Kickstarter

GH17: Shovel Knight Interview

GH17: Shovel Knight Interview
Gamer Heroes

 
 
00:00 / 36:40
 
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Yacht Club Games, makers of the smash hit indie title Shovel Knight were awesome enough to sit down with us for an interview! We talk with two of the original founders of the company, Ian and Sean. They’ve been with Shovel Knight even before there was Kickstarter. We talk about their contributions to Yacht Club games, what they do day-to-day, and then dive into Shovel Knight. We hit on the Kickstarter, stretch goals, initial release, expansions, bringing the game to the Nintendo Switch, and the newest release, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove. Plus, Ian and Sean talk a little about the final two major components coming to the game slated for 2017.

0:15 – Introduction with me (Derreck)

1:20 – Interview begins with Yacht Club Games

3:55 – King’s Knight Campaign

7:00 – Expanding the game from Kickstarter

14:00 – Bringing Shovel Knight to Nintendo Switch

19:45 – Treasure Trove and new features like body swap mode

27:00 – Amiibo compatibility

31:00 – Ian and Sean’s final thoughts and Shovel Knight in 3D

35:30 – Contra NES streaming and closing

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Gamer Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Ian and Sean from Yacht Club Games

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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GH17: Shovel Knight Interview

Billie Rides onto Kickstarter

The Grid Daily continues to show its support for all things geeky and cool. That’s why we’re honored to have our new western comic, Billie, featured right here.

Billie, launched on Kickstarter October 12, 2016, and hasn’t looked back. The graphic novel follows Billie, a young woman who saw her parents murdered right in front of her eyes outside Dodge City as a child. Her neighbor, Victor, took her in and taught her how to stand on her own. Now she’s joined by her new friends, Jayne and Gordon, taking on the Drask Gang down in the New Mexico border towns.

It’s always been a dream of mine to write comics and here I am doing it. After founding Project-Nerd more than four years ago, I finally built up the courage to launch Project-Nerd Publishing. We have met so many amazing publishers, creators, artists, writers, and industry insiders that pushed us and taught us. Project-Nerd Publishing became a reality and one year later; my first solo writing project is here, and receiving great feedback.

Billie is a character who has been growing on paper for more than five years. She’s a character that sets the record straight and exhibits how not all cowboys were white men. Billie, Jayne, and Gordon all break the stereotype of what you see in comics and popular western media while Drask and his team, will define a new era of western gangs.

Billie Perks

The 60-page story is a complete arc featuring Billie’s arrival in Aspen, New Mexico and kickoff the new war that will wage between her and Drask. It’s a story that’s been reviewed and praised by anyone who can get their hands on it. And it still has plenty to offer in follow up graphic novels.

As much as Billie means to me and was born from my mind, the team isn’t just me. I am joined by a pair of artists who are unmatched. Zack Rezendes is handling the pencils and inks. He has an amazing ability to take my script and transform it into the images I had in my head. The look he gave the main characters is exactly what I was expecting and his artistic style lends incredibly well to the story we are telling.

Billie Creative Team

Once Zack finishes the inks, Michaela Patton comes in and handles color. Her abilities are only matched by her desire to get it right, spending time researching the era, adjusting colors to fit the scene, and keeping a consistent color palette throughout.

The team is truly fantastic and deserves the recognition for helping this dream come true.

Please support us on Kickstarter by click here!

Follow us at Project-Nerd Publishing.

Billie is written and lettered by Iggy Michniacki, with pencils and inks by Zack Rezendes, and color by Michaela Patton.

Billie Rides onto Kickstarter

Official Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Aim at Current Projects

For those who know me, I’m a Trekkie. I’m The Star Trek Dude on Twitter and Facebook and I do tend to bring in Trek examples more often than I probably should. That’s why this issue is near and dear to my heart. On Thursday, June 23rd, Paramount and CBS announced via StarTrek.com the first official Star Trek fan film guidelines. Of course, I jumped on quickly to review these and see what the situation was. Now, I was feeling very optimistic after everything Justin Lin (Director of Star Trek Beyond) and J.J. Abrams had said specifically about fan films and the Axanar lawsuit. Unfortunately, my mood has since changed.

For a full explanation of these guidelines, please check them out here but I’m to highlight a few and talk about my thoughts.

Analyzing the Guidelines

I don’t hate all of these guidelines. Some make perfect sense like:

2. The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.

I totally get it. They want everyone to know exactly what is and is not a fan production. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, about this one. It’s straight forward and reasonable. The very next point is just as reasonable:

3. The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

Again, yes, we don’t want fan films literally ripping off content from licensed official episodes, movies, etc.

If the rest were like this, I wouldn’t even need to write an article but things just blow up. Let’s start with the very first point:

1. The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

Out of the gate this means that Star Trek Continues is basically dead in the water. They produce nearly hour long episodes following ongoing missions of The Original Series Enterprise and crew under Kirk’s command. Each episode would break this rule not to mention every other fan film that is well over 30 minutes in length like Of Gods and Men and Renegades. In fact, Prelude to Axanar is over the 15 minute mark and would need to be broken into two just to fit this very rule. The short segments could be dealt with in a serialized web format much like Red vs Blue or something to that affect BUT “no more than 2 segments” and “with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.” That means you get 30 minutes to tell your story with your characters and then they are gone forever. I don’t know about you but one of the things I loved about Trek in the 90s was how characters’ lives continued. They grew older, got promoted, and showed up on different shows. It was a connected and evolving universe. Fan films can kiss this goodbye.

4. If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

That point focuses on props and costumes. Now, if I’m understanding this one wrong, let me know. It sounds to me like fan films that use existing styles (i.e. uniform designs from TV series or movies, props from the same) they must use officially licensed products. Does this mean fan films can make their own? What about costumes made from officially licensed costume patterns? And how is this going to be enforced? This one is tough and a little nebulous to me, so I’ll move on.

The big one I want to talk about is #5 which focuses on the actors and crew allowed involvement in fan films.

5. The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.

So this means that ANYONE who has ever worked on Trek in any official capacity or any other CBS or Paramount product cannot legally be involved in a fan film. No one. No actors, lighting guys, DVD art designers, maker of t-shirts. Even a person who does graphic design work for Star Trek Online said he has to drop off a fan films he was planning to work on. This immediately means that Star Trek: Renegades and their upcoming project Requiem is a no-go from the start since it includes legacy actors like Walter Koenig, Tim Russ, and Robert Picardo just to name a few. It also means that anyone who might have helped with ship design back in the 90s is a no-go too.

What does this mean?

From my perspective it’s simple. This is a direct reaction to the events around Axanar, its lawsuit, and the other popular fan productions, specifically Star Trek Continues and Star Trek: Renegades. Paramount and CBS have a new movie and TV on the horizon. While we don’t know the details on the show, we know that Beyond continues the JJ-verse with Kirk and company. Meanwhile, the fan productions focus on the Prime universe in the old TV show era, before that, and in the future after Nemesis. These things don’t clash yet Paramount and CBS seem to take issue with them. Now, maybe this is more personal and just about Axanar or maybe it’s less personal and it’s about all fan films. I don’t know but I can say that these new guidelines appear to take aim at the big three.

As a lifelong fan, I’m disappointed. I love Star Trek and I enjoy the fan productions. They get me through the empty time Paramount and CBS have left in addition to telling stories those companies have no interest in telling. The fact that everything is coming to a head on the 50th anniversary of the franchise is both disappointing and disheartening. For us fans, it was supposed to be a year of celebration and excitement. Instead, there is a lot of tense, hurt feelings, and distrust.

Since the news is still young, I’m curious to see what these fan films have to say in addition to others I have not mentioned. In fact, we’ve published at least five other articles about Star Trek fan films. Check them out below to see some of what we might be missing with these new guidelines.

Star Trek Horizon

Star Trek Progeny

Star Trek Renegades

Pacific 201

Axanar

What do you think of the new fan film guidelines? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @griddaily!

Official Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Aim at Current Projects

Saurian: A New Breed of Dinosaur Game

It has been years since I have purchased a PC game,  eight years I think, probably six since I bought a console game. They just aren’t the sort of thing that I spend my money on. Don’t get me wrong, I have been gifted games, and I love them. But it really takes something to get me to break open my wallet.

Today’s topic though is something really special. It goes beyond the simple concept of a game. It has risen above that to an area seldom seen in this area of entertainment; it is educational. It is probably for this simple fact that I, without question, cracked open my normally sealed (and empty!) wallet to fund its Kickstarter campaign. A campaign that thus far has been wildly successful.

I am speaking about the new open world concept game, Saurian. To quote the description from its site:

Saurian is a video game focused on providing the most captivating prehistoric experience ever developed for commercial gaming: living like a true dinosaur in a dynamic open world through intense, survival based gameplay. Players will have the opportunity to take control of several different species of dinosaur in their natural environment. You will attempt to survive from hatchling to adult, managing physical needs, while avoiding predators and environmental hazards in a dynamic landscape reflecting cutting-edge knowledge of the Hell Creek ecosystem 66 million years ago.

So, I have no problem saying that this game is right up my alley. I love games that require a long play, some customization, an open world concept….and dinosaurs….I flippn’ love me some dinosaurs. But dinosaurs games themselves have been a fantastic disappoint for me up until now. It  seems that every dinosaur game is either based off the Jurassic Park franchise or decides to go down the frequently traveled dinosaur hunting route. Saurian is different though – the team behind it have done their homework and it shows in every aspect of the game.

Mr. Tom Parker who is the lead for Saurian’s research accepted my invitation to be interviewed in a Grid Daily exclusive so we can learn a little more about the game before its projected January 2017 release. Tom was quick to point out that with the stretch goals being met left and right the game is ever expanding, but he graciously answered the following questions.

How did the idea of Saurian first come about? We know why it is being made, but what were the circumstances that changed it from being an idea to an action?
Nick (project lead) came up with the concept originally and when he found no trace of such a game existed on the internet he started contemplating doing it himself. Then while acting as a forum mod and QA tester for a game called Primal Carnage, he first came in contact with me (Tom, researcher), Jake (3D artist) and Erin (tech artist). We collectively began to explore more substantial development, and as we did, we shared our idea in any place that we found like-minded people. Once Bryan (animator) joined the team, we knew we could attract programmers, and serious development started.

How did the team meet? You all seem to be well spaced from each other.
As I mentioned earlier, Nick, Jake, Erin and I all met on the online forums for another video game, Primal Carnage, which is also where the concept for this game was originally conceived. The rest of the team pretty much all found us, seeing our work online and then contacting us about potentially joining the team. The rest is history.

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The cast of playable dinosaurs from the game. Iconic species such as tyrannosaurus and triceratops, as well as lesser known species pachycephalosaurus and dakotaraptor

You have chosen some pretty famous dinosaurs as player characters, were there ever suggestions among team members to go for lesser known species?
I wouldn’t say Dakotaraptor is particularly high profile outside of the palaeo community, though we are doing our best to remedy that. Before it was announced, we were considering Acheroraptor, which is probably even less well known. Outside of that, no. Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops were always instant shoe-ins and Hell Creek was partially chosen for these two taxa.

I am curious as to how he players in your game will find prey/avoid predators etc. Is there a HUD that we have not seen yet, or are senses such as smell and better sight being shown in ways that you haven’t shown yet?
While we have not settled on exactly what the HUD will look like yet, the team is unanimous in agreement that whatever it may be, it will be very minimalist. We’ve thrown around a few neat ideas. As for smell and sight, these will be shown in ways that have not yet been revealed. We have already begun work on the scent system.

What has been the hardest part of creating Saurian, or to rephrase – the biggest chore?
I wouldn’t call any part of development a chore. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time researching seemingly dull topics such as fossil plants and fish, but it is still fun to learn about these things to me. The biggest hurdle so far has been a lack of resources and the inability to acquire the necessary amount of time from our developers to work on the game, but it looks like our Kickstarter is set to change that.

Could you let us know what in game aspect, as a group, you are most proud of accomplishing? ex: hard thing to program, the way a dinosaur moves etc.
I’m not sure about one single aspect. We’re all really happy with how the whole game is shaping up. The whole thing has really started coming together over the last few months, as you can see in our Kickstarter video. I personally am just really happy to see all the hard work we’ve put in start paying off.

Have you ever been tempted to sneak anything non-scientific into the game? What would this have been? For example, the KT event (That is the asteroid impact that triggered the extinction of non avian dinosaurs) goal which the Kickstarter is likely to unlock. Aliens vs dinosaurs etc.?
No, absolutely not. We have been tempted to sneak developer names into the scale patters of the animal models though.

With the success of your Kickstarter campaign, do you foresee sequels to Saurian? Obviously there are a number ofancient ecosystems that are fascinating – what would you dream as being the next stop off?
We are wholeheartedly focused on doing Hell Creek right now. However, if we reach our 300k stretch goal we will be adding the Two Medicine formation, an earlier Cretaceous locality. The reason we picked this one is because it is not different enough to require a complete overhaul of the game, all the major archetypes (tyrannosaurid, ceratopsid, hadrosaurid, etc.) from Hell Creek are there but it offers a different environmental setting. The Two Medicine is an upland environment, closely associated with high volcanic activity and frequent droughts, which should give a very different experience should we hit that stretch goal.

And for those of our readers who have not before heard of Saurian, there is another team member who I very much wished to speak to as he is the team member with the most unique viewpoint, as the only dinosaur in the group. The emu Gerry.

To the dinosaur in the group. Are there any plans long term for dinosaurs to retake the planet?
Gerry:  *stares* Chirp.

Now, if I have you interested, Saurian’s Kickstarter campaign is still currently going on, with about two weeks left! It would be a very worthwhile investment to donate to Saurian. The pledge rewards are all fantastic, and I would personally really love to see the game make it to consoles which is one of the stretch goals listed.

The Kickstarter has been very successful, but lets keep it going!

So there you are, a fantastic independent game on the horizon, and it looks for all the world like it will be a huge success. Will you be in line to play Saurian when it comes out? Have you already donated to the Kickstarter? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you are most excited about regarding this game!

Saurian: A New Breed of Dinosaur Game

AXANAR: CBS Suit and Star Trek Fan Films

Axanar is attempting to boldly go where no Star Trek fan film has gone before. Over the course of three crowdfunding campaigns between Kickstarter and Indiegogo, they have raised about $1 million in funding for their Prelude to Axanar short film and Axanar full feature film. While their process has been ongoing for well over a year and production is set to begin on the feature film in February, CBS and Paramount, the owners of the official Star Trek TV and movie rights, have decided to file a lawsuit against Axanar Productions.

For many in the Trek community, this has been taken as a serious blow to the fan base. For decades, CBS and Paramount have allowed fan films to continue with little to no intrusion. Some of these productions have been incredibly popular like Star Trek: Continues which continues The Original Series story and format, leveraging new actors to portray Kirk, Spock, Bones, and the rest of the Enterprise crew. They currently have six episodes available on their website. Additionally, Star Trek: Renegades leveraged previous Trek actors in their original roles continuing on a more dark theme. The actors included in “Episode 1” are Walter Koenig (Chekov), Tim Russ (Tuvok), Robert Picardo (Dr. Lewis Zimmerman), and Manu Intiraymi (Icheb), among others. In fact, they’ve even boasted bigger Trek names for future episodes including Nichelle Nicoles (Uhura), Robert Beltran (Chakotay), Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), and Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax). So, people want to know why Axanar is any different.

In their defense, they are using a new story with primarily new characters and have even taken Star Trek out of their title. They are using new ships and covering a time period not used in previous Trek. The characters they are leveraging were minor and not star or leading roles in the various TV series or movies. With that said, yes, they are using Klingons, Vulcans, and other Trek-specific species. But, what is the difference? This is something I suppose that Axanar Productions and CBS have to figure out together but many people think it’s the money involved. While arguing quality is something subjective, money is not. The amount of money raised by Axanar Productions is significantly higher than any previous Star Trek fan films and might even take the crow for fan films in general.

What do I think? Well, I think that CBS and Paramount have a vision for Star Trek with the upcoming Star Trek Beyond film and untitled TV web series set to hit in the next 13 months. CBS has a vision for these official productions and it’s possible that Axanar does not gel with these concepts or ideals and due to Axanar’s popularity, CBS wants to down-play their story. With that said, this is poorly timed by CBS. Star Trek is a complicated franchise, one that has a complex fan base that is willing to be very vocal about their passion of Trek. While the announcement of a new TV series was very exciting, many (not myself, by the way) were disappointed and down right angry that the series would only be available on the CBS All-Access paid subscription network (the pilot episode will air on CBS directly though).  Things continued on the downward trend with the release of the first Star Trek Beyond trailer which many (again, not me) felt did not feel Trek. In fact, it prompted Simon Pegg to make statements about how the trailer didn’t truly depict the message and tone of the film and that he was unhappy with said trailer. Thirdly, Creation Entertainment tried to pull a fast one on passionate fans by price gouging the General Admission tickets for the 50th Anniversary Star Trek Las Vegas convention, causing a retraction and reversal of the price increase within 12 hours.

Star Trek Axanar Ares

For CBS and Paramount to file suit now, after Axanar Productions already met with them as recently as August, seems confusing and in poor taste. With that said, since I am not a lawyer, CBS and Paramount may be completely in the right here if Axanar Productions is making a profit from their crowd funding or breaking other aspects of copyright law. For now, we’ll have to wait. Below is the official response from Alec Peters of Axanar Productions:

STATEMENT FROM ALEC PETERS, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF AXANAR

December 30, 2015

This morning, I was greeted with news that our production company, Axanar Productions and I, personally, am being sued by CBS Studios, Inc. and Paramount Pictures Corporation for copyright infringement of Star Trek.

First of all, I was disappointed to learn about this through an article in an industry trade. For several years, I’ve worked with a number of people at CBS on Star Trek-related projects, and I would have hoped those personal relationships would have warranted a phone call in advance of the filing of a legal complaint. Nevertheless, I know I speak for everyone at Axanar Productions when I say it is our hope that this can be worked out in a fair and amicable manner.

Axanar is a fan film. Fan films – whether related to Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, Batman or any other franchise – are labors of love that keep fans engaged, entertained, and keep favorite characters alive in the hearts of fans. Like other current fan films, AXANAR entered production based on a very long history and relationship between fandom and studios. We’re not doing anything new here.

Like all fan films, AXANAR is a love letter to a beloved franchise. For nearly 50 years, Star Trek’s devotees have been creating new Star Trek stories to share with fellow fans. That’s all we’re trying to do here.

Since the original Star Trek TV series, when the letter writing campaign by fans got NBC to greenlight a third season of Star Trek, fan support has been critical to the success of the franchise. It is the Star Trek fans themselves who are most affected here, for by suing Axanar Productions to stop making our movie and collect so-called damages, CBS and Paramount are suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe created by Gene Roddenberry so many years ago.

The fact that many of the fans involved with Axanar Productions are also industry professionals speaks volumes to the influence of Star Trek in the entertainment industry. Not surprisingly, these fans want to give something back. We’re very proud that the work we’ve done to date looks so good. That is also a reflection of the devotion of Star Trek’s fans.

Like everything related to Axanar Productions, we take this matter very seriously and remain open to discussing solutions with all parties that can be mutually beneficial.

Alec Peters

The official statement can be found on the official Axanar Facebook page here.

The full complaint (via Hollywood Reporter) is available here.

Many people have taken to the Internet with a hashtag supported by Axanar Productions #IStandWithAxanar which is paired with various images, profile photos, cover photos, etc. Additionally, Change.org is being leveraged for petitions supporting Axanar, like this one.

Others are concerned about their connection to the crowdfunding efforts. As contributors, our money is already gone. If production is shut down, what happens to our money? Additionally, are we liable for any damages as contributors? Again, while I’m not a lawyer, I do not think that CBS and Paramount are out to get any of the fans involved and are directly interested in Alec Peters and the rest of Axanar Productions. So, I don’t think we have to worry there. In the end, our money is likely lost but the show might go on. A couple years ago, a Kickstarter funded card game, Redshirts, was put on hold for about a year due to a copyright lawsuit with CBS. Eventually, an agreement was made and the game was altered and is now sitting in my basement. Perhaps an agreement can be made. For now, we’ll have to wait.

 

 

AXANAR: CBS Suit and Star Trek Fan Films

Ghostbusters: The Board Game Deluxe Edition Unboxing

On March 12th, 2015 Ghostbusters: The Board Game was successfully funded on Kickstarter. This Cryptozoic Entertainment campaign was designed to bring us a miniatures based Ghostbusters game featuring all of our favorite Ghostbusters, ghosts, ghouls, and other creatures. As the Cryptozoic team crushed their goals, new stretch perks were added, each one bringing in more miniatures or bigger ones until we got our 100mm size “Impossible Mode” Stay Puft. I was lucky enough to be part of the campaign, contributing at their Mass Hysteria level. Now that my Ghostbusters: The Board Game Deluxe Edition has arrived, join me in my unboxing which showcases all that this version of the game has to offer including a look at some of the miniatures involved, especially the big bad ones, like our marshmallow friend.

What did you think of the unboxing? Are you excited to pick this game up at your local tabletop store? Were you part of the Kickstarter campaign? Comment below with your thoughts on the miniatures and the game itself, if you’ve had a chance to play. Meanwhile, stay tuned… just in case we get a chance to bring you our thoughts on our initial play through the game.

Ghostbusters: The Board Game Deluxe Edition Unboxing

Batman Beyond: The Series

BATMAN BEYOND: The Series is a fan-made, non profit, live action, film project funded by fans, family, and friends,that will be broken down into an eight episode web series.  We got to sit down with the minds behind the series, Nathan Lyles and  Rick Niedt, to discuss the fan filmed webisodes.  

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Derreck: Why did you pick Batman Beyond, the future?

Nate: It was a blend of Batman and science fiction. Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres.  When the show first came out, I was kind of skeptical because it wasn’t really Batman, but after watching the show, it reminded me of some of my favorite sci-fi like Fifth Element and Blade Runner. So this particular Batman blew my mind and I wondered what it would look like live action.  I got so excited.  This series is the result of the very script that I completed all the way through.  So I would say to myself, ‘well, how am I going to get the budget? I’d have to take out some of the fights to dumb down the script a little bit, but I don’t want to do that for this.’ The fights are staying and we’ll figure that out later.

It’s not really an origin story, just something to remind you of the show and all the love that goes into it. We skipped a lot of that origins stuff.  Once we got the budget and the script, we got really lucky and ran into a lot of people that wanted to help.  When I visited California last year, I was doing a work transfer at Walgreens, and one of the guys working on the project now, he said he got laid off.  I started talking about Batman Beyond and how next year I wanted to start a live action Batman Beyond series, and he got really excited about it, wanted to work on it and told me not to worry about paying him, he’d do it for the love.  I went home and finished my script and then moved out to California.

It’s all about putting Batman and sci-fi together; that’s the reason I did it.

Derreck: Your series is going to be live-action.  How close are you planning for it to be to the original show? Are you doing your own thing or are you going to try and follow some of the stories they put in place?

Nate:  The story takes place a year after the series ended, so we kind of found a balance between that.  And, Rick, that was one of the things he kept in check as the Story Editor.  Once you get the characters down, they still have the same attitudes, they’re still recognizable to the fans, but, you know, you adjust for age.  Terry’s not in high school anymore, he’s doing his own thing, he’s balancing being Batman with everything else.  It’s very similar to the cartoon, but the story itself is new and refreshing.

Rick: I think there’s a really nice balance there, though, because Nate was able to pull off making it seem like a natural extension.  This is where the show left off and we picked up but still having, you know, the characters sound like the characters.  The fans of the old show are going to recognize them on this show too.  And then he was also able to, like you said, add the new slightly darker, more adult element to bring in some new fans who maybe weren’t watching the show but are hardcore Batman fans, or even Beyond fans who came in more from the comic book rather than from watching the show.

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Derreck: This is a fan project, which is a really big deal. How did you go about funding a project like this?  It’s no small task, so how are you guys able to pull this off? You have so many people involved, how are you able to do that?

Nate: Well, Rick, you wanna take that?

Rick: Yeah. You need me to write another check?  That’s what we were trying to imply earlier.  To really do this right, we had a substantial inflow of cash from me, but we also did have a number of significant volunteer efforts, both in terms of acting resources and locations and equipment and crew members and the VFX specialists.  So many things that were just volunteered to us or at least deeply discounted to make our budget stretch a little bit more has made all the difference.  You know, the technology itself, even within the last few years, has exponentially increased in its ability to do great effects that we feel are going to take the neo-Gotham stuff over the top.  Joel and Nate are working together on the visual effects, and we think that will pick up a lot of (what’s lost) because we don’t have the multi-million dollar budget of a big studio.

Nate:  I didn’t write it thinking it was going to have a lot of special effects and action sequences that would take up a lot of the budget.  The story is where it all started.  Every member of the crew who has read the script is 100% behind it and I like to think it’s because of the story.   If it wasn’t for the script, they probably wouldn’t be volunteering their time, equipment, things like that.  I was looking into getting a green screen room, and the actor that plays Curare’, she said her school has that and she volunteered her school’s space, so that saved a lot of the budget.  And Joel took care of a lot of the visual effects. I didn’t have to pay a lot for that.  The things that I couldn’t really get around were the locations, so that took a lot of the budget.  Most of it, though, is people volunteering to be a part of something great, just to have their names be attached to the project, which really helped get us through the budget that we had.  The guy playing Batman, he had a demo reel of him flipping around, doing a lot of Parkour.  When he came around, I said, “I know you’re an actor and able to do stunts.  Would you like to play Batman?” And he said, “Hell yeah.”  So he’s playing Batman, doing all of the fight scenes, when we were going to hire a stunt guy, and then we got him!  He’s just another example of people volunteering their services. I feel blessed.

Rae: In all fairness, if you asked me to play Batman, I, too, would say, “Hell yeah.”

Derreck: Let’s talk a little more about some of the characters. You’re going to have Bruce Wayne in it, the old, old Bruce Wayne.  How much is he going to be featured in it? Are you going to keep the balance that the cartoon had or are you going to step him back a bit?

Nate: No, he’s our second lead, so he’s in it quite a bit.  The series takes place in one week, so a lot is happening.  Terry, of course, consults with Bruce, so now that he’s Batman, he feels he has to listen to the original Batman.

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Derreck: So all the episodes take place over the course of a week?

Nate: Yeah.

Derreck: That’s a lot of characters to fit in during that time frame. Is everyone going to have a little spot or are there a lot of cameos?

Nate: It’s a bit of both.  There will be some cameos.  There’s the main story and then a love story going on in the background.  And we were also trying to get in as much of the fan favorite stuff as we could without cutting anybody short.

Rick: Nate’s very careful with how much he reveals about plot.  So your question has caused him to dance around.  You’ve all seen the type of thing where some behind the scenes force is generating a little more heat for the hero.  Suffice it to say, it’s one of those types of things.

Rae: So aside from Terry and Bruce, who were you most excited about adapting?

Rick: I’d have to say the guy who plays King from the Royal Flush Gang. No, just kidding.  That’s me, actually.  That’s my 90 seconds of fame cameo. Curare’, for me anyway, is one of my favorite villains, I think her look is great.  Nate probably doesn’t want me to mention too many.  I mentioned her because I know she’s already got a teaser out on the site.

Derreck: I know you don’t want to give a lot away, so maybe this is not a good question, but are we going to see multiple villains throughout this? Or is it more of one big bad that takes him multiple days to take down?

Nate: There’s multiple villains.  I got a question over Facebook asking me if I’m going to over saturate the story with a ton of villains.  Quite a few of the characters are just sprinkled in there.  I wish I could put more in there, but I don’t think we have the time.

Rick: In addition to getting a significant amount of the rogues’ gallery into the show, he’s also managed to bring in a lot of characters from Terry’s personal life.  You can’t have Batman Beyond without Nelson Nash, right?  You have to get him in there.  The jerky big man on campus who teased you from high school.  And Maxine Gibson, Terry’s best friend and computer expert, had to be in there.  He’s sprinkled in there everyone you’re expecting to see.  He did a really good job with that.

Cat Tanchaco - Make-Up Artist

Derreck: Since you have so many characters, and you said a lot of them volunteered, what has the routine been like, getting production done? Everyone’s on set for a few weeks? Are you bringing people in as needed? What are you doing?

Rick: Kidnapping and coercion.

Nate:  The scheduling has been the most difficult part about getting this done.  Everyone has to be available the same time, the same hours.  That’s what’s taken up the most time.

Derreck: So now that everything is all said and done, how much time was taken since the first camera clicked?

Nate: It’s probably been about six months now, between filming and editing.

Rae: Did this project turn into what you expected it to be? Was it larger?

Nate: It was definitely bigger than what I expected.  I moved out here from the east coast, I didn’t know anybody.  I didn’t know exactly where I was going to take it, or how it was going to evolve. I originally thought I was going to have to use my own budget, so it was going to be small.  No matter what it was going to happen, but it might have taken longer.   If it was going to take 3 years, I was going to make it happen.

Rick: Nate’s a very ambitious guy. You know, when I got ahold of the first version of the script, I was thinking to myself, “Wow. This is a big project.” But I think we intelligently controlled the number of scenes and locations enough that it was manageable.  When you do this kind of a thing, you can have the seedy side of Gotham and not have a huge high-tech operation in every single scene.  I was still thinking, budget-wise, “how are we going to pull this off? This many moving parts?” I think it’s been amazing.  The creativity of how to get around some of those types of problems, most of which has come from Nate, or his crew (other guys like Dimitri and Joel) was impressive.  Some of the cast members have been helping out as additional crew.  I’m not there every day, like Nate is, but even on the days I was there, watching them interact and pull together, saying, “You know, we’re doing something pretty large scale  here, but we have to do it fast and on budget, so let’s get it done.”

photo-original

Rae: Were your families surprised when you said, “I’m going to make a live-action Batman series,” or were they behind you?

Nate: Well, my family has supported me.  This is very different, though.  I moved to California to make a Batman movie.  I was like, “That’s what I’m doing.” They just said, “Ah, you’re good.” My friends and coworkers and everybody else, they were all very supportive.  A lot of people were reaching out, offering help to put some fires out, everybody was very excited about it, especially my mom.

Rick: My wife has long known that I am a comic book nut and we have a 4-year-old son, who, despite all my best efforts, is a Superman guy, not a Batman guy (but I’m still working on him.) So… when I told her this, she was like, “Oh, really? That’s nice.”  It was just one more thing she knew I was wasting valuable money and time on.  I’m kidding.  She’s totally supportive.  I think Nate alluded to it earlier, but the reason we even met up was because I’ve been focused on writing some screenplays recently.  One of the things I tried was a featue length Batman Beyond. And just surfing around, I stumbled upon Nate’s project and said, “Oh, we’ve got to hook up.” And that’s really how it went from there.

Derreck: So you’ve got the 8 episodes, they’re nearing completion, so what are your plans for it at that point? Are you going to make anymore? Are you waiting to see what the support is after the fact? What’s your plan?

Nate: We’d like to get some attention from the Warner Brothers or D.C. executives. Ideally, I’d like to make a film or have a Netflix series, like Daredevil. But on the lower level, I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Mortal Kombat, but Mortal Kombat has a few series online now, along the same lines as us.  I just want to keep taking this to the next level, and if all else fails, if I’m lucky to do anything else, then that would be great.  I don’t want it to stop here.  I think there’s a lot more that can be done by bringing Batman and sci-fi together.

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Derreck: What are some things you’re most excited to tell people about?

Rick: Just to reiterate what Nate said, we have the second kickstarter campaign, so anything we can squeeze into the quality of this project will be great.  We greatly appreciate any help from the fans.  What I want to express is that I think the unique combination of Nate and I has sort of brought out something that the Batman Beyond fans have been waiting for.  You know, DC hasn’t done it.  There have been a  couple teases where we thought they were going to do it, but if they are, they’re not going to do it any time soon.  And life is just too short. So we basically took it upon ourselves to just make it.  And we’re hoping that we’ve done it with enough quality and enough excitement that it’s not just a reward for Batman Beyond fans, but we’re also going to make some new fans.

Derreck: It sounds awesome.  I’m a huge supporter of that.  As a Trekkie, fan films are huge and to see that in the Batman world, is great.

Rae: Thank you so much for spending your night with us.

If you’d like to pledge to the Batman Beyond: The Series kickstarter, you can go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/naturnal/batman-beyond-the-series-dvd-pre-order

You can follow all of the Batman Beyond: The Series updates at the following sites: 
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/batmanbeyondtheseries
Instagram – https://instagram.com/batmanbeyondtheseries
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/batmanbeyond…
Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/BatmanBeyondTS

Batman Beyond: The Series

Grid Talk: 04 – Star Trek Horizon

This week, on Grid Talk, I was able to sit down, well sit online, with the main man behind Star Trek Horizon, Tommy Kraft. The many of many hats and talents was nice enough to come on and answer my questions about his Horizon project, making a Star Trek fan film, and the overall process he’s been going through over the past few years. What is Star Trek Horizon? It is a fan film set after season 4 of Star Trek Enterprise during the Romulan War. For those who watched the series, many were disappointed that Enterprise never got to the Romulan War, well, Horizon is here to show us a bit about that time period on-board the NX-04 Discovery, another NX Class starship like Enterprise. So sit back, relax, and polarize the haul platting, it’s time for Grid Talk.

After listening, please stop by StarTrekHorizon.com. He’s got two different trailers available to watch as well as a gallery of photos. Also, if you’d like to help support Tommy’s ambitious Star Trek Horizon project, he’s got a PayPal donation page setup on his website in the project’s post-Kickstarter era.

Keep an eye out for Star Trek Horizon in February 2016.

Star Trek Horizon Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer

Special Guests
Tommy Kraft

Executive Producer and Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

iTunes Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/grid-talk-sci-fi-frontiers/id1057992963?mt=2

RSS Feed
http://thegridscififrontier.com/feed/podcast/gridtalk

Social Media
@GridTalkTweets

Email
contact@thegridscififrontier.com

Grid Talk: 04 – Star Trek Horizon

Won’t Anyone Think of the Kittens? – An Exploding Kittens Review

“I think I just take a peek at the top three cards” – A “See The Future” card drops into the discard pile. “Hmm”, the player says after peering into a set of possibilities. Now transformed into a fortune teller, the other players adjust their strategies, and things get serious. Poker-faced, the fortune teller causes a skip card to appear in the discards. “I skip the rest of my turn.” The next player in turn, thinking they are the target of an assassination by kitten, plays their one remaining option, the nearly omnipotent “Nope”. The teller smiles, and draws a card, ending their turn.

Having survived to this point, and having spent her “Defuse” card on a previous random “Exploding Kitten”, the next player draws a breath, and draws a card. It’s a “Tacocat”. A mostly harmless palindromic invention of web comic, The Oatmeal. She lives to fight another round. This new “Tacocat” will pair nicely with her other one, to lend a hand to mischief when next her turn comes.

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is a last person standing card game for 2 to 5 players by Elan Lee, Matthew Inman, and Shane Small (or add a second copy, and take the fun to 9)! For most people, Matthew Inman may better be recognized for his work on the web comic The Oatmeal. His art style and humor have been poured into this game and mixed thoroughly. Both a Safe for Work (and home) and a Not Safe for Work version are available, and the decks are compatible with each other for the second copy requirement to play with more than 5 players. You can expect your time in each game to run between 10 and 20 minutes, though your time investment may vary in the first few games as you wonder at the card name, art, and flavor text.

When Exploding Kittens released on Kickstarter, it became a funding success in just 8 minutes; eventually becoming a record breaker in number of backers with over 200K people supporting the project. You can go look those facts up. I’ll wait while you do….

The basic play runs like this: Each player starts with a “Defuse” card, and 4 random other cards. The draw deck is seeded with a set number of extra “Defuse” cards, and just enough Exploding Kittens to leave one person the winner.  Players take turns FIRST playing cards from their hand, and THEN pulling one card from draw pile. This draw pile gets smaller and smaller as the player turns happen, increasing the odds a Kitten shows up. When you Defuse a Kitten, it goes randomly back into the draw pile thereby increasing the odds future players to pull one of these dangerous kitties.

Strategy in Exploding Kittens begins about 2 seconds after you make your first round through your first play. You’ll still get distracted by cute (or maybe obnoxious depending on your personal tastes) art and flavor text as your turn comes around, but analyzing how to avoid drawing any cards be high on your priority list. After a couple more turns around the table, you’ll be a master at avoiding picking up Kittens when you can, and tricking others into doing your bidding.

I greatly enjoy Exploding Kittens as a filler game, or even a main course, and I hope you will too. If you did not get on the Kickstarter train, the Kittens team has recently opened ordering on Amazon for both the SWF and the NSFW versions, see the links below

Exploding Kittens – http://www.explodingkittens.com/

The Oatmeal – http://theoatmeal.com/

Have you played Exploding Kittens? Are you hoping to pick it up? Comment below with your thoughts.

Won’t Anyone Think of the Kittens? – An Exploding Kittens Review

Pacific 201 – A New Star Trek Kickstarter

Pacific 201 is a brand new Star Trek universe fan-made production. We’ve had several major hitters over the last couple of years including Star Trek: Renegades and, of course, Star Trek: AxanarPacific 201 takes place in the 2200s, forty years after the end of the Romulan War, the war we would have seen in season five of Star Trek: Enterprise. On August 21st, they launched their Kickstarter. To learn more about it, I was lucky enough to be able to interview Eric Henry, the man behind the Pacific 201 project.

Pacific 201 Recruitment Poster

Me: Hello, Eric. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions today. First, let’s talk about you. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with Star Trek, and film.

Star Trek has always been a big part of my life. My father, who had the privilege of growing up with the original series, did a great job of introducing my siblings and I to Star Trek with episodes and movies on tape. I don’t think we had all that many episodes, to be honest, but we watched them to death. There was a pretty healthy mix of TOS, TNG, and I think we had The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home, as well. Voyager was on the air by the time I was old enough to remember watching television, and we watched that every week too.

As far as my involvement with film goes, a lot of that is thanks to my father as well, who worked as a video photographer during most of my formative years. This meant that I was in near-constant contact with filmmaking equipment, and naturally, making movies became a staple of my childhood. It’s probably pretty safe to say that I made a movie a year from the time I was 6 to the time I was 18. By the time I entered college, I wanted to “up my game,” as it were. Finding myself with a film-savvy roommate, we set out to make something a little more professional, and we ended up producing a Kickstarter-funded short film called “Lily” two years later. Pacific 201 will be my biggest project to date, but it’s a natural step for me.

Pacific 201 Torpedo Fire

Me: Obviously, the big topic of discussion is your new project, Pacific 201, which is a new fan-film set in the Star Trek universe. Can you tell us a bit, for those that don’t know, about the film, when it takes place, and maybe the overall premise?

Pacific 201 is a story about how humanity copes with the aftermath of its first interstellar war – a war that shattered dreams for a lot of people. Even the founding of the Federation wasn’t quite enough to keep humanity from questioning its role in the quadrant. “Is exploring the stars really worth it if death and destruction are all we get from it?” We have to remember that since the launching of the NX-01, Earth suffered two major interstellar crises with the Xindi and the Romulans. It hasn’t all been peace and hope. The mission of the Pacific is a new generation of humanity proving to itself that the dream of peace and prosperity in the final frontier CAN be realized. It took humanity 40 years to regain it’s footing, but the launch of the Pacific is the true dawn of the kind of Starfleet and the kind of Federation we see in TOS.

Me: So, in short, your film, Pacific 201, takes place about forty years after the end of the Romulan War and the ship, Pacific 201, is the first real deep space exploration ship since the end of the war?

We imagine that Starfleet was doing SOME exploration between the Romulan War and the launch of the Pacific, but it’s definitely one of the last things on their mind. Border security, reestablishing trade routes, and other tasks associated with rebuilding after a costly war consumes much of Starfleet’s time and resources. Not to mention that probing into deep space is a sore subject for humanity after the war. Poking our nose into the unknown hasn’t done humanity much good, after all. Or – that’s the way it seems. But as a new generation comes of age, that attitude is diminishing.

Pacific 201 Shuttle

Me: Why did you pick this particular time period for your film?

When the story first dawned on me, it was actually something more concurrent with Kirk’s time. Perhaps slightly before the beginning of TOS – like the year 2260. But as I thought more about the story, I wanted there to be a really big deal about a new deep-space exploration vessel, and that didn’t really make sense coexisting with a ship like the NCC-1701. So I then considered a pre-ENT story, and while exploring that time interested me, I thought the speeds were too slow to get the ship anywhere really meaningful and new. There’s too much hand-holding in that era. I then realized that the period after the Romulan War would be jam-packed with all sorts of really tangible attitudes and situations that an audience could relate to. It’s not just a point on a timeline, but it’s a period of time that would have characters with real opinions and histories. People who had lost parents in the war, people distrustful of the unknown, people yearning for a new era of peace. It offers a whole spectrum of rich storytelling opportunities.

Pacific 201 Romulan Stealth Ship

Me: Did other fan-film projects like Star Trek: Continues or Axanar play a part in why you chose this time period or story?

The story I chose has much more to do with movies like Apollo 13 and submarine movies than anything. Star Trek owes a lot to submarine combat, and that series developed in the Apollo-era of space travel, so I always thought it would be awesome to see a Star Trek movie that had the same nuts-and-bolts, practical, and realistic feeling of a real-world historical film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6EbTY9KBhM&feature=youtu.be

Me: So, I’ve seen a lot of the art and images posted online of the ship and uniforms. As is the case with previous Star Trek, the ship is basically its own character and something that gets a lot of screen time, especially in the Original Series-era films. Can you tell us a bit about your inspiration for the ship design? Why did you place the nacelles above the saucer section and not attached directly to the secondary haul as is typical in Trek ship designs? Can you tell us anything about the ship’s specifications (i.e. crew size, warp speed capability, weapons, science stations, etc.)? Can it land?

The ship is definitely a character in this film. After all, the movie is named after the ship itself. The design for the ship stems directly out of a naval vessel. Star Trek is so deeply-rooted in maritime tradition, and I wanted to respect that. Furthermore, to go with the storytelling style, it was important that the ship looked like something we might actually build in the future. The original Enterprise always struck me as a design that looks like it HAS to look that way. Sure, it’s an awesome design, but when you really think about it, it’s so weird and unconventional that it actually lends to its credibility. Starships won’t be designed to look “cool”. Instead, they’ll look like they’re designed with a function in mind, and the Pacific meets that requirement, I think.

The nacelle placement is actually pretty inspired by the Constellation-class starship that we see in TNG. That design always looked to me to make the most practical sense of any ship in Starfleet, and since a practical design was foremost in my mind, I definitely lifted inspiration from that. The secondary hull on the Pacific is pretty much everything BUT the warp core – torpedoes, navigational deflector, shuttle bay, etc. I call it the “mission pod,” because I imagine it can be swapped out for different pods depending on the ship’s mission. The engineering section is actually located in the primary hull, and has a horizontal warp core like Archer’s NX-01.

The Pacific is actually a pretty small ship in terms of volume, and has a crew of only about 120 people. Considering her size, she’s only moderately armed. The Pacific isn’t a battleship, but between four phaser cannons and four photon torpedo tubes, she does still have teeth. The Pacific also has 20 small bays that feasibly hold weapons, such as atomic missiles (which we assume were used during the Romulan War when there wasn’t enough antimatter to go around for torpedoes).

Pacific 201 Close-up with Escape Pod

Me: Alright, well, I’m very excited to see this ship in action. I, personally, think it’s a very beautiful design. Let’s talk about the uniforms. They seem to be a nice evolution from the Star Trek: Enterprise era naval style but include the basic color scheme used in the Original Series. How did you end up with this uniform design?

The uniforms take a very blatant page from British “No. 3” navy uniforms. One particular variant of that uniform includes a pullover sweater as part of the uniform, and we thought “ah, this actually kind of links to TOS,” because in the pilot episodes especially, the uniforms are, for all intents and purposes, pullovers. They even have the ribbed collar that the British No. 3 sweaters have. So we thought that was a fun way to link the real world to the Star Trek world.

Pacific 201 Crew Uniform

Me: As the Kickstarter, which we’ll talk about shortly, notes, you have stainless steel badges on the uniforms. Did you see these as an earlier version of the insignia badges in later Trek or were you trying for something completely different?

The badges on our uniforms are honestly closer to “something completely different” than anything else. There was no specific Starfleet badge in ENT, and in TOS, the badges on the uniform are something more akin to assignment patches. Since the uniforms in Pacific 201 already will include an assignment patch, the badge is actually something kind of new. In the context of the Pacific 201 world, it doubles as a personal data card (something that actually has precedent in TOS). You can read all about that in an article on the Pacific 201 website.

Pacific 201 - Crew Badge

 

Me: I mentioned the Kickstarter, so we should probably dive into that. Your campaign was launched on August 21st with a goal of $20,000. Why did you decide to go with crowd funding and why did you choose Kickstarter over other options like Indiegogo?

Kickstarter was a really natural choice for this movie. I had already used Kickstarter once before for Lily, and I really like that site’s model. I didn’t want to switch platforms between projects since Kickstarter already worked really well in the past, and we had something of a track record there.

Pacific 201 Interceptor

Me: Now, whenever a Kickstarter is talked about, someone always manages to claim that the money asked for is never necessary. Why did you choose to provide such a detailed breakdown right out of the gate? Your campaign specifically breaks things down into three categories and then those get broken down even deeper. Was this something you wanted to do from the get-go?

This is something that Axanar really impressed me with. They released a very, very detailed breakdown of costs that inspired a lot of confidence, and I felt that was something we should emulate with the Pacific 201 Kickstarter. Our breakdown isn’t super-specific, since we haven’t made every last decision as to what models of camera and lenses we’ll need to buy, but we thought that getting as specific as possible was something we really wanted to do.

Pacific 201 Top-down

Me: Let’s talk about the perks. You’ve got a lot of digital perks plus a few physical ones. How did you determine what perks would be available?

Something we wanted to do with the perks was to offer things that were really relevant to the actual project – things we’ll actually see in the movie. So the patches, the badges, and the pins were really obvious choices, since we’ll actually see those on-screen, and it’s always fun to hold something like that in your hands. The technical manual, too, was something that we thought would be really cool, since it will go into a lot of detail about things we’ve thought up for the story and the universe, but won’t have time to show on-screen. It’ll be really cool supplemental material that should enrich the experience overall.

Pacific 201 Ship

Me: One thing I noticed is that the film is only available in digital form. Have you thought about or do you have plans to release a physical DVD or Blu-Ray down the road? If not, why not?

Producing a DVD or a Blu-Ray is a huge amount of work that is actually somewhat disproportionate to the interest for it. Lots of fans are content with just streaming the movie on Youtube, after all. Given the work involved, it seemed like something that we didn’t want to offer as a perk on the Kickstarter – at least as anything but a standalone perk, which can confuse users, and that’s something we didn’t really want to do. However, we’re really not ignoring those who have asked questions about a DVD or a Blu-Ray. Our viewers who also want a DVD or a Blu-Ray can look forward to future plans, where we might end up offering a physical copy of the film as a standalone perk through Paypal donations after the Kickstarter. It depends on the interest.

Me: One perk, that I’m very excited about personally, is the limited $500 level which actually gets the person a speaking role in a scene of the film. That’s very cool. Are you excited about this perk? Was it something you thought would be fun or more necessary?

That particular perk is something that’s not really necessary, but definitely a fun way to involve our fans. We have a lot of roles in our script that are just one, two, or three lines, and since a Kickstarter is all about co-creation, it seemed natural to get fans in on a piece of the action.

Me: Can you give us any details about that role?

We have a few different roles that we have in mind for the $500 level, and the specific roles that donors at that level will get will probably vary on schedule availability, and who fits the costumes we have. We can’t really reveal the specific roles at the moment… but it’s safe to say that somebody might get to play a Romulan!

Pacific 201 Headon

Me: Another interesting perk is the Technical Manual. What kinds of things do you expect to end up in this book? Are you basing off of the previous official Technical Manuals say from The Next Generation?

The technical manual is definitely inspired by the Next Generation technical manual, and it’s going to include a wide variety of details that aren’t just limited to details about the ship. We’re going to include sections on the relevant in-universe history surrounding Pacific 201, as well as details on specific technologies and maybe even some character bios.

Me: The Kickstarter ends on September 20th, at 11:59PM EST. Is there anything else you’d like to say about the campaign before we move on?

Just that sharing and spreading the word is as important as actual contributions. Getting the word out will help this project succeed!

Me: Okay, let’s talk special effects. The ship renderings look great, as do the props shown in your Kickstarter video. How are you handling the special effects? Are you trying for practical effects with models or do you have some visual effects people working on it?

Currently, I’m handling a large portion of the special effects myself, but we are looking to expand the team, since not only is there a very high standard for the visuals in this movie, but there are some effects-heavy scenes in our script that will need talented contributing artists.

Pacific 201 Overhead

Me: Are you looking to have the bridge and other interior sets physically built or will some of that be CGI?

Our interior sets will be physically built. We have a really cool and intuitive plan to build our set in an almost entirely modular way, which will let us build dozens of sets at a greatly reduced cost by mixing and matching elements to create new spaces. I think people will really like our sets, which we’ll start building in force after a successful Kickstarter.

Me: Finally, let’s talk about future plans. If the Kickstarter is funded successfully and you’re able to make the Pacific 201 film, do you have hopes or plans for future films or a web series or are you anticipating this as a one-shot film?

Pacific 201 is a self-contained story, and there are no plans to create sequels or a web series. But who knows? I do have a really cool story in mind for a Romulan War miniseries… but if that ever happened, it’d be far off on the horizon.

Pacific 201 - Crew Member

 

Me: Is there anything else you’d like to add or mention about the project, yourself, your team or anything at all?

Just that we hope you all love what we’re doing as much as we do, and we can’t wait to show you a really excellent final product.

This has really been great. Thanks again for joining us, Eric. We’re very excited to see the final project and boldly go with you and your crew. To find out more about Pacific 201 check them out at the locations below and don’t forget to stop by and contribute to their Kickstarter before September 20th.

So there you have it, Pacific 201 aims to be a story about exploration, about moving beyond the Romulan War while fitting into the overall timeline of the Star Trek franchise. To learn more about the project, please check out the links below:

Pacific 201 Website

Facebook

Kickstarter

What do you think of the latest Star Trek Kickstarter? Are you going to back the campaign? What do you like about what they’ve shown so far? Comment below!

Pacific 201 – A New Star Trek Kickstarter

CBS Says ‘No’ to Star Trek: Renegades

Space might be the finale frontier but Star Trek is still trying to return to the small screen after the 2005 cancellation of Enterprise. Many have pitched show concepts and ideas but only a few have really made anything concrete. One of the biggest is Star Trek: Renegades, a crowd-funded fan film starring many Trek alum including Walter Koenig, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, Robert Picardo, and Tim Russ who also directed the film\pilot. What is Star Trek: Renegades?

According to writer Ethan H. Calk:

It is nearly ten years after Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant, and the Federation is in a crisis. The Federation’s main suppliers of dilithium crystals are disappearing. Space and time have folded around several planets, effectively isolating them from any contact with outside worlds. And this phenomenon is not natural – someone or something is causing this to happen. This necessitates drastic measures; some of which are outside the Federation’s normal jurisdiction. For this, Admiral Pavel Chekov, head of Starfleet Intelligence, turns to Commander Tuvok, Voyager’s former security officer and current head of the newly reorganized Section 31. Tuvok must put together a new covert, renegade crew – mostly outcasts and rogues – even criminals. This new crew is tasked with finding out what is causing the folding of time and space, and stopping it – at all costs. But will they be able to put aside their differences and stop trying to kill one another in time to accomplish their mission?

So, the film takes place after the close of Star Trek: Voyager, leaving many of our Delta quadrant friends in the mix. The film disregards the semi-canon Star Trek Online video game and doesn’t really mess with the future prime timeline used in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film. Instead, Star Trek: Renegades takes a darker, smaller look at Trek with a focus on a small group of outcasts who are the Federation’s only hope. It’s an attempt to bend and maybe even break the rules set by Gene Roddenberry. The Federation of Renegades is surely no utopia.

Star Trek: Renegades Props

How did the Kickstarter fare? Decently well, in fact. It managed to get funded with $242,483 with an initial goal of $200,000. It was definitely no major hit like LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow campaign which brought in over five times their original million dollar goal. But, reaching a goal is reaching a goal and the film\pilot for Renegades was funded and has been produced. Backers of the Kickstarter have even received their digital versions of the film over the last week with physical copies of DVDs and Blu-Rays going into production in the next couple of weeks.

Star Trek: Renegades DVD and Blu-Ray

Everything sounds like it’s been going well for the fan-made film. Well, everything is not holodeck credits and shore-leave for Renegades. The primary goal of the campaign was to produce a pilot strong enough to pitch to CBS, the owner of the Star Trek television rights. We now know how that went. CBS has decided to pass on Renegades for reasons we were not told by the production team. Trek rights are complicated due to Paramount and CBS sharing them along with the new JJ-verse and the love for the original Prime timeline. If I were to speculate, I’d say that CBS either can’t make a show in the Prime timeline due to Paramount’s newer movies (don’t forget that Star Trek Beyond is supposedly coming out in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the franchise), or CBS already has plans to bring Star Trek back to TV in the near future and Renegades didn’t fit with those plans. Either way, we won’t be seeing Renegades on CBS or any official network.

Star Trek: Renegades Icarus

This is not the end though. The Renegades team announced to their Kickstarter Backers that all is not lost. Since CBS has passed on the pilot, they are going to turn the film into the pilot of a fan-made web series, or as they put it “an independently produced fan-supported Internet TV Series!” Their plan is to leverage the pilot\film as the first episode and produce a total of 12 episodes a year using a fairly normal TV series production schedule with episodes being produced in the span of a week or so. Walter Koenig has agreed to stay on through Episode 3 which will be the conclusion to the Episode 2 cliffhanger but after that, he plans to retire his Chekov character. According to the report, the Renegades team is actively writing the second and third episodes and a new crowd-funding effort is to be announced soon.

If you’re not familiar with the production, check out the trailers here.

Are you disappointed that Star Trek: Renegades will not be picked up by CBS? Are you glad it’s staying a fan-made production? Let us know in the comments and look for our review of the pilot in the coming weeks. Oh, and live long and prosper.

CBS Says ‘No’ to Star Trek: Renegades

Axanar – The Future of Trek

“Space… the final frontier…”

I’ve been watching Star Trek in one form or another since I was six months old. Seriously, I’m not kidding. It all began with The Next Generation, it coming out six months after my birth. My father and I watched as much as possible, TV and film. As I got older I read countless non-canon books and played every PC game I could get my hands on. I love the franchise. I love the future Roddenberry saw for the human species, the hope, the possibilities. In 2005, hope started to diminish with the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise. For the first time since August of 1987, there was no new Star Trek on TV. After almost 20 years, then there was nothing. It wasn’t until 2009 that J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot attempted to salvage the historic franchise with their reboot\sequel\prequel\alternate timeline film… but that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I’m here to talk to you about Axanar.

The term “fan film” has some negative connotation. People see it as some friends in their basement with a camcorder and some store bought costumes. Axanar is far from this. Instead, Axanar brings us not just professionals in acting, special effects, and more… but Star Trek veterans. The film, set before the time of Kirk but after Archer, stars Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, Zorro), Gary Graham (Star Trek: Enterprise, Alien Nation, Robot Jox), Kate Vernon (Star Trek: Voyager, Malcom X, Pretty in Pink), Tony Todd (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Rock, Platoon), and Alec Peters (Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II). The director, Robert Meyer Burnett has helmed several Star Trek documentaries including Free Enterprise and Reunification: 25 Years After Star Trek – The Next Generation.

Last year, they put together Prelude to Axanar, a short film that leads up to the feature film. It is simply fantastic Trek. It’s done in a documentary style format with limited cast but it gets the job done very well.

Axanar_AresD7

So what is Axanar? Well, the film is set to cover the turning point of the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. The Klingons were more focused on war, battle, weapons. Their ships were bigger, faster, and better armed. The Federation was beaten badly for a long time until they made a change, the creation of a new vessel designed specifically for battle, the Ares. This film takes place before the legendary Constitution class ships existed and the Klingon Empire was about to launch their iconic D7 heavy cruisers.

Would you like to know more?

Still not sure if Axanar is worth the hype? Check out the Prelude to Axanar in full below.

Still here? Good. Now, Axanar is a “fan film” in the sense that it is not officially licensed by CBS. Instead, they rely on outside funding and they have done this through crowd funding. The Prelude was their first effort. Then they moved to Kickstarter for the initial funds for the feature film. Now, they are back to push forward. Check out their Indiegogo here. Contributing not only gets you cool swag like patches, soundtracks, blu-rays, scripts, etc. but it also helps keep Star Trek at its roots and bring us all an era of Trek we’ve never seen, one that shaped the Original Series and was born out of the wake of Enterprise.

I’ve contributed to all three campaigns because these people are fighting to bring every fan what we love and what we deserve, classic Trek.

What are your thoughts on Prelude to Axanar? How do you feel about crowdfunding Trek? Comment below!

Axanar – The Future of Trek