This morning, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell announced that a Veronica Mars movie was finally ready to move forward. There was one catch, however. Warner Brothers wasn’t convinced that the movie would actually be profitable for them. To raise money for production, Rob and Kristen turned to Kickstarter to raise the $2 million needed. It is the highest goal of any Kickstarter campaign in history, and at the time of writing, they have raised just over $1 million.
It isn’t uncommon for sites like Kickstarer and Indiegogo to be used to make movies or web series. Jane Espenson and Brad Bell successfully raised $60,000 to film the second season of their webseries Husbands. Eoin Mackin (Gwaine from the BBC series Merlin) used Indiegogo to fund his movie Cold. Crowdsourcing is a very effective way to get things funded by the people who are most likely to watch the final product.
However, this is the first time that a series has been revived because of crowdsourcing. Veronica Mars has been off the air for nearly 6 years now. In that time, the fans who watched while it was airing have remained loyal to it, and thanks to positive word-of-mouth on the internet and the ease of internet streaming, new fans have been drawn to the show. Thanks to the internet, the life span of a TV show no longer ends when it is canceled but it can live on and discover new fans as long as people are willing to talk about it. While the circumstances under which they are being made are different, this is the same phenomenon that prompted Netflix to revive Arrested Development.
This type of action won’t work for all shows. It takes a certain combination of factors to make a project of this nature succeed.
First, the show has to be popular and remain popular even after it goes of the air.
Second, along similar lines, it can’t just be a show that has a lot of people who like it and casually watch it. It needs to be the type of show that creates a very loyal, very vocal following. This is why Arrested Development has been revived and its why the movie Serenity exists.
Third, it has to be a project that was really special to the people making it. There are some projects that actors will enjoy working on more than they do others and they will therefore want to come back to that universe. From her message on the Kickstarter page, it’s clear that Veronica Mars was that show for Kristen Bell.
The Veronica Mars movie will very likely be funded and it will probably raise more than the minimum $2 million. It will thrill fans who want to be able to visit Neptune, California one more time and it will open up new possibilities for all those post-show movies that have long been rumored but have never happened because studios don’t find them financially feasible. This is just further proof that we are moving into a new era of television and I am thrilled to be along for the ride.