Veronica Mars on Kickstarter – is it good news for indie film makers?

Over the last 8 hours I have been getting calls, emails and tweets about the Veronica Mars project on Kickstarter. In the last few hours it’s doubled in pledges and is now running at over $1.7m raised. That is phenomenal. Finally, crowdfunding has hit Hollywood.

Inspiring? For sure.

Relevant to an indie filmmaker on the street? Kind of, in so much as Crowdfunding has matured into a tool that is now used by the big guns.

Good news? Yes and no. Yes, it’s good news that more people will have engaged in crowdfunding (so will now be open to crowdfunding as a concept and may get behind our projects). But it’s also bad news in so much as we are all now competing against Hollywood in the crowdfunding arena.

This is the first juggernaut to roll onto our small indie pitch. It will not be the last. Right now, as a filmmaker, I feel a bit like the native Americans in Dances With Wolves. A nice new friendly face has turned up, but a whole army is following.

I don’t want to pour cold water on this success, it is fabulous. I do fear though that this campaign will open MANY eyes in LA tomorrow and what was once the home of indie spirited projects that was a curiosity to the big guns (crowdfunding sites), may well soon become dominated by big players moving in and seeking seed funding, production funding and real (ultra low cost) market research into the size of their engaged audience.

I predict that in the weeks and months to come, we will see other abandoned franchises with massive fan loyalty suddenly resurfacing and looking for funding. Sequels will crowdfund, movie stars will crowdfund, anything with any genuine market / fan / customer engagement will crowdfund.

In many ways, this is the end of innocence for film crowdfunding.

I have been saying for the last 18 months that we are living inside a massive evolution, revolution that is technical, commercial and cultural. Today, the film business evolved massively and things will never be the same again.

What’s the real lesson? Have a project that people REALLY want to get involved in, and begin building and engaging that audience now.

I really can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones
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6 Responses to Veronica Mars on Kickstarter – is it good news for indie film makers?

  1. David Nicholas Wilkinson March 14, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    31 years ago I was the first ever true indy to work with the BBC. It opened the way for small underfunded indies such as mine for work in TV. Now most of the companies who seem to work with the BBC are Rupert Murdoch’s SHINE/ KUDOS or any of the mighty ALL 3 MEDIA’S dozens of companies. I suspect that it is almost impossible for a one man and his dog indy outfit to work with the Corporation. The success of VERONICA MARS means all the big boys will now dominate the crowd funding sites and sadly all the small operations will be squeezed out by the slick well funded giants. A celebration yes but a nail in our coffin I fear !

  2. Chris March 14, 2013 at 8:01 am #

    Frankly, I am amazed its taken this long for the industray to wake up to Crowdfunding. 8 hours after my post and they have raised nearly $1m more – now at $2,491,691 – I wonder where this will end? $2m? $5m? $10m? It really does serve to illustrate just how the landscape is changing.

  3. James Devereaux March 14, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    This will help independent filmmakers as it will raise the profile of crowdfunding, and bring it to a wider audience. In the end, crowd funding seems to me to be about demand for your work, if there’s no demand then you wont get funded (no matter how many Twitter updates you post), and that will never change, no matter who uses these platforms. But it’s never been a better time to be a distinctive, individual artist, and it’s those individual voices which are most likely to be heard and thrive during this next phase.

  4. Sara P April 9, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    When Whoopi Goldberg turned to Kickstarter was the time I saw the change. We launched our campaign shortly afterwards, and, while following it for its 30 days, I saw how Kickstarter tended to pick its “highlighted projects”. They’re not stupid. They push the big names… means more big names use Kickstarter… means more $$ to Kickstarter, as their income is based on a percentage of total funding. We were successful in our tiny campaign, so no sour grapes. But I wouldn’t count on it bringing independent filmmakers MORE exposure. It just means independent filmmakers will get more buried amid all the other big-name projects.

  5. Chris April 9, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Hi Sara, I can’t help but agree. It makes total business sense for Kickstarter of course.

  6. dslr video studio April 13, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Seems a safe bet for Warners, pre-orders and pre-sales of $5m funding secured from over 21 countries. True indie spirit, Stuff Warners go Amazon or Netflix instead and get a tv rights deals.

    What do you think?

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