What would you prefer Trek fan films improve most? (Poll)

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by SITZKRIEG!, Mar 30, 2021.

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What aspect(s) of fan films in general most need improvement?

  1. Acting

    22 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. Action

    2 vote(s)
    6.1%
  3. Cinematography

    3 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. Directing

    7 vote(s)
    21.2%
  5. Editing

    5 vote(s)
    15.2%
  6. Lighting

    1 vote(s)
    3.0%
  7. Marketing

    1 vote(s)
    3.0%
  8. Music

    1 vote(s)
    3.0%
  9. Production Value (props, sets, etc)

    2 vote(s)
    6.1%
  10. Special Effects

    3 vote(s)
    9.1%
  11. Writing

    26 vote(s)
    78.8%
  12. Sound

    15 vote(s)
    45.5%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. SITZKRIEG!

    SITZKRIEG! Commander Red Shirt

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    The title pretty much says it all. I've been enjoying modern fan films now since (re)discovering them a few years ago but I do think there is room for improvement. Without focusing on or criticizing any specific productions, what aspects of fan films in general do you think need improvement most or, if improved, would most benefit fan films? So as not to bias the results, I've listed the poll answers in alphabetical order. If I've missed something in the possible choices, feel free to comment below and let me know.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    You forgot sound.

    For me hands-down it's writing followed by sound. A decent story can survive a lot of abuse in terms of acting, editing, bad cinematography, etc. No script can survive bad sound wherein you can't understand what's happening.
     
  3. SITZKRIEG!

    SITZKRIEG! Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks! Sound added though I could only add it at the end so it's not alphabetical. You can change your vote in the poll as well as that option is available.
     
  4. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Writing, production values and acting. There's one ST fan film series I'm thinking of that has cranked out a boatload of episodes, and after so long in production, they have not improved in the three categories listed here.
     
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  5. Serveaux

    Serveaux Boomer American Premium Member

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    Writing, acting, sound.
     
  6. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Writing for sure. There’s a ton of areas where all of us can improve, but writing is by far the weakest link for even the most lauded of productions.
     
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  7. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Pacific 201 is the perfect example of a fan film having everything except writing. It wasn't a story, it was an interesting set-up with zero payoff.
     
  8. SITZKRIEG!

    SITZKRIEG! Commander Red Shirt

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    For me it's acting and writing. I'm by no means proficient in either professionally or even as a hobby but I can't avoid seeing major deficiencies in that regard with most fan films. Obviously I don't expect Oscar worthy performances but I don't think that avoiding deadpan monotone nonblinking staring at the camera line recitals should be unobtainable for most productions either. Since those make it in, is that also a director issue as well since it's not being addressed? I'd think that many actors are trying to channel Lal from TNG in their performances; if something is going on that is emotional (like an onscreen death or an ongoing attack by another vessel), that should be reflected somewhat in the way the lines are being said. Again, as someone who has no experience outside of childhood/teen school performances, the best advice I could give would be to act natural unless you're playing a Vulcan.

    As for the writing, I think that many productions try to cram in too much backstory into what should be simple lines in a focused dialog in order to tell (instead of show) what's going on onscreen (or with regard to backstory not previously covered). I'd rather have that as a prologue or narration at the beginning of the fan film rather than seemingly shoved into what would otherwise be a short discussion. I'll admit that some of this is unavoidable due to cost and time restraints (both in terms of on set time and allowable by the guidelines on screen time) and writers fear that the audience will possibly miss key parts of the story if they don't have a character explicitly state it but then I'd ask if it was really necessary to include it in the first place if all it amounts to is one line of dialog.

    Obviously talent and time aren't free but I've tried to focus on things that I think the average person could improve on for fan films with just practice without direct expenditure of money (unlike for example with added special effects or better equipment).
     
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  9. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Writer and occasional starship commander Premium Member

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  10. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I selected for but each will take away from a fan production in different ways. Writing is probably the one that stands out the most. A lot of fan productions insist upon writing overlong monologs when shorter sentences would do. Acting is tied closely to writing because even good actors can't make bad writing work perfectly. But, there is times when the actors simply do not sell it. They don't react, barely react, or there is inconsistency where one actor is intense while another is basically a part of the scenery.

    Sound is one that I think Maurice is spot on about. As much as I have limited care about video quality, audio quality is a pet peeve of mine. I can hear disparate qualities from tracks, music too loud in the mix, and poor quality in the recording. It drives me nuts and I will struggle because I want to hear so badly. Imagine a distorted video chat and how frustrating that is. Now amplify that frustration because there is no real way to fix it.

    Finally is effects. Effects has been something I have seen tank entire productions because the production team wants such big, bombastic effects. And it is such a time sink for something that might not turn out how it was imagined and it doesn't blend in with the shot, so it distracts even further.

    One of the big aspects that I learned attempting multiple fan productions is that limits need to be honored. A shorter story is always more welcome than an overlong effort.
     
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  11. SITZKRIEG!

    SITZKRIEG! Commander Red Shirt

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    Would you elaborate on these two further? For the effects, did the productions tank because they ran out of money after filming or did they not even get past the concept stage because some of those involved had such unrealistic FX expectations? Out of curiosity (and obviously you can feel free to not answer), which projects were you involved with?
     
  12. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know about money so much as it takes a lot of time to get the FX down, and insisting it has to be done that way, delaying production further, and ultimately people just move on. I think it just takes too much time.

    All the productions I was involved with never made it past the pre-production stage. Largely because are ambitions exceeded our ability.
     
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  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I recall one thing I meant to add. Mission creep is a very real aspect I saw frequently. I think there is a real importance to setting realistic expectations.
     
  14. SITZKRIEG!

    SITZKRIEG! Commander Red Shirt

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    I definitely agree on setting realistic expectations based on both the talent and production value you have available (which also holds true for viewers of the films as well). I'm glad that so many people agree that the two biggest things to improve upon in fan films are acting and writing since both can improve with just practice and don't necessarily need a bigger budget.
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Acting usually requires actual acting lessons unless you are a prodigy.

    Screenwriting is hard. It looks easy, but it isn't. And most fanfilm writers are just aping the surface level storytelling in shows they have watched without understanding anything much about story construction. That stuff is hard to learn without studying in addition to writing.
     
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  16. SITZKRIEG!

    SITZKRIEG! Commander Red Shirt

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    I largely agree with the post and alluded to that in an earlier comment where I siad time and talent weren't free. My point was that I believe the average Joe or Jane that gets involved in fan films can improve their baseline levels of both those skills with just practice. It won't be to the point of a competent professional but I believe it would be a demonstrable improvement none the less.
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    I am not disagreeing. Any real effort is going to move the needle.

    But the reality is most of these people are doing it for fun or to help a friend and they're not serious about improving. Many is the story I've heard of fanfilms where cast or crew members just don't show up or won't do what they're asked. This is why I think fixing the scripts and the sound are the paramount improvement because those are really under the control of the maker in a way that other elements may not be.

    This assumes the makers care. Some just want to play Star Trek, not be filmmakers.
     
  18. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    We’ve generally tried to improve where we can, but we’re not professionals, most of us have jobs and families and financial and time limitations that work against us. And as Maurice rightly points out, not everyone, even on the same production, has the same priorities. It does make it difficult.
     
  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Certainly but time is usually the one thing fan films don't actually have. As @USS Intrepid notes it takes a lot of time and that is limited to outside of work/school/family activities. Coordinating schedules is tough. So, practicing the different aspects of improving in writing and acting is difficult because it takes a lot of practice. And, @Maurice is right. A lot of people don't want to be professionals. They just want to have fun. Which is fine. But, it will show in the production output.
     
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  20. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    And it's fine if people wants to "roll their own" Star Trek or what have you, but they shouldn't expect the audience to fawn over it and if it's > = pro films, which some friends will have you thinking if you don't check your ego at the door.

    What's always perplexed me are the simple basic mistakes so many fan filmmakers persist in making again and again even when the simplest solution is pointed out to them. I mean, I figured out how to not cross the line pretty much immediately once it was explained to me. It's literally not rocket science.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021