Sometime between 10:30 am Wednesday — when the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign was announced — and 11 am, something unfortunate, but perhaps inevitable, happened. People started getting kicked for kicking their money in.
What started off as a celebration of the impassioned TV fan turned into a condemnation of those who, I like to think, have a say in how their own money gets spent.
Hell, even I was left to feel “dirty” about writing a story about it, the outcry, criticisms and finger-wagging blogging came flowing so hard. But in the end, as I donated my $[SPOILER] just minutes before the tote board ticked past the important $2 million mark, I achieved peace with my pledge.
Wouldn’t that money have been better donated to a charity? This was an early refrain from those who questioned this Kickstarter project. First speaking for myself: I donate throughout the year to assorted medical research and animal welfare causes. I also chipped in for the “loftier” Showrunners documentary’s Kickstarter campaign (as well as to the fundraiser for the way-cool Spike keyboard for iPhone). And who’s to say that a meaningful portion of the tens of thousands of Veronica Mars backers don’t also give to worthy causes, to the extent they are able or willing? No one ever went to bed feeling better about themselves because they spent their day assuming the worst about humanity.
But perhaps the most echoed criticism came in the form of: Why are you donating your hard-earned money to get a studio film made? When Warner Bros. will kick back and reap any profit?
The short answer: Because this was a time for the little guy to make a difference.
Television is an impactful medium. Quality and/or ambitious shows get cancelled too quickly, far too often. (People are even mourning Zero Hour, after two episodes.) And 99 percent of the time, once the Nielsen Ratings Gods have spoken, we are left to do nothing, to feel without resource.
But this time… this time, the little guy was heard. Some 30,000 people who will never brush up against celebrity, Regular Joes who will not once see their name in an end credits crawl, were afforded — and passionately seized — the opportunity to produce a piece of entertainment. I ask: When does that ever happen?
Movie studio executives greenlight any and whatever projects they like, and in this instance, Veronica Mars: The Motion Picture simply was not going to happen. Yet when put in the hands of the fans (and their friends) who have steadfastly and long-anticipated this unlikelihood, that excited mob rallied to secure their piece of happiness.
A lot of the time, the Internet is used to tear things down. To mock Smash, to snark about red carpet fashions, to hurt. All from the cozy, oft-anonymous comfort of everyone’s couches.
For 10 thrilling hours on Wednesday, though, 30,000 strangers banded together online to create something.
No, the Veronica Mars Kickstarters will never see even a fraction of a back-end point if the movie happens to turn a profit. But they will smile knowing that they were a part of something rather historical. A gone-too-soon series was plucked from the ashes not by a struggling network anxious to plug a scheduling hole, but by the very people who loved and were left to mourn it. Stand on a soap box and question the dissemination of discretionary income all you want, but do not dare rob other people of their self-defined joy.