By now, news of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign’s record level of success is widely known, but I’ll catch you up in case you’ve missed it: Rob Thomas, the show’s producer, and star Kristen Bell initiated a Kickstarter fundraising campaign in the hopes of coming up with $2 million with which to finance a follow-up movie to the popular show. Warner Bros., who own the rights to Veronica Mars, gave the pair 30 days to raise the cash, promising to pay for the film’s distribution and marketing costs if Bell and Thomas could cover the production costs.
In about ten hours they’d reached their goal (currently, with 24 days left to go, donors have given nearly $3,700,000 to the project—one lucky fan scored a walk-on role in exchange for his $10,000 pledge). “It made my phone unusable,” said Thomas, speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, “because there would be literally four pledges a second. You couldn’t clear the notifications fast enough… I had to use my computer to remove the Kickstarter app so it could function as a phone again.”
The unprecedented success of the campaign delighted fans of the show (59,000 of whom handed over varying amounts of their hard-earned cash) but it also raised questions about whether or not fans should have to fund a project owned by a big studio (and then be made to pay again at the box office). There are also concerns about the site being used by an entity outside the typical independent artist community that usually rely on Kickstarter. But Thomas disagrees with the idea that Kickstarter should remain the exclusive territory of indie entrepreneurs. “I don’t think Veronica Mars is negatively affecting people that Kickstarter was built to serve, those people who are making $30-40,000 documentaries,” he told THR. In fact, he thinks his campaign has done the site an important service. “I think what Veronica Mars has done is brought Kickstarter to the masses. More people are now familiar with Kickstarter, and more people are browsing Kickstarter for other projects, who now understand what it is and what it does than there were before we launched our campaign. I think we’re bringing more eyes to that site, so I think that has to be good for indie filmmakers.”
The producer says he’ll make every effort to show his appreciation to fans and donors by providing them with tonnes of behind the scenes tweets and photos from the Veronica Mars movie set as well as a “making of” documentary and an appearance at next year’s Comic-Con. “We were built by fans, so we’ll try to do our best to keep the momentum going through that,” he promises.