After several failed attempts to make a movie of cult CW TV show Veronica Mars, creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell just changed the movie business, on Kickstarter.
Asking fans to back new plans for a film-adaptation, the project was looking for $2m in pledges to get the film made, and rather incredibly hit the target in just under 12 hours. The fastest to reach $1m in Kickstarter history (four hours and 24 minutes), Thomas had struck a deal with Warner Bros. to make the movie if he could raise $2m by April 12th through the online campaign, and now already greenlit, have agreed to foot the bill for marketing and distrubution.
While $2m might sounds like a lot, in the film industry is still a relatively small budget, and with Kickstarter set to take roughly 30% in taxes and fees from the total amount raised, fans are still encouraged to get involved and back the project to reach and even higher figure. Rob Thomas has said the more money they raise, the better movie they’ll be able to make, so with pledges now hitting over $3.2m with still 28 days to go, things are looking very good indeed.
Debuting back in 2004, the show follows titular character Veronica Mars (Bell), a high-school-then-college student who moonlights as a private investigator, much of the original cast have signed on for the film.
With the essence of Kickstarter being that fans and backers of each project earn rewards and the chance to participate in what they’re putting their money behind, for the die-hard audience of the TV show this is obviously a chance of a lifetime opportunity. With numerous incentive levels available, backers will be rewarded with everything from a PDF of the shooting script to digital copies of the film and even walk-on parts as an extra, tickets to the premiere and after-party, and for one $10,000 contributor a small speaking part.
There is something of a precedent, and Veronica Mars isn’t the only Kickstarter success story for film, with documentary short Inocente, funded to $52,000 on the site from just 300 contributors, winning an Oscar at last month’s Academy Awards.
So far this project has been pretty much a win-win-win, for fans of the show, for the studio who’ll be putting it out, and for the creator and actors who obviously still feel strongly enough about Veronica Mars to fight so hard to get a movie made. For Warner Bros. who own the rights of the property, it’s been confirmed Veronica Mars has a healthy fanbase when it comes around to releasing the film, and with the shooting budget taken care of, takes a lot of the risk away in terms their outlay too. For fans they’re able to be genuinely involved in the production of one of their favourite TV property, with opportunities that money normally couldn’t buy.
Outsourcing has been a big problem in the film industry of late, with top tier production houses distributing part of their work-load out to meet deadlines and decreasing budgets, but the quality of work has always suffered. Here, they’ve outsourced fundraising with monumental results, and while this shouldn’t become the blue-print for the industry just yet, it is a fascinating story and an effective financial tactic, literally overnigh.
You can still get involved on the Kickstarter page, or simply find out more about the project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project