Crowd funding may have come of age last week. The Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign is breaking records and making us rethink again the limits of e-commerce. You would think that after eBay, the pundits would be more circumspect. When eBay started there was serious talk that no one would ever bid on cars. The thinking was that some items are simply too large. Now eBay auctions all sorts of vehicles and industrial equipment. Whatever limitations you think exist turn out to be more or less artificial constraints. With eBay, the realization that the sky’s the limit (no, you can’t auction the sky) was liberating and positive. But Kickstarter has a more human dimension to contend with, and that is the psychology of motive.
The great unknown is how the Mars project will incentivize future collaborations with big business. If the consumer is willing to foot the bill maybe the corporate sponsor will cannily think it’s a default expectation. If so, doesn’t that just put one more load on the shoulders of the creator? With Mars, the studio apparently promised to pitch in for the distribution, which is no small feat.
Mars isn’t the first of its kind. Other attempts have been made to resurrect cancelled shows. Many simply failed and are heard of no more. Mars has a diehard fan base, the same fan base that enshrined its cult-status. This sort of constellation of good fortune is not so common. So we can’t expect crowd funding Mars replicas to start sprouting up all over the Internet. Nor can this possibly be a one-of-a-kind affair as some are claiming. What will probably happen is that the prescient studios will start up a division to explore future opportunities. Then regulation will slowly help smooth out the kinks of the creator-sponsor relationship. And great things will follow from it – even for the non-marshmallows.