Tag Archive: Kickstarter


Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars. Image: Warner Bros

Nearly six years after the cancellation of the whip-smart television show about a teenage private eye in a California town deeply divided by class (and murder!), the Kickstarter for the Veronica Marsmovie ends later today, after breaking fundraising records and taking in over $5 million on the crowdfunding platform. The tremendous success of the Kickstarter, launched a month ago by creator Rob Thomas and actress Kristen Bell, has even inspired talk that this could change the way films get made — particularly for properties with devoted followings willing to put their money where their fandom is.

So what are the implications of Kickstarter resurrection and fan-funded film? What could this mean for other beloved (but cancelled) series like Freaks and Geeks or Chuck? And what happened to Veronica and her father after the cliffhanger at the end of Season 3? Wired talked to Thomas to find out or read more the interview here: http://bit.ly/ZprzQt

Wired: Do you think the success of your Kickstarter could be the start of a new business model for film? How do you see it working for other people who aspire to make movies?

Rob Thomas: I think it will be an important pioneer for a certain type of film. I’m not convinced that this will revolutionize how most movies get made, but I think there’s an opportunity now for projects that are similar to ours – that have some bit of public support behind it before they launch on Kickstarter… For something like Veronica Mars, where there’s a bit of a cult following and people are really emotionally invested in it, I do think this is a new avenue. There is no other way that this movie was going to get made.

Warner Bros owns the title Veronica Mars. I don’t… The lowest-priced movie Warner Bros tends to makes is a $30 million, and it goes up from there. They make Lord of the Rings. They don’t make theVeronica Mars movie, typically. So trying to convince Warner Bros to make a $30 million Veronica Marsmovie just wasn’t going to happen, for understandable reasons. When I took this project in, I didn’t take it in through their feature division. I’m making the movie with Warner Bros Digital; they do a lot of the smaller budget [projects]. I think we’re only going to be their second movie with a theatrical release; they typically do things straight to digital and digital download.

With this model, it’s almost a marketing device, a way to judge if there was enough interest in a movie this size. For a Friday Night Lights movie or a Freaks and Geek movie or a Chuck movie, I think it could be a possibility. I think this opens up a door. What I’m interested in as a writer is [if] a writer optioned a book and brought on an actor with some name value – if that combination could raise the money on Kickstarter to make a movie.

Wired: What would you think about Kickstarting a totally new movie project from scratch that didn’t have that preexisting recognition?

Rob Thomas: It would be so gutsy to do that. I started as a novelist, and I have novels. So I wonder, what if I took one of my books and maybe attached – not Kristen Bell … but an actor with that sort of renown and said, “We’re going to try and make this [movie] for $1.5 million dollars.” That would be such an interesting experiment. And I may try it. No one learns as much as when they do anything the first time, and I feel like I’ve learned so much that I have this knowledge that very few people in the world do about running a really big Kickstarter project. And if I never do it again, it’s wasted knowledge. But it’s also a lot of work. Having gotten TV shows on the air, that’s so much less work that trying to get theVeronica Mars movie made.

Wired: How does the financial model of the movie work, and how is the money being allocated?

Rob Thomas: It’s all going to the budget of the movie. We get to make a bigger movie the more money we make … The back end of the movie is divvied up like any other movie that gets made. The stars of the show will get a piece of the back end; the producer will get a piece of the back end. Clearly Warner Bros will own a big part of it. And I hope Warner Bros does well on it, because if not, they won’t make any more of these. I think there’s a scenario where everybody wins: where Kristen and I get to make the movie we’ve been hoping to make; where fans get to see the movie; and where Warner Bros makes money on it as well.

Wired: So in terms of the film’s plot, what’s happened to Veronica since the last time that we saw her at the end of Season 3?

Rob Thomas: Not only that was the last time she worked a case, but she left Neptune shortly there after. She ruins her father’s career as an officer of the law, and he gets indicted.

Wired: No!

Rob Thomas: Yes. Veronica transfers to Stanford, graduates, and goes to Columbia Law School.  And as we pick up the movie, it’s sort of like Tom Cruise at the beginning of The Firm. She’s finished law school, is waiting to take the bar, and interviewing with law firms. But then something happens in Neptune that pulls her back, and makes her metaphorically pick up her magnifying glass again.

Wired: A lot of Veronica’s appeal came from this sense that she was an underdog, but presumably in the adult world she’s getting recognition for her talents in ways that she didn’t from her cliquey high school classmates. Has her character outgrown that underdog status, or is that something you wanted to continue in the film?

Rob Thomas: It was certainly what I was working towards at the end of season 3. If we’d had a season 4, I wanted to get Veronica back into an underdog state. I think we liked Veronica best as a pariah of sorts.

Wired: How do you think fans’ attitudes and expectations about the show have changed since the show ended? Do they’re looking for nostalgia or growth in Veronica and the rest of the cast?

Rob Thomas: I think they’re looking for both. I know there’s something just automatically hook-y about a 17-year-old girl who’s a private eye. There’s less of a hook when it’s a 27-year-old woman. It’s a little more normal, a little more inside-the-box. … You have to make it work as a PI movie. And I understand the cons of nostalgia, but there are some Veronica Mars pleasure zones that I want to hit. If there were a [James] Bond movie and there wasn’t a martini scene – there are just certain things where I’d be cheating the audience if I didn’t include them. But I want it to work as a standalone movie as well for people who have never seen Veronica Mars, and just heard buzz about it and want to check it out finally when it’s a movie. I had never watched Firefly, but I’d heard the buzz so I went and saw the movie. I hope there are plenty of people who will give the Veronica Mars movie that chance.

Wired: One final question for you from Twitter: Any chance that the Party Down crew could cater the Neptune High 10-year reunion?

Rob Thomas: [laughs] There’s no chance. What’s funny is most of the members of the Party Downcrew have already played people on Veronica Mars. Adam Scott was a creepy teacher; Ken Marino is going to be in the movie as Vinnie Van Lowe. Someone like Martin Starr hasn’t been in Veronica Mars, so you might see him – but he won’t be catering it.

 

  • Amanda-palmer-scripto

At the 5:55 minute mark of Amanda Palmer’s now legendary TED talk, I actually teared up a bit. I could totally relate.

She talks about the un-documented immigrant family who sleeps on the couches and the floor in their small apartment so that Amanda and her band can take the beds.

Amanda lies in bed with a sinking feeling of “These people have so little. Is this fair?”

Read more here: http://bit.ly/Zs5Qs3

Amanda has a lot to teach us in the way of trust, connection, & asking for help

Of the 100′s of interviews we’ve done with crowdfunding project creators, asking for money is at the top of the “feared” list.

Musicians feel uncomfortable looking into the camera and asking for money. It feels like begging.

Amanda often asks opening bands if they’d like to go out into the crowd and pass the hat so they can make a little extra cash. She recalls one band member being reluctant because it felt like begging (6:35).

It’s a feeling that what you’re doing is “not very job like” or it’s shameful. Wondering “is this fair?” and the fear of someone yelling “get a real job!” as Amanda has experienced.

This deep seated fear is the root of why almost every artist second guesses herself and her dreams.

When crowdfunding, it’s the one thing that keeps many artists from flipping on the video camera and asking for help. They can’t help but imagine that one person telling them to, “get a job.”

The Ninja, Master Level Fan Connection

At her Kickstarter backer party in Berlin at the end of the night, Amanda stripped and then let everyone draw on her. She claims this to be a “Ninja, Master Level Fan Connection.” The ultimate display of trust where she seems to say, “I trust you this much. Should I? Show me.”

Amanda’s message is clear: Make the human connections, then trust the relationship even though it sometimes seems awkward. Just trust.

[Thumbnail image of Amanda Palmer courtesy Luis Pedro de Castro.]

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As previously announced, Amanda Palmer was one of the featured speakers at this year’s TEDconference in Long Beach, Calif., and her talk is now available to watch online.

Through stories about street performing and eventually a solo career, Palmer’s talk “The Art of Asking” focused on her belief that the music industry should re-think the way it funds music. Instead of asking fans to buy music, Palmer says, “Let them.” The former Dresden Dolls frontwoman’s tested this theory when releasing music for free and asking fans to help. Through a Kickstarter account, Palmer’s latest album Theatre is Evil earned about $1.2 million completely through donations. Read more here: http://bit.ly/YY9viR

Check out Amanda’s full TED Talk in the video here: http://on.ted.com/Amanda

 

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Amanda Palmer And Steve Albini On ‘Piracy’: It Only Helps Musicians

Okay, here’s a bit of a two-fer. With all of the attention that Amanda Palmer has been gettingfor her massively successful Kickstarter campaign, we had some commenters here questioning whether or not she would freak out if people then shared her music. Thankfully, in her latest update about the project she answers that and many other questions from some folks who are still a little confused about what’s going on. But, for this post, let’s focus on the simple question of “piracy” — since it’s one that comes up often enough around here:

i think music should be shared. all the time. by everybody. i think it’s pure insanity to make music filesharing illegal.
and with that said, i have, for years, encouraged my fans to burn, download and share all of my music with each other and with strangers.
and i will never stop doing that. all that sharing eventually comes back to me in all forms of income and goodwill.

This actually reminded me that, a few weeks earlier, famed music producer Steve Albini did an AMA on Reddit, in which he was asked a similar question, to which he responded:

I reject the term “piracy.” It’s people listening to music and sharing it with other people, and it’s good for musicians because it widens the audience for music. The record industry doesn’t like trading music because they see it as lost sales, but that’s nonsense. Sales have declined because physical discs are no longer the distribution medium for mass-appeal pop music, and expecting people to treat files as physical objects to be inventoried and bought individually is absurd.

The downtrend in sales has hurt the recording business, obviously, but not us specifically because we never relied on the mainstream record industry for our clientele. Bands are always going to want to record themselves, and there will always be a market among serious music fans for well-made record albums. I’ll point to the success of the Chicago label Numero Group as an example.

There won’t ever be a mass-market record industry again, and that’s fine with me because that industry didn’t operate for the benefit of the musicians or the audience, the only classes of people I care about.

Free distribution of music has created a huge growth in the audience for live music performance, where most bands spend most of their time and energy anyway. Ticket prices have risen to the point that even club-level touring bands can earn a middle-class income if they keep their shit together, and every band now has access to a world-wide audience at no cost of acquisition. That’s fantastic.

Additionally, places poorly-served by the old-school record business (small or isolate towns, third-world and non-english-speaking countries) now have access to everything instead of a small sampling of music controlled by a hidebound local industry. When my band toured Eastern Europe a couple of years ago we had full houses despite having sold literally no records in most of those countries. Thank you internets.

Considering that Amanda actually linked to Albini’s fantabulous rant about what happens when you sign a major label deal from many years ago (nearly two decades) in her previous blog post about where all the money is going, it doesn’t surprise me to find out that she’s still on the same wavelength as Albini today.

The key point that both Palmer and Albini recognize is that it’s not about the “sharing” or “piracy” or whatever you want to call it. It’s about what you do with it. Both recognize that if you play your cards right, things can be absolutely fantastic for musicians these days, because not only can they have more control over their own destinies by taking charge of their careers, the biggest challenge is obscurity not piracy. And, in fact, file sharing (not “piracy” if it’s supported by the artists themselves) can help alleviate that problem, help them build up larger audiences around the globe — at no cost — and then do something with that fanbase later.

I keep seeing critics complain that Amanda’s Kickstarter campaign only is useful to someone like Amanda because she “had a big fanbase” already. That ignores (completely) how she built up that fanbase. And part of that is making sure as many people as possible could and did hear her music. In that context, fighting against “piracy” seems to be fighting against an artist’s own best interests…

by mike masnick for techdirt.com

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