Topic: CBS Releases fan film guidelines, most current fan projects will not qualify...  (Read 3543 times)

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Offline EschelonOfJudgemnt

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Sooo, CBS has released their official fan film guidelines.  See here:
http://www.startrek.com/fan-films

Pretty much every fan film effort I've seen to date, with maybe an exception or two, violates one or more of these guidelines.  Star Trek Continues, Star Trek New Voyages, Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, Aurora Trek, Prelude to Axanar, The Red Shirt Diaries, the list goes on and on and on.

Short form: Can't use any Star Trek alum and/or paid actors in your episodes, are limited to two episodes of 15 minutes or less each, no merchandise, must use 'official merchandise (no fan made costumes), can't raise more than $50K for your production, see link above for more limitations.

No mention is made in the 'fan guidelines' about the possibility of contacting CBS for a 'fan licensing agreement' or some such, should you wish to make a production that exceeds these limitations.

In short, if CBS wanted to piss off the fans of fan films, well these guidelines are a great start for alienating said fans.

Offline EschelonOfJudgemnt

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Incidentally, I've been reading a few comments elsewhere referring to the Star Wars fan film guidelines being 'looser'.  I haven't found those official guidelines yet (i.e. for films not being submitted to the Star Wars fan film contest), but the fan film awards for 2016 limit the submissions to no longer than 5 minutes in length.  See link below for 'official Star Wars fan film awards contest' submission rules:
http://cdnvideo.dolimg.com/cdn_assets/3a519829d95bfb651c3e3a0140d46b8faaa409fc.pdf

With Disney now controlling the Star Wars universe, and having officially 'shut down' the 'expanded Star Wars universe' (we shall miss thee, Timothy Zahn), I am doubtful that they will be tolerant of new medium/episode/feature length fan films.  My google searches simply refer to the Star Wars fan film awards guidelines.  'Troops' is over 10 minutes in length, btw, but was made over 2 decades ago.

Offline Sirgod

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Heard about this , this last week. I think I am done supporting CBS or Paramount now.
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Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Remember to thank Axanar for forcing the issue.
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Offline EschelonOfJudgemnt

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Star Trek Renegades is now just Renegades, with all Star Trek references to be removed, and it is to become an 'original' work that has it's own IP.
http://renegades.show/home/a-message-from-the-renegades-team-regarding-the-new-fan-film-guidelines/

Note that the StarTrekRenegades.com url now redirects to renegades.show

startreknewvoyages.com is now 'under construction/new website soon'.

There are others too.   Will share as I find them.

Offline Vipre

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Remember to thank Axanar for forcing the issue.

Thanks belongs to CBS/Paramount. Don't put out a sh*t product that can be topped by people in garages and they wouldn't have anything to complain about.


Several aspects of those "guidelines" I seriously doubt would hold up in court anyway the last part of five being the biggest standout.

"cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Picturesí licensees."

Unless that is/was in the actor/crew member's contract I can't image how it'd be binding. Makes any skit with a cameo taboo.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 11:39:24 am by Vipre »
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Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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If you are camping with friends and one of your friends (whose name is Axanar) comes across a sleeping bear and hits it with a rock and then the bear comes after all of you, you have that friend to thank for the crap that follows. It doesn't matter that the bear spends its' waking hours eating fish and berries and producing crap, don't poke the bear.

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Offline Sirgod

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analogy doesn't work. more like the bear came rampaging through your campsite, and even though you tried to defend yourself, it escaped and killed all the campers everywhere. Paramount and CBS started this, and will not get one dime from me from now on.
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are."- Father Kevin Keaney, Chaplain, Korean War

Offline EschelonOfJudgemnt

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Greed started this, let's be honest.

CBS and Paramount see other people profiting off of the copyrights that they secured ownership of, via numerous kickstarter, etc. campaigns.  Even if it's 'not for profit' money is exchanging hands and someone is getting paid, be it for rent, construction materials, in some cases salaries, etc. etc.

I'd argue that Renegades has been much more 'in your face' than Axanar is, thanks to them including Chekov as a character, but since Axanar was the most popular with fans (at least monetarily, based on the amount they've raised via Kickstarter, etc.), they were the obvious target, since Paramount/CBS are now seeking greater control over their copyrights.

Which Paramount/CBS have a right to do, as it is their copyright (assuming no issues with the copyright transfer of ownership  history - keep in mind that NBC/Desilu originally aired Star Trek).  The question is, is the fallout from all this worth it?  Numerous fansites have correctly pointed out that through fan efforts, the Star Trek IP has survived through the support of said fans.  Sure, not all fans pay attention to fan films and such, but a number of them do, and a number of said fans have participated in one or more letter writing campaigns to keep Star Trek alive. 

Axanar has been very vocal about supporting Star Trek Beyond in recent days, as they feel 'indebted' to JJ Abrams and company for sticking up for them.  And we don't know difinitively  if a 'side arrangement' is in the works (Alec Peters has implied that negotiations are ongoing) and if it any said negotiations will reach fruition.  I'd hope that some of the other fan efforts are able to do the same (secure a license of sorts) going forward, so that their efforts to date may continue.

However, that doesn't mean that the diehard fans should let Paramount/CBS off the hook.  I STILL say that if a licensing agreement with the various fan effots could be reached, that would be CBS/Paramount's best play.  The released fan guidelines could still apply to those that don't want to involve lawyers and such in order to produce their fan film, but for those that want to tell longer stories, a written agreement between the respective studios would do wonders in appeasing the fans, and Paramount/CBS could even get cut in for a share of the profits if there are any.

Of course, however, it all comes back to greed.  It would seem that CBS/Paramount  feel that they are the only ones that should profit off of their IP, and aren't interested in 'sharing the wealth' so to speak, hence the current situation.  I'd also speculate  that they feel that they can tell the stories best (note that I strongly disagree, the 'reboots' suck IMHO), and IMHO don't want to be shown up by better scriptwriting and such from some indy project (hence hopefully not haveing to face  the embarresment of supporting weak scripts, which Hollywood in general has a penchant for).

 I have absolutely no problem with CBS/Paramount making money off of licensing agreements, I just think that they are being too stingy, and hence denying themselves income off of potential new revenue streams (i.e. allowing fan efforts to be licensed, and allowing them to 'profit' off of their efforts as long as CBS/Paramount get a share).  The video game industry ST licenses have been revenue streams of sorts for a while now, and licensed  fan films could similarly be a small but steady stream of income.  Some dollars are better than no dollars, espeically if it increases your IP's exposure to the masses and increases interest in said IP. 

As an aside, there are only five OFFICIAL Star Trek conventions in the States currently listed on TrekNews between now and the end of the year, with maybe a half dozen more 'unofficial' ST conventions.  Sure, there will be Star Trek actors at other conventions, but those are more generalized events (DragonCon, San Diego ComiCon, etc.).  This makes me think that CBS/Paramount may be exerting more control over 'convention licensing' as well (which we wouldn't hear much about), as I remember there being a LOT more of these events a couple of decades ago (nearly one in every state).  Conventions have become more centralized as of late, but it's interesting to note nonetheless...

One possibility that I've considered lately is that CBS/Paramount simply aren't interested in catering to the older fans any longer, as we are all getting older, and our numbers are dwindling as we die off.  Through targetted marketing, CBS/Paramount CAN build a new fan base from the Millenials and such, and leave us Gen X/Boomers behind (I'd argue that they've done exactly that).  Lets be honest, even if ALL of the old fans boycotted future efforts, CBS/Paramount still has potential customers.  The Millennials (ages 19-35)  are now the largest generation to date by demographics, and over 30% of the US population is between the ages 12 and 35, this includes post-millennials.  And ALWAYS REMEMBER that almost all major studios are beholden first and foremost to their owners and shareholders, not to any one franchise they may own. Around HALF of the moviegoing audience these days is aged 35 or less, and younger people are more likely to buy oodles of fan merchandise to boot.

Yes, I'm mixing demographics a bit here (TV viewers vs Moviegoers), but the point is that CBS/Paramount are looking at that younger audience and may very likely feel that those are the people that they will make the most money off of, hence why us 'old fogies' aren't getting catered to as much these days.  This is the reason I can understand why the studios might think that their new 'streaming model' for the new series will work - younger kids are more likely to stream content as opposed to watching it in more traditional formats.  I think that they are unnecessarily limiting their potential customer base in the process, as not everyone streams.  Sure, the DVD's will show up at some point after the fact, but those don't generate ad revenue very well.

I think that CBS/Paramount have miscalculated here, but they are worth many billions of dollars more than I am, so my opinion doesn't matter.  I do think that in the case of the Star Trek license, purposely alienating a part of your current fanbase is a mistake... as in cutting yourself off from more profits by doing so.

In the meantime, I'd absolutely LOVE IT if someone created/made available a new sandbox for the fan film makers to play in, with sufficient similarities for the stories to be told in a similar context, without infringing on the ST copyright in the process. Renegades seems to be going down this route now, but universe building takes time, and there are a lot of interesting IP's out there that could use the support...

Sure, the fan efforts would have to retool their sets, costumes, etc., but they shouldn't allow such a 'simple' obstacle stop them from telling/showing their stories in a new light/using a different framework.

Offline TarMinyatur

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Clearly CBS feels threatened by fan-sponsored, non-profit, high quality Star Trek entertainment. If CBS did nothing to protect their copyrights and trade marks, they would soon become irrelevant.

Imagine Star Trek Continues and Star Trek: New Voyages with 22 episodes per year! Imagine several cinematic releases about Axanar or the adventures of the USS Farragut or USS Exeter.

CBS/Paramount/Viacom have been ruining Trek since Star Trek VI (the last decent film in my opinion). Is it any surprise that people want good Trek? With crowdfunding and professional actors willing to get involved, we surely could be liberated from the chumps at CBS who give us time-traveling garbage and lens flares repeatedly.

The intellectual property owners of Gene Roddenberry's creations are acting like ungrateful, desperate, arrogant adversaries -- not because they want to, but because they have to. With Axanar, they were shown how unimportant and how quickly forgotten CBS would be if others led the Star Trek entertainment scene and we, the people, supported Axanar and similar non-profit efforts.

I think 50 years is long enough for intellectual property rights. 1966 was 50 years ago! When do we own our culture? Never, if it is left to lobbyists for dynasties and spineless politicians who have everything to lose by promoting public ownership of our cultural history. 

Offline EschelonOfJudgemnt

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In one of the critiques of the guidelines, Robert Meyer Burnett (he directed Free Enterprise, was involved in the Trek Experience in Vegas, and of course was the film editor for Prelude To Axanar) pointed out that CBS is missing an excellent opportunity for making revenues off of these fan made efforts.  Specifically, he suggested that they add a 'fan made' channel to the Star Trek subscription service (whatever you want to call that).  Sort of 'bonus material' for subscribing to the CBS stream to watch Star Trek.  This would allow CBS to sell advertising in conjunction with the fan films, and hence CBS would make some easy money off of these efforts.

The fans aren't stupid, and will recognize these works for what they are, plus they could tag the productions as 'fan films' in the credits.  I'm sure Star Trek Continues and the other efforts would LOVE the exposure, and this helps CBS generates more interest in their ST license in the process.  Again, a win win.

Of course, said efforts might 'show up' the new series, but to be honest I'm sure that CBS/Paramount can put enough bells and whistles into their own show to make it worthwhile, plus they can produce a lot more episodes in a shorter amount of time than the fan efforts can. 

Alas, that would make too much sense...

Offline Nemesis

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Rather than suppressing these fans they should be hiring them. 
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Offline A88mph

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Well, I'm convinced that Paramount and CBS are outright jealous of their fans for being able to make better shows and movies then they can, and on the cheap compared to the millions they waste to boot!

I'm surprised they didn't immediately go for the route of "We'll let you make whatever you want (within reason), and we'll sell it as a licence product. and we'll split the profits 70/30 in our favor." Sure some fans might make lame stuff, but "Threshold" is official, so show us that level of not caring, take the free money, and leave us alone!

Offline EschelonOfJudgemnt

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Star Trek New Voyages has repurposed their sets, and apparently gotten an 'official sanction' from ParamountCBS to run a 'fan experience' tour of said sets.

http://www.startrek.com/article/the-original-series-set-tour-to-open

No word on if he will be allowed to continue production of New Voyages as of yet, that I know of anyways...

Offline Vipre

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Well New Voyages/Phase II is officially dead. Cawley calls it quits.

Quote
Announcement from James Cawley:


I stand firmly with CBS and I am so very Thankful to them for being so gracious to me and New Voyages over the last 15 years.
I encourage all my fellow fans to listen to the official Trek podcast found here: https://overcast.fm/+GuW5Epb-k

Please take a step back and realize that they do have a deep appreciation for the TREK fans and fan films. If they did not like the fan films, I would not have been able to make my series for so many years.

We are in the midst of a very special celebration, 50 years of Trek! Can we all please begin to lift each other up and celebrate this amazing pop culture gift given to us by Gene Roddenberry!

I am hoping to do an interview soon where I can talk in depth about my experiences and plans for the future.
At present, I plan on doing what Gene Roddenberry would want me to do, I am looking to the future with an eye of optimism and hope.
May we all continue to Go Boldly together.

Peace and Friendship to all,

James Cawley

What Does This Mean for New Voyages:

    The New Voyages Production Team will not be making any new episodes.
    "Torment of Destiny," "Bread and Savagery" and "Origins the Protracted Man" are still in post-production.
    Those who donated to New Voyages via Kickstarter, etc. will be permitted to see at least "Torment of Destiny" when it is completed. If the other two episodes will be released to donors or the public has yet to be determined.
    The US-based www.startreknewvoyages.com website is permenently closed. www.stnv.de is now the official website.
    The New Voyages film sets and team are now working on The Original Series Set Tour.
    The legacy episodes of New Voyages will continue to be available via Star Trek New Voyages, International (this website).


We wish to thank all our loyal fans, it has been one hell of a ride.
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Offline Captain Spadaro

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Well New Voyages/Phase II is officially dead. Cawley calls it quits.

Quote
Announcement from James Cawley:


I stand firmly with CBS and I am so very Thankful to them for being so gracious to me and New Voyages over the last 15 years.
I encourage all my fellow fans to listen to the official Trek podcast found here: https://overcast.fm/+GuW5Epb-k

Please take a step back and realize that they do have a deep appreciation for the TREK fans and fan films. If they did not like the fan films, I would not have been able to make my series for so many years.

We are in the midst of a very special celebration, 50 years of Trek! Can we all please begin to lift each other up and celebrate this amazing pop culture gift given to us by Gene Roddenberry!

I am hoping to do an interview soon where I can talk in depth about my experiences and plans for the future.
At present, I plan on doing what Gene Roddenberry would want me to do, I am looking to the future with an eye of optimism and hope.
May we all continue to Go Boldly together.

Peace and Friendship to all,

James Cawley

What Does This Mean for New Voyages:

    The New Voyages Production Team will not be making any new episodes.
    "Torment of Destiny," "Bread and Savagery" and "Origins the Protracted Man" are still in post-production.
    Those who donated to New Voyages via Kickstarter, etc. will be permitted to see at least "Torment of Destiny" when it is completed. If the other two episodes will be released to donors or the public has yet to be determined.
    The US-based www.startreknewvoyages.com website is permenently closed. www.stnv.de is now the official website.
    The New Voyages film sets and team are now working on The Original Series Set Tour.
    The legacy episodes of New Voyages will continue to be available via Star Trek New Voyages, International (this website).


We wish to thank all our loyal fans, it has been one hell of a ride.



Cawley was planning to end things for a while.  Something about how it wasn't fun anymore.
"Don't try to be a great man; just be a man, and let history make its own judgments." - William Riker, quoting Zefram Cochrane, to Zefram Cochrane, Star Trek: First Contact

Offline Captain Spadaro

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This has nothing to do with CBS/Paramount trying to piss off fans and everything to do with Axanar (and specifically Alec Peters) trying to profit off of IP they did not own (as a well as start a for-profit business on the back of said IP).  CBS/P could have very easily said 'no fan films' when the first ones started being made; instead, they allowed them to continue, as no one was getting hurt (or making money off them, any money that was raised was invested in the production).  Hell, they borrowed a set piece for the Defiant bridge set (from In A Mirror, Darkly) from New Voyages/Phase II.

As for 'pissing off fans', fan films themselves are but a very small drop in the large bucket that is Star Trek fandom.  Most fans don't know they exist, and most don't care either way.  That isn't to say they don't have their place, but making them out to be a huge part of the fandom is simply not true.

Finally, if you actually READ the guidelines, it's pretty clear that CBS/P are trying to encourage the production of vignettes (and in the process, make things cheaper for everyone) rather than stuff that could be compared to episodic television.
"Don't try to be a great man; just be a man, and let history make its own judgments." - William Riker, quoting Zefram Cochrane, to Zefram Cochrane, Star Trek: First Contact