Saturday, August 06, 2016

Star Trek: Into Court Rooms?

At this point, I think I will wait until it comes out on Netflix to watch the latest Star Trek movie.

I'm rather annoyed that the powers that control the Star Trek franchise are using an iron fist to stamp out increasingly sharp fan films:

To avoid a lawsuit from Paramount, a fan production must be no more than 15 minutes long; have a budget no bigger than $50,000; have no paid professional actors or crew and no one who has ever worked on an official Star Trek production; no merchandising, not even the little perks usually given out for crowdfunding efforts (and what is a crowdfunded project without a T-shirt?); and all costumes from the franchise must be official Paramount merchandise. This can only be viewed as an attempt to ensure that no fan films with decent production quality or and kind of ambitious scope can be produced.

Paramount is claiming to control the actions of anyone who has worked on Star Trek for the rest of their lives? Really? That's even legal?

I've never watched these fan films until recently when I picked up on Star Trek Continues. It is hit or miss but really has the spirit of the original series. Kudos.

And a couple days ago I watched Star Trek Horizon. That delighted me by being in the Enterprise universe, which I liked far more than critics, I guess. Although in Horizon why are they in serial production of an experimental ship? Why NX-01 to NX-04? Shouldn't the "X" be out by now?

But I digress.

And of course, Prelude to Axanar, which prompted the Paramount/CBS decision to go full Tienanmen Square on the producers of these films.

All of these are pretty darn good. Axanar especially. So let me add this before the Paramount red shirts go after them.

Although I've sampled some low-budget stuff that I couldn't continue to watch after more than 5 minutes. So there's that.

But are the studios seriously worried that good fan films--which can be better with technology getting cheaper--will wreck their franchise?

These fan films simply increase the appetite for "real" movies. They are essentially free advertising for the franchise. If they are good, they make Star Trek more popular. If bad, nobody sees them and those who do would never mistake them for the studio brand.

The only way that these fan films can be bad for the franchise is by doing a better job than the studios.

Really, why doesn't Paramount view the fan films as their farm team? If story lines, actors, or film crew come up with something that strikes a chord with fans, bring them up to the big league.

If the fan films suck--as most do--let them wither and die unwatched.

So maybe rather than issuing draconian guidelines to fan film producers to limit them, the studio should issue guidelines to their professionals to ensure a higher quality movie, eh?

I hope that the fan films manage to get around these guidelines. Start with breaking up their films or episodes into 15-minute slices, each with $50,000 official budgets.

Maybe actors can temporarily renounce their professional status.

Perhaps non-actor crews can sue to prevent Paramount from governing their lives just because they were hired once by a Star Trek outfit.

Can lawyers figure out how different uniforms have to be from the studio versions to be legal?

And there has to be a lot more that can be done to go around limits. That's usually how limits work, isn't it?

The bottom line is that this policy is pissing me off. I'd normally see the latest Star Trek movie as I've seen every other one. But now I'll skip the theater experience.

Screw you Paramount. You became the Borg Collective so slowly, I hardly noticed.