Star Trek Film Makers Association

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Linnear, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Boise, ID
    Now you may understand my referring to the old joke that "the amazing thing about a waltzing bear is not that it waltzes so well, but that it waltzes at all." A completed fan film is an amazing accomplishment.
     
  2. J.C. England

    J.C. England Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2011
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    Bethany/OKC, Oklahoma
    Amen, Brother!
    We are just now beginning to see the
    light at the end of this long tunnel, and
    the support (both in donations and
    cheering on) is more than appreciated.
    I know I speak for all us at Ajax, that
    we will not forget it.
     
  3. Whorfin

    Whorfin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Mr. Peters (and interested parties),

    I come back to the forum after a few years absence, read a few posts, and what do I find? The lamb laying down with the lion and all is well in the world? I think not. I'll skip most of the content of the other posts and go back to more "matter of fact" communications. I apologize in advance for any spelling, grammar, or cognitive errors (after 7+ hours I think intra- and inter- became a blur), but I typed this instead of sleeping and its been a long haul. Apologies for excessive length are customary in my case. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    As admirers of the UFP, we should agree that these are worthy goals. Ultimately, I think any such organization, created in the shadow of The Great Bird, needs to uphold not merely the letter of its principles, but the spirit as well. I think you expected positive reactions and instead concerns were raised. When you pointed out there were limits to the generosity of those already involved -- due to past disputes -- you were met with suspicion (in part on general principles but largely because the specific situations you described have not been experienced by the majority of people who responded). The longer it went on the more frustrating it probably seemed because instead of people "getting on board" they were "backing away". Very clearly you weren't getting through to most of the people, and they weren't getting through to you, and if you now can accept that possibility I think it would be good for this effort of yours.

    The bad news is that this is likely to keep happening.

    Because all the various groups and individuals that have been active participants in these activities -- and actually bumped shoulders with each other have decided, for various reasons good and ill, that they like some people and they don't like others. For normal people this is simply human nature, though I often expect more from Trekkers. There are a number of approaches to this situation. If you choose to let only the people you already know and trust in then what you have is a private club and your announcement here and attempt at fostering a dialogue were unfortunately unlikely to be profitable. If you throw the doors open and have a democracy, not only are you likely to be rubbing shoulders with people you don't like but you're going to have a lot more discussions with people you find annoying. If you stop listening, or cooperating, then you aren't all equals anymore. And, perhaps, in some sort of ultimate analysis, the people who have put decades and most of their life savings into constructing facilities and teams are not entirely equal to those who have not done so. I say this in absolute seriousness, not in mockery, though it is a sentiment that is contrary to my general thinking, and I think should be meant as a limited case. But this is not a choice for me or the other third parties here, it is a matter of conscience for them: whether they want the world to be convenient or whether they can afford to stick their neck out a farther to try to make Trek/The World/themselves better.

    Humans, for the most part, seem to me so inherently disagreeable that if they have no actual problems they go to great efforts to invent some. Posts in this thread on all sides may be to some extent an indicator of this. If people are perfectible it seems a "hard row to hoe". Sure to be hard, perpetual work. The problem is that this is an ugly fact, and as adherents to the philosophies of the UFP, handed down to us by the founders of Trek, it plainly sticks in our craw. Think of all the times James Tiberius Kirk was in the middle of a righteous rage just after a dust up with the "baddy" of the week, and somebody says something that turns that light bulb on in his head and he realizes, 'Oh, that's not what I meant, not really' and, also, "Those words were spoken by me" (though it took awhile for that to be said). In terms of this thread, while I don't claim that every contributor is equally responsible, it would be in everyone's best interest to take that step back and try to think over the situation. If it helps, pretend that if you don't people are going to die, or at least fan productions will. And they might. To realize that, at least deep down, we're all "trolls"... but we're not going to be "trolls" on the internet today. Trust me, I know all about it, you wouldn't want to catch me on a bad day, I can make trolls seem kind and considerate.

    This conundrum is tough because, if you can't safely obliterate the people that don't like you, and you can't run away from them, then you might have to find some way to live together. Perhaps with a "neutral zone" in between? Fences do after all "make good neighbors", at least when they aren't being knocked down. Then you just have to deal with their allies, but one can always build more fences (aka border outposts). And then you only have to put up with the complaints by those pesky neutrals and their attempts to make the world a less strife filled place through endless negotiations.

    So, what's a progressive interstellar society, err... I mean... progressive fan film community to do? Again, that's not for me to say. Clearly there are some major players who have invested heavily and in some sense largely have the market cornered on the ready-to-go production facilities. Which golden rule is it to be: "he who has the gold makes the rules" or "love your neighbor as you love yourself"? And what happens when someone is dishonest, or there's just a serous misunderstanding?

    Because there will always be reasons to feel let down, cheated, betrayed if you work with others. Perhaps not good reasons, but reasons. Something always breaks, someone is always late, and someone always doesn't have the cash when its time to pay, etc. Its not necessarily maliciousness (though it might be) but it is human nature. Were imperfect creatures in a naturally unforgiving world. As a species we care something different for ourselves after that and its perpetuation is our responsibility. Frankly, I usually experience just this frustration and anger just working by myself. I'm not all I think I am let along what I would like to be. So, other than spinning a few homilies, what do I have to offer? Well, possibly some suggestions, assuming you're still conscious at this point, or not foaming at the mouth and baying at the moon while replying (my posts have had that effect on some people).

    First, perhaps one plan of action would be to copy the UFP. Did it start out 500 members strong? No, just a handful of systems banded together. They succeeded because they always try to add "new blood", but only when a civilization is ready and the incorporation is beneficial to both parties. Prior to membership the groups outside the UFP have lesser status as associate members, protectorates, neutrals, or hostiles. I'm not saying to replicate this slavishly, but it is a possible model. To some extent such an effort would be institutionalizing inequality, but with a promise that for each group that inequality can dissolve with time... at least perhaps, and if wise choices are made on both sides. I believe you are familiar with the work of John M. Ford. His Klingons believe that there are structures that grow and structures that die. Honestly, for a long time I've been struggling to fool myself that I'm maintaining homeostasis. Its the same for most everything: if you don't grow, if you don't adapt, if you don't diversify, time will grind you into powder. Fan productions are no exception.

    Second, everyone involved needs to know that this is going to be hard. Maybe not all of the time, but some of it. Of course, accomplishing the impossible is hard work, and fan films fall close to that category. So there's a lot of frustration generated just from the struggle to produce the films that might be contributing to the problem. But its more than just the basic difficulty. Things are going to go out of people's control on all sort of levels and you need to factor that in from the beginning. I would like it all to be peace and love but nerves will get frayed.

    Again, I suggest you fall back on the Trek analogy. This may not be the time for "cowboy diplomacy". The leaders of the groups, the people running the "association" (whatever that means), and the go-betweens need to have cool heads about inter-group matters. So, the impossible must happen if the association is to expand beyond a handful of teams, all this inter-group bickering must stop. As much as humanly possible. Again, only reading a very few recently-contributed-to threads, there seemed to be consistent sniping about each other for many groups from thread to thread, to the detriment of the group's public reputations. Additionally, the more justified the members seemed think they were in their position the more aggressive they behaved making them or their group seem more a part of the problem than an innocent victim. If the members of the association just snipe at each other and/or everyone around them that's the kind of situation that makes people working on projects decide they would rather stay home. Because its not, at its best, the Federation way. And its annoying to boot.

    What can stop this? Well real leaders who set inter- and intra-group goals and get their point across would be a start. Maybe the groups already have them, maybe they don't, but I suspect you'll "have to dance with who brought you" as the saying goes. The point to get across in this case is that bickering is bad for everybody. So intra-group rules about inter-group spats, rules with teeth is something else that's likely needed. 'It doesn't matter if the Klingons started the fight, you're supposed to be officers!' As I've said, when a member misbehaves in the slightest way it reflects in the public mind on the group as well as the individual. Additionally, intra-group communications needs to be done by very level headed, intelligent, empathetic, considerate people. In other words, ambassadors (think Sarek, not Fox). These people need to be able to hear the other side as well as their own, to try to find a common ground to resolve the problems, they need to be able to communicate not just the words of their issues and hopes but the spirit as well, and be sensible enough to know if their counterparts are not cooperating in kind and work to get them back to the bargaining table or at least contain the situation. Communications over problems should go through them to their respective leaderships, not through other members, and certainly not through forums, apparently year after year. I don't care if you run it like Cold War detente or binding arbitration, but you have to have a system in place that damps down fires inside and outside instead of fanning the flames (the latter of which seems to be the current system at least on public forums) that would be important. So internally punishment somewhere between bread and water and death by lirpa needs to be exercised on those who disrupt the peace, no matter how important they think they are (or really are) to the production. And for those who see such measures as an infringement on the right of free speech, I would remind you that membership in a fan film group isn't a right and monkey-wrenching group cooperation with complaints could be an actionable offense in the group. What I can guarantee is that if the people who bear grudges are left in charge (self-appointed or not) of external relations (so to speak), all that will happen is that everyone will end up hating almost everyone else's guts.

    For this thing to work, for it even to have a chance of getting off the ground, a lot of people are going to have to step up and be better than they might like to be on those dark days when you want to pull your hair out. It may require some sort of neutral arbitration of disagreements before groups can meet at the table. Some people may have to accept that its going to take time and effort for them to be accepted back to the fold. And a lot of people, or so it seems, will have to metaphorically bite their tongues. Worse yet, the negotiators must use all their skill to minimize damage if the negotiations fail, because the person you despise today may change and be a resource in the future. But some people may never belong, and if other people are truly skeptical that bias on the other side isn't the cause of that, then involving them in the process of arbitration in some way -- even as witnesses -- may address their concerns. If you keep talking, if you keep searching for some common ground, you just might find some. If not, how will things ever be better?

    Third, at one point I was looking at renting some property in an effort to have a studio for fan-film making. While the property wasn't right for several reasons (being partially flooded do to plumbing issues, for example!) but the owner was keen on my idea. He suggested that "I" build a Star Trek bridge there and then "we" could rent it to other fan film makers. My explanation at the time was that Paramount would most likely frown upon this, as the merest suspicion that the Trek name (etc.) was being used by third parties to make money would be direly punished (or so it would seem from a film maker's perspective). Frankly, quite a bit of the carping I read today had to do with people making money, or allegedly making money, or allegedly inappropriately fund raising for both legitimate and illegitimate Trek fan projects. The idea seems to be that some people are , in a manner of speaking, "sailing too close to the wind" and this is being pointed out by people from groups who are "sailing a bit less close to the wind". What is pretty clear, with the fairly common public solicitation of funds in one form or another, everybody today seems to be pushing the system farther towards the limit than at the beginning of this movement.

    There are some clear lines that the IP holder has requested be respected and there are some gray areas (less than in the past, perhaps). In my opinion, renting a specifically "Star Trek" facility, or "Trek" props (named so or not) may be over that line. On the "renter's" side, its probably fine since its specific money for a specific purpose. On the leaser's side things are a bit fuzzier. What standard is used to determine the value? Perhaps more importantly, if the IP holder doesn't allow fan productions to sell Trek merchandise for small amounts of money why would one expect that they would allow the rental of what is essentially Trek merchandise for presumably larger amounts? There are other matters, but this seems the largest hurdle to this part of the plan. Even if a suit wouldn't hold up in court there are a number of reasons why such a practice could draw cease-and-desist letters and/or litigation, and not necessarily limited to the rental practices.

    Now I don't know what arrangements were made in the past, and I don't know what private agreements were hammered out with the IP holder, and I don't need to. Frankly, practices change with the management, and management comes and goes. I believe some people have felt a mild restriction as the "rules" have altered somewhat. Some may have had more, or at least reacted more violently (ceasing and withdrawing their production). What seems to be certain is that no Trek fan production will get any immovable guidelines officially. The companies have good reason to protect every right they can and only hesitate while they think the benefit of the publicity fans self generate is greater. The only clear way around such an issue that I see, short of official approval is the exchange of services for services, which is where disparities in resources and experience becomes an issue. But it seems a fair place to start: in the most simple form, boots on the ground -- in some capacity or another -- in return for boots on the set. There may be other alternatives, this is just a suggestion.

    Now assuming that anyone has gotten to this paragraph, before responding I suggest you think things over carefully, maybe even make some notes, work some things out in your head. No more shooting from the hip, and -- I beg you -- no more posting while angry. I hope that there will be some positive outcomes from what is a very intriguing idea. Think back to those Trek episodes where our heroes realized that they weren't perfect, and perhaps the bad guys were more counterparts than blood enemies. For you younger members, grab your shirts, perform the Picard Maneuver, and then get down to figuring out how to use some of his Vulcan like reason and diplomacy to make the future a little bit better than the past. Even the Klingon supporters will get out of this house if it continues to burn.

    And Mr. Peters, I assure you that, despite whatever failings in my presentation there may be, these words are well intended, and having been inactive on the forum for an extended period of time due to real-world issues I feel I have no inherent bias in regard to the groups or the individuals. If any of what I discussed makes any sense, I suggest you take it back to another assembly of your groups and present it to them to hash out what makes they think is workable. My general message specifically to them, should you deliver it, is that as systems get more complex it becomes more difficult to keep them functioning, but on the other hand more complex systems often can accomplish much more than the simple ones ever could. This is a worthy goal that has been proposed, but it is no small task, and must be taken very seriously.

    Best wishes,

    Whorfin
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  4. Tom Hendricks

    Tom Hendricks You move! Premium Member

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  5. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Whorfin, thanks for that.

    I admit, a large part of my concern and reaction in this thread was simply due to the quizzical nature of some replies and answers I got regarding what I thought were perfectly reasonable questions. With your post, I can sort of see/understand a differing perspective on why I might have gotten the answers I did (even though I also acknowledge that perhaps the reasons I did get those answers may have differed significantly from the ones you posit).

    I think it is a very commendable idea to to try to set up something like this association and while yes, it is entirely true that there are those who have gone above and beyond when it comes to the commitment of time, money, effort and resources, by and large my main complaint here has been the incongruity between the established goal (as set forth in this thread's first post) of being all-inclusive, only to find when pressed for answers that this would in fact not be the case.

    The fault of misperception of this situation is entirely mine, and I probably should have dialed back my replies in this thread once that misperception was finally made clear.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  6. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Well put. I said something similar about 3 pages back, albeit far less eloquently. ;)
     
  7. Linnear

    Linnear Lieutenant Commander

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    You still can't resist taking shots can you? You can't let it lie? You just have to claim "meltdown" on my part rather than "Sick of your arrogant bullshit". Something I continue to be. How insecure are you that you have to keep attacking me?

    Whorfin posts something that should make you think and instead you take a cheap shot again.

    And our little group hasn't turned anyone away and is doing fine and already productions are helping each other. What this thread shoudl be focused on.

    Alec
     
  8. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    What cheap shot? You're quoting a post from over a month ago that has nothing to do with the discussion now. Never mind that it's also a post which you ignored in favor of continuing to overreact here , which, by the way, you're doing again.

    Congratulations. I'm going to try to embrace the spirit in which Whorfin posted and has advocated and continue to wish you well.
     
  9. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Dundee, Scotland, UK
    Guys, I didn't want to wade into this, but I've talked to both of you in the past, and I think you're both good people. I honestly think you've just gotten off on the wrong foot here.

    Alec, doubleohfive is a good guy, whose been very supportive of fanfilms, and who I've spoken with on more than one occasion. I think this is just a misunderstanding. And doubleohfive, Alec's absolutely genuine, and couldn't be more helpful behind the scenes. If the two of you met in the pub I suspect you'd find you have far more in common than this thread would suggest. :)
     
  10. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Thanks, Nick. Much appreciated.

    I completely agree - this is very obviously a misunderstanding. And I will admit - sometimes my posts do not convey accurately the intention of my meaning. Perhaps a pint is exactly the missing ingredient here with all these communication snafus.
     
  11. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    I'd be embarrassed to admit how many times I've screwed up royally by a misplaced word. Sometimes a pint is exactly what's missing. :)
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    Pardon my saying this, but 90% of writing is EDITING. That post (after the quote) is 6,004 words (I checked), which is almost 1/8th the length of Slaughterhouse 5, and 22 times the length of the Gettysburg address. It's 10 solid pages of 12 point single spaced text. Sheesh. Sum up! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  13. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    "Great scripts are not written, they are re-written!"
     
  14. Whorfin

    Whorfin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  15. Linnear

    Linnear Lieutenant Commander

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    Dec 21, 2006
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    Whorfin:

    Thanks for your lengthy posts. Obviously your intention is good and I greatly appreciate that. But damn! You do need an editor for your posts! ;-) I have to agree with Maurice. :-)

    How is that for good use of emoticons?

    And Nick's words are wise as always. Doubleoh (Would be nice to know your real name) I guess I accidentally replied to an older post. My apologies.

    Anyone who actually wants to be involved and help is always welcome. If only all this energy on this thread was put into helping one another.

    Alec
     
  16. Whorfin

    Whorfin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Cool, but how much is the second one? Its a trifle produced in an hour or so, hammered out rather than hand-crafted. The Gettysburg Address is really short. The guy who spoke before Lincoln talked for a couple of hours. I think and Lincoln's speech was over before they hardly knew he started.

    Actually it is edited and redacted, repeatedly (the proper term is endlessly). It took, I think about 7.5 hours to write. How much does it take you guys to read it, and do you get nosebleeds while doing so? Considering that I was jetlagged and have gotten about 7 hours sleep in the last 3 days I think its all turned out rather well. :vulcan:

    Would this be the time to mention I've dabbled in script doctoring? Actually I usually slash text and suggest camera work and stage direction to convey the meaning. Writers hate that. "Once Upon a Time in the West" at 2h46m and 8 pages of script is a marvel. But that's a visual medium and I'm stuck with text and emoticons. Of course, there's always graphics (shameless plug):

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=83997

    Well, in a way I'm trying to help but I suspect I'm not quite getting through. In general, theories of communication blame the transmitter for failed communication rather than the receiver. So the blame is on me. Of course, there might be more to pass around for some of the earlier stuff. But that's water under the bridge, right?! :evil:

    I'm all for this idea of detente thorough alcohol. But its got to be pints rather than a pint; make that liters rather than pints, we want peace in our time, damn it. But don't stand too near the dart board if I'm throwing, and no that's not because of the alcohol.

    As for anonymity, it has its places. After working about 40 hours a week for almost two years supporting a 3D modeling team on a Trek project an ex-member pursued a campaign of libeling me to all the other people/groups we worked with and mutually knew, accusing me of ridiculous things. Ultimately, that was the end of that project for me and all the friendships. Its one of the things I regret, as only one person was at fault, but after weeks of being prodded I finally over-reacted.

    So, many of us probably have good reasons for keeping our personal information secret from people we don't know well. Its very disappointing to have people hate your guts because of what you post (no, I don't mean the length!) but it happens all the time. You don't want them calling you or turning up at your house.

    I know, I should have summed it up: Anon. good, revealed ID bad! :techman:
     
  17. Linnear

    Linnear Lieutenant Commander

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    Newport Beach, CA
    Whorfin:

    First, thanks again for caring enough to take the time to write. It was nice to see a "short" post though from you!

    I find a basic tenant of the Internet is that anonymity allows people to treat others in a way they would never do face to face. I run the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction forum, the largest forum for collectors of screen used Star Trek props & costumes. We all know each other and we get together every year at the Las Vegas Creation Con. We have an incredibly civil forum where we never have a flame war (partly because we don't allow people to even think of being jerks, it is dealt with before there is a problem). But we also all get together when we can. We just had a big party in NJ at a collector's house (Who I bought the original Shuttlecraft Galileo full size set with). It is great to see people you know online and you develop true friendships.

    So I agree, sharing a few pints is absolutely useful, but if you hide behind the Internet, you will never get to share those pints and you will be insulated from the repercussions of your words online, meaning having to face someone in real life who you were rude to online. Which is exactly what some people want, no consequences for their actions. The whole "calling you or turning up at your house" is just so much crap. This isn't the end of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back". Get real people. That is an excuse to allow you to be rude.

    I am probably the most outspoken person in two different aspects of Star Trek, props and fan films. And I am sure there are people who don't like me in both because I am very opinionated. However, I have never had a rude phone call or a person show up at my door. Seriously. That is just ridiculous. However, I have met people in real life who I had a disagreement with online and we have laughed about things and become friends. I had a huge argument with a collector about authentication and actually had to ban him from my forum. Well, we met and became great friends and now, two years later, he is an admin! We actually worked together to authenticate a TOS Captain Kirk tunic.

    Back to the "share a few pints" theory. Actual social interaction provides common ground to develop a relationship. It would be fun to have a L.A. based Trek BBS night at a pub. But I would hate to be the only one who showed up! :-)

    Alec
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  18. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Start small. Invite one person for a pint or two and see where it goes.
     
  19. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    Wow...did I stumble late upon the thread that got caught up off the ground in a twister...

    I think the points are clear if you are standing on the ground. The intention is so that people involved in producing Trek can connect and share. That should include film, animation, audio...all of it. (I know for a fact P2 has benefited from many people working in various media. Even fanfiction writer's and cosplay folks!)

    If the people/productions have nothing positive to share, but only negative, why include them? In fact, warnings might be helpful to share in these cases. There is one person out there who never paid me for my work, and yet continued to use it after two C&Ds were issued. There's a production studio that stopped payment on the check for rental equipment. This isn't gossip and it's not exclusion: it would have been helpful for P2 to know about the stop payment BEFORE trying to rent equipment and getting blasted with "You fanfilm people are....."

    So it's absolutely valid to open the group to PEOPLE that want/need to share such things. I don't think ANY "group" can be classified by one person in that group. Heck, the people are changing all the time!
     
  20. Ensign Ro-

    Ensign Ro- Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, I read the first couple of pages of this thread and really liked the idea of an Association. I do a lot of marketing work for local businesses, especially using Facebook. I'd be happy to design posters/ads for any production's fan pages, etc. If any are interested in my help, feel free to check out some of my albums on my FB page. Cheers to all and best of luck with this endeavor.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/RoTV/196045780439869?sk=photos_albums

    RoTV Digital Creations