Being Otaku is more then just about Anime or Manga, it’s about being a fan who is passionate – the same can be said for Star Trek.
A powerful argument for why fans should be allowed to continue work, at no profit. Big companies would be remiss to dismiss the fans, remember the biggest part of your paycheck comes from fans, not just the average consumer. Especially when it comes to properties like Star Trek or even Star Wars. CBS – don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
I am sharing a plea from my uncle, posted on his Facebook page. If you have comments and want to participate in the discussion, I would encourage your thoughts and input!
A STAR TREK NERD’s PLEA! Sorry for my soapbox in advance.
I have to say something to all my geek friends out there. As long as any of you have known me – You know that I am a Star Trek fan through and through. No other show or movie has inspired my dreams or love of science fiction more than Star Trek. Even once in Vienna I made my wife sit through two hours in an old theatre to watch the Premiere of the recent Star Trek reboot instead of seeing Vienna at night – A fact she still reminds me of. I have no reason to be emberassed or hide my love of such great stories and dreams. I also know that Gene Roddenberry (the creator) invented ST on the premise of dreams, and realistically on the premise of making a living. Star Trek ownership has changed hands several times over the years and those stewards have made millions in TV licensing of the original series, development of new TV shows, and numerous movies and music developments.
Several years ago groups of fans – More passionate than I – began building their own sets, recruiting fan writers and Original series writers – to help them create great stories to keep their love of a show, and the dreams that come with them, alive. Several online shows began to emerge on the internet. Star Trek Phase 2 (now New Voyages), Star Trek Continues, Star Trek:Renegades, and Star Trek Axanar to name a few. As far as I can tell, the producers and leaders of these dreaming gangs did these works without interest of profit – They just wanted more stories and dreams and visions of tomorrow to absorb. Even James Doohan’s son (Scotty from the original series, is a key actor and participant in one of them.
I imagine most of the consumers who consumed these works gladly for free online (like myself) did so with the full intention of freeing their hard earned cash for the ‘for profit’ versions that the rightful owners intended to continue making. I’m not lying when I say – I will continue to consume each and every Star trek thing fed me (for profit or otherwise).
I am grateful to these people for providing stories, and more importantly, for providing continuing journeys without interest of profit. I don’t care how good or bad they are – they are feeding my dreams. And…..And….They are doing it without a lot of financial interest or intent to violate your ownership. The current copyright owners of Star Trek have decided these these stories and dreams should not be. Perhaps they feel it impedes their profit trajectory for their ‘for profit’ creations.
I don’t begrudge the owners desire to make profit off of the properties. I will continue to pay them for those stories. But there is something endearing about the people who want more dreams in the meantime. More stories! People like James Cawley have worked without financial interest to provide stories and dreams. My understanding is that these fan creators carefully explored what they could and couldn’t do, and operate to rules that the owners laid out. None of them wanted to rob the owners. Believe me some of the written ‘Fan Fiction’ that is out there is more offensive than these productions. Are you going to pursue action against these folks too.
Upon deeper inspection of those who do these works – they do so without financial gain. They do it because they love it. Why does that threaten the rightful owners so much that they would sue these passionate dreamers who want more than what the copyright owners provide because it is not in their rightful profit models to do so. Even George Lucas laughingly supported the comedic spoofers who made fun of Star wars at an annual contest of creative Star Wars Spoofs. Why, because he loved their dreams, and he realized it was in his franchises best interest to not stir the hornets nest of fans, but rather let their dreams take flight to fill the gaps of time until he was ready to create again. Even Disney/Marvel doesn’t step on fan fiction or humor deeply – why? Because it serves fans dreams and Disney’s financial potential.
This case agaInst the Axanar folks is well targeted and, on initial blush, an effort to shoot a shot across the bow of other non-profit creators. “WARNING! We’re making new properties, and we’re scared of your amateur dreaming! What if your version of Star Trek keeps us from making the maximum amount of profit.” Here’s my newsflash to the current property owners. “The one thing that will hurt your profit margins more, in my view, is filing suit against fans, non-profit producers, amateur actors and writers who work without pay, and original ST actors who volunteer time (without pay) to help tell great stories in the Star Trek universe. James Doohan’s son, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Lou Ferrigno, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Alan Ruck, and many other professional actors have volunteered their passion to these efforts. Even D.C. Fontana (original script writer) and David Gerrold (noted Star Trek Historian) have contributed and continue to help. Why ‘shoot’ passionate people who are not profiting from this property from living out their fantasies and dreams with great stories.
A far better strategy is to help them, nurture their dreams, and even profit yourselves with creative contracts to put their amazing creations out there as loving tributes. Filing for damages in the court of law is far less productive than supporting their works and recognizing their creations as wonderful in the court of public/fan opinion. If you don’t want anymore creations then deadline a stop date, and work with them to make them whole and productively stop the practice. As it appears right now – You have placed the seed of me not wanting to support you financially moving forward. James Cawley, somehow, obtained copies of the original set blueprints, bought and abandoned building, and rebuilt those sets to exacting detail. WHO DOES THAT?! People who want to rip you off Star Trek Owners?! Vic Mignona (Star Trek Continues) even garnered the praise of Gene’s son on his webiste claiming his stories should be considered ‘canon.’ His website statement: “Trek Continues, Inc. is a non-profit with Vic Mignogna at the helm. This production company is set to blaze trails across Federation space.” WHO SAYS THAT?! Greedy profit Mongers?! REALLY?! No, People who love the dreams that come from a vision created almost 52+ years ago. Shooting them in the visionary heart now will send a message I and many others will not appreciate – nor will we support financially with your future properties. I don’t care how good they are, or how bad they are!
CBS – if you want to maximize your profit don’t do this. If your truly worried – then negotiate the ounce of blood you need from these people who have to fundraise to tell stories in between times of your productions, and let them continue to be dreamers. George Lucas looked more than resentful in his veiled comments about Disney and Star Wars last week. Most fans I know who heard about those comments were gleeful that he sold out so that others could take dreams further than his creative desires and schedule allowed. Take a hint from that, and embrace these people who just want to tell great stories on the internet’s small screen, and find a way to be their partners not their enemies. These folks love this property so much they are investing life in it! Why can’t they share this with each other, and me? In the end, you are not just their enemies, you are becoming mine because you can’t see the long term profitability forest for the immediate ‘ that’s my property’ trees. Get a new vision, get a new strategy, work with these loving story tellers, and then continue to nurture these fans love of this wonderful storyline and property – I’ll pay you for that and I’ll watch your shows and advertisements for that. I hope that makes sense to someone who is in charge of this property, and the hourly rates they are paying a firm to execute this insanity. It has to be costly to pay lawyers to disillusion my dreams – at least I’m not paying for that – YOU ARE!