Fans of the mid-2000s series Veronica Mars are putting their money on the table to get their much beloved TV-show made into a movie. Donators broke records, raising a million dollars in four hours and 24 minutes. Total funds raised are $1,332,984, as of these words.
This immediate fan response—cash money as well as internet clamor—is a game-changer. The UPN-CW show premiered in 2004 and was canceled in 2007. The Warner Brothers executives who own the rights to Veronica Mars said they would support the film, but only if creator Rob Thomas could prove there was enough interest. All Thomas had to do was ask, with the assistance of crucial cast members, including the show's star Kristen Bell. And while the money is key, obviously, it's also valuable symbolically to big studios with lots of cash—they can use Kickstarter as a barometer of audience interest and investment.
Some have groused that crowd-sourcing fails when people don't think you need money (like famous Icelandic cosmic dust mite Bjork and her Kickstarter flop), the support for Veronica Mars could prove that the fan base just needs to be powerful enough. Though it was a well-reviewed television series that ran for multiple seasons, Veronica Mars has always been considered an underdog. It was critically adored (look at those critic's tweets from earlier today, they're going crazy), but its ratings were low. The watchers were the few and the proud.
Crowd-funding campaigns could be the key to fundraising for established critically-acclaimed, low-rated projects, with a small but proud fan base. Arrested Development would fit perfectly into this model—but its need for support was maybe a few years too early for a Kickstarter campaign so it took a long and storied road to its Netflix reboot.
When the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign reaches $2 million, the film will click into production. The original cast is on board and some of them star in a promotional video that's sure to delight the fanbase. They're also offering all sorts of quirky prizes, ranging from $10 (that gets you a copy of the script) to $10,000 which gets you a walk-on role and comes with great instructions generally for actors with one line in a movie:
"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."