How to save ‘Shadowhunters’ (for reals)
Listen up and gather close, Shadowfam – it’s time to get a game plan together.
Ever since Freeform announced the cancellation of Shadowhunters, its fandom has worked tirelessly to see their cherished show saved from the chopping block. The ongoing #SaveShadowhunters campaign has seen pedicabs circling the SDCC, banners flying over Netflix headquarters, ads in Times Square, and a victorious turn at this year’s People’s Choice Awards, the results of which carry the same message: the fight isn’t over.
While the Shadowfam keeps on truckin’ like a group of valiant demon hunters, there’s hope we will see Shadowhunters continue past the bare minimum Freeform has offered. We’ve been talking a lot about the significance of the show, why it deserves to continue, and why it’s a travesty that no one has snapped it up yet, which is why we’ve decided it’s time for the fans to take matters into their own hands. You want the show back? Let’s make it happen, Shadowfam.
A new inspiration
Thanks to the internet, fandoms have more power than ever before. Instead of accepting our fate when one of our favorite TV shows gets axed, we can use social media as a way to launch unique campaigns to ensure their storylines continue on the small screen. Just some recent examples include Sense8, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Friday Night Lights.
However, sometimes the networks just don’t want to listen, even when you’re flying a freakin’ banner over their headquarters. Luckily, there are always new avenues to discover, as shown by the return of cult classic Veronica Mars.
The neo-noir teen drama was an absolute hit with audiences back in the naughties, with Kristen Bell starring as our favorite snarky girl detective. Naturally The CW decided to cancel it after a mere three seasons. Of course, the devoted Marshmallows freaked out, sent Mars Bars to the network in protest (obviously), and launched an unrelenting campaign. Although the creators floated rumors about a potential movie, nothing ever came to fruition.
. . . that is until 2013, when creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a reboot. And guess what – fans threw their hard-earned cash without question, the goal of $2 million was reached in less than 11 hours, and the movie was released in 2014.
Can you see where this is going? Saving Shadowhunters is not going to be as simple as raising money, but can be the first step in seeing the show continued into season four and beyond.
Bringing in the big bucks
Up until this point, fans have petitioned in the hope that Netflix would purchase the full rights to Shadowhunters and continue to pump out the episodes with a generous budget. However, Freeform’s decision to axe the show also put an end to the Netflix output deal with the network’s co-production partner, Constantin Film.
Since then, the streaming giant has been clear about its stance on the matter, releasing a statement that read: “No Netflix negotiations are taking place to extend Shadowhunters beyond the 12 new episodes planned to premiere in 2019.”
As said, we could continue shouting the message, but it looks like it’s falling on deaf ears. As the saying goes: if you want something done right, do it yourself. We have absolutely no doubt that the Shadowfam would happily throw a few bucks at the show – we’ve already explored how the story is a lifeline for many of the viewers.
But to save the show truly? We’re not talking about small change here. Even the most intrepid fans will wince at the costs. Buying the production rights alone runs you several million – let alone the cost of producing some episodes.
As pointed out by Vox, “. . . in the current economy, the production studio still needs to find a way to amortize at least some portion of the show’s production costs (even cheap TV shows are pretty expensive to produce).” The economics behind TV shows and the revenue flow between a network and a studio is complex.
But the audience is out there and if the Shadowfam can raise enough money to cover the rights and a chunk of production costs, it could be just enough to shop it elsewhere.
The sum depends on the show and the territory where you want to distribute it. As said, fees will hit the seven-figure mark – but if $2 million was enough to see Veronica Mars’s return, that’s just a $5 donation from 400,000 fans. (And we know the Shadowfam is made up of many more members.)
Crowdfunding to victory
The easy part is choosing the crowdfunding page. You could take the traditional route and go with Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or GoFundMe – but your best bet is Seed&Spark.
Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, S&S is purpose-built for film & TV and its crowdfunding page acts like a registry system, showing potential backers a budget determined by exactly the “WishList” items are needed and at what cost. Their crowdfunding experts have helped hundreds of campaigns raise millions of dollars and could be just the organization to help the Shadowfam do the same.
The tricky part is getting everyone together in one place. That said, so far the Shadowfam has worked exquisitely well as a collective – just look at all the money you raised for the Trevor Project.
Here’s how the Veronica Mars campaign unfolded: “I downloaded the Kickstarter funding app from the App Store. With a swipe of a finger, and my mobile Amazon Account, I pledged $10 to help the producer finance a movie based on the show.
“On Twitter, I told all my followers to do the same. Then, with a quick status update to my Facebook page, I encouraged my family and friends to do likewise – and to tell everyone they knew to follow suit. All told, it took less than five minutes, and now one of the best network TV series of the past ten years will live again, this time on the big screen.”
It only takes one spark to ignite a fire, but the Shadowfam needs to organize itself first – a whole bunch of weak Kickstarter campaigns will not suffice. So before anyone sets up the page, be sure to spread the word on social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – anywhere you can get a discussion going and figure out how to create one place to direct the donations.
The right people, the right time
As soon as the page is set up and the money’s coming in, it’s time to start thinking about next steps. A company like Legion M fits with the ethos of Shadowhunters, in that it offers content creators an all-in-one production and distribution company fully funded by fans. Likewise, 30West and NEON are services that offer guidance & assistance at each stage of development, providing investment for production, sales, distribution, and licensing in order to ensure product quality and maximum audience reach.
Unlike other media houses with pursestrings controlled by big Hollywood movie studios, these are just a few companies willing to work outside the box and worth approaching. Shop for all-in-one distributors and production companies before you land the right one that can help you with each and every step of the process.
Remember, the fanbase is already there. The Shadowfam has demonstrated its power so far – now it’s time to prove the naysayers wrong and get Shadowhunters back on the air.