Why hasn't CBS or Paramount just taken over a fan series or two?

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Ketrick, Jul 5, 2013.

  1. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    20 or 13 doesn't matter. Can fans go from 1+ year per episode to even 13 a year? What assurance could you give CBS of that before they agreed to anything? And the phase 2 fan base is star trek fans. You'd get them to check out a new show even without the phase 2 name. So what does phase 2 bring to CBS? Some D list actors and sets designed to look like the 60s? Don't get me wrong, I like phase 2 for what it is and have watched all the episodes. But it brings no value to CBS compared with starting from scratch.

    What's your elevator pitch? A couple thousand fans won't cut it.
     
  2. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First step of the Elevator pitch to Moonves for a New Trek Series is to ensure the elevator is at least 10 floors before the floor you plan on pitching Moonves into it ;)
     
  3. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, our Mister Spock role has been filled by Mr. Jeffery Quinn, followed by Mr. Ben Tolpin, and now followed by Mr. Brandon Stacy (who was Mr. Zachary Quinto's stand-in for both Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness). Which of these three actors did you mean is (or was) channelling Tim Russ more than Leonard Nimoy? Have they all been doing that? A reminder that for every viewer who says "your actor is not enough like Actor X," there is a viewer that says "your actor is just trying to channel and is trying too hard to be like Actor X."

    "James Cawley is no leading man" is quite an indictment on his acting ability. Nevertheless, Mr. James Cawley has stepped away from the role of Captain James Kirk to focus in his Senior Executive Producer duties. For our past two episodes (and one vignette) that we've shot, Captain Kirk is now portrayed by Mr. Brian Gross. Find more about his credits here:

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0343336/

    Our Dr. McCoy is played by John Kelley, a real-life physician in Oregon. He is awful, and we plan on replacing him at our earliest opportunity.













    (Just teasing, Doc John. We love you and we all know how much you have grown into the role over the ten years that you've held it.)


    At Nerys Myk: can you provide a bit more data for us to work with--especially regarding Doc John? All I'm able to inform our actor in the McCoy role is "please be less awful." It would be good to be able to say "don't mumble so much," or "don't limp so much" or "don't keep looking at the camera so much," or some other helpful feedback. How does Doc John's "awfulness" manifest itself?
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I was refering to the episode you linked to in your post above. (Though I have watched a few episodes with the other Spocks.) The voice and inflections that actor used reminded me of Russ' Tuvok. Nimoy and Quinto have something in their performances that gives Spock a hint of humanity, the actor in World Enough and Time does not. Tuvok, being a full Vulcan probably doesn't need that, Spock does. Unlike some, I'm not interested in seeing an actor ( be they in a fan or pro production) do impersonations of the original actor, but they do need to capture the essence of the character. Jeffery Quinn failed to do so.

    James Cawley also failed to capture Kirk the way Shatner and Pine did. Nothing made me believe he was the commander of a Starship. His gestures and body language are too self conscious and you can see him acting rather than being Jim Kirk.

    As for John Kelley, his McCoy is all squints and grimaces. There's none of the sparkle in the eye or compassion that De brought to the part. He might make a good Doctor Piper though. ;)

    On the up side I liked the actors who played young Sulu, Alana and Dr. Chandris.
     
  5. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The answer to the original question is this: If CBS wanted a Star Trek series, they'd have one. They would not ever go to an amateur production.

    And turning a fan production into a CBS produced series would negate the fan aspect of it. The fans would go off and do their own thing again, just like they've always done.
     
  6. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I really don't want fans in charge of anything. No disrespect intended towards those who work on Trek fan-films.
     
  7. Elim Garakov

    Elim Garakov Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I have a really dumb question to ask; why hasn't CBS cracked down on fan films?
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Dr Pulaski in "LA Law", eh?

    Fanfilms are the new fanzines. Begrudging acceptance of their existence... because they benefit the parent production in the longterm. So long as no one profits from them, or deliberately rips off the fans, fan productions are tolerated because they are seen as many people's introduction to the franchise. The unique successes and benefits of ST fanzines have been acknowledged in Paramount publicity materials to the media since before TMP.

    Lucasfilm tried to close all "Star Wars" fanzines in the late 70s, and it was counter productive in the longterm.
     
  9. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why?

    It's the same as free advertising. As long as the fans aren't making a profit from CBS intellectual property all it does is benefit the franchise as a whole.

    And if something pops up that is potentially harmful to the franchise, they're on it like a duck on a junebug.

    Much cheaper that way. ;)
     
  10. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, that's not exactly correct.

    Fan films are not allowed to make any money whatsoever, not just money that results in a profit. If it costs about $50,000.00 to make an episode, it might be construed that CBS becomes concerned only when we have earned $50,000.01--a one cent profit above our costs to produce it. That's not correct: we're not allowed to make any money whatsoever. Our top line must be zero, not just our bottom line.
     
  11. Dukhat

    Dukhat Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So how did Renegades get away with having a Kickstarter? I realize that that isn't quite considered earning a profit if people are willing to send in money to fund it, but it's money nonetheless that isn't coming from the producers of the fan production, something I'd think CBS would frown upon.
     
  12. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    Yup, I sent our folks to Renegades via Walter Koenig! And, re: the early "loop-de-loops" that was the choice of Doug Drexler, who argued with James Cawley that the E would do that and thus executed that in his VFX. He is now working with Continues and has, apparently, changed his mind.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Huh? I fail to see how my post was not "correct"?

    "So long as no one profits from them" = "not allowed to make any money whatsoever" = no profit.

    A fan production that makes money above its expenses is making a profit. We have seen productions which will send a free copy of a fanfilm on CD-ROM if a signed cast photo is purchased online ("Of Gods and Men"). We have seen productions ask for donations in return for names being recorded on a plaque ("Starship Exeter"). We have only their word for it that no profit is being made.

    As for rip-offs, I imagine a group canvassing donations for fanfilm after fanfilm, none of which ever get made, would have CBS looking at their escapades, just as fanzine editors of the 80s trying the same scam were monitored/warned.
     
  14. PattyW

    PattyW Commander Red Shirt

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    Actually, I think what Greg might have meant is fanfilms are not allowed to "take in" or "collect" any money "for production of the episodes" or "using the name "Star Trek" or any of it's characters"

    As I have dealt repeatedly with the head of CBS legal on these things, I can speak to what they "require". A fanfilm cannot say "please donate to our production!" (not as far as CBS is concerned) It is far too hard to do just what you say - prove they are not making a profit. They CAN say "please donate to purchase plane tickets" or "please donate to pay the electric bill". These are specific items being paid for, not vague "production costs".

    A fanfilm cannot sell anything licensed. That includes uniforms with insignias, anything with an insignia on it, anything with the word "Star Trek" on it, and they can't, say, take "donations for production" with the promise of putting a name on a plaque.

    Now, those are CBS's rules. Whether or how they enforce them with any particular fanfilm is up to them, and we've seen that it is not consistent. (I believe Potempkin was told they couldn't sell anything period. Phase II was not allowed to give away T shirts as gifts that had the delta shield in the background.)

    The casual observer can't make a judgement if something violates the rules either...because they don't have all the info. For instance, Phase II ran an Indiegogo campaign for a small amount - with CBS's permission, as we detailed to THEM what the exact costs we were paying were, though we didn't post it itemized on the Indiegogo page.

    What CBS cares about is if a fanfilm is eclipsing the hubub and media attention to CBS, or is using stuff they paid for...like JJ's designs and universe. So fanfilms featured in articles in the New York Times are going to get a call far sooner than one that fans are complaining about. (In fact, they put a C&D on any Star Trek mag carrying articles on fanfilms several years ago.)
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    And yet they do collect money. That was my point. On paper, no profit, but in reality many fanfilm productions are collecting donations, not just of time and skill, but cash. Money is changing hands.
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't this exactly what Star Trek: Renegades did with their Kickstarter though?
     
  17. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It seems to me that the best way to show CBS that a production company won't make a profit from their IP is to set up a non-profit organization, like a 501(c)3. It would have to comply with established regulations, and all moneys generated would be directed toward expenses. Any revenue not spent would be put back into the treasury for future expenditures.

    I don't know the mechanics of it, but I've seen it work in other applications. An attorney would be able to work out the kinks.
     
  18. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    They're nice fanfic for the die-hards, but the acting and most of the writing isn't up to the standard of contemporary television.

    They'd make a fitting extra for Trekkies 3.
     
  19. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Fan series get away with what they do because CBS technically turns a blind eye to their efforts. If a fan group got too much notoriety; CBS WOULD need to issue a 'Cease & Desist" order to protect their copyright on the IP. (If they do not, then it can be claimed in court that they no longer have IP rights to Star trek because they must show they are legally 'enforcing' and 'protecting' their claim, or they lose it and it slips into the public domain.)

    Many people like to think they are 'afraid of angering the fanbase' - but that's not the case; as honestly 99% of the fanbase doesn't know about or really care about fan efforts.

    As to why they don't just 'take over' - once they are publically involved; such a series would be governed by AFTRA and other entertainment union rules, with regard to who can work on such a show, pay scales, etc - so costs would rise to the level of a professional production.

    fan series survive because as far as CBS is legally concerned, CBS is essentially claiming: "We have NO IDEA this is occurring with our Star Trek IP."
     
  20. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Not quite.

    Fan productions in the form of fanzines are well-acknowledged. Every media release for the first ten Trek movies had an early paragraph with Paramount estimating the number of "Star Trek"-related fanzines that abound.