Update: The video has been made private on YouTube, but it’s now hosted on TREKZONE.org, click here to watch.
The enduring adventure of Axanar Productions has dished up another meaty tidbit today as Alec Peters releases a four and a half minute promo reel for Industry Studios, his ultimate aim from the Axanar Star Trek fan film crowd funding campaigns that saw him land in a world of legal trouble. To aid potential backers to his new campaign, I thought it prudent to analyse and fact check all of the assertions made:
Right off the bat, Alec informs us that Axanar Productions is alive and well and operating in the for-profit area of studio rental (aka, Industry Studios.) Their mission, he continues, ‘is to help independent, fan and student film makers to bring their science fiction, horror and fantasy projects to life.’ They can achieve this by offering up Industry Studios, paid for by over 15,000 donors who contributed to the Axanar project. What Alec fails to mention is that original project was to produce a feature length fan film, something that is still missing today…
In comes the first testimonial, from Tom Pike and Zac Wallnau, the creators of Personal Space – a crowd funded SciFi webseries where a crew of astronauts have no idea their therapy sessions are broadcast on Earth as reality television. They tell us that the first season is coming this spring, featuring Stargate, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactia alumni including the late Richard Hatch. Richard tells us, in an archive interview presumably, that he likes the idea of independent and fan made films as they can fill the void left by the studios.
Tom and Zac inform us that they want to work with Industry Studios so that their work, featuring Hatch, can be seen by as many of his fans as possible. ‘The nice thing about Industry Studios is that they understand the (crowdfunding) process, they understand what fandom is’ Tom tells us. They want to shoot the second season at the Axanar fan-funded studio because it’s ‘great, it’s gorgeous and it meets all our needs.’
Alec returns to the screen holding onto the bridge set… ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a place where you could come and use already built sets?’ He asks, and then states you’ll be able to do it for nothing. From that very limited angle inside the studio, we cut to Justin Zagri who has made two Harry Potter fan films, he tells us that being able to hold meetings at Industry Studios adds to the level of professionalism rather than holding production meetings at Starbucks or a restaurant, it’s a professional office. But instead of showing us these professional offices, we continue watching snippets from the Harry Potter fan film that Justin produced.
The next shot we’re back with Alec on another tight shot in the corner of the alleged ninety foot green screen which Peters claims is a ‘full cyclorama’ yet there is no curve at the floor – which would allow the CGI process to completely and easily envelop the actors. (A curved bottom corner and green floor is referred to as an infinity cyclorama.) Alec asserts that this is one of the biggest green screens outside of the major studio(s.) And it’s all available for film makers to make their dreams come true.
Hector Barron from Cholos vs Vampires tells us about his project that he’s hoping to launch, he believes that Industry Studios could help so many independent and student film makers, ‘it’s a resource that’s desperately needed.’ Interestingly, Hector doesn’t elaborate further on how he believes the studio could help. Alec continues that the aim of the kickstarter is to pay the operating costs, then student and fan film makers could have access to this type of facility – and remember that comment where Alec says you won’t need to pay? Well, it’ll actually cost you ‘next to nothing.’
He assures us that there’ll be no personal compensation – this time – and that one hundred percent will go to the rent and monthly operating costs for 2017 then fan films. If the target is over achieved, then the funds will – allegedly – be held over for 2018’s expenses. Alec continues on camera in his office with more baffling dialogue (if you’re not keeping up) about 2016 being challenging (no clue as to why) but 2017 has seen the opportunity to create the first fan funded movie studio in history (except that’s not what donors paid for.)
This video clearly demonstrates why a PR video needs a PR touch on the script and edit. The shot selection failed to provide us with any new insight into the studio – shots from the half built bridge set and of the Vulcan scene shoot are over twelve months old, if not more. Alec is always framed in very tight shots to avoid showing us any more than is absolutely necessary, the quality of the testimonials is sub par for this supposed professional studio with very obvious audio edits. There are no establishing shots to place the studio in it’s location, it could be in the middle of Kansas for all I know. Overall, if I was completely new to Alec’s exploits, I’d still be very skeptical to donate to this project.
The three productions featured in this video have been contacted for comment.