Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kickstarter, Crowdfunding, and Veronica Mars

I love the show Veronica Mars.  Much like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when I heard there was going to be a show about a sassy girl detective, I blew it off.  Clearly, I was an idiot who hadn't learned his lesson from blowing off BtVS and Firefly.  But somewhere around the second season, I found Veronica Mars and fell in love.

The writing was snappy, edgy, and funny.  Veronica was a hardboiled hero that appealed to teens and adults alike.  There was no Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys sleuthing bullshit here.  This was some dark and awesome stuff.  It also featured the most honest portrayal of a father/daughter relationship I've ever seen on a show.

Sadly, season 3 kind of went off the rails for me, and the show was cancelled.  It was a high school show that didn't translate well to college.  Rob Thomas and team tried to pitch a fast-forward version of the show that put Veronica as a newly minted FBI agent, but it was a no-go.

For years now, they've been teasing a movie.  Today, the Kickstarter campaign for it went live, and last time I looked, they were at 800k of a 2 million dollar goal.

I pledged $50.  I didn't even read much about what I get.  I think I get a DVD and script and t-shirt.  But I would have pledged $50 just to see the movie.  Why?  Why not just wait and buy it for $10 when it comes out?

This is what crowdfunding is about.  I pledged what I was able in order to support this movie and bring it to the big screen.  Crowdfunding is about more than just pre-ordering something.  It's about making an investment in something you love.  Knowing how much Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell and all the others involved in the show were (and are) invested in this character and world, I know that the joy I get back will far exceed the $50 I contributed.  If I could have donated more, I would have.

The best part of this is that Warner Bros, who owns the rights to Veronica Mars, agreed to fund distribution and marketing costs if the goal was met.  In my mind, this is a wonderful synergy between big corporations and artists.
For WB, it's a win/win.  If the project isn't financed in 30 days, they get to say they tried.  If it is, they can invest their dollars knowing that the project generated enough interest to raise $2 million in 30 days.  It's also bound to generate a ton of goodwill with fans.

More importantly, if this pans out, it could signal a new way of funding art and artists.  Amanda Palmer has done it, so have others.  Using a model like this, publishers might be able to determine interest for a project BEFORE buying it, rather than guessing and hoping it pays off.  Imagine if publishers were able to post projects they're considering and allow actual people to fund them or not.

Anyway, this project would start a major shift away from larger corporations funding all our art and toward a world where we fund the art we want to see.


  1. I went all out and pledged to be an extra. Love Veronica Mars. Love that fans are pushing this project through. Great post!

    1. You are awesome. I so wish I could have done this. I would have maimed someone to go to the premiere too.

  2. Yep. Crowdfunding is creating a whole new paradigm.

  3. Darn! I actually meant to link back to YOUR post on the Kickstarter computer game that linked back to my post on the AManda Palmer TED talk. It would have been like linkception.

    1. That would have created a time paradox though, and broke the universe.


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