(I know you want to see the INTERLUDE!) Feel free to scroll to the bottom of this webpage and then come back to read the full blog post).
I’ve been a fan of Axanar since before their first Kickstarter campaign in early 2014. And when they released PRELUDE TO AXANAR this summer, I was overjoyed. There’s never been a fan film like this, and it’s great as the Star Trek I grew up with….. which is more than I can say for Paramount’s later Trek films and (later) CBS TV releases.
Later that summer, I seized the opportunity to volunteer to help collect and mail the premiums to the donors (of which I was, of course, one), and I met ALEC PETERS, DIANA KINGBURY, ROBERT MEYER BURNETT and a host of other people involved in the production. I even went to P.F. Chang’s in Long Beach after the meeting with RICHARD HATCH (may he rest in peace) for a fantastic dinner.
In 2015, I wrote weekly Fan Film Friday blogs for the Axanar site about other Trek fan films….. Which led to its creation six months later. Fan films in general and Axanar in particular quickly became a staple of my Trek fan life.
The interlude came about in stages, but I can trace its initial origins to June 2017, when I read Alec Axanar’s new two-part script. A legal agreement with CBS and Paramount forced him to reduce the feature film script to two 15-minute segments, shot in the same staged documentary style as Prelude.
By this time, the amazing half-finished bridge set had been assembled and shipped across the country from Southern California to Georgia, and I was eager to see how the bridge scenes would be shot in the Mocking format. But to my shock and horror, Alec’s new script contained no bridge scenes….. only the same talking head dialogues and visual effects as in Prelude. А ?
What I didn’t know at the time was that Alec intentionally left out the bridge scenes because he wasn’t sure he could get the money together to film them. But since I didn’t know why there were no bridge scenes, I mistakenly assumed Alec just thought he couldn’t put them in and still tell the story well. To show that it is possible to have bridge scenes, I wrote a new version of script….. of what I call my alt-axanar script. Alec won’t use it (he doesn’t mind his own version), but when the two Axanar episodes come out, I’ll put it here on the blog, just for fun.
Panelof the Axanar comic, stardate 2245.1.
In 2018, Axafan TREY McELWAIN began publishing his Axanar comics. We talked about turning one of the bridge scenes from my Alt-Axanar script into an Axanar Comics short story. So I borrowed Trey’s illustrator, Daniel Fu, and worked with him to turn the first part of my script into a 7-page comic called Stardate 2245.1. Daniel was still working on it when something incredible happened.
The assembly of the Ares bridge is finally finished!
With the help of local volunteers from Lawrenceville, GA and money from Alec’s pocket, the bridge was completed, consoles painted, signs printed and placed, monitors and screens installed, digital animations created and power problems solved.
Bridge was publicly introduced to fans and donors at the first Axacon in November 2018. Of course I had to be there and take lots of pictures. My best picture has become an icon (used in all kinds of Aksanar media)….
After an incredible weekend with special guests like J.G. HERZLER, GARY GRAHAM, DAVID GERROLD and many others, I was floating in the clouds after returning to Los Angeles with Axamania. And then I interviewed JOSHUA IRWIN and VICTORIA FOX, two fans who work professionally in the Arkansas film industry and just completed the first of the AVALON UNIVERSE fan films, GHOST SHIP.
After we finished our interview, we went to check out the new deck that had just opened. Josh and Victoria hadn’t been to Axakon, but Josh had seen the pictures. As a professional cinematographer, Josh was excited about all the lighting and shooting possibilities of this 360-degree set. So I asked him if he would film an episode of Avalon Universe there. He said he would like to make something on this great bridge, but he doesn’t have a script to back it up.
Then I thought of my alt-axanar scenario. It was too much to film, but what about the opening scene that was turned into a 7 page comic book? Josh and Victoria needed to see the actual script first, so I took the comic, which was an extension of the short 3-page section of the original Alt-Axanar script, and turned it into a script, this time a little longer than 3 pages.
I’ve changed the title to Interlude…. much easier to pronounce than Stardate: 2245.1 ! But the new title should also inform viewers of the chronological order of this story in the context of Prelude to Axanar and its two sequels. My story began right after the end of the prelude and led to two sequels. So it would serve as an interlude between the main fan films.
Josh and Victoria liked what they saw, and in early 2019 they agreed to take on the project, as I thought at the time they would be co-directors (like the Russo brothers co-directed Avengers: Endgame). At the end, Victoria is named as director and Josh as director of photography. But both were necessary for every aspect of the development of this fan film.
Victoria Fox and Joshua Irwin
Of course, it takes more than directors to make a movie … something I discovered the moment Alec told me: And Jonathan, you’ll be the executive producer! And in that moment, I realized two things: 1) I had no idea what an executive producer did, and 2) I had no choice but to learn….. and learn fast!
But I also realized something else: Since I wrote the fan film blog – what a great opportunity to share my fan film journey, my trek, with all my readers. Step by step, successes and failures, eureka moments and hidden mines….. I would capture everything I learned and did in a series of blogs covering the entire development process, from idea to crowdfunding, pre-production, production, post-production….. post-production. And that’s until you get out.
I’ve already posted on the SIXTY Interlude blogs….. And I’m not done yet!
In the coming weeks and months I will show you more behind the scenes of what I couldn’t show you before because I didn’t want to give away any spoilers. These include blogs about the post-production editing process and some interesting images that unfortunately had to be left out. It will also include blogs about music, sound mix, costumes and even footage shot during filming. Yeah, you can see all the magic happen. …. rarely, because usually fans don’t film themselves when making fan films.
I want to say loud and clear that Interlude is not just my fan film. This is OUR fan film, from Victoria, Josh and the 50-60 crew members: our incredible cast, our first-time director and our crew. The assistant directors, the visual effects and CGI wizards, our incredible composer, our four assistant producers (including GLEN WOLFE who gave us the set for WARP 66 studio’s infirmary), all the support staff who sat around most of the day waiting for brief bursts of activity, Costume designers, hair and makeup artists, sound designers and mixers, people with hammers, drills and brushes, people who made sure Ares Studios was ready and running smoothly for our two-day shoot in November 2019, production assistants, pens, and even our caterer and doctor on call. Oh, and the hundreds of amazing and generous donors who believed in us enough to give their money and make the dream possible.
It took a village to create Interlude, and I can’t thank everyone enough! Instead of trying to list them all here, sit back, watch the credits, and know that each name that appears in the reel is the name of a person who gave me one of the most valuable gifts I could ever receive: the realization of my dream of making a Star Trek fan film – and not just any Star Trek fan film, but one that we can all be incredibly proud of. It was truly one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring experiences of my life.
One last thing before we show you our finished fan film. I promised myself that when I published the first Interlude blog, I would share the following comment posted on Facebook during our first crowdfunding campaign. As you can see,not everyone believed in the dream…..
Of course, there were other skeptics, but I kept this screenshot because it perfectly represents the absolute certainty of some people that this project would NEVER be completed. I remembered this comment so many times as we steadily progressed on Interlude. Sometimes progress was slow and sometimes the team faced major challenges. But I never doubted that this project would succeed. I’m sure he didn’t mean that, but James Vergon’s powerful Facebook comment has an important message for all dreamers: Don’t listen to the killers. Never.
Believe in yourself, because that is the first and most fundamental step to achieving your dreams.
We are creators of music, and we are dreamers of dreams.
And on that happy note of Willie Wonka, after two long years of development, I proudly present to you all the next chapter of the Axanar saga. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Intermezzo…
And if you still don’t have enough: After the premiere on Monday night, me and the cast members appeared live on Axanar Confidential to talk about the film. Check it out (and feel free to fast-forward twelve minutes, from 3:00 to 27:00, as we take a silent break to watch the interlude) …..
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