- 'Veronica Mars' creator shocked by how quickly he raised money
- The film based on the show got boost from a Kickstarter campaign
- He said no one is getting upfront money to participate
After Rob Thomas launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the Veronica Mars movie, the Internet went crazy. The $2 million goal was reached in less than a day, more incentives were added for new backers, and the fund continues to grow. EW's Jeff Jensen — who also broke the news — sat down with Thomas, the creator of the cult TV show, to discuss the movie, the implications of using Kickstarter and much more about the Mars universe. Here are 10 things we learned:
Thomas is up for a Veronica Mars book series:
"I will admit it. I'm probably not interested in sitting down and writing a series of Veronica Mars detective paperbacks, but I could be the Carolyn Keene of Veronica Mars and okay outlines and kind of set up the world for the books to exist in and then bring in writers to do 'em. I'm totally game for that. I would love to see this franchise get some heat and get its due."
He's genuinely surprised by the reaction:
"I never expected to hit $2 million in however many hours we did — 10? But I probably had similar thoughts to you, that we'd hit our goal at maybe a week or two and then beyond that, I would hope we would keep climbing. Yeah, the tidal wave, I was not prepared for at all."
He has a magic number in mind for the Kickstarter fund:
"What I had my heart set on when we've launched, what I hoped to get to, was $5 million. And I figure anything over $5 million, I'm pretty damn happy. Anything under $5 million, I was going to be less happy. That was like my mental happiness point."
The money raised won't all go toward making the movie:
"We only get to count the money that we have after we fulfill rewards, and the rewards could be expensive because we are giving really good packages, so we're losing a lot off the top. It's not as though you can look at our total, like right now we're at $3.5 [million], and say, "That's, $3.5 for their production budget." [Ed. note: At publishing time, the fund sits at just over $3.7 million.] It's going got be significantly less than that once we send out 50,000 t-shirts and all those DVDs and posters and pay to rent the giant theaters for premieres. There's a lot of overhead."
Baton Rouge might have to stand in for Neptune:
"What's going to affect our production budget is the money we raise on Kickstarter, minus the fulfillment, and that's going to affect very specific things. Like, if the money stopped now, I know that we would probably be faking Neptune, Calif., probably somewhere like Baton Rouge, La., and it won't quite look right. We'll do our best to make Baton Rouge look like Southern California, but it won't be quite the same. We're going to need to make some more money. Shooting in Southern California is more expensive than shooting in Louisiana, and I want to shoot in Southern California — the movie will look better. The thing is, we're totally prepared to shoot it somewhere else, but man, suddenly I'll have palm trees in shots and Veronica will be walking along a sandy beach and it will affect the way the movie looks."
They aren't doing this to get paid:
"For doing the movie, I am taking the guild-minimum. So no one is getting big upfront money. Trust me, Kristen is not getting paid close to her quote, or anywhere near. We're all working for labor of love prices."
Only he and Kristen are signed so far:
"I want [all the actors] in the movie. The assumption is they'll all be in the movie. We're in negotiations with everyone. It's one of those things where everybody wants to do it, I want everybody in it — just deals need to be made."
He really wants Freaks and Geeks to follow Veronica's lead:
"If they wanted to Kickstarter a Freaks and Geeks movie, I would be first in line. I want the maximum package. I would pay whatever it took to get a Freaks and Geeks movie, because I love that show."
He's aware of the criticisms about Kickstarter funding a studio-backed film:
"I'm watching a lot of the buzz on this, and it seems to me that the people who complain the most, and the complaint is, 'Why am I giving money to a studio to make a movie?' as though there's no return on that money. I think that before people look at it, their sense is, 'Hey, I'm just throwing money at something.' They're not understanding that they're getting a product in return. That's where the disconnect is. Those people who are complaining about that, I want to say, 'If you're a Veronica Mars fan, you're getting cool stuff.' You're getting stuff I think you would pay for anyway; you're just pre-buying it, and by pre-buying it, you're showing the studio that there is enough market interested in making this movie worthwhile."
He has high standards for his movie:
"Who thinks we'd be better off without The Godfather Part II, which by the way, is the bar that I'm setting for the Veronica Mars movie."
For more on Veronica Mars, pick up this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly.