Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Because it defeats the whole purpose of Kickstarter.
The idea – and it’s a great one – is that Kickstarter allows filmmakers who otherwise would have NO access to Hollywood and NO access to serious investors to scrounge up enough money to make their movies. Zach Braff has contacts. Zach Braff has a name. Zach Braff has a track record. Zach Braff has residuals. He can get in a room with money people. He is represented by a major talent agency. But the poor schmoe in Mobile, Alabama or Walla Walla, Washington has none of those advantages.
So someone who otherwise might have funded the Mobile kid instead will toss his coins to Zach Braff because he figures it’s a better bet and he gets to rub shoulders with show business.
Yes, it might take Zach Braff a year of knocking on doors to get his money, so now he figures, hey, just show up, sit back, and let the cash come to me. This is not an option Walla Walla kid has. I’m throwing my support to those who really NEED it.
Recently, Kickstarter was used to fund a new VERONICA MARS movie. This is obscene to me. It’s a known television series distributed by a major studio. Are you a big fan of VERONICA MARS? Want to support it? Great. Buy ten tickets and see the movie ten times.
If Will Ferrell or Brad Pitt – just to name two random examples – are in an independent film, do they really need a film festival to get Harvey Weinstein to screen their film? The chubby nerd from New Jersey who maxed out his credit cards to make a film about a local convenience store couldn’t. He needed a film festival. He needed an audience to appreciate his effort before he could be recognized. And now today’s equivalent of a young Kevin Smith can’t even get his movie into a festival much less Harvey Weinstein’s screening room.
Sundance is a lost cause. But Kickstarter isn’t. Not if we put a stop to this now. If you only have so much money to give to charity, give it to cancer research and not to help redecorate Beyonce’s plane. Support young hungry filmmakers. The next Kevin Smith is out there… somewhere. He (or she) just needs a break, which is what Kickstarter is supposed to provide. Zach Braff can find his money elsewhere. He did once before. He’ll make his movie. And if it’s half as good as GARDEN STATE I will praise it to the heavens in this blog and urge you to go spend your money to check it out.
When I used to broadcast for the Orioles one of my partners was the legendary Chuck Thompson. Most of our games were at night. Chuck was an avid golfer. He played the public courses and only on weekdays. He used to say the weekends were for the “working man.” Chuck could play any day he wanted, they could only play on Saturday and Sunday so he didn’t want to take one of their starting times. It’s a great way to live by.
Kickstarter is for the “working man,” Zach. And VERONICA. And (soon) Harvey.
Hello to all the new readers as this post has apparently gone viral. Please feel free to look around and come back. I'm usually funnier than this.
And further update -- thanks for all the great comments, even those that disagree with me. Here is my response to all your thoughts.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM