First up on the countdown of my top three writerly moments of 2013:
#3: Funding the Veronica Mars Movie
Last spring, Rob Thomas (no, not that Rob Thomas) and Kristen Bell launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a potential movie version of the TV show Veronica Mars, which had been canceled in 2007. Thomas was the show’s creator and executive producer/writer, and Bell was its star. This one-month campaign was a game changer. It was the first of its kind, asking for $2 million to create a movie version of a canceled TV show, and fans responded in droves (including me), raising the $2 million in a mere 10 hours. By the end of the month, backers had raised just shy of $6 million.
The show’s studio had never thought such a movie would be profitable enough to make, but it graciously allowed Thomas to take the project to the fans to see how things would go. To sweeten the pot, the studio agreed to offer some advertising dollars if Thomas could get the film itself funded—in addition to a limited theater run and a DVD/Blu-ray release. While everyone involved knew the movie would become a reality after that first crazy day, it was evident by the end of the campaign month that the movie was going to be bigger and better than anyone could have guessed. Thomas’s dream goal was about $5 million, but he didn’t want to ask for too much, fearing the project would fail if he did.
Clearly, he underestimated the show’s diehard fans, who will now get an epic reunion that promises lots of snark, fights, returning actors, and legendary celebrity cameos (I’m talking about you, Jamie Lee Curtis!). The movie was written during and right after the campaign and then shot last summer, and it will be released in about two months. It’s gotten a bigger advertising budget and a larger theater run than previously promised (the official trailer debuted at eonline.com on January 2, 2014).
I’ve been a fan of Veronica Mars since early season two, when I caught a few minutes of the show on UPN and decided I must binge watch the whole thing and get caught up. Which is exactly what I did. In fact, I got at least three other people to watch the show as well, though one was after its cancellation at the end of season three (by then airing on The CW, which was brand new at the time). That cancellation left a giant, stinging hole in fans hearts.
But years later, Veronica Mars holds up well, both in terms of writing and in terms of production values. Fans have been asking for a movie since the show was canceled, and in March, they’ll finally get what they’ve been after since 2007: a little closure on the show and perhaps an ending that allows for a sequel.