Reaching Our First Goal! Why We Have To Keep Going! Plus: a sneak peek at the Official Poster!
Dear MST3K Revival Leaguers,
This update has been a lot harder to write than I imagined it would be.
It's also turning out to be a lot longer than I imagined it would be, so if you don't wanna read the whole thing, here are the most important bits:
- We're 40% of the way to making twelve new episodes of MST3K!
- You beat the 24-Hour Challenge in just 12 HOURS: 3 classic episodes unlocked!
- But, if we don't reach $5.5M, this could still be the last MST3K ever!
- We've got 23 DAYS LEFT to help #BringBackMST3K for good!
- PLUS: your first look at the OFFICIAL Campaign Poster!
There's your Executive Summary.
Now, if you wanna read the full update experience, buckle up and let's get started.
First, if you didn't already hear, here's the really big headline:
At 8:42pm on Monday night – less than a week after we launched our Kickstarter to #BringBackMST3K – we passed our first goal.
That means two important things:
1. Thanks to you, there will be at least three new episodes of MST3K.
2. You beat the 24 HOUR CHALLENGE and unlocked the first BONUS REWARD!
If you're just joining us, that means that any backer who pledges $35 or more will also get a "THANK YOU" collection of 3 classic episodes to download and keep – a retail value, as the man on the TV says, of $30! (And don't worry, I'll pick some good ones for you.)
So actually, I guess that part of the update wasn't so difficult to write.
This next part is harder.
We've reached such an important moment, and what you've done is so incredible that it feels like I should have something big and inspirational to tell you, like a Gettysburg Address of MST3K. But, you know, I don't really think I'm an Abraham Lincoln/Tony Robbins/Eckhart Tolle kind of guy.
The last 36 hours have been pretty overwhelming. I've felt:
- Grateful that we have so many friends who care enough to fight for MST3K,
- Bewildered (but happy!) to realize how much MST3K has meant to so many of you,
- Relieved that we'll get to make at least three new episodes of MST3K next year,
- Excited that we're adding a new chapter to the long, strange story of MST3K,
- Hungry… but you know, I should probably just eat something and that will go away,
- Anxious that we might run out of steam before we get a full 12-episode season, and
- Worried that if that happens, these might be the last new MST3Ks ever.
With all of those emotions jumbling around, it's been hard to get a clear head and write the update it feels like you deserve. It's also sort of an awkward new challenge for me: trying to have fun with you and be heartfelt.
When we started MST3K, I never thought the job would mean that I'd have to be emotionally available. I just wanted to make a show!
But this is a special occasion, so I'll get a little "gooey" and serious.
Just don't expect it to happen often, okay?
On Monday night, you made Mystery Science History.
In fact, if you're reading this, you were probably one of the 18,328 friends who helped us reach that first goal. If you were: Thank You! Hello! Thank You!
I'm so glad you showed up in time to share this moment with us. I'm also really pleased that you'll be with us for all of the fun things that happen next.
The story of MST3K has been going for almost thirty years, but now – thanks to you – we're finally getting to throw out the ending that we’ve been stuck with for fifteen years, and start writing the next big chapter.
I've been reading all of your comments and tweets, and it's really fun to see you celebrating this moment together. The whole thing is really just amazing and humbling.
But wait! Before you crack open the Hamdingers and/or bust out the celebratory ramchips, I need to tell you: I'm even more nervous now than I was when we first launched our Kickstarter. In all of the excitement, maybe it feels like we've won -- but the truth is that the future of MST3K depends on what happens next.
So this next part is really, really important:
If we slow down now, this could still be the end of MST3K.
So far, we know that we'll be able to make three new episodes… but the most important goal of this Kickstarter was never to make a final three episodes, or six, or even twelve.
From the beginning, the goal has been to raise the $5.5 million we'll need to bring MST3K back for a full season and to send a message that tells those conference tables full of executives that you want MST3K back for good – and that you're willing to fight for it!
If we want Mystery Science Theater 3000 to keep going in the not-too-distant future, we need the world to know that this Kickstarter isn't about giving MST3K a few new episodes and a new ending: it's about giving MST3K a few hundred new episodes and a new beginning.
To do that, we need to make sure those executives understand that three, or six, or even twelve episodes isn't enough, and that if they invest in creating more seasons of MST3K, the fans will be there to support it.
If we can't fund these twelve episodes, how can we convince a network that they should fund another twelve seasons?
But maybe you're thinking, "Joel, we raised $2 million in a week! Isn't that enough proof to convince them?"
And if you are, here's where I tell you something I haven't shared yet.
This summer we met with a lot of high-powered agents to discuss all of the ways we could #BringBackMST3K, and I told all of them the same thing:
"I don't want to do this unless we can do it right. We can't just sell MST3K to someone who doesn't get it... But I know our fans are still out there, and I know they'll understand. And if they do, they'll help us bring MST3K back the right way."
And guess what? Almost every single one of those agents said the same thing:
"Crowdfunding will never work. Fans just don't have that kind of power."
(You know, even the nice ones warned that we would be able to reach $2MM and make a few episodes, but guaranteed that there weren't nearly enough of you to raise $5.5MM, or to bring MST3K back for good.)
I think they were underestimating you. They think I'm delusional. I guess we're about to find out who's right!
Our Kickstarter page makes it look like we're above our goal, but here's the cold, hard truth:
We're only 40% of the way to our real goal: $5.5M and 12 full episodes.
After our first week, I'm more sure than ever that we can get there… but I'm also afraid that it could be harder than you think. I've been warned that this is where crowdfunding starts to get really tough, because a lot of people will think we've "succeeded," and that we don't need them anymore.
New people who haven't heard about the project might discover it, see that we've raised more than our minimum goal, and think we're done… and if that happens, we are done!
Now, the good news:
We've still got 23 days left to show the networks that we deserve their help to #BringBackMST3K for good!
If we keep going, I know we'll make it – but we can't keep going without your help. That's why it's more important than ever to KEEP CIRCULATING THE URL, and to help explain why we're still going.
I know I'm asking a lot, but I believe that if any fans have the power to bring a show back from the dead, it's Mystery Science Theater fans. You've done something wonderful in our first 8 days. I hope you'll stick with us for these last 23.
Oh, one more thing. Before I go, I also want to keep the promise I've been making for the last couple updates and share something pretty neat that we've been working on here at #BringBackMST3K Headquarters.
SNEAK PEEK: The Official #BringBackMST3K Poster!
If you own any of the great MST3K boxed sets that Shout Factory puts out, you've probably noticed the really wonderful mini-posters that are included for each episode.
If you haven't, here are just a few examples:
All of these wild and wonderful posters – and there are almost 100 of them so far! – are the creations of a terrific artist named Steve Vance. He's been so important to MST3K's growth and proliferation over the last seven years, with his style, composition and unique brand of hilarity.
Just like the Grateful Dead had Kelley/Mouse studios, I'm proud that we have Steve Vance. He's a wonderful, imaginative guy, and not just a hired gun. He loves our show too, and I'm happy to report that he's agreed to help us – along with some other killer artists, who I'll tell you about later this month – by doing visual development and concept art for the new show!
Anyway, when I started trying to figure out some cool rewards for our Kickstarter, Steve was one of the first people I thought about. His work is so great, even at small sizes, that we're planning to use some of the best posters on the COLLECTIBLE POSTCARDS reward. But I also really wanted to see what Steve could come up with for our full-size OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN POSTER.
It's not finished just yet, but I think it's a perfect start:
Steve is still hard at work finishing this, so I think we'll have a full-color version to show you in another week or two – but if your pledge level doesn't include Steve's poster, you might wanna upgrade to grab one while you can. We'll only ever offer this as part of the Kickstarter campaign, so this will be your only chance to grab one.
Plus, it just looks super cool.
That's enough updating for now, but I'll have some big news to share tomorrow morning about this year's MST3K TURKEY DAY MARATHON. We've got some fun things planned for you and your family on Thanksgiving, so be sure to leave some room on your plate for us – and remember that you can still send fan mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for us to share on screen and online during the marathon!
I'm also working on another update answering a bunch of questions we're getting about all of the REWARD PACKAGES, so look for that soon too.
Until then, thanks again for everything you're doing, and...
KEEP CIRCULATING THE URL!
Cheers and Thanks,
Tom Servo, viral video vigilante, reporting for service. Good work unlocking that BONUS REWARD. If you keep going like this, I bet Joel will add some more free stuff before the month is over. (He better: Papa needs a new pair of shoes.)
While you're waiting, help me make sure I don't ever have to get a real job.
Post one of these to Twitter & Facebook right now:
- We've met our first goal, but need to keep going if we want to #BringBackMST3K for good! @JoelGHodgson explains why: http://bit.ly/mst3k-update6
- Some people think fans don't have the power to #BringBackMST3K. 23 days left to hit our final goal & prove them wrong. http://bit.ly/mst3k-update6
- First art for #BringBackMST3K rewards revealed. See a preview of @SteveVanceArt's astonishing poster now! http://bit.ly/mst3k-update6