Blog Archives

STC – FAIREST OF THEM ALL

 

http://www.startrekcontinues.com

NO, SET PHASERS TO KILL

Disgusting, lawyered-up pusses…

New “Star Trek” Fan Film Guidelines Appear To Take Aim At Several Productions

“The fan production must … not exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.”

Star Trek Continues. Trek Continues

Set phasers on stunned: The vast ecosystem of Star Trek fan productions is about to undergo a radical change after CBS and Paramount Pictures released a set of new fan film guidelines.

According to the 10-point guidelines released on Thursday, Trek fan productions cannot “exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes,” cannot include “Star Trek” in their titles, cannot involve anyone who has worked on Star Trek films or series, and cannot raise more than $50,000 for an individual production. In return for following these and other guidelines, CBS and Paramount state they “will not object to, or take legal action against” any “non-professional and amateur” fan productions.

Most prominently, the guidelines would severely restrict plans for Axanar, the Trek fan film that CBS and Paramount sued for copyright infringement in December, and the production that appears to have sparked the guidelines in the first place. Gary Graham was set to reprise his role from Star Trek: Enterprise as a Vulcan ambassador; the production raised over $1.2 million in crowdfunding campaigns; and creator Alec Peters had planned for Axanar to be a feature-length production well over the 30-minute time limit.

The guidelines also seem to directly affect several of the most popular and well-regarded Trek fan productions over the past two decades, many of which operate as ongoing “series,” including Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. The former has raised well over $300,000 via several crowdfunding campaigns to support its elaborate recreations of the sets from the original Trek TV series, and the latter has featured episodes guest starring established Trek actors like Walter Koenig and George Takei.

Meanwhile, Star Trek: Voyager star Tim Russ is currently directing and starring in Star Trek Renegades: The Requiem, which co-stars Trek alum like Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Terry Farrell, Robert Picardo, and Robert Beltran. According to the new guidelines, none of these actors would be able to continue with the production.

In response to the guidelines, Star Trek Continues creator and star Vic Mignognanoted in a Facebook post that the production “has the utmost respect for CBS and their right to protect their property as they see fit,” and that he is not yet certain what impact the new guidelines will have on his production. (The other aforementioned productions did not immediately respond to requests to comment, and a spokesperson for CBS said she could not comment on how the guidelines would affect individual fan productions.)

Alec Peters in Prelude to Axanar. Axanar Productions

As BuzzFeed News detailed in a story last week, the lawsuit between Axanar Productions and CBS and Paramount has drawn so much attention that J.J. Abrams — who is producing the latest film, Star Trek Beyond — announced at aTrek fan event in May that due to lobbying from Beyond’s director Justin Lin, the lawsuit would be “going away” in a matter of weeks.

CBS and Paramount subsequentlyannounced in a joint statement that, along with its ongoing settlement negotiations with Axanar Productions, the studios were “working on a set of fan film guidelines.” While those guidelines are now official, however, the suit continues to be litigated by both sides.

In a brief joint statement from CBS and Paramount to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, a spokesperson said that lawsuit talks are still “ongoing,” and that the companies “continue to be hopeful that we will reach a settlement shortly.”

Peters told BuzzFeed News in April that he had specifically asked CBS executives for fan film guidelines in August 2015. “They told me, ‘We can’t tell you what you can do, and we can’t tell you what you can’t do, but we’ll tell you when you’ve crossed the line,’” said Peters. “I kind of was frustrated, because I wanted guidelines.”

In a statement to BuzzFeed News on Thursday, however, Peters made clear that the guidelines CBS and Paramount ultimately created were not what he wanted:

I’m really disappointed that this set of guidelines represents the studios’ best efforts on behalf of fans. These guidelines appear to have been tailor-made to shut down all of the major fan productions and stifle fandom. In no way can that be seen as supportive or encouraging, which is very disheartening.

While CBS and Paramount claim to want to encourage the passion of fans to produce “reasonable fan fiction”, the restrictions presented do just the opposite, willfully ignoring over forty years of fan works that helped buoy the Star Trekfranchise through some very lean years and enthusiastically spread the magic of the franchise in more plentiful times.

Around the franchise’s 50th anniversary, we would have hoped CBS and Paramount would have taken this opportunity to unite with Star Trek fans in celebration of their creativity, not seek to crush it.

UPDATE

This story has been updated with statements regarding the Star Trek fan film guidelines from Axanar creator Alec Peters and Star Trek Continues creator Vic Mignogna. Jun. 23, 2016, at 4:55 p.m.

COME NOT BETWEEN THE DRAGONS – STC

I am really, really looking forward to this. If you haven’t seen Star Trek Continues then you really should. Superb work by everyone involved! It’s one of the best things on the internet. As a matter of fact it should be on TV.

And this episode has a Boarding Action!

I’m all about the boarding actions!

STAR TREK CONTINUES

 

 

Actually, I am finishing up a script for Star Trek Continues right now. Whether they will use it or not I don’t know, but I sure am having a ball writing it. And it’s science heavy and something I’ve always wanted to see in Star Trek.

 

 

LARPFUL, LARK-LESS

I admit, I’ve always had a prejudice against LARPing. I’ve always considered it the sort of live-action joke of acting, and the running gag of gaming.

But I also gotta admit. It’s come a long, long way in recent years. Some of this looks really interesting, and would be especially so if you were a kid.

Live Action Role-Playing has a way of sinking its (metaphorical) claws into you. Consider American journalist Lizzie Stark, who in 2011 visited the Knudepunkt conference in Denmark, the most influential larp gathering of its kind. There, she climbed into the rabbit hole and never came out. I know, because I gave her a hug not two hours ago at this year’s conference. She’s still a journalist, and recently published a stunning book on breast cancer, but she’s also an avid larper and game designer in her own right.

“Discovering the Nordic scene felt like reading James Joyce or Gertrude Stein after spending a lifetime on fairy tales,” she wrote in her 2012 book about larping, Leaving Mundania. What would turn a critical American journalist into a die-hard larper? Good question, but let’s step back a bit here. Larp is organized pretend play. During a larp, participants dress up as characters and leave their normal lives behind for a while. A larp can be about cowboys in 1886, witches and wizards at a magical college, or an advertising agency from hell. Instead of watching or listening, you’re an active part of the experience. It’s like stepping into a TV show or novel. Or kids playing. Both descriptions are accurate.

The author as a general commanding 200 soldiers at Warlarp. Photo: Anders BernerNordic larp, the type that gets the most press, and the one in which I participate, evolved out of the scenes in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (but not Iceland, the other Nordic country). Not only does some of the most outrageous and mind-blowing stuff happen there (want to play soulless ad execs or tortured prisoner for fun? Nordic larp is for you), the Nordic larp movement has also spawned the world’s most celebrated larp conference. It’s called Knudepunkt (“Nodal Point”) and has taken place annually since 1997. It’s a 100 percent volunteer-driven event, where larp enthusiasts of all stripes come together to discuss, play, and party.

The event has slowly grown from around a hundred participants from the four Nordic countries (sorry, Iceland) to almost 600 this year from almost 30 different countries. It’s a magical playground like no other, where devoted hobbyists and academics stay up late at night to rant about subjects like realistic characters, psychological safety, and techniques to simulate rape.

Simulated rape? Really? Yeah. I started out larping for shits and giggles, and while I still do that, I sometimes also larp for more serious purposes these days. I’ve played a prisoner in a not-that-long-after-tomorrow prison and have been tortured using genuine Gitmo techniques. I’ve been a jealous husband in an 1829 Jane Austen romantic comedy. And I’ve played a heartless peacekeeping soldier, who couldn’t care less about the locals. Not all of this has been “fun,” but all have been experiences I treasure and which have helped form me.

Maybe that’s why I love this hobby, and especially this conference, so much. At one moment, I’ll be at a lecture where a Finnish Ph.D. in Game Studies is earnestly telling us all why we need to rethink our definition of “games,” and at the next moment, I’ll be knee-deep in a Russian presentation about larps in the 90’s, and hear a story of how some deranged madman thought he was actually the “Son of Sauron”—yeah, that Sauron, the bad guy from Lord of the Rings. I know, Sauron wasn’t big on sons, but this guy wasn’t big on reason, either.

I was 13 when I started larping. My friend Jeppe and I used a bizarre-looking club as a shared weapon, and our costumes were bed sheets with a hole cut out at the head. The club included materials like “crappy stick,” “lumps of felt,” ”newspaper” and was a bright orange colour. Bright orange. And nobody cared—least of all people from the outside.

The author at a young age at the Knudepunkt 2000 conference. Photo courtesy Claus Raasted.Now I’m 35, and my latest larp project was a four-day event about witches and wizards held at an honest-to-Gandalf fairytale castle. It got featured in People and TIME and on MTV, Fox News, and Good Morning America. And they didn’t talk about us like we were freaks and weirdos. “You guys, they have a castle for this larp. A real, freaking castle,” one journalist wrote. Granted, the author does write for Nerdist, which, needless to say, is on the nerdy side of the media spectrum. But the strange thing was the writer for Teen Vogue magazine was just as enthusiastic.

“Hello, I live in San Diego, California,” an email from a would-be participant began, “and I saw your website published on Teen Vogue.”

WTF!?

I’ve been participating in larps for two decades, and even though I’ve been part of the avant-garde Nordic larp movement for more than a decade, I can say for sure that this one caught me flatfooted. When I was a teenager larping was a hobby for the weird, the bright, and the creative. We definitely didn’t read Teen Vogue, and I swear by Spock’s ears that Teen Vogue didn’t write about us.

But all that has changed. The Interwebz is good for many things, and only 90 percent of them are porn. One thing it’s great at is connecting communities. I remember watching a documentary about Star Wars stormtrooper fans some years back. There was this guy from Mexico (or somewhere equally populated, but remote) who was the only dude in his village who thought Star Wars was cool. But due to the power of the electronic superhighways, he found kindred spirits all over the world. He was no longer alone, and now his story has been told to millions of people around the world because of that documentary.

I wasn’t that stormtrooper, but I know a bit about how he felt. When I started larping in 1993, we were maybe a thousand larpers in Denmark. Now, more than 100,000 Danes larp, and I’ve had sit-downs with Danish ministers (plural) about why larping is something they should be aware of. We’ve come a long way, and one of the reasons we’ve gotten to where we are today is because some people got together at the first Knudepunkt conference in 1997 and talked about their hobby in a serious way.

The author being tortured at Kapo in 2011. Photo by Peter Munthe-Kaas.So why do we do it? We do we take games so seriously? Isn’t it just about having fun? Well, sure. But “fun” can mean many things. I’m also quite sure that no one will mock Johnny Depp for taking his acting seriously even in comedic roles. If creative expression was only about getting a few laughs and making people feel good, there’d be no Schindler’s List, no Oedipus, and definitely no Passion of the Christ.

And now I’ve got to go. Because I need to explain to some critical firebrands that we shouldn’t be afraid of the girl from Teen Vogue who wants to pretend she’s a witch in a magical castle. We should remember that all journeys of the imagination begin somewhere, and that the easiest way to get people to understand the rabbit hole is to make them want to jump into it.

After all, if we’re to come out of the shadows and into the light, we have to show the world that while we may sometimes pretend to be vampires who dislike the sunlight, we do it in cool and interesting ways.

Claus Raasted

Claus Raasted has made his living doing larps since 2002, and is the author of 17 books on the subject. His most famous project is the Harry Potter inspired larp “College of Wizardry”, which made its rounds on global media in December 2014. When he’s not busy with projects, he’s happily married and is the proud owner of 100 kgs of LEGO.

%d bloggers like this: