Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire

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Life is not a zero-sum game: the VERONICA MARS movie and Kickstarter.

I'm just going to get this out of the way before I say anything else:


Ahem. Look, my cat is named "Lilly Kane," there's a signed poster hanging in my guest room, what do you want from me? I wear my geeky heart upon my sleeve. And now, on to the actual substantive post you may have hoped was hiding here. To whit:

Yesterday morning, Rob Thomas, creator of the show Veronica Mars and author of books such as Rats Saw God and Slave Day, announced a Kickstarter to make a Veronica Mars movie. The Kickstarter, which is still going, had a target of two million dollars, with reward levels starting for a $10 donation. Here's a link:

The Kickstarter raised its first million in four hours. Last night, I watched it click over the two million dollar mark. There was much rejoicing, because dude. Veronica Mars movie. I shrieked, I chair-danced, and all was right with the world...

...only not, because it turns out a lot of people are really perturbed by the fact that a movie which will have corporate backing (Rob Thomas is not the Veronica Mars intellectual property owner, which means Warner Brothers has to be involved) was asking for money on Kickstarter. Mind you, no one held a gun to my head and forced me to fund this project; no one forced me to sit here carefully considering the reward tiers and choosing the one which came with the most awesome swag. No one clicked the button for me. But somehow, my backing this movie has stolen projects from indie artists who really needed it.

And unto this do I say: bullshit.

The world is not a zero-sum game. Yes, if I have one dollar, and I give it to Sunil, I am not going to be able to give it to Vixy. But if I only have one dollar, I'm not giving it to anybody. I'm keeping it for myself, to live. I am an artist and a creator of art, and I know as well as anyone that art is a luxury: art is something that we pay for after we've paid for food and housing and heat in the winter and all the other things that keep our physical bodies going. Yes, I do believe that we need art to live, but that's a spiritual and emotional life, not a "I can no longer breathe because Fringe is off the air" life. They are different.

So let's say that I've paid for my necessities, my survival is assured, and I have a dollar to give to a super-deserving project. Obviously, if I give it to one person, I can't give it to anyone else (although I could give both people fifty cents, but I digress). And you know what? That experimental retelling of The Crucible with sock puppets probably needs my dollar more than the Veronica Mars movie. But I'm paying for my luxuries here. I'm paying for what I want. And what I want is to see Logan, and Veronica, and my fictional friends again. I miss them.

The Veronica Mars movie did not take my dollars away from "more deserving" projects, because no one gets to measure that but the person who holds the dollars. Me. And Sunil, and Chris, and Rae, and every other Veronica Mars fan I know. Rob Thomas did not violate the Kickstarter terms and conditions: I know, I checked. I am not somehow being rooked into paying for something that I will then have to pay for again: I chose a reward level that gave me enough stuff that I felt the price tag was justified (and they did a great job of balancing the rewards; $10 gets you a PDF of the script, and that's reasonable, if you're a fan of the show). Yes, I'll have to pay if I want to see the movie in the theater, but that's paying the theater, which has its own bills to take care of (and will feed me delicious popcorn).

Life is not a zero-sum game. Kickstarter is not a zero-sum game. The money I am willing to shake out of the couch cushions for Veronica Mars is not the money I am willing to shake out of the couch cushions for anything else. Living in a capitalistic society means I get to pay for what I want, and saying that it was tacky of Rob to even ask, when there was no better funding channel available, is missing the point.

You do not have to want what I want. No one does. But just like I don't get to say "the things you want are worthless and not worth wanting, come want this other thing instead," nobody gets to make that statement to me. And there is nothing that makes "I want two million dollars to make a movie of a TV show that the network canceled, that the studio won't fund, but that the fans adore" any more or less legitimate of a request than anything else. And "Well, what if the studios start holding your shows hostage?" doesn't scare me. I've been waiting to be able to pay for the things I love, to count directly with my dollars, not just as a shadow of a Nielsen household, for a long time.

It's not a zero-sum game. But it's a good one.
Tags: contemplation, media addict, too much tv

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