Calling all Marshmallows

The Veronica Mars movie is opening next week and I’m pretty psyched about it. I didn’t watch the show when it aired the first time but it’s available to stream on Amazon Instant Video and I plowed through all 3 seasons pretty rapidly in the beginning of 2014. I’m not sure why it never peaked my interest before, since I’m basically the target audience for the high-school-drama-with-spunky-female-lead genre.

Mars, played by the magnetic Kristen Bell (seriously, why is she so adorable?), is a high school girl who moonlights as a private detective.  The first 2 minutes of the movie, released online on February 28th and linked above, provides a concise recap of the series for those of you who DON’T have a spare 3 days to marathon the series before the movie’s release (March 14).

Excitement about the movie itself aside, I’m fascinated by the way this movie was financed. Last year a Kickstarter campaign raised nearly $6 million to make this movie (the original goal was $2 million, which they surpassed within 24 hours of launching the campaign). [EDIT: Jim already talked about this, so you loyal readers should be fully briefed on VM Kickstarter happenings.]

The idea behind a cult classic being revisited at long last is nothing new (Firefly & Serenity, for example; or the 4th season of Arrested Development). But there is something about the intimate involvement the show’s audience was given here; they are no longer investing like fandoms of the past, with just time and energy. They are literally investing cold hard cash.

It got me thinking about the platforms we have at our disposal for the creation and dispersal of media. The way we are consuming media is changing and so the way we are demanding media is changing, too. Think about  sites like YouTube, Soundcloud, Lulu, and even paid services like Netflix and Spotify. It seems like we are increasingly cutting out the middleman.

What role will industry professionals, like producers, continue to play if audiences are choosing and funding their own material? When the audience is truly given a seat at the table, what do we gain? What do we lose?

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