Friday, 29 March 2013

Veronica Mars is smarter than you: Kickstarting fan funded projects.

Original image property of The WB
The neo-noir teen drama Veronica Mars (2004-2007) was a critical success during it's time on the air, but commercially it was a ticking time bomb. By the time that The WB network merged with UPN to become The CW in 2006, Veronica was sinking, and was cancelled after it's third season aired on the new network.

Since then, fans have been desperate for another exhilarating dose of Rob Thomas's snarky wonderland, where beautiful teenagers cushioned by affluent wealth get brutally murdered (we still love you, Lilly Kane), school buses plunge off a cliff, and Kristen Bell deals out a heavy hand of poetic justice to anyone from petty criminals and school bullies, to rapists and murderers. Let's not forget the core relationships that gave this show it's soft marshmallow heart; Veronica and her underdog detective father Keith Mars, Veronica and Wallace, Veronica and Logan's "epic" love, and my obvious choice, Veronica and her dog, Backup.

Six years following it's premature cancellation, Rob Thomas and the cast of Veronica Mars launched a Kickstarter project to fund a movie, stating that The WB agreed that if the movie could be financed, that it would be put into production this summer. The campaign aimed to raise $2 million in a month and surpassed it's goal within 12 hours, it is by far Kickstarter's most lucrative and popular campaign. Rejoice, Marshmallows- Veronica is coming to get you.

"That might play with the masses, but underneath that angry young woman shell, there's a slightly less angry young woman who's just dying to bake me something. You're a marshmallow, Veronica Mars. A twinkie!" - Wallace Fennel, Veronica Mars (Pilot)

Veronica Mars will still essentially be a studio project, with  a fair share of corporate involvement. This is where the crowdfunding becomes problematic, as critics label the project as deceptive and doomed to fail fan's expectations. The movie will be distributed with a limited theatre release, followed by it's distribution onto digital platforms, and can be labelled as a glorified made for tv movie. However, it would be ignorant to think that Rob Thomas doesn't have his own lawyers at hand, and even though The WB own the rights to Miss Mars, it would be naive to think that there wouldn't be some legal loopholes to ensure Veronica's safe return.

Despite the fact that at it's core it is still a studio product, fans have not been duped. The internet is full of intellects, and everybody was aware of what they were contributing money towards. We pay for DVD's, books, movie tickets, and this is no different except the most popular and pushed ideology of our generation is that everything should be for free. The Veronica Mars Movie Project is a calculated investment for fans who now possess this unified ethereal value of knowing that they helped revive something they loved so dearly. There is a feeling of personal gratification, and an element of power in suspecting that the studio does not have primary control. Money always lends itself to power, and a fan funded project may protect the purity of the show so many people adored. Donors who contributed were able to choose how much their investment was worth, fans who donated certain amounts would receive free Veronica swag once the movie is released. It might not satisfy all fans, but sometimes I read a book and don't like it - I still paid for it, you pay for the experience not the certainty that it'll meet your own personal and grand expectations.

I mean hey, if you want this project to be more organic I would happily put together promotional strategies- I have a degree after all. Come on- this is the internet and if you don't ask you don't get, right, Veronica Mars? Maybe I am as smart as you after all, let's hang out sometime.

Side note: One of the donors earned a walk on role in the movie. Dang nabbit, where are all my pennies when I need them?