This year you get three fanzines and a lump of coal – Santa decided that you hadn’t been good enough to deserve four fanzines and … oh, all right! I only got three submissions but I’m hoping that we can improve on that again next year! Does this perhaps suggest that fanzines are loosing their popularity? I don't see why they should be. The opportunities today for creative people to self-publish are immense – whether you want to blog a daily journal or write reviews, commentary or fiction the possibilities are immense and growing every day!
Fanzines are a form of fan publication that has been around since before there was an internet, yes, when people could only distribute their writing on pressed wood pulp known as paper. Fanzines have today become a significant part of our literary culture, there has been a Hugo award for fanzines since 1955, but where have they come from? What have they become? Perhaps of more to us, what part did Star Trek play in their development and what lies in their future?
In his 1973 "The World of fanzines", Frederic Wertham describes fanzines as "uncommercial, nonprofessional, small-circulation magazines which their editors produce, publish and distribute. They deal primarily with fantasy literature and art. The fact that they are not commercially oriented, may come out irregularly, and are privately distributed differentiates them from the professional newsstand magazines. Their writers and readers belong chiefly to the under-thirty group." He cites "The Comet" that came out in 1930 as the first fanzine although Wikipedia traces their roots to amateur press associations that go back to the 19th century. If you're interested in reading transcriptions and scans of historical fanzines look no further than Fanac.
J.M. Verba's "Boldly Writing" gives us a pretty exhaustive picture of the early history of Star Trek fan activity between 1967 & 1987 - that it was a fertile time for Trek fanzines can be seen from the fact that she has a five page list of 'zines that are referenced in the book! Another important resource is "Star Trek Lives" by Jacqueline Lichtenberg who, with her writing partner Jean Lorrah, whose work was in Spockanalia, the first Star Trek fanzine, are two early luminaries of the Trek fan world who have gone on to champion the use of action / adventure stories to test the boundaries between science fiction and romance.
Star Trek has always had an emphasis on character centric storylines and over the years a subgenre of Trekzines have come to focus on love and lust in the Star Trek universe. One of the ways that Star Trek fanzines broke new ground was with the invention of the term slash, from "Kirk-slash-Spock" (K/S), the idea of Kirk and Spock being lovers.
For the purposes of this project, I set myself the goal of looking for fanzines that covered four criteria: They had to be about Star Trek, free, family friendly and a fanzine as opposed to a newsletter. Whilst the first three are self-evident, why, you might ask, make the distinction with the latter?
There is no hard and fast definition of what is, and is not, a fanzine. Over the course of the years different subsets of the fanzine world have been identified, such as Perzines (personal 'zines) Clubzines and even Crudzines which are the 'zines that no-one likes! One of the things that they all have in common though is their individuality: they have a purpose ... even though that aim might be, to be aimless!
Newsletters on the other hand have one, over-riding purpose, they exist to report on and for their readership or membership. Their scope of content is created to cater for the likes and dislikes of the members. Nowhere is this more in evidence in the newsletters of Star Trek fan clubs and Starfleet International (SFI) is a perfect example of this. Not only is there an expectation that a chapter or 'ship' will have its own newsletter, like ScuttleButt the newsletter of the USS Southern Cross, but there are also newsletters for regions, such as the award winning Subspace Communicator and SFI has it's own excellent, long-running, tabloid-sized, hardcopy newsletter sent by mail to all members, Communique.
So what’s the difference between a newsletter and a fanzine? Because of their mandate to focus on the membership, a newsletter sacrifices a large amount of the individuality that is part and parcel of the fanzine. A newsletter editor would be remiss if he reported on the latest rumours from the set of the new Star Trek film at the expense of reports that could encourage a member to participate and feel part of the crew. By the same token, Jacques Moreu, a some-time Star Trek fan of Montreal, is unlikely to be interested in the administrivia of a Star Trek club in Ohio. This is not to say that the Ohio newsletter does not have some well written material that is of general interest to Star Trek fans all over the world, but you might have to search for it.
Fanzines have no such imperative. They might have a certain scope, say to write about Music or genre fiction and they might be “clubzines” in that they are the publications of a specific club, but their focus is more on the subject of their club than the members which certainly makes them more interesting to the general reading public.
Most fanzines were, in practical terms, free - the pittance that was sometimes asked was barely enough to cover photocopying and mailing expenses. Interestingly it was usual for a fanzine editor to offer a free exchange with other editors, such that they would send you one of theirs in exchange for one of yours. This had the effect of encouraging a readership of people who would be expected to have similar interests. In their heyday, fanzines were a forum for discussion for their readership and it was expected that if you exchanged fanzines, you would exchange LOC's or "Letters Of Comment" about matters raised in articles.
Part of their charm for us today is their “hand-made look”. Because of the limited technology of the day they were all typewritten and reproduced by methods that only exist in museums today. Artwork was often original and hand-drawn and I cannot help but think we have lost a lot of originality because of the ease with which we can copy & paste a graphic (or article) from the internet to suit our purposes.
Today, many of the functions that the fanzine used to service for the literary everyman have been usurped by other, more efficient, internet-driven media. Whereas APA's struggled to distribute contributions from isolated members, Blogs, internet forums and mailing lists take all the work out of distributing your work. Similarly, whereas before computers a Letter of Comment might have been laboriously drafted and typed out, to be mailed off once a month, now we can dash off our thoughts and comments in a night, to see them exhibited and commented back on within minutes.
The internet is changing many of the things that made fanzines what they are. I found the article "Fanzines: Their Production, Culture and Future" by Phil Stoneman to be fascinating and stimulating reading, even though the thrust of the content was more on music 'zines in the UK. I particularly liked his comparison between Perzines and personal home pages, to which, given the speed with which things change, I would now add Blogs, Facebook and MySpace ... or whatever flavour of social networking you prefer.
These all facilitate cultural communication far quicker than the unwieldy fanzine yet it might be that very aspect of the intermittent nature of LOC's that made them more valued. If you knew that you only had one chance a month to say your piece, you jolly-well put some thought into it and the resulting missives are some quite excellent examples of the essayist’s art.
Trekzines are a specific subgenre of fanzines that has evolved in a different direction to the average fanzine available today which, to my mind, is more about commenting on literature than creating it. Their roots lie in the early Star Trek 'zines of the 1967 - 1987 era as described in J.M. Verba's definitive "Boldly Writing" and Jacqueline Lichtenberg's seminal "Star Trek Lives" which covers the whole fan experience of the time, not just fanzines. Their focus has always been on fan fiction, art, poetry and filk and as such I feel that today they represent a largely underused distribution medium for creative fans.
In alphabetical order, the fanzines we have for you this year are …
Acrux Fanzine 0803, Dec 2008
For one issue, Acrux becomes a Trekzine instead of a perzine, playing host to Star Trek fan fiction, art and poetry. As a perzine or personal fanzine, I try to keep the content as close to 100% my own work as possible but this issue I'm publishing contributions from a number of sources. I have a challenging story written by Robin Woodell and illustrated by Ken Gurton, both from Region 3 (Louisianna & Texas) of Starfleet International, plus the story of a Christmas leave spent by Bones and Scotty in Engineering, written & illustrated by SL Watson. Of course I hope you'll enjoy the other fiction and commentaries from my favourite author - ME!
This year, I turned away from my original idea of a blogzine (a 'zine created using Blogging software) in favour of something more traditional with a pdf file that can be printed out as a 20 page booklet in A3 (or as a digest sized version on A4). Because of this, it can partake in the existing world of fanzines – I’ll gladly partake in a fanzine exchange and look forward to Letters of Comment. However as an electronic file, it also has a foot in the door of the internet such as being available for live browsing on ISSUU. Now if I can just open it up into a few other avenues of distribution …
Hailing Frequencies Open Issue 26, Christmas 2008
Since it's creation three years ago, TrekUnited has shown itself to be a pro-active (some might say Quixotic) fan group that tries to give Star Trek fans a voice, within the fan community and outside it. Part of that mandate for action has been their magazine, Hailing Frequencies Open (HFO), which through a long, monthly print run of nearly two years, steered by the flamboyant Richard Anderson, they delivered a quality news magazine for members. Over the past year though their focus has changed, primarily with the winding down and eventual closing of the Save Enterprise Campaign, and what has taken it's place is an organisation that strives to provide a friendly forum for Star Trek fans to make the most of their fandom, regardless of whether they are into collectables, conventions, gaming or fan productions.
As a sign of that re-direction, they are rebooting their flagship publication in a new format - as a fanzine and as the incumbent editor for the rebirth of HFO it is my privilege to be able to deliver something a little different for the TrekUnited membership and fans in general. What I've tried to do is to give the TrekUnited membership a publication that is written *for* them rather than *by* and *about* them. I see the scope of the 'zine as entertainment, information and commentary drawn from the whole of Star Trek fandom rather than just TrekUnited. I see this as a fan production in that it is a meeting of the energy and creativity of the common man and the love of their craft shown by respected professionals. I feel that it should reflect the "Infinite Diversity" of Star Trek fans (and isn't everyone a Trek fan deep down?) and that it should provide a fan experience for both those who wish to be involved in it's creation and those who simply want to enjoy reading it.
Starting with a short summary of online resources for those who like to read or create Star Trek Fan Fiction, it has three episodes of Star Trek: The Forge, a new Enterprise Virtual Season 5, a short story from Robin Woodell, a longer Christmas tale from the Mirror Universe by SL Watson and a flash fiction from my favourite author. The issue is dedicated to Majel Barrett Roddenberry, ‘The First Lady of Trek’, from her fans.
Imaginations Unlimited Vol 11, Dec 2008
Imaginations Unlimited is a Trekzine that started as a member’s project with Jeff Davis, the president, or CO, of the USS Indiana, which is a chapter of Starfleet International (SFI). It is now the official fanzine for their Region 1, covering Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North & South Carolina and Virginia & West Virginia where he draws his material from a core of contributors although submissions from outside this area are welcome.
Jeff's fanzine follows the accepted Trekzine formula of a fan fiction anthology covering short stories, serials, artwork, poetry, filk, etc. For this year’s Twelve Trek days of Christmas he has released a 28 page Christmas special with a mixture of fiction with an episode from Jeff’s "Captain Ryan Chronicles" and a new collaborative story from two of his crew on the Indiana, Walter Ewing and Michael Kent. This month, Jeff too has tried something different, with a review on the Original Series episode Amok time and an article on a new starship design, the Proxima.
What does the future hold for Star Trek fanzines? Well they're certainly not going to disappear altogether although perhaps they will need to think about what their readers want and what their contributors have to give. There is plenty of scope for development, in the same way that fan films and audio dramas have, though some exciting technological advances in the fields of desk top publishing, electronic publishing and distribution.
Who knows, perhaps next year we might have more Trekzines available than I can shake a stick at? One can but hope!
The weak must die to give way to the strong, that is a fact of life that makes the Empire the powerhouse that it is. Certainly diversity makes the Federation a worthy competitor - and occasional partner - but the great judgment comes when the strong stand tall and victorious over the lifeless husks of the weak and vanquished. Throughout history, it has been shown that the strong live on while the weak and inferior die. The human concept of natural selection, a simple restating of the infinitely more profound Klingon theory, demonstrates that members of a species better suited to conquer their inferiors always shape the destiny of that species.
If we were to take that theory to another level, we would see that a strong, more organized and better trained force will always prevail over a weak, poorly run and ill-trained force. One might continue to arm and equip that inferior force, but it still must fail. Only a fool would waste resources on a force that did not know how to use them. An empire that sends in the Imperial Guard to save the hides of worthless cowards who had cut and run is preserving weakness over strength!
One must question the motivations of leaders who insist on keeping such a poorly run force going in such a state. One needs to consider that such a leader may be more interested in wasting resources, perpetuating fruitless struggles, and therefore maintaining the illusion of their own importance than in actually seeing their Empire victorious and prosperous. That paints them as either ignorant or treasonous. In any case, they are not deserving of our loyalty. Indeed, when they force incompetent commanders to beg like common petaQpu', they demonstrate their own cowardice and dishonor. Weak, cowardly leaders all eventually fall, as they should, and that poorly run force, unless it were to dedicate itself to success over status quo, deserves to fall with him to be consigned to the ash heap of history.
So what does this say of an economic 'bail-out'? Throw good money after bad, and wait for the situation to improve? While you're waiting for the Targ to change his spots, keep one eye on who decides where to spend your money and consider their history of success ... and failure. You may find that they do not, in fact, fix anything but their own position of power. And you will continue to get the leadership you deserve.
The floor of the stock exchange is truly a battlefield to test the nerve of the real warrior! I watched in disgust as, at the first sign of a setback, weak-livered petaq's rushed to be the first to sell. Like the first cowards to run in the face of the enemy, they broke the spirit of their weaker comrades and caused a mass retreat that made my blood boil! These were the same boastful fellows who would tell everyone about how, if you would follow them, they would lead you to great spoils in a victory of glory and honour!
But an economy is a war, not a battle and this is what they did not understand. It is a war that can only be won on the large scale, by sticking to long term strategies, building resources on a strong base and consolidating your hold over your conquered territories. They were an army without reserves and broke because they had overstretched themselves, their lines of supply were thin and open to attack. Their whole strategy was based on the idea of constant advancement as fast as possible, surviving on what they could forage, without any thought for how their empire of hot air would be blown away at the first breeze.
I have always handled my business affairs as I used to command my last ship, the Klingon battleship the IKV Corporate Raider. She was a sleek killing machine, designed to take advantage of any opportunity that fell within our sights! We had many glorious victories and my crew feasted well on the spoils of war, leaving our rivals shattered, crippled or barely able to limp away, leaking assets from every vent!
For every victorious encounter there were months of lean times though, cruising the commerce routes looking for targets of opportunity. In times like those we had to tighten our belts and make do with what we had. The ship's replicators were strictly rationed and maintained at peak efficiency to recycle everything. In times like these there could be no waste and on some ships, the weak made lunch for the strong.
These lean times would bring to mind the hunting trips of my youth, when my father would teach me the ways of the wild. I remember clearly on my first hunt how, when I had a clear shot of my prey, he stayed my hand saying,"We eat what we kill, we do not kill when we do not need to eat."
I was angered by this since I was hot for the kill. "If this is so, why then do you bring meat home at the end of the hunt?"
He laughed, scaring off my prey, and said, "It's true, the hunt is not always good and the house must have a reserve for the lean times. Never fear, o' mighty hunter, we will take home plenty of meat to make the clan proud of us but that is in the last days of the hunt. We do not need that Kolar beast tonight and his meat would have gone off by the time we are ready to return. To kill him now would be to waste him, better to leave him with his herd. If you cannot catch him again you do not deserve him!"
When we got home he took me to the workshops of the servitors and showed me how they had many cunning ways of preserving the bounty of one season for the famine of he next. Ever since then I have abhored waste and gluttony, consuming things simply for the pleasure of the moment.
2008 has been a year of financial crisis unparalleled since the Stock Market Crash of 1929 such that the National Bureau of Economic Research has pronounced the recession in the US to be the third longest since the Great Depression. It has been worldwide and affected all levels of society from national economies to retirees and it has the potential to be as devastating as a world war!
All is not doom-and-gloom though as governments work globally and nationally to coordinate a response that reflects a rejection of the "every-man-for-himself" lifeboat mentality of past years in favour of international coordination.
When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in the mid '60s, he specifically gave it an optimistic world-view of a united Earth without national boundaries. The Starship Enterprise was the product of a flourishing society that had conquered the problems of racial conflict, cultural intolerance, poverty and famine. How could we achieve such a paradise and what, one wonders, would the economic luminaries of the 24th century view our current situation and who would these "three wise men" of 24th economics be?
Star Trek has always had a commitment towards thought-provoking science fiction and one of the things that makes this possible is the way that it's fictional universe is a macrocosm of the tensions and stereotypes that exist in our present, real-life world. It is peopled by alien cultures that represent extremes of attitudes that are part of the human psyche, such as the warlike and aggressive Klingons and the Ferengis, whose culture is based on commercial gain. Who better to give you a different take on our current financial situation that a Ferengi a Klingon and a high-ranking architect of the United Federation of Planet's economy?The Ferengi Viewpoint from Gelt the Ferengi
Noel Green's Ferengi News website was my inspiration for today's present. A small business owner, he has definite opinions on commerce and economics and delivers them using the analogy of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (a full copy of which is on his website).The Klingon Viewpoint from Kash the Klingon
The Klingon ethic of honour, old-fashioned and irrelevant to the hedonistic world of generation "X" or "Y", is a basic psychological concept of self-image and pride. If your self-image as an honourable person helps you to lead an ethical existence then can it be wrong? Kapact of House Abukoff and Kirok of L'Stok have collaborated on this translation from the works of the Corporate Raider, Kash the Klingon!The Federation Viewpoint from Honoré de Monet, Minister of Commerce, UFP
Another avenue for learning about the real world through the fictional Star Trek universe has always been the Academy of Starfleet International. These are a series of fan-run correspondence courses on subjects ranging from Andorian studies in the Institute of Alien Studies to the College of Economics of the Institute of Arts whose director, Commander Jan Sleigh of the USS New Hope, gave us a scholarly interview with the UFP's Minister of Commerce, Honoré de Monet. Her work is hosted by fellow SFA director and CO of the USS Atlantis, Cpt Jayden Tyronian, our website guru from last year!
... or even more!
Podcasting is settling into a regular niche after the initial excitement of it's early years. The unexpected plummeting of the price of portable memory has made devices that can now store as many videos on your iPod (or equivalent) as you used to have songs on it when it first came out! This is not to say that audio podcasting is in danger of being left behind because there will always be a place for audio only media - it is not advisable to watch a video podcast when driving for example! They are starting to be seen as a real alternative to live-to-air radio programmes. You can listen to them any time you want to, as many times as wish and pause for bathroom breaks at will! Whilst they're not as polished as professional productions, the podcasting community is steadily "raising the bar" on what we can expect by technical and stylistic self-education.
For the second year in a row, Jim Caswell and Doug Zeitlin, co-creators and producers of TWERPcast, have provided us with a great example of what can be done with the media. Technically well produced after a period of early exploration of recording techniques they've created an identity for their show that is uniquely theirs. This is because, like most of the best podcasts, the characters and opinions of the presenters comes through as spontaneous and honest. This is not your scripted Entertainment Tonight!
Originally we were thinking of having two podcasts but, why stop at two? Whilst there is not an oversupply of Star trek related podcasts, there is a wide variety of well-established shows …
TREKS in SCI-FI - Long-running, high quality reviews of shows and collectable news
Make It So - Two English loonies having a great time! mature content at times.
Maquispodcast - Predominantly Starfleet International news and comment
Hailing Frequency and STO-Zone - The mainstays of Trek Gaming, also broadcasting live
TWIP - news and background info on Pendant Productions, makers of ST Defiant
Behind The Scenes at Darker Projects - Production Blog of the makers of ST Lost Frontier
Slice of SciFi - The classic choice for wide-ranging news and views on Sci Fi
The Sci Phi Journal - Thought-provoking presentations on philosophy from a Sci Fi basis
Keep checking back and we'll be updating this list on a weekly basis until the end of the Twelve Trek Days. If anyone knows of a podcast that they would like to recommend Contact us and we'll list anything anything of a Trek or general Sci Fi nature.
The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas has started for a second year, when we celebrate the traditional Season of Goodwill by giving away twelve "presents" from the Star Trek fan production community. In a way it's Christmas all year round for them since fan productions are only allowed by the copyright owners if they are provided to the public for free. Accept them as our tribute to the original actors, writers and production crews, to maintain interest in the originals, build support for future professional productions and extend on the Star Trek universe with our own creative visions.
The present for The First Trek Day of Christmas is "Fatherhood", the second episode from the audio book series, "Tales of Death and Honour". Designed as a trilogy, the series started off earlier this year with "Motherhood", an original tale of love and loss on the Klingon homeworld, and this episode extends on that life and death struggle with a rescue from an unexpected source! It is produced by Silvertongue Productions, the audio productions group of The House of L'Stok, an experimental multimedia production house for the creation of fan and smallscale Indie productions. For more information about this and other productions of the House of L'Stok, checkout the website at http://lstok.blogspot.com
Unfortunately, in the best tradition of fan productions it's late! But by way of an apology for keeping you waiting, and to wet your whistle for the new episode, we offer you the new series trailer for Tales of Death and Honour which is available on the TrekUnited Audio Centre at ...
The loyal minions of the House of L'Stok have been working tirelessly behind the scenes for the last four months arranging the next challenge for us! What can we do that's a real challenge? Wrestling crocs? Herding cats? Organising twelve Star Trek events simultaneously? Yeah! That was cool, I'll do that again!
Yes! It's that time of year again! The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas is on again for 2008! Last year's event was a major collaborative project between a wide variety of Star Trek fan groups to celebrate the season of goodwill and giving. It's primarily a fun activity by Star Trek fans however there can be no doubt that it not only generated a lot of publicity for the participants but created and maintained good relations between the groups. It certainly did for me! I made some great friends and struck up some valuable acquaintances during the last event.
Hunh? Christmas? In October? Unlike most fan productions, because this is a Christmas project, delivery of projects on deadline is imperative and one of the lessons learned from last year (the website for which is still online HERE with all the "presents" from it still available) was that you need at least a six month lead time for it and that the deadline for completion must be set for the start of December. The one thing that marred the 2007 event was the lateness of some of the "presents". So that's why I put the word out in June that pitches were open.
The structure of the event revolves around new lyrics that fit the traditional Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas". This was what we had for last year, ...
Star Trek gave to me
A Hako Enterprise bridge
On the second day of Christmas
Star Trek gave to me
And a Hako Enterprise bridge
On the third day of Christmas
Star Trek gave to me
Three Wise Men ...
Two omnibuses ...
And a Hako Enterprise bridge
On the fourth day of Christmas
Star Trek gave to me
Three Wise Men ...
Two omnibuses ...
And a Hako Enterprise bridge
On the fifth day of Christmas
Star Trek gave to me
Five fan films
Four Pod dramas
Three Wise Men ...
Two omnibuses ...
And a Hako Enterprise bridge
On the sixth day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... Six Filkers Filking!
On the seventh day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... Seven Music Vid's!
On the eighth day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... Eight Trek Fan-Podbooks!
On the ninth day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... Nine Gamers, Gaming!
On the tenth day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... A Ten Page Comic!
On the eleventh day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... Eleven Hako Clones!
On the Twelfth day of Christmas, Star Trek gave to me... A Trek Fan Calendar!
I thought that this was a very even spread of presents, covering most of the areas of fan production, however if you want to suggest something else - be my guest! Make a pitch! Participation in the project is competitive in that subprojects will go to the person or group that is best suited. Because of the importance of delivering the project on deadline, groups and individuals with a proven track record will be given preference.
Another lesson learned was that responsibility needs to be delegated, so this year, I am acting as executive producer and anyone who wants to take over one of the days will be given all rights, responsibilities and credit as producer of that project. All work will be fan productions and labeled copyright warnings in favour of CBS/Paramount or their licensees, all original work will remain the property of it's producer though who may reserve the moral right to be identified as the creator.
Pitches are also invited for the IT support of the project which will be totally revamped to offer the "presents" as downloads or streamed online in a variety of media. As an internet, virtual project, the webhosting of the project last year was a mixture of an excellent website provided for us by Commander Jayden Tyronian of the USS Atlantis NX-63546, that pointed to various decentralised projects which were downloadable from their own websites such as the podcasts from Hailing Frequency, Twerpcast, The Love Long and Prosper Podcast and Indiana Jim.
This all might sound ambitious and, frankly, it was a monster to organise last year! However it succeeded as well as it did because of the hard work, tolerance and kindness of dozens of people all over the world! Basically, all I did was to give people an excuse to give away their work to as wide a slice of fandom as possible ... which is what they do anyway! Whilst it was physically draining, it was also personally uplifting to see the way that people rallied around during the season of goodwill and giving.
Less than two months away from my appointed deadline and things are looking touch and go! I've had some great support from some areas and been totally ignored in others. Unfortunately it looks like a lot of it will be carried on my shoulders again! Luckily I have a few ideas for interesting "second string" presents that will make up for any lack of support from the larger fan groups!
When the going gets tough just remember what the Vulcan said: There are always alternatives!
Kirok of L'Stok,
Exec. Producer, The Twelve Trek Days of Christmas
One of my highest priorities in my push to get my web-presence up and on-line was to create a home for the audio productions I have been involved with. I mean, how hard can it be?
The first thing to arrange was online hosting for the audio file itself and in this I had a great option in using Ourmedia which uses the resources of the Archive.org. Unlimited webspace and unlimited downloads - I don't think you can get that anywhere else for free. Usually there are either limits to the amount of space you are allowed or the amount of download traffic allowed.
I might point out, too, that my interface for using Ourmedia was SpinXpress which holds some interesting opportunities for extended sharing of media and production resources and online collaboration. A bit like Energia Production's (did you see the new trailer for Iron Sky?) idea of Raven's Nest.
Yup! Great resource but, um, not the prettiest interface in the world, eh? With the range of options open to us today, the way that the internet bombards us with bright and stylish websites, your interface with the online world says a lot about your production. I decided to go with a connected network of specially designed Blogs under the name of The House of L'Stok. Before I go on though, I must admit a debt to Ourmedia for their hosting and to just use their webspace seems a little rude to me. I've decided to keep my Producer's Blog there, since they have a quite an international community to mix with.
Creating the website itself in Blogger was an adventure in CSS! I learnt a lot, and I don't mind doing the leg work myself, but it gets a bit time consuming when you have to design the website as well as produce the material! Perhaps I'll write up how I did it but even that is time consuming. This is where the value of a team is paramount! If I had a website manager (or even some support from the CSS community!) it would free me for other things that need to be advanced. >sigh<
Anyway, the audio drama webpage, Silvertongue productions, was finally created - along with chicklets for links all over the place! - and the next step was to create an RSS feed so that people would know when I had created something new and could automatically download it. The thing that took me a while to get my mind around, was that the RSS feed was for the website, the production group, Silvertongue Productions, rather than the episode itself.
I did this by registering with Feedburner and filled in the on-line paperwork for getting my work listed on the iTunes store - the Holy Grail of podcast feeds! Since my first production was (and probably many others will be) an audio book, I pondered whether I should make Silvertongue Prod's an audio book production group. However closer inspection brought to light the unfortunate fact that virtually all of the audio books on iTunes are commercial offerings from Audible.com. Evidently not a Fanfic friendly zone.
The birth was difficult and painful but the baby is strong and, if not thriving, at least surviving! Still to come is the process of making it as easily available as possible for people to find and listen to it, an ongoing process! What I need now is feedback! Did we get it right? Am I being too manic depressive writing Klingon tragedies?
Rather than create my own discussion forum in php or yet-another-Yahoo-Group, I'm going to use my Star Trek forum of choice, TrekUnited, as my discussion forum. Drop in and leave a comment - you'll find a lot more of interest!