Axanar David Grossman Declaration and Exhibits

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree.

Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title.

She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need.

She can always be bribed with pie.

Axanar David Grossman Declaration and Exhibits

The David Grossman Declaration was added as a part of the recent Application for an Ex Parte order.

Semantic Shenanigans Axanar David Grossman Declaration and Exhibits

There are a lot of documents here; we’ll get through them together, page by page, okay? This blog post paginates so it won’t load a ton of images every time.

Page 9

And then on this page, the document discusses the Axanar Kickstarter (e. g. not Prelude). So defendant Peters openly stated:

The first Axanar Kickstarter was launched with some very specific goals in mind, namely building the infrastructure that would allow us to make Axanar and other Star Trek properties.

To misquote Kirk in Star Trek V, what does a fan film need with an infrastructure?

The page then outlines some anticipated expenses:

  • Set construction: $100,000
  • Sound stage: $125,000
  • Sound stage renovation: $50,000
  • Axanar Pre-production costs: $50,000

When I left the practice of law, I worked as a legal auditor for an insurance company for a few years. I am not an accountant. However, I urge everyone to engage in critical thinking. The Cawley sets already existed when the full Axanar film was proposed. Yes, there would have been travel costs. However, they most likely would not have topped $100,000.

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D, Page 9

Page 10

So on this page, the defense mentions that they had outlined their plans for the money in their Kickstarter pitch.

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D, Page 10

Page 11

So then on this page we get into the issue of salaries. The salary figures add up to $214,628.88. However, then there is a line with no explanation and no label, for $118,428.88 (I cannot determine the significance of this figure, save that it comes to $96,200 less than the total of the salaries. However, I cannot determine if I am even close to being on the right track). Furthermore, Ms. Kingsbury’s salary is listed as ‘deferred’, which California labor laws may find troubling.

Other listed expenses include:

  • Advertising $6,246.83
  • Building Renovation $49,674.48
  • Cleaning Services $986.00
  • Film Festival Fees $2,180.88
  • Furniture $643.10

Cleaning services? Now, I despise picking up a broom and a mop as much as pretty much anyone, but professional cleaning? Seriously? I realize it’s not one of the bigger expenses. However, it feels symptomatic of this project as a whole. Rather than pitching in and tidying the place themselves, a service was hired. Little bits, here and there, could have added up to a lot of savings.

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D, Page 11

Page 12

And the listed expenses continue on this page, including:

  • Office supplies $1,052.37
  • Prelude to Axanar costs $7,000
  • Supplies $4,324.12

First of all, it’s unclear what the difference is between ‘office supplies’ and ‘supplies’. Furthermore, page 5, supra, lists Prelude’s costs. And those include a shortfall of over $9,000. As a result, I cannot determine where the $7,000 comes from.

Finally, this page discusses salaries. Defendant Peters wrote:

Unlike other fan films which use all volunteers, or no full time personnel, Axanar has both Alec Peters and Diana Kingsbury working full time, and since the beginning of 2015, Dean Newberry, our construction coordinator as well. There is just too much work to do Axanar part time. And that is why the quality of Axanar is so good.

The salaries Axanar is paying are incredibly low. Everyone is working for a fraction of what they could get anywhere else because we love this project.

Actually, that’s a false equivalence. Unless someone is on a short deadline (e. g. they are dying), Axanar could have been handled on a part-time basis. Like a hobby, which is generally the idea behind fan films.

And as for the second paragraph, one thing to keep in mind is, I have worked in the startup scene. And I know what it’s like to work on a passion project. Yet if even basement inventors get the chance, they will take an actual job with money over the startup scene, pretty much every time. Why? Because they can’t pay rent with ‘exposure’, ‘deferred compensation’, and ‘dreams’. The smart startup corporate officer (and almost all of them are officers, because fancy titles are free) has a day job and works on the passion project on nights and weekends.

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D, Page 12

Page 13

And then this page outlines how Axanar has changed. Defendant Peters stated:

Originally, I’d planned on shooting everything on the sets of Star Trek: New Voyages, where James Cawley had generously offered to let us film. We would have converted their sets to look less like TOS, shot the film, then gone into post-production on it (and frankly, Axanar would probably have been done by now, if we’d stuck to the original plan).

So, why didn’t they? See the next page, infra.

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D

David Grossman Declaration, Exhibit D, Page 13

Janet Gershen-Siegel

Jespah (Janet Gershen-Siegel) has been a fan of Star Trek since probably the first set of reruns of The Original Series. She has an eclectic background, including an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, a JD (she practiced insurance defense law for a few years in New York and is a lot happier since she retired from that in 1990), and a MS in Interactive Media, which is a real-live social media degree. Along the way, she has about a decade and a half of data analysis work under her belt and currently works as a blog coordinator for a high-end wedding blog and also as a blogger for hire (topics include diverse subjects like ad retargeting but also the nursing job market), and has a shingle out to work on social media presence, with a focus on independent authors as she is also a published science fiction author. Plus, she has been a community manager for a large Q & A website since 2002, which is before that existed as a job title. She was raised on Long Island so, when she is riled up, the accent gallops back out and she can sound like Fran Drescher with a law degree. She lives in Boston with her husband of over 20 years and more computers than they need. She can always be bribed with pie.

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