Veronica Mars – Kickstarter To The Rescue

veronica_mars

Image via thewb.com

For those who aren’t familiar with this show, Veronica Mars (played by Kristen Bell) was an hour-long teen drama about a girl who, after undergoing two near-simultaneous traumas, is ostracized from her former social strata. In her new reality, she’s forced to use the detective skills learned from her former-sheriff father to get by in a suddenly very cruel town.

I absolutely loved this show. It ran for three seasons in the early-to-mid 2000’s before it was cancelled out from under us like so many other good shows. But now, thanks to the power of Kickstarter and social media, it’s back.

WE USED TO BE FRIENDS

Veronica Mars Opening Credits:

(You can actually watch full episodes here: Veronica Mars Full Episodes)

So to break it down even further, without too many spoilers for those who might want to go back and check this out…

When the show starts out, Veronica’s best friend has been murdered, with the real killer still at large.

As if that isn’t hard enough on a chick, Veronica’s father, the Sherrif, accuses the wrong man of the deed. In fact, the murdered girl’s father. Being extremely rich, and now extremely pissed off, they manage to get him removed from office and disgraced in the eyes of the entire town.

This blowback spills down to Veronica’s level in yet another way – she was dating the brother of her now dead friend. When everything goes down, he abruptly dumps her. Then all of her former friends turn their backs on her, leaving her an untouchable-class pariah.

But wait, there’s more. We find out that immediately following this, Veronica was drugged and raped at a party by an unknown person.

Now her mission is two-fold: Find the true killer of her friend (hopefully in the process clearing her father’s name), and find the person who raped her and bring them to justice.

At the opening of the series, she’s all alone in both of these endeavors, as her father doesn’t want her investigating the murder and she hasn’t told him about he rape. She’s had to carry a lot by herself, and the series does a good job of showing how strong and somewhat cold she’s had to become to survive.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT VERONICA

There are many, many cancelled shows that have a cult following. Most of the time I’m ok when a show is cancelled out from under me. Sure, I’m annoyed but I’ll survive. Still, when Veronica Mars went down it was kind of painful.

The thing I really liked about it was this strong, tough female character who could command the show. It was believable that she could do the things she did.

She wasn’t out there doing ninja back-flips, kicking guys through walls or effortlessly dodging bullets or anything, but she was smart. It made sense that she was so smart because she was raised learning the detection/crimefighting methods. She wasn’t infallible or unbeatable, but she was observant, clever, and handy with a camera. She also kept a stun gun around for when the need would arise.

Another thing, she had one of the best voice-overs out there. Normally I hate the voice-over (except for the one from Dexter), but Veronica’s was usually so full of personality that I grew to look forward to them. Which is no doubt why she was pegged to be the voice of Gossip Girl for the entire run of that show.

This was well before the current trendy tough-women’s tv wave got going. This show was out there alone doing it for sisters everywhere, and that’s why I was surprised it failed.

Now whenever I see Kalinda, the law-firm investigator on The Good Wife or one of the CSI women browbeating someone I’ll think “Veronica would have wrapped this all up already”.

The final dog, though, was when Veronica got cancelled, it sure seemed like they replaced it with a reality show of The Pussycat Dolls. Come on!! Of course, I don’t know this for sure, but it certainly looked that way. I refuse to link to the Pussycat Dolls from this site, so you’ll have to Google it if you want to know about them.

KICKSTARTER – SHE’S BACK AND OUT FOR BLOOD!

Well…probably not :(. But who knows? She might turn into a zombie in the new movie.

Anyway, I was very happy when I saw the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign popping up all over the social-media-verse.

For those of you who were fans of the show, you’ll really enjoy this 5-minute intro featuring Kristen Bell and a few other popuar series regulars (if this video doesn’t appear try refreshing the page once).

I’ve read many an interview with series creator Rob Thomas over the years. He tried very hard to keep the show on the air, but if the networks feel they can’t get anything out of it, it ain’t going on. It’s a business, so I understand that. Someone has to pay for all this. The following is from the Kickstarter campaign page:

“Of course, Warner Bros. still owns Veronica Mars and we would need their blessing and cooperation to pull this off. Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros. brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot. They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board. So this is it. This is our shot. I believe it’s the only one we’ve got. It’s nerve-wracking. I suppose we could fail in spectacular fashion, but there’s also the chance that we completely revolutionize how projects like ours can get made. No Kickstarter project ever has set a goal this high. It’s up to you, the fans, now. If the project is successful, our plan is to go into production this summer and the movie will be released in early 2014.” ~Rob Thomas

And also this from Veronica herself, Kristen Bell:

“I am currently the happiest blonde in a hamster ball the world has ever seen. We have been waiting so long to make this movie dream a movie reality, and it’s because of YOUR commitment, YOUR persistence, that we finally have a chance. We just have one more step to go.

You have banded together like the sassy little honey badgers you are and made this possibility happen. i promise if we hit our goal, we will make the sleuthiest, snarkiest, it’s-all-fun-and-games-‘til-one-of-you-gets-my-foot-up-your-ass movie we possibly can.” ~Kristen Bell

That’s why it’s pretty exciting to see us fans get a chance to put our money where our mouths are. And we didn’t let them down. I was forced to crack open my 401K and pledge $35 (U.S.) to the cause! Yeah, $35…what am I, Rockefeller?

Needless to say, they met their 2 million dollar goal pretty much within one day, and as of this writing they’re at 3.7 million with 22 days yet to go. Woot!

In the past, Kickstarter has come to be known for projects being funded, but never completed. I’m not sure what they can do about that from their end, but I guess it’s a risk everyone has to be willing to take. I think in this case there’s no real risk involved. This movie will be made or else the carnage unleashed by the fans will make the zombie apocolypse look like a senior-citizen mixer by comparison.

Anyway, at my pledge level here’s what I get in terms of swag:

You will receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut, plus the T-shirt, plus the pdf of the shooting script. Naturally, you will also receive regular updates and behind-the-scenes scoop throughout the fundraising and movie making process.

Very cool, but not as cool as what the guy who pledged $10,000 for Veronica Mars gets:

“You will get a speaking role in the movie. Here’s the scene — Veronica is eating with the man in her life. Things have gotten tense between them. You are the waiter/waitress. You approach the table, and you say, “Your check, sir.” We guarantee you will be on camera as you say the line. Unless you go all hammy and ruin the scene and we have to cut you out, but that would be a sad day for all of us. Just say the line. Don’t over-think it. You’re a waiter. Your motivation is to turn over the table. In addition to appearing in the movie, you’ll receive a framed copy of the page of the script that includes your line. You’ll get an invitation to the premiere and the after party. You are, after all, in the movie. Think of yourself as Guy Fleegman from Galaxy Quest. People will surely want autographs. You’ll also receive the signed movie poster, the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack, the digital version of the movie, the T-shirt and a pdf of the shooting script.”

So as you can see, there’s really something to be said for the crowdfunding method of producing a movie. This is where you’ll really see how popular your product is and how many fans you really have.

Just look at these long-demanded games that were fully funded (and then some):

The original Wasteland game

The original Wasteland game (image via mobygames.com)

Wasteland 2 on Kickstarter

Wasteland was an RPG (role-playing game) from back in the 80’s that I spent hours and hours with before I could beat it. At the time, even with limited graphics and sound it was the coolest thing I had seen. I really felt like I was in this post-apocalyptic world where my party was wandering around kicking people’s asses.

Actually to be fair it took a long time before my party progressed to the point where we could kick ass. We got beat down on the regular for the first few weeks. Those Nuke Pooches were tough! But fans wanted another go-round, and they got it.

Nuke Pooches wiped out my whole party...

Nuke Pooches wiped out my whole party… (image via mobygames.com)

Elite: Dangerous on Kickstarter

Somehow Elite was even cooler than Wasteland. You were a space trader who started out with 100 credits and a very basic ship with limited cargo space. Your initial rating was “Harmless”. You had to buy low, sell high, blast competitors, fend off pirates and otherwise work your way up from that through star-system after star-system, through ten galaxies, all the way up to an “Elite” rating.

Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangerous, fully funded on Kickstarter (image via elite.frontier.co.uk)

I have to be honest, I never did get that damn Elite rating, but I will this time. When Elite: Dangerous finally hits you can be sure I’m all in.

Even more, check out all these games that were funded via Kickstarter:

Kickstarter Most Funded Video Games

Now if we could just apply some of this magic to get a movie going for Stargate Universe..!

ONLY THE BEGINNING?

Obviously, Veronica Mars isn’t the first movie to ever get funded on Kickstarter, but as far as I know it’s the first cancelled series to ever come back in quite this way.

Maybe now there’s a little hope when your favorite series is ripped away by an untimely cancellation. At least if it’s a popular to everyone else as it is to you.

The only thing is, since this obviously works, will studios start doing the Kickstarter thing up-front now? They could defray their own costs and put a decent portion of the financing on the fans.

Just imagine if a project is getting off the ground featuring your favorite stars, and it has cool perks as well. Maybe they could raise a million or so before it even starts? It wouldn’t completely fund the movie but it’s definitely something.

I don’t know if I’d care for that, unless it was a documentary or something. Either way I’d bet the studios are taking note of this and twirling their moustaches, already thinking of insidious plots to use Kickstarter for their own vile purposes. We may not know…until it’s too late.

But I won’t worry about it, I guess. All I have to do now is sit back and wait for the movie to be made so I can go check it out. You can bet a review will be up here when it happens, complete with a shot of me wearing the t-shirt. Well, maybe a drawing of me wearing the t-shirt…

I’m outta here for now, see you guys next time!

Thanks for sharing!

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