Doing it the startup way: Veronica Mars gets big pay day on Kickstarter

Teen sleuth drama Veronica Mars has raised more than US$2.5-million on Kickstarter for its final performance.

Everything is a startup these days, and Kickstarter helps everything get the money to turn their brilliant (or not so brilliant) ideas into realities. For Hollywood, Kickstarter is a way to circumvent the big studio bosses who have tightened their purses against projects they just don’t see the checks and balances of.

Kickstarter is making the business of making movies a tad easier. This year, a Kickstarter-funded documentary made history by winning Best Documentary Short at the Academy Awards. Interestingly, the doccie, Inocente, was not the first of the platform’s projects to be nominated for an Oscar, just the first to win.

This proves that if the people really want something made, they will find a way to make it. Millions of fans begged Warner Bros. to bring back the beloved teen drama Veronica Mars after it was canned at the end of its third season but the studio didn’t seem to budge. So to give the fans a proper farewell, executive producer Rob Thomas and show star Kristen Bell took to Kickstarter to raise some money. The duo’s goal? Raise an ambitious US$2-million in one month. The results? US$2.5-million in 24 hours, breaking Kickstarter records, with more than 40 000 backers. This movie is getting made.

Thomas says he had heard about using Kickstarter as a possible option for financing the film from musicians who had done the same for their albums.

“I started doing the proverbial back-of-a-cocktail-napkin math,” said the executive producer. “The average pledge on Kickstarter is US$71. Hell, if we could get 30 000 people to give the average donation, we could finance the movie, particularly if the cast and I were willing to work cheap. The most common donation amount on Kickstarter is US$25. Surely, 80 000 of our three-million viewers would find that price-point viable!”

Pulling this off in such a short space of time and for such a high amount adds more credibility to the micro-budget platform following its Oscar success. The entertainment industry is already on the crowd funding platform for independent projects. It makes for an interesting model when it comes to financing projects and creating content that the audience wants and will consume.



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