With A Cup Of Coffee: March 10-16, 2013

reads headersHappy Saturday, all!  I’m currently sitting here admiring my view of the Philly skyline, sipping on some Caribou Coffee as the pets drape themselves on various pieces of furniture.  Who could ask for more?

Thankfully, though, I’m blessed with riches this morning, as I’m catching up on some of my favorite blogs and news from the week.  I hope you’ll take the time to check out what’s been “making us happy this week” (trademark NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour):

As many people who follow this blog probably heard, the six-years cancelled TV show Veronica Mars is making its to a movie theatre need you with the help of a wildly-successful Kickstarter crowdfunding venture (it raised its goal of two million dollars in a little over 10 hours).  There’s been a lot of rejoicing on the Interwebs for this project and impending return of these wonderful characters, not to mention the mob-mentality enthusiasm of being a part of A Little Engine That Could.

However, there’s been the inevitable backlash, too, criticism about not only how people should donate their money to some other worthy cause (this argument could then be applied to any superfluous purchase anybody makes ever, which is dumb), but how it sets a “dangerous precedent” for how movies and passion projects are made.  This position is a little easier to understand, since, yes, the $35 I donated does go into Warner Bros.’ bank account, which they’ve pledged to use on a Veronica Mars movie, though I have no real guarantee.  Plus, will I see a return on investment if the movie is profitable? No. (And, let’s be serious, even if Warner Bros. kicks in a few million to get the budget up to $5-10 million, there’s no way this is going to turn a profit for the studio.  It’s obviously a passion project for Rob Thomas, the creator, and Kristen Bell.)

I get that this could lead to a slippery slope: if this is moderately successful by some measure (positive buzz, possibly turning a profit), are you going to have Disney/Marvel launch a Kickstarter for Avengers 2, trying to squeeze some money out of the fans in the name of “better special effects” or a “crazier action sequence” or what have you?  It’ll be interesting to see.  The reason why I’m hopeful the Veronica Mars Kickstarter model will stay somewhat self-contained (perhaps to some of these buzzy, cult-following shows) is that Avengers 2 is going to happen regardless, and anybody would have to be an idiot to propose a Kickstarter for it, much less contribute to it.  A Veronica Mars movie, which they’ve tried for years to make, wasn’t going to happen via traditional pathways.

Plus, as a contributor and consumer, I am fully on-board with VM‘s creator’s perspective on this: I’m essentially pre-paying for my consumption of this movie.  At the $35 contribution level, I get a t-shirt (which I’m neither here nor there about, but there’s some monetary value there) and a digital download of the movie, which I would argue is worth at least $15 itself.  So I forked over a little bit more to get the film made; at least I’m getting some extra value out of it on the back-end too.

There’s also this very interesting piece by S.T. VanAirsdale which goes into how the rewards process works for Kickstarter projects, especially at this scale.

Anyway….yeah. A lot of my week has been following this story since I find it so interesting.  Here’re some other reads that I’ve enjoyed:

Melissa from Mouse on the Mind and Estelle from This Happy Place Blog do another round of Kill-Refurb-Marry at Walt Disney World, this time with the monorail resorts.

Estelle also discusses the very real problem of being…shall we say “attached”…to social media, and when it runs up against the very reason you’re going on vacation in the first place: to relax and enjoy the place you’re traveling to.  I definitely struggle with this myself, like, all the time!

Disney Hipster Adam covers “When You Wish Upon A Star” as they rope drop the Magic Kingdom!

Ooh, one of my fave TV shows, Gravity Falls, got a second season order yesterday. AW YEAH!

As some of you know, I’m a sucker for a good travel deal, and follow several different travel blogs.  Gary over at View From The Wing  tends to do a lot of reflection on the role and responsibilities of travel bloggers themselves (and how many of the big ones get significant referral kickbacks from travel-associated credit cards), and this piece on travel blogs as “thought leaders” in the travel industry is no different.  At some point (and some would argue, this has happened already), these blogs are going to expose too many good deals, reveal too many secret strategies, get too many people involved in the game to the point where loyalty program incentives will continue to decrease and “secret loopholes,” once exposed to the masses, will be shut down.  I’ve earned a lot of frequent flyer miles and hotel points via the advice of travel bloggers, enough to get two roundtrip tickets to Japan and Hawaii in the last two years (without signing up for one credit card!), so I’m curious to see how this sub-industry changes affects the travel companies over the next few years.

Lastly, thoughts from Corey Blake at Robot 6 about comics app Comixology and the concerns of participating in their cloud-based model.  Worth a read as the comics industry slowly and painfully transitions into the digital sphere.

Happy Saturday, everyone!