I Kickstarted the Veronica Mars movie back in the day, along with tens of thousands of other people. It was a series I adored, and the thought of getting it back–even for a few hours–was too good to pass up. So I ponied up $35, which would give me “insider info” on the production, a t-shirt, some stickers, and a digital download of the film when it was released. At the same time, I realized I was taking a risk.
The movie could be junk.
Honestly, I’m a bit cautious of Kickstarters, because I’ve got this thing called a budget. Gotta watch them nickels and dimes, you know? And while it’s easy to make any concept look awesome on paper, you often don’t find out how good something really is until it’s in your hands. I’ve seen plenty of great concept board games on Kickstarter, but I’ve held back from pulling the trigger to support them. I’ve only got so much closet space, and I tend to devote myself to games that *are* awesome, as opposed to ones that *might be* awesome.
Why did I make an exception for Veronica? I actually don’t see it as an exception. It was already a tried and true product, as far as I was concerned. It was being done by the same creator, same cast. I’d seen three seasons and loved them. So it was much less of a risk than it could have been. (Though I suppose still a risk. See the Star Wars prequels . . .)
Days turned into months, and the movie finally came out. The actual downloading experience left some to be desired. I wanted to watch it on my TV through my Apple TV or PS3, but the movie was only available on Flixster (to redeem my free download), and there’s no way to get that on PS3 or AppleTV, and it wouldn’t let me broadcast it from my iPad to my TV via AirPlay. So I was stuck watching it on a laptop screen. Not ideal, but I think I actually watched a lot of the series on a laptop screen, so I suppose bonus points for nostalgia?
How was the movie itself?
I loved it, though it’s hard for me to judge it from a non-fan perspective, meaning I have no idea if you’d like it if you weren’t already a fan of the show to begin with. But you know what? That’s exactly what it should be like, in my opinion. The movie existed because fans paid for it to exist. So it has a prime audience: make all its fans happy. If they’d been throwing in too much to appeal to non-fans, I’d have been irritated. Instead, we got the same tone, same characters, same snark, same tensions as the first three seasons, now in an easy-to-watch season four (kind of)!
(If you’re not a fan, what should you expect? A snarky main character girl PI who sets out to solve a murder case. Light tone. Humor. Fun. You really ought to watch the TV show, though. Where have you been?)
Kickstarter is great for a number of reasons. It allows content creators to fund projects that wouldn’t get funded otherwise. It allows speculators to get a great deal on new technology that might (or might not) be awesome. It allows authors and artists to fund projects they’d like to make but haven’t been able to get funded through normal channels. I’d love to see some more projects like this coming down the pike–shows that disappeared too soon. Books that need sequels.
Am I happy with my $35? Well, I’m not sure if I would have bought a Veronica Mars movie normally. I’d likely have waited for it to come out on Netflix or Instant Watch, though I might have gone to theaters to see it if there was a chance I’d miss it. It’s a movie I wouldn’t have wanted to miss, but wouldn’t necessarily have seen opening weekend, if that makes sense. So if this had come through normal channels, I likely would have paid around $15 for Denisa and me to see it. I could buy it on iTunes now for $20.
So I essentially paid an extra $15 for a cheap t-shirt. In that light, it was a mistake. But more importantly, if we hadn’t all paid the money, the movie might not have been made. $15 to make sure it got made was a steal.
Then again . . . part of me worries about movie studios looking to cash in on this sort of thing in the future. Movie studios have lots of money. They shouldn’t need us to pay them up front to make movies we all want to see. I’d think Kickstarting a movie or show would be an exception, not the rule. As long as it stays like that, I’m good with the idea.
How about you? Seen the film already? What did you think?