Saturday, March 16, 2013

Veronica Mars: The end of Kickstarter?

Controversy over the recent success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter has erupted over the past few days.  Recently Rob Thomas started a Kickstarter campaign to create a movie for the highly popular, but cancelled, show Veronica Mars.  This controversy is centered on the fact that this project isn't for some small entrepreneur who has an idea, but doesn't have the resources to develop it, instead the campaign is to sponsor a film for Warner Bros.  As Rob Thomas says on the Kickstarter posting, "Warner Bros. wasn’t convinced there was enough interest to warrant a major studio-sized movie about Veronica and the project never got off the ground."  Now the public is doing the funding in place of Warner Bros., and it has been very successful.  At the writing of this article the campaign has raised $3,557,220, a very large sum over the requested $2,000,000.  It's obvious these fans want to support something they love, but in this case it seems like they are supporting Warner Bros.

This isn't to say the funders get nothing.  Funding at different amounts could earn you rewards ranging from t-shirts to digital copies of the movie to playing roles in the movie itself, but as S.T. Vanairsdale mentions in his blog post, these prizes don't really seem worth it.  With 14,562 backers, the $35 dollar level is the most popular funding level.  For your $35 dollars you get a t-shirt, digital copy of the movie's script, and day to day updates about it's production.  This is a pretty steep price to pay for a shirt and the problem remains.  It feels like you're buying this shirt to help Warner Bros.

While this situation may leave some people with a bad taste in their mouths, I like to look  at it from 3 different angle.

  1. This movie is something the fans really wanted to exist, if it's worth $35 for them to see this series brought to an end then all the power to them.

  2. Money talks, this campaign could bring some consumers to the realization that each dollar they spend is a vote.  When you go to see that bad movie that everyone told you about?  That's a vote for more movies like it.

  3. While this campaign doesn't seem entirely fair, that doesn't mean that future ones will not be.  What is to stop Warner Bros. from running a campaign where the price to sponsor is the cost of a ticket at the box-office?  Crowdfunding could be a way for the studios to decrease their risk, while giving people more of what they want.

In the end, I'm happy this project was Kickstarted.  I'm a fan of the series, and I think it will be great for the fans to finally get some closure.  I can't express how frustrated I've been after watching a series I've fallen in love with for years only to find that it was cancelled, but now, maybe, that won't be a problem anymore.

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