A new series from an old favorite is attempting to redefine crowdfunding. Vigilante Diaries, an action thriller from Jason Mewes of Jay & Silent Bob fame, has launched its first two episodes behind a paywall on Chill; however, if the series wishes to continue, it will need to reach $50,000 in sales in 30 days.
Chill’s new model is Kickstarter with a twist. The first two episode of Vigilante Diaries cost $4.99, but bundles (akin to Kickstarter rewards) throw in the typical extras, such as CDs and t-shirts, to encourage further sales. “There’s a broader trend at play here—that online audiences are actually supporting artists and projects that interest them no matter what stage they are at,” said Chill’s Head of Entertainment Marc Hustvedt. “For those in the ideation phase there are crowdfunding platforms to test ideas. For those with something created and ready to release, there are platforms like Chill where you can test again, this time seeing if what you have finds a paying audience.”
With Mewes’ appeal, Vigilante Diaries should have a good chance to meet its mark. The series shows a more dramatic side of the typically-comic actor, born out of his love of first-person shooter games. “Jason Mewes, Christian Sesma (the director) and Paul Sloan (writer-creator-Vigilante) came up with this wild, high-energy concept for a darker spin on superheroes,” said Hustvedt. “It was way too racy for YouTube or any of the ad-supported platforms due to its graphic violence, language and yes, even nudity. It’s much closer to something you would see on premium cable like Showtime or HBO.” Still, as we can see in the trailer, there are still hints of Mewes’ funny side.
Kickstarter has undergone an incredible evolution of late, and Chill’s model looks like it could be a better fit for higher-profile creators whose presence on tradition crowdfunding sites has been maligned. It feels as much like a reality show as it does a campaign, and in a month we’ll learn if Mewes is moving on or going home.