Yesterday was a monumental day for independent film. Over $2 million was raised in just ONE DAY on a Kickstarter campaign to fund The Veronica Mars Movie Project.
The movie will be based on the original Veronica Mars television show, starring Kristen Bell. Apparently the show’s creator, Rob Thomas and Bell herself, have tried to produce the feature film spin-off for years; however, Warner Bros., who owns the Veronica Mars brand, was not keen on the idea. So Thomas and Bell took matters into their own hands and with WB’s blessing, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $2 million to produce their feature. (No independent film had ever attempted to raise so much.)
Why is this HUGE for independent film? Because it legitimizes crowdfunding as a viable and professional form of financing a film project. Sure, crowdfunding has been around a while now, but no film has ever raised this much money and not with a celebrity like Bell. Hollywood and news agencies are abuzz today with this incredible feat…
Independent filmmakers can now approach major Hollywood players with crowdfunding as part of the “deal.” Having an IndieGoGo or Kickstarter campaign to raise funds won’t sound so amateurish anymore. Remember, I’m talking about Hollywood folks here: agents, casting directors, A-list actors, etc.. They operate within an old investor/studio-based protocol. But now, with $2 million raised in one day with a celebrity like Bell, they’ll be taking crowdfunding much more seriously.
Even more important, Kristen Bell comes across as downright cool and kind in her fundraising video. Participating in the campaign not only helped her raise money, but it skyrockets public opinion of her. Taking her lead, other celebrities will come to realize that it’s not desperate nor “below them” to participate in a crowdfunding campaign, in fact, it’s public relations done right!
Unfortunately, the Mars success does not change much for a no-name crowdfunding campaign, which is primarily dependent on support from friends and family. It does, however, legitimize crowdfunding as an integral part of one’s strategy when approaching and negotiating with reputable talent and/or a popular brand. As an independent filmmaker, you better believe I will be citing The Veronica Mars Kickstarter success as an example of what is possible when crowdfunding with a celebrity and/or a popular brand.