was successfully added to your cart.

Fan Film Friday – Join the new Fan Film LETTER WRITING CAMPAIGN!

By August 26, 2016Fan Films
Packets

My own packets were mailed to executives at both studios on Tuesday…

In 1968, NBC received 115,893 letters from Star Trek fans pleading for the network not to cancel their favorite show…and it worked. Star Trek was renewed for a third and final season.

IF YOU WANT TO HELP US GET THE FAN FILM GUIDELINES CHANGED, SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE…

It is now 2016, and fans have a new opportunity to make their voices heard. This time, the imperiled entity is Star Trek fan films, restricted by a new set of guidelines issued by Star Trek license holders CBS and Paramount. Not all of these guidelines are threatening to fan films. Nearly half of them are perfectly acceptable as written. Another a quarter of them simply need some minor tweaking to better clarify what the studios are trying to communicate. It is only the small number of remaining guidelines that have overshot the mark and wound up too restrictive to allow fans the creativity and passion that the studios themselves say they want to encourage fans to showcase.

A week after the guidelines were announced, John Van Citters of CBS Consumer Products Inc. appeared on a podcast and said the following:

“All of this is definitely a conversation. We hope very much that this helps settle things with Star Trek fan films, that it provides some clarity for everybody, and that we can see what is working and what is not working…and we can follow up accordingly with that.”

But how do fans approach the studios to share our concerns? There is no official mechanism for fans to sit down with the CBS and Paramount executives to try to find a fairer compromise between the best interests of both parties. There is no single fan representative who speaks with the collective voice of fandom. Even fan filmmakers themselves are all over the map in their responses to the guidelines. So how can fans provide their feedback and recommendations to the studios?

WE HAVE FOUND A WAY!

Shortly after the guidelines were released, a group of dedicated and concerned fans came together in a Facebook group, SMALL ACCESS, initially to protest the new guidelines. But instead of simply complaining or threatening or signing a petition, these 1,200 fans went through each of the guidelines one-by-one, figuring out first which ones were problematic and which were fine and acceptable. Through a series of discussions, debates, and surveys showing the opinions of hundreds of Star Trek fans from around the world, we came up with a series of recommendations that are respectful of the original guidelines while also offering the studio executives insights into fan concerns and compromise solutions.

These recommendations have been assembled into a professionally-presented Focus Group Report summarizing and analyzing the results of the discussions and surveys. Of course, with millions of Star Trek fans in the world, a sample size of only 1,200 might seem statistically insignificant. However, considering that most focus groups consist of only 5 to 12 people in a room, a group of hundreds is actually rather impressive and is likely larger and better targeted better than the studios would ever be able to assemble themselves without spending a great deal of money. This could very be the studios’ best opportunity to truly gauge the specific reactions of fan to each of the guidelines.

And the recommendations are not in any way extreme. As was mentioned, fans sincerely tried to find compromise solutions where possible.  Our recommendations are more red-line edits and feedback rather than a list of harsh demands.

Focus Group Report framed

SO WHAT NOW?

Fans are invited to download and print this 37-page Focus Group Report and mail it to the CBS and Paramount executives listed below. An optional Cover Letter has also been provided for fans to include if they wish. The hope is that dozens or potentially hundreds of these reports will be mailed so that maybe, just maybe, the executives don’t throw them all in theash and instead actually read a copy. That is our ultimate goal: to have these recommendations seen, read, considered, and hopefully acted upon rather than simply being ignored.

Is it a stunt? Of course it is. So was the original letter writing campaign 48 years ago. And while we might not get a hundred thousand people to all print 37 pages and mail an 8-ounce packet to the studios, what we lack in quantity, we can make up for in dedication and passion!

And with luck, we’ll get some coverage in the media during the 50th anniversary week of Star Trek…and if that happens, hopefully the studios will give us their attention. So please, if you decide to participate, mail in your packet(s) by September 1 at the latest to the addresses at the bottom of this blog page. And please comment on this page (or on the SMALL ACCESS Facebook group) with the number of copies you decided to mail.

WHY SNAIL MAIL AND NOT EMAIL?

Good question! Two-part answer:

  • E-mail is too easy to both send and to delete. Sending an e-mail is as simple as a mouse click, and to be honest, the news media won’t care as much. But for fans to go back to the “old school” strategy of sending physical letters through the mail, paying for toner or photocopies and postage, now that kind of effort is newsworthy.
  • The executives receiving these packets are busy people, and we should respect their time. They use their e-mail to do their jobs. To publish their e-mail addresses when there are irate Trekkies who will badger these people and clutter up their e-mail boxes would be unfair and inappropriate. Our intention is to convey a positive and courteous demeanor. We want to seem more like a cooperative partner and less like an angry mob.

WILL IT WORK?

Who knows? But we have nothing to lose by trying. On this, I defer to the wisdom of Captain James T. Kirk:

If we do nothing, the guidelines likely remain unchanged for the foreseeable future, and fan films will suffer for it. If we take our shot and the studios ignore or reject our recommendations, so be it.  At least we tried…and that’s a good feeling.

YOUR MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT…

You are free to identify yourself (or not) as the sender of the letter/packet (I did).  There is nothing wrong with mailing a letter and expressing your concerns as a supporter and patron of a corporation to executives at that corporation. Just please be respectful at all times.

For those taking on this mission, print/photocopy this Focus Group Report and this optional Cover Letter (or write one of your own) and mail to any or all of the following people:

Jonathan Anschel
Executive Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Secretary for CBS Corporation
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

John Van Citters
Vice President, Product Development at CBS Consumer Products
1007 E Dominguez St, Suite L
Carson, CA 90746

Bill Burke
Senior Vice President, Marketing at CBS Consumer Products Inc.
825 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Liz Kalodner
Executive Vice President and General Manager, CBS Consumer Products
825 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Leslie Moonves
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Corporation
CBS Headquarters
51 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

Marc Evans
President, Motion Picture Group, Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90038

Rob Moore
Vice Chairman, Paramount Pictures
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90038


Please help spread the word by linking to this web page.  The more letters and packets we send them, the more likely someone will finally decide to pay attention and hear what we have to say.

THANK YOU ALL!

Save

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • W. Ted Jones says:

    I am not a letter writer, but I can put my name , signature, to a letter, that many sign hopefully sharing our views.
    Something that can be considered …. Ted

  • april says:

    fan films
    CBS and Paramount Pictures are big believers in reasonable fan fiction and fan creativity, and, in particular, want amateur fan filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek. Therefore, CBS and Paramount Pictures will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional and amateur and meet the following guidelines.

    Guidelines for Avoiding Objections:

    1.The fan production must be less than 15 minutes for a single self-contained story, or no more than 2 segments, episodes or parts, not to exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes.

    2.The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.

    3.The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing.

    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.

    5. The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.

    6. The fan production must be non-commercial:

    ⦁ CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.

    ⦁ The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.

    ⦁ The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.

    ⦁ The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.

    ⦁ No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising.

    ⦁ The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.

    7. The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy.

    8. The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:

    “Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”

    9. Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law.

    10. Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures.

    CBS and Paramount Pictures reserve the right to revise, revoke and/or withdraw these guidelines at any time in their own discretion. These guidelines are not a license and do not constitute approval or authorization of any fan productions or a waiver of any rights that CBS or Paramount Pictures may have with respect to fan fiction created outside of these guidelines.

    This is what the fans want for fan film .
    rule number 1
    an hour long with episodes, parts, sequels and remakes..
    and CBS and Paramount,, can make them as long as they want

    rule 2 …2 The title of the fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface. The fan production cannot use the term “official” in either its title or subtitle or in any marketing, promotions or social media for the fan production.
    fan production or any parts cannot include the name “Star Trek.” However, the title must contain a subtitle with the phrase: “A STAR TREK FAN PRODUCTION” in plain typeface
    we dont know what you mean by this contradict each other

    rule 3 3 The content in the fan production must be original, not reproductions, recreations or clips from any Star Trek production. If non-Star Trek third party content is used, all necessary permissions for any third party content should be obtained in writing. we use copies we use newpaper and many other sources for ideas of uses and other objects
    to obtain information and many other resouces to keep it in the idea of the subjects in place so we can have the idea of Gene Roddenberry for being creative ….
    4 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.
    SORRY PARAMOUNT AND CBS WILL WILL GO GET THE CHEAPER KIND ,,,,,,
    5 5 The fan production must be a real “fan” production, i.e., creators, actors and all other participants must be amateurs, cannot be compensated for their services, and cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.
    MOST OF THE RULE WE DO AGREE EXCEP[T ONE WHEN WE INVITE SOMEONE EMPLOYED FROM A THEATHER OR A PLAY WILL KEEP THE SCRIP SHORT FOR THEM ONLY …
    6 6 The fan production must be non-commercial
    HOW WOULD POEPLE KNOW WHEN OUR NEXT FAN PRODUCTION IS

    * CBS and Paramount Pictures do not object to limited fundraising for the creation of a fan production, whether 1 or 2 segments and consistent with these guidelines, so long as the total amount does not exceed $50,000, including all platform fees, and when the $50,000 goal is reached, all fundraising must cease.
    AGREE

    *The fan production must only be exhibited or distributed on a no-charge basis and/or shared via streaming services without generating revenue.
    I DONT KNOW WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT WITH THIS ONE
    * The fan production cannot be distributed in a physical format such as DVD or Blu-ray.
    CBS AND PARMOUNT CAN HAVE THIS ONE
    The fan production cannot be used to derive advertising revenue including, but not limited to, through for example, the use of pre or post-roll advertising, click-through advertising banners, that is associated with the fan production.
    AGREE
    *No unlicensed Star Trek-related or fan production-related merchandise or services can be offered for sale or given away as premiums, perks or rewards or in connection with the fan production fundraising
    AGREE
    * The fan production cannot derive revenue by selling or licensing fan-created production sets, props or costumes.
    AGREE
    7 The fan production must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation. Videos must not include profanity, nudity, obscenity, pornography, depictions of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or any harmful or illegal activity, or any material that is offensive, fraudulent, defamatory, libelous, disparaging, sexually explicit, threatening, hateful, or any other inappropriate content. The content of the fan production cannot violate any individual’s right of privacy
    AGREE
    8 8 The fan production must display the following disclaimer in the on-screen credits of the fan productions and on any marketing material including the fan production website or page hosting the fan production:“Star Trek and all related marks, logos and characters are solely owned by CBS Studios Inc. This fan production is not endorsed by, sponsored by, nor affiliated with CBS, Paramount Pictures, or any other Star Trek franchise, and is a non-commercial fan-made film intended for recreational use. No commercial exhibition or distribution is permitted. No alleged independent rights will be asserted against CBS or Paramount Pictures.”
    WE NEED ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FANS
    THE REST OF IT I GREE ON
    9 Creators of fan productions must not seek to register their works, nor any elements of the works, under copyright or trademark law
    THERE IS NO LOGIC IN THIS ONE
    10 Fan productions cannot create or imply any association or endorsement by CBS or Paramount Pictures.
    CBS and Paramount Pictures reserve the right to revise, revoke and/or withdraw these guidelines at any time in their own discretion. These guidelines are not a license and do not constitute approval or authorization of any fan productions or a waiver of any rights that CBS or Paramount Pictures may have with respect to fan fiction created outside of these guidelin
    I WILL AGREE UP TO A POINT

  • Philip Ruggaber says:

    This is the essence of what Roddenberry wanted. A venue of dreams that showcase a reality of story telling. That being said, I do not fear CBS empire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will put forth my endorsement of a movie that does not deter the Star Trek universe but enhances it.