G & T Show 243 – Flapdoodle Hootenanny
Flapdoodle Hootenanny? Well, you can never tell with us.
This week, we cover the new Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines, Axanar, and touch upon Anton Yelchin’s tragic demise. We also cover the last two Next Generation episodes on Fifty for Fifty, and hold the show together as Mike goes on an unexpected walkabout. Keep your hands inside the ride at all times, for your own personal safety!
After this week’s introductions, including Gettysburg7 (Nick), Terry, Soriedem (Mike), Kojiro Vance (Allen), and jespah (Janet), we launch into a rundown of what we did when we weren’t podcasting.
News included our supplemental log interview with Prelude to Axanar director Christian Gossett (please check it out if you haven’t yet). Plus, there were Fan Dance blogs from both Terry and Janet about the new guidelines.
This week’s Semantic Shenanigans segment was another long one as we went over the new Star Trek fan film guidelines. Furthermore, please be sure to also check out Janet’s blog post about the guidelines as it covers similar ground.
The basic premise of the guidelines is to provide a road map to help keep productions from being sued or at least make it far less likely for them to end up in court. Since the Axanar case was brought, fan filmmakers have understandably been concerned. However, we have been gathering questions for the next Engage podcast. As always, we encourage our listeners to ask questions if anything is unclear. In addition, any ambiguities should be construed as against the drafter. Therefore, if something was not mentioned, we can reasonably assume there is no intention to include it within the guidelines’ purview.
The Guidelines, Line By Line
The first guideline concerns run-time length, which is 15 minutes or a two-parter of up to 30 total minutes for a stand alone story. That restriction sets up the idea of an anthology series rather well. The second guideline requires eliminating the word ‘Star Trek‘ from a title and instead adding a subtitle of A Star Trek Production. The third guideline requires content to be original and not reproductions, e. g. no reusing and remixing of clips. It also requires that third-party content providers’ permission be secured in writing.
Then the fourth guideline requires filmmakers use commercially-available licensed costumes, props, etc. However, there does not seem to be anything stopping productions from making their own versions of these articles. For the fifth guideline, veteran Star Trek actors are prohibited from participating. The prohibition extends to CBS and Paramount’s licensees’ employees. Could this mean independent contractors are exempt? Since we are sending questions to the Engage podcast anyway, it might be a good idea to include that one. This guideline also mentions an amateur status requirement. We agree this does not apply to professional carpenters and electricians. This is because they would be hired as a safety measure.
More About the Guidelines
Guideline #6 is somewhat longer. Fundraising is limited to $50,000, and that includes fees to crowdfunding companies. However, it is unclear whether this is $50,000 for all episodes or just for a one- or two-part standalone story. Once again, this would make a good question for Engage. Then the guideline prohibits charging for viewings. Further, it prohibits creating physical copies or selling unlicensed merchandise. The guideline also prohibits advertising such as banner ads. It also mentions the fan production cannot sell off its sets or props.
This made for an interesting question which we hope Engage will answer: if a podcast ends production tomorrow, what do they do with the sets?
Nick took some exception to guideline #7. This one requires fan productions to be family-friendly. The upcoming 2017 television program and the film Star Trek: Beyond may show violence and have some swearing. However, it is like comparing apples to oranges to compare those efforts to fan productions. Nick is concerned there may be an effort to create a politically correct atmosphere. Janet believes the guideline is mainly to keep true hate speech out, such as white supremacist verbiage. The guideline also seems to be addressing gore for the sake of gore, and gratuitous nudity. Everyone agreed slash stories can easily follow the guidelines.
The Guidelines, Concluded
Guideline #8 is a disclaimer requirement. Guideline #9 prohibits copyrighting already-copyrighted elements. Because there are original elements within many of these stories (e. g. the Dr. McKennah character in Star Trek Continues), this prohibition may apply. It is not necessary to register a copyright! However, copyright registration makes it easier to bring an infringement claim. Terry opines that CBS and/or Paramount would, if they wished to use McKennah or any storyline in, say, Potemkin, they would compensate the creators. Guideline #10 then prohibits any implication of an IP holder endorsement. It is somewhat similar to guideline #2.
While there are some restrictions, the guidelines themselves allow for some free expression. Compelling stories can be told with little money or time. You can show violence and fear without resorting to blood spattering; just look at MAS*H (the television series). Sometimes costumes or sets come from the world around us. Just look at TOS’s A Piece of the Action. We encourage fan filmmakers to study the following examples of stellar storytelling on small budgets:
- TOS’s Spectre of the Gun
- TOS’s The Empath
- The Blair Witch Project
- The original John Carpenter Halloween film
- The Twilight Zone
- The Outer Limits
We are sure there are numerous examples. We invite our listeners and blog readers to add their own favorites in the Comments section, below.
Fifty for Fifty
Our Fifty for Fifty this week consisted of two episodes, both from The Next Generation. We covered our #3, which was from season three, episode 26; and our #6, which was from season four, episode one: The Best of Both Worlds, Parts I and II.
First of all, everyone agreed that part one is a better episode than part two. The Borg are scary, the captain is in trouble, Shelby is difficult, and Riker is feeling the pull of command. Then we discussed the use of a cliffhanger as a plot device. Apart from Dallas and Who Shot JR? it was difficult to come up with previous cliffhangers on prime time television.
These two episodes stood out for several reasons. Beyond the cliffhanger, there were behind the scenes real-life stories that Sir Patrick Stewart was considering leaving the show. There was a real feeling that the second half could contain a new command paradigm, with Riker as captain and Shelby as his executive officer.
In the second half, Guinan was used to particularly good effect. She was the one to tell Riker to, essentially, take the big chair. In addition, the episodes both showcased facial expressions and close ups. Shelby sometimes looked smug, or maybe she was confident her ideas were valid. Riker showed hesitation. And Dr. Crusher fired a phaser!
Coming Up Next Week
For our Fifty for Fifty next week, we are looking at Deep Space Nine’s season five, episode six classic, Trials and Tribble-ations.
Plus, we did not get to a lot of news and will cover it then. Hence this includes discussing Anton Yelchin’s tragic demise. Our condolences go out to his family and friends at this difficult time.
This Week’s Show Links
From G & T Show & BLB Productions
- Brave New World of Fan Films Guidelines – http://www.gandtshow.com/brave-new-world-fan-film-guidelines/
- Fan Dance: It’s the Universe’s Smallest Vulcan Lute – http://www.gandtshow.com/universes-smallest-vulcan-lute/
- G & T Show SL – Christian Gossett – http://www.gandtshow.com/g-t-show-sl-christian-gossett/
- G & T Show 50 for 50 Updates – http://www.gandtshow.com/g-t-show-50-50-updates/
- Star Trek Star Anton Yelchin Dead After Freak Accident – http://www.tmz.com/2016/06/19/star-trek-anton-yelchin-dead/
- Paramount Cancels June 22 Star Trek Beyond Event – http://trekcore.com/blog/2016/06/paramount-cancels-june-22-star-trek-beyond-event/
- Remember how JJ said the lawsuit against Axanar had been dropped? Not quite – http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-star-trek-axanar-lawsuit-update-20160617-snap-story.html
- Axanar Coffee Product Reveal – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceuzvNCn5is
- Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Announced – http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-fan-film-guidelines-announced
- Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines – http://www.startrek.com/fan-films
As always, we thank you for your kind support.
She's also a published author (Untrustworthy, published by Riverdale Avenue Books; QSF Discovery 2 Anthology, published by Mischief Corner Books; and The Longest Night Watch Anthology 1 & 2, published by Writers Colony Press), and a prolific fan fiction writer. You can find her adding her fanfiction to our forums, or live tweeting our show.
We understand that she can be bribed with pie.