Kickstarter is the new hot thing these days, with high-profile projects from people like Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and Scrubs actor Zack Braff making headlines with projects on the crowdfunding site. One questions that’s been asked quite a few times is simply this: Why should I give some famous person my hard-earned money to make their thing when I’m not going to profit from it myself? Of course, your pledge will get you goodies ranging from the banal to the extravagant, but it’s a vaild point. Ultimately, the only reason to donate to a Kickstarter project is if you are excited about it and you want to help make it happen. In that spirit, here’s one for your consideration: a new science fiction series based on David Gerrold’s Star Wolf novels.
The Star Wolf Kickstarter was launched by executive producer David C. Fein, an industry veteran who has worked on genre DVD releases such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition, ALIENS: Special Edition, The Abyss: Special Edition, and The ALIEN Legacy. David Gerrold is obviously on board, as is his fellow Star Trek veteran D.C. Fontana. Between the two of them, they’ve worked on some of the biggest science fiction shows of the past few decades, including multiple iterations of Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, and J. Michael Straczynski’s Babylon 5. Gerrold is probably best known for writing the classic Trek episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Needless to say, they know a thing or two about quality sci-fi TV.
The first four scripts for Star Wolf have already been written, comprising the first story arc for the series…assuming it is funded and successful enough to get that far. Design work on the ships and creatures of the Star Wolf universe has already been sorted out. As of right now, the project has tallied up $26,884 of a $650,000 goal. That might sound like a lot, but given how reliant a series like this is on convincing visuals and special effects, that’s pretty reasonable. Here’s how a theoretical long-term plan for the series would break down:
When our Kickstarter campaign makes the initial $650K, we will go into production on our first episode. Every additional $500K will fund an additional episode. If we reach our goal of $2.2 million, we’re doing the entire story arc. If we beat that goal, we’re going to continue for as many episodes as you support.
You can find out more details over at the official Star Wolf Kickstarter page. In the meantime, here’s the project’s “mission statement”:
But why are we launching our new show here on Kickstarter?
Because the old way of doing things doesn’t work any more — and not at all for science fiction.
Star Trek: The Original Series got cancelled because NBC executives didn’t understand what they had. Firefly got cancelled because Fox executives didn’t understand what they had. Babylon 5 was cancelled because the network executives didn’t understand what they had. Even a profitable series can be cancelled if the numbers don’t work for the accountants. And anything less than three million viewers isn’t considered enough.
But even a million committed viewers are more than enough to make any show profitable — if we leave out the obsolete distribution system and go directly from the producers to the audience.
Advances in video technology make it possible to match the quality of high-level production. Removing the overhead of a major studio from the equation, reduces the costs of production. You don’t have to spend 1.5 million dollars per episode. The same high level of quality is now achievable for $650K. We’re already seeing that in other NewMedia productions. The time has come for a breakthrough science fiction adventure — one that doesn’t have to please the accountants, only the audience.