Mar. 7th, 2014

arduinna: a tarot-card version of Linus from Peanuts, carrying a lamp as The Hermit (Default)
I keep meaning to post about this and then getting distracted, and it's probably all over Tumblr anyway, but hey.

So, last year, when the Kickstarter campaign got announced, I was both intrigued and wary -- what a cool idea! But erk, what if Hollywood decides "get the fans to pay to make the movie, then pay to watch it, woo" is a great business model? But I figured there's no way this movie had a chance in hell of happening otherwise, and I'd loved first season VM, so... sure. I kicked in. Then watched in awe as the numbers climbed and climbed and CLIMBED.

From the get-go, I thought Rob Thomas was being pretty damn decent about everything. The rewards were spread out nicely, and a digital download came at a lower level than the DVD, instead of being added as an extra perk for a higher level, so more people had a shot at it. The original idea was to get people the digital download a few days after the theater premiere, which is more than reasonable.

I've been on the backers update mailings ever since, and I gotta say: the VM team is working its ass off to make this movie available to as many people as possible, as fast as possible, with as few hurdles as possible. The first few months were obviously focused on making the movie, but the last few months have all been about distribution as far and wide as possible.

At this point:
  • They got the entire series streaming on Amazon Prime in time for people to watch one ep per day leading up to the movie release.

  • The movie's being released widely across the US. And there are advanced screenings the night before in 17 US cities. For a fan-funded movie.

  • The movie will premiere in theaters in Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Germany on the same day. No staggered releases. (... wait, I take that back. Germany's premiering it on the 13th, a day earlier than the US.)

  • Some countries that aren't officially getting it in theaters are getting "fan screenings" set up by Warner Bros: Sweden, Mexico, Australia.

  • Can't get a theater or fan event? Check your cable/satellite, or digital retailers (like Amazon or iTunes). This is being released digitally across the world on premiere day. All backers who contributed at least $35 will be sent instructions on how to stream/download their copies on the same day as well. No waiting.

  • They've set up a line of tie-in novels. Because fan-funded film. The first book is co-written by Rob Thomas and will be available on March 25 (I haven't read the blurb or anything else, and would rather not hear spoilers, if this is canonical to post-VM-movie, tyk!). He's already said that the first novel is canonical to both show and movie, and will remain so; if there's another movie, it will either be an adaptation of that book or will be set after it. (Which totally counts as a gift to the fans because look at all the arguments about "yeah but is the book *canon*?" he just stopped!)

  • At the same time Rob Thomas is working on his own tie-in novels, he's added the VM universe to Kindle Worlds and announced that now people can write fanfic! Which, okay, I pat them on their little heads at the idea that fans need an official sandbox to play in, but still: it's a solid tip of the hat to the idea that this universe is about more than just them, and it gives fans who want to go that route a chance to make some money for their fanfic, just like him (at least in theory). (Also, sort of adorably, he carefully explains that Kindle Worlds novels won't be canon, they'll be fanon. Although tsk, he links to Wikipedia instead of Fanlore for both definitions. Someone needs to put him in touch with Orlando Jones, he'll steer him right.)

  • They set up a Cafepress fan portal as the gateway to all VM merchandise on Cafepress -- from official merch to fan-created stuff, all mixed in together. Fan-created stuff has limitations like no images from the source, and needs to be approved before it's added, but anyone can make it, and again can make some cash on sales of stuff relating to this universe, with official blessing.

  • For US folks only, Apple has a few Countdown to Veronica Mars offers, including a free download of the extended pilot (not the aired version), a behind-the-scenes featurette, and ways to order or pre-order VM stuff (soundtrack, novel, movie).


This is all just sort of unreal, in terms of how Hollywood usually treats fans. They're going way out of their way to make this as inclusive a deal as possible. Warner Bros is doing a lot of the heavy lifting there; they told him they'd do distribution if he raised the money to make it. But this is just staggering. Free screenings, international distribution deals (whatever they set up with Germany set back the DVD release, so there's some real negotiation going on here), merch and fic that fans can get a cut of, simultaneous global digital release across both broadcast/on-demand and download services, not to mention on the same day as the global theater release... holy cow. If this is the lesson Hollywood takes away from this Kickstarter, everyone wins, man.

I can't believe all of this has only taken a single year. This is amazing stuff.

January 2017

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