EDITORIAL: The Golden Era of Fan Films Is Over – CBS’ Guidelines Will Force Creative ‘Short Story’ Approach

Early Friday, Australian time, CBS released the fan film guidelines that Axanar had been demanding for over two years – and not surprisingly they’re not happy with them, but neither are many fans. The difference however is that other fan film producers like Nick Cook from Star Trek: Intrepid or Vic Mignogna from Star Trek: Continues acknowledge that Star Trek is CBS and Paramount’s IP and they can do whatever they want.

Among the most stringent of the guidelines is the running time,

This means that episodes produced by Star Trek: Continues and others – which run as long as Original Series episodes at around 50 minutes – are now not permitted, while the other part of that guideline implies that we will not see future adventures under the Continues, New Voyages or Intrepid banner.

This guideline, in my mind, levels the playing field for future and smaller productions outside of the United States who don’t have the ability to cast or ’employ’ veteran Trek talent. This is certainly not an attack on the awesome performance of Larry Nemecek as Dr. McCoy or Doug Drexler’s input on Continues and I was lucky enough to have Doug and Larry’s support on my short lived fan fic Eternal Night but I’m sure veterans of our beloved franchise are fans too and they may have wanted to tell their own stories, or be a part of someone elses…

I interviewed Vic for The Trekzone Spotlight on Wednesday where he predicated significant fallout from the Axanar case, and he was right. He released this statement to me yesterday which will serve as an addendum to our chat,

Meanwhile, Nick J. Cook has stated:

However, while these guidelines spell the end of current productions it’s certainly not all the doom and gloom that Axanar and it’s supporters are claiming. I heard a comment yesterday that we’re going to be returning to the time when Hidden Frontier was starting out, and as I’ve stated earlier in this article there’s going to be a much more level playing field for all fans to produce their own content.

For example The Needs of the Many is a short fan film that was released back in January by Perth film maker Aaron Vanderkley, it runs a total of six minutes, and while it features no effects shots it does focus on a Lieutenant on the bridge and a crewman on B-deck following an explosion, the tension is real and the characters are compelling. It’s not an episode of Star Trek: Continues, but it’s not trying to be.

Remember what we’ve lost but embrace what we have.

I’m going to be chatting with Aaron this weekend as part of a special series of podcasts focusing on the new guidelines. Meanwhile, my chat with Vic Mignogna will be released this weekend as well.

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