Skip

Veronica Mars Movie gets green light, with a little help from fans
March 14, 2013 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Fans of Veronica Mars, the gone-too-soon TV show that's had a cult following since it's cancellation in 2007, are finally getting a movie.

For years fans have been asking Kristen Bell (actress) and Rob Thomas (show creator) if there was going to a movie. The answer was always negative. Then it went from being a possibility to official in practically a day.

The project has beaten a few crowd-funding records on it's way towards its goal.
"Rob Thomas, the “Veronica Mars” creator and producer, announced on Wednesday morning that he and Ms. Bell had gotten the blessing of Warner Brothers (which owns the “Veronica Mars” property) to seek donations for a possible movie project. Mr. Thomas told fans they had 30 days to raise $2 million for “our shot” at producing a film, adding, “I believe it’s the only one we’ve got.” And by about 9 p.m. that goal was met, with pledges continuing to come in on Day 2. (As of 9:30 a.m. Thursday the project had been promised more than $2.5 million from more than 42,000 backers.)"

Confirmed to return for the film, which Thomas is writing and directing, are Bell, Enrico Colantoni, Jason Dohring and Ryan Hansen, while Thomas is also hoping to bring back Chris Lowell, Tina Majorino, Percy Daggs III and Francis Capra.
posted by CrazyLemonade (215 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was absolutely ecstatic when I saw the news last night, too bad they are limiting reward to the US. The promo video is ridiculous!
posted by lite at 11:15 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


But he hasn't answered the most important question: Which version of "We Used To Be Friends" will they use for the title sequence? He ain't gettin' none o' my money with no Season 3 version.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:16 AM on March 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


This situation just seems weird to me. The fact that a corporate backer is already behind the curtain makes it seem like rather than $2M to make the movie (it's just to "gauge interest") instead the money is just going into WB's pocket, as a "tribute" or something, for them to agree to make the movie, which they will then bankroll themselves and hold the total financial stake in. I get that there are incentives and rewards but, it's like...donate, then buy a ticket!

I mean Kickstarter already feels weird with how little accountability there is on so many projects, but this just adds another layer to it.
posted by anazgnos at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


Yeah, it's just better to pretend season 3 didn't happen, if you ask me. But I am SO excited about this. LOGAN! LOGAN! LOGAN!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:18 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Folks, let people Google the Kickstarter link themselves if they want to. We're trying to be "spirit of the law" decent about this, but people need to be cool about it also.]
posted by jessamyn at 11:19 AM on March 14, 2013


Anazgnos, are they actually funding the movie itself? The impression I got from the Kickstarter writeup is that WB is only running distribution/promotion - the money that will pay actors, crew, etc. is all coming from the Kickstarter account.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:20 AM on March 14, 2013


I'm a big fan of Veronica Mars. Metacritic used its critic-assessment rubric to place it as number 20 in the top shows of the decade 2000-2009. It seamlessly told two stories at once - this week's mystery and the uncovering of the larger mystery, the one that lasted a season and is the only program I can think of as both simultaneously a short story and novel.

Now if they could make a hybrid: Life on Mars and Veronica Mars (Life on Veronica Mars!) that would be perfect.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:20 AM on March 14, 2013


I enjoyed Rob's tweet "3 million or Logan doesn't survive!"
posted by The Whelk at 11:21 AM on March 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


anazgnos:

The fact that a corporate backer is already behind the curtain makes it seem like rather than $2M to make the movie (it's just to "gauge interest") instead the money is just going into WB's pocket, as a "tribute" or something, for them to agree to make the movie, which they will then bankroll themselves and hold the total financial stake in.

That does feel difficult. On the other hand, Veronica Mars is an IP that's owned by Warner Bros. So there's no way this was going to happen without their say-so in some way. It's not clear that the Kickstarter money is going straight into production or into WB or whoever, but (charitably), WB could also be ensuring that they don't want anything bad to happen to one of their IPs.
posted by danhon at 11:22 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anazgnos, are they actually funding the movie itself?

As a BIG fan of Veronica Mars, I couldn't care less about the logistics of funding or production, I'm just happy there's going to be a movie. VM's best features were always the good dialogue and good acting, so even a low-budget film would still [probably] make fans happy.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 11:23 AM on March 14, 2013


I wish he'd set a target other than $3 million, like say a googleplex, or maybe five gazillion.

(Nothing against Jason Dohring, he's just very good at playing an unlikable douchebag.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:23 AM on March 14, 2013


The fact that a corporate backer is already behind the curtain makes it seem like rather than $2M to make the movie (it's just to "gauge interest") instead the money is just going into WB's pocket, as a "tribute" or something, for them to agree to make the movie, which they will then bankroll themselves and hold the total financial stake in.

Kickstarter isn't about investment. It's about patronage and/or gauging interest. WB is being (surprisingly) smart here.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:24 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


A few years back, I got really sick and was in and out of the hospital every few days. While I was waiting for the doctors, I worked my way through the first two and a half seasons of Veronica Mars. My dad, with whom I had never been particularly close, would stay with me in the room with headphones on, listening to NPR or Bach or something.

I have through-the-roof anxiety about getting blood drawn, to the point of full-blown panic attacks, so when the nurses would come in to draw blood, my dad would take his headphones off and come hold my hand. To distract me, he’d ask me about the plot of whatever episode of VM I had just finished, and I would walk him through the various ways in which Veronica was a total badass.

It was probably the sixth or seventh trip to the hospital, and I was halfway through season 3. My dad was squeezing my hand as I told him about the elevator scene with Veronica and Piz. “Are you kidding me?” My dad was outraged. “Veronica is choosing some kid named Piz over Logan?” There was a thirty second pause, and he looked at me sheepishly. “…Their love is epic.”

Turns out, he had been watching seasons 1 and 2 on his laptop the whole time, trying to catch up so that we would have some sort of common ground. When I left for college, he gave me a pink taser with a note attached that said, “Veronica would want you to have it.”
posted by frizzle at 11:26 AM on March 14, 2013 [140 favorites]


Anazgnos, are they actually funding the movie itself? The impression I got from the Kickstarter writeup is that WB is only running distribution/promotion - the money that will pay actors, crew, etc.

There was some intimation on KS that bigger donations = bigger budget but it certain wasn't clear what the arrangements were from reading it.

Kickstarter isn't about investment. It's about patronage and/or gauging interest. WB is being (surprisingly) smart here.

It's just that if demonstration of interest is all WB needs to agree to make a movie (given that $2m has gotta be chump change for a project like this), why do they actually need the fans to pay for it upfront, in addition to what they'll pay for it after its released?
posted by anazgnos at 11:26 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


First I thought, Cool! And then it made me wonder how often a television show leads a movie that comes close to meeting expectations, and I'm unexpectedly drawing a blank.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:27 AM on March 14, 2013


I was one of the probably zillions of people who tried to post about this yesterday, not realizing there was a (understandable) no-kickstarter rule.

So yay! Super excited about this and I'm not really concerned about the WB stuff. It's annoying how studios will just sit on projects they own the rights to and I really appreciate how Rob Thomas found a way to move past that resistance.

Also, Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring have not gotten enough good work since Veronica Mars, and anything that puts them back together is great in my book.

And the video was hilarious.
posted by lunasol at 11:27 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Plus, we already know that, for whatever reason, WB has no interest in continuing Veronica Mars on their own. This is a position they've held since well before the advent of crowdfunding, so it's hard to accuse them of playing hard-to-get.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:27 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's been a lot of Twitter debate on whether or not this represents an appropriate use of Kickstarter, and at the end of the day I kind of think that's up to individual contributors to decide for themselves... That doesn't stop me being immensely judges of people who do donate to it though - propping up a corporate property as if it were a charity case is for suckers.
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on March 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


I donated to the Kickstarter campaign. The first season of this show is about as good as TV gets. The other two seasons were also good, but not at the level of that first season. My understanding is that Thomas got WB to agree to help with distribution, but that the Kickstarter funds will actually be used for promotion.

I personally hope this actually paves the way for other productions in the future. Some times low ratings does not mean low interest. As a way to fund niche productions, Kickstarter seems like it has potential.
posted by bove at 11:28 AM on March 14, 2013


On the one hand, this is utterly awesome. On the other hand, the cynic in me thinks that this is just a grab by Warner Brothers to see if they can con tens of thousands of people into financing the movie without any possibility of profit participation.

If they could raise $2.75M from fans in a day or so, is it really so hard to believe that the movie could have been, you know, financially profitable if the studio just made it the traditional way?
posted by zachlipton at 11:29 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


$2m won't cover the budget but I wouldn't call it chump change for the project, either. This is not going to be a $70m movie. It's not going to be a $50m movie.
posted by Justinian at 11:30 AM on March 14, 2013


why do they actually need the fans to pay for it upfront, in addition to what they'll pay for it after its released?

Risk reduction.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:31 AM on March 14, 2013


I was absolutely ecstatic when I saw the news last night, too bad they are limiting reward to the US.

From the Kickstarter page:
Will you start allowing international donors?

We hope so. We're trying to make this happen. We've run into a couple thorny issues. It's not about the shipping cost. If it were that easy, we'd already be doing it. Keep checking back. We hope to have an answer in a week or two.
Also, check out this article from the guy that donated for the $10,000 speaking role, who's doing it less as fan of the show than he is to prove that crowdfunding is viable for this sort of thing.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:31 AM on March 14, 2013


The future is ridiculous fansploitation bullshit - because it's what the fans want.
posted by Artw at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


$2m won't cover the budget but I wouldn't call it chump change for the project, either. This is not going to be a $70m movie. It's not going to be a $50m movie.


It could easily be a $2 million movie. There is exactly one person in the core cast who demands any kind of premium salary for 2-3 weeks of work (which is their shooting window), and Kristen Bell has already made it pretty clear that she's doing this as a labor of love. And the FX budget for Veronica Mars is basically zero.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2013


Yeah, if Joss can do a movie in his house over a few weeks, Veronica Mars can live again.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:34 AM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Until they shoot a scene in SPACE, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish!

You don't know. There could be a mystery there.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:35 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


A $2m movie is not out of the realm of possibility. 2011's Insidious had a $1.5m budget and made $97m at the box office.
posted by troika at 11:35 AM on March 14, 2013


And the FX budget for Veronica Mars is basically zero.

The ghost of Lilly haunts a space station it could happen!
posted by The Whelk at 11:36 AM on March 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


bitter-girl.com: "Until they shoot a scene in SPACE, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish!

You don't know. There could be a mystery there.
"

If you watch the KS video, Dohring promises that exceeding the $2 million goal will allow them to include "brooding in exotic and expensive locations -- space, maybe!"

As long as Logan doesn't get a suit, I'm all for it.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:36 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


If they could raise $2.75M from fans in a day or so, is it really so hard to believe that the movie could have been, you know, financially profitable if the studio just made it the traditional way?

The clever thing is that projects like this engage the fans. Now they're part of getting it made, and are much more invested in its success.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:36 AM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Amanda Seyfried would demand some ducats but there is at least one barrier to her appearance, unfortunately.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never occurred to me that Dohring has literally the exact same voice and inflections as a friend of mine. Like if I close my eyes I couldn't tell them apart.

This is going to make my planned re-watch (c'mon you knew everyone on the internet was going to do this, don't lie) much more interesting.
posted by The Whelk at 11:38 AM on March 14, 2013


As psyched as I am about this particular project, I do hope it doesn't become pro forma for marginal or high-risk films to get told to do a Kickstarter and then the suits will consider a deal. I don't think that's WB's insidious plan here - unless you think they've been deliberately throwing away a profitable property for 5+ years in order to eventually use it to exploit crowdfunding - but I'm sure they wouldn't mind if it became a side benefit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:40 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


A $2m movie is not out of the realm of possibility. Last year's Insidious had a $1.5m budget and made $97m at the box office.

Kristen Bell did a movie with Dax Shepard last summer that had a $2 million budget, as well. It had some ... problematic ... writing, but the issues with it were in no way related to the budget, and it was, overall, a damned funny movie.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:41 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is going to make my planned re-watch (c'mon you knew everyone on the internet was going to do this, don't lie) much more interesting.

Kristen Bell wants to help you out with that.

Not you personally, sadly, but it'd be like a live commentary and that's cool.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:44 AM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed Rob's tweet "3 million or Logan doesn't survive!"

How much would he take to kill off Piz between the series end and the film timeframe so we never see him at all?

We started a re-watch at my house five or six days ago, so this is pretty timely for us. It really does hold up well to repeated viewings, by virtue of the fact that it's not just what happens, it's how it happens. Even when you know the answers it's still good.

One problem with a film is that it will answer the series end cliffhanger, and to be honest, I don't want to know. [I'm avoiding spoilers here.] But I'd like to believe that Veronica pulled off something amazing, but it's pretty plain from what he's said in the past that Rob isn't going to do it that way. But on the whole the third season is by far the weakest.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:48 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I appreciate the VM love, but I'd rather back a Kickstarter for The Middleman, which would be the most awesome thing ever. Hell, I'd rather back a Kickstarter for anything Javi decided to do!
posted by Kitteh at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Stretch goals:
$4 million: Party Down movie greenlit.
$6 million: Cupid movie greenlit.
$8 million: Cupid movie rescinded.
$15 million: New season of Veronica Mars.
$50 million: New seasons of Veronica Mars indefinitely.
$75 million: Foundation of a cable channel helmed by Rob Thomas, Joss Whedon, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Harmon, Mitchell Hurwitz, and Darin Morgan.
$100 million: All Veronica Mars cast members cloned to ensure eternal run of the show.
$500 million: All of the above, but with baby sloths instead of humans.
$1 billion: Operation Khronos commences.
$500 billion: Khronos is go. Graceless 3rd season fixed retroactively.
∞: ALL SHALL BE MARS AND ALL SHALL BE MARS AND ALL MANNER OF THINGS SHALL BE MARS
posted by Iridic at 11:50 AM on March 14, 2013 [52 favorites]


I appreciate the VM love, but I'd rather back a Kickstarter for The Middleman, which would be the most awesome thing ever.

Dare I say it? Rhymes with Wire Guy.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:52 AM on March 14, 2013


$75 million: Foundation of a cable channel helmed by Rob Thomas, Joss Whedon, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Harmon, Mitchell Hurwitz, and Darin Morgan.

I would get a cable subscription and pay a $10/month premium for it if this happened.
posted by Talez at 11:52 AM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Me too, but I'm not sure if I'd pay more or less for baby sloths dressed like Rob Thomas, Joss Whedon, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Harmon, Mitchell Hurwitz, and Darin Morgan.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:53 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Add Bryan Fuller or I keep my $75 million.
posted by bookwo3107 at 11:53 AM on March 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


$500 million: All of the above, but with baby sloths instead of humans.

But that would mean that Sloth Kristen Bell will constantly be emotionally overwhelmed by herself!
posted by zombieflanders at 11:54 AM on March 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Hmmm OK so apparently there was something named Veronica Mars on TV and I never heard about it at all until now?
Wow, that almost never happens. I mean, I don't watch a lot of TV shows, but I at least thought I had heard about everyone's favourites over the years.
posted by Theta States at 11:54 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


In case you, like me, forgot the real names of the actors portraying the various characters, here's a translation of who's in and who is being courted:
Confirmed to return for the film, which Thomas is writing and directing, are Bell [Veronica Mars], Enrico Colantoni [Keith Mars], Jason Dohring [Logan Echolls] and Ryan Hansen [Dick Casablancas], while Thomas is also hoping to bring back Chris Lowell [Stosh "Piz" Piznarski], Tina Majorino [Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie], Percy Daggs III [Wallace Fennel] and Francis Capra [Eli "Weevil" Navarro].
But he hasn't answered the most important question: Which version of "We Used To Be Friends" will they use for the title sequence?

Oh dear gods, how I loath the earlier versions of the theme. My wife and I would over-act the themesong, in a super melodramatic high school sort of way, because I hated it so much. Season 3 made it less of a ridiculously mid-1990s alternative rock song, but still the shadow of my misery hangs over any version of that song.

... And until this movie brouhaha, I hadn't thought of it lately at all.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:55 AM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love Veronica Mars, but Kickstarter should have banned this project. Kickstarter as a fundraising model is problematic enough in its own terms; letting megacorporations use it for cash-grab is a travesty.
posted by gerryblog at 11:56 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


We could just let shows end and do new things with $2m right?
posted by basicchannel at 11:58 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The clever thing is that projects like this engage the fans. Now they're part of getting it made, and are much more invested in its success.

Oh absolutely. The problem is that said fans aren't actually, erm, invested in the financial success of the project. If the goal is a breakeven labor of love and everyone is on board with that, then that's cool, but the ordinary arrangement in our system is that the backers who put the capital at risk for the project are rewarded with a share of any eventual profits.

Dr. Horrible cost ~$200K and has made over $3M (plus a sequel apparently in the works this year!). Everyone did it with no real goal of making money, but it looks like Whedon had a plan in place in advance to share any proceeds with the cast and crew who were basically working for free.

A project that raises $2.75M so quickly and is operating on this kind of scale is a serious project that involves Real Money. That goes way beyond "let's put on a show, and if we're lucky I might not lose all the money I put into it." At that level, you don't have donors, you have investors, and there's a predetermined plan in place to pay them back if possible. Everyone involved may well agree that recouping their investment is unlikely, but the plan is there to anticipate the unlikely scenario in advance.

So if the movie happens to make $50M (unlikely, but not impossible, especially with the fans now "invested" in the project's success), who gets the money?
posted by zachlipton at 12:01 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Theta States: I mean, I don't watch a lot of TV shows, but I at least thought I had heard about everyone's favourites over the years.

For Theta States, and anyone else who has never seen Veronica Mars (or anyone who watched it and wants to watch it again):

The first two seasons are viewable via free streaming at the official Veronica Mars website.
posted by tzikeh at 12:01 PM on March 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


The profit question is very interesting. Are movie deals usually transparent about how profits are allocated? Isn't that what Variety et al report on - who gets what points or whatever? I"m wondering if we'll eventually find out who makes how much money on this project.

I'm also interested in the reward of a bit part in the movie. It's framed as a fan incentive, and was apparently taken up by a fan of crowdfunding rather than VM per se, but the other way to think about it is as a pay-to-play opportunity for an aspiring actor. Are there any rules against paying for screen time for SAG members or other norms/disincentives against that as a model? It seems like in an industry like acting where so many people are clamoring for a break, that would be a natural direction for things to go unless there were controls in place to stop it.
posted by yarrow at 12:02 PM on March 14, 2013


Kickstarter as a fundraising model is problematic enough in its own terms; letting megacorporations use it for cash-grab is a travesty.

No, it's a way for us to direct what gets made.

We could just let shows end and do new things with $2m right?

VM was cancelled. It didn't end.

The problem is that said fans aren't actually, erm, invested in the financial success of the project.

No, they're emotionally invested in it. Different thing.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:04 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love Veronica Mars, but Kickstarter should have banned this project. Kickstarter as a fundraising model is problematic enough in its own terms; letting megacorporations use it for cash-grab is a travesty.

Kickstarter is not one thing, and probably hasn't been since the early days. There are plenty of people trying to raise money for some real, local thing, but my college radio station used it as the mechanism to get online bids for their annual fundraiser. They offered prizes for various levels, but it still wasn't funding a solid "thing" in the end.

If your concern is over the fact that a major motion picture studio is involved, instead of this going to fund an indie film, that delineation is hard to make, and unrealistic at best. Plus, fans will dump their money into things they love, and people will fund exciting new things. Sure, some people might have spent their entire annual discretionary "fund exciting things" stash of money on this major motion picture project, but I don't think this will really harm the chances of other projects.

If anything, it's a bigger mass-appeal draw to Kickstarter, which is honestly more of an "internet" thing than a "global" thing, in that people who don't pay attention to internet events probably didn't know about Kickstarter until this has (probably) popped up in the pop news sections of newscasts and newspapers. For that reason alone, I really doubt the Kickstarter people would have a second thought about having major companies "abuse" their site like this again in the future.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Despite kicking in a decent contribution, I'm not actually that thrilled. To me Veronica Mars is season one, with season two allowed out of sentiment, and in that sense is a completed work. My one hope is that it's a good film in its own right that stakes out its own ground, not just fanservice. Serenity is a good example of this being done well; there are very few others. But then Firefly didn't really get a fair shot, it barely got half a season. There is reason to hope since it is Rob Thomas doing it -- feature films resurrecting series are almost invariably rubbish, but then they usually have nothing to do with the people who created the series. Here's hoping.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:05 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


So if the movie happens to make $50M (unlikely, but not impossible, especially with the fans now "invested" in the project's success), who gets the money

Right. That's the general problem with Kickstarter -- the "suspension" of capitalist logic is only temporary, to the disadvantage of the ordinary people who are supporting these startups without getting shares -- but it's especially acute when the scale gets blown up like this on behalf of an existing multi-million-dollar corporate property. It's Neoliberalism in Wonderland -- having privatized everything, we're just donating to the corporations directly now.
posted by gerryblog at 12:05 PM on March 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Now do Wonderfalls!
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:05 PM on March 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


Every Kickstarter movie backer can get a share of the profits, because the studios ensure there aren't any. Hooray accounting!

Next up: a Kickstarter-based version of The Producers.
posted by stevis23 at 12:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


propping up a corporate property as if it were a charity case is for suckers.

Kickstarter as a fundraising model is problematic enough in its own terms; letting megacorporations use it for cash-grab is a travesty.


I don't really understand what's behind this. Sure, Warner is a corporation and we shouldn't want studios and corporations to control our culture — but that has no bearing on this situation, because no matter what we do, Warner owns Veronica Mars. If fans want more Veronica Mars, what else are they meant to do? I see this funding model as a potentially good thing not because I love the studios but because it opens their decision-making process to more audience involvement — and therefore potentially fewer future inscrutably arbitrary studio decisions leading to the end of production of serial art that people like. Isn't it a good thing if audiences are involved more directly in the decision to go ahead with production?
posted by RogerB at 12:07 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's the general problem with Kickstarter -- the "suspension" of capitalist logic is only temporary, to the disadvantage of the ordinary people who are supporting these startups without getting shares...

It's patronage. You get paid in art.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:07 PM on March 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Now if they could make a hybrid: Life on Mars and Veronica Mars (Life on Veronica Mars!) that would be perfect.

Life on Veronica Mars would be a Pixar-style animated film about really cute skin mites who are unsure if they are in the original series or the present day.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:08 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's patronage. You get paid in art.

Well said, but still, the teeth-gnashing I did over the millions who downloaded L5 vs the thousands who chipped in will be nothing to the grinding and raging I do when WB pockets megabucks with no substantive thanks to serfs such as thee and me.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:13 PM on March 14, 2013


That's the general problem with Kickstarter -- the "suspension" of capitalist logic is only temporary

Who claimed that capitalist logic was suspended here? We pay money and in exchange we'll get a new Veronica Mars movie (plus merch or other perks). Even for a committed anticapitalist, I don't see why this should deserve condemnation as "neoliberal wonderland" rather than praise (relative to other studio funding models) for allowing audiences to pay for a vote in what gets made.
posted by RogerB at 12:14 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has anyone ever actually contributed to a Kickstarter drive with an expectation that they'll get shares of future revenue? I realize that's how a "traditional" investment model works, but Kickstarter is very up-front about it not being how their model works, and everyone I've ever interacted with who actually uses the platform was aware of that when they threw in. Consenting adults, as they say.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:14 PM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I thought what Alan Sepinwall had to say about the implications of this for other cult TV shows was interesting. I'll also say that if he's right that Veronica Mars was the cheapest drama on broadcast TV for its run, then the people who cancelled it are even more idiotic than I thought.
posted by Copronymus at 12:18 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we've determined that for-profit investment isn't working to produce valuable goods and art anymore, the solution can't be to retain all the negative architecture associated with it (copyrights, corporate profit-skimming, etc) and just not pay investors anymore. That's just going to be even worse. That's the problem I see with most Kickstarters, speaking generally; that this time the money is going to Warner Bros. just drives the absurdity of it home.

I don't see this as democratization in anything but branding terms, personally. This is an advertising campaign the fans are paying to watch.
posted by gerryblog at 12:19 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's exactly what my husband said last night when kittens for breakfast was on a tear about this with me on Twitter, Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish. Consenting adults. It's our money. We want a VM movie. And? I could have spent that same $50 at Starbucks. Or buying groceries. Or a pair of jeans. And then that $50 goes to a different megacorporation. The difference here is I get a movie that I actually WANT to see, unlike half the crap the studios are producing.

This is going to make my planned re-watch (c'mon you knew everyone on the internet was going to do this, don't lie) much more interesting.

Livewatching on Twitter, Whelk? Shall we?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:20 PM on March 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Possibly! I'd have to co-ordinate with my viewing buddy.
posted by The Whelk at 12:21 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Next up: a Kickstarter-based version of The Producers.

With apologies to Mr. Brooks:

And now it's...
Springtime for Warner and Kickstarter
Kristen is happy and gay! (like she's seen a sloth!)
We're raising at the fastest pace
Any profits, we're planning to misplace!
Springtime for Warner and Kickstarter
Neptune's a fine land once more!
Springtime for Warner and Kickstarter
Watch out, 09ers
Mars Investigations never stops! (who's your daddy?)
Springtime for Warner and Kickstarter...
posted by zachlipton at 12:22 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it's just better to pretend season 3 didn't happen, if you ask me.

I thought the third act of season 3, with the special election, was really excellent (though it didn't make up for the horribleness that was the first 2/3 of the season, and of course it was no season 1).

I'm not donating because of the international issues. Perhaps it will be fixed before the deadline. But this is something that should have been hashed out before it went on kickstarter.
posted by jeather at 12:22 PM on March 14, 2013


ChurchHatesTucker: "I appreciate the VM love, but I'd rather back a Kickstarter for The Middleman, which would be the most awesome thing ever.

Dare I say it? Rhymes with Wire Guy.
"

God YES! Please!

I was just coming in to say basically the same thing.
posted by Samizdata at 12:23 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


That does feel difficult. On the other hand, Veronica Mars is an IP that's owned by Warner Bros. So there's no way this was going to happen without their say-so in some way. It's not clear that the Kickstarter money is going straight into production or into WB or whoever, but (charitably), WB could also be ensuring that they don't want anything bad to happen to one of their IPs.

The really weird thing is that the kickstarter money seems to be going to people who don't actually have control over the project. Like, WB gets final edit right? (so who cuts the $10,000 fan character)? The majority of studio backed films never get released, much less completed. Unlike an indie taking production money, this seems like a play to play on the distribution channel which also owned the IP. So, if this film looks like its gonna loose money out of the gate for WB, whats stopping them from never releasing it?
posted by Diles_Mavis at 12:24 PM on March 14, 2013


I'll also say that if he's right that Veronica Mars was the cheapest drama on broadcast TV for its run, then the people who cancelled it are even more idiotic than I thought.

That was 5 presidents ago! (or something of that nature, I can't see the clip now). From the random things I've heard about TV execs, it sounds like there is a lot of turn-over.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:26 PM on March 14, 2013


I was just thinking of a Kickstarter to save Google Reader, and then in a year they sell it or shut it down anyway. But that works too. What's the requirement that WB produce anything here, other than the (slight?) brand hit they'd take?
posted by gerryblog at 12:26 PM on March 14, 2013


So, if this film looks like its gonna loose money out of the gate for WB, whats stopping them from never releasing it?

So, pony up for the digital download. Or the DVD. Or the theater rental.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:27 PM on March 14, 2013


whats stopping them from never releasing it?

They would be required to refund the money of everyone who pre-paid for a digital copy of the film.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:27 PM on March 14, 2013


They would be required to refund the money of everyone who pre-paid for a digital copy of the film.

No, not by the Kickstarter terms.

But I think the HUGE MASSIVE PROTEST of people who gave them three or more million dollars would seriously damage their brand.

I assume that there is some contract that requires WB to keep in the large donation names/appearances/extras.
posted by jeather at 12:30 PM on March 14, 2013


1. So, pony up for the digital download. Or the DVD. Or the theater rental.

and

2. They would be required to refund the money of everyone who pre-paid for a digital copy of the film.

1. My point is the people who did the kickstarter don't have control of whether or not the film gets released. WB does.

2. Kickstarter doesn't have anything that requires people to refund any money. Its basically a donation.
posted by Diles_Mavis at 12:30 PM on March 14, 2013


There's no question that there's promise in this model, but there are also a couple of things that give me pause. For one, reading a lot into the potential of an approach like this when it's a total novelty is tricky; a lot of people who will give $100 for this wouldn't be able to give $100 regularly. If this became a regular part of life -- that on top of your cable bill if you have one, your Netflix if you have it, your movie theater tickets, and so forth, you have to pay a premium for some of the production of the things you want to see? If that became a regular part of life, it's not clear to me how eager people would be to continue to pony up. Rob Thomas has been a masterful manipulator of fans (not manipulator as in evil, just as in effective) since the earliest days of VM's run, and I'm not surprised he's the one to make this happen this time. But how applicable it is to anything other than this example, let alone a lot of other similar projects happening together, is a complicated question.

I do think the idea of pouring fan money into a project that gives all the rewards to Warner Brothers is a little weird. Not bad, necessarily, just ... weird. Thought-provoking. I think it has potential upside and potential downside. I get the appeal of monetizing passion; that makes sense. But I'm not eager to see networks start telling the people who make every show on television that fans have to pony up 5 million dollars or the show is going to be canceled. I don't think that's a stable model going forward. It also gives an even bigger advantage than already exists to shows that have the ability to build deep loyalty among affluent people, as far as ability to stay on. This isn't a model that rewards you for having loyal fans; it's a model that rewards you for having loyal fans who are okay with paying, in some cases, $500 or $1000 for the privilege of seeing a movie, which to much of the country would be outrageous.

Furthermore, artistically speaking, there are things to consider about going begging to fans for funding. Fan service -- how much to give fans what they say they want versus what you think is good and what you think is your vision -- is a complicated problem, and cult TV fans (not of VM in particular, but in general) have not always been great about accepting that one of the consequences of letting a creator be a creator is that you may not like the outcome. That argument is easier to make when people aren't paying hundreds of dollars to see what amounts to an extension of the show. People get absolutely outraged over what they perceive is incorrect writing of things they get for free; how are people going to feel who paid $100 and didn't get what they wanted?

I see huge possibilities for crowdfunding for art when it frees up creators from the financing systems they're in now and allows them to work independently. I'm not sure I'm as excited about fans giving money to grease the same financing system that we already have, simply substituting their money for someone else's. Doesn't mean begrudging them their excitement, it just means it's not as unqualified a gigantic win, to me, as it is to people whose only concern is seeing the movie made.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 12:32 PM on March 14, 2013 [14 favorites]


But I think the HUGE MASSIVE PROTEST of people who gave them three or more million dollars would seriously damage their brand.

Yeah, but again the implicit agreement wasn't with WB. It was with the Veronica Mars cast and creator. Thats what I think is interesting about this. A big studio was able to mask their risk with a creator/talent wrapper. WB isn't responsible for delivering, Rob Thomas is. Thats how it feels to me anyway.
posted by Diles_Mavis at 12:32 PM on March 14, 2013


Kickstarter doesn't have anything that requires people to refund any money.
Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.


From the FAQ
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:33 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Where were all you Veronica Mars fans when it was on, and I needed more people to squee about this show with?
posted by loriginedumonde at 12:35 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Rob Thomas went through the fans and said "WB has agreed to distribute this movie if you give us two million dollars," without a lawyer-approved contract to that effect, he's much dumber than any of us could suspect.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:36 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Where were all you Veronica Mars fans when it was on, and I needed more people to squee about this show with?

DRUNK IN EUROPE.
posted by The Whelk at 12:38 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet he just blows it on a pilot for a web-only flash-based series called The Veronimatrix. It takes place in the year 3000 and VM has been resurrected in a cybernetic body with special powers, such as when she flips her hair she owns you.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:39 PM on March 14, 2013


If Rob Thomas went through the fans and said "WB has agreed to distribute this movie if you give us two million dollars," without a lawyer-approved contract to that effect, he's much dumber than any of us could suspect.

Well, he did once think changing "20" to "Twenty" is a substantive change, so who knows.
posted by kmz at 12:39 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.

This might be an interesting little test to those terms. I do think in this instance the project will be able to follow through.
posted by Diles_Mavis at 12:39 PM on March 14, 2013


If Rob Thomas went through the fans and said "WB has agreed to distribute this movie if you give us two million dollars," without a lawyer-approved contract to that effect, he's much dumber than any of us could suspect.

He needed permission to make the movie, not just distribute it.

More power to him and the show.
posted by Diles_Mavis at 12:40 PM on March 14, 2013


I'm firmly in the "people ponying up to boost a mega-corp's private IP and eventually their profits are suckers" camp.

On the other hand, on a broader level, I can't help but wonder if this is going to result in big, big hurt for WB.

"Snakes on a Plane" is what I keep coming back to: how much money would that have raised on Kickstarter if Kickstarter had been around back then? And isn't it now the poster child for Trusting The Internet Is Stupid in terms of planning major enterprises?
posted by Shepherd at 12:41 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm betting that WB lawyers could destroy the Kickstarter terms of service. But in any case, it's the brand damage and not the money which is the issue. Rob Thomas is responsible for creating a movie, but WB is responsible for part of it too, and all the censure is going to rain down on the huge multimillion dollar corporation.

I will be really displeased if Wallace and Mac and Weevil don't come back. I'd like Jackie back too, and Vinnie Van Lowe. I don't care if Duncan comes back, or Parker; I don't want Piz back. Deputy Leo would be fine. I don't have an opinion on whether Logan and Veronica should end up together.
posted by jeather at 12:45 PM on March 14, 2013


I'm firmly in the "people ponying up to boost a mega-corp's private IP and eventually their profits are suckers" camp.

On the other hand, on a broader level, I can't help but wonder if this is going to result in big, big hurt for WB.

"Snakes on a Plane" is what I keep coming back to: how much money would that have raised on Kickstarter if Kickstarter had been around back then? And isn't it now the poster child for Trusting The Internet Is Stupid in terms of planning major enterprises?


So...people are suckers for giving money to make the film happen when it's obvious that this is just going to make so many bucketloads of cash for WB that they would make it regardless. AND it's also a huge risk for WB who will probably take a bath on it.

Something tells me people don't look at the decisions that big media corporations make in the most coolly detached manner possible.
posted by yoink at 12:46 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to have major problems with Kickstarter. I figured it was soon to be overrun with failed projects and outright scams. They make it clear it is not a pre-order, it isn't really an investment, you get not share of any company, and it isn't really a donation either. You give money without any guarantee of anything.

I decided I would consider it a grant. Isn't this exactly how grants work? An artist makes a proposal, they may or may not get a grant, and they may or may not succeed.

I've sort of made peace with it
posted by Ad hominem at 12:53 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


All Middleman championing aside, I think what worries me most about things like this is the possibility that every time a fan-loved show gets the axe, it will be a viable option for the creators to head to Kickstarter to raise funds for a movie, a web series, etc.


And while we may receive the thing we love in return for funding it, there will also be a lot of cool not-as-high-profile projects that will never get funded. People keep saying there's room in the pool for all, but those swimmers don't have the rabid fanbase people like Rob Thomas and (I'm so sorry; it's like the new Godwinning a KS thread) Amanda Palmer do.
posted by Kitteh at 12:54 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


looks like i'm willing to pay a fair amount of money to see the logan echolls character again. curse you, hormones.
posted by kerning at 12:54 PM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, 2m is peanuts for a big company like WB, they probably pay that keeping the corporate planes fueled for a bit. I think this is about fan commitment, and PR.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:55 PM on March 14, 2013


as a sidenote, when i told my boyfriend last night that i donated in the $35 category, which includes a digital download of the film when it's released in theaters, he was like "THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS?!" but really, i would have paid money to see it in theaters anyway. now i don't have to since i'll have the download. i mean.... really..... this SAVED me money.

personal logic win.
posted by kerning at 12:56 PM on March 14, 2013


"Snakes on a Plane" is what I keep coming back to: how much money would that have raised on Kickstarter if Kickstarter had been around back then? And isn't it now the poster child for Trusting The Internet Is Stupid in terms of planning major enterprises?

If it had been Kickstartered, it wouldn't be an issue. Either it would have been paid for, or it wouldn't have passed the money-where-your-mouth-is test.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:00 PM on March 14, 2013


An artist makes a proposal, they may or may not get a grant, and they may or may not succeed.

Grant givers are very interested in results and oversight. They don't just give you a check and say good luck.
posted by gerryblog at 1:04 PM on March 14, 2013


If [Snakes on a Plane] had been Kickstartered, it wouldn't be an issue. Either it would have been paid for, or it wouldn't have passed the money-where-your-mouth-is test.


I hear you, ChurchHatesTucker, but what's driving my curiosity is the above statements that WB is treating this like an "expression of interest" and the hinting that bigger KS funding = bigger budget overall.

If the intent of the KickStarter is to fund the movie at 100%, then the whole Snakes on a Plane comparison kind of falls off the rails. But if WB is treating this like a barometer of how well the movie is going to do, it's going to be interesting how the number of superfans now translates into butts in seats when the movie is in theatres.
posted by Shepherd at 1:05 PM on March 14, 2013


But that would mean that Sloth Kristen Bell will constantly be emotionally overwhelmed by herself!


I think I have never been as happy with anything as I am with this sentence.
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Isn't this more or less exactly what the Torrent Uber Alles partisans have been asking for forever? A patronage model? It seems to me like the content creators simply can't win. If they go through traditional channels, well, they deserve what they get for requiring a cable subscription. If they go through Kickstarter, well, they deserve what they get for being tools of the capitalist pig dogs.

How exactly are things supposed to get made?
posted by Justinian at 1:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


You didn't like it when we kept all the rights and profits! And now you still don't like it even when we keep all the rights and profits! We just can't win with you people!
posted by gerryblog at 1:09 PM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


the hinting that bigger KS funding = bigger budget overall.

The KS is the budget. WB is giving permission to use the IP, and then will take the finished movie Thomas hands them and feed it into their promotion-and-distribution machine. This is an FAQ answer on the page: "All funds will go into a Veronica Mars Movie Project production account which has been set up by Warner Bros. on our behalf."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:10 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


$75 million: Foundation of a cable channel helmed by Rob Thomas, Joss Whedon, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Dan Harmon, Mitchell Hurwitz, and Darin Morgan.


I realize you were joking, and maybe I'm overestimating the Internet, but I have little doubt that if this was an actual Kickstarter project, it'd be funded by tomorrow morning, if not before I went to bed tonight.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:12 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


You didn't like it when we kept all the rights and profits! And now you still don't like it even when we keep all the rights and profits! We just can't win with you people!

Why in heck would anyone ever make an expensive television show or movie if they didn't get to keep the rights and profits? That's crazy.
posted by Justinian at 1:13 PM on March 14, 2013




First I thought, Cool! And then it made me wonder how often a television show leads a movie that comes close to meeting expectations, and I'm unexpectedly drawing a blank.

My closest comparison point (which George Spiggot beat me to) would be Serenity, and I fucking loved Serenity.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:14 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why in heck would anyone ever make an expensive television show or movie if they didn't get to keep the rights and profits? That's crazy.

The people funding this Kickstarter are doing that. That's what we're talking about.
posted by gerryblog at 1:14 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the intent of the KickStarter is to fund the movie at 100%, then the whole Snakes on a Plane comparison kind of falls off the rails. But if WB is treating this like a barometer of how well the movie is going to do, it's going to be interesting how the number of superfans now translates into butts in seats when the movie is in theatres.

I see what you're saying, and it will be interesting. But all that's different here is the risk reduction. If WB decided to do this on their own, then they'd be on the hook for the 2 million (or whatever.) But now they don't have to recoup production costs. Or they only have to recoup whatever above that amount they decide to invest.

And that's not even counting the "Holy shit, people really want a Veronica Mars movie!" free advertising that they're getting already.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:17 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because what we need is a reason for studios to become even more risk adverse...
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The KS is the budget. WB is giving permission to use the IP, and then will take the finished movie Thomas hands them and feed it into their promotion-and-distribution machine. This is an FAQ answer on the page: "All funds will go into a Veronica Mars Movie Project production account which has been set up by Warner Bros. on our behalf."

That FAQ answer in no way claims that the KS is the budget, only that it will be thrown into whatever bucket WB sets up to cover production costs.

I mean, I have no idea. Maybe the KS campaign is honestly and truly representing the entire film budget. But that FAQ answer is the only one on the page that actually addresses film funding, and it really goes out of its way to imply that the KS money is essential to fund the film, while in actual fact saying no such thing.
posted by Shepherd at 1:19 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why in heck would anyone ever make an expensive television show or movie if they didn't get to keep the rights and profits? That's crazy.

The people funding this Kickstarter are doing that. That's what we're talking about.


But I'm not! I'm prepaying 35$ for a tshirt and a digital download of the movie. (Or I would be, if I were in the US, though I'm considering just donating 20$ -- the marginal cost of the digital download plus the pdf script -- and torrenting the movie when it's available 12 seconds after it releases.)
posted by jeather at 1:20 PM on March 14, 2013


Because what we need is a reason for studios to become even more risk adverse...

They're already risk adverse (WB, especially.) We're trying to ameliorate that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:21 PM on March 14, 2013


But I'm not! I'm prepaying 35$ for a tshirt and a digital download of the movie.

Average donation currently is $60, with several thousand people having donated hundreds of dollars or more.
posted by gerryblog at 1:24 PM on March 14, 2013


The KS is the budget.

I really find that difficult to swallow as a premise, especially when it has just come out that Netflix is spending close to $4m per episode for series such as House of Cards. Granted, that's high-end production values, but I'm not sure why you'd go into this with expectations of fan/YouTube level quality. Granted, fan productions like Star Trek: Phase II seem to get by with per-ep budgets in the tens of thousands, but will people be interested in going to the multiplex for that sort of output?
posted by dhartung at 1:25 PM on March 14, 2013




I'm really excited about this. It's a step forward in the copyright conversation:

- "Copyright is economically inefficient/doesn't work at all in an era where anyone can make perfect free copies."
- "But without copyright, how will we get enough money to fund project X?"
- "We could ask fans to pay up front for project X to be made."
- "Sure, that works for things that cost $Y. But no one's ever raised enough to make project X that way."

Where $Y now equals $2.75 million. Whoever ends up with the revenues in this particular case, the example it provides is huge. And in a way, it's almost better that the backers here don't have a financial interest -- because it shows what can be accomplished by people who are receiving no benefits from copyright.
posted by jhc at 1:27 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


TBH, though it's a sticking point with many purist Kickstarter fans, using it just to prepay for something seems the least objectionable use for it - if it was just that I wouldn't really be worried by what WB is doing at all.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on March 14, 2013


Average donation currently is $60, with several thousand people having donated hundreds of dollars or more.

Fine, I'm prepaying 75$ for a tshirt, a digital download, a special DVD and a movie poster. Or prepaying 500$ for all of that plus a voice mail message by Kristen Bell. In general, people feel they are prepaying for an item that would otherwise not exist, not personally making a movie.
posted by jeather at 1:29 PM on March 14, 2013


The people funding this Kickstarter are doing that. That's what we're talking about.

Yeah, and some people in this thread are being highly critical of the process. That's my point. Maybe we're just talking past eachother.
posted by Justinian at 1:29 PM on March 14, 2013


I really find that difficult to swallow as a premise, especially when it has just come out that Netflix is spending close to $4m per episode for series such as House of Cards.

I would not be at all surprised if Kevin Spacey made more money for House of Cards than it cost to produce a season of Veronica Mars, and that would likely carry through to a movie - this is going to be a lot of people standing around talking, or walking through mundane-looking buildings or outdoor environments, filmed over a period of three weeks or less.

And a SFX-free movie with no top-tier actors can be filmed very cheaply, relatively speaking. Last year's Insidious and its $1.5M budget (and $97M gross) was already mentioned.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:30 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really find that difficult to swallow as a premise, especially when it has just come out that Netflix is spending close to $4m per episode for series such as House of Cards.

Kevin Spacey and Kristen Bell are not in the same pay grade. And a VM movie would be the length of about 1.6 episodes of House of Cards. The show was ridiculously cheap to make, and a movie would be like a "special two-hour episode" or whatever. WB has agreed to market and distribute, and the video at the KS page explains that the budget for the film is what the KS is for.

I'm not naive; I'm aware that part of this is crass marketing--but I'm also aware of how much the people involved with Veronica Mars loved their show, and are willing to work for nothing in order to get this done. They'll doubtless be contributing some of their own money to cover this or that as they shoot.

And yes to the "I'm an adult choosing to spend my money on X" attitude. Listen, if Kickstarter had existed when Farscape was canceled after Season 4, and the team said "It costs us $1 million dollars to make each episode of Farscape; there are about 4 million viewers of each episode when all is said and done; we can do a final 22-episode season if each of you is willing to donate twenty-five cents per episode--and donors who give over $35 get digital copies of the fifth season when it's over," I'd have sold plasma to get in on that.

If this is what kicks off (heh) the a la carte entertainment market, freeing us from bullshit cable or dish packages full hundreds of channels I don't want to watch tied to the six I do, more power to it.
posted by tzikeh at 1:33 PM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just want to see Kristen Bell on a Hover Sloth.
posted by homunculus at 1:37 PM on March 14, 2013


Granted, that's high-end production values, but I'm not sure why you'd go into this with expectations of fan/YouTube level quality. Granted, fan productions like Star Trek: Phase II seem to get by with per-ep budgets in the tens of thousands, but will people be interested in going to the multiplex for that sort of output?

Just a sampling of smaller budgets that brought people to the theaters (all figures in 2012 dollars)

Halloween: $1.2m
The Blair Witch Project: $1m
Night of the Living Dead: $742k
Napoleon Dynamite: $500k
Clerks: $42k
Paranormal Activity: $17k

With even the big-name actor (Bell, in this case) agreeing to do it on the cheap, I don't see why not.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:38 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and some people in this thread are being highly critical of the process. That's my point.

You said it would be "crazy" to fund a movie without rights and a share of the profits. I wouldn't go that far, but I have been saying that I think asymetrically weakening the property relation to the benefit of big corporations is a pretty bad idea. If the logic of investment is going to be suspended going in but the logic of ownership isn't suspended going out, I don't see how Kickstarter is making things in the world better. jhc has a model where maybe it could, but I'm pretty unconvinced.

I would be surprised if anyone in this thread who is critical of Kickstarter in general or this Kickstarter in particular thinks donors to the Veronica Mars project are bad people or something. I'm tempted to donate myself. But it's not disrupting the studio system; it's intensifying it.
posted by gerryblog at 1:38 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm tempted to donate myself. But it's not disrupting the studio system; it's intensifying it.

In the short term, yes. But when Thomas or Bell decide to do an original non-rights-encumbered project, what's their incentive to go the studio route?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:42 PM on March 14, 2013


Ah, I see. I think there is a difference between individuals ponying up relatively smaller donations without an expectation of rights and profits and expecting a corporation to do so. I agree that it's not disrupting the studio system, though. But I see (something like) the studio system as almost an emergent property of making large scale media projects. We might be able to change the system but I don't see how it gets torn down without killing off big movies and TV. Some people thing that would be a feature rather than a bug. Many of them are also huge fans of something like Firefly. They tend not to see the dissonance in these positions.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on March 14, 2013


I would be surprised if anyone in this thread who is critical of Kickstarter in general or this Kickstarter in particular thinks donors to the Veronica Mars project are bad people or something. I'm tempted to donate myself. But it's not disrupting the studio system; it's intensifying it.

This x100.
posted by Diles_Mavis at 1:45 PM on March 14, 2013


Here's the only thing that worries me about all of this - studios will already only make movies out of existing properties now, especially ones that have been beaten into the ground many times over. The kickstarter method can pretty much only work with existing properties, because nobody's donating for something they don't know, so in that way it exacerbates what might be Hollywood's biggest problem.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:45 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It tends to come as a surprise to Firefly fans when they hear for the first time that the larger part of the reason the show was cancelled wasn't low audience figures on an absolute scale, but its runious budget relative to those figures.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:45 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Look, let's just not tell the Firefly fans about all this, ok?
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on March 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


But I'm not! I'm prepaying 35$ for a tshirt and a digital download of the movie

Yep! Exactly that, financially. I don't expect a percentage of the profits. To me the deal is is just "hey, we can do it if we get enough people to pre-pay." It's neither charity nor an investment.

Emotionally, though, I do a feel a bit stoked to be part of making it happen, I gotta admit.

And yes, this is also somewhat of an answer to the old "How do you expect the creators to get paid?" question. People are clearly willing to pay, so far, $2.5M sight unseen.


Also, I'm all for the rewatch.
posted by tyllwin at 1:54 PM on March 14, 2013


The kickstarter method can pretty much only work with existing properties, because nobody's donating for something they don't know, so in that way it exacerbates what might be Hollywood's biggest problem.

You have to show existing expertise, not necessarily an existing property. See, e.g., the successfully funded Star Command mobile game.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:54 PM on March 14, 2013


The kickstarter method can pretty much only work with existing properties, because nobody's donating for something they don't know, so in that way it exacerbates what might be Hollywood's biggest problem.

Existing properties or existing creators. On the gaming side, people like Tim Schaefer and Chris Avellone have gotten seven-figure donations just by promising to make a game in a particular genre. You need a following to crack those levels of success, absolutely, but the following doesn't have to be connected to the specific IP you're pushing.

Kickstarter is essentially two different models: One for people who have done something noteworthy in the past and want to create a follow-up, and another for people who want to burst onto the scene with something new and nifty.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:55 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm all for the rewatch.

Maybe we should have a wordpress blog or something for it.
posted by The Whelk at 1:58 PM on March 14, 2013


I didn't see this series at the time, I think because I was under the confused impression it was a spin-off of an old Faye Dunaway movie. Anyway, I tried today to watch a bit, out of curiosity.

My TiVo says the show has no re-runs coming up on any of the zillion channels I get. It is also not on Netflix streaming, XFinity on-demand or Amazon Prime.

Amazon & iTunes both want $3 an episode for HD streaming ($2 for SD), which seems steep for a 9 year old UPN TV show.
posted by w0mbat at 1:58 PM on March 14, 2013


Look, let's just not tell the Firefly fans about all this, ok?

Ha.

I'm a huge Firefly fan and as soon as I heard about this I winced thinking about the Help Nathan Buy Firefly type folk rallying around it.
posted by kmz at 2:00 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you try the CW website? They supposedly stream it for free.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:01 PM on March 14, 2013


and torrenting the movie

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
posted by incessant at 2:05 PM on March 14, 2013


Snakes on a Plane may have demonstrated that Internetz culture is not the gold mine Hollywood was looking for, but its estimated budget was 33 million and the USA gross alone was 34 million. That doesn't include DVD, international or other sales as far as I can tell, so the producers may have been dumb, but they made their money back plus some.
posted by jeremias at 2:09 PM on March 14, 2013


(That's not how theatrical economics works -- for starters, cut the box office in half to pay the theater owners, then factor in at least $20 mil for marketing costs, and now your $34 mil budget is more like $54 mil and your $33 mil box office is more like $16.5 mil. SNAKES ON A PLANE was a bomb.)
posted by incessant at 2:15 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Nope. I'd be happy to pay for it and download it from whatever site they want me to, but I'm not allowed to. I figure that if I pay for it and torrent it, I'm ethically ok, though people disagree on this. Perhaps they'll change the international rights and then I can just buy the file. I'll see it in a theatre, if it plays near me.

I really want to know what thinking went into the "let's make this US-only" idea.
posted by jeather at 2:15 PM on March 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Supposedly there are "thorny issues" they're working out. I'm splitting my bets between "WB executives are a bag of dicks" and "Somebody else licensed the series rights overseas and would have to sign off on movie distribution."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:18 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I liked Piz, damn it. Logan had too many issues. Hell, he had subscriptions.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:20 PM on March 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'd be happy to pay for it and download it from whatever site they want me to

It makes me happy to hear that.

"Somebody else licensed the series rights overseas and would have to sign off on movie distribution."

It's much closer to this.

International releasing is a strange, polyglot effort with many different companies involved, and that's why (I'm guessing) they can't guarantee an international VOD release at this early stage. But they aren't saying they won't try to release it internationally, just that the kickstarter rewards might not be available internationally.
posted by incessant at 2:27 PM on March 14, 2013


Season One, by far the best, is available on the wb's network. Why they're hiding it there, I have no idea. Enjoy.
posted by skewed at 2:28 PM on March 14, 2013


It's just that if demonstration of interest is all WB needs to agree to make a movie (given that $2m has gotta be chump change for a project like this), why do they actually need the fans to pay for it upfront, in addition to what they'll pay for it after its released?

Can you think of an equivalent way of measuring fan interest? 45,000 people donating an average of $60 is a whole lot more convincing than 45,000 signatures on an internet petition.

At that level, you don't have donors, you have investors, and there's a predetermined plan in place to pay them back if possible.

Kickstarter is not and never can be about investing money. There's all kinds of Securities and Exchange laws and rules that would require them to drastically change what they're doing and how they're doing it.
posted by straight at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2013


I'd be happy to pay for it and download it from whatever site they want me to

It makes me happy to hear that.


I'm not sure why you didn't hear that the first time I said it, though.

But they aren't saying they won't try to release it internationally, just that the kickstarter rewards might not be available internationally.

Sure, they'll try to, maybe, whatever, who knows what will happen. I have 29 days to figure out what I want to do. But if the kickstarter ends with "we promise to try really hard to have it available internationally but who knows" (the current status), I'm probably going to split the difference, donate something, and feel ok torrenting next year.
posted by jeather at 2:37 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


45,000 people donating an average of $60 is a whole lot more convincing than 45,000 signatures on an internet petition.

Isn't it, though? If I have any hopes of this meaning much beyond just the movie itself, that's where they lie. I'd like to believe that somewhere, on Tuesday, somebody in a suit was saying "Oh, yeah, these Internet people talk a good game. But in a month, he might get 10% of $2M," and is now picking himself up off the floor. When those people show up with actual millions up front, maybe they'll get taken more seriously in general.
posted by tyllwin at 2:37 PM on March 14, 2013


Personally, I happily donated $5 despite sharing reservations about this process. I view it as a one-shot deal, and it'd be hard to find a similar project that would make me feel that way. It seem legitimate, if they didn't raise $2 million, there was just never going to be a Veronica Mars movie. Not out of spite, WB wasn't holding VM hostage, they just didn't think it sounded like a good investment.

Next time though, or the time after that, it's going to seem like a strategy, and I wonder how much even ardent fans of the next beloved show to be canceled before its time will feel about a studio offering to put out a new season, or movie, but only if the fans fund it and let the studio keep the profits. I don't see this being frequently repeatable, and that's probably good.
posted by skewed at 2:39 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Next time though, or the time after that, it's going to seem like a strategy, and I wonder how much even ardent fans of the next beloved show to be canceled before its time will feel about a studio offering to put out a new season, or movie, but only if the fans fund it and let the studio keep the profits.

But what's wrong with that, exactly? The studio keeping the profits is where we were before this. There's nothing we, as the public, give up there. It's just adding the option to "get it by prepay," whereas now the only option is "go pound sand." I don't see any possibility of a net loss.

In some ways, it's a better deal than we get now, even if the show isn't in trouble. Let's move past Veronica Mars for a second. Take, say "Game of Thrones," world's most pirated show, making money, sure to come back, and where the studio keeps 100% of the profits. If the HBO Game of Thrones team made an offer of "Prepay $35, we'll send you a t-shirt and you'll get a digital copy of each episode as they air." would they have trouble finding takers? I think there are plenty of people who'd prefer that deal to what they have now.
posted by tyllwin at 3:04 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the HBO Game of Thrones team made an offer of "Prepay $35, we'll send you a t-shirt and you'll get a digital copy of each episode as they air." would they have trouble finding takers? I think there are plenty of people who'd prefer that deal to what they have now.

The question isn't whether they'd find takers, though, it's whether that model would generate enough revenue to fund GoT. Which is probably the single most expensive television show in production. Possibly ever.
posted by Justinian at 3:05 PM on March 14, 2013


Yeah, you'd need 1.75 Million takers on that deal to cover the production budget on Game of Thrones. That's assuming that's their only revenue, however. HBO currently has roughly 30 Million subscribers. There's obviously no data available (to my knowledge) of how many people subscribe to HBO solely for GoT, nor how many don't subscribe but would be willing to pay for this option.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:27 PM on March 14, 2013


How is this just prepaying? People were giving an average of 60 bucks, and they'll have to pay again to watch in theaters.

Sure, people can spend their cash however they want. It's really asking people to pay a ticket price based on how badly they want to see the movie and that's capitalism at it's finest. But now it worked, and we'll see it again. Why should WB front the money for a familiar project when you will? Message received: you will pay more for your entertainment. Thanks everyone.
posted by murfed13 at 3:38 PM on March 14, 2013


Oh, GoT is apparently a very expensive series relative to the norm but doesn't even come close to most expensive ever. As far as I can tell the most expensive single season of a television series ever was the final season of Friends, because of salary demands. That's crazy. It was a half hour sitcom with very few special effects.

Next most expensive was either Lost or Rome.

So Game of Thrones looks to be definitely top 10, possibly top 5-6. But no higher for the first few seasons. Later seasons will necessarily get much more expensive as salaries are renegotiated. That's why Friends was so expensive in the final season.
posted by Justinian at 3:38 PM on March 14, 2013


How is this just prepaying? People were giving an average of 60 bucks, and they'll have to pay again to watch in theaters.

Apologies. Just checked the site and those paying over $35 get the movie.
posted by murfed13 at 3:44 PM on March 14, 2013


Kickstarters where there isn't a reasonably priced option to get the thing you made piss me off. I'm looking at you, comics Kickstarters with nothing between "e-book" and "deluxe hardcover".
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't know much about kickstarter before this VM fundraiser, so I looked around a bit. The 10-year hoodie looks like a fucking disgrace and people are just throwing money at them. Perhaps I'm missing something here but what else is there besides the 10-year warranty and so-called high-quality manufacturing?
posted by lite at 4:06 PM on March 14, 2013


It's a hoodie. What else do you want?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:13 PM on March 14, 2013




The Flint & Tinder hoodie costs about as much as the mid-range hoodies available from J.Crew, but they're made in America with an eye towards not falling apart after a season. And the "so-called high-quality" manufacturing on the underwear they sell from their previous kickstarter project is actually high-quality. I'm failing to see the disgrace.
posted by hades at 4:21 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The hoodie once said something upsetting about my mother, that's what.
posted by Justinian at 4:31 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have yet to see a hoodie that falls apart within a year. You have to admit that the product heavily relies on hype. Anyone knows how to mend the way they will be doing, I did chuckle when I saw the free mending banner.
posted by lite at 4:34 PM on March 14, 2013


You really, really hate that hoodie!
posted by Justinian at 4:38 PM on March 14, 2013


That hoodie lied about the last time it saw Lilly Kane.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:39 PM on March 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's secretly a pair of trousers.
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on March 14, 2013


I'd be happy to pay for it and download it from whatever site they want me to, but I'm not allowed to. I figure that if I pay for it and torrent it, I'm ethically ok.

This x 1000. I have actually ponied up the $100 despite being in the UK. I'm crossing my fingers that either they will sort out the international rights or I will be able to fudge it by getting things sent to a US address, but either way I really want to support and see that film. If I am unable to view it legally I will have no problem doing so illegally.

The whole issue of delayed international showings drives me nuts. The expectation from Hollywood that people in Europe would patiently wait a year or two may have worked pre-internet but it just doesn't wash these days*. It is tedious to have to either refrain from reading or discussing anything whatsoever about a show (including anyone connected with it or who even watches it on twitter) or risk spoilers.

Rocky Carroll (actor on NCIS & NCIS:LA) this summer complained about being unable to stay unspoiled on the olympics for the 8 hour delays until they were televised in the US. A few days later he tweeted something that spoiled the finales of NCIS & NCIS:LA - neither will be legally viewable in the UK until pretty much a year after he sent that tweet.

*Eleven years ago, before long videos were common on the internet I used to keep up to date with Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Dawsons Creek by reading transcripts put up on the internet by fans.
posted by *becca* at 5:06 PM on March 14, 2013


I have yet to see a hoodie that falls apart within a year.

You are fortunate, then. The Threadless ones, while cute and cheap, fade quickly and tear easily. But they're so cheap that it doesn't matter (financially) if they fall apart after a year.

You have to admit that the product heavily relies on hype.

No, I don't. I mean, pretty much all products require brand awareness. That's all this is.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:10 PM on March 14, 2013


You've clearly sold out to Big Hoodie.
posted by Justinian at 5:18 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film."

Terriers wrap up film
Terriers wrap up film
Terriers wrap up film

posted by saul wright at 5:27 PM on March 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


You've clearly sold out to Big Hoodie.

Hey, man. I gotta eat, you know?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:53 PM on March 14, 2013


That hoodie lied about the last time it saw Lilly Kane.

Then it gave Veronica 'a trip to the dentist'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:59 PM on March 14, 2013


(That's not how theatrical economics works -- for starters, cut the box office in half to pay the theater owners, then factor in at least $20 mil for marketing costs, and now your $34 mil budget is more like $54 mil and your $33 mil box office is more like $16.5 mil. SNAKES ON A PLANE was a bomb.)

Ok, so I'll give you the $54 million for production + marketing and now we bring in the international gross which was $28 mil. So $62 million worldwide. Still not including DVD sales.

Snakes on a Plane was crap, and perceived as bomb, but it made money.
posted by jeremias at 6:05 PM on March 14, 2013


Snakes on a Plane was crap, and perceived as bomb, but it made money.

Probably not on paper. Heck, Return of the Jedi has yet to turn a profit.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:09 PM on March 14, 2013


I'm so excited for this. Donated a bit of money out of nostalgia and it's just kicked up my love for VMars all over again. Can't wait to re-watch!
posted by liquorice at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2013


Veronica Mars: How Warner Bros. Plans to Make It
The film's production budget will come entirely from the money it raised on Kickstarter and won't include any additional funding from the studio, the individual told TheWrap. Warner Bros. Digital Distribution will shoulder the cost of distributing the film and marketing it to the "Veronica Mars" faithful.
Anonymous source, but that seems to be The Wrap's thing in general - they also anonymize the Kickstarter spokesman.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:42 PM on March 14, 2013


Ok, so I'll give you the $54 million for production + marketing and now we bring in the international gross which was $28 mil. So $62 million worldwide. Still not including DVD sales.

Would you like me to tell you about international distribution economics as well? And DVD revenue economics? Here's the shorthand:

The. Movie. Did. Not. Make. Money.
posted by incessant at 8:26 PM on March 14, 2013


I don't know if this is the future or a one-time deal because this is a first, but if it ever happens again I hope we get a Deadwood movie.
posted by Alison at 8:39 PM on March 14, 2013


S.T. VanAirsdale on Veronica Mars Kickstarter rewards fulfillment logistics.

Thomas is responsible for delivering not only a movie to his devout Veronica Mars following, but also the tokens customarily promised to Kickstarter backers for their various levels of largesse. At 9 this morning, that meant no fewer than 34,763 limited-edition t-shirts. It meant 17,919 DVDs of the finished film (plus Blu-ray copies for the 7,222 backers who have pledged $100 or more) and 8,092 Veronica Mars movie posters — 2,885 of which must be signed by the film's cast, as assured by Thomas.
...
More than 4% of the total amount raised so far — ostensibly Thomas' production budget, which also has to cover such actual necessities as crew, equipment, transportation and craft service — just to produce t-shirts.
...
It's worth noting the complete series sets as well, of which it's worth asking if nearly 1,000 even remain available sealed and ready to ship.

posted by incessant at 9:18 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not sure Rob Thomas thought his cunning plan all the way through.
posted by Justinian at 10:03 PM on March 14, 2013


loriginedumonde: "Where were all you Veronica Mars fans when it was on, and I needed more people to squee about this show with?"

Watching the Middleman?
posted by Samizdata at 10:36 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "Isn't this more or less exactly what the Torrent Uber Alles partisans have been asking for forever? A patronage model? It seems to me like the content creators simply can't win. If they go through traditional channels, well, they deserve what they get for requiring a cable subscription. If they go through Kickstarter, well, they deserve what they get for being tools of the capitalist pig dogs.

How exactly are things supposed to get made?
"

Did I say anything bad about it other than "It should be more Middleman"?

Nope.

And, afraid to say, I am a sterling example of the "download-friendly" demographic.
posted by Samizdata at 10:45 PM on March 14, 2013




jeather: "Average donation currently is $60, with several thousand people having donated hundreds of dollars or more.

Fine, I'm prepaying 75$ for a tshirt, a digital download, a special DVD and a movie poster. Or prepaying 500$ for all of that plus a voice mail message by Kristen Bell. In general, people feel they are prepaying for an item that would otherwise not exist, not personally making a movie.
"

How much do I have to donate to get them to send me a personally autographed Kristen Bell?

(I mean, I'll let her leave..eventually...And the autograph could be in markers that wipe off...eventually... Don't want to ruin her career and all...)

I suppose I would have the money for that...(say it with me) eventually...
posted by Samizdata at 10:58 PM on March 14, 2013


A fascinating interview with Rob Thomas on HitFix -- in short, it looks like they actually did think through the rewards fulfillment beforehand, and it would seem that WB will not be pitching in any of their own money into the production.

Only time will tell what the actual distribution model will be, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's something akin to a roadshow or it's just in 5 theaters and VOD at the same time, or even a one-night-only one-off event movie, sort of like what Oscilloscope did with SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS. From that interview, it seems as though WB is bound and determined to keep their financial exposure to the movie negligible at best.
posted by incessant at 10:59 PM on March 14, 2013


Living in Los Angeles, I can at least take comfort in the knowledge that one of the theaters showing the film will be nearby. Is film still the correct term even when no film is involved for a lot of new stuff? "Motion picture" seems so Felix Unger but "movie" is a little too Oscar.
posted by Justinian at 11:03 PM on March 14, 2013


Ah, good, from the link incessant posted it is clear the Warner Brothers people are involved in the Kickstarter rewards fulfillment process. If there's one thing studio people know it is how to shovel mountains of useless crap in all directions as efficiently as possible.
posted by Justinian at 11:06 PM on March 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


How to screw up a Kickstarter.
posted by Artw at 12:13 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was under the confused impression it was a spin-off of an old Faye Dunaway movie.

Which, it should be noted, is actually pretty awesome -- a 70s camp noir.

As to the budget, I'm sure they can do it; I'm only questioning the economics and the perception of the end results. Gonna be a lot of practical location shooting and cheating, though.

larger part of the reason the show was cancelled wasn't low audience figures on an absolute scale, but its runious budget relative to those figures.

Dunno, because in network terms I think the higher looming problem is the opportunity cost of running something in the same slot that gets better ratings. Clearly, cheap-to-produce fare gets cancelled roughly as much.

Terriers wrap up film

Yeah, I'm working through that now and it got pretty awesome a few episodes ago. Still, unless the amounts raised can go even higher, I'm not sure how I feel about doing effects-heavy shows like Farscape or Firefly this way.

I do know that the model itself doesn't bother me, as when I rent or buy the show/movie I'm still paying "the man" one way or another. It's also somewhat disingenuous when you consider the very precarious funding models for movies outside the US studio system. Almost any UK/European film is some kind of Serbian-Catalan-Faeroe Islands co-production with money from the Irish Lottery, the Krakow Municipal Film District, and some biscuit manufacturer. It's a wonder anything gets made that way at all.
posted by dhartung at 12:53 AM on March 15, 2013


I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, 'Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you're busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.' And I know it was specifically for "Pushing Daisies."

Okay, now I'm pretty sure this can't get any better.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:21 AM on March 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was about to say that it could get better if Judd Apatow made movies with large parts of the casts of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared that deal with growing out of the high school and college years into early adulthood, forming long-lasting relationships, and starting families, and even entering middle age.

Then I realized that's exactly what he's been doing for the last 20 years.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:41 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hopefully this Joss interview heads off any undue Firefly optimism at the pass.

(Joss of course is a huge VM fan himself, and even had a cameo in an ep.)
posted by kmz at 6:47 AM on March 15, 2013


I was about to say that it could get better if Judd Apatow made movies with large parts of the casts of Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared that deal with growing out of the high school and college years into early adulthood, forming long-lasting relationships, and starting families, and even entering middle age.

Then I realized that's exactly what he's been doing for the last 20 years.


It's a very money's paw situation, isn't it?

(Although, like the joke in the Kickstarter trailer about Rico having been in character for eight years, to the point of playing Veronica's dad playing other roles, I like to imagine that in any Paul Rudd film Paul Rudd is actually a washed-up former member of My Pretty Pony starting a new life as a comic actor.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:53 AM on March 15, 2013


I like to imagine that in any Paul Rudd film Paul Rudd is actually a washed-up former member of My Pretty Pony starting a new life as a comic actor

How I Met Your Mother is basically a documentary of how Nick Andopolis met a depowered Willow Rosenberg, fell in love, and ran away together to start careers and a family. Meanwhile, Doogie Howser, having tired of selflessly saving people's lives, suffers a crisis of morality and becomes Dr. Horrible, but devastated at his attempt at love and the futility of caring about those other than himself, chooses to become a womanizer and corporate lackey. At the same time, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill takes a long-term deep-cover job (including temporary personality replacement) in a local TV station while Nick Fury forms the Avengers and prepares for Loki and the Chitauri invasion in NYC. Looking for stability, they all gravitate towards a doofy but generally well-meaning guy named Ted Moesby, whose continual attempts at finding "the one" distract them from the otherwise overwhelming aspects of their other lives.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:22 AM on March 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


(That should have been "monkey's paw" - but, actually "The Money's Paw" would be a great name for the phenomenon of Kickstarter funding leading to something that should have been left a fond memory being exhumed for a horrific, shambling unlife.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:40 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that may be reboots and remakes in general.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on March 15, 2013


For instance.

I loved Chuck, and the second season was some of the most perfect TV I can remember watching, but it wasn't cut short - it ended.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:59 AM on March 15, 2013


So many good points in this post by John Rogers.
Pre-sales are an important part of the television and movie financing process, and there's not a lot of daylight between the nature of the pre-sales contract revenue stream from a foreign buyer and an audience human. We finance movies and TV off audience pre-sales -- for example future ticket sales, DVD sales, or download sales -- already.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:14 AM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


I figure that if I pay for it and torrent it, I'm ethically ok.

Personally I agree with you but you do need to take into account that by design when you torrent a thing you are also distributing it to others, and this is a copyright violation. Ethically you can decide that it is up to the peers you're distributing to to make their own determination as to whether they're entitled to it, but just be aware that your ethical formulation -- which may be principled and valid -- is pretty much unrelated to legality.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:56 AM on March 15, 2013


[Belatedly I realize that to go off on that theme here or on any web forum is to unintentionally engage in shit-stirring. Please nobody take any bait I may have unwittingly dangled...]
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:58 AM on March 15, 2013


From the John Rogers post.

I wrote a post for a nationally respected magazine that was factually wrong in several places, made a sexist crack about indie artist Amanda Palmer, and made an elitist argument extolling the virtues of exclusivity and relying on traditional financing, then when the internet smacked me down for it I spent hours pretending what I was REALLY saying was I concerned about the mixture of that traditional financing and crowdfunding, completely contra the article I actually wrote. Why is everyone being so mean to me?

I'm guessing I'm really out of the loop on this one. What's he referring to here?
posted by zixyer at 12:03 PM on March 15, 2013


Please nobody take any bait I may have unwittingly dangled...

No, that's just fair warning. Even us abolitionists can't fault that advice.

I'm guessing I'm really out of the loop on this one. What's he referring to here?

Critics who may find themselves on the wrong end of fan scrutiny. Not himself.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:06 PM on March 15, 2013


A web search turns up this.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:08 PM on March 15, 2013


Now includes rewards for Canadians! (Use the US option.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:22 PM on March 15, 2013


A web search turns up this.

Thanks. Wow, that's quite an article.
posted by zixyer at 12:29 PM on March 15, 2013


Personally I agree with you but you do need to take into account that by design when you torrent a thing you are also distributing it to others, and this is a copyright violation. Ethically you can decide that it is up to the peers you're distributing to to make their own determination as to whether they're entitled to it, but just be aware that your ethical formulation -- which may be principled and valid -- is pretty much unrelated to legality.

Yes, that's why I felt ethically ok and not legally ok. (In fact, I am not sure it would even have been legal to torrent it.)

But since rewards have been opened up to Canadians, I can just buy the download rights. (And a tshirt.)
posted by jeather at 12:48 PM on March 15, 2013


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "For instance.

I loved Chuck, and the second season was some of the most perfect TV I can remember watching, but it wasn't cut short - it ended.
"

I am in one that one.

Chuck became a weekly ritual with someone who ended up being one of my best friends ever. It was a must. And I used to crush SOOOOOO hard on Ms. Strahovsky it was not funny.

(During my massive fanboy days, all my machines ran this Carmichaels Industries wallpaper I made since all the existing wallpapers had "Chuck" and stuff which, like, you know, RUINED MY IMMERSION. Help yourself if you like it. If you do like it, let me know. My fragile ego needs the boost. [grin]) It's safe and parked on my Dropbox. I hereby promise I am not now, nor have I ever been, employed by The Ring, Volkov Industries, or the NSA (although that WOULD be cool), so it is NOT going to haxxor your box.)
posted by Samizdata at 10:46 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


SF/F Crowd Funding Roundup
posted by Artw at 10:16 PM on March 16, 2013


If Fuller follows suit for Pushing Daisies, I might have to declare bankruptcy, because I would have to give him all of my money.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:12 AM on March 18, 2013


Will Kickstarter Replace Hollywood? (PBS Idea Channel)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:46 PM on March 28, 2013


Ryan Hansen's Kickstarter Reaction, complete with crying and confused baby.

It's an old video, when they just reached the $2 million mark. Now they're nearing $5 million, putting them at a comfortable #3 for highest paid project, but well below #2 ($8,596,474 for the Ouya video game console) and half of #1 ($10,266,845 for the Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:56 PM on April 9, 2013


Thirty-odd hours to go, and they're a few thousand short of "most backers for a Kickstarter project."

I've been rewatching the series the past few weeks, and I'm amazed that it wasn't more popular. Did they have a crappy time slot or something? (I first saw it in syndication.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:06 PM on April 11, 2013


With six hours to go, they've now become the project with most backers ever for a Kickstarter project. As a fan, at what point can we start asking that the movie come with an announcement of more seasons of Veronica Mars on TV?
posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:50 PM on April 12, 2013


Final total: $5,702,153

Records broken:
  • Fastest project to reach $1 million.
  • Fastest project to reach $2 million.
  • All-time highest-funded project in FILM category.
  • Third highest-funded project in Kickstarter history.
  • Most project backers of any project in Kickstarter history.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:43 PM on April 13, 2013


Hmm. The Alex Cox/Harry Harrison Kickstarter seems to be hovering at about 80%. I'll be bummed out if that one fails.
posted by Artw at 5:49 PM on April 13, 2013


According to this post, if a Kickstarter project gets 30% funded it has a 90% chance of reaching its goal.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:43 PM on April 13, 2013


« Older The duty of the satirist is to go one worse than...   |   "The most important artefact... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post