Trekkies Told to Keep Fan Films Clean & Short


No booze, no tobacco, no drugs, no bad language, no nudity, no sex! There are rules! 

What is this? Sunday service? School? The employee handbook? 

Nope, these are the rules for your Star Trek fan film. 

And make sure you’re a real amateur before you sit down with iMovie to start editing that puppy. Because like the NCAA, CBS and Paramount have banned professionals of any kind from participating. 

The owners of the Star Trek franchise issued new guidelines for fan projects via a link to a letter posted June 23 in which they heaped praise on their fans’ “support, enthusiasm and passion,” insisting that “Star Trek fandom is like no other.” 

And then they hit them with the rules. Strict rules that have already spawned backlash from fans who are variously posting that they are horrible, draconian, terrible, absurd, nonsense, a joke and so on. 

The guidelines come in the midst of anongoingdisputeover an independent “Star Trek” film currently in production that’s pitted the franchise owners against that film’s producers. 

So what’s in the rules? 

For one, restrictions on running times. Films can’t be longer than 15 minutes for one or 30 minutes for a two-parter. The films must include “a Star Trek fan production” in the subtitle but refrain from referring to “Star Trek” in the main title. 

Any props or uniforms “must be official merchandise and not bootleg items or imitations.” 

Fundraising is okay—presumably through crowd-sourcing platforms like Kickstarter—but only up to $50,000. Distribution must be free-of-charge. There’s a ban on tickets, advertising and distributing the films via physical media like DVDs. 

And then there are the content restrictions. Fan films “must be family friendly and suitable for public presentation.” There’s a long list of sex-, drug- and alcohol-related things that can’t be shown. Neither can a film’s creators claim copyright or trademark rights in their work. 

There are more restrictions beyond those, many of them detailed. Fans, meanwhile, can hope the rules will eventually change. CBS and Paramount have reserved the right to revise, revoke or withdraw them at any time.