It’s come to a point in the legal case where battle lines are being etched in permanent marker and for some you are either with Axanar or against it, and if you’re against it then you hate the fans. Over the past several weeks numerous attacks have been levelled at me on YouTube, and while I accept that as part of presenting a divisive issue the level of commitment by these individuals to conduct an argument based on facts and not emotion is sadly lacking.
Meanwhile, the number of fan productions ceasing production has just notched up by one more with Nick Cook confirming via Star Trek: Intrepid’s Facebook page that he’ll be suspending future production until the current legal case is resolved. His statement reads:
In light of the ongoing lawsuit between CBS/Paramount and Axanar, and the uncertainty about what the rumoured fanfilm guidelines will entail, I have made the decision to suspend production on all stories that are currently in the planning stage.
Further in the statement Cook confirmed that episodes already ‘in the can’ will be produced and released. He also reiterated his position of respecting CBS and Paramount’s ownership of Star Trek, and their long standing kindness towards fan works. In an exclusive interview with me, Cook elaborated on his decision to suspend production:
Intrepid is my passion project. I’m lucky enough that a lot of my friends are still willing to invest the amount of time and energy into that they do. It’s fun, we (mostly) love doing it, but it’s also hard work and often stressful. We all have lives and other demands on our time and resources. I cannot, in good conscience, ask my friends to keep investing the amount of time, energy, and money while so much uncertainty exists. For now, it just makes sense to take a step back and breath.
Cook also reaffirmed his belief that the fans do not own Star Trek and that the growing animosity towards the studio has forced him to speak out. Cook suggested that instead of attacking them, we should be mindful of their rights, and while a lot of people are talking about unity that should start with a united message. On the subject of that other production, Cook was diplomatic in saying:
I don’t believe anyone associated with Axanar set out to cause trouble… I’ve no doubts they set out to make the best Star Trek fan film they could… it would be naive to think, as far as the studio’s concerned, this wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back.
However, Cook elaborated that he believes it was inevitable that CBS and Paramount would’ve clamp down on fan productions, because some projects are raising five and six figure sums.
Now that’s not a slam on the productions that have raised these sums, I’ve made a lot of friends who work on many of these projects, and I’ve seen some phenomenally good work. I still believe, by and large, the people making these things simply want to tell good stories.
The Intrepid producer and star noted that the rise of crowd funding has changed the landscape greatly and while the intent behind these productions has remained the same, he believes the sums of money being raised make it impossible for th e studio to look the other way.
I don’t personally feel that we ever needed guidelines, but unfortunately it’s an inevitability now.
The issue of crowd funding to make a production viable has also been a topic of debate for some on my YouTube channel, Nick confirmed that he has never crowd funded for Intrepid though he considered it. Nick ended the interview with a very poignant final comment:
Getting to play in that sandbox [producing a fan series], even unofficially, is pretty much a dream come true. And it’s fun, a lot of fun. I hope we get to keep doing it for a long time to come. But if not, well it’s been fun while it lasted.
Check out Intrepid at the website here.