Thursday, May 5, 2016

An Open Letter To Vic Mignogna

Dear Vic,

I want to say that I respect the hell out of the work you and your cast and crew do in putting out Star Trek Continues. First, there is no other fan production that I know of which produces high quality episodes in the volume that Continues does. You've managed to average 2 episodes a year, where even New Voyages/Phase II has only managed 1 per year at best.

Second, you have assembled a cast that is one of the best I've seen in a fan production. Having Chris Doohan play the role originated by his father is a master stroke. Todd Haberkorn is, hands down, the best Spock out there (short of Leonard Nimoy and Zach Quinto, of course). And, I've found that if I squint just enough, I can believe that you're actually William Shatner, chewing the scenery with wild abandon! With Chuck, Grant, Kim, Wyatt, Michelle and Stephen, you have all done a wonderful job of inhabiting your characters. The fact that you've maintained a consistent cast throughout all the episodes is also really nice, so far as continuity goes.

By far, my favorite episode has to be The Fairest Of Them All. I've said before that it stands out as one of the best individual fan film episodes ever made (right up there with Of Gods And Men, Mind Sifter, The Tressaurian Intersection, the director's cut of The Holiest Thing, and Prelude To Axanar, in my mind). Of all your episodes, I find it is the one with the most rewatchability factor.



So, here's why I changed my mind about contributing to your Indiegogo campaign.



Based on what I've said above, it has nothing to do with the production itself. Rather, it has to do with certain actions you've taken and things you have said as an individual.

When your campaign kicked off, I went to the fundraising page to make a pledge. Then I read the following line: "Our producers have never drawn a salary, and they never will." Now, in and of itself, that is laudable. However, I knew that sentence had a broader meaning.

You see, by now, pretty much anyone who is remotely interested in fan films has heard about CBS & Paramount's lawsuit against Axanar Productions. I also know that this suit has caused a divide within the fandom over who's the bad guy in the suit. Further, I've known for a long time that there is no love lost between you and Alec Peters. Personally, I couldn't care less who is to blame for what in that particular relationship; that's between the two of you. What I do care about is that animosity bleeding over into your respective productions. Now, if you read any of my recent blog posts, it's pretty clear that I'm for Axanar. Indeed, I am for all fan productions. But, since I knew all of the above, I knew you had taken a side on the issue of the Axanar lawsuit.

To me it was wholly unnecessary to do that in order to make your point. Your body of work, both in quality and volume, speaks quite well to the point that the money people donate to Continues is well spent on your end. You didn't have to point out, even if subtly, the purported misdeeds of another production.

Your recent interview on the Synthaholics has further reinforced to me that I was correct in my decision. Yes, your fundraising isn't going as well as you had hoped, and I would be a fool to believe that you're lying when you say you've heard from some fans who have held off from donating due to the lawsuit and the uncertainty it creates. But laying it all at the feet of Alec Peters ignores a number of other factors, many of which were detailed quite nicely by Jonathan Lane at FanFilmFactor.com.

To put it simply, you asked for an amount of money which was nearly double any of your previous campaign goals, and you did it on a fundraising platform which has less than half the contributor base of Kickstarter. As it stands, you've raised over $199,049, which is right in the wheelhouse of your previous fundraising totals. Unless you've quantified just how many fans told you they weren't going to donate because of the suit, and the dollar amounts they would have contributed, I highly doubt the gap between your goal and what you actually got would have been covered by them.

But you should also take into consideration that I'm probably not be the only one who feels the way I do about this. I can't quantify how many people feel the same way, or their dollar amounts either (though I'd be willing to wager that it would at least have gotten you more than a bit past the $200,000 mark), but money left on the table is money left on the table. Be aware that you left it there.

And on a more personal note, I found the way you behaved on that podcast to be distasteful. I compare it to how Tommy Kraft acted on the recent Trek Geeks podcast. Tommy is the only person who is actually collateral damage to the lawsuit, and who has had his production shut down. If he had teed off on Alec and Axanar Productions anything close as to the way you did, I wouldn't have blamed him. Instead, he was entirely calm about the whole thing, played it down the middle and, at worst, speculated on what might have drawn the lawsuit when asked to. He displayed all the grace and poise that you did not. And that is why the money that would have gone to your campaign has now gone to help fund Tommy's Project Discovery. (If you haven't done so already, I would hope that you contribute to his project. If anyone deserves all of fandom's backing now, it's Tommy.)

Finally, I have a piece of advice for you. If you are going to proclaim loudly to all and sundry that you are a fan production who "does everything right", you need to make sure you do everything right. And, as Mr. Shatner had to remind you recently, using his likeness without his permission in your fundraising efforts falls well outside of the "everything right" category. Now, perhaps it was just a mistake, but for someone who has boasted as you have, it's a foolish one, and one you made more than once.

For all it's worth, I do wish you well with Star Trek Continues. I just can't and won't contribute to your efforts to produce more episodes, unless you have a change of heart.

Sincerely,
Dave

61 comments:

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  2. Personally I will not watch Star Trek Continues, much less even donate. I have seen one episode and while I did think it was well done, Mr. Mignogna's attacks, blaming, and blatant arrogance in regard to Continues and Axanar as well as pissing off William Shatner not once but twice speaks volumes toward Mr. Mignogna's arrogance and nasty attitude. Sorry, I will not support a production by a producer like this.

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    1. How did he offend William Shatner?

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    2. Gem, I linked it above (click one "had to remind you recently"). Basically, Continues made some facebook posts lobbying for their fundraising using pictures of Shatner as Capt. Kirk in them. In one of them, they even tagged Mr. Shatner. Shatner took to Twitter, and told Mr. Mignogna to knock it off, because they gave the appearance that he was in support of their efforts, when he was not.

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  3. I can't believe you're bashing Vic when Alec has been far worse. I could cite examples but I know there will be no convincing you. You need to get out of the echo chamber and stop drinking the Kool-aid.

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    1. One could say the same for you.

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    2. Sandy, I'm not "bashing" Vic, I'm telling him why I didn't donate to his project. The worst thing I could be guilty of here is admonishment.

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    3. You are if you choose to believe it or not Dave. Vic is distancing himself for the exquisitely bad business practices of Alec. I'm guessing he did this because he was worried people wouldn't donate to ANY fan production due to the suit Axanar brought apon itself. He made the point that he drew no salary and that they are an actual 501(c) charity unlike Axanar. Both of those things, plus the quality of their production and the fact they've delivered around 4 hours of content, gave me the confidence to donate nearly all the money Alec refunded me from Axanar.

      I think it was a very good move on his part. I'm sure I'm not the only donor swayed by it.

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    4. Sandy, the simple fact of the matter is that he could have left out any mention of a salary and still gotten his point across, and he would have, at the irreducable minimum, gotten my money as well as yours.

      Also, I know what I'm trying to say with my post. After all, I wrote it! If I wanted to "bash" Vic, I would have written my post very differently. For starters, I wouldn't have bothered to laud the accomplishments of Continues as I did. I could have brought up all the muckraking BS one can find on the internet about Vic, but I didn't (and wouldn't anyways). I believe that what I wrote expresses my opinion to him in as respectful a manner as I could possibly make it. You may choose to believe otherwise, but it's not the truth.

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    5. I just realised Dave that you avoided my question. How can you write this missive to Vic when Alec is guilty of far worse? He calls out and insults everyone who disagrees, he threatens people, and he bashes other fan films. Do you condone HIS behaviour? If not, why aren't you penning an open letter to him. It smacks of double standards and hypocracy.

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    6. I didn't avoid your question, I just figured that was part of your regular blathering and exaggeration, so I ignored it. Saying he bashes other productions is empirically untrue. I've even seen him be complimentary of Continues itself, despite the fact that he doesn't like Vic personally. Besides, since Axanar isn't currently fundraising. My admonishments of Vic had to do specifically with his actions during his fundraising campaign. Trust me, if Alec gets through this suit more or less intact and continues fundraising, and he does something I find objectionable during the course of it, I'll have something to say about it. But since he isn't, I don't have anything to say.

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  4. So, you'll give Peters money to pay himself, and fly himself all over the country to promote... nothing, but not pay Vic to actually produce something, which he has consistently done.
    Yeah, the "voice over artist" who actually has a job, unlike Peters who is trying to make a fan-film a paying career (which is what's getting him into hot water).

    You make no sense.

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    1. Since Axanar was slapped with a law suit before anything other than the teaser scene on Vulcan, it's pretty unfair to blame Alec for nothing having been produced yet! An immediate halt to all production was agreed upon by Axanar and CBS. Faulting someone for not producing anything when in fact they were well on the way to do so and have been halted by an official body from moving forward is disingenuous at best, retarded at worst.

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    2. Also, you have no proof to back up your claim Peters was making a Fan film a paying career. You have a one off salary payment, that's it, not enough proof. Also, CBS has focused on IP infringement. The salary is just a bug splat on the windshield. They're not really going after that at all, they want Axanar shut down on IP and Copyright infringements.

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    3. REALLY??!? 1.8 Million dollars, and all he could produce, with a PAID team is a 20 minute greenscreen shot of talking heads, and two people walking... in what... 3 years?
      In that time, for a fraction of the cost, Vic did 6 episodes. Look... I don't like STC, I think it sucks.
      But if you are faulting the lawsuit for why peters hasn't produced anything yet, you're fooling yourself.
      He says he's paying himself cause he works so many hours on this... doing what? No screenplay, no cast, no sets, perks for donors NOT sent out... he's not the costumer, set builder, or any of that, so if it is not in production, other than jet-setting himself (on the donor's dime) to conventions, to talk about how GREAT Axanar (which as you stated, does not exist, so the attitude about the studio being scared of their non-existant film is laughable) is...
      Gimme a break. he is pocketing money, and producing nothing, exceot for a potential building he hoped to rent out in the future for more money...
      All on someone else's IP.

      And you complain about Vic, cause he called out Peters for being the scummy con-man he really is?

      You are a hypocrite, or an idiot. Or both.

      I'm betting both.

      Put down the Kool-Aid, before you gag on it.

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    4. Axanar were slapped with the lawsuit before filming could begin on the real meaty stuff. There are several built sets awaiting completion which have not and cannot be worked on since December 25th. You're argument is flawed.

      Many of the Perks require Axanar to be complete. Many others are in the process of being sent out. Again, flawed argument.

      It's obvious you're a complete spastic if you cannot fathom this out yourself. Perhaps you should go back to your connect the dots book and crayons?

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    7. Anon #1, I haven't paid Alec a dime. Until recently, I hadn't donated to any fan production.

      Something struck me this morning, and I wished I had thought of it when I was writing this. Years ago, I was reading a sales book. The author was talking about a contract he was trying to close with the Navy (to supply batteries, if I recall correctly). He was getting along with the officer in charge of the deal, and was pretty certain he had it in hand. The officer had to step out of the room, and while he was gone, the salesman noticed a newspaper article on a local union the officer had been reading. For some reason, the salesman deduced that the officer would likely be anti-Union, so when the officer got back, the salesman launched into a speech railing against unions. Long story short, it turns out the officer's father was a union man. The salesman ended up losing the sale of the batteries (though he did wind up with a maintenance contract). The point of that story is to never give an opinion on something to a person you're selling to, unless you know how that person feels about that subject. Vic can be pissed all he wants to at Alec and the lawsuit. It does him no good, though, when he's trying to raise money for his production to take a side in this, because he doesn't know the opinions of everybody who could potentially donate. He certainly lost my donation because of it.

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    8. To both Anons: please keep it civil here.

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    2. Anon #1 (I'm numbering you in order of your postings), unless you work for CBS, or are employed at Loeb & Loeb (Still think that name sounds like it's a law firm run by Ferengi), I doubt you know more than any of us on the outside looking in do. I do believe that this lawsuit has thrown a large measure of uncertainty into the world of fan filmdom, but until the lawsuit is settled or seen through to judgement, none of us have the facts to know exactly what went down and why.

      Meanwhile, I suggest you go listen to Alec's podcasts over at Trek.fm. For all the obfuscation you claim on his part, you'll find that a ton of "questions" people have actually have been addressed in one (or several) of them.

      Now, to both Anons, I want to reiterate to keep it civil. Argue if you must, but leave any name calling out of it. This site does not give me the ability to edit out portions of another's comments, and I'd rather not start deleting comments which are a mix of substantive arguments and name-calling.

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  8. So, you haven't contributed before, and your not going to contribute now, is that what your saying?

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    1. Not quite. I thought it was quite evident that I WAS going to contribute to Continues, but I stopped because of the reasons I've noted in my post. I haven't contributed to any production before, mainly for lack of means.

      BTW, if I'm the "second favorite Axafant blogger" over at the CBS/P v Axanar FB page, who is the first? I'd like to know who my competition is......

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    2. It's kinda obvious that you are an Axanar, for lack of a better word, MINION...
      So, it seems to me the ONLY point of this post was to try and make Axanar look GREAT, cause Vic screwed up.

      Still don't see him getting sued.

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  9. So, you never contributed before, and aren't going to now...

    I'm kinda missing your point then? Is this just a way to say, Yay Axanar, cause someone else made a mistake?
    Don't see Vic or STC getting sued.

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    1. See my reply to Jason above.

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    2. But, again, I will say my point was I was ready, willing, and able to donate to Continues, but didn't for the reasons I laid out in my post.

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    3. Considering you are an Axanar shrill, that's not exactly believable, sorry.

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    4. It looks more like a diversionary tactic...
      As I have noted AP does a lot...
      "LOOK OVER THERE!"
      You turn, and he runs the other direction with your bicycle.

      Axanar is... OH LOOK, SHATNER SPANKED VIC!
      What lawsuit? Give that money to Axanar~!

      Your bias shows.

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    5. T, you're free to believe anything you want, however, it doesn't mean that you're right.

      Also, I believe the word you're actually looking for is "shill", not "shrill". In which case, I am definitely not that, at the very least because I do not get paid by anyone to write this blog. If you're going to denounce me, you should at least do it with a word that is closer to what I might be, and that word is "apologist".

      And why are you calling out a guy who writes a blog called "Stuff I Think About" on bias? This is a blog. I write my opinions here. I don't pretend to be a journalist, I just write what I think about stuff. I'm not hiding the fact that I'm on the Pro-Axanar side of the fence, and I would be foolish to even try. But the one thing I DON'T do in this blog is lie, particularly about my own actions. What I said about why I didn't donate is the whole truth.

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    6. Sorry, comes across as a complete falsehood... and a fabricated one at that.

      You want to YAY Axanar, it is your right, but to cloud it in a "look how bad the other guys are" method is just trying to be distracting, and trying to find a way to make Axanar, and AP not look so bad.
      SEE, Shatner hates Vic...
      But we don't see Paramount/CBS and Shatner suing Vic, do we.
      So, how dare Vic call out AP?
      THAT is why you won't donate?

      As a "pro-axanar" team member, you'd NEVER donate to STC, those two teams HATE each other, so to put out a line that you were thinking about it, is disingenuous.

      It was a lie.

      It is your blog, you can lie all you want.

      And now you are lying about that.

      Lost a lot of respect for you. VERY disappointed.

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    7. Shill... freakin autocorrect...

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    8. T, I highly doubt you had respect for me in the first place.

      Like I said, you can disbelieve me all you want, it doesn't mean you are right. It's too bad I threw away that receipt from Indiegogo that said I didn't donate.....oh, wait, that kind of thing doesn't exist, so I never got one!

      Also, you seem to ignore certain aspects of what I actually said to formulate your hypothesis about what my reason really are. Vic can think whatever he wants about Alec, Axanar, and the lawsuit. But for a man to come down on one side of the fence on a subject that is divisive within his potential donor base was a bad idea, and he left money on the table because of it.

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  10. After reading the article, seeing the posts in several 'CBS vs Axanar' type groups and seeing the comments here, it seems to me the hate flows from just a few dozen 'Sith Lords' on the Dark Side. They sure do like to remain anaoymous, but their writing style is very close to a fingerprint - and it's the same old argument. 'Vic doesn't make money but Alec does' 'Vic makes a fan film, Alec makes a professional one, and that's why Alec is stealing and Vic isn't...' 'You're point of view is dumb because you disagree with me that Alec is a the Devil....'

    Change the record pratt... Axanar is nothing more than the next step in the evolution of fan-films. If you wankers want to stay in the horse & buggy era of black & white, silent movies that's your business. But don't try and prevent those of us who WANT to fund great film projects from doing so with your pitiful, angry mewling.

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  13. I'll remind everyone here, I try to keep the comments section free and open. That does not mean I approve of engaging in personal attacks or name-calling. This site doesn't give me the option to redact information out of an individual post, so from here on out, if you engage in name calling or personal attacks while making a point that is substantive, I WILL DELETE IT!

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  15. I agree with you. I had watched the first episode of STC and was looking to find the second on YouTube when I found the fundraiser promo you mentioned. Prior to that video, I had no idea there was any animosity between the productions, but the moment I heard that line, I knew I didn't want to support STC in even the smallest way possible. We have enough division in the fandom, and I couldn't support a series that engaged in, and tried to fundraise, by actively contributing to it. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who was turned off by that.

    Mr. Mignogna could easily have touted his productions accomplishments without referencing Axanar or the lawsuit, without trying to capitalize on a divisive topic. He chose not to. That told me all I needed to know.

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  16. Hubcap, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But you're out of touch with fan sentiment. I stopped donating to fan films entirely when the Axanar suit hit, because I was disgusted by the fact that Peters paid himself. When Vic and the STC campaign clarified that Vic does NOT collect a salary, I decided to donate. Even a quick glance at their Facebook wall shows that many, many other fans did so as well.

    Stating point-blank that he doesn't pay himself a salary was the wisest business decision Vic could make. And it paid off, judging by the huge upswing in donations to their Indiegogo campaign, plus their announcement today that private donations after the campaign ended have put them at their $350,000 goal.

    I don't understand your comparison to Kraft. Tommy specifically called out Alec in his TrekGeeks interview, point-blank blaming him for Horizon being shut down. Vic never even mentioned Axanar by name; and despite his obvious (and totally understandable) distaste for Peters' unconscionable behavior, he kept his composure and continued to try to sway the interview to positive matters.

    As for the manufactured "feud" between the two men. I admit I've never met either, and probably never will. But I read every Trek board under the sun and have never in all these years, read a single statement from Mignona bashing, attacking, or even NAMING Alec Peters. There are always people who claim they know someone who knows someone who says that Vic said yada yada yada, but nobody's ever produced a shred of proof. Meanwhile, I've seen Peters insult and rip apart Mignona at every opportunity he gets (often deleting his middle-of-the-night rants the following day... yet screen grabs still exist).

    I for one doubt there even IS a feud. I think Peters just hates Vic, as he hates a lot of people. Seems like an angry, bitter old man.

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    1. Every time I see someone post Alec paid himself a salary, well Whoop De Do! The CEO of the Red Cross gets a salary from donations. The CEO of UNICEF gets a salary, Salvation Army and Goodwill Presidents get a salary all from from donations. Many other non profit organizations CEO and employees get paid a salary from donations. Salary this and salary that. Get OVER IT! The Lawsuit is NOT about who got paid a salary. Get that through your thick head.

      Vic wouldn't need a salary since he does NOT work on Star Trek Continues on a full time bases. Vic's money comes from being a voice actor and from appearances he makes at comic, sci-fi conventions and shows. Up until the lawsuit Alec had spent all his working hours producing Axanar. That 80 hours a week, Vic doesn't even put that much time into Continues. If he did there would be more than 2 episodes a year.

      Now let get to the heart of what the suite is really about, IP infringement that that is all it's about. Star Trek Continues is getting a free ride and yet that have infringed on 100 times more IP that Axanar has to date. You cannot deny they use exact replica of the TOS sets. the same TOS uniforms and costumes, character names, ships, Vulcan ears. and Klingon language. Furthermore it was not Alec Peters that started the this feud, It was Vic himself that started back it in 2014 just after Prelude was released. If anyone is bitter it would be Vic since he has kept it going. Alec only responds to squash lies and rumors. Alec has the proof, maybe one day he will tell us all about it but right nopw he has other issues to worry about other than Vic.

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    4. David (nice first name, by the way, I'd think about changing your last name, though.....), thank you for respecting my opinion, but I hardly think I'm out of touch with fan sentiment. I spend a fair amount of time on various Trek pages on Facebook. I'm well aware that the lawsuit is a very divisive issue for a lot of people. I've also had people comment to me on Facebook that they agree with what I've said, or have told me they didn't donate for much the same reason.

      My point has been (and continues to be) that Vic could have made his point about how tight a ship he runs without bringing up the salary issue. If he had done that, he would have had both of our donations. I am curious, though: If you decided to stop donating to fan productions altogether over Alec taking a salary, then what were you doing on Continues Indiegogo page in the first place? I'm also curious who you had been planning to donate toward before the lawsuit hit?

      As for the comparison to Tommy, it's very apt. Go check out my post on what happened with his Horizon sequel, and you'll see Tommy's own words from a Facebook comment where he says he was trying to be neutral on the lawsuit issue during that podcast, but that Axamonitor wrote their article in a manner that made it look like he was attacking him!

      By the way, I am deleting your comment below because I know who Rand is, and he is not a sock-puppet for Alec or Terry. You can respond again to him if you wish, but no accusations of sock-puppetry!

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    5. You're wrong. He never would've had my donation had he not clarified that he didn't take a salary. Same with many, many fans. I'm sure there are some like you; but you are far outnumbered.

      I went to the Indiegogo page because I heard his podcast interview.

      Prior to the lawsuit, I donated to Axanar and Renegades.

      By the way, I call to your attention your own rule on this blog: "If you engage in name calling or personal attacks while making a point that is substantive, I WILL DELETE IT!" Rand said I have a "thick head." If that doesn't warrant deletion, I dunno what does.

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    6. Reposting my earlier comment without the "sock puppet" accusation...

      Mr. Rand, CBS' lawsuit specifies that Peters has been sued because he "enjoys a direct financial benefit" from the exploitation of their IP.

      Not sure why that is so difficult to understand.

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    7. DAVE PISSANT:

      What is difficult is PROVING "direct financial benefit". Of course, you have to understand what "direct financial benefit" means, which you clearly don't.

      As to Tommy Kraft, he did NOT blame Axanar as you claim, he simply said that CBS's Bill Burke said that he was calling Tommy and advising him to shut down in light of the Axanar law suit. TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

      And Vic was VERY clear he was accusing Axanar in that podcast. If you are going to claim "He didn't say "Axanar" you are being absurd and disingenuous.

      And we had to issue a Cease and Desist against Vic Mignogna for his defamation to multiple parties. If you dont believe that, well, that is your problem.

      And Vic doesn't pay himself a salary, but he put in his 501c3 docs that he was AUTHORIZED to do so. Hmmmmmm. And Vic works on STC as a hobby part time. I have been doing it full time for almost 2 years now. And most donors dont have a problem with that.

      You clearly dislike me, and that obviously colors every single opinion you have. Too bad.

      Alec

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    8. As an (unlicensed) "attorney," you DO know that anyone can "issue" a "Cease and Desist" to anyone, right? It proves nothing. I could "issue" you a Cease and Desist tomorrow for causing me emotional distress. If you have a grievance against Mignona, SUE him. Grow up and stop the petulant message-board bashing. Then maybe people will view you and Terry and Rob in a more positive light.

      Yes, I dislike you. As do most fans, and CBS/Paramount. It's not an emotional reaction; it is a legitimate, righteous dislike. You squandered my money on sushi.

      You deserve everything you're getting, Garth. Enjoy.

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  17. Dave the lawsuit makes an inaccurate "mention" of financial benefit but again and I will stress it this time, IT'S NOT ABOUT A SALARY.

    And BTW saying you have a thick head simply means you have absolutely no understanding what the lawsuit is actually about. Your obsessed with some one taking a salary to so he can pay his and bills and eat. I have no problem with that and nor does any other Axanar supporter I've seen.

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    1. David, I will also add this, in regard to your comment to Alec saying most fans dislike him is an UTTER LIE! The only "so called fans" that have expressed dislike are you and the very small minority of haters at the anti-Ananar Facebook pages.

      If anything more fans have flocked to Axanar because they believe in what Alec is doing and support his vision to make a professional grade fan film that is better than anyone that has come out of CBS since Enterprise was canceled or anything Paramount has done since the first JJverse Star trek film.

      Compared to this vision and proof he can do it, I DO NOT FEAR ANY CBS/PARAMOUNT LAWSUIT!!!!!

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