going. We're not trying to inhibit that.
If there is the 'opportunity' to use official merchandise we would 'ask' that the fans help support the franchise that they love so much.
Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
-RETURN FROM BREAK-
A QUESTION ON AXANAR DEVELOPS INTO A DEFENSE OF THE TIME LIMITS
As of right now, the suit is active... the fan film guidelines are a separate issue. They are something that different fan groups have approached us about and asked us for over the years and we have provided that now. This is an effort to give fans the clearest picture of a framework for fan fiction and films separate from the litigation. It is something we've been working on in one aspect or another for some time, I first started thinking about it and positing what could happen where could it work when we can try and bring fan films into the fold in a more official basis. And we've done that! We're the first media company TO do that. There is the fan film contest; there have been rules in the past that only covered parody and satire; that's not the sort of storytelling that Star Trek fans want to do. They... it's fun to poke some fun at certain tropes from Star Trek but Star Trek fans want to celebrate it. They want to extend that universe. They want to tell their own stories in it. And we don't want to limit it that way. We want to provide a basic framework that says 'Here's what you can do to keep yourself as a non-commercial entity and respect Star Trek and the professional Star Trek that we are working on' and be able to have hopefully a great deal of FUN.
You know, I've heard from a lot of people and seen a lot of chatter online in recent days about the length guideline and people feeling that that is untenable and that they can't tell a Star Trek story in 15 minutes or 30 minutes. I think that's a bit insulting to Star Trek and to the creativity of the fans that I've met and some of the fan filmmakers I've met. The idea that Star Trek is only capable of telling one type or length of a story, that's kind of ludicrous. There's dozens of winners of the Strange New Worlds fiction contest over the years that would disagree since that's a short story contest, we have fiction writers that write epic multi-part books, and we have fiction writers that write simpler e-book novellas, and in the comics we have an INCREDIBLY tight canvas to work with. We've got 20 pages and we're just fittin' in word baloons around 20 pages of artwork. There's not that much that is on the pages and it takes a great deal of editing and focus on what story you're telling in order to do that but it's very possible and Mike Johnson and Scott and David Tipton and others that we've had working on the comics have done a masterful job of that."
On the surface, it is [pretty restrictive] but, again, this is a guideline, this is not the hand of Q coming down and dictating what you can do in your story and you have to submit and we're going to send it through Standards and Practices and make sure it complies perfectly. We're not looking to do that. We're not looking to get in your business creatively. Star Trek is absolutely depicted things like that. This is intended as a guideline and this is intended to protect us and it is also intended to protect Star Trek from things that are not appropriate for it or not good for it. Part of what made Star Trek great is [references to "Symbiosis," "Chain of Command," "Damage"] but there's a responsibility we have to Star Trek and this seems like a crazy thought on first blush like "What are you protecting it from?" but it's one thing for official Star Trek which is subject to internal review to handle those things appropriately but it's another when unofficial third parties may want to do something that we find unacceptable or damaging to a beloved character... We've had stories cross our desk that involve a beloved captain getting ready to abuse a child, to whip a child, and it's, like, NO, that's not going to happen, or you know behaving in an out-of-character or misogynistic way or something like that. Actions that are fundamentally against who those characters are and why they've become beloved characters. So we have to protect against that. We're not looking to review scripts or anything... but, with that freedom, you have to understand, comes a responsibility to treat Star Trek with the respect it's due and not do anything that negatively impacts on Star Trek... If you material doesn't negatively reflect on Star Trek but comments appropriately on societal and social issues in the finest tradition of Star Trek, episodes like "In the Pale Moonlight" are a good example, there won't be any issues and in fact your episodes will be much better. They'll definitely be better Star Trek if you DO use them to comment on those things and that's going to necessitate depicting certain unsavory things.
If you do something that's going to be damaging to the fundamental character of Star Trek, of beloved characters, Captain Kirk, Captain Picard, Beverly Crusher, whomever it may be from across the pantheon of Star Trek, if you're doing anything that's going to damage that or place them in an overtly negative light... yeah, then there will be a problem. Otherwise... [recap of above]. We all have a duty to Star Trek. [some more omitted]
When I talk about fan films being a complex landscape, this is one of the things that immediately comes to mind, because it comes to mind on a daily basis for us on projects that WE'RE working on. We may own Star Trek, but we don't own the rights to Star Trek music, and we can't grant those rights to fan films, as much as we might want to use that opening theme whether it's from the Original Series or TNG all over the place and get that music out there... When we mention in the guidelines needing to clear third-party rights for content in writing in the guidelines, this is why, we don't control those rights, we can't give you rights to the music. It's likely fans may want to utilize stuff that we can't grant rights to because we don't own those rights. Star Trek music is very much included in that... you should contact the music publisher that and secure those rights, because we don't have them and we can't grant them.
HOST: I think as a general rule that the reason you've created these guidelines is because you don't want to be on the receiving end of a lot of, you know, "What about this?" and "What about that?" that... You can't do that! You know, uh, you've got a job to do, the creation of these guidelines were meant so that they would answer the questions for people. So if there is a project that is not shooting yet, that is in the process of raising money, they need to correct course a little bit and follow what you're talking about here. Is that a proper way of stating it?
JVC: That's a fair statement and we... as I said earlier, we try very much to treat each use of the Star Trek brand and each use of Star Trek on its own merits. We don't look at everything identically. If you... We've had situations where we've been approached by a bereaved family or an undertaker who's like, "In this guy's last will and testament, there's a request to put the Starfleet delta on their headstone. We don't even know what that means, but we know it's from Star Trek, what do we do, can we do that?" And it's like, by all means, if someone is as big a fan of Star Trek that they want to be the last thing the way they leave this world, that's amazing. And absolutely, here you go, here's the file for the logo, do it the best you possibly can. And we're not looking to treat everything the same. And a big part of that is what your intentions are with the brand and how you're looking to utilize it and what you're looking to do with it. We don't approach everything the same. Again, these are guidelines. If participants stay within them, there should be NO ISSUES. We can't provide flexibility to the degree that if you're looking for that variance on a few extra seconds of running time or what to do if your mom sent you $500 to add to the budget, we don't want to micromanage fan projects that way. We do want to flesh out what "fan film" means in a way that's fair, and equitable, for everybody.
HOST: And that also has to do with... about who has the bigger Hollywood connections, who can get an actor that's known, that has an affiliation with Star Trek that's gonna automatically make it seem quasi-sort-of-official because "Oh, that guy, he's playing that character" and that is something that only a very very very miniscule percentage of fan film makers can do, and it's sort of, as you said earlier, is anathema to what fan films are all about.
JVC: And what I'm honestly hoping will happen with these guidelines with a 15-minute or 30-minute limit on this and $50,000 crowdfunding limit, um, I think it's gonna be easier for people to hit their goals quickly and easily and get their projects underway. I think with the 15-minute limit, I think with some of the things that are here that it's going to make it easier for more people to pick up cameras. Everybody's walking around with a high-definition video camera in their pocket now, and it's amazing that that's where we're at... What we want to do is we want to drive more films forward, more fan voices, not fewer, we want more, we want to see more people extpress their creativity for Star Trek, and hopefully out of that we'll be able to find new ways to take advantage of this and to see Star Trek continue to grow and evolve. I have definitely had people express their concerns about what this means, it's a BIG adjustment, there's no question. People have gotten used to full, like 1960s-length episodes of 50-minutes, 50-minutes-plus, uh, 90-minute feature films, but that's what WE do. We're producing full-length episodes, and Paramount's producing amazing amounts of, I mean, the budgets that are involved on a Star Trek motion picture are beyond anything I could possibly have believed 10, 15 years ago.
HOST: And you're still inviting people to come aboard in a very specific and ultimately fruitful way.
JVC: Absolutely. And, you know, we're definitely out there. Believe me, if people are saying it about fan films online, we're aware. We're aware of what's going on. There's the idea that there's people locked in a room somewhere and don't know. I'm out at [several conventions]. I'm out there. This is what I do. I love it, I live it, I'm amazed that I get paid to be a part of it, but don't tell anyone that.
HOST: For a number of people who really were loving certain productions and were either involved as donors or as just fans of it, it's gonna take some adjustment and it's gonna suck for awhile, and they're gonna be angry. People are angry when something that they like is... People are angry whenever somebody tells you what to do.... So people are gonna get angry for a little while. BUT. In time, fast forward to a year from now, we're gonna have an ecosystem for fan films that I think is gonna be much much better than we have now, and there will always be hardcore fans of certain productions that aren't gonna be continuing BUT I really do think that, for most people, this is going to be a very, very good thing, and you know, the current litigation with Axanar, there are people that are just you know very, like to, cause a fuss about that, but that's up to the courts to decide, but it has nothing to do with this, you know, you're telling me that you've been in conversation with some of the creators of other, bigger productions, not Axanar, and that there's gonna be ways for these creative people to do what they want to do in the context of these guidelines that is going to make Star Trek fan films Mach 2.0 a pretty spectacular place. That's my statement on this.
JVC: I hope so. I mean, it's very hard for me to predict where things are going to go with groups that already have plans underway, that may have cast people that under these guidelines would be not considered to be eligible. Change is hard. If I were to at my dinner table move my son to another spot to sit down to eat his dinner, he'd probably lose his mind. Change is hard for people, there's no question and this is a BIG change over what people have gotten used to. But what there is to gain out of this is something amazing where there is a certainty, where we are the first studio in town, the first ones that are providing like "Look, here are some guidelines to create in our universe without any threat, without any worry, whatsoever, that this is now a completely permitted thing, as long as you're completely within these guidelines." And that's amazing, that's unprecedented. The guidelines just don't exist. So, uh, yeah, it's a little scary for US. It's a big change for US. This is trailblazing in many respects.
JVC: If you had asked me five years ago if we were going to get to a point where we would have guidelines that officially permitted the use of Star Trek for filmed fan content like this, I would not have believed that it is something that would happen. And, yet, here we are. I think there's two ways to go with this: you can look at this as shackles and like this isn't EXACTLY what I've known, or you can look at this creatively, like, how can we use this creatively? How can we use this to create a whole new frontier? [JVC goes on a bit, but you can read Maurice's posts on the TrekBBS and it's pretty much word-for-word]
JVC: They are changing times, it is difficult, there are definitely going to be shades of gray in all of this. There always are. I think that's one of the things that our attorneys, uh, tend to either appreciate me for or curse me for in finding a lot of those shades of gray in different interpretations of things, but we're looking at this as, like I said, like a great new frontier and a great opportunity. It's something we've never had before, it's brand new, it's going to be an adjustment for everybody involved. It's gonna be an adjustment for me, because this whole question is something that didn't used to take up much of my time or consideration and it's clearly gonna take more of my time and consideration. But the fact that there is an official permitted outlet for fans where you don't have to concern yourself about, "Well, am I gonna anger anybody if I do this?" It's like, there you you've got a framework that you know there's not gonna be a problem. We'll continue the dialogue with fans. We'll continue seeing how everything works. We're very excited about where we're at with it. And I think that there's a bright future ahead.
If you're operating within the framework of this, it's going to open up new opportunities. There's no question. At official events and conventions in the past we haven't been able to grant permission to show fan films. We haven't been able to grant permission for fan film groups to exhibit and fundraise at them. If you're in compliance with these, that is something's that is going to change. And that is something that I'm very excited about, because it is something that is going to help ramp up fan involvement and fan participation in something that... I can't even begin to explain how... [interrupted]
HOST: That is a really great and big point that we buried at the end of the show.
JVC: I'm good at burying the lead point, man.
HOST: Well, listen, anybody who's going to listen to this show is going to listen to the whole thing. Either people are gonna tune out in the first two minutes or they're gonna listen to the whole thing. [Editor's Note: True, true.] So, for the people that are listening to the whole thing, there's the cherry at the end of the podcast there. [Editor's Note: thanks dude.] I mean, obviously nothing official, but, you know, it's a new day... We don't have to hide, we can talk about it, we being the fans that are making the films and the brand and the license.
HOST: If people need to contact you, they can figure it out, they know how to contact you.
JVC: [chuckling] People have already figured it out.
I hope we've helped to provide a little context about what we're trying to do with this and what the guidelines actually mean. That they're not intended to squash fan creativity, we're just hoping to guide fan creativity in a slightly different way, but a way that I think can be very exciting if people seize the opportunity that it presents.
Wowbagger, Jun 29, 2016
Axanar and Alec Peters implodes into nothing done, crew leaving, stars leaving and studio ????
An interesting LINK for reading.