What's Going On

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by jespah, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. WavyRancheros

    WavyRancheros Ensign Red Shirt

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    A catch-22. You can only submit a new Trek idea if you're established in existing Trek. Everything else won't even be read.

    There are numerous "original" works that live from the popularity of existing franchises. Fanboys, Galaxy Quest, The Orville. A story "about" or a story "paying homage" to something still grabs off attention it wouldn't have received otherwise.

    And dilution... what exactly is dilution. I guess some said TNG, DS9 and BOY diluted the original brand. Well, officially it was then called Franchise Fatigue. Or DISCO, Picard, Lower Decks, etc. juxtaposed Abramstrek with its timelines and stories all over the place. It's about money and control. Dilution is an excuse.
     
  2. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, as @jespah said, they aren’t taking unsolicited material at the film/tv level anymore. It opens them up to lawsuits of people claiming CBS/Paramount stole their idea.

    At this point, you would need to have an agent and a track record of making TV or film to be able to get in the room to pitch.

    So, start making stuff, that’s the best way to get in a room.

    I believed It’s dilution of the copyright she’s referring to, not the brand. CBS is free to make us much Star Trek as they like, you are are not. But you are free to make as much of your copyrighted work as you like.

    They want control over their copyrights just as much as YOU should want control over your copyrights. You don’t want copyright law to be weakened, it’s what protects YOUR work if someone were to try and make millions off YOUR idea.

    And of course it’s about money. It’s a business. It’s always been a business.
     
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  3. WavyRancheros

    WavyRancheros Ensign Red Shirt

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    That's the thing, isn't it? I see a big difference between a small, aspiring author, who lives from it, but still copyrights his characters and ideas; and a big corporation that makes millions of it, and copyrights its brand.

    If I published my story, I might be annoyed if someone continued my work without my permission; but mainly because I think I'm still not finished and still have things to tell with my characters; and the other attempt might put that at risk, because it messes it up, or is better.
    If I were Paramount/CBS, and were the owner of a popular brand that already has 47 spinoffs, I'd let them do whatever the hell they wanted, and take 99% of the profit via a neck breaking license modell.

    I mean we're having at least three Spocks now, in a very short time. You can't dilute the content of a brand any further than this.

    I still think that the restrictions indicate that they were worried. We had Axanar, Renegades, etc. releasing their stuff for free with professional actors and crew (most of which had actually been part of the franchise!?! I mean let that sink for a minute or two) working on it. And CBS feared that this might probably put their own efforts at risk. Because if the audience can choose between a show for free on Youtube and a show to pay on CBS All Access, that audience might choose YouTube. Nothing would have stopped the original cast and crew from continuing their efforts.

    And that's where copyright was misused to enforce a monopoly. And that's why I consider copyright laws outdated for this day and age. In a world were anyone can pick up high quality equipment and can get a group of talented people together all around the world, limiting their efforts by enforcing copyright is... well... old-fashioned. Instead they should be embracing the variety and let quality decide. Whilst receiving a share of the profit anyways. Again, we had professionals and Star Trek alumni (!) doing (fan) films, and they sunk them! Just why?
     
  4. WavyRancheros

    WavyRancheros Ensign Red Shirt

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    And of course I think that they'd make a shitload of money with my story. Which is either unbelievable craziness or extreme confidence. We won't find out, unless I find a reasonable way around that rather narrow-minded "I won't even read it" policy.
     
  5. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Admiral Admiral

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    They will not read it. There is no way around it.

    I'm sure one of the reasons why: someone sent something in, it got rejected, and then the author saw some episode of Star Trek they believed "stole" their ideas and they decided to sue. Why would a studio open themselves to litigation from every fan who thinks their idea would make them millions of dollars?

    Especially when they can hire professionals who already HAVE made millions of dollars for other studios...

    It's great the you have an idea that you are confident in. I would retool it so it doesn't HAVE to be a Star Trek story. Make it. Get it out there. And if you get success from it or something else, THEY will come to YOU.

    You will have a lot more freedom if you don't play in someone else's sandbox.
     
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  6. WavyRancheros

    WavyRancheros Ensign Red Shirt

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    Good points. I'll try.

    But I decided I don't want to burn this story. As said, it simply is meant to be what it is: an addition to an existing fictional universe. Whatever I do now to get the foot in the door, I want this story to be realized in front of the Star Trek background; as a comic, a novel, a film, whatever. I can still publish it as a fanfic in a couple of years if things don't work out, so that at least someone will read it. But I'm not going to rework it into a different, very similar universe. See, even in disguise, it would be clearly recognizable as a Star Trek story, in themes, tone, atmosphere, et al. It's not a Star Wars story, not a Stargate story, not a Guardians of the Galaxy story, it's not a Pirates of the Caribbean story, it's not an Avatar story (just for those who said I want to ride on the success of a franchise). It might be a The Orville story, though. I think trying to obfuscate what it really is would be distracting and wouldn't serve the story at all.
    But we'll see.

    An established scriptwriter would say a similar thing when confronted with "why don't you just rework it into an original story instead"? After having retorted "cause I'm getting paid for it" or "because the studio demands it" (which is the only factual legitimation), she'd say that the story can't be told in another universe.

    I also have an original scifi story idea, and it would be impossible to rework that one into a Star Trek story. And the same works the other way round as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  7. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Admiral Admiral

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    Nope. They really wouldn't.

    Stories aren't so beholden to some sort of backdrop and costumes. It's why the story of Hamlet works just as well with human beings using iambic pentameter as it does with animated lions singing Elton John.

    So much of a fictional universe is window dressing. It's about the characters and their actions in a given circumstance. And honestly, I can't think of a given circumstance in Star Trek that couldn't be translated into a different science fiction universe or a fantasy universe or something more grounded and realistic. The story of Forbidden Planet could be easily done as a story in Star Trek, and of course, Forbidden Planet is a riff on The Tempest.
     
  8. WavyRancheros

    WavyRancheros Ensign Red Shirt

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    You do see the similarities. Let's consider this. An aging Captain, not long before retirement, gets a new First Officer, who fought in the war, lost his wife and turns out to be suicidal. Starfleet orders them to investigate the apparent suicide of the daughter of a Federation diplomat, a friend of the Captain. As it turns out, the daughter was murdered, and the diplomat is dealing with Ketra-cel white, and has a henchmen who served together with the First Officer in the war. In exciting action sequences and with dead pan oneliners they take down the Ketra-cel white dealers.

    That's not a Star Trek story, even if you dress it like that.

    Same goes for a Star Trek story that you undress.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2019
  9. Professor Zoom

    Professor Zoom Admiral Admiral

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    Sounds like it could be an episode of DS9 or even Next Generation, honestly. Just depends on the execution.

    Like I could see O’Brien being asked by an old friend to investigate the death of his daughter who was traveling to DS9. Bashir gets involved, Quark knows more than he wants to admit. Bashir tries doing the one liners, O’Brien rolls his eyes.

    Or, Dax. Dax is being asked by an old friend to investigate the death of his daughter, her god daughter. Turns out she was involved in something well over her head, she was investigating a ketral cel white ring, but she got to close to the founders.


    For example? What is unique to a Star Trek story that isn’t translatable to another universe? Another genre?
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Why CBS cracked down as it did is well documented in this forum. The "arms race" in fanfilms had gotten out of control and there were already signs of brand confusion with some of the higher-end ones (articles mistakenly using images from a fanfilm to represent actual Trek). They had to do something and they could have just said, "fuck it, zero tolerance policy" as had the people who own the Lost In Space I.P. or at least have been as restrictive as Star Wars fanfilm operate under.

    Dennis Bailey—who wrote for TNG—"rolled his own" with his Polaris film, which is in the same vein as Forbidden Planet or Star Trek without being either.

    Honestly, the only upside to making a "branded" film set in someone else's I.P. is the lower friction at getting an audience. The downside is you risk that fans of said franchise nitpicking your work to death or endlessly comparing it to the official works or other fan works.

    Better to make your own thing.
    [/ANTIRANT] ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
  11. Sean_McCormick

    Sean_McCormick Captain Captain

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    Unfortunately this is not true and has never been. The rules on Star Wars fanfilms, that exist are only for films entered into a specific competition and NOT for all films.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    To my knowledge those are the only "guidelines" ever released re Star Wars. Perhaps Disney just looks the other way...until someone pulls an Axanar in their turf.
     
  13. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Dilution" = metaphor for adding to an existing brand formula which, by accident or intent, reduces the brand's efficacy. DS9 definitely changed the format but created extended life. The 1996 movie First Contact added to the Borg, diluting its original concept - albeit gaining a little bit of life in the process. This is inevitable - universe building where the universe is set to a certain extent but then said building creates a wall that has to be gotten around. The more the wall exists only compounds the problem.

    "Franchise fatigue" = continuing the saga for so long that it feels like everyone's walking the motions, painting by numbers, nothing new is being added, and it all feels monotone and stale. It's also why TNG ended a year earlier, as even in 1994 a lot of people were saying the show had lost steam (got fatigued.) Or earlier, especially regarding the music.

    Depending on fan, what they've seen and invested themselves in, and so on, YMMV with the perception behind these conditions.

    "Orville" et al took an existing trope and innovated on it with fresh ideas. No Trek franchise did a 2D episode, play around on a high gravity planet, or other sci-fi trappings. Orville's most derivative episode might be season 1's finale, if not the "we all live in a yellow asteroid" episode but even the asteroid episode had enough of a twist... Nor did any Trek do anything like "Majority Rule", which feels more like a "Sliders" episode and the influence of that show can be seen in other episodes, never mind people claim Sliders was homage to Quantum Leap, which is homage to Doctor Who, and so on and so forth ad nauseum.

    "Star Wars" is old kiddie good-vs-evil mixed with swordfighting with Samurai influence with day-glo sabers and larger-than-life ships, proving - as Star Trek did with wagon trains westerns and shows like "Days of our Lives" - took from other genres outright.

    Or the human being - we all have the same organs but depending on individual nuances to biochemistry, time of living, and other factors, there are plenty of differences that vary from person to person. Just like the taste of Soylent Green... metaphors rule and suck at the same time, just like ambivalence...

    And there's another tropey term afoot:

    "Rubbish" - throwing anything against a wall to see what might stick, turning the audience into a beta tester if not outright trolling. Early TNG did this. Early DS9 did it to a lesser extent. Often coupled with extravagant special effects in an attempt to hide a rubbish plot. TNG and DSC both did this in spades, especially early on. TOS had no extravagant effects budget, but the storylines were novel for the time as well as being more adult than juvenile (see "Lost in Space" as an example, noting "adult" and "juvenile" also have more to do than just target demographic.)
     
  14. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, that would be ... fun ... to watch. Micky doesn't pull punches like CBS did.
     
  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. It's about protecting their property, their investment.
    And that is a terrible way to do business. You can run in to all kinds of issues with just a "carte blanche" attitude of "do whatever you want." Eventually, someone will push the line and then attack CBS for not issuing guidelines.

    Oh, wait, that already happened, and CBS issued guidelines to ensure their property was protected. Because that's how they make their money.

    When it's your millions of dollars on the line then go for it. But, I strongly suspect the attitude might be different.
    Yes, you really can.
    Again, where does it end? CBS is already in a fight with an independent game designer who is claiming that CBS stole his idea. So, imagine that CBS receives a submission and rejects it. Oh, and then they publish a script that is similar to the idea. Oh, look, legal hot water. CBS would rather not deal with it.

    And that exact scenario happened to Gene Roddenberry with NBC, I believe.So, it's not outlandish.
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    People submitting scripts to show and studios and then screaming "plagiarism!" when something similar airs is why most shows and studios will not even open your script submission unless it goes through an agent. The odds of getting a gem v. the odds of getting sued are too risky to bother with.
     
  17. jespah

    jespah Taller than a Hobbit Moderator

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    Happy Thanksgiving all! And remember: this is the week when pie is a perfectly acceptable breakfast food.*

    *Well, it always is, but this week you can come out of the pie closet.
     
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  18. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How's Polaris going?
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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    Ask @Serveaux :)
     
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  20. Maurice

    Maurice Fact Trekker Premium Member

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