Is it possible that the AVALON UNIVERSE is not a real thing? That it’s just a set of theories meant to entertain a cult of Star Trek fans, and not a real and living world? I thought so, until I typed a few words in the AVALON UNIVERSE Facebook page, and was greeted by…nothing. A few posts later, I get the same message. It’s almost like the AVALON UNIVERSE is a thing, but not quite. To me, this means that the authors of the AVALON UNIVERSE are aware of it’s existence, and are trying to keep it hidden.
After watching the AVALON UNIVERSE trailers for the first time I was disappointed to find that fan artists weren’t allowed to post their work on the AVALON UNIVERSE Facebook page, and the only place people could get the latest news about the AVALON UNIVERSE after the fan films/audio dramas were done was on the AVALON UNIVERSE Facebook page. Needless to say, I was very disappointed to see this happen.
Hey, folks, we’re a group of filmmakers who just want to share our passion and creativity for the works of Mamoru Oshii and Isao Takahata. We believe they are among the greatest creators in the history of the medium. We believe that their works have the potential to change the way people think about anime as a whole—and their works of genius have, time and time again.
I’m really concerned about something that occurred on Facebook last week, and I’m not sure what to do about it other than bring it to my readers’ notice.
As you may have seen, I’ve been putting in a lot of work over the last several weeks to promote contributions to the AVALON UNIVERSE fan series’ current GoFundMe campaign. They’re approximately 18% ($3.6K) of the way to their $20K target, so they’re doing quite well. By the way, if you’d want to contribute a little little, here’s the link:
Now, I’m no stranger to assisting fan productions in spreading the word about their campaigns. I’ve published many articles in the last three months on SAMUEL COCKINGS’ TREK SHORTS crowd-funding campaign in May and GARY DAVIS’ DREADNOUGHT DOMINION campaign in June. Naturally, I’d want to contribute to JOSHUA IRWIN’s Avalon GoFundMe… not just because he’s a Star Trek fan filmmaker, but also because he performed an amazing job as director of photography and editing on my fan film INTERLUDE, and he’s a close friend.
So when I published a “progress” visual like the one at the top of this blog on Facebook last week, I shared it with the typical assortment of Star Trek and fan film groups that I’m a part of. I do this with all and related articles to improve exposure, and I always get an instant notification saying “Your post has been shared with your group” or “An admin has accepted your post” within a few minutes to a few hours.
A DECLINE notification like this one is something I don’t see very often…
Now, two things immediately struck me as odd about the note from the admin at the bottom. The first was that a Facebook group called “Star Trek Fan Films & Audio Dramas” was restricting anything related to JJ Trek. There’s almost no Star Trek fan films set in that universe anyway, but why exclude the few that are? I mean, even if you loathe J.J. ABRAMS and the motorcycle he rode in on, why should the “sins of the producer” also be an albatross worn around the neck of a fan filmmaker? (What a wonderful mix of metaphors!)
So, just to be sure, I checked the group’s guidelines. And then, lo and behold…
7) No fan films based in the Kelvin world will be allowed. Neither will fan films based on discoveries.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa Granted, the organization is led by two enthusiasts, BOB PIKE and DOUG FITZ, who have made it clear that they are not fans of the three recent Star Trek reboot films or the current Star Trek: Discovery series. I’m not sure who authored the letter that came with the rejection of my post, but I do know that Doug has attempted to persuade me personally on numerous times that VCBS Star Trek showrunner ALEX KURTZMAN will be fired and that Discovery will be canceled soon. (I’m still waiting for both of those things to happen.)
When the admin said that Avalon was “connected” to JJ Trek, the second thing that sprang to mind was… WTF??? How did they get to such a conclusion? Have they seen any of the Avalon episodes? Avalon is completely TOS in terms of the appearance of the sets and starships, the technology, and, most significantly, the whole mood of the tales, with the exception of a few outfits. And if you’re curious about why the uniforms are unique, Josh explains in this short video from his first crowd-funding effort in 2019…
Perhaps the administrators have never seen Avalon before. After all, if they didn’t like JJ Trek and saw those uniforms, they may have thought to themselves, “We won’t like this!” and stayed away.
So, because I didn’t know which admin I was dealing with, I simply created a follow-up post with a picture of the USS Excalibur, which I sometimes use as a blog thumbnail. Although the nacelles have a blue glow, it seems to be a typical TOS Constitution-class ship. It isn’t, however, the strangely shaped Enterprise from the reboot series.
The top of the following screen shot shows what I typed, and the bottom shows the admin’s answer…
There’s so much wrong with this that I’m not sure where to begin. I could obviously make the tired IDIC argument that “Can’t you accept what’s different even if you don’t like it?” For enthusiasts like Bob and Doug, though, that spaceship sailed a long time ago. Before the photon torpedo could even be put into the tube, the IDIC argument would most likely be shot down. They despise everything about JJ Trek. That is something I understand.
Avalon, however, is not JJ Trek. In fact, other from the uniforms, there’s nothing even resembling the reboot.
Rather than debating IDIC, I prefer to follow the Star Trek philosophy of exploration and discovery—learning everything you can before stepping out on a limb. J.J. Abrams’ team, on the other hand, does the latter. They deploy the whole fleet to Vulcan without first sending anybody in to reconnoiter and figure out what’s going on. Kirk practically jumps into Nero’s ship before he even looks. For the two sequels, lather, rinse, and repeat.
So, if Bob and Doug really prefer TOS to JJ Trek, shouldn’t they—I don’t know—watch one of the Avalon episodes before dismissing it out of hand??? Mr. Spock, isn’t that the logical thing to do?
And of course, what really sticks in my craw the most is that the group is called “Star Trek Fan Films & Audio Dramas.” Avalon Universe falls under that heading. The group isn’t called “Star Trek Fan Films & Audio Dramas That Don’t Have Anything To Do With JJ Trek Or Discovery!”
As I already said, few fan films ever mention JJ Trek or Discovery, so why punish and ban those that do? It’s terrible enough that toxic fandom exists without excluding a tiny group of fan filmmakers who create content you don’t like. And who knows, maybe you’d like it if you simply gave it a go.
Now, I understand that it’s technically their Facebook group and they get to make the rules. And I guess I wouldn’t be be quite as incensed if Star Trek Fan Films & Audio Dramas didn’t have 2.7K members. For comparison, Fan Film Forum has 1.7K members. So for me the issue is that rejecting posts about Avalon Universe removes an important source of social media exposure at a very critical time for them, as they try to crowd-fund. You would expect that a group calling itself Star Trek Fan Films & Audio Dramas would want to be as supportive as possible of such efforts. So I find their stubborn close-mindedness both frustrating and extremely disappointing. Shame on them.
I’m not advocating a boycott of the organization or anything else nasty or spiteful. So, if you’re a member of that community and/or frequently post there, feel free to keep doing so. However, if you’ve read this article and agree with me that harmless Star Trek fan films shouldn’t be barred from a prominent Facebook Star Trek fan film group just because the administrators have a personal gripe against specific types of Star Trek, please let them know by leaving a comment.
Sure, they may not agree with what you write (I expect them to reject my request to publish my blog to their group). They could even expel me from the group… If that’s the case, I’ll make sure to let you know. However, if enough members of that group express their dissatisfaction—even via rejected comments and private messages—we may (just might) be able to reach out to the two administrators.
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