Yesterday, the month-long Kickstarter campaign to finance the proposed Civil War mini-series (or at least, a film), To Appomattox, came to an end, with the production staff failing to reach its unprecedented $2.5 million request. While the project generated a lot of buzz online, in the end, only $77,674 dollars was raised, or roughly 3% of what they were asking. The campaign did garner media attention on the national level as well as 436 backers (including four who purchased above the $4,500 level, something that is impressive), but the question we now have to ask is, does this recent financing attempt and subsequent failure spell the end of more than ten years of pushing To Appomattox? Michael Beckner, according to some social media comments, seems to think that he can still draw network interest over the summer by showing them how many peopled back the project, in addition to more than 5,000 followers on Facebook. However, no matter how passionate the fan base may be (myself included; I pledged $100) networks are only interested in making money, and will no doubt be skeptical to take on such a massive project since no one else has bitten for more than a decade. Perhaps we knew, deep down, that $2.5 million was a lot to ask, no matter what the subject matter, but I think it is rather disappointing that such an underwhelming amount was raised.
Only time will tell, of course, but I really think this may be it. In the end, though, I think Kickstarter will serve as Beckner’s Chancellorsville: he accomplished everything he set out to do, such as garnering national media attention, shout-outs and support from the superstar actors committed to the project, and a social media hail storm, thus winning the battle, but in the end, losing the war. However, this was not for lack of trying. Weaker people would have given up years ago, but he persevered, and will continue to persevere, against all odds. Our hats must be tipped to this man, for dedicating his life to this project, and even if it never gets made, no one will ever doubt his service to history and the Civil War community. Perhaps this series was just not meant to be. There are never answers to such questions as to why or why not.