Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kickstarter > Petitions

I'm still kind of amazed that I'm living in a time when it's possible for someone to raise $2 million from an international collection of backers in less than 12 hours. Especially when that someone isn't a politician or tycoon, or both.

In the not too distant past, raising this much money this quickly would have only been possible in a madcap caper movie. The heroes, a pack of plucky would-be filmmakers, would have a souped-up car and they would race across the country, begging various token celebrities for their contribution. The rival movie studio, of course, would be trying to sabotage their efforts, both directly, and through a corrupt, comically-incompetent police officer who is hot on the heroes' tail the entire film. It comes down to a last-minute photo-finish, as the heroes crash their sports car into the window of the bank where they need to deposit the cash, just before time runs out.

When fans see a beloved property of theirs die (such as Firefly, or Google Reader), the kneejerk reaction seems to be to start a petition. This rarely works, because corporations aren't around for the purpose of producing entertainment. They're around to produce profit. A big stack of signatures is not negotiable currency.

Kickstarter allowed the Veronica Mars fans to kick in dollars instead of signatures, and ta-dah! Veronica Mars movie. I can only hope that fans spend less time in the future putting together futile and naive petitions, and start finding ways to get money into the hands of the people with the power and ability to build the projects that the fans want to see.