Veronica Mars

Kickstarter is helping to finance the film version of the cult series Veronica Mars.

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding funding sites have been used to finance indie music, movie and other media vehicles. With the record breaking Kickstarter campaign for the cult show Veronica Mars it won’t be much longer before mainstream Hollywood comes calling.

Just two days into its month long Kickstarter campaign, Veronica Mars, the CW television series turned movie, had shattered its goal of $2 million. As of Tuesday afternoon, producer Rob Thomas has collected almost $3.7 million from more than 56,000 backers.

In the past, cult favorites have had to resort to, usually unsuccessful, petition drives to save their shows. Kickstarter and other sites like it provide new life and opportunities to cult classics. In its run between 2004 and 2007, Veronica Mars attracted an average of just over 2.5 million viewers. Kickstarter seems to have provided a second life. It all goes back to the concept of 1,000 fans, the phenomenon that you can “make it” if you have 1,000 followers who will buy and also serve as evangelists for everything that you do.

There has been some criticism that the success of the Veronica Mars campaign is bringing corporate culture to the indie world of crowdfunding. Will crowdfunding lose its indie cred? I don’t think that’s likely. The only types of films that can be funded will be those that can be made on a relatively small budget. Die Hard is not going to be funded on Kickstarter. In fact, cult favorites with significant expenses (e.g. sci-fi) would probably not be able to raise enough to move forward.

Thus far, the Warner Brothers has chosen to remain in the background. The full extent of its involvement has not yet been disclosed.  In the future, studios may choose to use crowdfunding as virtual focus groups. If the projects “score” well be raising money, they will be greenlit. For the first time fans may actually play a direct role and a voice in what appears on their screens, big and small.

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