If you haven’t heard, Rob Thomas, the creator of the Veronica Mars television series, launched a “Make The Movie of VM” Kickstarter campaign recently, in an effort to make the $2mm necessary to fund the film.
Yep, that’s right, I said Veronica Mars . . . the popular three-season TV series produced by those two little known siblings they call Warner Bros.
Rob called the Kickstarter “our one shot to see a Veronica Mars movie happen.”
He raised the $2mm in 11 hours. The current total raised is $3.7mm.
And according to this article published today, Rob wants even more.
Now look, people have the right to give where and when they want to give, right? So why am I so geared up?
Kickstarter and its compatriots weren’t designed for big box studio originated projects . . . where $2mm is petty cash. Nor was it designed for folks like Mr. Thomas, who has been a successful tv/writer/producer for the last decade and then some. One shot? Really? You couldn’t have invested some cash yourself? Or asked Broadway vet and VM star, Ms. Bell, who’s got a lot of residuals coming to her according to her IMDB page (who I’m a big fan of, by the way, ever since I saw her in a student production of Hair at NYU in the nineties). Or what about your friends? You couldn’t have done what Broadway and Off Broadway producers do every single day when they want to fund a commercial passion project and, oh, I don’t know, raised the money under a standard investment structure?
This was your “one shot?”
Now look . . . the kickstarters who put up that $3.7mm are happy. They’re getting their movie, and some are even getting a t-shirt . . . or for $50, a DVD (which is about the 1989 cost of a VHS tape). So if everyone’s happy, what’s my deal-i-o? Why do I think those backers got the back door?
If the JOBS act rules and regulations were in place by now . . . this project may have been a for-profit-enterprise. And those backers might actually own a piece of the movie . . . which they should.
Obviously, I have no problem with crowdfunded projects, since that’s how I funded Godspell.
But when producers are raising for the big stages or the big screens, in the hopes of making big bucks for everyone involved, they should allow their investors to earn the same.
The SEC is worried about the potential fraud associated with JOBS and Crowdfunding in general, which is why the rules and regs have been delayed. Ironically, in my opinion, the real fraud occurs when companies with deep pockets and big brands start using Kickstarter and the like to fund their dreams so they don’t have to, while at the same time shirking the responsibility of paying out any profits.
There’s no way to regulate what gets on Kickstarter or not. Certainly Kickstarter isn’t going to stop folks with the potential to raise millions from joining up, since they earn a percentage of what’s raised. So the only way to control it is in our hands, or, well, our feet. We just shouldn’t kick ‘em.
I can tell you right now . . . if I ever crowdfund another Broadway or Off Broadway show and I don’t promise you a piece of the profits in exchange for your money . . . do not . . . I repeat . . . do not give me any money.
Because it’s just not what the spirit of crowdfunding is all about.
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