After the “Axanar” lawsuit, Star Trek fans were left in the dark on how to proceed in making their films until now.
In an open letter to Star Trek fans, CBS and Paramount have issued an official Star Trek fan film guideline to help filmmakers produce their own Star Trek films without risking legal action. The guidelines explain how Trekkies can raise funds for their fan films, what they can do with official merchandise, how they can title their productions and a how long their films should be.
The 10-point guideline is now available on StarTrek.com today and gives a breakdown of different production steps filmmakers should review before they start making their fan films. Some of the main points that Star Trek producers want to make is that films must:
- Be no longer than 30 minutes
- Raise a maximum of $50,000
- Not include “Star Trek” in the title
- Actors, creators cannot be current or past employees of Star Trek series, films or productions
- Not be distributed on DVD
“We want to support this innovation and encourage celebrations of this beloved cultural phenomenon. It is with this perspective in mind that we are introducing a set of guidelines at Star Trek Fan Films. Thank you for your ongoing and steadfast enthusiasm and support, which ensure that Star Trek will continue to inspire generations to come.” – CBS & Paramount
The reaction to the fan guidelines so far
— David Danto (@NJDavidD) June 23, 2016
@StarTrek as much as I feel Axanar overreached, these guidelines are far too totalitarian. Ugh. ??
— @WilsonFrontier (@WilsonFrontier) June 23, 2016
A nail in Axanar's coffin?…. Sad times https://t.co/17Kj5qTEhk
— DBC (@DaddyBearCub) June 23, 2016
The instant reaction to the guidelines has so far been negative given that current Star Trek fan films exceed 30 minutes in length, with many raising more than $50,000 towards their budget. It is unclear how far-reaching these new instructions will be for the future of fan films, but for now, there’s at least clear direction on what filmmakers can and cannot do.