For anyone with their finger on the pulsating veins of television and films, as grim an image as that may be, should by now have become aware of the Veronica Mars Movie Project Kickstarter campaign. If not all you need to know is that fan favourite TV show Veronica Mars was cancelled after three seasons back in 2007 and is now raising money for a movie on Kickstarter.
One the one hand this is pretty incredible. A show I love is now going to have a follow-up film, the likes of which I haven’t seen since 2005 with the Firefly film follow-up Serenity. Warner Bros told series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell that if they could raise $2-million Warner Bros would distribute the film, and presumably take a healthy cut of the profits. For the studio this is a no-brainer as they don’t have to gamble nearly as much money as they would if they had to stump up production costs. Instead the film is funded by fans, to the tune of almost $5-million at the time of writing, in return for DVDs, T-shirts, and other fan-baiting fare.
The campaign has broken many records on Kickstarter and only needs a few more backers before it breaks them all (I think). But is this a good thing? I do want a Veronica Mars movie but also have hesitations when it comes to the general public essentially donating money to a large company without getting the opportunity to properly invest with no chance of proportional monetary reward. Let’s face it, Warner Bros could easily fund the film themselves; $2-million is nothing to them but they simply don’t think the film is worth the risk.
Naturally with the success of one franchise getting a movie funded the fanboys and girls start to hope for their own favourite cancelled series getting a big screen reprise. The idea of a sequel to Serenity was quickly bandied around the internet but Joss Whedon himself was quick to put that to bed:
Right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me.
At the end of the day Kickstarter is a marvellous tool for giving funding to projects that can’t find it elsewhere and this is the only way a movie of Veronica Mars was ever going to be made. Is it ideal for fans to fully fund the film? No, but they/we are happy to do it so who am I to complain? My Kickstarter philosophy is that I will only give money to projects that need it, that I am passionate about, and that give me something I actually want in return (no thanks to anyone offering me a mention on Twitter). Veronica Mars meets my criteria so has received a small amount of money from me; nothing too extravagant though; I already have too many T-shirts I don’t wear.
As for whether this will change the face of film-making is yet to be seen. Kickstarter already helps fund thousands of independent films with no studio link and I believe that it should continue to do so for the most part. The Veronica Mars projects are a rare find; a project which has a franchise attached, active fans, and creative talent that still want to make more and have the time to do so.
You still have until the end of the week to donate, why not throw a few coins into the jar?