Its been less than 24 hours since The Veronica Mars Movie Project went live on Kickstarter and already any body who knows anything about crowd funding film projects has heard about it, as it sails past its record breaking target of $2 million.
At the time of writing, the campaign has just reached over $2.5 million dollars and has over 29 days to go on the campaign. Kicktraq has it trending towards an astonishing $38 million! Its unlikely to reach that target, but fun none the less to see what it does end up reaching. In my last blog on the 'Future of Film Crowd Funding' I mentioned that I'd be surprised if a film didn't raise over $1million on Kickstarter or Indigiego in the next 12 months, though I didn't expect it to happen in the next 14 days!
Its very exciting to see where Veronica Mars could end up funding wise. Will it continue its exponential growth? Unlikely, but I don't think it will completely flatline like a lot of film crowd funding projects once they hit their target. Could it beat the record Kickstarter campaign 'Pebble Watch' and raise over $10million dollars? Definitely possible.
For filmmakers out there its also very exciting to think about the new crowd funding fans that Veronica Mars is bringing to Kickstarter. It will be interesting to look at the end the campaign and find out how many of the pledges came from 1st time backers. This is a great advertisement for how the model works and hopefully bring new backers to potentially support other projects.
It also proves whats possible with a star vehicle and an established concept that already has cult following. For some, it may be a wake up call for the power of crowd funding. I never saw the show Veronica Mars, though I appreciate it had a strong following and the show was cancelled while still going strong with that fan base. There are a lot of other shows that were as bigger if not bigger with fans when they were cancelled. Could this see the likes of Angel, Deadwood or Firefly performing similar campaigns to make a movie or bring the show back?
Though I wonder if this is the sort of campaign that Hollywood has been waiting for, to prove that big money can be raised through crowd funding platforms. This will be looked at as a model to prove the success for future star and concept vehicles.
With the sun appearing to be setting on big funding in Hollywood, crowd funding offers up an incredible solution. Not only can they get proportion of their funding without giving away equity, but they also get an army of loyal fans supporting and promoting the film before its even made for a fraction of the marketing expenditure that a typical Hollywood film will spend. Veronica Mars currently has over 40,000 backers, they can easily exceed 100,000 by the time the campaign is over - thats an incredible marketing team of loyal fans and supporters who will promote the hell of the film when its finished. When you think about the impact those 100K fans could have on the release of the Veronica Mars, the film could have a huge release. In many ways its the eventual film release, Hollywood will watch very closely. If it has a massive release and makes over $10/20/30 million in its opening weekend (which is highly possible) it will really make the film industry stand up and take note at a model that could be replicated.
However, where would a Hollywood invasion leave traditional indie filmmakers within crowd funding? Would it steam in and turn it into a corporate well oiled machine, where in a crowded market place independent filmmakers with their limited funds struggle to be heard? I believe in the short term these high profile projects can only do good for indie filmmakers, expanding the pool of people to reach out to and support their projects. Though in a few years time I do worry what the crowd funding market place will look like and if there will be room in a crowded market place for indie filmmakers to raise the funding their desperately need to get a feature off the ground. That said, I firmly believe talent within this model will always eventually rise to the top and mediocrity will be shown up and fail.
What do you think? Is the potential impact of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter project a good thing for all filmmakers? Will it make Hollywood stand up and listen? And if it does, where does that leave indie filmmakers?