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Zach Braff wants your money: Kickstarter strikes again

Yet more Kickstarter news (see previous articles here and here)… this time another celebrity is using it to fund his film project: Zach Braff. He is asking for people to help him raise $2 million so that he can make another indie film and retain complete artistic control.

I get that. Sure, why not? Even in my daydreams where I write that bestselling novel that gets adapted into a film, I immediately become possessive and obsessive about things like casting and soundtrack. I wouldn’t want to let my completely imaginary creative baby go. So why should Zach Braff want to either (for his very real project)?

But here’s what I don’t get. Garden State was successful, both critically and commercially. The film had an estimated $2.5 million budget and took over $26 million at the box office. If Braff can make a follow up film for the bargainous price of $2 million (very little in Hollywood terms, and slightly less than the budget for Garden State), why wouldn’t people in the industry be rallying to support that project? It leaves me wondering – what’s the script actually like? Maybe it’s awful? Or maybe I have too much faith in the financial guys to trust people with vision and past successes. Zach provides some illumination on the reasons and how the landscape for financing indie films has changed since making Garden State over at BuzzFeed.

garden_state_ver3_xlgWhat is pleasing to see is that this is another passion project for Braff. He wants to make this film whether he gets the support on Kickstarter or not (although looking at the current numbers [$1,507,036 at time of this post], I don’t think he will have any trouble pulling it off). He is willing to put his own money into. This is something that really gets me on side as a fan and possible crowd-funder.

Another independent project I love is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. This was an early web series created by Joss Whedon (and a group of like-minded, awesome people) during the writer’s strike of 2007–2008. Whedon funded the project himself, something that is mentioned several times in the musical Commentary! Because Whedon put the money for the project up himself, I’ve always felt it was a truly personal project for him, and as a fangirl, it made me squee. The fact that Braff is willing to put up his own cash, even if he doesn’t have to, is definitely a selling point (is that exactly why he has gone on record saying so? Perhaps. But I’m not going to be that cynical… not today anyway).


I loved Garden State – and not just because it starred my favourite lady of all time (Natalie Portman!). I related to it. It was about that anxious part of your life, when you aren’t sure who you are, what you want to do, or how to get there. A time of my life that I’m unfortunately still experiencing. Braff says in the Kickstarter video that Wish I Was Here is tonally very similar to its predecessor, just for those who have survived their twenties. The video also contains cameos from Jim Parsons, Donald Faison (buffed up and slimmed down since I last saw him on Scrubs), and Nerdist (aka Chris Hardwick). What more could we want, I hear you ask?! Silly nudity, of course (and he’s promising just that)!

While the ‘Is Kickstarter a good thing?’ debate still carries on, I will keep an open mind. I think this project is a positive one – as an independent passion project. That is something I will always be able to get behind.

On the subject of Kickstarter… I will put in a plug for a project I recently supported: Bill Willingham and Frank Cho’s illustrated novel, Bifrost (working title). It sounds awesome (they had me at ‘immortal talking chimpanzee’) and you should support it too!

About Megan Leigh

Writer and editor of Pop Verse. Co-host of Breaking the Glass Slipper. My special interests include publishing, creative writing, and geekery.

One comment

  1. Interesting article (once again.) Having had some experience of Kickstarter (as a non-famous person who was really happy to have my weenie little projects funded), I get what he’s saying. I think that the more well known, successful people who are funding this way do help crowd-funding more than they hurt. After all, I am still surprised at how many people I talk to that have never heard of Kickstarter (or other crowd-funding sites) so when someone who is already famous brings new people into the fold, then maybe some of them will hang around and support someone like me.
    I’m glad I found this site.

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