About a month ago, I was on Facebook (Yeah, yeah….I know) and I saw a post, I think from George Takei, linking to a Kickstarter for a Star Trek movie. I was like, “Star Trek? In Kickstarter? I HAVE to check that out.”
That’s how I discovered Star Trek: Axanar.
When I saw the video that was posted on the kickstarter page, I was floored. This is FREAKING AWESOME!
See what I mean?
Of course, that left me wondering. Why was it up on Kickstarter? Paramount/CBS had been producing Star Trek movies for a while, and they’d been doing well. Why go to Kickstarter? Was it sort of like the Veronica Mars thing, where the creators wanted to make a movie but the studio wasn’t sure and said if they got enough movie from fans the studio would back it? And then the Veronica Mars fans completely CRUSHED the studio’s requirement? But that didn’t make any sense at all. Why would Paramount need to do that? They have confidence in Star Trek, obviously.
Then I scrolled down the Kickstarter page and saw the was a freaking fan film!
Now, I’ve known for a while that fans have been making their own Star Trek episodes, even entire series, and putting them out on the web. As a life-long Star Trek fan, I’ve checked in on them from time to time. But I’ve never really taken a shine to them. Yeah they’re cool, but… I dunno, I guess partially I was busy and had a lot of other things that caught my attention. But mostly those fan things did not.
Come to find out, Alec and Christian, the guys behind this, ran a previous Kickstarter to get funds to make the Prelude (the video posted above, the one that’s on the main Axanar Kickstarter page). They asked for $10k and raised $100k. The prelude video cost them about $75k to make.
Yes, that AMAZINGLY AWESOME totally professional-looking, with WICKED COOL special effect sequences, short film cost only $75k. Holy shitballs, Batman! And look who’s in it: Richard Hatch, of Galactica fame, Tony Todd, the rest. Turns out Alec and Christian have been working in Hollywood for a while, and they got other top-shelf people working on it, too: their makeup guy won an Academy award!
So holy smokes, if these guys could do that. On their own. For that little money…
I totally had to back that Kickstarter.
But alas, I couldn’t. Because it had already finished.
They asked for $100k, so they could book a sound stage and get started on pre-production, with the notion that they would do more Kickstarters to get the rest as they showed they were making progress. They got over $600k (which is about what they estimated it would cost to make the entire thing)!
And I couldn’t donate! ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!
But wait! Turns out I could! On their webpage, they have a donate button, and if you donate there you get the same rewards as if you’d backed the Kickstarter to begin with! Sweet! I’m there!
And so I am.
Why do I bring this up? Well, obviously because I think it’s awesome. And because I think if any of you folks out there are like me and love Star Trek (or even just like it….or think it doesn’t suck), or if you just appreciate what they did on that prelude movie, you totally should go and donate some cash. With all the extra money they’ve gotten they’re ramping up their plans for the film (which is now in pre-production for a scheduled 2015 release), and obviously the more $ they get the more cool it will be.
But the best part? The freaking studio’s not involved. Dude, this is true indie film-making. Yeah, they have to be careful not to actually use any CBS-owned IP so they don’t get in trouble, and from all appearances they are. But how cool is this, that people who love a thing can just decide to make a movie about it, and that they can raise the money from fans so they can make it happen (and really quickly too)? I think it’s awesome, which is why I’m backing it and why you should too.
If I were a CBS studio exec, I would totally be calling these two guys to make Axanar a fully-licensed piece of work. But I’m not. And I guess I’m glad I’m not, because just as going with a big publisher can more often than not be a really bad move for a writer these days, I wonder if going with the studio wouldn’t be a bad call for Alec and Christian, too. It might end up ruining the entire thing. Maybe?
Regardless, CBS isn’t involved, so it’s moot. And the project’s awesome.
Go give money!