Surrounded by fans, “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas counted down the last hours of his record-breaking Kickstarter campaign Friday night in Austin at Dog & Duck Pub. Worldwide, 91,585 fans donated $5.7 million to The Veronica Mars Movie Project to fund a movie based on the TV show, and in Austin, hundreds of supporters gathered to cheer when the clock ran down to zero and the promise of a Mars movie became that much more real.
I went with a friend and took this video of his thank you speech, in which he is effusive and genuine in his gratitude. (Sorry for the weird movements; my arm got tired around the 2:10 mark.)
Thomas talked with fans for hours, shaking hands and posing for pictures and discussing all things “Veronica.” At one point, he asked the crowd trivia questions with the winners taking home Slave Rats caps. (Sample questions: Meg and Duncan’s baby was given two names — what were they? What was Veronica’s score on her Private Eye exam? What were Sheriff Lamb’s last words? Thomas referred to the latter as one of the “stupidest” things they ever did, presumably referring to the words.) Attendees also could take home Mars Investigations koozies, and the laminated “Neptune High School Cafeteria” menus the pub printed for the night were handy for autographs.
The biggest surprise was an appearance by Jason Dohring (LOGAN) who, bless him, stood patiently for hours, taking pictures and being amazingly sweet and attentive. (The line to meet him was long, y’all, and his eye contact once you got to shake his hand was jarring, I won’t lie. And the gal behind me in line had the best idea ever: She asked him to gaze at her for a picture. And he did:
The laid-back atmosphere was perfect for the event — just a bunch of fans gathering to celebrate accomplishing something impressive regarding something they all love. When I thanked Thomas for coming out and meeting with everyone, he laughed and said it was a job he didn’t mind — having people be nice to him for hours. No one was there to complain or tell him he sucks. We were there to thank him, and he was there to thank us. This kind of support and collaboration matters, and is game-changing, as Thomas told Wired: “I think it will be an important pioneer for a certain type of film. I’m not convinced that this will revolutionize how most movies get made, but I think there’s an opportunity now for projects that are similar to ours — that have some bit of public support behind it before they launch on Kickstarter … For something like ‘Veronica Mars,’ where there’s a bit of a cult following and people are really emotionally invested in it, I do think this is a new avenue. There is no other way that this movie was going to get made.”
Thomas promised one more thing Friday night: the wait for the movie won’t be long. Then the responsibility will be ours again: to go and see it. Several times.
Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.