Veronica Mars. These two words prior to March 13 were synonyms to failure amongst US TV executives. Not only was that assumption stupid, it was just shallow. Not only has Warner Bros been able to gather up preproduction positive publicity, it has put Veronica Mars in a position and an international limelight in a way no other movie has experienced.
At well over 31,000 backers on Kickstarter.com (an online Crowd-funding site for creative projects), the Funding reached the goal of 2 Million dollars at exactly 12:55 GMT roughly 12 hours after the launch of the campaign. Some few hours ago, this is one fund raising that would have been termed nearly impossible to succeed, but lo and behold, with social media anything is possible.
The movie's financing method shows the evolution of social media and its firm involvement in our future. Rob Thomas has created what would go down in history as the greatest movie financing ever done. I can already see Warner Bros executives smiling as they are watching the tickers on Kickstarter move northwards without any major effort on their part what so ever. Though two million dollars may not be substantial to Warner, the fact that this money was able to be raised proved more than one thing. Not only is the Kickstarter model the undisputed future of fundraising but also that dead TV Series are really never dead.
This extremely successful campaign puts Kickstarter on my list of most amazing innovations ever created for mankind. Venture capitalists should start rethinking their next phase strategy. The era of draconian tightly held grip on capital is fading away and the exchange of heavy chunk of my company shares for your capital seem so pre March 13, 2013. Though Kickstarter limits their funding to projects with well-defined borders, I see it opening wider as a second market pavilion for huge capital investments in start ups/established business and free connection with mentors and the likes.
Taking a cue from 'Calvin Candie', this campaign had my curiosity six hours ago, now it has my full attention. The fact that a franchise once considered dead by executives can be brought back to life by sheer power of the fans is what makes this project so cool. It's a big deal for many reasons. Firstly there is unbelievable excitement for Veronica Mars, secondly Kickstarter has broken another record, and thirdly cancelled TV series still resonate with fans many years after they're long gone from broadcast networks. This has been a difficult engagement metric to measure as the major outlets available are DVD, Video-on-Demand or memorabilia sales figures. This opens an era for ended series to come back to life and era for Movie studios to finally have a litmus test approach to determine if a project is worth investing in. Imagine if big budget features such as 'Jack the Giant Slayer' or 'Prince of Persia' were financed via this medium, Warner Bros and Disney could have gotten a chance to test the waters and understand the engagement.
It's the choice for the fans, if they want it then get it created. Veronica Mars has just made it easier, if the studios get skeptical about financing then send the bill to the fans. I believe it's a smart move rather than a 'franchise cheapening method' like some quarters would suggest. Its great publicity and you get the most important metric for fan engagement (which is usually when fans actually donate cash, time or energy in getting the word out).
Could such a process be replicated in 24, Charlie's Angels and any other show with untimely endings. The answer is YES. All it takes for '24' is blessings from FOX and Kiefer Sutherland making a funny introductory video. This is an unlikely pairing but Jack Bauer can actually learn from Veronica Mars on how to reconnect with Fans and convince FOX that Viewers actually love this stuff and won't mind doing what it takes to have it on the big screen (I have been rooting for 24 the Movie since the last episode aired in July 2010. What other way to prove your love than to actually donate your cash with it.
Was the success of Veronica Mars sheer luck or a coordinated strategy by the project creators. What we can learn from this episode shows the future of motion picture financing and financing in general. So many factors have a play in this success. Could it be that fans love the series so much that they are willing to bring it back or could it be Kirsten Bell has been missed so much. Were Kirsten Bell or Rob Thomas or Warner Bros the reason for this successful campaign remains difficult to figure out. To me, the fact that the team went through a financing process that involves an army of fans beyond international borders was the winning factor. The introduction of an unorthodox innovative financing model to a theatrical motion picture (associated with a major movie studio) is just splendid and the publicity video just hit the nail on the head.
The story of how Rob Thomas got to this stage at Kickstarter is impressive at best. Rob Thomas has taken such a bold step in bringing back his dream and that needs to be applauded. The next major questions are to understand how such process could be replicated in international territories and also for bigger budget movies or movies with no known star cast or movies with no prior relationship. With 30 days to go and two million dollars already achieved in record time, the crew from Veronica Mars may actually raise enough money to shoot in Space.
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