I’d like to think it’s more than “I funded a movie for Warner Brothers, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.”
The key word there, potentially, is “lousy.” Thomas explained to HitFix:
The nice thing is that we never wanted to be perceived as a charity. We always imagined that we’re putting up a Kickstarter page, and we’re selling real product at real prices to fans. It’s not like a pledge drive where you pledge 100 dollars and get a 4 dollar tote bag, where it’s done out of the goodness of your heart, and for charity. We wanted to created packages where people look at what they’re getting and think, ‘Wow, I got a script and a digital download and a t-shirt for $35. I would pay that!’ So all those people worrying that we’re aksing for this money to make our movie, we’re selling you a product. Think of us as a store, not a charity.
The other issue being raised is whether success stories like this overshadow independent projects. Kenyatta Cheese, a freelance consultant and co-creator of Know Your Meme, offered the following analysis on Tumblr:
The success of the Marshmallows does nothing for unknown, unconnected creators on Kickstarter unless Kickstarter can get the backers of its high profile projects to discover some of the lesser known but equally intriguing small projects. That sort of thing has to be planned and programmed. It doesn’t just happen through the implementation of a Discover page with a few carousels of local and staff pick recommendations. This happens through building a backer community that celebrates their continued involvement while fostering a culture of discovery. The good news is that if anybody has a head start on figuring this sort of thing out, it’s Kickstarter.
And Kickstarter has numbers which show that blockbusters like Mars help build the Kickstarter ecosystem — bringing in new donors who may go on to fund other projects.
The current largest contributor to the Mars campaign, a guy who pledged $10,000 for a speaking role, is an entrepreneur named Steven Dengler. When interviewed by Entertainment Weekly, Dengler referred to himself as a “small-f fan” of Mars — what he actually is is a fan of Kickstarter projects. He’s funded over 60 of them.
“Save [NAME OF YOUR FAVORITE CANCELED SHOW HERE]!
I enjoyed Firefly, don’t get me wrong. But having witnessed the show’s hardcore fanbase overreacting to even the possible hint of new space Western adventures over the past half-dozen years, I’d like to thank Joss Whedon for, within 24 hours of Mars hitting $2 million, telling Buzzfeed that Kickstarter won’t bring back the crew of the Serenity anytime soon:
I’ve said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case. It also remains the case that I’m booked up by Marvel for the next three years, and that I haven’t even been able to get Dr. Horrible 2 off the ground because of that. So I don’t even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion of doing this, and won’t. Couple years from now, when Nathan [Fillion]‘s no longer [on] Castle and I’m no longer the Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe and making a giant movie, we might look and see where the market is then. But right now, it’s a complete non-Kickstarter for me.
Hardcore Firefly fans are thus out of luck at present. But other creators are watching Mars with interest. Shawn Ryan, whose offbeat drama Terriers was canceled after one season on FX, Tweeted the below on Wednesday:
Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.
— Shawn Ryan (@ShawnRyanTV) March 13, 2013
And as Thomas told HitFix:
I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for
I did get an email from Bryan Fuller earlier today saying, ‘Hey, can you jump on the phone with me at some point? I know you’re busy, but I would love to talk to you about how this thing works.’ And I know it was specifically for Pushing Daisies.
Fuller’s Daisies was canceled by ABC after two seasons — just one of many cult shows that never got the chance to wrap up its many storylines.
I used the word “cult” in this article more than once, but depending on what happens here, that term might become much more apt than before. Because, after all, aren’t cults financially supported by their followers?
(c) 2013, PaidContent.org.