Crowdfunding Veronica Mars

Has Veronica Mars changed Crowdfunding Forever?

VeronicaWith the Veronica Mars movie project breaking all Kickstarter donation records, many are proclaiming that the face of crowdfunding has been forever changed. Nikki Baughan examines just what impact the project’s success will have on grassroots filmmakers who have made crowdfunding their own.

This article first appeared in movieScope 34, (May/June 2013)

At the time of writing, Rob Thomas’ much publicised Veronica Mars Kickstarter project has just closed. After smashing its $2m goal in 10 hours, it went on to amass over $5.7m in financial contributions over the course of just one month; an astonishing 91, 585 people from over 20 countries backed the project, breaking several Kickstarter records in the process. Most of those pledging money fell into the smaller $1–$100 categories but there were individuals who donated thousands.

While Veronica Mars may be the most high-profile project to have turned to crowdfunding, Rob Thomas and his team are certainly not the first established filmmakers to have sought funding in this way. Celebrated screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) launched a Kickstarter campaign in September 2012 for his stop- motion animation Anomalisa. It raised over double its goal of $200k. And, just as we went to press, filmmaker Zach Braff (Garden State), announced that he had launched a Kickstarter funding page for his new film Wish I Was Here, with the hopes of raising $2m-and was well on his way to smashing that total.

It’s clear then, that while crowdfunding may have once been the bastion of grassroots, super-low-budget filmmakers who struggled to access traditional funding models, increasingly bigger projects are now reaching directly to their potential audiences to secure their budgets. It’s fair to say that they have good reasons for doing so; Thomas had been trying unsuccessfully to convince Warner Bros.— who own the rights to Veronica Mars—to make a movie for years, for example, while Kaufman is adamant that Anomalisa can only thrive outside of the studio system. And somewhat ironically, but entirely unsurprisingly, the willingness of backers to put hands in pockets seems to increase the more well known the project or filmmaker; perhaps the benefits of having a helmer with experience or the desire to be part of a community of fans who are—as Thomas and star Kristen Bell kept reminding Veronica Mars funders—literally coming together to save the day.

While the fans may have come out in force to support Thomas, Kaufman and Braff, reaction to these potentially game-changing projects has been mixed, with Twitter proving the usual hotbed of debate and dissension. Critic James Rocchi actively discouraged his 8, 000- plus followers from supporting the Veronica Mars project, calling it “food stamps for the one per cent”, while writer/director Joe Swanberg (V/H/S, Drinking Buddies) questioned the fiscal logic behind the whole endeavour. “So WB just put themselves out of business, ” he tweeted. “If the audience can pay to create the movies they want, we don’t need studios anymore, right?”

Looking for Crowdfunders Bringing Old Shows Back

by NBCResearch

Hello,
I work in the Trends and Insights research group here at NBCUniversal and we are writing on the topic of "microproducers", or those "screen savers" that are bringing back once canceled shows back on the air or online either through crowdfunding efforts (kickstarter, ReUpp, Indiegogo, etc) or just by being such big fans that networks had to bring off air content back online (apparently there are soap operas that were on ABC that were cancelled but because they were so popular, they were brought back to life but online only).
If you've ever tried to get a show back on the air or online through crowdfuding efforts (for shows like Chuck, Firefly, Veronica Mars, Seinfeld, Friends, Pushing Daisies, etc) or by way of being such a big super fan that you were able to rally...

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