CHARTING SUPPORT Eventually delivering Axanar to the films’ supporters depends on successful fundraising on a variety of platforms, such as Patreon, but excluding the more popular crowdfunding services. Data/Patreon

FEBRUARY 5, 2019 / UPDATED FEBRUARY 11 | MINIMUM 6 MINS / MAXIMUM 13 MINS READING TIME

Denouncing Detractors Provokes Powerful Funding Feat

Confidentially: February 4On YouTube, Axanar producer Alec Peters and blogger Jonathan Lane discover denouncing the critics they regularly dismiss as irrelevant can spur an uptick in what they admit is likely a doomed effort to keep the 6,000 square foot warehouse they call Ares Studios. Meanwhile, Lane says “it’s gonna be tough,” and could take years, to raise at least a quarter-million dollars to eventually deliver Axanar to waiting donors.

1 Big Takeaway: Axanar's Pricetag Continues to Rise While Delivery Moves Further Away

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Revenue

Barred by his copyright lawsuit settlement with CBS and Paramount from public fundraising for Axanar, Peters has grown and diversified the revenue streams he expects will pay for the long-promised short films.

Why it Matters

After raising $1.7 million for the feature-length version of Axanar — the majority of that from donors on Kickstarter and Indiegogo — Peters has to appeal to Star Trek fans yet again for more than $250,000 to pay for the production of two 15-minute short films. Some, dissatisfied with the direction taken by Star Trek: Discovery, are lulled by the Trek they saw evinced in Prelude to Axanar. They want to give Peters yet another chance to deliver. Others remain skeptical whether it’s worth throwing good money after bad.

Monitoring YouTube Metrics

UPDATE The vulgar, name-calling third episode of Axanar: Confidential experienced a 61 percent audience drop, according to a report on the Monitoring the Trek Monitor blog.
That, “despite Jonathan Lane being on,” MTM posted, and amid controversy for Lane’s “mentions of terrorists, dicks, disloyalty and loss of erections.” The blog added:
“It appears that very few, if any, Axanar supporters found any of the above mentions of people being dicks or people losing erections rude.1)

VULGAR TALK Alec Peters uses strong language to condemn former colleagues who left Axanar citing problems with his mismanagement of the project. Original Video/Axanar YouTube channel


Details

Patterned on Prelude‘s format and cost, Peters said producing the two Axanar shorts could cost $200,000, shot in rented greenscreen studios over about four days in Los Angeles and Atlanta. He has previously estimated that additional shooting on the bridge set in his Lawrenceville, Ga., warehouse could cost another $40,000.

Rent to keep that warehouse — technically a separate legal entity from Axanar Productions — open could range from as little as $24,000 to as much as $48,000 a year. If, as Peters admitted on YouTube, he’s forced to move to a smaller facility,2) the rent would bring Axanar‘s total cost to $264,000.

Go Deeper » Challenges — (2 mins. reading time)
Challenges
Lane confided he himself is skeptical about Axanar’s prospects to raise anywhere near a quarter-million dollars without public crowdfunding. “It’s gonna be tough,” he said. “I don’t think you can raise $250,000 for Axanar.”

For his part, Peters remained confident he’ll eventually raise the money. “There’s no stopwatch. This year, next year…” he said, imagining aloud it could take two years to raise even $200,000.

Produce in Pieces
Challenged by Lane to take out another mortgage on his house, Peters refused, saying, “I’ve spent enough money on Axanar.” He went on to speculate he might instead seek to produce the two short films in pieces, $50,000 at a time.

Milestones
Peters had previously laid out a list of milestones he must meet before Axanar could be produced:
  1. Launching Ares Digital 3.0 Peters already missed this February 1 milestone, explaining the troubled proprietary software platform is “in beta.” Ares Digital must serve double duty, managing fulfillment of perks still owed to donors from previous crowdfunding campaigns, and handling future transactions from donors he’s counting on to pay for the shorts.
  2. Delivering Patches Peters didn’t want to start another fundraising effort for Axanar before he delivered long-delayed patches to its Indiegogo contributors. However, delivering those patches depends on past donors signing onto Ares Digital when it goes live to update their shipping and contact information.
  3. Private Fundraiser Each previous milestone must be passed before Peters can even begin raising money. He provided no timeline for how long that could take.

Watch

AXANAR CONFIDENTIAL In a two-hour YouTube livestream, Fan Film Factor’s Jonathan Lane (right) joined producer Alec Peters to discuss why the blogger has stood by the beleaguered Axanar production.


2. Detractors Down, Donations Up

SECRET SAUCE Alec Peters and Jonathan Lane discover outrage at Axanar’s critics spurs donations to the Ares Studios Patreon campaign during their Axanar: Confidential live chat on YouTube. Original Video/Axanar YouTube channel


While Peters’ increased YouTube presence in recent weeks was specifically calculated to earn additional revenue, Lane took him to task for not sufficiently flogging what Lane admitted was a flagging Patreon campaign. They discovered that denouncing those whom Lane calls “detractors” resulted in a five-fold increase in donations in a single night.

Why This Matters

Peters’ Patreon effort challenged Axanar supporters to help him keep the 6,000 square foot warehouse he calls Ares Studios after his sponsor, Other World Computing, withdrew its support. His goal is $4,000 a month by the spring, when he must choose whether he can afford to stay or must move to a nearby facility half the size. Without any change in donation patterns since he began, the Patreon campaign was projected to fall well short of that goal.


« Every time somebody donates to the Patreon, a detractor loses an erection! » — Axanar surrogate Jonathan Lane celebrates new donors during Axanar: Confidential

UPTICK After a downward trend in the number of new donations and patrons, pledges spike during and just after Alec Peters’ February 4 Axanar: Confidential livestream. Click graph to view full size.

Details

Not Like Terrorists, but Like Terrorists After stating he was not comparing his detractors to Muslim terrorists, Lane immediately proceeded to compare them to Muslim terrorists. “Deep down, [Muslim terrorists] like to blow things up,” he said. ”[They] are people who are dicks. … For the detractors, they are inherently dicks.“

Losing Erections Lane’s appearance included jokes aimed at Axanar critics, including one where he gleefully exclaimed at the number of Patreon donors added during the livestream: “Every time somebody donates to the Patreon, a detractor loses an erection!”

DETRACTORS ARE DICKS Fan Film Factor’s Jonathan Lane explains the qualities Axanar critics share with Muslim terrorists (“some of my best friends are Muslims!”). Original Video/Axanar YouTube channel

Irrelevant Detractors Both Lane and Peters regularly dismiss their critics as “assholes,” “pathological stalkers,” “irrelevant” and small in number (Lane insists no more than 80 despite 915 members in AxaMonitor's Facebook group). Even so, bashing their critics, combined with direct appeals to sign up for Patreon, appeared to provide a jolt to the moribund funding effort, which Lane admitted, “yeah, it slowed dramatically.” He said he preferred to interpret the data as “a glass half full, I think 75 percent full.”

Go Deeper » Paying the Rent — (2 mins. reading time)
FALLING SHORT Despite upward trends in earnings and patrons, the two aren’t projected to amount to enough to meet Alec Peters’ $4,000 goal. Click image to view full size.

Projections A regression analysis of Patreon trends pegs Peters’ monthly donations by April 1 at about $2,500 from about 275 patrons. Peters admitted on Axanar: Confidential that despite his pitch that fans save the larger warehouse, he expected he’d have to move. “The chances I’m staying in the bigger facility are small,” he said, “less than 25 percent.”3)

Covering Costs, Missing Features Given the strong possibility he will move into the smaller facility, his projected earnings should cover rent, utilities and insurance, among other minor costs. However, at less than 3,000 square feet, the warehouse won’t hold much more than Axanar’s U.S.S. Ares bridge set. Like the current warehouse, the new facility lacks the features of a real soundstage (e.g., soundproofing, upgraded electrical to accommodate stage lighting, greenscreen, lighting grid).

YouTube Two weeks before, Peters said he was earning $600 a month from Axanar’s monetized YouTube account. With his expanded number of live chats, he has also been earning hundreds of dollars directly from supportive viewers through YouTube’s superchat feature. By this episode of Axanar: Confidential, Peters said he was earning $1,200 from YouTube, though he provided no documentation for that amount. Added to the Patreon pledges as of this post, that would total $2,606.4)


3. Confidential Tidbits

During the two-hour livestream, Peters and Lane covered a variety of other important topics, including:

  • Stream of Resignations of Axanar’s key creative and administrative personnel.
  • Overtaking Trek.fm, producer of nearly 30 Trek-related podcasts, on Patreon, claiming the Ares Studios campaign had more donors and was earning more.
  • More Dicks, More Jokes The word seemed to be Lane’s favorite, this time in reference to Star Trek’s owner, CBS. He also added another joke at detractors’ expense.
  • Don’t Believe the Internet Peters derided gullible people for believing what’s said about him and Axanar on the Internet instead of getting their information directly from him.
Go Deeper » (3 mins. reading time)
Resignations
Lane and Peters went on at length (see the clip, Disloyalty) condemning “key people” who had resigned from Axanar then became critics, including:

PR Director Mike Bawden
Unmentioned, however, was the departure weeks before by longtime public relations director and advisor Mike Bawden, citing turmoil over a public dispute between Peters and Burnett in which Peters threatened to sue Burnett while ruining his career. Lane later tried on Facebook to explain away Bawden’s resignation as him simply being too busy: “He’s got his own growing business and he’s mayor of Riverdale, Iowa. The man is busy! It’s not like he stormed off and joined [AxaMonitor’s] Facebook group.”5)

Bawden, however, left right after Peters refused to follow his advice to resolve his dispute with Burnett privately or through the legal system instead of through Facebook accusations and insinuations.

Trek.fm offers its Patreon supporters 28 Star Trek-related podcasts. It used to host Axanar’s podcast. Image/Trek.fm

Trek.fm
As Ares Studios moved past Trek.fm’s monthly patrons and earnings, Peters crowed that his Patreon was now the highest earning Star Trek-related creator on the platform. Trek.fm offers far more professionally produced content than Peters does.

More Dicks
Lane commended CBS: ” Hats off … for not being dicks this time“ by allowing the recently released fan film, Temporal Anomaly some dispensation from the fan film guidelines, with a runtime of 51 minutes; the guidelines advise no more than 30 minutes total runtime spread over two episodes.

More Jokes
Lane shared one more joke to cajole potential donors to sign up on Patreon: Q. How many Axanar detractors does it take to change a light bulb? A. It doesn’t matter because they’ll never see the light.

MISSING INFORMATION What you see when you follow Alec Peters’ advice to visit the Axanar website to learn how he spent $1.7 million (most of it from donor fans). Luckily, AxaMonitor offers an archived copy for download. Image/Axanar Productions

Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet

Peters told viewers they shouldn’t gullibly accept what other write about him and Axanar on the Internet. people for believing what’s said about him and Axanar on the Internet instead of getting their information directly from him.

For example, he pointed to Axanar’s website: “All the information is there” about Axanar’s financials.” Except it’s not. The avowed “independent” financial report was surreptitiously removed from the site, reportedly at the demand of the chairman of the review committee, who never actually signed off on it.

COMMENTS
Discuss this article in AxaMonitor's Facebook group.


Keywords

1)
"Monitor Wrap 11-2-19," Monitoring the Trek Monitor blog, 2/11/19.
2)
Axanar Confidential #3, Axanar YouTube channel, 2/4/19.
3)
Axanar Confidential #3, Axanar YouTube channel, 2/4/19.
4)
This article was posted February 5, 2019.
5)
Comment by Jonathan Lane, The Real Truth About Axanar Facebook group, 2/4/19.
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