A Mandy Moment : Bypassing the studios Veronica Mars edition


Bypassing the studios Veronica Mars edition: Do we know what we want to see at the movies more than the suits at the top?

I am a huge Veronica Mars fan. My sister lent me the Season One box set many years ago and I was so taken by the show I watched all 22 episodes within 24 hours. While this may speak more to my obsessive nature when I find something I love (I don’t recommend this, a year later when I re-watched the episodes I realised I had missed entire plot points in my delirious state towards the end) but it was an incredible show with one kick ass female lead in Kristin Bell. Season One still goes down for me as a perfect debut season along with “Friday Night Lights.”

Unlike many a TV show that ends its run where actors are ecstatic to be released from their binding contracts and very ready to move on from their characters (looking at you “Gossip Girl”), the “Veronica Mars” cast and creator were united and vocal about wanting to take the show to the next level: six foot high and in surround sound. But low ratings and less than stellar DVD sales had studios turning their back on the project despite the obvious passion behind it.

The US box office has seen disappointment after disappointment this year, particularly in terms of high budget films starring ageing action heroes. Could the studios be out of step with what audiences really want to see? Rob Thomas and his cast have taken this to heart, side stepped studios and gone to fans directly to see if they will put their money where their mouths are.

Kickstarter is every independent filmmaker’s best friend these days, but this is the first of its kind to bring such a well known cast and show to the stage asking for a significant amount of investment (and banking that years after the show wrapped people still want more) and there will surely be many in the industry following its progress closely. Sure there is overwhelming support but will they follow this journey all the way to the box office? And what cancelled TV Shows might follow? My guess is (likely soon to be cancelled) “Community”.

I’ve always been an advocate for crowd sourcing because it means right at the start people have committed to your project. They have an investment in seeing it work even though there is no monetary gain. Do not underestimate the power of bragging rights (“Hey, you know, I helped make that project happen through my generosity. Yep.”). It invites the audience to be a part of the process, giving incentive to turn fans into something even more powerful, advocates: advocates to their friends, to their family, to their wider networks through Twitter and Facebook. We are in the age of the “Connected Consumer” and, pending the success of “Veronica Mars”, this could be a watermark moment that will see the audience having more say than ever in what they want to see.

Yes I know, power to the people and all that, but how excited am I about the film? I loved season one and two but felt the show started to lose its way a bit in season three (the final season). No doubt this was due to interference from above to try to bring up the ratings but what if the movie is no good? It may ruin any love we continue to hold for the series. Rob Thomas and co. are obviously very aware of this risk and my doubts were calmed when I read this portion of the Q&A:

Q: What if the movie doesn’t end in the way I’ve believed it should end for the past six years.

A: Eek.

Q: Veronica better end up with Logan, Rob. She just better.

A: That’s not a question.

Q: We’re just saying…

A: I hear you. Remember it’s noir. There aren’t a lot of happy endings.

Q: Noir, my ass. We’ve waited a long time for this.

A: (Busily reworking super-grim ending.)

So: How much do I want to see the “Veronica Mars” film? $75 and no reward worth (well, I would have taken the reward but they don’t ship outside the US. Fair enough – just want to see the movie happen).

To learn more about the project, check out Sandi’s article and head to the ‘Veronica Mars Movie’ Kickstarter page!