Monday, March 17, 2014

Monday Musings - Veronica Mars and Fan Funding

As you should all know, a giant event happened in pop culture this past week: the Veronica Mars movie was released.

There are several wonderful things about this film. For one, it was entertaining, which is always important in a movie. Also, Jason Dohring is really cute and seeing him in uniform on a movie screen was a swoon-worthy experience. Perhaps most importantly, though, we got some closure that the television show never provided. The end of Veronica Mars was comparable to, say, Harry Potter choosing to live as a Muggle, or James Bond quitting MI5. It would be a great cliffhanger or method for some character development, but at some point in time (like in life), you will realize the cost of that choice and have to make a final decision. And Veronica didn’t get to make that decision.

But here comes the movie, which is largely about Veronica realizing the cost and making her final choice. True, additional closure was needed (cough, Logan, cough), but her personal arc was never finished. The movie did complete it, and while I am very excited about the books coming out from now on, I do feel that the saga of Veronica Mars is comfortably completed. In that way, the movie was a success. It was perfect. There were shout-outs to real life, references to other episodes, and more wonderful Daddy/daughter scenes. Christine was a happy Christine at the end of this movie.

But the most significant thing about this movie was that it was, in a way, fan produced. Sure, Warner Brothers helped, but by and large the fans (including me) financed this movie, and that is an incredibly exciting thing to have happen. Passionate people, essentially the geeks and nerds, falls in love with books or television shows or movies. However, there are not that many of us, and the studio has to think about viewership. Television is a game about advertisers and revenue, played by executives who may have once enjoyed television but are now disillusioned by the business. They care vaguely about the fans, but they have to focus on the advertising revenue or else they will be fired. But fan funding eliminates that role. True, Rob Thomas needed the studio’s approval, but approval doesn’t cost money.

So what I find so encouraging about this was that the movie was crowd-funded, and the fans got the choice. How often does that happen? And maybe the movie has not been the most profitable venture ever—but there is profit. If nothing else, the news about the Kickstarter has caused people to watch and purchase Veronica Mars that never did before. So even if it is only a little successful, that is still more than nothing. Fan-funding is now a viable option—and how many options does that open up! By making the fans fund the projects, they get their voice heard. We finally have a say in the business, because we are willing to fund the projects.

In short: the movie was great and worth the funding; but the avenues that have been opened up will hopefully be the lasting legacy of Veronica Mars.

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