On Wednesday, Veronica Mars fans around the world were treated to a surprise most had been waiting six years for: Rob Thomas, creator of the popular TV show that was canceled in 2007, had rounded up the original cast and wanted to put together a VM movie. But Thomas had another surprise: He wanted us, the fans, to fund it — and we only had 30 days to come up with $2 million.
Using the online fundraising website Kickstarter, Thomas pitched the idea and even included a 5-minute video starring show favorites Kristen Bell (Veronica), Enrico Colantoni (Keith, Veronica's father), Jason Dohring (Logan, V's on-again/off-again boyfriend), Ryan Hansen (Dick, the class clown), and Thomas himself.
Within four hours, fans had contributed the first $1 million. And only 10 hours after launching, the entire $2 million had been raised. It annihilated the record for raising $1 million (previous 7 hours) and the campaign was reportedly the largest in Kickstarter's history.
Thomas tweeted the good news only seconds after donations eclipsed the $2 million mark:
Kickstarter's unique rewards program certainly convinced many more fans to donate to the project. For only a $10 donation, fans will receive a PDF of the shooting script on the day the movie is released — "read it or remain unspoiled," the page says. For $25, fans will receive a "Veronica Mars: The Movie" t-shirt exclusive to Kickstarter backers, in addition to the $10 prize.
I donated $35, so in addition to the previous two prizes, I will also receive a digital version of the film within days of its release. Righteous!
Pledges and their corresponding prizes increase in value (and with the increase, limited the number of winners) from naming a character, to being an extra in the film, to even having a speaking role in the movie.
That reward, given to the first person to pledge $10,000, went to entrepreneur Steven Dengler. Dengler, a crowdfunding expert himself, calls himself a "small-f 'fan'" of the series but is still excited about the project's success.
"What I love about Kickstarter is it really is empowering the artists, the people who create content, to go directly to the fan base and say, 'Look, let’s skip this baloney,'" he said, referring to the older method of exchanging creative control for funding. "Let’s just make it and not involve this crazy stupid layer of people who think they know what you want."
While funding is only limited to U.S. residents at this point, Thomas promised that he was working on allowing international fans to donate to the project and pick up rewards. He has also decided to add some new high-end rewards, which could mean more chances to meet the cast, attend the premiere, or even be an extra in the film.
The success of this project has shown the world the power that online fundraising campaigns can have, especially when such a large number of people care about the cause. This bodes very well for future projects of a not only a creative caliber, but for anyone hoping to raise funds for a cause that is important to them.
U.S. residents can still donate to the project. According to Thomas, the more money raised, "the cooler movie we can make."