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Sci-Fi Media Television

Fans Attempting to Pay for Enterprise 847

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the maybe-for-firefly-but-not-for-enterprize dept.
An anonymous reader writes "What started of as a suggestion to pay for season 5 of Enterprise has actully snowballed into a project that no one has ever attempted before, that of getting fans to pay for the production costs of a tv series. It has brought on board a raft of people including lawyers. I wonder if the quoted $50 to $80 million is reachable." I gotta say that Enterprise has been better this season, but I feel like it's still only mediocre. Battlestar Galactica might be the best SciFi airing right now. And I woulda chipped in for more Firefly in a heartbeat.
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Fans Attempting to Pay for Enterprise

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  • Wow, talk about fanaticism! I mean, I like Star Trek too, but when was the last time you saw a bunch of desperate couch potatos try to put $80 mil together for medical research, space exploration, or charitable distribution? Seriously, luxuries beyond beer seem like a major drain on mankind sometimes...

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Remember that tsunami? Remember the millions of dollars that private citizens donated?
    • It's their money to do what they see fit... did you have McDonalds for lunch ever? Couldn't you have instead given that money to a homeless person? Or give up coffee for a month to adopt a child in another country.

      No one (except maybe your wife/gf, but this is slashdot) tells you what you can and can't do with your money... it's not one person donating millions, each person is asked for a small amount. /kick mod_critical #high_horse
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:09PM (#11607553)
        No one (except maybe your wife/gf, but this is slashdot) tells you what you can and can't do with your money.

        You've got to be kidding. Everyone tells me what I should do with my money. The governement is the worst. They have guns and prisons for me if I don't spend my money in ways they accept.

    • This type of thing is brought up way too much in the forums, and I'm surprised people continue to mod this stuff up. It's a fallacy and people need to learn that.

      Such an argument has merit on it's face, but when you say this you are making a assumptive judgement on the part of the donors. Who's to say that the donors didn't already donate to tsunami relief? And who's to say what they already donated wasn't enough? And who's to say exactly how much per each person per amount of income is "the right amou
    • by 26199 (577806) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:27PM (#11607827) Homepage

      Money doesn't work like that.

      You remind me of the guy who said the Penny Arcade Christmas fund money should have gone to a more deserving cause. It's just a totally bizarre statement. Go out and raise money for whatever good cause you want; it's got absolutely nothing to do with this. (Money doesn't disappear when it's spent).

    • Beer is not a luxury.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:01PM (#11607429)
    By taping in my basement and wearing our homemade costumes! Live long and prosper.
  • by IO ERROR (128968) * <error.ioerror@us> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:01PM (#11607430) Homepage Journal
    Actually I really like this idea. And I'd like it even more if they took it one step farther and arranged for the fans to pay the distribution costs, so they could run commercial-free. And, just to make it even juicier, a few more bucks for another 15 minutes of show. With the commercials stripped out, it's going to come out to about 43 minutes. You can't easily fit that into a broadcast schedule, so let's make the show 58 minutes. Hey, we're paying for it, right?

    Yes, they really do run that many commercials in a "one hour" show.

    • by snorklewacker (836663) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:03PM (#11607456)
      How much extra would it cost to fire Berman?
      • Well, if they're smart, they organize as a non-profit corporation with a member elected board. The board of course could set any conditions it wanted for Paramount to receive the organization's money. Money == clout, and you want somebody smart who shares your values weilding that clout.

        The link of course, is dead so I can't RTFA, but the organization should be chartered so that if they don't get enough dough to extend the series, they could use it to do other things in the interest of the fan base, like
      • by The_REAL_DZA (731082) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:15PM (#11608505)
        How much extra would it cost to fire Berman?


        Out of a cannon? At $5/ticket it'd be PURE PROFIT, BABY!!

        heyyy... maybe we've finally discovered what the "???" part of "The Plan" might actually be!!

        1. Take over production of Enterprise
        2. FIRE BERMAN OUT OF A CANNON (SELL TICKETS)
        3. Profit!!!
        • by istewart (463887) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:51PM (#11609660)
          I'd laugh if this now becomes incorporated into the Slashdot meme. That is to say, every future "Plan" post, no matter what the subject, somehow features firing Rick Berman out of a cannon and selling tickets. It'd serve him right. I mean, look how quickly the "old people in Korea" thing caught on.

          Hm, I'd better get started propagating.
          • Plan:
            1) Incorporate '???' profit into running gag on Slashdot similar to 'all your base' and 'in soviet Russia'
            2) Bitch about Microsoft
            3) Promote Linux
            4) Fire Berman from a cannon for $5
            6) Profit!

            Holy shit, it works!
    • Standard Setting (Score:3, Insightful)

      by millahtime (710421)
      What kind of standard could something like this set? Imagine if this caught on and they did it to popular shows such as the OC. Actors get inflated salaries and/or networks make even more $$$.

      I hope this never happens for a show just because of the standard it would set.
      • They won't pull enough money together to use the UPN executive bathroom.
      • Re:Standard Setting (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Saxerman (253676) *
        What kind of standard could something like this set? Imagine if this caught on and they did it to popular shows such as the OC. Actors get inflated salaries and/or networks make even more $$$.
        I hope this never happens for a show just because of the standard it would set.

        You're missing out on the big picture. Right now the studios are servants of their advertisers and their networks. Fan owned syndication would mean the fans themselves are the ones with the money and they'll be the ones setting the rules

    • by Gherald (682277) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:05PM (#11607491) Journal
      The commercial-free distribution costs would be insane. It would be cheaper to mail a set of DVDs to each fan.
      • commercial-free distribution

        If they owned the right to it, maybe they would be allowed to ditribute it themselves independantly of the studio

        I'm thinking legaly on bittorrent would be really cool

      • The commercial-free distribution costs would be insane. It would be cheaper to mail a set of DVDs to each fan.

        Which isn't a bad idea. Why assume that the broadcast medium is the proper mechanism. If enough fans sign on for a subscription service to be able to 1) produce the show, 2) master the DVDs, and 3) distribute the DVDs to subscribers, especially if it could be done at a reasonable profit, then why not try a subscription-based model rather than old-fashioned broadcast TV?

      • Bullshit (Score:3, Informative)

        by Andy Dodd (701)
        Ever heard of BitTorrent?

        I've seen some describe this as a potential future for TV where the content providers are smart enough to embrace new technologies. Instead of BT being used to pirate episodes, fans pay a modest fee to subscribe to the tracker that provides their favorite episodes.

        The fee covers production costs, the fans themselves do the distribution.
      • I agree, mailing DVDs to one or two people would be far cheaper than a commercial-free distribution.
    • by tinrobot (314936) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:22PM (#11607741)
      Supposing they actually do raise the dough and pay for an entire season.

      Who owns those episodes?

      Who gets the money from DVD rights? Broadcast rights? Commercials?

      More importantly -- who approves the scripts? If I was paying for an entire run of a TV series, I'd at least want to read the scripts. Get a bunch of Star Trek fans involved with a script approval process and you'll have a riot.

      Paramount would be wise to just let it die a respectable death.
  • Let it die... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Folmer (827037) *
    And donate the money to Africa or asia. They need the money much more!
    • get over it already. people cant always give all their money to a charity.

      Unless you've given away everything you have you cant really talk. I hope you dont own that computer you typed on, cause heck, the money spent on that could've probably fed a hungry family for a month.
      • There's a huge difference between the cost of a PC and $80 million.

        That's the kind of money that could make a real difference. And they're going to spend it on a TV show.

        I mean, WTF???
        • 300 million people each with a PC is much larger than $80 million.
        • it's their money (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dknight (202308)
          they're free to do with it as they please. if I decided to spend 1 billion dollars and buy an island nation to rule like a king, that would be my business and noone else's.

          that 80 million dollars isnt gonna come in $20,000 donations, I'd bet. Just lots of fans donating what they can. They think this cause is worthy. If there are enough of them who think so to make it happen, who says they are wrong?
    • Re:Let it die... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by octal666 (668007)
      it's not charity, it's paying for the production costs of a show they want to see, they are buying the show. The thing is, are they going to share the profit?
    • Re:Let it die... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jxyama (821091)
      flamebait alert: why didn't you donate your /. subscription to the needy then?

      charity should be voluntary. and those who are charitable should not use that to make snide comments about those who are not.

    • Re:Let it die... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Cryogenes (324121) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:20PM (#11607713)
      May we assume you are following your own advice? Whenever you are about to buy a luxury good you stop yourself and donate the money to the poor instead?

      Seriously, do you accost people queueing at the office box and ask them to give their movie money to tsunami aid? If it is ok to pay $10 for a movie, why can't I donate $10 towards the next startrek without being attacked by do-gooders such as yourself?
    • If you think about it, fans paying for a show is kind of like reserving tickets for a play that you'll see later.

      So should all theater season ticket holders destroy theaters everywhere by not supporting the theater or ever buying passes?

      And why should anyone ever go to a movie, or a concert? That money obvisouly is better spent on food for the poor.

      I'm sure the dissolution of all entertainment everywhere so that you could provde a larger band-aid to problems that are primarily political in nature would
  • Currency (Score:5, Funny)

    by Lev13than (581686) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:02PM (#11607447) Homepage
    The main stumbling block, of course, is securing a suitable source of gold-pressed latinum.
  • yeah, i believe it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Naikrovek (667)
    people will do ANYTHING to avoid the realities of life and substitute in fictional realities these days, it seems.

    the only tv shows that ever have or ever will make me surrender money are on PBS.
    • by Buran (150348) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:52PM (#11608199)
      It seems you are forgetting that fiction has an important role in society. It looks like you think that anything fictitious is not worth any effort whatsoever.

      But in fact, science fiction and other forms of speculation DO have an important role to play. If you watch PBS a lot (as do I) you know that they will frequently run documentaries on subjects such as the Apollo lunar program. While the documentaries will focus on the 'how it was done' aspect and interview scientists and researchers and other individuals who worked on those projects, they will also sometimes mention the inspiration for them. And it's important to pay attention to those things.

      Take the case of Jules Verne, for instance. Verne was a prodigious science fiction writer who imagined Project Apollo to an amazing degree of accuracy -- his ship looked roughly like Apollo's command and service modules, was roughly the same size, carried a three-person crew, was named Columbia, and was launched from the coast of Florida. This is almost exactly how the Apollo program operated by the time the first actual manned lunar mission was launched in 1968 (Apollo 8; no landing actually occurred until 1969.)

      Now, while it is true that many people did not believe such a thing was possible (Robert Goddard was laughed at for believing that a rocket would function in a vacuum, for instance) and Verne's stories were dismissed as fantasy (nuclear-powered submarines!? Are you crazy!?) they came true, in time.

      Going back to Project Apollo, you may or may not remember that the first few crews to visit the Moon were quarantined upon their return to make sure that there were no dangerous organisms on them or their clothing or in their spacecraft. The fear of a possible contamination of Earth was raised, in part, by Michael Crichton's novel The Andromeda Strain, as well as by points raised by the scientific community. As a result, quarantines continued until we had enough experience with returning Apollo crews to believe that they were no longer necessary. (Apollo 12's recovery of Surveyor hardware, and the subsequent discovery of terrestrial bacteria surviving on some of that equipment, proved that organisms could survive for long periods of time in space.)

      We have also been influenced by other major works of science fiction (War of the Worlds' radio broadcast, for instance, has long been held as an example of how we might react to the idea of hostile alien life, and ET is an example of how we could react to more friendly aliens.)

      For something to happen, it has to be imagined first. Sometimes, that takes the form of science fiction stories. Not worth it? Far from it. We'll be forever stuck in the present and never stop to imagine what might come in the future without the ideas that come from those who dare to say "Hey, what if this was possible?"
    • by spectecjr (31235) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:58PM (#11608278) Homepage
      the only tv shows that ever have or ever will make me surrender money are on PBS.

      I won't give money to PBS.

      The local station only shows the shows I want to watch when they're doing a beg-a-thon. And they interrupt those shows every 15 minutes to beg some more.

      If they showed them outside of the beg-a-thon, I might consider it, but they don't. So screw 'em.
  • Let them. I along with so many die hard Star Trek fans have alreaedy written it off as the child that never was. But if they want to support it in full, I don't see why they shouldn't be allowed to. What boggles the mind is nobody's talked about cancelling Andromeda yet, which was my favorite show up until these past 2 seasons.
  • by Faust7 (314817) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:04PM (#11607467) Homepage
    Star Trek has been kept running on the popularity of the mythos, of the franchise. It has always been self-sustaining, through its own quality. If a Star Trek show is in such a bad state that it needs to rely on fan charity to survive... it isn't worth keeping.
    • To the contrary, I'd say that any show that could survive on donations from fans is the most worth keeping.
    • All TV shows rely on fan charity via one source or another.

      If the shows ratings are a good indicator of how many people are watching the commercials and buying the products adverstised, then the "charity" effort will fail.

      However, if the ratings samples are NOT representative for some reason (e.g. bitorrent), AND enough people understand that it may not be a lost cause, and someone organizes it properly, it might work. My guess is that it won't, because grassroots support takes a while to filter up to the
      • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@co[ ]ll.edu ['rne' in gap]> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:47PM (#11608115) Homepage
        The type of people who watch Enterprise happen to be the most likely to embrace BitTorrent and similar technologies.

        As a result, supposed two shows air at the same time. Given the choice of downloading one and watching/recording the other, I chose to download Enterprise. Why?

        1) Enterprise is popular. It typically has the largest BT swarms, and often the best S/L ratio (another testament to the types of users who watch Enterprise - geek types are more likely to leave the torrent running after completion.)
        2) Given a choice between recording CBS and recording UPN, I choose recording CBS. UPN needs to petition the FCC for a transmitter power increase in the NYC area. Sad when your flagship station's transmitter is a piece of shit and your signal crashes people's MPEG encoders.
        3) Higher quality from the Torrent. A combination of signal issues and the fact that UPN's HD signal in the NYC area is shit.
    • Star Trek has been kept running on the popularity of the mythos, of the franchise. It has always been self-sustaining, through its own quality. If a Star Trek show is in such a bad state that it needs to rely on fan charity to survive... it isn't worth keeping.

      Aren't you saying the same thing in just slightly different ways? Come on when has Star Trek ever had that much quaility? Mythos yes, quaility, No.

      I just had to do it:

      Linux has been kept running on the popularity of the mythos, of the franchise. I
    • If a Star Trek show is in such a bad state that it needs to rely on fan charity to survive... it isn't worth keeping.

      Funny, I was thinking the exact opposite. Clearly, if fans are willing to toss large sums of money at Paramount to have the show continued, I think it clearly demonstrates that people think it's worth keeping, to the tune of 80 million bucks.

      Put another way, do you *really* trust the television industry to understand what is and isn't worth keeping? Why is Paramount to be trusted to mak
  • by Zed2K (313037) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:04PM (#11607469)
    I'm already paying to receive my tv feeds. If I pay for just a show I better receive all rights of ownership for that show. I also better get all dvd right as well as rebroadcast rights.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rscrawford (311046) <rscrawford@undavis.AUDENedu minus poet> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:04PM (#11607470) Homepage Journal
    If this works out, then would the fans have more say over the direction of the show? Open source Star Trek?
    • Mod poster insightful, please.

      I know for sure if I were fronting the money for something, I sure as hell would want some voice in how it was used. Firing Berman would be a good start. Maybe the fan-contributed money could be used to pay the salary of someone with a better handle on science fiction.

      And yes, Battlestar Galactica is the best sci-fi on TV today.

  • by holden caufield (111364) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:04PM (#11607479)
    GET A LIFE!
  • PBS? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Enterprise has actuly snowballed into a project that no one has ever attempted before, that of getting fans to pay for the production costs of a tv series.
    I guess they've never heard of PBS.
  • I thought about paying for Enterprise, but in the end I decided to download Fedora Core for free.

    *ducks*
  • Never? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dorward (129628) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:05PM (#11607489) Homepage Journal

    a project that no one has ever attempted before

    Didn't somebody try the same for Farscape?

    • RE: FARSCAPE (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes, the farscapers tried something like this, they didn't get enough for an entire episode but they did get alot of money for donations to military librarys, and ads, and other stuff...

      www.savefarscape.com

  • by EvilGoodGuy (811015) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:05PM (#11607493)
    There is no way both fans have that kind of money.
  • by solowCX (796423) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:07PM (#11607509) Homepage
    After 9/11 when Amazon starting taking donations they only made $6.8 million dollars, and that was a big thing where over 170,000 people donated. They expect Trekkies to pay more just for a show?
  • by MBraynard (653724) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:07PM (#11607517) Journal
    ST:TNG did so well because it was syndicated rather than being on a 2nd tier network. If Paramount would allow the fifth season to be sold and syndicated, an IPO or corporate bond sale would be an ideal way to raise the funds. The profit would come from advertising for that year.

    On the operational side, a good comparison might be that show with McGiever going into the portal to fight minorities on other planets (can't recall the name). It started as a movie, then it was on one of those extra-pay pr0n channels, then it got to sci-fi channel. And somewhere along the way it might have also been showing new episodes through syndication.

  • by mauledbydogs (853179) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:08PM (#11607524)
    In the unlikely situation that the money is raised - an individual, or registered organisation that represents the fund would have to enter into a contract with Paramount. At this point they become an investor in the franchise and its development. What happens if Paramount fail to produce the show? Legal action? What also happens to the advertising and syndication revenue? Are people investing purely to finance a vehicle that will make the franchise owner money - or would they seek to recoup their investment? That's just the beginning. I can't see Paramount taking cash from the fans in this way.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:09PM (#11607543) Journal
    I have an idea....Seriously..

    If Paramount would provide a Bittorrent of the Show WITH the commercials on the site AND make sure the quality of the video is as good or better than what can be gotten off of bittorrent web sites, they might be able to get people to watch.

    Here is how it would work. You make it freely available but make users go through a page that informs them that by getting the video from an offical Paramount site they (Paramount) can prove to their advertizers that people are watching the show with ads (arguably...how do you know if people are ACTUALLY watching them...but then they don't know if nielson watchers actually watch the ads either).

    By publicly advertizing that if people want to support the show they can download it from the their torrent (or web link) would provide an incen tive for people to get it from them instead of off of some offshore web torrent site.

    They could update the commercials evey now and then if they wanted.

    The KEY though is that the video HAS to be better than what is being distributed right now! If what is on tvtorrent or tvswarm is XVID HDTV 5.1 surround then they need to match or exceed it.

    Fans of the show could then DIRECTLY support the show. People who get the non-advertzing version off of some peer to peer network are people who don't give a rats ass about the show making it anyhow.....but give people a way to pay (without money) and they'll take it (My theory of course!)
  • by raygundan (16760) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:11PM (#11607580) Homepage
    Say what you want about the quality of Enterprise-- I'm more interested in the idea of fans buying their shows directly. Sign me up.

    Screw ads, screw broadcast, screw the networks/middlemen/etc... let me buy my shows directly from the people who make them! Even just releasing everything to DVD immediately after it airs would be good enough for me-- if I wasn't paying for DirecTV, I'd have a nice monthly budget for buying just the shows I like on DVD or via download.

    As it is, I'm paying for a lot of channels I never watch, PLUS watching ads, just to get the handful of shows I enjoy. The system could be a thousand times better if "broadcasters" and "channels" went the way of the dodo and left us buying our shows directly from the people who make them.
    • by GPLDAN (732269) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @04:15PM (#11610040)
      Cost of distribution model.

      David Lynch and a few others not withstandaing, it's very unviable to run a production company on a download or subscription model.

      Take for instance, thousands and thousands of hours of decent content which is produced regardless if anybody watches it or not. Yes, I'm talking about independant film. Hundreds of films get made around the world every year, some end up at film festivals, some stay highly regional, some make it to Sundance in the USA and other prestigious film fests for indy films.

      Very few of these films are torrent-able. A tiny, tiny margin - maybe 1%, probably less. There isn't enough bandwidth or storage space to encode them all, even though the filmmakers are looking at nothing but profit if they participate in the process instead of letting the canisters rot in their attic. Still, it doesn't happen.

      Now, cut out the distribution methods in your model. These networks greenlight projects, review them for quality, and decide if they will bankroll them. Take that away, and you have anarchy.

      Seriously, what would happen over time is an insane S/N ratio. Hundreds of small production companies would vie for your dollars. Here! Bankroll this, we'll sign Shatner! Seriously, we'll put his fat ass in a rubber suit and make him recite King Lear! Pay here!

      A few companies would eventually emerge, just as in the game industry, where the barriers to entry used to be low, and an EA or Microsoft would try and step in as the content "management" provider, and you'd just substitute the bogeyman you hate, with a new and more manevolent one.

      It all seems very democratic or populist, but it doesn't play out that way. The market abhors a vacuum.

      • The idea that the TV networks provide any necessary service is contradicted by the fact that no other entertainment medium has a similar role. For movies, books, and music, there is no equivalent to the TV network.

        And yet, these other forms of entertainment seem to do just fine in allocating resources (or, at least, no worse than TV).

        Television networks are obsolete.
  • by pclminion (145572) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:35PM (#11607942)
    The production cost of the show is hardly the deciding factor for the TV producers. Even if the production was entirely paid for by fans, the fact remains that the viewership is small and ad revenues will be low. They would rather schedule a show in that timeslot which would produce usable ad revenue.

    In other words, in order to get them to go for this, you'd have to cover the lost advertisement revenue AS WELL AS the production costs. That's probably going to be over $150 million at least.

    • The thing is, say the show was no longer profitable from commercials, and we foot the overhead bill, now the commercials are pure profit. Say they only make a few million net profit (after they have paid everyone) on your average show per new episode. Don't think of shows like ER or Friends where they probably needed larger integer types to count the money, but just your day to day average show. Now, all the overhead is taken out, or even half, by fans. The new profit margins made off of commercials is nuts
  • by Scott7477 (785439) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:38PM (#11607975) Homepage Journal
    It could be done for a lot less than $80 million if fans were willing to accept some changes in the production methods of the show. Here are my ideas:

    1. Use a prosumer type videocams to record shows instead of network grade production equipment.
    2. Don't use the studio sets to produce the show; build a set on somebody's property elsewhere.
    3. Don't use the actors; go to a theatre school and find some actors. You don't need Mr. Quantum Leap to be the captain. In the theatre business, plays are produced over and over with different actors all the time.
    4. I'm sure a bunch of slashdotters could scrounge up some CRT's and write some graphics to simulate the computer technology shown on the ship.
    5. Use scripts written by fans instead of the schlock that Berman et al have been putting out.

    Of course none of this will happen because of the hammerlock on the copyrights that Roddenberry's estate has. I think that is part of the problem with the franchise; Roddenberry's will constrains the types of plots that can be used in these shows.

    Just my two cents...
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:44PM (#11608060)
    I'm not terribly surprised to see this happening. After the plot developments that have occurred so far in season 4, it's fairly obvious that the stage is being set for the Romulan Wars later on. Considering that if Enterprise indeed doesn't make it to a 5th season we'll likely never see the wars(nor the birth of the Federation), I can't say I blame the fans; the only way to really complete the Enterprise arc is for these events to happen. Let's hope the fans are successful enough to see this through.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx.b c . ca> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:55PM (#11608234) Journal
    Too many people are of the mentality "Oh, somebody else can do it", and they would probably not even reach 2% of what they'd need, let alone the full $90 million they'd need for a whole season.

    But then again, if they could actually generate a million dollars in that short a short time, the sucess of the effort alone may clearly indicate to Paramount that the show is worth saving, and the money could then be donated to a charity of Paramount's choosing.

    So who knows?

  • lessons from MMORPG (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rpillala (583965) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:12PM (#11608473)

    I think the near future of Star Trek lies with the MMORPG that's supposedly in development. You can see from http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/archives/000891.ph p [nickyee.com] that gamers spend less time watching TV than other people and honestly if I wasn't playing an MMO game so much I would probably still make some attempt to watch star trek.

    So they (Paramount) have an opportunity here to capture a lot of their old star trek audience and maybe make more money off us. If they (game developers) can find a way to make the game (or a portion of the game) episodic and involve actors in it, that would be extremely compelling for me. Personally I have no faith in star trek games, but you know. Prove me wrong, developers.

  • by fzammett (255288) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:39PM (#11608790) Homepage
    I was immensely against this series before it aired, and most especially because of the changes to Starbuck, which I felt like was akin to rewriting the bible and making Jesus a woman.

    I will however be the first to admit I was completely wrong about BS:G.

    So far it has been nothing short of brilliant. What has especially impressed me is the overall tone of it. I think it was Ron Moore who said (paraphrasing) that the original series wasn't true to it's own premise... in the original, within a week or so of Caprica being devastated, they were in bars on other planets with other humans, having a blast, generally not acting like the future of the human species hung in the balance. I never thought of it before, but damn it if he wasn't right! I still love the original series, but I do view it in a different light now. The remake has really gotten this right, in the extreme. There is a truly palpabale sense of dread throughout it, and that is fantastic as far as I'm concerned.

    But...

    This is NOT the best sci-fi show on the air today. It's third, near as I can tell, behind Stargate SG1 and SG:Atlantis. SG1 has been the best for some years now, ever since Babylon 5 went off the air actually. Atlantis has come on unbelievably strong this first season, and I predict here and now we're going to be hailing it's greatness 10 years down the road when it's still chugging along. And it wouldn't surprise me it SG1 was still producing new episodes then too!

    And if B5 is still airing in your market, than IT is the best show on TV today.

    None of this takes away from how good BS:G has been though. It has completely proved me wrong. Hell, I'm even getting used to the new Starbuck, I think the actress playing her is doing an excellent job in the role. If they can keep this up, it's going to be a fantastic and long ride!
  • Consumer-owned TV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:53PM (#11608968) Homepage Journal
    If they can raise $88M, or even $35M, the fans should just buy the show, rather than "donate" production costs to Paramount. Then sell advertising, like any other show, except perhaps geared more to their own fanbase's interests. They could forego some profit margin to sell more Trek-related goods to themselves, and wind up paying that $12-30 each year for products their community prefers, and getting their show as a vehicle. If run properly, this "enterprise" could even turn a profit, return a dividend, and pay for itself handsomely, just like any other TV show.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:00PM (#11609062) Journal
    If the full amount is reached then does that mean the contributors will collectively own the rights or the rights to a copy or something? If its shown on TV will it have adverts? I think it would be easier to either petition or get people to come up with half or a quarter of the amount that way producers would see the demand and put up the other half of the money, say reduce the amount of advertising and still make a tidy profit? What will happen if the target isn't reached? mass refunds?

    I do think this is an interesting way of funding films, although I reckon it could be done on a far lower budget - actors, once they get their face in it know that the fans want them and they are essentially well paid hookers who eat out most of the money (COUGH Friends COUGH) and unfortunately that's going to happen to absolutely every actor so there's really no way around it. production work however, certainly for something like star trek would draw massive interest from people willing to donate their time - both professionals and amateurs who want to get into the industry (deep down everyone wants to get into tv). I see a big future for films paid for this way if you can get the right mix of donated budget, good, focused volunteers and people who can act without getting up themselves - guess who is absolutely missing from this loop? ill give you a clue, they do allot of coke and get allot of head.

    Unfortunately there are some big downsides to this: Things with big fan bases - star trek, star wars etc are owned by the crack addicts and they're not gonna let fan episodes start getting made. It needs good film ideas/scripts etc that people can really get into and most people are going to want to sell their good scripts/ideas to movie studios for shit loads of cash (i certainly would) thats capitalism for you, its a bitch until you're actually making the shit loads of cash and then you don't give a shit about stupid volunteer films. Ok i need to make some millions..
  • by Sean Clifford (322444) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:05PM (#11609121) Journal
    I think the DVD subscription model (and downloads via torrent, but I want a physical disc) is great; no reason you can't *also* do broadcast TV. This is a great idea and one I though would be great for FireFly. I hope that interest is renewed once Serenity hits theatres; I'll certainly pony up the cash for FireFly. There are a couple of other shows I'd be interested in subscribing to.

    There's little more than crap on TV. If I can subscribe to shows I'd like to see then who cares if Fox executives don't like it or it ticks off some group of bluehairs? Subscription will mean better quality - shows won't have to cater to the lowest common denominator. Even 1 million subscribers is probably enough to cover the production costs for a good scifi show. TV syndication will probably be where you get the profit.

    As for Trek, I gave up. Compared to FireFly, Enterprise just doesn't cut it. There was something interesting now and then and lots of eye candy, but overall I consider the quality of Enterprise to be poor.

    Your mileage may vary, batteries not included, etc.

  • by mabu (178417) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:35PM (#11609488)
    Attach a dynamo to Gene Roddenberry's corpse and play the first few seasons of Enterprise at his gravesite. Sell the electricity generated from his spinning corpse to the power companies and it should be more than enough to finance several more seasons of the show.
  • by Datasage (214357) * <Datasage@theworl ... minus physicist> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @04:07PM (#11609935) Homepage Journal
    If your dealing with star trek, your dealing with copyrights up the ass. So if you manage to raise $50 million to create a show, why not pay a production studio to produce the show indiependently and distribute the film on bittorrent or DVD?

    Im talking about a completly orginal show. Not one you would have to waste money on licencing rights for.
  • by crovira (10242) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @04:48PM (#11610590) Homepage
    Lets stop pussy footing around. There are no ownership or copyright issues.

    You start with a plot outline, create a shooting schedule, line up some actors, start filming, put the thing out there.

    The quality of the visuals will NOT be up to Star Trek vehicles to date but the writing could be much better, the acting could be better.

    Even the set could be a digital one to allow 'transportation' at no cost (think of the techniques used for the "Polar Express".)
  • but the facts are... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by east coast (590680) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @05:30PM (#11611207)
    The facts are that this is far far from a true movement. A guy posting on a fansite is hardly "the shot heard around the world". Look at at saveenterprise.com... God, they're begging for money for a newspaper ad and people really think that drudging cash to pay for the production of the show is more than a pipe dream? Man...

    Secondly, what they mean by saying that the show is cost prohibitive is that there aren't advertisers willing to back it. You'd probably have better luck buying advertising time than paying for the production of the show. I'm sure some advertisers would stick it out and the rest of the commercial time would be filled with Trekkies screaming for other Terkkies to send more money because the next season is coming fast. It'll look like PBS with freaks instead of Lawrence Welk.

    And I know I sound trollish. Sorry. The fact is that there is tons of sci-fi works that have merit and a fanbase that have no chance in hell of ever getting network time. I'm not saying it's a bad idea but it still won't work, good intentions aside.

    Lastly, it must have been a slow news day to post this up.
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @06:52PM (#11612284) Homepage
    To make this work, saveenterprise would have to prove, as a first step, that they have access to 38-88 million bucks.

    They key would be to set up an escrow account with, say, Paypal? that would accumulate real money. If they can achieve the target amount, they have some real POWER. If they cannot achieve target, then the money should be paid back from escrow.

    Here's a cute thought: how much interest can 88 million earn in a couple of months? I don't think escrow accounts can be invested, but... jeez. At the end of the money raising period, if the project went bust, everyone would get their cash back, minus admin fees for the escrow holder, plus interest earned. Yipes.

    Why didn't anyone think of this for Whedon's Buffyverse? I hearby propose sending someone to JW's house with a proposal.

    The power of this kind of project is unlimited, if you think about it. Building Rutan's SpaceShipOne cost about 20-30 million. An escrow fund could build spaceships. Space stations. How much to go to the moon, if you wanted to do it cheap and practical? A billion? That's a few hundred dollars for each star trek fan. A small investment in a club, and you not only could finance SF, you could finance instead the reality.

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