“Veronica Mars: The Movie,” a star-studded revival venture on Kickstarter, decided to raise $2,000,000 within 30 days. It found fans that same day who gave it more, a record-setting for such crowd-funding. Now with 13 days remaining, it’s raised over $4,165,000 with the backing of 62,395 fans and counting. What does this mean for the future of studio-backed ventures into film and television either on hiatus or too risky to fund through normal avenues?
- Putting your money where your mouth is. With “Veronica Mars: The Movie,” a major studio (Warner Bros.) is experimenting with production fundraising, rather than shelving a project they find risky.
- Involving fans in something they like. While other fans of cancelled shows sent letters hoping to rekindle content (e.g. Arrested Development, Firefly, plus many other live action TV shows “screwed by the network,” notes tvtropes.org), here’s an opportunity to try something new.
- Paying to play. Incentivicing high ticket rewards tailored to actors bypasses the casting process.
- Contributing 9% to Kickstarter. In trade for going with the name brand of crowd-funding, the web company takes a hefty portion of the pot, well over the cost of expenses. Writing Warner Bros. a check would have raised the production more money.
- Delivering audiences exactly what they want might be great for pocketbooks, but it seems creativity can be stifled. The filmmakers might not be as adventurous because they’ve crowd-sourced a specifice idea with pre-established expectations.
- Setting a bad precedent. On Kickstarter’s own blog post, one commenter nailed it perfectly: “Warner Bros could have easily funded this the traditional way. Instead, they get the fans to cover the budget, get free PR from the fans’ actions, keep the distribution rights and get nothing but sweet profit with a home video release where they can easily get fans, who paid $35 for a digital download, to double dip. I hope you all enjoy the future of billion dollar corporations passing all the risk off onto the people while keeping all of the $$$ benefits of doing business.”
- Now creating investors who only get a signed poster or the like. If the project does really well, the investors get nary a financial gain. THR has an article on the dangers this $4-million-plus effort has created.
What are your thoughts on this all?