If you were on the internet at all yesterday, you might have heard that Rob Thomas finally decided to try to make the Veronica Mars film. The show, beloved by many (including staff members here), has been off the air for almost six years. In fact, we’re about to hit its sixth year mark in May. With that in mind, let’s talk about how the Veronica Mars movie is going to actually happen, and what that means for fans and creators alike.
So, Kickstarter. There’s some really important critical discussion about Kickstarter, and other sites like it, but we’re going to suspend that conversation to talk about the rest of this. Although that conversation is important and, as creators in a living and breathing industry, we really do need to talk about it. But let’s move past it for a minute.
Rob Thomas decided to use Kickstarter. He spent six years, seven really, trying to keep Veronica Mars from dying. I mean, he pitched that the fourth season could be Veronica at the FBI – which would have been so different from the show we know and love that damn. That being said, Thomas has essentially spent the last six years trying to get WB to fund a Veronica Mars film. WB, though, turned him down at every turn. They generally cited that there wasn’t enough interest in a film continuation of the TV show to justify funding the movie. But then, Rob Thomas decided to crowd-source fund the project. Because, hey, if the fans really want the movie, then they’ll help out. And help we did. The goal was a low ball of $2,000,000. And yes, that is a low-budget. Luckily, though, the world of Veronica Mars isn’t a very “high-budget” world. There aren’t a lot of visual effects, car chases, or explosions. It’s a mystery and a character piece.
So, two million dollars. That’s a lot, even if it’s not a lot for a film budget. And in less than 24 hours, the fans donated enough to exceed that by over half a million dollars. And that’s just right now, as I’m typing this up. There are still 29 days or so left. The Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter was the largest crowd-source funded film project on the website. We broke some records. Largest film project and fastest project to break $1,000,000 – just to name a few.
This means two things, though. The first is that fans, and creators, have power. More power than we could have ever thought we had. We have not only the right, but the power to take things into our own hands. And I’m not just talking about sending television executives letters about what a show means to you as part of a campaign of fan support. No. We can, literally, play an active part in something coming back, or having a film made of it.
The second is almost bigger, although it’s deeply coupled with the first. In fact, I don’t think you can separate it from the fan, and creator, power.
When a show gets cancelled, it isn’t dead.
That’s fucking important. That, coupled with what House of Cards means, means the future of media (specifically television, though) is changing. And some of it is for the better, while some of it might be for the worse. Only time will tell, but either way it’s exciting. We hold the cards. This is the beginning of taking entertainment back from the studios, because we’re the ones either making it or enjoying it and we deserve to have a say in something as important as it’s cancellation or funding.
Not only that, though, but we can view the Veronica Mars movie as a sort of “community” style film. It’s not just a community film, however. It’s community filmmaking merging with “traditional” Hollywood filmmaking. We’re the community – we are responsible for the fact that this film will get made. But, and that’s a big but, WB still owns the rights to the franchise of Veronica Mars. In fact, Rob Thomas said WB is going to help distribute the film, despite the fact that they didn’t want to take the risk of funding it. We are all invested deeply in the creation of this film, because it’s our money. It’s only happening because we donated. We didn’t just write letters – we funded this project. We’re just as invested as a studio would be, because it’s our money.
Just so you know, though, that “us” isn’t, like, The Nerdicon or even 100% fans. That “us” is just that. Us. We the people. The people, as in the fans and the content creators. Because without both parties none of this would be possible. So, as a future member of the entertainment industry and as a member of fandom: Get fucking excited!
The future is coming, and it’s gonna be awesome.
–Emily Frances Maesar