Donor Spotlight: Rick Newton

By August 12, 2015 Blog No Comments

Q: Can you tell us with a little about you, what your role is in Axanar, and what that entails?

A: I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.  Without giving my exact age, I’ll say I’m “somewhat older” than the first pilot for Star Trek, but not by too much!  I suspect that many of the donors for Axanar are in this same age range, so I’m not looking too much like an old fossil in this company (I hope!).  I’m not a blogger by trade; my writing experience is in software technical manuals and end-user help documentation.  So, blogging is a new (ad)venture for me.

By trade I’m an IT networking/support person – currently seeking employment.  I mention this part only in that this is one of the reasons I volunteered to be a blogger here – I have the time to try and make these blogs the best I can.  Others blogging here have regular full-time positions and for their additional efforts to get their submissions in, I can only say: “WOW!  I applaud your dedication to Axanar by taking on this extra duty to the project!

Q: Which iteration of Star Trek became “your first” Star Trek?

A: Star Trek “The Original Series” (obviously this was not its name as it “was” Star Trek initially) is where it began for me.  I grew up with the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise with Captain Kirk and crew.  When I was a kid I played Star Trek with my friends; we only occasionally played “cops and robbers” and “Cowboys and Indians.”

Q: What drew you to that iteration?

A: I was drawn, initially, to Star Trek because it was Science Fiction on TV. However, it didn’t take long; when “Where No Man Has Gone Before” aired, I not only “got into” the science fiction of the series but the “characters” and the (what I called at the time) “the future I wanted.”

Q: What is it about Star Trek that has made you such a long-term fan? 

A: What initially started me down the path to becoming a life-long Star Trek fan was that it was different than other TV shows, even (or perhaps especially because of) than other Science Fiction series. Some, that really only bordered on SF, like “Lost In Space,” and “The Twilight Zone.” Star Trek brought the same characters to each episode – unlike Twilight Zone – and brought series stories and intelligent interaction between them (unlike Lost). The stories were compelling, without being too overly so for a young kid.  As I grew up the deeper meaning within each episode; the “moral play” that stories were portraying made me appreciate Star Trek more. And, there was always – from the beginning – the portrayal of a future where “man” had come together, had overcome its prejudices and pettiness and reached “enlightenment.”  I wanted that future virtually desperately.  Although it wasn’t portrayed as such, to me it appeared to be a utopia compared to the times.

Q: How did you find out about Axanar?

A: I found it by accident when I was looking at another Star Trek related video – doing some quote searching for a post I was putting on Facebook – and one of the recommended videos was ‘Prelude to Axanar.’  Since I’d never heard of this video and didn’t see how it related to Star Trek (directly), I was curious, and decided to take a look.

Q: What was it that made you feel that you had to support Axanar (donation), and, to become more deeply involved in its production?

A: And, as I’m 100% certain everyone who has seen this short believes, I was immediately entranced by the story, the method of delivery (the recording of historical events through interviews from those that participated; as you might see in a History channel documentary), the way the script and acting made it feel “real,” and (not to be left out) the cinematography and special effects.  It was all AMAZING!!!

With only the one view, I knew that I had to help support this production.  I’d never before pledged money via a Kickstarter campaign; though I had heard of them.  With the money donated, I started in earnest watching what was developing with Axanar.  I became, as with each of you, a member of a couple of Axanar Facebook groups.  I added both Alec and Dianna as Facebook friends (and both are really great people, even without Axanar as a reason to come together on-line).  I’ve been very impressed with how Alec has been open with who, what, where, when, and how (how much, too) Axanar is being produced.  Kudos to Alec and his team!

Axanar, via Prelude, showed to me that someone else “got it,” got Star Trek as it had originally been envisioned by Gene Roddenberry and his “team.”  What I saw in Prelude harkens back to my Star Trek.  It just hit the mark dead-on for me.

Q: What are your expectations for the Axanar full-length feature?  

A: My hopes for Axanar – the full-length feature – are to see the return to the Star Trek that started it all.  There has to be an underlying message, not just a special effects wonder, not just a shoot ’em up continually story-line; but, an honest-to-goodness well thought out story that allows the characters to grow so “we” can relate to them despite the 200-year gap in time and technology. And, I think that Alec and the team at Ares have done that (with a few “JJ-isms” that I’m not 100% on board with, but they’re not so “drastic” that I’d withhold my support!), in spades!

Q: What would you like to see in the future of Ares Studios?  What direction do you want the studio to take in its future?

A: For me, I’d like to see Ares Studios become a place differentiated from the “big” studios – Paramount, Universal, Columbia/Sony, etc.  To be willing to look at projects that might otherwise “die on the table” (or sooner).  To be responsive to the audience that their projects are targeted towards – in a similar interactive manner that Axanar is being produced.  In fact, if Ares Studios continues to use a crowd-funding model for their potential projects in the future that might be a great way to proceed!  It means that the studio knows whether or not an idea, a script, a concept, is something that has an audience.

I’d like to see the studio grow and become successful, but, at the same time not so “big” that it drifts into the same territory as the large studios.


I don’t think that Ares needs to button-hole itself into just doing SciFi.  The studio should look to see what projects in any genre they are excited about doing; be that feature-films, TV, or even web series.  A diverse field of view will help the studio survive should one genre fade for a while as another surges. An open mind on where to go in the future is the best to keep the studio alive, and thriving.

Q: Any other comments about you; or your picture of Axanar/Ares; that you would like to have the other donors know?

A: I guess what I’d like to do is re-iterate my enthusiasm for Axanar, and Ares Studios; my faith in Alec and the Ares/Axanar Team.  My appreciation for the openness and comradery that Axanar has fostered, and the opportunity to support a return to the version of Star Trek that I love the most.

There have been detractors about the various iterations of Star Trek, and I must count myself as one. The only version of TV Star Trek that I feel fell far from the tracks was Enterprise – it completely ignored that which came before (but represented its future) and this, in my opinion doomed it to failure.  And, as you most likely know (if not you’re about to…), I’m not a fan of the rebooted movies for many reasons; none of which I’ll go into here.

I don’t see either of these “failings” present in Axanar.  There is a respect for that which has come before.  There is a design in place that shows Axanar will fit itself into canon seamlessly, making the result all that much more enjoyable for its “familiarity” while also maintaining its uniqueness.

My hat is off to Axanar/Ares Studios, to Alec and the team (all those that are behind the scenes making the “machine” work).  Also, let’s not forget to mention directly, the actors that have come aboard because they believe in this project!  And, last but most definitely not least, you the supporters of this project.  Your efforts, too, have all made this happen—give yourself a round of applause.  “We” all deserve it!

Until next time…