Axanar Kickstarter Details

Main article: Crowdfunding Platforms
See also: Prelude Kickstarter Details, Axanar Indiegogo Details and Ambition vs. achievement

FIRST TO THE FIGHT This Starfleet patch was a reward offered only to early backers in Axanar’s second Kickstarter campaign.

This is an analysis of the publicly available information about Axanar’s second Kickstarter campaign, a month-long effort launched in July 2014, following release of the short film, Prelude to Axanar. The effort succeeded in raising $638,471 from 8,548 backers; its goal was $100,000. Of the three crowdfunding campaigns, this one raised the most in the shortest time.

CONTROVERSY This campaign is also the production’s most controversial, as it marks the production’s departure from its original goal of simply producing Star Trek: Axanar, the feature film, and instead investing a significant portion of donors’ dollars in the infrastructure of Ares Studios, a for-profit venture by Axanar Productions to produce future Star Trek-related films and other science fiction properties.1)

About the Kickstarter Data

While the total amount raised in this campaign was $638,471, only $610,065 (95.6 percent) came from 8,272 people (96.8 percent of total backers) who selected rewards among the 22 reward levels offered.

The remaining $28,406 came from 276 backers who appear to have not selected any rewards, so the amount of their individual contributions were not publicly disclosed. The average undisclosed donation was about $103.

Donations Divvied Up

Consequently, the analysis below is based only on the total raised from donors who did choose rewards, for a total of $610,065.2)

This is one in a series of AxaMonitor articles examining Axanar’s crowdfunding efforts, its spending, its goals and how it has reported on those activities. The entire series is listed here.

The following charts demonstrate:

  • Donors of small amounts (under $100) made up 86 percent of the project’s backers (Figure 1).
  • However, those small donations made up just more than half the total raised (Figure 2).
  • Just a sliver of backers (24, or 0.4 percent) made contributions of more than $2,000 (Figure 1). In fact, 12 backers alone contributed $80,000 — 13 percent of the total raised (Figure 3).
  • Those 24 backers contributed $1 of every $5 raised from 8,272 people.
  • Meanwhile, mid-level donors (between $100-500) comprised only 14 percent of backers (Figure 1) but pulled twice their weight, donating nearly 30 percent of the total raised (Figure 2).

Click image to view full size

Distribution of Donors

The following charts tease out interesting information about backers and the rewards they selected.

Rotate mobile device for best view of chart

Top 5 Rewards

Based on the data in Figure 3 below, the Top 5 rewards selected by backers were:

Amount Reward No. of Backers
1. $25 Download of Axanar 2,565
2. $75 Axanar Blu-ray 2,052
3. $35 Starfleet ‘First Fleet’ patch 811
4. $65 Axanar DVD 631
5. $100 Signed, limited edition cast photo 475
Top 5 rewards raised $334,925 (55 percent of total) from 6,534 backers (79 percent of total)

Figure 3

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High-End Rewards

These are the rewards offered to the highest-paying contributors:

Amount Reward No. of Backers
$10,000 Work as producer on set 4
$5,000 Appear as Starfleet HQ extra 3
$5,000 Featured extra onscreen 5
$5,000 Name an onscreen Starfleet vessel 5
These 17 people contributed $105,000 (17 percent of the total)

Source Data

Download the source documents for the series of articles. The data was assembled into spreadsheets from publicly accessible information made available by the crowdfunding platforms and/or the Axanar Annual Report. Click on the citation number to access the downloadable spreadsheets. 3)

Submit Findings

Readers who make interesting findings by sorting the crowdfunding and financial data on their own are invited to submit them to AxaMonitor. Please use the Feedback page to submit new information. Thank you!

Moving the Goal Posts?

IDIC Artwork from the Axanar Kickstarter campaign page.

Main article: Axanar Kickstarter Details
See also: Fan Films and Infringement and Fan Films: Breaking the Unwritten Rules and Defining Profit

The trajectory of the Axanar project’s crowdfunding effort, as it was articulated in the Prelude Kickstarter, began this way:

Prelude to Axanar will then allow us to launch into Axanar having proven our ability to deliver professional quality Star Trek. There will be a subsequent Kickstarter for the feature-length Axanar.4)

At the Outset

The Prelude Kickstarter started out with a modest $10,000 goal. It ended up with $101,171. Of that amount, executive producer Alec Peters allotted $10,000 to what he called “infrastructure for Axanar Productions.”

This means the legal paperwork needed to create our production company and the rather expensive insurance to cover all our productions over the coming year. It allows us to set up production offices … and start to produce Axanar.5)

The 'Infrastructure Kickstarter'

The release of Prelude to Axanar and subsequent acclaim may have been a game-changer, because the second Kickstarter campaign, for Axanar itself, turned out not to be really for producing the film.

[The] Axanar Kickstarter was launched with some very specific goals in mind, namely, building the infrastructure that would allow us to make Axanar and other Star Trek properties.6) [emphasis added]

In Axanar’s 2015 Annual Report, Peters acknowledges the public perception of the Axanar Kickstarter was to “incorrectly assume that the money was to go to production costs.”7) [emphasis added]

First Commercial Hint

Instead, this Kickstarter money was destined for infrastructure — and the first mention of a grander commercial production plan. The campaign described these costs as:

SCIFI AUTHOR David Gerrold (right) toured the Ares bridge set with producer Alec Peters in May 2015. This photo was posted on Twitter by Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett.
  • Set construction, $100,000
  • Soundstage, $125,000. “This will be the permanent home of Axanar Productions and allow us to do more than just Axanar, from other adventures in the Star Trek universe and beyond. David Gerrold (writer of “The Trouble with Tribbles”) is already lined up to shoot his sci-fi series ‘Running Dark’ here. First year’s rent is $ 125,000.” [link and emphasis added]
  • Soundstage renovation.8) The description includes this:
Sci-Fi Film School - After the sets our built, we will be holding a Sci-Fi film school. Learn all about film making from our veteran industry staff including David Gerrold (writing), Richard Hatch and Gary Graham (acting), Robert Burnett (Editing/Directing), Christian Gossett (writing/directing) and Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Star Trek veteran Brad Look (make-up). Donors will get first shot at the initial film school session.
  • Axanar pre-production costs, $50,000. This includes costume manufacture, VFX pre-visualization and modeling, and make-up. “These are just pre-production costs to get these departments going.”9)
  • Axanar production costs, $325,000-$425,000.10)
SET CONSTRUCTION Concept drawing for the bridge set of the U.S.S. Ares.

Ballooning Costs

Curiously, this last item — part of the Kickstarter campaign page — does not correspondingly appear in the Annual Report. The project needs articulated during the campaign totaled $404,000 (including Kickstarter fees and the cost of backers’ rewards). The total raised was $638,471. Peters concluded the campaign on August 24, 2014, with this statement:

Well, due to all your generosity, we have everything we need for the sets and studio and are well on our way to covering most of the budget.11) [emphasis added]

As it turned out, costs — especially to build out the studio Peters intended to use for commercial projects, and to rent out to bring in revenue12) — rapidly grew from lack of planning.

We outlined costs … for infrastructure that we would need to raise roughly $400,000 for. … That was before we found out what everything would really cost and what we didn’t even know we needed.13) [emphasis added]
ARES STUDIOS is the Valencia, Calif., soundstage being retrofitted for profit by Alec Peters with funds raised by donors to the film, Axanar. This picture from its Indiegogo campaign features the studio name Photoshopped onto the warehouse exterior.

According to the Annual Report, even the $638,471 raised — more than six times the campaign’s original $100,000 goal14) — was insufficient to cover all the infrastructure costs Axanar Productions encountered.15)

Time to Indiegogo

By the time Peters embarked on his third crowdfunding campaign, this time on Indiegogo nearly a year later, not only had the costs ballooned … so had his ambitions for Axanar Productions.16)

In the end, it was agreed that more time and more money would equal greater quality.17)

And so Axanar moved forward to its most ambitious campaign, this time on a rival crowdfunding platform — Indiegogo — and a new target, $1.32 million — to actually move Axanar into production.18)

3)
Download Excel spreadsheet with data from Axanar crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Also, the Axanar Financials spreadsheet summarizes data from the Axanar Annual Report, 2015, Revised, and the data used to generate charts in the Ambition vs. Achievement article.