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What happens when Hollywood gets involved with a Kickstarter

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One word: nightmare.

From the good folks at TechDirt comes this telling story:

Warner Bros. Turns A Kickstarter Success Story Into A Flaming Mess With Proprietary Platforms And DRM
from the how-not-to-do-it dept

Almost exactly a year ago, we wrote about a rather encouraging development in filmmaking, highlighting the story of Warner Bros. film studio working out a deal with the producer and actors of the popular Veronica Mars TV show, that if they could prove demand for a film via Kickstarter, Warner Bros. would fund the rest of the film. Basically, Warner Bros. had been unconvinced that there was enough demand for a movie to finance it upfront. But, with tools like Kickstarter today, you can prove demand upfront, taking away a big part of the risk. And that's exactly what happened, as the project raised over the $2 million target very quickly, and eventually brought in $5.7 million. Part of what was interesting about this was it showed how movie studios could actually embrace crowdfunding as well, creating some interesting hybrid models that don't always involve some studio head deciding what people will and won't like.

The movie came out last week to very good reviews... but leave it to Warner Bros. to totally muck it up, screw over the goodwill from all those backers and scare people off from such future collaborations. That's because one of the popular tiers promised supporters that they would get a digital download of the movie within days of it opening. But, of course, this is a major Hollywood studio, and due to their irrational fear of (oh noes!) "piracy" they had to lock things down completely. That means that backers were shunted off to a crappy and inconvenient service owned by Warner Bros called Flixster, which very few people use, and then forced to use Hollywood's super hyped up but dreadful DRM known as UltraViolet.

The end result? A complete disaster for the film's biggest fans and supporters...<more>
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Does anybody here want to pretend they're surprised? :-\

Not one bit. Kickstarter should not be about established corporations, even though strictly speaking it wasn't them that started this campaign ... actress wanted the movie, etc.

Does anybody here want to pretend they're surprised? :-\

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I really wanted to but for some reason I don't think I could come up with something convincing enough to fool anyone here.

Does anybody here want to pretend they're surprised?
-40hz (March 17, 2014, 04:06 PM)
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Well, those Kickstarter backers sure seem surprised. But I don't know if any of them are here on DC, though.

* wraith808 raises hand
Not one of the surprised, but one of the backers.  I thought that perhaps since it wasn't a major motion picture release, and most of what they were putting up was PR and distribution, it might slip by.

silly me.


If Veronica Mars proves to be the thing that finally bring down Flixster and Ultraviolet, it will officially be the most successful Kickstarter campaign yet.

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...and another gem...

Hanlon's razor at work?

“I will not be supporting anything VMars related in the future, and may never support a similar Kickstarter project again.”

Given the studios really hate services like Kickstarter for providing creators means of funding that doesn't require them to sign all of their rights over, I have to wonder if part of what drove this latest disaster was an attempt at poisoning the well for other creators looking to get funding for their films, funding which, being crowdsourced, wouldn't come with tons of 'strings' other than 'provide backers, and others, with film when finished'.

A few bait-and-switch 'projects' like this, and you'd likely have a whole bunch of people swearing off movie/film kickstarter projects altogether(although a smarter move would be to do the same, but limit it to just studio-based projects).

It's either that, or just another indication that the major studios and those that run them are just as brain dead, and full of contempt for their 'customers' as ever I suppose.

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... and a laugh...

I love Ultraviolet, at least when included with Blu-ray combo packs. This means I get a Blu-ray copy for myself, a DVD copy to give to someone I like, and an Ultraviolet code to give to someone I secretly loathe. It looks like I'm giving them a gift, but they have to deal with Ultraviolet digital copies. I will never use an Ultraviolet code myself.

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Personally, the only reason I use it is because my TV and blu-ray player support it.  I'd never install that PoC on my computer...


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