Veronica Mars Fandom Interviews Part 1
Several weeks ago, we contacted Mark Thompson, the administrator of Neptune Rising, to interview Veronica Mars fans for a project we are developing about TV fans. We planned to release the interviews in the coming months, however, something BIG happened on March 13, 2013. Hopefully, you heard but if you haven’t…THERE IS GOING TO BE A VERONICA MARS MOVIE!!!!!!!
On March 13, Rob Thomas (not the musician) created a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $2 million needed to make a Veronica Mars movie. Not only did he reach his goal that day, he broke Kickstarter records by reaching the $1 million mark in under five hours!! We are still crying tears of joy. The show is very special to us. We’ve participated in campaigns, wrote an unofficial movie script, and introduced friends to the show, all the while hoping that one day the cast and creator would be allowed to properly end the story. Our dream came true on March 13 when all of the Marshmallows rallied together and helped fund film. We are so proud of the fans that we have to share these interviews with the world, and celebrate their determination to never give up.
Neptune Rising is a forum where active Veronica Mars have been gathering since 2007, however, before the site’s launch, fans were supporting the show in various ways. Mark Thompson describes the campaigns fans were involved with while the show was on the air and after its cancellation.
Neptune Rising didn’t come into existence until the third season cancellation. After the second season, it was almost cancelled but the fans came together and successfully campaigned to get us our third season. Some of those campaigns involved flying a plane banner around the CW headquarters supporting the show which was done by Cloudwatchers. There was also a campaign I believe called MissionMars that rented out a movie theatre and showed season one to create new fans and there were a few prominent websites most notably SaveVeronicaMars.tv which was later taken on by Neptune Rising from 2007 up to a few years ago when we let the domain go.
After the third season, the two prominent campaigns were VeronicaMarsMovie, which tried to get support for a movie, and Neptune Rising: The Veronica Mars Movement, which at first was created to be a place for various campaigns to come together but it eventually became a campaign for a Veronica Mars movie.
While trying to keep the show on the air, a campaign called Bars For Mars was started where the fans got together and sent Mars Bars, Snickers and Snickerdoodles to the CW which wasn’t successful since the show had been cancelled.
Neptune Rising: The Veronica Mars Movement was created by some of us fans that were on the CW Veronica Mars forum and we mobilized what fan base we could and started a letter writing campaign to the CW and then Warner Brothers. We’ve had campaigns where we sent Marshmallows to Warner Brothers, a Pay It Forward Campaign where we would “lend” out season one DVD’s and once they were watched, they would be passed on to someone else.
We also did a plane banner which flew around the Cincinnati Ohio area, we posted fliers around towns and college campuses with pull tabs with a link to our website and tried to have a presence on other social media sites such as MySpace, Facebook, LiveJournal and a few other various sites. To be honest I’m not sure I can remember everything we’ve tried to do.
Are the fans still supporting the show? If so, what are they doing?
There are still a lot of fans supporting the show but also a lot of fans who don’t campaign anymore. When Neptune Rising took over the campaigning for season three, most of the people who campaigned for season two quit campaigning because campaigning can take a lot of energy and they were willing to let new blood keep the fight going. [The folks I campaign with are] a lot of the people I campaigned with back when Neptune Rising started but I also know that if we do get our movie they will be in line to buy their tickets to see it. Just because they don’t have the time or energy to invest in campaigning doesn’t mean that they don’t support our efforts.
Our main effort now is on Twitter and we do what we call ‘Tweetathons’ where we pick a day and time to tweet for several hours about VM and the cast.
How do fans keep in touch?
Currently, we still have a forum at Neptune Rising which once was more or less campaign central but now we are mostly active on our Twitter account @NeptuneRising. We are also on Facebook where we are in the process of updating our page there.
Fandoms are influencing how TV networks measure a show’s success and viewership. If you could meet with the executives of a major TV network to discuss how they could better involve fandoms and leverage their potential, what would you say?
My experience with the networks was not that good. Whenever we dealt with them it seemed like they always gave us the runaround. For instance, we would call the WB and once you got transferred about a half a dozen times you would end up in someone’s voice mail box who never called you back or they would say call Joel Silver’s office, and Joel Silver’s office would say call Warner Brothers.
As for what I would say, I think I would say that I know that they are in a tough situation since they have to worry about rating numbers and revenue, plus angering fans but they shouldn’t just ignore us fans, especially since social media is becoming so powerful. We, the fans, would be willing to work with you to help make our shows more of a success if we are given the chance.
Back in 2007 when Veronica Mars was cancelled the DVR ratings weren’t counted like they are today which would have helped the show’s overall ratings. Also, social media was not utilized much in promoting shows like they are today, which is something that we would have been more than willing to help them with back then and maybe they would have been ahead of the competition if they would have bothered to talk to us.
Additional questions following the Veronica Mars movie announcement:
What was your reaction to the Kickstarter project?
I hadn’t heard anything about it until my son told me after [seeing it in] the news and I had to jump online to see what was going on. At the time I found out, there was a few hundred thousand dollars pledged but I was super excited and my email started to fill up but I had to do some running around and wouldn’t be able to get back online until later in the evening. I was totally shocked when I finally did because the goal had already been reached and surpassed. I think I was smiling for two days with the news.
How will the fans promote the film?
However we can. Right now, we’ll keep up our online presence and probably run some more contests and fun things, but we’ll also start getting the word out to friends and family that we got hooked on Veronica Mars who may not have heard the news and who isn’t online much if at all.
Right now that may just be it because a lot of the other campaigning will involve spending money that will probably be better used by sending it to the Kickstarter Project . Maybe down the road we might do another plane banner or two to help get the word out but we’ll have to see.
-Mary and Louise