TRANSPORT COORDINATES? Axanar seeks a place to move its sets. Photo: Starbase Studios

Axanar's Frustrating Search for Space to Store Sets

With Studio Gone, Peters Seeks to Keep Indiegogo Funds He Raised to Keep Studio

Axanar CEO Alec Peters may have portrayed the loss of his Industry Studios as a big win but getting out of his costly lease created a new dilemma: Where to store the possibly obsolete sets built for the Axanar feature before he has to be off the property April 30, 2017.

The studio, once the centerpiece of Peters’ current Indiegogo campaign was to revert to the landlord, along with the hundreds of thousands dollars worth of building improvements, paid for by fans who will never get the Axanar feature film they were promised.

While the studio’s loss would seem to have rendered the Indiegogo campaign moot, Peters still tried to find a way to keep the $20,000 the effort was able to raise — far short of the $100,000 he needed to keep the studio open through the end of the year.

« We’ll take your input into consideration as we make our decisions regarding the future of Axanar Productions and where it will do business. » Alec Peters, Axanar Donor Poll

No Room at the Starbase

Meanwhile, Peters’ past appeared to result in ever-narrowing options for a new home for Axanar‘s partially built sets.

According to an April 12 post on the Fan Film Factor blog run by Axanar surrogate Jonathan Lane, storing the sets at Starbase Studios in Arkansas was one of the options Peters explored:

Lots of opportunities for free studio space were explored … including, I’m told, Starbase Studios (which does not have extra space available).1)
Scott Johnson of Starbase Studios, on the set of Star Trek New Voyages, where he also volunteered.

Starbase Studios provides production facilities, including standing Star Trek sets, for a number of smaller fan films. However, lack of space may have been only one reason it wasn’t receptive to the idea of helping Peters.

'Turned Against Each Other'

Peters falsely accused Scott Johnson of Starbase Studios of leaking details to AxaMonitor about Peters’ secret effort in May 2016 to rally other fan films behind his own proposed guidelines, hoping to pressure CBS to issue guidelines that would’ve benefited Axanar. That initiative failed, nearly universally disavowed by the fan film community.

After the settlement of the copyright infringement lawsuit against him and Axanar, Peters blamed other fan films for the CBS guidelines after turning against each other2) when it was really just against him.

Burned Bridges

Such talk may have burned bridges with fan producers who might have stepped in to help with storing Axanar’s sets. One Fan Film Factor commenter who identified himself as “The Admiral,” a fan film producer, said:

Axanar will not get made. I know where the sets could be stored within 50 miles of their current location, yet I don’t want them on my property. My fan film and reputation come first; neither will be tainted by anyone. It’s not personal, it’s professional and those two business traits are lacking in the Axanar camp. There are plenty of viable options. Alec needs money and damned good luck for any of them to pan out.3)
Axanar CEO Alec Peters

IndieGoneGone?

Peters’ announcement that Axanar had gotten out of the lease that cost him $15,000 a month for rent and utilities spurred a small uptick in the nearly stalled crowdfunding campaign that was to have paid to keep the studio open, with BackerTracker predicting an eventual take of $24,024.4)

Without the studio Peters had pitched to donors, it was unclear what the campaign would do with its Indiegogo contributions.

Polling Donors

Peters told his 291 donors they could offer him advice by selecting from among four options in an online poll, in which he asked, “What do you think we should do with the money raised through this Indiegogo campaign?”

POLL OPTIONS

  1. Since my donation was meant to cover the primary costs for Industry Studios, and those are now covered, I’d like my money back (or my pledge cancelled).
  2. I’m more interested in seeing Axanar Productions produce Axanar. Use the money raised to pack up and put the sets in storage and then get to work on the two fifteen-minute films.
  3. I trust you guys to do the best with the money I’ve pledged to you. Use it to find a new home for Axanar Productions, move the sets there and get back to work!
  4. I don’t care what you do as long as I get my perks.5)

Not Binding, Not Secret

This was not a secret ballot, however. Respondents had to identify themselves and provide an email address in order for their votes to count, so Peters would know how each donor personally voted.

Nor would the poll results be binding. Peters informed donors:

We’ll take your input into consideration as we make our decisions regarding the future of Axanar Productions and where it will do business. Then we’ll share that decision with all of you — and give you one last opportunity to ask for your pledge to be cancelled/money refunded if you disagree with our change of strategy.6)

Breaking the Settlement Terms?

The poll’s second and third options raised questions about whether it would break the terms of Axanar’s lawsuit settlement. Framed in terms relating to production of Axanar, costs related to its sets could be covered by the settlement’s prohibition against using any crowdfunding to make the short film allowed by the accord.

Impending Deadline

Peters gave donors only until April 17 to reply to the poll since he had to vacate the premises by the end of the month. Until then, donors would not know where he was moving the sets, nor how he would pay for it.

COMMENTS
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Keywords

1)
Jonathan Lane comment, "Some Perspective: A 'Big Win' for Axanar or 'Game Over'? (Part 1)," Fan Film Factor, 4/12/17.
3)
The Admiral comment, "Some Perspective: A 'Big Win' for Axanar or 'Game Over'? (Part 1)," Fan Film Factor, 4/12/17.
5) , 6)
Axanar Indiegogo Poll, SurveyMonkey, retrieved 4/12/17.