Kickstarter: Big Money Edition


In the past we have discussed that Kickstarter is, both in terms of individual projects and the site as a whole, not only netting more money, but doing it faster and faster than ever. Records are being broken in various categories on a regular basis. Six figure payouts are no longer uncommon.

Recently there were a couple ultra high grossing projects that made popular media in circles that Kickstarter projects usually don’t travel in. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about (but if you don’t keep reading.)

Recently two projects for movies scored seven digits from their fan bases on Kickstarter. Veronica Mars was the first, raising over 5 million dollars to finish an (apparently) popular television series as a movie. After it completed funding, Zach Braff launched his own project, Wish I was Here, to fund the sequel to his previous indie hit, Garden State; so far it has raised more than 2 million dollars, and has several more weeks to go.

This is normally the part where I would start ranting angrily about how they don’t need our money, and could get conventional financing for these conventional projects, but I’m conflicted. This situation makes me think of nothing more than Farscape. Farscape was a sci-fi show that seemed to be under constant threat of cancellation during it’s run. By concerted efforts of it’s fans (Crackers do matter) the show managed to squeak out 4 seasons and a made for TV movie. If crowd funding had been around then, it might have gone on longer.

I certainly would have given till it hurt.

So while I’m sure Zach Braff could make his movie without his fans help (and needing money is an important element in my personal Kickstarter ethos,) I find it hard to begrudge his fans wanting to help him out in that regard. The real question becomes: how will this change things? make no mistake, the ability to see real money (money measured in millions) for popular projects is likely to have a serious ripple effect. Retro and nostalgia are powerful forces in crowdfunding – I may even see an effort to revive my beloved sci fi shows of yore.

My only concern is that the big project may start to crowd out the little ones, but only time will tell. So what do the rest of you think? Is raising millions for movies good or bad for crowdfunding? Does it legitimize said funding, or is our favorite platform selling out? I really want to hear your thoughts on this one; the future is now.

This entry was posted by David Winchester.

3 thoughts on “Kickstarter: Big Money Edition

  1. I see where you’re coming from with the Zach Braff situation. But it still really boils down to the original Kickstarter theme: individuals can put their money into what they want. And that’s the whole point. Regardless of whether so-and-so could afford it himself, it’s the value of the opportunity to be able to support whatever one believes is a worthy investment, however big or small.
    I don’t think that these projects “water-down” the ideals of Kickstarter because ultimately it is still the individuals of the Kickstarter community making the decisions of what to invest in.

  2. Sounds like Rockne O’Bannon would be amenable to taking you up on your offer of giving pain.

    I really don’t worry about the big money projects crowding out the smaller ones. The Veronica Mars and Zach Braff Kickstarter campaigns undoubtedly brought hundreds, if not thousands, of new backers to Kickstarter. Some of those people may stick around, which is good for KS in the long run.

    People (like me) who aren’t interested in VM or ZB enough to back them, still might watch their movies. If those movies make money, more high-profile projects may find their way to KS, and I think that’s good for KS as well.

    Backers to have only a limited amount to spend, but that just means project owners will have to step up their game and make sure that their product is worth the cash outlay. That, too, is good for Kickstarter.

    On the other hand, Pauly Shore might see a chance to resurrect his faded film career on Kickstarter, which would be like giving it a terminal disease.

  3. The Zach Braff one annoys me more than the Veronica Mars one. From what I understand, the VM Kickstarter was created because WB didn’t want to do anything with the property they owned, so they couldn’t really get traditional funding. Zach Braff just seems to have the same old whiny attitude toward investors “compromising” his vision.
    Regardless, we’ll start to see whether or not those horrible, overbearing, control freak investors have helped or hurt movies when we get these raw, direct films from the creators with no compromises. We’re still in the infancy of crowdfunding, and hopefully the bigger, arguably unnecessary projects will lose steam once everyone realizes they aren’t BFFs with Zach Braff because they donated to his Kickstarter.

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