The public preconception that fan films are all low quality took a severe beating in 2008! The level of production expertise and the quality of scripting and acting has made major advances with certain trends emerging that are working in favour of the production groups. Two groups in particular are garnering a lot of media attention.
Star Trek: Of Gods and Men brought together the best of the amateur, fan production talent and a wealth of professional talent and experience and created a movie that was critically well received. It must surely have opened a few eyes in the entertainment industry for the way that it showed that popular entertainment need not necessarily cost millions of dollars per episode.
James Cawley's, Star Trek: Phase II is another show that has raising eyebrows with it's Nebula and Hugo nominations and it would be easy to say that is due to it's use of professionals who voluntarily want to be involved. They have however remained true to their roots by ensuring a strong contingent of fans in their cast and crew with a regular call for volunteers.
Rob Caves is also branching out into original work with his latest proposal, Frontier Guard, whilst maintaining his commitment to fan film-making by mentoring a number of spin-off series from his recently completed, seven season epic, Star Trek: Hidden Frontier: Star Trek: Odyssey, The Helena Chronicles and Federation One!
A trend that is growing is the concept of joint productions. Star Trek: Intrepid and Areakt Films have proven this with two excellent examples of what can be accomplished by combining their resources of equipment, manpower and talent with the films, Orphans of War and Operation: Beta Shield. Another trend that this Scottish fan production group is perfecting is the vignette, short films that add depth to the plot and characters.
Starship Farragut is following both these by developing on it's strategic partnerships with other fan groups, such as Star Trek: Phase II, and NEO/fx (who are independently creating an animated series based on the Farragut fictional universe) as well as producing vignettes of their own in between the filming of their full sized episodes.
These are just the stars of the Star Trek fan film community, though, they represent the tip of an iceberg that encompasses a vast range of fictional styles and media. For the fifth present in The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas, Acrux fanzine is producing what will become an annual Star Trek fan film review, starting as posts on our Blogsite that will grow into a twenty page fanzine which will be published at the conclusion of the serial posting.
[Those who can read between the lines will guess that I don't have the fanzine finished but I don't want to keep you waiting any longer. This will allow me time to compile a better 'zine whilst giving you, O Hypothetical Reader, your present in installments]