The Fan Film Guidelines Breakdown – Part Four

Well, here we are with part four, so far we have covered a total of four separate guidelines. Although I have not dissected them in order these have been some of the more simple ones to be able to break down for you.

As we shift into the next half of this blog series, some things are going to get increasingly tricky to dissect and as such the guideline blogs may be further apart, this is due to the time that I need to investigate things properly which in turn I hope will enable me to give you, what I hope you need, to enable you to use what is within these blogs to guide you in making some exceptional fan productions.

In this blog, I intend to break down one of the most misunderstood guidelines and one that has been widely reported inaccurately.

4) If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.

When people heard about this guideline they accused CBS of being greedy and only after money it was, in fact, one of the guidelines that upset so many people. On a personal note, it was painful to see the fallout from this one alone, one thing about the Star Trek fandom is we have a unique way of making the things we see on screen be it costumes, props or toys.

It took many by surprise that CBS would come up with this guideline, I mean why? What damage do we do building these things we see on screen, the simple answer is nothing. However, this guideline is not one aimed at the fans, but at the third party sellers that seem to pop up overnight online selling the very things that people like you and me, just simple fans! That has paid CBS a licence fee to be able to produce these items legally.

Even though 13 months later people are still, saying things like these third-party sellers do no harm or they sell things cheaper than people like Anovos or the other official licences, the hard and inescapable truth is they do more damage to the very thing we hold dear and that is the longevity of Star Trek.

The simplest way to put it is every Dollar, Pound or Euro paid to these people is one less given to the very people who need it to keep this 51-year-old franchise going. However, I can already hear it now “well they have millions why do they need it”, well like anything run by anyone, even by the person running that market stool we go to, or the man beside the road who sells you flowers or fruit, if things do not make money they stop! Now I do not know about you but do you want Star Trek to end because CBS does not make a profit from Star Trek?? I know I don’t?

Last June when John Van Citters appeared on the engage podcast this very guideline was poised to John by the podcasts host Jordan and it took less than 30 seconds for John to clear up the misinterpretation of it by this following statement,

“This is definitely an area of big big misconception” THEY MAKE THEIR OWN Anovos is a terrific example because this is, a this is a company that was Started by a couple of fans – (Read the full transcript below).

Therefore nothing has changed and we carry on like before, if we want to make our own costumes and props we can and this guideline is not aimed at us doing that, but if we want a professional looking uniform, phaser or tricorder we buy it from officially licensed partners and not a third parties, to me that is completely fair isn’t?

Below you will find the usual producer commentary, links and information you need to help you interrupt this guideline in your own way but with our help.


It should be noted the Fan Film Guidelines DO NOT affect anything but Fan Films, this means Audios dramas and alike are not bound by them.

4) If the fan production uses commercially-available Star Trek uniforms, accessories, toys and props, these items must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations of such commercially available products.



RANDY LANDERS – Potemkin Pictures

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Paramount and CBS want you to use the officially licensed merchandise. This is because their manufacturers pay for those licenses, and if uniforms, props and the like are purchased from non-licensees, then revenues are hurt. However, Mr. van Citters said that fans can make and use their own costumes in fan films. To that end, much of Potemkin Pictures’ costumes are made by our cast and crew, or purchased and modified from off-the-rack clothing. Some are actually Halloween Costumes. Some were purchased before the implementation of the guidelines, and we continue to use those. But we are no longer purchasing “knockoffs,” and are instead working harder at creating recreations of the designs from the Star Trek TOS movie era.

Nick Cook – Intrepid

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Basically what you’ve said. If you buying it, buy something that is officially licensed. Otherwise, make it yourself.  As I understand it, Roddenberry.com does sell licensed patterns and accoutrements.

https://shop.roddenberry.com/collections/uniform-patterns

There are quite a few websites and Facebook groups dedicated to Trek costuming, but I think most of these have some links to unlicensed materials, so I’m wary of sharing them.


Vance Major – Melbourne

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

I’ve seen something called the SENSE OF RIGHT ALLIANCE, Google it if you haven’t(you won’t regret it lol) and I think that’s what they want to avoid. Honestly, I’ll never pay 500 or 1000 for a uniform. I’m also not going to dress in a Halloween outfit, I’m going to look decent for a fan film. But when you look at the something like the SENSE OF RIGHT ALLIANCE, you just shake your head. I get not taking money from them, but I’m also not going to spend outside my means, whatever it is. At the end of the day, I’m not going to sense of right alliance my fan film. To me, that’s all they are asking.

Justin Burton – Former member of the Lexington production. 

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

Well, I can see the point with them not wanting you to buy from costumers but officially licensed outlets far too often pop up costumes makers have taken advantage of fans by taking their money and not delivering the product as promised. Many productions make their own uniforms because of this Hidden Frontier made their own James Cawley does as well as Intrepid.


Ray Tesi – Republic

  • What is your interpretation of this guideline?

The issue with this guideline revolves around the uniforms mostly in my opinion. The only true licensee I believe is ANOVOS. The issue there is not only one of expense, but uniforms only come in one flavour. If you want a gold shirt, you’re a captain, a blue shirt is a first officer, etc. Uniforms almost have to be provided by some source who can customise them. Props are readily available through licensed commercial companies, readily available, and generally on the inexpensive side depending on the quality of the props you’re looking for.

Robin –  Dark Armada:

“The guidelines set by CBS are just what they are…….. Guidelines, as it was explained in the podcast they’re not supposed to be rules and CBS isn’t going to inspect every single fan film about these guidelines. The Star Trek Fan Film community used to live by a certain code or ‘unofficial rules’, until some decided to break that code and all hell broke loose. But it’s really just common sense: making a fan film means you play with someone’s intellectual property and in our case, CBS and Paramount have graciously allowed us to do that for over a decade. The risk that they would ask you to stop is always present, so do you think it’s wise to sell DVD’s, ask for money/donations, build a studio, pretend to be official Star Trek? Only a few thought it was. Most fan productions followed a few simple rules: don’t make a profit, don’t sell DVD’s or similar merchandise and make clear it’s a fan production. The only difference today is that these rules are now officially presented as guidelines by CBS. Follow them and you’re safe from any legal action. Most important about these guidelines are that your intentions are good (the common sense stuff I mentioned before), that it’s a production by the fans for the fans out of love for Star Trek (and of course…. don’t pull an Alec). My advice would be not to try to desperately work around the guidelines, but realise that they are a way for CBS to allow us to play with Star Trek as fans. Some of these guidelines weigh heavier than other. I think I don’t have to explain that collecting more money is a worse guideline to ignore than the one about the length of your film. Whether your film is 15, 30 or 45 minutes long, make sure your intentions are good and put a lot effort, a lot of work and a lot of love into it”



{} Jordan {}

OH OK now I the other thing that brought  up a lot of questions was regarding  costumes props and weapons things of  that nature that there’s  one of the guidelines states don’t have the  exact word in front of me I you know if  it is available through our license licensees the Licensors  then you know use that one

{} JVC {}

This is definitely an area of big big misconception

{} Jordan {}

Right because I was like hey if I want to make my own tricorder out of macaroni what the heck man I can do that right?

{} JVC {}

Jordan you are now committed to making a tricorder out of macaroni just so I can see it

{} Jordan {}

So can you can you shed a little light on that because that one did lead to some questions and I get it now you wake up you know Anovos one of your license makes gorgeous costumes but if somebody wants to make their own what do they do?

{} JVC {}

THEY MAKE THEIR OWN  Anovos is a is a terrific example  because this is a this is a company that  was Started by a couple of fans who did not yet even have an operating business  who did not yet have a license from  anybody else who came to us with a presentation and a plan and some samples of the quality of work that they felt  they could do and they have created a  business after that we looked at it  we were like yes let’s try this  they came out of fan ranks and they have spent over the years being a Star Trek license tens of thousands of dollars if not hundreds of thousands of dollars at this point in development for their products they make exceptionally good quality stuff that looks screen accurate  that that wears well that is nicely  tailored and you’ve seen the stuff at  conventions it looks amazing so out of support for Star Trek we would ask people that if you are doing the fan film that you not purchase stuff from unlicensed bootleg operators who do not help support official Star Trek in and create a climate where we can get more Star Trek so we’re asking that if we have stuff commercially available that  you consider using that on your on your projects we do have great quality stuff available from vendors like Anovos from QMX  etc and we  would like you to respect that and support their investment into Star Trek and dedication to Star Trek many times their materials are going to be a perfect fit and provide a great and very accurate shortcut for you but we’re not  looking to inhabit fan creativity we’re not looking to limit what you can do on  your episode like well they don’t have an officially licensed original series silver Lemay environmental suits so what do I do? I guess I have to cut that from my story know what you have to do then  is get our somebody who’s really  talented they can make one and  that’s fine we’re not looking to inhibit  that we’re not looking to get rid of the DIY ethic of Star Trek fans

{} Jordan {}

And correctly wrong and then once you’ve made it you’re hoping that the person is not going to turn around and sell it as a perk in there

{} JVC {}

Well yes where were we were hoping  people aren’t going to decide hey I did  a really good job making that I’m going  to go into business I doing that but I  completely get that when I was a kid and 10 years old  11 years old and I’d see a  Star Trek episode with a really cool  thing in and I’d be digging through everything in the house and like now here’s an old wrapping paper tube if I  take that in this coat hanger and this  cut out this piece of cardboard and  spray paint it silver what can it can I  make this thing that I saw in the  episode and I get that that’s part  of the fun of Star Trek that you were  talking about the costuming that you see  at these conventions where you see if  people showing up as the crystalline  entity and that that’s amazing and  that’s wonderful  and by all means please keep that  part of Star Trek going we’re not trying  to inhibit that if there is the  opportunity to use official merchandise  we would ask the fans help support the  franchise that they love so much.

 


Websites to:

Purchase Uniforms:

Purchase patterns to make your own uniforms:

Purchase props:

Help to build props:

Misc Prop Google search:

Uniform Accessories:

Purchase:

Misc Google search:


Facebook groups that specialise in prop and costume making 



If you run a facebook group or know of any links or information you think would be of use in this post then please comment below.

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