BackerKit

Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000

Created by Joel Hodgson & Team MST3K

Bring Back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000
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48,270 backers pledged $5,764,229.38 on Kickstarter

You did it: you brought back MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000! Thanks to you, MST3K will be able to shoot FOURTEEN NEW EPISODES next year, including a new holiday special!

Raised in Kickstarter
$5,764,229.38 / 48,270 backers
Raised in BackerKit
$646,716.47 / 47,369 backers

Learn About Our Project:

 
  • DEC 10: MST3K's Next Big ... CAMEOS!
  • DEC 9MST3K'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 4ADD-ON REWARDS & EXCLUSIVES
  • DEC 2: WE'RE AT $3.3MM = 6 NEW EPISODES!
  • NOV 30PATTON OSWALT JOINS MST3K
  • NOV 28SECOND 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.

Great question.

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.

And while you're at it, you can help out even more by taking a minute to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (Apparently those matter more than Nielsen ratings, now!)

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. 

Joel

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

Hello, Ladies.

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.

Yours,
Tom Servo

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.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

NEXT UP: The MST3K LIVE TOUR starts in July... and backers can get exclusive tickets TOMORROW at 10AM!
14 days ago – Mon, May 15, 2017 at 11:49:04 PM

Dear MST3K Revival League, 

Last week, I hinted that we had something in the works that I was hoping to tell you about soon. And now that we've got all the details worked out, I wanted you to be the first to know.

This summer, we'll hit the road and visit 29 cities as part of the official Mystery Science Theater 3000 LIVE TOUR!

See, we don't know how long it will be until we hear if Netflix wants us to make another season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but now that we're back, we want to keep things moving. In fact, we've actually been back in "the writer's room" for the last few weeks, working on the scripts for our live shows, which is one reason things haven't slowed down.

But listen, since you're the ones who brought back MST3K, I also wanted to make sure you have the chance to get tickets for the live tour before anyone else. So...

Tomorrow at 10am, I'll send a private update that will let backers get exclusive ticket access until 10pm.

Today, though, I want to tell you a little bit more about what we've got planned for the tour, and also give you a little background on why this is so important to me. 

MST3K LIVE: The Watch Out for Snakes! Tour 2017


First of all, you should know that the tour actually features two separately ticketed, completely unique shows, with Jonah and the Bots riffing a different feature film for each – so if there's more than one show near you, you can actually get tickets to both and see two completely different shows!

For SHOW #1, we're revisiting (and re-riffing) one of our favorite classic MST3K films – Eegah – starring Arch Hall Jr., and Richard Kiel. But, like I said, we'll have all new riffs and sketches!

For SHOW #2, we don't want to spoil the surprise and tell you what it is, so let's just say that it's a Secret Surprise Film! All I'll tell you is that it's a truly weird sci-fi thriller, and it's never been featured on MST3K.

Got all that? Good!

Also, while these new shows will feature Jonah and the Bots, I'm happy to report that I'll be joining them on the road as emcee, producer and director – so you'll get to see me too, and I'll have a chance to tell you a little bit more about where I think MST3K might go next.

Right now, these are the shows we've got scheduled:

  • JUL 6 - Boston, MA (Eegah @ 7pm) 
  • JUL 7 - Philadelphia, PA (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm) 
  • JUL 8 - New York, NY (Eegah @ 6pm / Secret Surprise @ 9:30pm) 
  • JUL 9 - Washington DC (Eegah @ 6pm / Secret Surprise @ 9pm) 
  • JUL 12 - Columbus, OH (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 13 - St. Louis, MO (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 14 - Royal Oak, MI (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm
  • JUL 15 - Milwaukee, WI (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm) 
  • JUL 16 - Chicago, IL (Eegah @ 5pm / Secret Surprise @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 18 - Denver, CO (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 20 - Phoenix, AZ (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 21 - San Diego, CA (Eegah @ 7pm) 
  • JUL 22 - San Diego, CA (Secret Surprise @ 7pm) 
  • JUL 23 - Los Angeles, CA (Eegah @ 5pm / Secret Surprise @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 26 - San Francisco, CA (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 27 - San Francisco, CA (Secret Surprise @ 8pm) 
  • JUL 28 - Portland, OR (Eegah @ 8pm)  
  • JUL 29 - Seattle, WA (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm) 
  • JUL 30 - Vancouver, BC (Eegah @ 7pm) 
  • AUG 1 - Salt Lake City, UT (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • AUG 3 - Kansas City, MO (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • AUG 4 - Minneapolis, MN (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm) 
  • AUG 6 - Green Bay, WI (Eegah @ 7pm)
  • AUG 8 - Cleveland, OH (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • AUG 9 - Baltimore, MD (Eegah @ 8pm) 
  • AUG 10 - Richmond, VA (Secret Surprise @ 8pm) 
  • AUG 11 - Nashville, TN (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm) 
  • AUG 12 - Atlanta, GA (Eegah @ 7pm / Secret Surprise @ 10pm)

And you know, so far we've made plans to stop in just these 29 cities… but if there's enough interest, maybe we'll be able to add some more, and come to a town near you!

Don't forget: tomorrow at 10am, you'll be able to get tickets to all of these shows, exclusive to backers for 12 hours.

And, now that you know what we've got planned, I want to tell you a little bit about how we got here, and why it's so important to me.

The Benefits of an MST3K LIVE Tour

As I think I've told you before, when we launched our #BringBackMST3K Kickstarter, I had been thinking about how to bring back MST3K for quite a while. What I might not have told you yet is that I had a few different ideas about how to bring it back, and Season 11 wasn't the only one.

Actually, the idea of "Mystery Science Theater LIVE" has been on my mind for a long time, because I think that getting MST out into the "real world" actually has a lot of benefits.

Obviously, it's a great way to develop and test new ideas in real time: we can find out right away what you think, and tinker around with anything that isn't working, even experimenting with small changes from show to show. It's a little bit like "rapid prototyping" the entire show to find out what works, and what still needs more love!

It also helps our cast "fine tune" their performances, because they can get reactions in real time. This was one of the neat surprises about having a lot of backers visit us on set during production, too. I think I told you how much it helped Jonah get into his new role, to have an excited and supportive crowd on set enjoying his performance. Also, keep in mind that most of our new cast have spent a lot of time doing stand-up, so they get that whole "give-and-take" thing that happens with a live audience.

But also, on a more tribal level, doing a live show gives us all a chance to gather together in a huge theater, with hundreds of other people who are also intensely interested in hearing what a robot puppet will say while watching a cheesy old movie. That was really one of the best parts of our "Revival League Pre-Screening Tour" – getting the chance to meet so many of you in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – because there's something that's just so different and special about sharing the MST experience in "real time" with a thousand people who love it just as much as you do. I'm excited to do more of that, and for more of you to be part of it.

In a lot of ways, I also think there's something really fitting about bringing MST3K to a live stage. As many of you know, when I was a kid, I performed magic and ventriloquism, and in college, I started performing live stand-up. All of these experiences really informed the creation and vision of MST3K, so the chance to come full circle and bring it to the stage is really satisfying. And, it will also give us some amazing opportunities to have the show do things it's never done before. 

Now, I know that some of you might rather we just get started on Season 12, but the truth is, there's nothing we can do to get started on more episodes yet. We don't have an official order for Season 12 yet, though we're very hopeful that it will come – especially if we all keep watching the new episodes on Netflix. But I promise, as soon as we hear anything about the next season, I'll be sure to tell you right away.

Until that happens, though, the live tour is a really wonderful way to keep expanding the world of Mystery Science Theater. So, don't think of this as a distraction from Season 12, but more like "spring training": during the off-season, the live tour will give our team a chance to keep writing and riffing, and will give our new cast more time to discover and grow into their parts. And, while it'll still be a lot of work, it'll also be – you know – FUN!

So, long story short, we think MST3K LIVE: The “Watch Out for Snakes" Tour, is going to be the movie riff jam of the year.

And remember: Tomorrow morning at 10am, you'll get first dibs on tickets, so I hope to see a lot of you later this summer!

Cheers and Thanks!

Joel

We Got Love from Lin-Manuel *and* Rotten Tomatoes! PLUS: Riffing STRANGER THINGS!
20 days ago – Tue, May 09, 2017 at 11:42:29 PM

Dear MST3K Revival League, 

Let’s try to savor this. Thanks to each of you, the re-jiggered MST3K has been in the world for almost a month, and now everyone knows what we’ve been working on for the last 18 months. I do hope you’re enjoying having it out and about on Netflix for all the world to see! 

On a personal level, I’m really thrilled with how folks have responded. Also, thank you for all of your kind words and encouragement here on Kickstarter, and on Facebook and Twitter

We’ve gotten some wonderful messages over the last few weeks, but you know, I think this might be one of the most exciting: a week after our Netflix debut, Lin-Manuel Miranda – Broadway luminary, and author of the smash hit musical Hamiltontweeted this:

 

Also, I'm really happy that the press has been so kind and enthusiastic. Mostly, they seem pleased that we stayed funny, smart, didn’t go too dark or dirty and didn’t derail the brand along the way. Whew! Here's the most measurable scale, if you pay attention to this kind of thing:


That's right – even a month after the premiere, we're still scoring 100 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes "Tomatometer." (Which is actually pretty rare!)

Anyway, I'm not telling you all of this to brag, but because I want you to understand how important it was that we made the new season the way we did – together. Like I said from the beginning, it was really important to me that we bring the show to all of you first. And because we did, we had the freedom and the time to really do things right, and to find our way back into the world of Mystery Science Theater. So yeah:

The important thing to remember, when you see all of these good reviews and fun feedback, is that you made this possible.

I know I've said it before, but I'll never forget that, and I really can't thank you enough.

MST3K + Stranger Things

If you didn't see it yet, we teamed up with Netflix to shoot a fun little clip to celebrate the launch of the new season. As you know, we don't usually riff on great movies, but we made an exception just this once to let Jonah and the bots spend a few minutes riffing another great Netflix show, Stranger Things:


This came together pretty quickly, but I think it's a lot of fun, and I hope it'll help some new folks discover what we do on Mystery Science Theater.

Also, the star of the riff was a really great sport about it:


Thanks, David – we're really big fans! You know, Mitchell never got that kind of response from Joe Don Baker. Maybe this means our time has finally come!

The last couple years have been an incredible (and sometimes) scary adventure. And now, thanks to you believing in the next MST3K, even more interesting things starting to happen. I’m excited to start revealing some of those developments as we go, because we've actually been busier than ever this month, getting to work on the next big chapter in the return of MST3K.

That's something I can only hint at right now, which could be a live MST3K tour. (Hint, Hint.) But listen, if everything goes according to plan, I'll be able to tell you more about that next week.

Also, there are a lot of updates to share about your Kickstarter rewards, our plan to set up a "weekly viewing schedule" for the new season, and your last chance to buy some more Add-On Rewards. So. I've asked Ivan to write a separate update, and send that to you tomorrow, so you don't miss something important.

Cheers and Thanks!

Joel

Thanks to you... we've got MOVIE SIGN.
about 2 months ago – Sat, Apr 15, 2017 at 12:57:51 AM

Dear MST3K Revival League,

This is a really big day, and I’m completely over the moon (the dark side) with your response to the new season. Thanks for being so patient and graceful with us throughout this process. I honestly couldn’t be more pleased on every level. And, of course..

Thanks to you, there are now 14 new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 available on Netflix.

Like we promised, that also means that – if your rewards included downloads of the episodes – they're waiting for you to download now on VHX.

But listen, before I get into this update, I want to make sure everyone knows the score:

If you want to give Mystery Science Theater 3000 the best chance of getting a Season 12, the best thing you can do is to watch the new episodes on Netflix, if you're able.

After all, the more people who watch the new episodes, the safer the Netflix team will feel investing in more seasons and giving us more movie sign. (And you know, even if you're not a Netflix subscriber, you can still get a free one-month subscription to watch the new season.)

So, even if you do have download copies, I hope you'll save those away for a rainy day – like, if the rain knocks out your internet connection – and consider watching the new episodes on Netflix for now. I know we're not available on Netflix in every country, but if we're available in yours, I hope you'll help us out by voting for more seasons… with your eyeballs!

Anyway, I don't want to write too much today, because you've got a new season of Mystery Science Theater to watch. But like I said, this is a really big day, so there are just a few important things I want to say.

1. Thank you to all 48,270 members of the MST3K Revival League.

In November 2015, you took a really big chance, and you trusted me and the rest of our team. In fact, you trusted us so much that you didn't just help us bring the show back for three new episodes, or even the full twelve we were hoping for. You told us you wanted to keep going, and you're the reason there are fourteen new episodes of the show waiting for you to watch this morning.

And, just like I hoped, it's because of what you did on Kickstarter that we were really able to bring the show back exactly the way we wanted to.

No one made us change the look of the show, or riff on less cheesy movies. No one told us we had to "cast bigger names" or make the jokes more obvious. We got to make the show we wanted, which I think is also the show you wanted. And if we're able to make more seasons, we've set the mold. We've shown everyone that we had a vision, and it works, and we can keep going as long as there are more cheesy movies to riff. MST3K is forever, if you want it.

Also, you know, the Kickstarter campaign was really just the start. Over the past year or so, I've gotten to know and talk with so many of you – on Kickstarter and Facebook, on Twitter and Instagram, on set during production, at our screenings around the country, during some of our Q&A sessions. I didn't know what to expect, but it's really been amazing, and it made the experience of making these new episodes so different, and so much better than I hoped.

I don't know what will happen next, but here's what I can tell you: I'm really proud of the new episodes we made, and I hope you are too. I don't know yet if Netflix will decide to make more seasons – it's up to all of us to convince them that's a good idea! – but I don't think this season will be the end of MST3K. Now that we're back, there's so much more we all want to do. I really think we're just getting started.

2. Thanks to everyone who worked on the show.

There are so many people who worked hard and gave so much time and imagination and love to the new episodes, and I know I can't thank them all by name here. 

(I hope, when you watch the new episodes, you'll spend some time watching the credits after each episode – not just to see your own names, but to see all of the other names of the amazing writers, crew, actors, and fellow backers who were part of making these new episodes happen.)

But, also, there are some people I really want to be sure to thank by name.

  • Our wonderful old cast: Trace Beaulieu, Josh Weinstein and Jim Mallon, for being the first people to believe in MST3K and helping me bring it into the world, and Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Frank Conniff and Bridget Nelson for joining in early, and doing such hilarious work along the way;
  • Our returning veterans: Bill Corbett, Mary Jo Pehl, Paul Chaplin and Beez McKeever for being part of the old show and returning to be part of the new season and show the new team how it's done;
  • Our wonderful new cast: Jonah Ray, Hampton Yount, Baron Vaughn, Rebecca Hanson, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt; Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko, our master puppeteers, Elliott Kalan, our new head writer, and all of the other writers and actors who helped with the new season, for giving so much time and heart and talent;
  • Everyone at Shout! Factory, especially my partners in this venture: Richard Foos, Bob Emmer, and Garson Foos, for everything they did to keep MST3K alive and well on DVD and online, and for believing in the show and its fans enough to help me bring it back and launch the Kickstarter, because it simply would not have happened without them. Also, honorable mentions to Dave Mcintosh, Jordan Fields, Michael Ribas, Karrie Stouffer, "Weird Evan" Brown, and Sarah J. De Bruin;
  • Everyone at Netflix who loved our show enough to bring it to a new home, where we hope it will find a whole new set of cheesy-movie loving fans;
  • Everyone at Abominable Pictures who was responsible for our terrific production crew and post-production team in Los Angeles, especially Jon Stern and my lovely and talented co-director Rob Cohen; the wizards at Stoopid Buddy, who helped us update the world of MST3K with new models and animation, and at Aaron Somers Design Studio, who built the sets and stage furniture for the new Satellite of Love and Moon 13; Also, our brilliant production designer (who’s way out of our league), Guy Davis, for bringing my ideas to life, with charm and gravity, and the many other artists who helped us pre-visualize all of the new and updated designs you'll see in the new episodes;
  • My “vision team” at Alternaversal Productions: In some ways, my most heartfelt thanks go to my friend and business partner Harold Buchholz, Operation Manager Sharyl Volpe, Designer and Visual Assets Lead Seth Robinson, and co-producer and post-production supervisor Matt McGinnis. And, of course, all of these folks are writers on the show as well. These are people who have worked by my side almost every day for the past 18 months, and were just so important in helping me develop the vanguard ideas of the new MST3K.

    (And that's not just for Season 11, but for all the wonderful things we still have in the pipeline, too. Captain Beefheart said “You have to see it, before you see it.” Thank you to my Alternaversal Team for helping me see it, and then helping me explain it to the rest of the production staff and cast);
  • And, of course, my producer, campaign director, and friend, Ivan Askwith, who has become so important to MST3K's backer and fan experience, and has so much to do with our position in the larger online world. It’s his critical and imaginative thinking that powers so much of the integrity and warmth that you’ve all gotten to experience over these last 18 months.

3. Now we can finally start to talk!

I know that, from the beginning, I told you I wanted to bring all of you behind the scenes of the new season, and over the last year and a half, I tried to choose some interesting details I could share without spoiling any of the fun we were planning for you. We talked about…

But, as we went along, I also told you that there was more I wanted to wait and share with you once the new episodes were released, when we could all talk about them.

So yeah, the really neat thing is that now we can start to talk about some of the new stuff we've been preparing for you ever since the Kickstarter campaign ended, and to show you a lot of exclusive "just for backers" material from behind-the-scenes.

We'll do some of that here on Kickstarter, so that you don't miss it, but we'll also start doing more of it over on the new MST3K.com website, in backer-exclusive posts. So, if you haven't visited and activated your exclusive "Revival League Member" account, I hope you will soon, because I don't want you to miss anything.

And actually, thanks to our new online supervisor and series writer, Lesley Kinzel, there are already several new updates waiting over there for you, including the first “Chat with Joel”, where we talk about trying to do right by all of you backers, and how people find meaning in MST3K. There's also a playlist of songs that helped shape my ideas for the new season, and a long list of press coverage, linking to many of the wonderful interviews and articles Mystery Science Theater has gotten over the past few weeks. We're already working on the first behind-the-scenes post to share with you next week!

Plus, on top of that, we're also finishing up work on the bonus materials for the "Season 11 Collector's Set", which will include a full-length documentary about the Kickstarter and making the new season, and the "Making The New MST3K" coffee table book, which will have over 50 pages of new concept art and photos that we haven't shared yet.

So, anyway, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff we can finally start to share with you, and now that you've seen the new show, I think it'll be a lot of fun to show you how we got here.

4. Another version of the theme!

One last thing for today: if you watched our Turkey Day Marathon during the Kickstarter, back in 2015, you might remember that we did all of the host segments from Kickstarter HQ. You might also remember that during the "Fan Mail" segment, I introduced you to a grown-up fan whose letter we read on the show when she was a child, named Ashley Holtgraver. And, you might also remember that, at the end of the Turkey Day Marathon, Ashley played a new version of the Mystery Science Theater theme that she had written for the Kickstarter:

 

Now, I felt like a lot of you really enjoyed that – and I know I did – so when I realized what a big day this was going to be, I asked Ashley if she maybe wanted to do one more song for us, and she was nice enough to record something last night.

So, here's a little something to help celebrate today's big occasion:

 

Thanks so much, Ashley. It means a lot.

I know there's a lot more to talk about, but there's also a lot of new MST that needs to be watched! So, we'll have another update early next week, and I'll make sure Ivan gives you an update on when you can expect all of your remaining Kickstarter rewards.

Also, for those of you who wish the new series had been released one episode at a time, we're putting together a suggested viewing schedule to help members of the Revival League watch each new episode together over the next 14 weeks. So, look for that next week too.

Oh, and if you read this in time, Jonah and Felicia and I are going to be on the MST3K Facebook Page this afternoon at 6pm PACIFIC for a Facebook Live Q&A, so come join us!

Today, finally, the world of MST3K is healthy and back to spinning in its lovely lopsided orbit. As you have witnessed, this is no small feat, but I hope you understand the process was made manageable by your care and interest. I'm grateful and astonished. Thank you for making all of this possible.

Cheers & Thanks,

Joel

Hey everyone, listen. I know it's a big important day, but we've got to stay focused on what's really important: making me the eventual Ruler of Everything. So, for old time's sake, how about sharing one more post for me on Facebook and Twitter. It's easy! Just copy and paste this message:

WE'VE GOT MOVIE SIGN! 14 NEW episodes of #MST3K just hit @Netflix, thanks to 48,270 @Kickstarter backers. #WeBroughtBackMST3K

We've got Website Sign! Introducing the new MST3K.com.
2 months ago – Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 11:43:51 PM

Dear MST3K Revival League,

Joel here. I'm really pleased to tell you that we’ve been getting some great feedback on the MST3K trailer that launched last week: from you backers, from fans, the press, and even the folks on the inside at Netflix! I’d say by and large, we’re in really good shape.

Also, to make things even more interesting...

Today, we’re launching the new MST3K.com, and we want you to be the first to see it!

With help from our friends at Shout Factory, we’re building a new home for MST3K on the web. And you know, while this site is still very much a work in progress, we have some pretty fun plans for it. As we move forward, we'll be starting to use the website more to share some of the in-depth posts and “behind the scenes” exclusive content I've promised you, both from me and some other folks at MST3K.

Also, starting right now, all of you original Kickstarter backers already have profiles set up there and waiting for you, with your unique “MST3K Revival League” Backer number attached to them. You should be receiving emails soon on how to activate your accounts over there, so if you don’t get that email by tomorrow afternoon, contact cambot@mst3k.com for help.

For now, only you – our #BringBackMST3K backers – can register accounts on MST3K.com. We wanted to get you in on the ground floor before everyone else. So yeah, when you get the email with your account information, be sure to head over and take a good look around, and start filling in your profiles. Once you're there, you'll also be able to read my first post, where I'll introduce you to my friend Lesley Kinzel. She'll be helping run things over there, and making sure there's a lot of great exclusive content for you.

Oh, and don't worry. Even though we're going to start using MST3K.com to share more content with you, we'll also still be sending out these Kickstarter updates to keep you “in the loop” about rewards info, to share important announcements, and to make sure you know when there's something new waiting for you on the website.

Anyway, I hope you'll take a look and let us know what you think in the comments. Just like MST3K itself, you're an important part of how the new website will come to life.

See you over there!

Cheers & Thanks,

Joel

Correction: Advance Screening is SUNDAY, APRIL 9.
2 months ago – Fri, Mar 24, 2017 at 11:39:43 PM

Hey All!

Quick update to fix two typos from yesterday's announcements:

1. The preview screening of Experiment 1101 will be available to stream starting at 12:01 AM PT on SUNDAY, APRIL 9th, 2017... not the 8th.

2. All release times – including the release of the new season on Netflix on April 14th – will be on PACIFIC TIME, not on EASTERN TIME.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Love,
The Management