Kickstarter CEO: 'Veronica Mars' proves 'the power of audiences'
On the heels of the theatrical and VOD debut of the Kickstarter-funded Veronica Mars movie, no one is more pleased with the success than Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler.
“I’ve been constantly refreshing my Twitter search for Veronica Mars. It’s been especially exciting seeing all of the fans talking about how many people in their screening were wearing their Veronica Mars Kickstarter T-shirts and how this is one of the most amazing days of their lives to be able to see this thing actually happen,” Strickler told EW. “To me, this weekend was a pretty incredible and inspiring celebration of fandom.”
For years, the crowd-funding platform has been quietly revolutionizing independent filmmaking, but Veronica Mars signals something else — a possible paradigm shift. “Something like 300 Kickstarter films have opened theatrically, one has won an Oscar [2013 Best Documentary Short winner Inocente], over a thousand have played at major festivals. Ten percent of Sundance, Cannes, Tribeca, and SXSW have been Kickstarter-funded films in the last couple years,” Strickler says. “But Hollywood-scale movies? That has been new ground for Kickstarter, and it’s certainly one that I expect to continue.”
Veronica Mars shattered records with its campaign and made many take notice. “I think that a lot of artists who never before would have thought Kickstarter could be for them were suddenly made aware that the scale of this is actually — well, we don’t even know how big this is. Maybe there isn’t a limit,” he said. “This whole system is just a blank canvas for people’s dreams and for the enthusiasm of the internet,” says Strickler. “If you wanna talk about true unlimited resources, those are two of the most unlimited.”
Now, he says, “anytime a show gets canceled, anytime a project by a beloved actor or director gets cut short because of money, now everyone is going to say, ‘Well, let’s just start a Kickstarter.'”
Kickstarter’s reach is definitely expanding. In addition to hitting the $1 billion mark in pledged donations, they just recently launched an iTunes destination, a new, high-profile incentive for filmmakers looking to launch their creation on Kickstarter. But even though they’ve become “part of the conversation in Hollywood,” Strickler says he’s not exactly rushing to meet with studios directly and prefers to stay artist-focused. “We very much think of Kickstarter as a public trust. As something that is there for all of us to use to make whatever creative things we want happen.” Veronica Mars proved “the power of audiences,” he says.
“I think the entire internet should feel proud,” says Strickler. “Veronica Mars is one of the great fan stories of all time.”