It’s the Universe’s Smallest Vulcan Lute
Time to play the universe’s smallest Vulcan lute.
“Ask and ye shall receive.”
Before anyone goes off half-cocked, it should be made very clear that Alec Peters, the man at the helm of the titanic effort named Axanar, is not the only person who was begging CBS and Paramount Pictures to develop formal fan film guidelines. Many of his fans, and a few others were as well.
Those who supported the request for guidelines were adamant that without those guidelines, they simply didn’t have the intelligence to know when they might cross a line as to the use and potential misuse of someone else’s property; a line that thousands of amateurs have been able to avoid for decades.
Now guidelines have been issued by the actual owner of the IP, and now many of those who wanted them are upset because the rules clearly reflect the IP was never theirs to begin with and they’re not welcome to personally benefit from it any more.
The blog, Forces of Geek, published a post stating that the release of the guidelines by CBS and Paramount was a blow to “the most dedicated” Star Trek “fan base” – that fan base being unofficial filmmakers and their viewers.
WAIT, WHAT? The most dedicated Trek fans are the professional filmmakers?!
Do you hear that?
Do you know what that is?
That, my dear, is the universe’s smallest Vulcan lute playing Cry Me a River somewhere under a slimy fungus infecting the butt of a jackass in the Gamma Quadrant and it’s playing just for you; you poor, poor professional filmmaker.
Spare me your elitist bullshit Forces of Geek.
We Are All Fans
There is no such thing as “most dedicated fan base.” Fans are fans and not one of them is like another. Some like Enterprise more than TOS. Some love the Kelvin Universe. Some adore Deep Space Nine. While a few thousand watch the unofficial films, tens of thousands more write stories and share them peacefully among each other. Some take great joy in slash fiction and smut. Others get their kicks on special effects and ships. Some hurl at the idea of romance in Trek while others write amazingly complex and stunning romantic tales. Some make audio dramas. Some paint, draw and sketch. Some write music, sing and dance or make operas. Some play board games, other play video games and create playable tales within those games. Some cosplay. Some build and or collect models and action figures. Some read novels. Some hate the new films. Some only do one of these things but MOST express their fandom in more than one way.
But not one of these groups could ever, ever be called “most dedicated.”
All Fans are Important
Just because you spend hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars of donor money to make your idea of Star Trek come alive do you get to think you’re even remotely more important than any other fan out there. And in the reverse, just because you write a compelling piece of amateur prose that gets thousands of downloads do you get to think your shit doesn’t stink.
However, what really does stink is a professional shitting on an amateur when their effort is just as unofficial.
I have to say it. As much as I adore many of the high quality fan productions that are out there, I think these new guidelines are fucking fantastic. Why? Because the fan productions can finally get back to where they have been for the decades that preceded this goddamned nightmare: with the amateurs.
It’s All About the Guidelines
The guidelines are incredibly gracious! They now allow the amateurs to seek contributions for fan films. Sure the limit is $50k and 30 minutes – but holy crap! That’s $50k! That’s a shit-ton of money for most creative and resourceful people. Just look at what Tommy Kraft was able to do with that! If you think these rules spell doom for fan productions, you’re a fool. I think they’re a new foundation of a spring of opportunity for those that never had a voice.
Going Back to being Fans
Sure it sucks the life out of most professional efforts – but I’m okay with that. Fan productions, fan fic, audio dramas, should remain the playground of the amateur. If you’re a professional and are upset that you can’t make money using Star Trek in an unofficial capacity? Go get a part, or a job with CBS and Paramount or one of their licensees. If you think your art or product is good enough, go buy a license and sell the shit out of it.
If you can’t do that, then tough nuts. Join the rest of us. We’ll gladly show you the pure, unadulterated joy of playing in the Trek universe without making a fucking dime.
Who knows, maybe you’ll finally begin to see the appeal and solid potential of a Picard/Riker relationship.