I have to thank @dontforgetaboutevil for the suggestion about open source sci fi films. @dontforgetaboutevil, get ready to see what it is you just breathed into life.
Now that you’ve had time to really have a look at the proposed “guidelines” and we’ve identified some major problems that have led to the #BoycottStarTrek, let’s clear up a few things. I, for one, support the #BoycottStarTrek and I encourage you to do the same, not so much for the post that shows the entire cast in the #TakeAKnee thing but because of what CBS has done in forgetting that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you and, sometimes, it’s better to be happy than right.
Solution #1. This one is aimed at CBS directly. Pull your guidelines, apologize to the fans for your actions and stop doing them. Leave us to express our love for Star Trek in ways that might amaze you. This would keep Star Trek fan films and fan productions coming and increasing in quality. Over time, you can implement a working relationship with these films. In a true meritocracy, you could even officially endorse films that contribute to the canon, enhance it and even make it grow. You’ll figure out a mutually beneficial means of combining Main Street with Hollywood Boulevard instead of clinging to a dying business model for dear life. If you want to know what that’s like, ask RadioShack. They did it twice.
Solution #2. This one’s for those fan producers and some are already doing it. Go Completely Independent. It allows you the freedom to write stories and create your own concepts without worrying about being sued. Plus you can protect your works. The only downside to this is this is the exact type of business model propped up by attorneys that is currently dying. Your small studio becomes larger at some point but you also end up burying your own creation in a metric fuckton of legalese to which you’re also bound. Still, cutting CBS and Paramount out completely is a move I’d support until they retracted those “guidelines” and just released the deathgrip on fan productions.
Solution #3. Welcome To The Sciborg Initiative.
Our Mission Statement: We Do What We Like And We Love What We Do.
Sciborg takes the same approach to Science Fiction that Linux took to development of a kernel. It’s all Open Source. Much like CBS, we too will have some guidelines but this open source approach makes for a much better setup for the next great Sci-Fi Series. We’ve seen great Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Action series all set in the same universe on TV, movies, video games, etc. The problem is, major studios have an approach that reeks of paranoia and tend to take unreasonable steps to “protect” their work, never once taking into consideration what the intentions ever were of the person or entity they’re going after.
So how does this approach work? Simple. Let’s say I create a universe, characters and I tell the story of those characters set in that universe. You can also create characters within that universe. You simply have to credit the original creator at some point in your production with the settings so if you were to set your characters and story in my universe without even including my characters, the credit that would ideally appear would be “Based on the X Universe Created by @CowboyXero.”
That would be it. Now if you wanted to include the characters I’ve created, you and I would work together on it. Even if you recast the character, again, without compensation and under fair use, you’d have to include a credit of “Based on (Insert Title) by @CowboyXero.” The only thing you cannot do is kill my characters. You can wound them, put them in a spot that they’re presumed dead but any final death of someone else’s character belongs to the creator. It’s open source but there are limits.
For those that want to monetize their content, you can.
If you’re using someone else’s universe, you have to kick them back a little something. I was thinking 2.5% for the universe as a setting and 5% for the inclusion of one or all characters on the initial gross and 2.5% on residuals. That would be all. Same with merchandising. This way, you keep the lion’s share of what you make and kick back a little to the original creators of the universe in which it’s set unless it includes the characters from the original creation. As far as a working business relationship, it’s solid gold.
The only problem that I can see with it is what if a major studio wants to pick it up, then what? Well that’s the best part, The Sciborg Open Source Initiative leaves this part up to you for contribution. Did you see something in this that you’d like to change? That’s what we’re here for. You could create your own universe under the Sciborg Open Source Initiative which would be licensed under a creative commons type of license. The thing is, you may be putting yourself in danger of selling the entire back catalogue to that studio and thus, signing over all rights.
The intention of the Sciborg Open Source Initiative is to take Main Street and completely upend Hollywood Boulevard. It’s a melding of human and machine in such a way that the skills are present and Hollywood’s exclusivity is shattered for good.
Let me be clear, I have serious doubts that Sciborg will make anyone a millionaire but for those of us on the business end of CBS and Paramount’s recent attack on Fan Productions, I wanted to offer a much more suitable and much more beneficial alternative. Let’s face a fact, without those of us paying, watching and convening over it, Star Trek fails to exist. It’s time CBS and Paramount knew that. It’s time that we all created something far superior in terms of content and watch them fade into obscurity. Why should they get all the breaks at this point?
Again, this isn’t something I’m setting up for me, I’m setting it up for those who make fan productions and because I have a potential script that will fall under this initiative if I can find people to actually get behind it with me so, if there’s anything you would like to see changed, modified, tweaked, added or otherwise rewritten, chime in. Truly constructive comments welcome.