About this project
- DEC 10: MST3K's Next Big ... CAMEOS!
- DEC 9: MST3K's Next Big ... ARTISTS!
- DEC 9: MST3K's Next Big ... WRITERS!
- DEC 9: WE'RE AT $4.4MM = 9 NEW EPISODES
- DEC 8: MST3K MIMOBOTS® & REWARD UPGRADES
- DEC 7: FINAL COUNTDOWN WEEK & TELETHON
DEC 6: MORE ABOUT THE NEW EPISODES
• What will the new episodes look like?
• Will the new episodes be in HD? (And why does it matter?)
• What kinds of movies will the new episodes riff on?
- DEC 4: ADD-ON REWARDS & EXCLUSIVES
- DEC 2: WE'RE AT $3.3MM = 6 NEW EPISODES!
- NOV 30: PATTON OSWALT JOINS MST3K
- NOV 28: SECOND BIGGEST FILM KICKSTARTER EVER!
- NOV 23: THE NEXT MAD, CROW & SERVO
- NOV 18: THE OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN POSTER
- NOV 16: THE NEXT HOST
NOV 12: ANSWERS TO 5 BIG QUESTIONS
• Exactly how Joel will use the Kickstarter funds..
• Why the old cast and writers haven't signed on... yet.
• Why a new cast is so important for the next season!
Hello, People of Earth.
Welcome! I'm Joel Hodgson.
Once upon a time, a television series called MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 was born. We debuted on Minneapolis' KTMA, local television, on Thanksgiving Day 1988, as the world was in the final throes of Teddy Ruxpin-mania. That was almost thirty years ago, but for some reason, people still seem to like the show – it’s a mitzvah!
Our show has had a long, strange run. Across a UHF channel, a cable network, cancellation, a feature film, then another cable network, the show lasted for 12 years, two generations of hosts and puppeteers, 2 Emmy nominations and a total of 197 episodes before we got canceled again for good in 1999. Sadly, it was just as Prince predicted.
But maybe that's not where it all ends.
Starting today, we finally get a chance to bring back MST3K.
With your help, we can create a new season of MST3K, prove there's still an audience, and maybe even convince a network to bring us back for more.
The simplest answer is that there are a lot of cheesy movies left to riff, and a lot of people who would still enjoy watching them with us.
Plus, I think there's a place for us. Nowadays, riffing is everywhere! Many people claim that MST3K created a shift in the way people watch TV shows, and that now, as a result, the fields of entertainment have been plowed and readied for a riffing renaissance.
I mean, look at the influence it’s had... Everyone riffs on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Hell, there are ten to twelve people who are still, unironically, riffing on MySpace and Friendster.
In a world where riffing has become as common as our national pastime, baseball, it makes sense: like baseball, everyone knows how to play, but sometimes it feels good to just sit back and watch the original movie riffing team take a whack at it. And if we came back, imagine all the riffs we could make about things like Uber or Cards Against Humanity!
Also, there’s a pile of scriptural evidence in whichever sacred text that you hold dear to prove that we need more seasons of MST3K… so when you share on social media, you know you’re not going to offend anybody.
You know, I just read that last sentence... and actually, I’m pretty sure you’re going to offend everybody. But at least you can rest assured that you’ll offend everyone equally.
We do, and here's why: I think it's because MST3K is more than just movie riffing. It's a stranger and denser recipe than just saying smart aleck things to a forgotten movie, but I think this is the secret ingredient: we believed that it's easiest to survive the cheesy movie that we're living in with friends who keep us from taking it all too seriously.
Now, I don’t want to get too maudlin about it, because being too serious is the enemy of comedy. We weren't trying to send a message: job #1 was always to make a funny show. But while we were doing that, I hope we also helped show the kids that society, and the stupid things we say and do to each other, are "just a show, and you should really just relax.”
Yeah, this is what I was afraid of. Now I’m starting to sound like the Dr. Bronner's label. Next question?
The simplest answer is: until now, we couldn't bring MST3K back.
I've been thinking about ways to re-animate MST3K for over a decade... and over the last 15 years, I've met thousands of you who said that you wanted MST3K back too. But two things have finally changed that make this the right time. And I'm not talking about the legalization of marijuana or the proliferation of water jet pack use.
1. Crowdfunding gives fans the power to get what they want.
In less than two years, I've watched fans use crowdfunding to bring back Veronica Mars, Reading Rainbow and Super Troopers – all cult favorites, like us – and it made me wonder how MSTies would respond if we had the chance to return. Now we're going to find out… and then maybe LeVar Burton can finally stop acting like he’s so much better than us.
2. We had to work through some complicated legal issues.
Even though we've always wanted to bring MST3K back, it wasn't that easy. Thanks to the Last Will and Testament of one eccentric old heiress, the rights were tied up for years. It took time to work those issues out, but with the help of my friends at Shout Factory, a special chokehold I perfected in WuDang that I like to call “The Persuader,” and a night I had to spend in a haunted house as a term of the the old lady’s will, we succeeded.
This summer, we finally got all of the rights cleared up… and now, like Orpheus, we can now descend into hell to hang out with a couple of wisecracking robots.
Now we're talking!
Our Kickstarter campaign has two really important goals.
As soon as we reach our minimum goal of $2,000,000, we'll be able to make three new feature length episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. But then, for each additional $1.1 million we raise, we can make three more... up to a full season of 12 episodes!
(If you're wondering why new episodes cost so much – especially the first three – keep going down the page to "HOW WE'LL USE YOUR MONEY," or take a look at the Backer Update where I explained the budget in detail.)
Here's a simple diagram to help you remember our goals:
If we can raise even more than that, I'd love to shoot some (or all) of the new season LIVE in front of an audience – and maybe even stream the show live on the internet! (Oh yeah: I just saw your eyes light up.)
Finally, if we raise $1 BILLION – stay with me on this one – we’re going to adopt a real live teenage boy and “Truman Show” him into believing he is the Pumaman!
Hear us out, because this goal is just as important: we're not just crowdfunding because we need funding.
We're also doing it because we need the crowd!
If we want a lot more MST3K, we need to work together to prove that there's still an audience out there that wants MST3K – and that this isn't all some pitiable delusion – so that we can find a network or online platform who will agree to pick up the show and keep it going… hopefully for another 200+ episodes.
Even if you can only spare $5 or $10, every extra backer helps us send a message to the networks: it's time to #BringBackMST3K.
Okay. It's time for me to put away the grease gun and give you your marching orders.
If any of this rings true to you, we need your help now to spread the word. Back in the day, every episode of MST3K ended with a message that encouraged fans to “Keep Circulating the Tapes.” And you guys did.
Those grassroots efforts helped MST3K find friends and fans at a time when the rest of show business didn’t quite know what to make of us. It was social media in its most primitive form... and because of you, it worked.
Today's, it's time to update that phrase for the internet age. If you're with us, this is your call to action, MSTies.
Listen, I know this Kickstarter idea isn’t for everyone. Neither was Mystery Science Theater 3000. But just like MST3K itself, I know the right people will get it.
Thanks for reading. I hope you'll join us.
Dear People of the Internet,
Welcome to my first-ever Official Crow-Funding Campaign. Tee Hee!
As #1 Golden Shiny Boy Champion, I need a place to shine bright and inspire. I want to be a part of your life again, serving in both a wind-beneath-your-wings and an ASRM capacity. You know you still want me, baby, but allow me to tell you why.
- First, I like POP! Figures. I intend to roll most of the money into Funko stock. Plus a few hat parties.
- Also, I’d like to open up a long-overdue public dialogue on Cee-Lo Green and his fashion choices.
- Then, I plan on turning at least a thousand dollars’ worth of funds into pennies, which I will press into elongated souvenir coins at theme parks and fairs.
- Finally, if you are still undecided, I ask you to consider this: after years of waiting, I will finally get to decide who lives and who dies. You don’t want to be on the wrong list, do you?
I look forward to your loyal service in the many years of the New Golden Age to come.
Your Future Supreme Being,
Crow T. Robot
I'm pleased to be with you again. It's been too long. Now that we're about to be a huge crowdfunding hit, I've got a few things I'd like to discuss with you.
It turns out that the last 15 years have been kind to our legacy: we're famous now. And not internet famous, either. Real famous. I have lots of female fans.
Angelina, Scarlett, and many women named Madison: I've got parts in the new show with your names on them. You can come over and we can run lines in my bungalow, and I’ll make us a curry. Then if things get “consensual,” so be it.
I’ll also pretty much be the “troubleshooter” on this Kickstarter campaign, because I understand how you think and I’m a master of social media. My god: you do realize that I’m the uncredited creator of both memes and avatars?
I’M ALSO THE FIRST SENTIENT BEING TO TYPE A MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS.
What are you waiting for? Get out to the Kickstarter polls and start voting.
Hey everyone. It's Joel again.
Look, I know what you're wondering, so go ahead… just say it.
Believe me, man. I get it. If it cost $2 million just to make three episodes, we'd be spending almost $700K per show! And you're right: by itself, an episode of MST3K doesn't cost nearly that much.
The real explanation is pretty simple.
1. We don't get to keep all of the money we raise on Kickstarter!
CAMPAIGN FEES: Out of the first $2,000,000, we have to pay about 8% – that's $160,000 – in fees to Kickstarter and the credit card processor.
- REWARD & SHIPPING COSTS: Then, we have to design, produce, print, sort and ship all of the rewards we're offering in exchange for your pledge. (Those t-shirts aren't free, you know!) That costs about 27%, so that's another $540,000.
- (We're not charging you twice for shipping, I promise. Even though Kickstarter asks you to add more for shipping, they count that money toward the total we've raised, even though we still have to spend it on, you know… shipping!)
- So, out of the first $2,000,000 we raise, we have to spend $700,000 just on the costs of this Kickstarter campaign!
2. Then, we have to spend a lot on startup costs just to get the show going.
To shoot new episodes, there's a lot we'll need to do: creating concept art and designs, building sets, making models, creating costumes, adding new features to upgrade the robots, and all sorts of other things. All of that work costs money, which is why our first $2,000,000 includes $550,000 for startup costs. The good part is that every penny of that ends up on screen where you can see it.
3. But... the more episodes we make, the less each episode costs!
We have to spend the same amount up front, no matter how many episodes we make. If we only make 3 episodes, these costs increase the budget for each episode by $183K… but if we make a full 12, they only increase it by $46K each!
Anyway, once you take out the CAMPAIGN, REWARD and STARTUP COSTS, there's a lot less than $2,000,000 left. In fact, that leaves just $750K for three episodes, which – I hope – sounds a lot more reasonable than $2,000,000!
At the end of the day, our goal is to make each episode for around $250K.
To put that in perspective, that means we're spending less to create 90 minutes of MST3K than even the low-end reality shows spend to make 22 minutes! (Really makes ya think, don't it?)
Now, if you're as tired of reading as I am of writing, here are some wicked cool graphics that explain all of this:
I know not everyone will want this much explanation, but if I'm asking you to trust me with your money, I think it's important to be crystal clear about how we're using it.
Plus, $750K for each set of three episodes feels a lot better than $2,000,000.
(But man, I'd hate to try to sell a car to you people. Tough crowd!)
Hopefully by now, you're already on board. Maybe you're not even reading this. Maybe you've already made your contribution, selected your rewards, and are now rushing around the internet helping spread the good word to all of your MST3K-deprived friends!
But if you're still on the fence, maybe I can make it easier for you.
Personally, I think the most compelling reason to help out is that you want to see new episodes of MST3K… and not just for you. Think of the friends and family who you can finally introduce to the new MST3K: the one with a fresh new cast, fresh new riffs, and zesty new cheesy movies!
On the other hand, let’s not any of us forget: this is Kickstarter. I know that you know that that’s gonna mean some cool rewards for helping us out. And for a show that’s never really been about cool merch...I think we’ve finally got some!
UPDATE! We've gotten a lot of questions asking exactly what's included with each package, so we've put together another helpful little chart:
You can see all of the rewards on the right side of the page, but here are a few highlights:
Become... Part of MYSTERY SCIENCE HISTORY!
All backers – no matter what you pledge – will be invited to join the new MST3K Information Club. (It's like the old MST3K Info Club, only better. And modern. And more exclusive. And wider in the hips.) Over the next year, we'll invite you to help us rediscover MST3K and get it oiled up and running smoothly. You'll be part of the process!
Read... Our Page-Turning Insider Updates
We don't just want to take your cash and walk away: we want to take your cash and talk away! Most Kickstarter projects promise "exclusive behind-the-scenes updates," but this time, I mean it: I've already started planning things I want to share with you. It'll be like getting email from me, Crow and Servo for at least a year.
Possess... Amazing, Terrifying, Heart-Warming New MST3K Swag
Before the end of the campaign, we'll start sharing the designs we're planning for some of the #BringBackMST3K swag you can get, including the OFFICIAL T-SHIRT ($50+), OFFICIAL MUG ($75+), OFFICIAL KEYCHAIN ($100+), OFFICIAL POSTER ($150), and many more. We've got several amazing artists working on this stuff. I can't wait for you to see it.
Take Control.... of the New Episodes!Bringing back MST3K isn't enough power for you? Great! For real high-rollers, we're offering all sorts of ways to be part of the episodes themselves. You can…
- Steal the hearts of millions when you... APPEAR IN AN EPISODE!
- Throw your weight around and… BECOME A PRODUCER!
- Kickstart your new riffing career and… HELP WRITE AN EPISODE!
- Immortalize your favorite inside joke with… A PERSONAL RIFF!
Own and Command... Your OWN Robot Friend!
This one is difficult for me, but I want to make sure this Kickstarter succeeds, so I'm willing to make the sacrifice: a very limited number of you can KEEP THE ACTUAL CROW and/or SERVO FEATURED IN A NEW EPISODE! They'll record a personalized video for you, and then we'll ship them off to your doorstep. When we're done shooting.
1. FOLLOW "@MST3K" ON ALL OF OUR SOCIAL CHANNELS.Be sure to follow our official accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Ask your fellow MSTies to follow them too! Tell them that those numbers have a really big impact when we start asking networks to #BringBackMST3K for more new seasons.
2. CIRCULATE THE MESSAGES AT THE END OF EACH UPDATE. At the end of each Backer Update, Crow or Servo will share a message or image that you can copy and paste to share with your friends, to help spread the word.
3. KEEP CIRCULATING THE FACTS… NICELY! I know there are still some fans out there who are skeptical about this Kickstarter, about why MST3K costs so much money and how we'll spend it, about bringing in a third cast, about who is and isn't going to be involved… So, like they say on the subway, "If you see something, say something!" If you hear fans insisting that $2MM is more than we need to make three episodes, or that the old team isn't invited back, I hope you'll share the facts with them. (Please be nice, though! The internet needs a lot more of that.)
4. JOIN (OR START) A LOCAL MST3K MEETUP GROUP.
The internet is great, but sometimes riffing is even better when you can meet old (and new) friends in person! There are already a lot of MST3K groups on meetup.com, but if there's not one near you, start one now and invite your friends! We've got some events planned for this month, and we'll be calling on all the local groups to be part of them.
As long as we have the funds we need, we'll be able to produce new episodes. That part is easy! But over the last month, I've had lots of time to think about all the possible risks and challenges MST3K could face...
MAYBE THE WORLD HAS CHANGED!
MST3K has been away for a long time. YouTube didn't even exist when we shot the last episode of MST3K. (Yes, Virginia, there was a world before YouTube. People laughed more back then. Colors were brighter. There were concerts in the park.)
I've imagined many hypothetical risks:
- What if no one enjoys watching B-movies anymore?
- What if you don't want us talking while you do?
- What if there is an unknown virus that has killed mankind's ability to enjoy a good solid ironic viewing?
- What if kids playing in “Garry’s Mod” on Twitch have made the whole thing meaningless?
- What if robot-shaped puppets don’t have the overwhelming cultural significance they once did?
- What if our collective consciousness can’t take the excitement, and the entire world becomes a flash mob, and we all steal our own TVs?
- What if all eight billion people on the planet become a single “Improv Everywhere” troupe, but don’t have anyone left to surprise?!?
As you can see, this whole endeavor is fraught with risks.
Risks and challenges
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