Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Have you got That Charitable Feeling? Part ii

Before I begin with today’s little snark, and yes, I do plan to rant, there is just one thing I’d like to clear up, and it, too, will be in the form of a snark, but, I guess I was right, so I suppose there’s some satisfaction to be had in that, at least.

Yes, I know I didn’t have that charitable feeling, and I know I was having a snark about the fact that we cannot turn around without being asked for money for something, and always, it seems, in aid of some good cause or another, and it’s not even as if I blame you... But this time I was asking, and you and I have a relationship... Or at least I thought we did.

I thought I gave good blog. I thought I was fair and reasonable in so far as I haven’t monetised my blog, and I’ve said that I won’t... not even for charity... I thought I was amusing about the old Twitter blogplugs. I’m pretty attentive, too; I try to comment on comments, and I always try to show how grateful I am for any interest you show in what I’ve said, whether you agree with my opinions or not. I’ve even tried to offer you the benefit of what little experience I might have had in this World, and I’ve talked about some pretty personal shit... And this is how you repay me!

The little call to charity I made to you all yesterday on behalf of the dort’s dance school floor was done somewhat tongue-in-cheek, of course it was, but the school is brand new, the dort is in the first intake year, Gareth Chown and Ben Davies, the guys in charge, are working bloody hard to put together a fully accredited course from scratch, and, together with a great bunch of teachers and some amazingly dedicated kids, they put on their first theatrical performance complete with staging, costumes an MC and several full houses only ten weeks into their first term. The floor only costs a grand! Thirty of you guys went to have a look at a dozen gorgeous kids shaking their stuff, but not one of you bothered to pledge a quid for their new floor. You tight bastards!

Yes, you should feel guilty. You don’t even have to pay the cash... not yet, at least, because if the school gets enough pledges a big business has offered to come in to help. All you’ve got to do is have a little faith and make a little promise. Go on... I dare you!

Here’s the PLEDGE PAGE again

and here’s another chance to SEE ADDICT DANCE ACADEMY dance. The dort's centre girl this time.

Right, until I see a bunch of new pledges on that site, you’re going to have to wait for the second half of this blog...

Serves you all right!

These are the dancers who'll benefit from the sprung floors by suffering fewer injuries to their joints. Huzzah!

And on the Subject of Charity... Veronica Mars?

So, here’s the update, and I feel so cheery I can’t tell you. For what it’s worth, I also feel just a tad embarrassed. Here’s what happens: You see, apparently, the pledge site updates pledges once a day, and, when I wrote the rant you just read, it hadn’t updated. I’d written yesterday’s blog and today’s inside twenty-four hours, so, for those of you who did pledge cash, and some of you did, those pledges hadn’t yet registered. 

They have now.

Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. To you, especially, and you know who you are. To those of you who didn’t pledge, go and do it, because if He can... There’s no bloody excuse why you didn’t. Do it... Go... This bit of the blog will still be waiting for you when you’ve done it, and think how wonderful you’ll feel about yourself.

That’s why there’s really no such thing as altruism: Because there’s always a benefit to doing good, even if it’s only feeling good about yourself.

Right... Veronica Mars!

I’ve been thinking long and hard about KickStarter. 

I sort of worry about it. 

I’ve been wondering whether it doesn’t fit into the category of begging and self-publishing and all those things that smack of not having the talent or the drive to get a job done properly by those qualified to do it.

With every new day that dawns I see a new KickStarter project being advertised on Twitter. Some of the early ones looked fascinating, inspiring even. I read quite a lot about Amanda Palmer’s foray into the thing, for example, and was thoroughly impressed. Of course, it’s not hard to be impressed by La Palmer.

I’m an odd fish in some ways. I can be extraordinarily spontaneous, and I can be a real risk taker. I also speak my mind freely. On top of the immediacy of those traits, I’m an unusual sort shopper, and bear with me, because this is going somewhere. 

I visit a boutique in the town where I live, owned and run by a family. They stock both men’s and women’s clothes, and the husband and I both shop there. The husband will go in, choose what he likes, and be guided by Ryan or Gary, try on some stuff, and pay for what he likes. I go in and look around and have a chat with Janie. I don’t try anything on. I come back a few days or a week or two later and go around again, maybe pulling out a coat hanger or two, and chatting some more, and Janie or Gary might suggest something. I go away again. This might happen three or four times. Eventually, I’ll go in, and I’ll start saying that I like things. Gary or Ryan might put a few things in a dressing room for me. Another couple of visits and I might start to buy. I might buy the last of that season’s clothes that I liked in a sale three or four years later. I might end up with a dress in two or three different sizes if it stays in the stockroom for long enough. I’ve got dresses that I’ve been wearing for twenty years. I take my time, but I’m loyal.

I’m taking my time with KickStarter. Amanda Palmer made it look like a viable proposition, and she made it look good. The problem is that she, and people like her, started to make it look too good, and then every Tom, Dick and Harry crept out of the woodwork with their increasingly lame ideas, and what faith I had begun to develop in KickStarter began to waver... badly.

Then, along comes Veronica Mars... I ask you?

Veronica Mars was all very well. I rather enjoyed it. It wasn’t great, but it was decent enough. If it had been truly great it would have transcended the thing that ended it, which was, I suppose, uprooting the original premise, time- and location-wise. Veronica Mars, the character got too old and too sophisticated, and that was the end of that. Also, it was telly... It was pretty decent telly, but it was really only telly. Do we really want a movie of that stuff?

Do we really want movies of re-hashed, re-made, sequel-ed-up-the-ying-yang anything? That’s what The Man wants to give us. I thought Kickstarter was supposed to be for independents, for real people with real ideas, who were sick of The Man, and who wanted to give us something new, something different, something special.

Was I wrong?

I don’t know... I seem to be wrong about so many things, these days, that I can't even tell any more... 

Please advise.


  1. Kickstarter has got some good propositions on it, viable businesses and idea that should be at the very least considered by those who would be the end user.

    Saying that, there are plenty that are downright stupid and awful, and others that are simple cons or jokes that people have put up.

    The Veronica Mars film... I was never a fan of the show but I can understand why people would want it, its the same reason why people want more Firefly or how so many remakes, reboots and *ahem* "re-imaginings" of old shows and films keep get made.

    They want more of the 'Old Familiar', to see where the character went from where the show left off, they want the teen drama to be come an adult one. They just want more of what they like. And Kickstarter is letting them do just that!

    However, like all things, it can and probably will go horribly wrong and the script, cast or final production will fail to impress, resulting in the whole project rating as one of Kickstarters biggest failures. That oh so important 'human factor' when it comes to grand projects.

    Kickstarter is just a tool, not a magic wand that grants wishes, and this project will be one of a few that will define the crowd-funding model in years to come. No matter how the project turns out, the entertainment industry itself will be watching this project with great interest.

  2. Kickstarter - or any crowdfunding site (there are a few, though Indiegogo's the only one I remember the name of) isn't a seal of quality. Kickstarter makes it clear to backers (if you read their guidelines) that it's up to the backer to do the diligence and become confident that the creators can do what they're claiming. They also require the creators to be up front about the risks involved, and they encourage the creators - not publicity people, but the actual developers/organisers - to front any videos or explanatory materials. There's nothing wrong, to me, with anyone creative suggesting any product. They just have to convince people that they're capable of doing it.

    I'm not entirely sure what the definition of 'indie' is, but I imagine that it means that someone with a history in the industry (published authors, musicians with studio albums, etc.) also has to convince the backers that they can't get backing from the industry for whatever their project is. In the cases of these popular intellectual properties - I've seen suggestions that Kickstarter could fund a Serenity 2 or Dredd 2 - the industry interest isn't there because Serenity and Dredd didn't make enough money at the box office. Presumably the industry interest depends on profit, not just breaking even.

    Kickstarter, by encouraging backers to get involved, and by encouraging creators to set reward levels for their backers, promotes the idea that there's value in taking part and making something possible, and that it's better for the creators to only just meet their costs and for everyone to have a good time and feel part of the process than for the creator to treat this as a way to make money. The feeling of the site seems to be to enrich many lives rather than making a few lives rich. And I quite like that.