Friday, June 24, 2016

New Star Trek Fan Guidelines Bans Fan Movies. Episodes and More

As expected, the real consequence of the Axanar lawsuit has come to fruition as CBS and Paramount have effectively banned professional looking Star Trek fan productions. The companies issued new Fan Film Guidelines that current and future productions must follow to avoid getting sued by CBS and Paramount. Axanar violates every single one of them as do most fan productions over the last 10+ years. My read of them is the same as Axanar producer Alex Peters when he wrote "these guidelines appear to have been tailor-made to shut down all of the major fan productions and stifle fandom."

Since circa 2005 some fans have been making feature length movies and episodic productions that have a production quality that rivaled the existing movies and TV series (in terms of look and feel circa 1960s and late 1990s) resulting them getting lots of attention (within the realm of Star Trek fandom, not the general public). That was often due to professional fans and Star Trek alumni working on them either as actors or behind the scenes. The new guidelines are clearly designed to put a stop to so there is no doubt that they are "non-professional and amateur" productions.

While avoiding the word "ban", CBS and Paramount have banned movies, episodes, continuing story lines of any kind, stories longer than 30 minutes in length and prevents anyone that has ever worked on anything that is "official" Star Trek (including licensed products) from participating in fan productions. That means all actors, crew, designers, artists, you name it, if they touched official Star Trek anything in some way, they are not allowed to help. Non Star Trek professional actors and crew also used to appear in these fan productions. That will likely no longer be the case as not worth the risk of getting on the bad side of CBS and Paramount in case it may damage future job prospects with them.

Examples of recent fan productions that would now be banned under these new guidelines include Star Trek Horizon, Of Gods and Men, Renegades, Star Trek Continues and many more. There are even tribute and parody accounts (ex: The Redshirt Diaries) on Youtube were the average length of each video is maybe three minutes, clearly amateur in design but because they have an episodic like nature to them, they are now banned.

In short, CBS and Paramount are saying your fan production must be a one off story, must look & feel like a cheap fan production, and no professional experienced actors or crew should participate in their creation. In real world terms fan productions should return to circa 1990s. I am surprised they didn't demand they could only be shown on VHS cassette just to make sure.

To read the full list of guildlines, click here.

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