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After receiving pushback from NBC, actor Travis Richey found support from the Kickstarter community for a Web series based on his minor Community character.
When actor Travis Richey announced on Kickstarter that he couldn’t create a Community spinoff Web series called “Inspector Spacetime” because it was a violation of NBC and Sony’s intellectual property, his fans did what any horde of enthusiasts for a fake show would if put in a similar situation; they helped Richey change the name of the show and keep the dream alive.
Taking to the project’s comments page, fans Joe and Cathi Krstulich suggested that Richey go with “The Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time.” Just after that, Justin Wawrzonek‘s threw out “Detective Spacetime” thinking that would be enough to shake off the legal dogs. More than a few supporters thought Dave Evans had a winner in “Inspector Whom.”
In the end, Richey—a popular Web series writer whose credentials include”Robot, Ninja & Gay Guy”; “Two Hot Guys in the Shower”; and “Smileytown”—opted for “Untitled Webseries About a Space Traveler…” as the official name of the Kickstarter campaign he’s running to fund production costs on the series.
It’s a sly move for a man who doesn’t want to profit off NBC’s intellectual property—but rather to keep playing a character he admires.
In an address to supporters on the campaign’s Kickstarter page, Richey wrote:
“Though I firmly believe the law would be on my side in producing this parody, I have no wish or ability to fight a show that I love as much as ‘Community.’ I had hoped that they would embrace what is essentially a fan film and appreciate the value it adds to the character, and the audience that we would bring who are finding ‘Community’ for the first time through this character, but alas, that’s not the case. So, I will be removing all references to Inspector Spacetime from this series (it only happened in the title anyway), and altering the appearance of the Inspector so that he does not look like Inspector Spacetime. What remains is 100% the creation of myself, my writing partner, and you, the fans.”
With 26 days left in the campaign, it’s looking like “Untitled Webseries About a Space Traveler…” will reach its $20,000 goal and enter into production. The project has already raised $13,797, with many early supporters jumping back into the mix to donate more money now that NBC’s tried to pull the rug out.
“You can do it!” wrote in backer John Getty. “You should use that kind of publicity potential to your advantage to get more attention to your Kickstarter.”
“I’m in this for the long-haul,” wrote the Krstuliches. “And, I just doubled my pledge.”
Even those who were previously disinterested have come around to support the series.
“I wasn’t going to,” wrote user James Doe, “but thanks to NBC I’ve decided to back this project. Good luck and don’t let The Man keep you down!”
Chase Hoffberger reported on YouTube, web culture, and crime for the Daily Dot until 2013, when he joined the Austin Chronicle. Until late 2018, he served as that paper’s news editor and reported on criminal justice and politics.