CROWN JEWEL The U.S.S. Ares bridge set, built for the never-to-be-made Axanar feature, is the centerpiece of a Patreon campaign to attract funding to keep Alec Peters’ Georgia warehouse financially afloat.Image/Ares Studios


Peters Launches Patreon to Keep Georgia Studio Afloat

Having lost his corporate sponsorship from Other World Computing, Axanar producer Alec Peters announced a $4,000 a month funding plea on Patreon to keep his Georgia warehouse afloat as he works to establish the facility as a working studio.

Peters announced the effort January 18, 2019, on the inaugural livestream of what he said would be a weekly YouTube program, Reel Trek, for the discussion of Star Trek news and updates on the two Axanar short films Peters has yet to deliver to people who donated for a feature film but had to settle for the shorts after Peters was sued by Star Trek’s owners for copyright infringement.

Prohibited by the legal settlement with CBS and Paramount Pictures from any public fundraising effort to pay for producing the shorts, Peters established Ares Studios as a separate legal entity from Axanar Productions to maintain a facility for use in producing fan films and student productions.


Alec Peters makes his pitch for $4,000 a month on Patreon to keep his Georgia warehouse afloat as a production facility.Video/Axanar YouTube Channel

Alec Peters

The aim of the facility, Peters said, is to produce video content “for fans of Star Trek and Sci-Fi, including weekly YouTube shows. According to the pitch video, the weekly Reel Trek show won’t begin production unless the Patreon effort reaches $4,000 a month.

Patreon Pitch

In the first night of the Patreon launch, Peters convinced 37 patrons to sign up for monthly donations totaling $279:

  • Four at $2 a month, “Ares Studio Officer” level
  • 18 at $5 a month, “U.S.S. Ares Construction Team” level
  • Nine at $10 a month, “U.S.S. Ares Bridge Crew” level
  • Seven at $20 a month, “Ares Studios De Medici” level1)

Failed Indiegogo

The Patreon effort in some ways mirrors Peters’ failed attempt on Indiegogo in 2017 to raise money to set his beleaguered Valencia, Calif., studio on firm financial ground after sinking nearly three-quarters of a million dollars into the facility without ever shooting any of the Axanar feature there that he had promised donors for years.

Barely more than 300 of Axanar’s supposed 15,000 fans contributed about $22,000, nowhere near the $200,000 Peters actually needed to keep the California studio open. That forced Peters to redirect the donations to pay for relocation to another warehouse near Atlanta.

The rent and overhead on the California studio was $15,000 a month. At $4,000 a month, the much-smaller Atlanta facility attracted corporate sponsorship from Other World Computing, a technology company whose CEO, Larry O’Connor, was an Axanar fan.

Other World Computing‘s sponsorship of Alec Peters’ Georgia warehouse ended in 2018.

OWC Sponsorship

At the time in 2017 O’Connor proudly touted his partnership with Peters’ new production company, Rocketworx. His sponsorship, which won his company naming rights to the rechristened OWC Studios, appeared to have no end date in mind:

We’re excited to be part of the team at The Rocketworx, making great things happen. When you see what these guys and gals did with our equipment on their Star Trek fan film Prelude to Axanar, and what they’ve produced so far, it’s easy to see why we want to remain an integral part of this company.2)

Peters had promised, “We also have several other productions and co-productions in the development pipeline and OWC will be involved in all of them.”

KLINGON BRIDGE This set is described by Alec Peters as a “3D set,” indicating it may require a greenscreen to be created. The Georgia warehouse has no greenscreen. Image/Ares Studios

Growing Discomfort

After more than 18 months, however, none of those productions and co-productions had materialized. Also, complaints to the company about several vitriolic public rants by Peters had made the company uncomfortable.

After one incident in October 2017, an OWC spokesperson told AxaMonitor:

[We] were not pleased with what Alec Peters and others recently posted on his Facebook page. We immediately contacted Mr. Peters to express our concerns and requested that he remove his reference to “OWC Studios”, which he has done. Please note that we have also responded to comments and messages that we at OWC do not condone threatening behavior in any capacity and do not want our name associated with such inappropriate actions.

That said, we cannot control what Mr. Peters writes on his own personal social media sites. He is allowed freedom of expression. … We cannot bar him or his followers from making such expressions. We truly hope that this is the end of such objectionable behavior.3)

Sponsorship Ends

In 2018, rumors began to swirl that OWC was withdrawing its sponsorship. The company refused to answer queries from AxaMonitor regarding the end of its sponsorship but by the end of the year, Peters began a transition away from the name OWC Studios to the rechristened Ares Studios, abandoning the former’s Facebook page and starting a new one for the latter.

In his Patreon pitch, Peters failed to explain what had happened with the OWC sponsorship, simply saying:

During our first year in Georgia, we enjoyed the generous sponsorship of Other World Computing, who covered our expenses while we worked to finish the bridge set and develop relationships with the schools and film industry here in Atlanta.4)

However, OWC’s sponsorship announcement clearly referred to sponsoring actual productions, not merely buying Peters time to “build relationships” and complete the Axanar bridge set, which by his own admission is not definitively slated to appear in the Axanar shorts.

CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS Originally built in California to serve as Captain Garth’s quarters, this set was disassembled for transportation to Georgia in 2017.

Fact-Checking the Patreon Pitch

Peters made a variety of claims in the Patreon pitch, many of which had been heard before in the failed 2017 Indiegogo studio campaign.

'First Fan-Owned Film Studio'

In the pitch, Peters described Ares Studios as “the first fan-owned film studio,” a claim similar to one he made about his California studio, which was not then and still isn’t true. Other fan groups, such as Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek Continues have owned their own studios and have actually produced films there. No film has yet been produced at Ares Studios.

Which Ares Studios?

After describing Ares Studios as being located in Lawrenceville, Ga., the Patreon pitch states, “In the past, Ares Studios was where Axanar Productions shot the amazing Vulcan Scene, which was the first scene filmed for the full length Axanar.”5)

ARES WAREHOUSE A panoramic shot of the interior of the Lawrenceville, Ga., warehouse where the reassembled Axanar bridge set (upper right) is stored. Image/Axanar Productions

While that might lead a reader to believe the Vulcan Scene was shot at the Georgia facility for which Peters seeks funding, that is not true. That scene was shot at the now-abandoned California studio, and not inside the building. The scene was shot entirely outdoors in the parking lot.

State of the Studio

Calling the Georgia facility a studio is a bit of a misnomer, as the warehouse is not outfitted in any way to serve as a soundstage. It lacks soundproofing, a greenscreen, lighting grid and an electrical system capable of handling the power requirements of studio lighting.

Even the $4,000 a month Peters is hoping for would not pay for these needed enhancements for the building to serve as a true studio. As he stated in the video, “Anything that we receive above that amount would go to pay for improving the studio.”

CORRIDOR This unfinished set, built in California, was disassembled for transportation to Georgia. Image/Axanar Productions


Peters’ pitch includes references to multiple sets available to fan filmmakers and others, include the Ares bridge, captain’s quarters, a corridor and Klingon bridge.

The finished bridge, featured in the Patreon pitch video, is his crown jewel, but what Peters failed to mention is that it is the only one of these sets actually standing in the warehouse. The bridge was completed in time for the Axacon convention in November 2018.

The photos displayed in the video are for other sets that were built in California but now stored disassembled. It’s not clear whether all the sets would fit fully assembled in the warehouse along with the merchandise inventory and other property stored there.

Financial Dependence

Peters’ pitch did not mention Peters’ long-term plan for sustaining the warehouse beyond monthly Patreon donations. While he explained the facility would be made available to fan productions and student groups, he did not discuss whether these activities would be free of charge.

EARNING MONEY Axanar’s Alec Peters accepts superchat payments during his YouTube livestream on January 18, 2019.

He also did not discuss plans for any other kind of revenue stream to help keep the studio afloat.


During the Reel Trek premiere’s livestream, Peters accepted what the YouTube community refers to as superchats, payments for chat participants to have their messages read on the stream.

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The De Medici level refers to the Italian Medici family, who ruled the city of Florence during the Renaissance, upon which they had a major influence through their patronage of the arts and humanism.
Facebook Instant Message from OWC Digital to AxaMonitor editor Carlos Pedraza, 10/6/17.
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