Special 01


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In the first Edge of Forever Special, Dan and Mike discuss the ramifications of the CBS / Paramount v Axanar lawsuit. Specifically, the guys look at the new guidelines fan filmmakers must follow, as outlined by CBS / Paramount. Which rules do they find to be fair, and which do they believe demand too much? [ 50:18 || 24.6 MB ]


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Thank you for clarifying the part about not copyrighting original characters in your fan work. I originally thought that Paramount Studios wrote that to get rid of characters like Star Trek Continues Dr. Ellse McKennah played by Michele Specht. But your discussing it helped me realize that they are trying to avoid messy lawsuits like Archie Comics vs. Penders. 

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Basically Axanar fucked it for everyone else. From what I've seen they got greedy when they started crowd funding  for their second film. Why did they need 100k for the second film when they already had sets built and costumes made from the first one? 

Fan films and Paramount had a cordial relationship and the guys behind Axanar took the piss. As Dan said Paramount  HAD to do something as they're required to do so and as a result of this they're going too far the other way in order that they don't have to go through all of this crap again once they've sorted Axanar out in court. 

The people behind Axanar created this mess and other projects that have been going longer and done their best to play nice with Paramount are going to be the ones hit hardest through no fault of their own. 

Fuck Axanar 





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Shit, don't joke about that lawyer stuff! I mean, I know that I'm the lawyer on Earth-2.net, but making me "The Earth-2.net Lawyer" is a surefire way of this entire website disappearing off of the face of the Earth.

Case in point: there has been a review on The Show OF the unreleased Fantastic 4 movie. And the person who sent it to me in the first place.....as I said, it's suicidal giving me such responsibility!

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First, Full transparency, I did donate to Axanar.  Don't reckon I'll see the finished product but that's the risks with Kickstarter.

Good and informative special.  I will partially disagree with Mr Mockery, in that Axanar ruined it because they got greedy.  While they had some costumes from prelude all the sets were virtual.  For the actual Axanar they were looking to do a full movie with actual sets, a bigger cast etc.  In many ways one of the issues was that   Alec also did play nice with CBS for a good while.  He had a contact who he ran everything past.  How connected this contact actually was or, as is Alec's wont, how he "interpreted" what he heard is a different matter.   They did make a number of mistakes which drew too much attention.  First, to make Axanar the second kickstarter wasn't just to kit out a warehouse as a soundstage & build sets, it was to set up a production company, potentially to make more corowdfunded films.  I kind of see this as their biggest mistake.  If I rented a warehouse to make a fan film, with the understanding that is all it is for is for me to play dress up star trek (As the guy who does continues has done) then Paramount/CBS would be fine.  I call that "Pie Man Productions" And all of a sudden a rival studio is making trek.  I also thought this may be coming as Alec was very vocal on how he was making an "Independent Film" rather than a fan film.  For starters it earned him few friends in the fan film community, but again, punting his script to anyone who would read it and crowing about how "This is the trek people want" just when a new series is starting was always a bad idea.  Alec also reacts badly to criticism and does have a habit of trying to skim money off.  It is Worth looking up some of the issues surrounding his Propworx auctions, Basically he insisted all auction purchases were distributed through another company which it turned out he owned.  There was one opinion that while paying actors, set builders etc would have been fine he was budgeting some money to pay himself which is basically profiting.

The thing is, Paramount/CBS could have easily brought in rules that either limited axanar specifically or allowed most others to keep going.  And when the suit hit there was a split of people saying "He's ruined it for everyone" and "Ha ha, not so smart now eh?"  Indeed many expected the rules to basically be "No Axanarz" and were quite shocked when the rules went this far which does give the impression of wanting to severely limit any fan productions.  The fact that people like Tommy Craft who was pretty much the opposite of Axanar doing much of the work himself, were warned off further productions seems to cement this. 

As was said on the cast, many of the rules are reasonable.  For full rules I'll link here  http://www.startrek.com/fan-films

Rule 1 I'm not keen on.  Seems unnecessarily harsh and arguably is the rule that will hit series like Phase 2 and Continues hardest.

Rule 2 - (Can't call it Star Trek: Whatever) Perfectly Reasonable

Rule 3 - (Must be origninal content not re-making existing stuff) Perfectly Reasonable, although does that cover characters?  i.e. Can you still do Continues/Phase 2 with kirk, Spock et al?

Rule 4 - (Only use official uniforms etc) Bit greedy, To be honest it would have been more honest to say "Pay us 5% of any kickstarter and be done with it.

Rule 5 - Not really keen on this.  I agree those in charge can't make any money but in many ways Axanar using full union people and paying full rates eased a fear that big studios might use fan prouctions as a way to undercut union workers and drive down wages.  Effectively this is saying not only can you not pay an actor but you can't hire a joiner to build the set.  I see the argument of ex-trek actors playing their old characters adds a veneer of officialdom, but I personally have never heard "Gods and men has Uhura in it, it must be official"

Rule 6 - (No advertising or merch) Mostly reasonable.  Axanar did make money for the production selling models, T-Shirts etc and I can see that annoying execs as even if the money just goes towards production they may see it as competing with their merchandise.  Of course as was mentioned it basically means bootleggers get this money rather than the creators or CBS.  I don;t like the 50k limit on crowdfunding but it is actually the most effective way to limit things like hiring actors.  I would have prefered a higher figure, and perhaps more rules on what the 50k relates to.  i.e. if you want to make a series then a set figure per episode or season, a different figure for a feature but in the end you can get 50k off of crowdfunding, presumably if I went to continues after a lottery win and said "Here's 500k in a large bag, go make trek" that is ok.

Rule 7 - Family Friendly - Mostly reasonable, aside from what was brought up in the cast, that particularly TOS has loads of drinking, it does stop people making very violent trek.  I would have prefered "Within the spirit" or something but can see the value of being clear.  Of course, it is quite funny that you can make a porn version of trek under the cover of parody but can't have someone having a pint in a fan film.

Rule 8 -10 Disclaimers, registering characters & claiming endorsement - All fine. 

So 7/10 rules are ok.  and of the 3 that aren't I only really object to 1 and 5.  It is just that 1 and 5 are biggies.

I don't think Axanar alerted the powers that be suddenly realised fan films existed with Axanar, I just think it gave them the best excuse to clean house.  Like I said, the time limiting seems to be a way to kill all fan series and with the other rules really wouldn't be required if the purpose of the excercise was merely to shut down Axanar and make sure another axanar doesn't happen.


But that's just my opinion man.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick thought: if paramount were to look at what axanar has done, it sounds like they have put out a work that the fans really like  and are willing to support... The argument that this is the trek that the fans want sounds valid.  At what point might it not be a bad idea for a studio to partner with such a production to make it official?  The sounds like a simple idea, and I'm sure details would be tricky, but a studio could benefit by letting amateurs prove a storyline to be popular with fans, and then they could run with it.   I'm thinking of a way to let fans and fanfic help guide what the networks do with these properties that they already love.



Edited by Deer Tick
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