What do you want from a fan film

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by jackoverfull, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    i was lurking a bit and the question came up in another topic, thought of asking here: what do you want to see in a fan production? What are the things you’d like to see more and those you’d rather never see again?

    Personally, for me the paramount thing, as with official Star Trek (Or, anything, really) is watching something with a good, well-thought story. Bonus point if it has a “Trek” side, as in an ethical or social point the story is trying to make the audience think about.

    I certainly appreciate (a lot!) good FX, good acting and attention to detail in how the story fits in the Trek universe (so correct uniforms, correct history...), but are not the main things I look in fan projects and totally understand that budget limitations will at times force unfortunate production choices.

    What I don’t like to see is pandering stories that go nowhere, total lack of story (yeeeh, yet another 12 minute battle!) and really bad acting.
     
  2. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Same thing I want in a regular production-story and characters. Obviously acting will be at a lower level, but the overall story is more important than the effects, costumes, and acting. So, the biggest thing is trying to connect with the characters in terms of what they are going through.
     
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  3. Bixby

    Bixby Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Define ''good story''

    Because that's going to be different for everybody. I've had heated conversations online with people who thought some films were ''masterpieces'' when I thought they were barely competent affairs. The recent Snydercut Justice League film for example, where people completely confused technical and visual imagery with storytelling.
     
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  4. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Well, of course what makes for a good story can be matter of debate. However, stories that pander too much, with little content in them and scenes seemingly trying just to fill the time, are something I’ve never appreciated. What I like is something that has a beginning, a development and an ending and that leaves you something to think about.
     
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't think what I want is much different than what's already been said:
    -Good stories. Certainly that's debatable, but I want something that keeps my attention and is interesting
    -Decent costuming and production values. I consider myself flexible in this regard, particularly when it comes to special effects and makeup. Though I've been pretty impressed with how good those things have been for many fan films.
    -Decent enough acting. I don't get too hung up on acting, but if its decent enough that makes it all the better.
     
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  6. Steve Roby

    Steve Roby Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The question for me sometimes is, do I want a fan film at all? I've watched a fair number of them, and enjoyed some of them. One thing I've noticed: I'm not crazy about the ones with actual cast members, possibly because it's easier to forgive less professional writing, lighting, audio, directing, etc if there's no one there I'm used to seeing in a professional production. But that's not really a problem any more.

    So, looking at a world of fan films constrained by the post-Axanar guidelines, what do I want from a fan film? A spark of inspiration. An idea that generates a good story I wouldn't necessarily get from real Trek. A small cast that can act and has lines worth acting beats the prettiest CGI any time. A sense of humour doesn't hurt. I haven't seen all of them, but I've had more fun watching some episodes of Red Shirt Diaries than some bigger fan productions I could name.
     
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  7. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    A story that is actually about something, has a theme that it actually explores, and isn't simply a pastiche of situations and dialog we've seen 100 times before.

    And no pointless pew pews and shields down to nobodycares percent, thank you very much.
     
  8. captainkirk

    captainkirk Commodore Commodore

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    What I want to see more of: Imagination. The vast majority of fan films, even the good ones, feel too familiar. I understand that everyone wants to recreate their favorite era of Trek, but you can come up with imaginative concepts while doing it. The first season of TOS is probably the best example of this. While it's all in the same universe, each episode feels like a creative sci-fi short story that explores a concept.

    What I want to see less of: Well, Maurice already said pointless space battles, so there's something else that's long bothered me. I'm tired of hearing the same stock sound effects over and over. I know a lot of them are classic sounds, but when I hear those alien torpedo sounds or that one warp jump sound, it just takes me out of the scene as if they were the Wilhelm scream.
     
  9. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    To raise a fortune, blow it, sell merch, get sued, and keep running crowdfunders to ever diminishing returns and ever increasing scorn.
     
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  10. King Bob!

    King Bob! The King of Kings! Premium Member

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    Short and to the point. These aren't the best actors and the longer they are on the screen, the more apparent their lack of acting skill is.
     
  11. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    So...what do you want to see? Less of these "actors"?
     
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  12. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Red Shirt Diaries was great fun!

    Amen to that.

    So...shorter films so you see the actors less...?
     
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  13. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    I come for the stories, I don’t care too much about the visual effects or the battles (but if you’re going to do these things, I like to see them done well). Though it seems to me the flashier more battle-oriented fanfilms are often the ones that seem to have mass appeal.

    I just like what I like, and ultimately that “like” is subjective and varies depending upon my mood.
     
  14. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    well, YOUR films are among the ones that appealed the most to me. ;)
     
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  15. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    That’s very mind of you to say, thank you. :)
     
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  16. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    The problem with pew pew action fan films is they're rarely well done, so while they may be popular, I suspect they'd be even moreso if said battles were a bit inventive and not rote...and had a decent story to back up the action.

    The VFX footage from Axanever is a great example of how not to make space battles exciting, as is the fanfilm to a fanfilm, Lane's Quaalude.
     
  17. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Writer and occasional starship commander Premium Member

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    This. I'd like to see a STORY. What's it all about other than CGI ships lumbering toward each other and several agonizing minutes too long?

    What is being explored through the situation and through the characters? What is the point of view being presented?

    The writing is the weakest part of all these things, even the big name ones like New Voyages/Phase II and Continues, which poorly handle Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. They're just cardboard cutouts of who those characters really are and how they function in a TOS story.

    Characters SHOULD NOT meander through the episodes. They should drive the story.

    So I'd add I'd like some damn narrative drive... momentum created by the characters making choices and dealing with consequences. Set ups, pay offs, reversals. Take a left turn with the characters from time to time. Surprise us as an audience. Do the unexpected. Don't just VHS copy of a copy of other Treks and other fan films.

    Plot is just a series of events. Characters determine how those events unfold. They drive plot not the other way around. What do they want and how far are they willing to go to achieve it? And what the fuck is at stake for them?

    Character actions and choices reveal character.

    And STOP with the reluctant captain trope. STOP. STOP. STOP. And also STOP with the fuckin' shield percentages and space battles. There are other means of drama and action. Find them.

    TLDR: Focus on the story and writing first.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  18. Mark 2000

    Mark 2000 Captain Captain

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    I agree with @Maurice and @Ryan Thomas Riddle. I’d say what fan films need most is the ability to take criticism and be willing to hand your script over to someone and be ready for a second draft. I think we all agree most fan films are lacking in cohesive story and interesting characters. Even the best of them really need a polish before expending all that effort on filming and fx. I’d love to look at people’s scripts and give feedback, but I’m not sure what they hear from me will be welcome. Honestly, a good script would be what makes any of these films stand out from an ever growing crowd. Making the same trope filled pew fests is never going to be memorable.
     
  19. Christmas Corps

    Christmas Corps Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The best fan films such as "The Tressaurian Intersection," the Aurora episodes, and Klingon Propaganda bring something new to the table. The further away a fan film is from "let's just play Star Trek," the better.

    I mean, there's certainly an element of "playing Star Trek" in TTI. But that's true of every fan film, or it wouldn't be a fan film. That's part of the fun. But there was at the inception of Starship Exeter a decision by the Johnsons not to emulate the TOS character relationships and instead to forge a unique identity with their own characters. It's very definitely an effort to take a look at another ship in the fleet that does things its own way, instead of just reiterating TOS.

    When it's not reiteration, it tends to be better, fresher. We're all familiar with the franchise. Seeing it replicated as the end goal is the opposite of fresh, and that's especially so when connecting the dots between the greatest hits that we all know and love and... have already seen.
     
  20. jackoverfull

    jackoverfull Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    yeah, that was interesting in 1966 but it’s a bit tired by now.
     
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