If you don’t know, I won’t judge you. I had never heard of the lady until half an hour ago or thereabouts, when I looked up a link a friend had posted in response to a Facebook status message.
The executive summary? She is the title character in an American television series created by Rob Thomas, which ran for three seasons (2004–2006), won a bunch of awards and not a few hearts, and was then cancelled. It featured a college student who solves crimes, with a little guidance from her detective dad. There’s more, including spoilers, at the IMDB page linked to above, and on Wikipedia.
Why would you want to know about a defunct TV series?
Well, yesterday or actually, today (13th March, which it still is in the USA(well, you know what I mean (never mind))), Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell (who played Ms Mars) launched an appeal on Kickstarter, which asked fans to pledge sums starting as low as US$ 1 to fund a production of a Veronica Mars movie. For every pledge over US$ 10, Thomas in turn pledges goodies of various kinds, starting with PDFs of the shooting script, going uo to T-shirts, DVDs, screenings of the movie in your home town for you and your guests, tickets to the premier, right up to being a featured background extra (just US$ 2500), naming a character (US$ 8000) and, top of the heap, one slot for someone pledging at least US$ 10,000 for a speaking extra role (you play a waiter who proffers the bill to Ms Mars and her dining companion, saying “Your check, sir”). No, don’t go breaking out your credit card, and don’t bother memorising the lines or your Oscar speech: that spot’s taken. As are most of the other slots for the bigger spenders. And most of the other incentives on offer require you to be a US resident.
But forget about that. You’re not some star-struck young American TV show groupie.
The reason, Gentle Reader, that I bring this to your attention is that Thomas set a target of US$ 2 million. Not chump change for me, and I’ll wager, not for you either. (Not you, Mr Ambani. Or you, Mr Ambani. Or any of you folks on the India Rich List.) And guess what? When i started writing this post, maybe 20 minutes ago, the page already had US$ 1,334,913 pledged. When I refreshed the page just now, that had gone up to US$ 1,439,739. almost three-fourths of the minimum sum required. Thomas and team are quite happy to raise more:
Keep in mind that the more money we raise, the cooler movie we can make. A two million dollar fundraising total probably means cross words are exchanged at the class reunion. Three million? We can afford a full-on brawl. Ten million? Who knows… For some reason the Neptune High class reunion takes place on a nuclear submarine! A Hobbit shows up! There’s a Bollywood end-credit dance number! I’ve always wanted to direct Bill Murray. We’ll figure out something cool. Hey, if that total goes high enough, I’ll bet the good folks at Warner Bros. will agree a sequel is a good idea.
Or, as one of the character in the cool promo film (see below) says, it will go into the ‘car chase and nudity fund.’
But for now, let me leave you with:
• A thought: What this means, I think, is that we’re going to see slew of similar campaigns, on Kickstarter and elsewhere. Expect also some bandwagon rider from India starting up sites that are ‘similar’ (read ‘ripped off’) but targetted at Indians. (Actually, I think there are a few out there already. Wiser readers, kindly provide links in the comments?) And you can definitely expect punditification in the media and the blogosphere analysing ‘new crowdsourcing finance trends.’ Like, er, yours truly.
• A caveat: Not everyone has a successful TV series to ride on the back of, or can put together such an charning, entertaining yet hard-working and effective fund-rasing page.
• A prediction: Soon, we will see online fund-raising experts offering their expertise to a gullible world. These will be the ones who were previously social media consultants. And before that, they were SEO consultants.
• Two links on our blogs: Sushobhan Mukherjee’s post on Kickstarter and Kiva, and Innosight’s post on disrupting the Hollywood business model.
• And this bit of information: It’s still less than one day since the Veronica Mars campaign on Kickstarter launched. And since I last looked, the sum raised has gone up to US$1,512,679
• And one bonus prediction: By the time you early risers read this the two million dollar mark would have been crossed.
Here’s the promo from the page: