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I think that we at XFN have been pretty clear about how much we love fandom. The power and amazing energy behind the dedication that each group puts behind their favorite subject, and the ties that creates between communities, are of eternal fascination to us. We feel it's only fair that we address this incredible effort that the Veronica Mars fans have achieved.
As I sit in front of my computer to start writing this article, the ticker on their Kickstarter campaign stands at $2,782,507.00**. That’s well over the $2 million goal they set for themselves; especially since they aimed to reach it in one month, not 24 hours. Given that there are still 29 days to go, how high can that number climb?
No one knows that answer, because there are so many variables.
Being in a similar situation, where we’ve been pushing a studio to produce a movie of our favorite TV franchise, you can’t help but ask yourself: why aren’t we pushing for the same initiative?
The idea is not a new one. We’ve heard it in passing, both jokingly, and dead serious. “Why aren’t we funding our own movie?” We've gotten quite a few emails, phone calls, and comments about this and we want to believe that as a fandom we have the power to turn this situation around. The truth is that our scenario is very different.
It involves knowing a little bit about this business, but in a shifting economy such as ours, no one really knows the business anymore. In a traditional production, whoever gives money to a movie has some rights over it, whether it is as an invisible investor that cashes in once the movie makes money, or a recognized production company receiving a producer credit. In another scenario, you're a studio and you do the whole thing.
The success of the Kickstarter campaign for the Veronica Mars film rests on circumstances that have allowed an alternative financing source for that movie to materialize. The campaign is being organized by one of the writers of the show, the actors are taking reduced fees for their work, the reduced scope of the movie script in terms of production costs allows for a small budget, but most importantly, Warner Brothers gave them the go ahead to do a Kickstarter initiative, and Warner Brothers owns the rights to the franchise.
For the Veronica Mars film, everyone is on the same page. They are each pushing for the same thing, and the limitations and advantages to what they are doing are clear. They've also, perhaps, adapted to the changing times in the entertainment industry.
The producers of the movie have also said that they don’t want a “Studio-Sized Movie” as the script does not express a need for it, hence why the production asked for such a small amount on Kickstarter. Now with extra funds coming in, that will allow for a more comfortable production. There’s a pitch and a script in the works approved by Warner Brothers, they have agreed to take on the publicity and distribution of the movie, and if this initiative proves to be successful, then they as a studio may offer more support. Currently, the production budget comes out of the Kickstarter campaign.
But what about XF3? What makes our situation different?
As you all well know, 20th Century Fox holds the rights to the X-Files franchise, so while raising money is an interesting idea for a smaller budget film, and maybe something that could have been done for IWTB, it does not work for the mythology film that FOX, Ten Thirteen Productions, and the cast are set on doing. It doesn’t work for the movie that WE as a fandom want. We cannot raise the whole production budget of this movie just by ourselves. Then again, I'm always open to be proved wrong.
These initiatives, while they may seem spontaneous, require a lot of groundwork to be done before hand. You don’t just set yourself a random number to raise; the number comes from studying the script and figuring out how much money you will need to make a movie if that budget rests solely on the donation of funds.
FOX knows the fans are out there, and they've seen the momentum, whether its been through reaction to news, planned fan initiatives like videos, or postcards, or even documentaries like the one being produced right now in Europe. The fans are out there and we are really loud. The more we talk about it online, the more the news media talks about it, the better momentum we have.
With the recent news about the upcoming season 10 comic book, and members of the cast and crew being really outspoken about their desire to make this movie, what needs to happen next is for everyone to come to an agreement. Might part of the agreement include letting fans participate in the financing process for this film? Perhaps, but that is a decision that 20th Century Fox and Ten Thirteen Productions must make.
After 5 years of actively campaigning, what are we now waiting for? We are waiting for the powers that be to sit down, sort out the kinks, and move forward with giving us closure to a story that deserves to be told.
I think that if I dare to entertain the idea, it would be an amazing thing that we, the fandom, were to become producers of our own movie, but we can’t fool ourselves. We need the support of the company that not only allowed this franchise to bloom, but also built their own fame off of successful brands such as The X-Files. This is not a confrontational situation, but an outstanding invitation to continue a relationship that has lasted twenty years.
In the case of Veronica Mars, they had to prove the fans existed, in our case, that’s not necessary.
So XFN would like to congratulate the Marshmallows for their outstanding work. In my book, that makes you one hell of a great indie film producer.
(**) By the moment this article went online, the current funds raised amounted to $3,128,000.00