Everyone has a right to their opinion, but not to be a martinet like jackass. These people invest their own time and money to make this shows for no other reason than to entertain us and have some fun for themselves. The small mindedness in the cruel brickbats hurled at them boggle my mind. Jealousy? Stupidity? Probably both and more.
I'm going to assume at least part of this is directed toward me, as I was one of (if not the only) person calling out the Phase II people on some of their more unprofessional behavior here.
You are right - everyone has a right to their opinion. And you are also right in that the people making Phase II (and all the other fan films) are doing so for fun. While I suspect "entertaining us" is not the sole reason for why these things get made, it nonetheless is an undeniable fact that these episodes are provided at no cost to Joe Q. Fan. These are labors of love. I don't deny that nor do I condemn it.
The problem I have had has been solely regarding the cognitive dissonance of Phase II's PR machine, insisting that their production tries to be as close to a professionally run production as possible, while their more vocal members still see fit to conduct themselves and their business is patently unprofessional ways. Even David Gerrold, who for all intents and purposes is a one-hit wonder, couldn't be bothered to rise above that petty kind of behavior.
As a working professional in basic cable/network television, I find it laughable. As a fan, I find it disheartening.
So I dispute your assessment that it is "small minded" to offer constructive criticism where appropriate. I dispute your assessment that pointing out the obvious disparity between what the producers at Phase II say
they're doing and what they demonstrably have been
doing constitutes "cruel brickbats" or that it makes me (or anyone else) a "martinet like jackass."
Part of being an artist and creating your art means also putting that art out in to the world. What makes it "art" is precisely the possibility that there will be people who don't like it. Or people who don't "get it." If James Cawley just wants to play dress-up on the Enterprise, he can do that. I suspect that was very much a reason for his starting Phase II to begin with, the same way I suspect it was a consideration for all the fan films that have been done. The point I'm trying to make is that no one is above criticism.
As mentioned by others, there is a BIG difference between honest critiques to try and help improve the product, and down and out nastiness, no matter what your experience is. Jim Cawley is walking away - I don't know him personnally, but I know he has been a professional performer for some time, so I would have to imagine it took some pretty vile stuff to get him to want to stop performing.
I was a professional law enforcement officer for many years. I wouldn't walk into a mall, go up to a security guard, and say "you look like crap, you are doing your job completly wrong, you know nothing of professional law enforcement, now listen to me and do what I say". It is quite unfair to expect a minimun wage security guard without my years of training and experience to meet up to MY expectations of professionalism or performance.
You want to knock JJ Abrams and Paramount studios, go ahead, they are multimillionaire professionals with almost unlimited resources to do what they do. Cut the Phase II folks, and all the other dedicated fan productions out there, a little slack. If you can stomach it.