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Pickstarter: Help Zach Braff Make His Next Movie

After the success of the Kickstarter project for the Veronica Mars movie, there was a lot of talk about whether this was a model for moviemaking of the future as well as speculation as to which would be the next movie project to take a shot at crowdfunding. Lo and behold, Friend of Nerdist Zach Braff is using Kickstarter to get his next movie off the ground, and he’s more than a quarter of his way to his goal with a month to go.

The details? Glad you asked:

zachbraffkickstarter2013Zach says he was about to do traditional financing for his Garden State follow-up Wish I Was Here, but the Veronica Mars thing made him think he could do it the crowdfunding way and retain more of his artistic control. So, he’s asking for fans to contribute $2 million in total to the making of the movie, which is about a father in financial straits who ends up homeschooling his kids. Now, the question that might come to mind here is, of course, “hey, he’s a Hollywood celebrity, he must be rich, why should I give HIM money?” Fair enough, but the answer is that it’s hardly like he, or most other working actors, can just pull out the ol’ checkbook and finance a whole movie, low-budget or otherwise, himself, not even with a few friends. Yes, there’s the very, very rare example of an El Mariachi that sneaks through into theaters on a tiny budget, but it takes millions to make a movie like this one with production values and licensed music — you know Zach takes the soundtrack VERY seriously, or did you miss the part in Garden State about the Shins changing your life? — and distribution and top professionals handling cinematography and design. And, this way, not only can he afford to make the movie his way, but he’ll retain final cut, casting decisions, locations, and fantasy sequences — Zach’s character fantasizes about being a superhero. Plus, you DO get stuff for your contribution.

wishiwasherescriptSo, if you want to help Zach out, click here for more information and to participate. There are the requisite cool premiums, including live screenings and a unique online worldwide donors-only pre-screening with live Q&A, but if you aren’t willing to go into three or four figures with your donation, the forty buck pack — a t-shirt, the online screening, a preview stream of the soundtrack with weekly playlists, a production diary, and the script — might be the sweet spot. Hey, if you have ten grand to kick in, you can get a speaking role. Go read Zach’s Kickstarter page. The Kickstarter runs through May 24th at 3 pm ET.

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18 comments

  • Coming from a fan perspective – I love this idea. For $30 I get to screen the movie, and I get to listen to tracks as they come out. I loved Garden State, and I loved the soundtrack even more. Most of those tracks are *STILL* in my playlists.

    If Zach went the conventional methods of making and releasing this film, then I would have ponied up that $30 for me and my husband to see it at a theater. But I get to see the movie from my own living room AND it’s in the vision of how HE wants to make it… SIGN ME UP!

    If you’ve ever seen A Evening with Kevin Smith, you’ll know his story about how he wanted to put unsavory things in Joey Lauren Adams’ hair. The execs told him “That’s not funny. Nobody will pay to see that. You will turn off an audience with come-in-the-hair-type jokes.” And then Something About Mary comes around, and it’s pretty much known for that.

    I’m tired of hearing about stories like that.

  • The argument that Zach couldn’t find funding is hysterical to me. He clearly could. His own Kickstarter states, “I was about to sign a typical financing deal.” I don’t necessarily agree with the artist automatically being allowed free reign over his movie. I’ve seen plenty of self funded movies that suck to know a bit more oversight could have helped.

  • You guys are missing the point.

    $2 million is not going to cover the costs of making this movie. Heck, the money the Veronica Mars people raised is not going to cover the costs of making that movie.

    What this does is three-fold:

    1) It proves to the major funders that people want to see this movie the way *he* wants to make it, making it more likely for a funder to back it

    2) It presents the movie at a slight discount to funders, also making it more likely to find backing from funders

    3) It drums up buzz for the movie, making more people interested in seeing it be made and, again, making it more likely to find backing from funders

    Sure, he could have ponied up the $2 million himself, but all that would prove is that he has $2 million. That doesn’t get anyone interested in the film and it doesn’t prove that people want to see it get made, let alone see it get made with creative freedom.

    Do you think there would have been any shot at making a Veronica Mars movie if they didn’t raise the money they did and prove that people wanted it? Heck no, and that was an established IP. This is just an indie dramatic comedy.

    And to the person who complained about people getting paid: What did you think the money was for? How do you think movies are made? They don’t just go to the movie store and buy movie ingredients. They rent equipment and hire people to operate it. They hire people to do makeup, costumes, set dressing, PAs, etc. That’s how it works. Paying people to do work is the entire point.

    • You make a number of good points, some I hadn’t considered (e.g. the demonstration of an audience for the film). I am curious though how you know their budget. I may have missed something.

      I don’t know about the other posters, but I wasn’t complaining about people getting paid. I was questioning why fans have to put up money so the people whose “dream” and “vision” they are funding can get paid while they pursue their dream and vision. If this is your dream, and fans are funding it, you shouldn’t pay yourself out of those funds. Now, it’s true that I don’t know that is actually happening. Maybe Zach and his friends are deferring all possible income from the project until they receive backend in order to impose less on their fans. If they’re only using this money to pay outsiders that they need to bring in to get the film made, then that’s to their credit. But if they are going to pay themselves and then own everything at the end, then fans seem to be getting the short end of the stick – unless, of course, fans are willing to pay for the opportunity to purchase a movie ticket to an unadulterated film by these folks, in which case, more power to them.

  • and maybe the returns Zach makes will be used in his next film, or maybe he will buy a super cool pool and have a party and invite sheldon cooper, turk & chris hardwick. Who knows? But if all you have to do is chip in a little bit of money to get a cool movie made, why not?

  • Look. I’m all for movies getting made and folks helping people make movies and artists having as much creative control over their own work as they can manage. And, there are talented folks here. But there’s something off about this.

    Basically, they’re asking people to give them $2 million dollars so they can make a movie. They’ll get paid while making it, because at $2 million it is certainly a union film and everyone from production design folks, CGI people, crew, producers, actors, director, etc. will all be drawing some salary from that $2 million. It may not be what many of them are used to getting, but they’ll be paid. So they pay themselves while they make this film with money that regular folk pony up, even though they could get financing through more conventional means, just so they don’t have to answer to anyone, and then, when the movie’s finished, it either 1) doesn’t make any money, which doesn’t really hurt the filmmakers because they got work out of it, or 2) it makes money and the filmmakers don’t have to share that with anyone else.

    So…give them $2 million so they can pay themselves to make a movie, and if that movie makes back the $2 million that they were given, they get to keep that as a bonus? All this when other people are willing to foot the bill? I understand the creative control issue, but there is also the financial issue. By doing it this way, they are not financially obliging to their funding source. If they get the money through conventional means, they have to share. If they get it from crowd-sourcing, they get to keep whatever they make and don’t have to answer to anyone.

    And those who put up the $2 million get…to buy a ticket to the movie when it comes out so the people they just gave $2 million to can be successful? Isn’t this like giving money to Burger King so they can buy meat and buns and pay themselves to cook them, all just so you can walk to the counter a buy one of their hamburgers?

    It’s very strange. I think crowdsourcing is for films that can’t get financing through conventional means for various reasons. Furthermore, this does not bode well for the future of crowd sourcing. What’s next, Paramount crowd sourcing a new Batman film? If you don’t want to put yourself at risk, then someone else has to assume that risk for you, and if someone assumes that risk for you, they have a right to provide input into what you’re doing. This fundraising seems to be trying to make a film without risk and without any obligation. Like getting your friends to pay for your college education (and your beer tab).

    It sits uneasy with me.

  • I am thinking of starting a Kickstarter campaign to prevent the Zach Braff film project from happening. As I see it, the potential return on investment is pretty high. Who’s with me?

  • Both @Ugly and @Sultan are right about this. Crowdfunding places like Kickstarter and Indiegogo were born to help small-time inventors and dreamers who never had a chance to live up their dream.

    It’s sad to see these rich, already popular people trying to get advantage over those services. Shame on them

  • Have to say I agree with @Ugly on this one. I’m maybe not so personally angry about it, but I do disagree with it. People are free to spend their money how I want, but I think its pretty dumb. Investing money (and that is what you are doing) to make a rich person richer with no chance of seeing an ROI yourself just seems hyper dumb. And yes I know you can get a t-shirt or be seen standing in a crowd or whatever, but depending on how the film does that is a pathetic ROI. Too each their own, but Kickstarters like this and V. Mars will never see a dime from me.

  • Eh, the way I look at it s that this will be a pre-order service. End of the day, it’s your fucking money. Do with it what you want.

    I liked Garden State so I’ll more than likely support this project.

  • I am surprised by the trolling that is going on in this post. I am excited about this movie and will be contributing. I also hope this means a return to the podcast for Zach Braff and it would be great if there was a cameo by the nerdist crew.

  • Fuck Zach Braff and his fucking movie. Rich fuckers who have fucking TV shows in syndication and are making money just sitting around the house in their underwear should not have access to crowd funding. Your “crowd funding” is selling tickets to your fucking movie that you make the old fashioned way– by convincing some fucking studio executive that if they give you some of their money then they will get a return on their investment. Or at least a fucking tax write-off. Are you going to send each of your contributors a check if your movie is somehow popular and takes in more than it cost to make? Or do the Kickstarter people have to come to your house and ask, “Where’s our motherfucking movie check?” Yeah, that was a Kevin Smith reference.