Photo Credit: Flickr user kevin dooley
I am flabbergasted. My mind is officially blown. I am one part geeked out and one part extremely jealous of what I have just witnessed. But I’m going to use what has just happened as proof that all creatives such as myself need is a dedicated fan base.
I am sure that most of you are familiar with crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo by now, right? As a music blogger, I learned about them very early on as bands began to realize that getting ripped off and going deep into debt with record labels just wasn’t good enough anymore.
The basic idea behind them is that any project, from gadgets and gizmos to music and videos can be funded by the people who actually want to buy and support them. Crazy, right? False.
As I am writing this, The Veronica Mars Movie Project has raised over 100 percent of their goal of $2 million (minimum) to fund the making of, well, a Veronica Mars movie on their first day!
For the three of you who aren’t sure who Veronica Mars is and why she wants to make a movie, let me break it down for you. There is this guy who created a television show a few years ago called Veronica Mars. That wasn’t his name, that was the name of the main character of the show.
His name is Rob Thomas. No, not the guy from Matchbox 20, the guy from Veronica Mars. He has written for a few other shows that teenage girls are into like the new 90210 and even Dawson’s Creek back in the day, but let’s stay focused here.
So this Rob Thomas, the one who created Veronica Mars, not the one who sang 3 a.m., launched a Kickstarter with the full support of the main stars of the show, including Kristen Bell. You may know her from the movie When In Rome, the video game Assassin’s Creed, or from her insanely adorable love of sloths.
I admit sloths are cute
I’m leading up to something here, trust me, don’t get too distracted by Kristen Bell’s love of sloths. You can come back to that later. Okay, you should come back to that later, but stick with me for a minute or two here.
The point I am getting at is this: Veronica Mars went off the air in 2007 after three marvelous seasons of a teenager girl who played detective in her spare time. The network just didn’t see the money in continuing the show or something. The fans, creators, and actors all still really loved the show and they wanted to make a movie based on the show for years.
So what did Rob Thomas do? He made the fans prove it. If they wanted it so bad, they would get a Veronica Mars movie. All they had to do was pony up the cash.
Guess what? They did it. By the time you read this, they will have easily surpassed their goal and we’ll get the movie sometime in 2014.
So what do I need to sell books? I need the overwhelming power of a dedicated fan base. How dedicated?
I want fans so dedicated that they would be mad at me 17 years after I quit
Listen, it took me over 17 years to learn to forgive Calvin & Hobbes Creator/Killer Bill Watterson. For ten long years this reclusive cartoonist dedicated time and energy in order to make the purist work of art he could get out of himself. He told the story that he wanted to tell and then he got out of the business. He refused to play along by the rules of the establishment. Watterson denied his fans the chance of reading the same joke for another 30 years and overpay for stuffed animals.
I just recently got over it. I mean, I still wish I had a stuffed Hobbes to give my daughter, but she will have to settle for one of the tigers from the Disney movies. There are a few of them, but I will try to stay focused for just a little bit longer here.
Photo Credit: Flickr user Gabriela Camerott
There is a point to this
Everyone who creates any kind of art for a living needs just one thing: a fan base who will support them. You may have heard of Kevin Kelly’s theory of 1,000 true fans. Don’t read that whole thing, it is long and boring unless you are an analytics geek. The basic principle is that an artist needs just 1,000 people who really care about their work in order to make a living. These are the people who will buy the extra super duper deluxe edition of whatever it is that you are working on. The number can vary depending on the project. You can’t make a movie with 1,000 fans unless each one has at least $2,000 each, but they only needed about 30k to make a movie! That is legit.
I don’t need to make a movie, I just want to write books. The only way I can do it is by making books so great that I have a dedicated fan base that will buy them all. That means I have to make every book count. After all, I might want someone to be mad at me for 17 years someday.