Becomnig a Marshmallow
During my study I came upon a show called Veronica Mars. A show about a teenage detective who investigated the most divers cases while still in high school. It was because of the amazing guest appearances (Alysson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter and even Joss Whedon!) that the series came to my attention. But for a show that aired around midnight while I had to get up every morning at 6AM for college in Utrecht, I didn't sit in front of the tv every night. That being said, I finally decided to just do it right: Binge watch the entire series. So during the summer holiday I downloaded the entire series, watched it within a month (yes, it's really that good) and ordered the dvd-box (including the season four pilot) right away. It may have taken me a little longer than some fans, but it only took about four or five eps and I became a Marshmallow.
CampaigningWith an open ending at the end of the third season, the season finale no less, like the one Veronica Mars had, I couldn't help my self but dig a little deeper into this. Was this truly the ending of the show? Where there speculations? How about interview where the cast and crew answered all the questions that fans were left with? It lead to a research paper about fan culture and what fans would do to keep their show on the air: From sending Mars bars in large quantities to the home office, up to buying dvd-boxes and donating these to libraries and such. You name it, they thought of it. The Marshmallows even held campaings with flyers so people knew when to watch, in the hope that season two and later season three wouldn't be the last ones. They even hired one of those planes with a banner to fly by the office of the UPN/WB! But it just wasn't enough... The show got cancelled and not only the fans, but also the cast and crew kept hoping that one day they still got a chance to wrap it up nicely.
Without letting it get to the press, creator/writer Rob Thomas and actrice Kristen Bell kept trying to think of a way to give the Marshmallows closure behind closed doors. And that's how last year all of a sudden a video went viral. As a big fan of the show and of Bell herself, I follow her on Twitter and I couldn't believe it when I saw it. If Thomas could show Warner Bros. that there was enough interest in the movie, they were willing to take the leap. With the introduction of Kickstarter, which is mostly meant for little art/love projects, fans could 'back' the project - supporting the movie with their own money while getting something in return like stickers and/or autographs up to a guest appearance in the move. Their goal? Two million dollars... With that amount Thomas and Bell would have enough for a lowbudget movie. Within one hour they reached the one million dollar line and within a day they reached their goal of two million. The project, and with it the possibility to support it, would last one month. So even after reaching their goal, the fans still had enough time to show their dedication. Thomas and Bell were sending update after update and fans around the world were so excited they wanted to back as well. During the month it became clear that backing outside of the US was a possibility as well. And a week before closing, we in the Netherlands got that same opportunity. Because I was following every single news item that came across, I jumped in and was able to contribute as well to the greatest Kickstarterproject up till then. The Veronica Mars Kickstarter Project (TVMMP) ended up breaking the record by reaching five mill. Safe to say: This movie was gonna happen.
UpdatesAs 'Backer' we always got the latest updates first. We were also granted acces to a special site where not only these updates, but pictures from the set were posted, vids and actors were announced. Familiar faces would return and we got sneak peaks of the script and filming location. You became part of the filming proces. From meetings, necessary changes and music choices to announcing the date of the premiere as well as the latest news about release abroad: They kept us in the loop. We were rewarded with the most amazing pictures and behind the scenes footage. But that wasn't all. As a backer of a specific amount we also got 'rewards'. In my case these were stickers, a T-shirt (which was misdeliverd, so I ended up with both shirts!), a digital version of the script and a download/stream of the movie as well as a dvd itself. This way, even more than a year later I was still enjoying my benefits. Of course it's also a very smart move, as all of these updates and goodies enhanced all the anticipation. One of these was the two minute preview, which was mostly an introduction for new viewers, but OMG... it's so good!
(Be sure to check out the official Veronica Mars Movie channel on YouTube as well)
The final week(s)
It soon became clear that the entire crew behind the movie was doing everything they could to get the fans involved in the premier of the movie. From special showings, where Marsmallows could even win tickets for the grand premier in the US, up to making the download/stream available at the moment of the premiere. I can't deny it... The final week I was bouncing of the walls. Not only were we to receive the stream on the day of the premiere, but they were as amazing to take timezones into account. While my Friday the 14th was packed, at exaclty one minute past midnight I received my script and only five minutes later the link to the movie. I COULDN'T WAIT!! Seeing how I know a few Marshmallows, I wanted to share this with them and organised a little viewing party to see the movie ASAP. With a beamer and themed snack foods like Mars bars and marshmallows, AFTER SEVEN YEARS, that Saturday we returned with Veronica Mars back to Neptune (the fictive town/city where Veronica grew up). After watching the movie I started reading the script and there's even more fun stuff in there that unfortunatly didn't make the movie. It's such a pleasure to read!!
Veronica Mars in Holland
Even though there were more and more updates that special 'Backer' viewings were being held in countries outside of the US, it soon became clear that we wouldn't have such luck. However, to the joy of many fans, Warner Bros. did organize a one time showing of the movie. So on March 20th 2014, less than a week after the official release, there was a showing in Pathé Tuschinski for which you could only get tickets by winning them. And I was so happy that I could attend as well as many of my friends. Dressed in my official backers T-shirt I watched the movie for a second time on an even bigger screen (the first time was with a beamer) and we all shared the once in a lifetime experience. Because let's be honest: Nothing is as wonderful as watching a movie in a room filled with fans. The cherry on the cake was that I got to have a keep sake, which is unique as it turns out. As a proud Marshmallow I am now the proud owner of one of the very few Dutch movie posters :D.
I already wrote a Dutch movie review, you can read it here. I'm currently rewatching the entire series with a group after which I'll watch the movie on dvd for the very first time. I'll be sure to post a DVD review shortly after. If you're interested in the first period of the Kickstarter campaign, be sure to read my earlier blogs about how it happend.
If you're reading my blog but for some reason aren't familiar with Veronica Mars yet, this vid will give a very good impression ;-) (even though the quality isn't all that grand).
“Well, you know what they say. Veronica Mars, she’s a marshmallow.”
– Veronica Mars, 1×01 [Pilot]