Tuesday, May 07, 2013

I won't give Zach Braff one dime

Zach Braff is trying to raise money on Kickstarter to fund a movie he wants to make. Zach Braff is a good actor and a fine filmmaker. GARDEN STATE was a terrific movie. But I wouldn’t give him a dime.

Why?

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.

This is what Hollywood does, dear reader. It sees an opportunity for exploitation and takes it. The Sundance Film Festival is another prime example. At one time it showcased modest little movies by unknown filmmakers. Kevin Smith made CLERKS – a grimy black and white film starring all unknowns. The result was discovered talent. Now look at the festival. Every entry features major Hollywood stars. During the festival they all descend upon Park City, along with Harvey Weinstein, reps from every major studio, and a thousand CAA and William Morris agents. Any hint of the original purpose of the film festival has long since vanished.

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.

263 comments :

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 263 of 263
acompleteunknown said...

In theory we think that smaller films will get the funding...but they don't. Truth is...no cares about their friends films. My friend was looking for $35,000 for a short film. After 6 months of Kickstarter...he had $650. I know what Braff is capable of and I would look forward to something he would make...but the unknowns are just that...unknown. Idealistically, we'd like to think that's what Kickstarter should be for...but 90% of the projects on there don't even come close to their goals.


Kate Bennett said...

I gotta disagree - I saw an interview with Zach Braff and kickstarter confirmed that they got 18, 000 new donators on his project. People that now know what kickstarter is and are likely to donate to other projects.

Anonymous said...

the author of the article is missing something. kickstarter isn't a charity for those wanting to make a movie/record/product. most of the time they get something in return. their donation pays for their copy of the CD/book/DVD, etc... it's basically just a way to judge demand by having the audience prepay for the product. instead of taking a loan from a record label or movie studio (which is basically what a record/movie deal is) before anything is recorded or filmed, now they can get a rough gauge on how well it's going to sell before they have to decide on a budget. kickstarter is not just about charity for the underdog. it's also about a more efficient system of judging demand so you can curb your losses if the project is a flop. it's an economic device that works towards better efficiency in the same way that assembly lines and division of labor revolutionized industrial operations in the late 1800s and early 1900s

happydog said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PshpA-XRztM

Bill said...

Ken -- long time reader here, unlike most of the commenters here. I just want to see (a) I agree with your post, and (b) I can't wait for the Veronica Mars movie to be a financial flop, thus validating the studios' repeated decisions not to back it.

Breadbaker said...

As I've been reading the comments with interest, what came to mind is how eBay evolved over the years. In its earliest days it was truly a worldwide garage sale. There was risk in the quality of the goods, risk in how payments were effected, risks in shipment, but there was also a wide variety of stuff available. I bought two board games I'd been looking for since the late 1970s.

Now, everything is automated and packaged to a t and there is less variation and less risk. It is part of the natural history of businesses. Thus with Kicktarter.

Mor said...

Thank you for this Ken.

Luke O'Malley said...

I went to Sundance 2012 because me and my writing partner did the soundtrack for a documentary that was accepted. We paid for flights and hotels in the hopes that maybe we could meet some people and try and get more work. We were waay wrong...

The only event that we got into was the one that our movie held. I had every door possible slammed in my face. All that I wanted to do was try to meet some other filmmakers and make a connection. Instead, I was on the wrong side of the velvet rope. Well,that was my experience with a documentary anyway.

All of the parties and events around the town were being held by the offshoots of big studios. Basically, Sundance isn't indie it is low-budget hollywood.

The documentary went on to be nominated for an Oscar but I still can feel the sting of that crappy festival....

Anonymous said...

STOP USING KICKSTARTER! A domain name and a wordpress powered paypal donation site only costs 11 bucks a year people! Stop letting corporations rob you for content and cash!

Chris Brown said...

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it.

Comicon used to be about the comics and now its about big Hollywood (grrr), Sundance used to be about the Indie filmakers (arghh), the first Woodstock was about the music then Coca Cola sponsored Woodstock II (yeouch), Kickstarter was for the little guy with a new idea now big money/power is taking over (booo)....

Once any project or endeavor becomes successful and grows inevitably this is what happens. You can fight and shake your fists at it but essentially this is the way the universe works. Fighting this phenomenon would be like fighting gravity. Zach Braff should have to work harder than he needs to in order to raise money? No he shouldn't. And neither would most of us.

Jane said...

I'll admit I didn't read through every comment on here. There are a lot...

But, things I've seemed to have seen a few times are

1) The idea that Zach Braff is worth 22 million dollars. So, how dare he not fund it himself?

Well, first off, we are assuming that number is correct. And, I don't have any hard proof that it is. Also, even if he is "worth" 22 million - what does that mean? Does he have enough money in extra liquid assets to fund the whole movie himself?

His kickstarter goal was to raise $2 million - which is almost certainly not enough to do his entire movie. He's already stated multiple times in very plain terms that he will be contributing a lot of his own money to the movie - and that he does not have enough money to fund it himself - plain and simple.

2) Also it seems to me that some people seem upset that people are "investing" with no possibility for a return on that investment. But, that's just SEC rules. Nothing to do with Zach Braff.

Non-numbered point)
I dislike a lot of things about the internet - but some of what it's been able to do is incredible! And if you can stir up your huge fan base so that you have the ability to give them a product you think they will like - why not do just that?

Even on this very blog, we've heard stories of producers stepping in where they're not really helpful and shows losing their spirit or point in the first place from too many notes and too many changes - imposed by studios and other non-writers.

We've heard of casting choices that weren't what people wanted - and didn't work as well as the creator's choice possibly would've.

After having so many horror stories on this blog, how could anyone be upset with someone who wants to get all the control that can help keep a project focused?

I love Zach Braff's kickstarter. I think it was a great idea. And I'm happy that he's going to be able to show us the movie he wants us to see.

(And even though I strongly disagree with Ken's opinion, I still quite enjoy him as a writer and really appreciate this blog.)

Jane said...

p.s. I have seen fans of Zach Braff on twitter saying they weren't very aware of kickstarter before Zach Braff, and now they are donating to more projects. One person said the first project to which she donated was Zach's - and she's already donated to 6 more.

AJ said...

I think for the most part I agree; people capable of finding funding elsewhere should at least exhaust those means first. But to play devil's advocate for a moment...
What if a project with a big name attached to it being on kickstarter makes more people aware of it as a whole? What if people go there for the Zach Braff movie and rather than fund and leave, they think, "Hey, I wonder if there's some other similarly cool stuff here worth looking into..." and from that, there's some cash that bleeds off into other projects that wouldn't otherwise have been spent there. Not to mention the benefits of being crowdfunded tend to be that investors aren't hanging over you wanting their money back plus interest.
Anyway, I'm not saying it's a stellar thing to do for more well renowned companies/people, but if you pause for a moment and instead of seeing it as money that would have gone elsewhere, see it as people investing in kickstarter projects who may never have bothered to even look at it otherwise.

Morningstar said...

I agree wtih you 100% and was happy to see your post show up on my facebook page several times today. All my friends and colleagues in the film business seem to agree with you as well. Bravo for you for standing up for those filmmakers who may one day be the "next" Kevin Smith.

Anonymous said...

The only thing this hurts are the people who normally have a choke hold on getting movies produced.

The people (everyone who contributes to startups on kickstarter) are not short of cash.

Joshua Davis said...

Maybe I'm an idiot, but I still can't see why this is such a big deal. Maybe Braff is going about this the wrong way...but...so? The way of thinking on this seems to suggest that a person would go to Kickstarter and give their money to Braff (because he's a known celebrity) rather than someone else who needs it more than he does. Okay, so...based on that, I envision a person who peruses Kickstarter on a regular basis, simply looking for projects to be charitable towards. But no...since Big ol' Braff has his ass perched atop the K in Kickstarter, no one below him has a chance. Now, I'm not saying that this doesn't happen and there aren't people who do this, but that sounds very unorthodox to me.

The only way I can see this being a problem is if you can prove that NO ONE has had their project funded since these celebrities have started using the site. Prove that this is taking away from the little folk. Anyone can use Kickstarter. Anyone. Now, I'm not necessarily condoning Braff's actions, but...this ain't as big of a mess as people are making it out to be. At least, I don't think so. Just because you can't get your project funded doesn't mean that it's Braff's, or Fincher's, or the Veronica Mars' people's fault.

Narbeh Dereghishian said...

Just because there are avenues to raise money, doesn't mean new ways to do so can't be explored. Kickstarter has proven to be a great market validation tool, that has a higher success rate then probably all of Hollywood (as a ratio of dollar spent to failed projects). Also, if the backers are getting screenings, then essentially this is an expensive presale, not a "hey your a fan give me money because you love me". So why not see that money before the project (to fund it) rather then after the project (to repay all the investors)???

Logan said...

Would Rob Thomas have really been pushing for a Veronica Mars movie right now if he was, you know, working? Has he created an original idea since 2004, that didn't involve regurgitating one of his own old ideas or remaking someone else's?

Before this year the only time I ever heard Kristen Bell saying she wanted to do a Veronica Mars movie happened to coincide with whenever she had a new film coming out to promote. Then, the silence would come back. She probably didn't think this would actually pan out.

I do believe Kristen would have the money but I'm not sure Rob would. It was just a few years ago Rob turned his nose up to the notion of a non-fan-funded, direct to DVD movie, and that's essentially what this Veronica Mars movie would be. The only difference is, this time I'm sure he gets a more decent producer paycheck. Funny, that.

cayuse slim said...

call zach, ask him to comment, something that should've been done prior to your assault on him. to me, your diatribe comes off as rather venemous. not necessary. he's perfectly within his rights to use kickstarter. here's the bottom line, tho...nobody - NOBODY - is required to donate to zach or anybody else. you don't like what he's doing? don't donate. simple enough.

i am a fan and a long-time reader of your blog. but really, this just seems like much ado about nothing.

Mike said...

Who are all these people? Are there any regulars here? Is this how Bernie Madoff started?

stevepuppo said...

Some really good points by all of the above. To me ZB should be asking his hollywood friends for money and not KS. He has the means to do so without KS money and I feel he should be promoting other indie projects on KS more.

Michael Stoffel said...

222 comments? I'll wait for Ken's response so I don't have to read them all!
And I'd pay to see a "Scrubs" movie, and the Oz sequel if JD does it....but otherwise, eat me Zach.

Phil In Phoenix said...

Most of the "little people" using Kickstarter are using it because they have an idea and a dream they believe in. But they don't have money to realize that idea, that dream. And they don't have the means to raise that money.

If most of the "little people" had the money to finance themselves that idea, that dream that they believe in, I think they would do just that. Because they have faith and believe in that idea and dream.

If Zach is truly worth $22 mil, he has the money to bypass the Hollywood suits and finance his idea, his dream, himself.

Maybe he just doesn't have the faith or real belief in his idea and dream.

JT Anthony said...

Way off base, Ken. Shouldn't the market--individual investors, in this case--determine what's worthy of funding? Why artificially restrict quality or good works because you have a philosophical bias? Funding, in a broad sense, is not a limited resource, i.e., that finding Braff's project somehow prevents another less-endowed project from financial resources. Allow the best idea to be rewarded. Haven't read all the comments, but it seems presumptuous of you to espouse--incorrectly, by the way--Kickstarter's mission in this way (despite this being your blog...).

Anonymous said...

What you say is true, as it is with ALL of the arts. Good luck becoming a well paid painter, photographer, sculpter, etc if you were not squeezed out of the right croch and, and don't have the right contacts to get into the right galleries and venues. Those people of privilege will always have an edege over an unknown who offten has more talent. If you have worked to get to a place of advantage you should know the difficulty it takes to make it. It's a sin to then try to take advantage of something equivilant to a charity meant for those who are struggling to get there, which is exactly what Braff is trying to do.

becky H said...

Interesting take, I agreed with most of what you said, except I think Garden State was a pretty bad movie - watch it again, what was novel or quirky then (Natalie Portman has to wear a helmet and she has gerbils! grave robbers!) is just stupid. I would donate money to PREVENT Mr. Braff from making another movie.

Also, I like this typo you made: "major taent agency" - it's one letter away from being truly excellent.

Harvey S Parkes said...

Or, to paraphrase:

http://www.harveysparkes.com/post/48843252942/why-zach-braff-can-go-fuck-himself

LA Nuts book (Joe Dungan) said...

Giving Zach Braff money on Kickstarter is like driving past a homeless guy to give the other half of your Subway footlong to Honey Boo Boo's mom.

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Rob said...

I agree that the Zach Braff campaign is annoying. I think the Veronica Mars campaign is less so.

I am as anti-Hollywood as any one can be I imagine. I self financed three features and have worked on several projects for others that were funded by Kickstarter.

One issue I have with Kickstarter is that it provides another excuse not to make a movie. Or it creates a new invisible gateway similar to the way festivals have done in the past.

ie. "If I don't get into this festival I will not be successful." "If my kickstarter campaign fails I can never make my movie." etc.

The truth is most Kickstarter campaigns are not successful. And I think what separates the successful ones from the unsuccessful ones is where it gets disturbing. Kickstarter is a force that pushes independent filmmaking closer to the Hollywood way of doing things. Similar to how the digital revolution has caused people to focus more on aesthetics than substance... kickstarter financing causes people to focus on marketing first and making a good film second. And in my opinion it is becoming very obvious that those two do not go hand in hand. We have learned this all too well over the years with the big brother of this style of filmmaking, the Hollywood Blockbuster. Kickstarter is doing the same thing on a different playing field... creating a network of marketers and advertisers that make shitty movies. We are handing the keys to the kingdom to people that make awesome trailers.

And because most people that donate to indie film kickstarter campaigns are indie filmmakers themselves it then creates this atmosphere of blind politeness and support. Because if you want your kickstarter campaign to be successful then you have to have the support of the ever growing "kickstarter community." And all of this sounds much much more Hollywood than anything else you have mentioned in your article. An environment that champions politeness over honesty. Marketability over quality. Popularity over art. And an invisible alliance that has nothing to do with quality and everything to do with money.

So now you have a bunch of people that are not maxing out their credit cards. Instead they are finding ways to weasel that money out of other poor people. You do not hear many stories anymore of a guy working two jobs for a year, eating only one meal every two days, living in a van doing all it takes and TRULY suffering to make his microbudget dream project. Which is sad. Now you have a bunch of indie marketing geniuses comfortably dreaming up ways to convince others to finance their work. I am sure there are some good things... but I am not really seeing them at this point.

Kickstarter puts good films on the back burner and puts the focus on your ability to sell/create an effective marketing video. Not at all dissimilar to the mindset that gives us our yearly GI Joe/Fast and the Furious fix.

Chad said...

hese people need to actually WATCH the video Zach Braff posted on the reason why he is doing things this way....for creative control. NOT to make more money or flaunt his celebrity. Funny how people want to tear down this idea without even knowing the reasons why. Kind of sounds like douchey Republicans if you ask me........

Anonymous said...

I tried unsuccessfully to argue this very point the other day, thanks for crystalizing it for me. And you are absolutely correct.

VincentS said...

Perhaps there should be restrictions in film festivals - including Sundance - regarding entering a film, e.g. - anyone who has already had a film financed by a major studio would be ineligible.

horaceinkling said...

Boo hoo. Read a little more about the bullsheep studio politics that "named" artists have to put up with and you'll see why Kickstarter is a great alternative for them.

It's easy for you to whine about celebrities getting money from crowd sourcing, but if you worked in the industry for many years and got sick of studio intervention stifling your creativity, you too would turn to kickstarter.

Marc said...

Great read and absolutely right! It may get me to start writing again!

Anonymous said...

Zach Braff has said himself that his Kickstarter isn't about making the money. It's about getting the fans involved. And thanks to the attention it's getting his fans (a lot of whom had never heard of Kickstarter before) then went on to finance dozens of smaller projects.
I also think it's completely within his right to turn down funding from investors who wanted creative control - if you know Garden State then you know that his projects are very personal to him, and given the success of Garden State you'd think that investors would trust him enough to make his own film.
I have huge amount of respect for Zach Braff, not just for his work, but for the way he engages with his fans. Since the Kickstarter launched he has been asking them for feedback and adding perks based on what they want.
You don't want to give him your money, and that is absolutely your right. But I gave him some of mine. I get a behind the scenes look at how his film is being made. I get to go to a private screening. And I'm really excited.

Amanda said...

If anything, it's attracting more people to KickStarter than ever before, so that other filmmakers will have greater opportunities in the future to be funded.

It's OK that you're not funding the project though, fans of his art are happy to do so.

Just because someone has "made it" doesn't make anything they do less of an art than what you do or anyone else does. Everyone deserves to be supported.

It's absurd that people think he should cough up a few million bucks "just because he can". When your boss sends you to a conference and pays for your hotel and plane, do you demand to pay all your own expenses? It's still work, and this movie will be a LOT of work. Do YOU work for free?

I think it's rad that I get to be a "part" of this movie. When else do you get the chance to feel a part of something big, by someone you admire?

Haters gonna hate, i guess.

Christina Eliason said...

Did you read, "Kickstarter Can Fund Your Dreams" in "Fast Company" magazine last month (April 2013)? The article explores co-founder and CEO Perry Chen's big-business-baffling manifesto, an esoteric "ecosystem" which he proclaims has a "moral obligation" to [small, unknown] independent artists. This campaign came seems to fly in the face of everything that "breaking the silence exposé" conveyed.

Bren said...

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Adam Carolla briefly talked about this and had some similar and good views. This was at the end of the Mar 17 episode of his podcast w/ guest Ari Shaffer.

Phillip Dixon said...

Hi, I totally agree with this. I'm a production student at Middle Tennessee State University and try to raise money for my films and it wouldn't be fair to pick between me and some Hollywood Star. So I'm going to take this opportunity to spread the word about my current campaign Movie Room Magic! Check out the link below for a great student project!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/movie-room-magic/x/3159132

Phillip Dixon said...

Hi, I totally agree with this. I'm a production student at Middle Tennessee State University and try to raise money for my films and it wouldn't be fair to pick between me and some Hollywood Star. So I'm going to take this opportunity to spread the word about my current campaign Movie Room Magic! Check out the link below for a great student project!

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/movie-room-magic/x/3159132

DougGerber said...

Important: we are trying to crowdfund a movie about ZACH BRAFF and his Kickstarter !
our movie is called:

"BAD BRAFF"

if you want to stick it to Zach Braff, we are trying to raise funds for this movie through another crowdfunding site called indiegogo. we only need $1,000 to make the movie.

check out our pitch video!


check out our indiegogo page. http://igg.me/at/badbraff/x/107981

www.stephenmendel.com said...

I've seldom been moved to comment on a post but this one.... I couldn't agree more with you, save Kickstarter for those who really need it. And your remarks about your former co-worker saving the starting times for the working man, really touched me. I was on a TV series once, and got a call from my agent for an audition for a mini-series. It wasn't a role that would do anything for me except make me a few bucks that weren't make or break for me. I told my agent this and suggested that there was an actor out there for whom that job could mean the rent or qualifying for health insurance. I'm small potatoes but I sure wish some of the more successful actors would do the same particularly in commercials and voice overs. There are actors who need to qualify for health coverage or retirement.
Stephen Mendel

Donna said...

This is has even been picked up by Salon. Congratulations on going viral!

Sara P. said...

As a "liker" of Zach Braff's Facebook page, I've been able to follow all his posts about his KS campaign. In one of his original posts, he wondered why people were complaining, and then went on to list 3 reasons why they shouldn't. Many of his fans commented that people like me (small independent filmmakers) were "haters".

So, I decided to comment on his post, and I took great care in detailing why we aren't complaining... or hating... but merely concerned. It triggered several responses and an extended conversation with some of the fans.

Then he continued to make posts, riling up his fan base. More people calling us "haters". But it made financial sense for him. More controversy, more publicity, more donations. When he decided to post the recent KS statement, he added the comment that the article should have been titled "Troll Silencer". That has since been removed.

I could handle the fans on FB. But here's where it got ugly. I was private messaged on Facebook by one of his "fans". On the same day, my movie on imdb.com was hit with a rating of "1". Now, our film was screened three times in 2012 and had a KS campaign for DVDs in December 2012. We haven't released the film to the general public, we haven't been advertising recently, we have had NO activity on our website for 6 months, and I know exactly who has seen this film. Our reviews have been wonderful. We previously had a mean ranking of 9.0 and a weighted average of 8 from 10 ratings.

Our imdb rating crashed to a 3.0 weighted average. Just from this single "1" rating. Which means the "1" was weighted heavily, i.e. someone who has status/ranking with imdb. We've had 20+ additional rankings come in recently after putting out a request for help from people who had seen the movie, and our mean is now 9.2 but our weighted average only went up to 4.3. That "1" holds a lot of weight.

It's B.S. that someone connected with this whole Zach Braff extravaganza had the ability and the nerve to destroy someone else's movie... simply for speaking out.

Bill said...
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Bill said...

wow there's a lot of vinegar in this thread. The guy is seeking an alternate source of funding, and quite honestly, whether or not it's extra $, more creative control, or both who cares? His rep is on the line regardless and anyone paying has the choice.

It may amaze you cool indie-movie-folks but really rich dudes in tech, sometimes even those who have made 9-10 figures of wealth, still go out and take VC funding for their next project. And it is 100% analogous to your KS rant, because even more importantly than the $ taken away in a VC fund, so is the VC's time/attention taken from some needy garage startup. But them's the breaks.

The bottom line is this: Zach worked his ass off like a lot of you, got a few lucky breaks, made $$ on a hit show. Through some tremendous hard work and avoiding bad temptations he retained success and more importantly, fans. And he treats those fans really well. He is very active on Twitter, Reddit and FB. Has been for years. So when it came time to do something like this, it was an honor for many of his fans to participate and contribute to someone they respect. All of you counting his money, assuming his motives or resenting his success are just petty.

Kevin Smith, btw has gone from everyman favorite to reclusive douche.

Uhm said...

After I read this article, I donated $50 to Braff.

Hope you're happy, hipster.

Garrett Moffitt said...

" NO access to Hollywood and NO access to serious investors " Thanks for telling Kickstarter what their purpose is. Just because someone work in Hollywood doesn't mean that actually have access to money. There are many films Hollywood doesn't make.
Why people like you can't seem to realize the hollywood is a business, not some magical fairy dust company that just hands out money all the time.

Anonymous said...

Braff could absolutely get his movie made without kickstarter. By using kickstarter he gets his movie with no interference, and since the people who fund it do not get any of the profit like a traditional investor, he gets more money too. Even if it doesn't reach his goal, he loses nothing. Pretty much free money for him.

Robert Palmer said...

Ken's blog spoke volumes to us. As a team in the midst of a kickstarter campaign, not sure if anyone read Entertainment Weekly this week 5/9/13 but they wrote about this Zach Braff situation and without my knowledge mentioned three projects that were actively campaigning (I Am Alone) ours being one them as an example of other projects few would ever hear of. We're exactly halfway though and just under 50% of our 25k budget to make a very ambitious low budget zombie film but Zach raises 1 mil in one day. It so difficult to raise money for any endeavor but film is one of the toughest and just when you think you have a platform, thy invaded and distract people from what is truly original out there. Great... More people may find kickstarter but they're looking for the wrong projects. This is actually our second time trying to campaign and if we have to do it a third time we will if thats what it takes. We dont have 8 seasons of scrubs money to fall back on.I hope you find us or any project on kickstarter that you'd want to support. You dont know how much your support means to all of us who have been or are currently involved in a kickstarter campaign- Robert I am alone.

Allyson Condrath said...

Check out Dinner For One's feelings on kickstarter and Zach Braff on Funny Or Die:

http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/befbdc2f25/fundraising-sucks

Ryan Martin said...

Ken,

Thank you for the incredible article. Like most people here are saying; you wrote it better than any of us could.

We actually launched our Kickstarter the same day (ends the same day, too) and I feel like we'v been living in the shadow of Braff's project since we launched. My boyfriend and I moved to LA with our last dime a year ago to find whatever we could in the industry and our road has lead us to our own project, "Wish It Inc." (I know, our title couldn't escape his campaign, either).

If anybody wants to help out a couple of young, working men bring to life a unique web series, please check us out on Kickstarter:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/syntheticph/wish-it-inc-a-comedy-fantasy-web-series

Cheers,
Ryan + Nick

Sebastian Peitsch said...

Sorry Ken but you couldn't be more wrong.

In a time where Nielsen can't gauge what is really watched, where Steven Soderbergh stops making movies because he has to deal with Hollywood executives who never even watch the movies their own studio makes, in a world where "Episodes" is a correct portrayal of the industry, where Louis CK has to basically make his show on an indie budget and gets his money back from Robin Williams because he saw that the crew has no money, where "Veronica Mars" gets cancelled even thought he show has a die hard audience, Kickstarter is the thing that's needed to let Braff make a movie where he does not have to relinquish creative control, where he can film HIS vision and best of all, he can do it with people who really like him.

Your angle should've been different. Braff isn't taking money away from the little guy but the problem is that Braff might make a movie that isn't liked by his fans who then get buyer's remorse and won't fund anything on Kickstarter again. Kickstarter is hip right now and the problem might be that people who fund something don't actually know what they buy. I have that buyer's remorse because 3 out of 5 things I funded on Kickstarter turned out to be crap.

But again - Braff has a track record. We know what to expect from him. Why on earth shouldn't we help him fund something that today's Hollywood with its endless sequels and no risk-taking wouldn't allow him to make?

Take a look at the numbers on Kickstarter - just look at it. How many people fund a project on Kickstarter? The projects that got the most funds have a couple of tens of thousands of supporters. How much is that in movie tickets? I mean seriously, look it up. You won't find a project hat has the number of backers in the millions. You can basically fund a Hollywood movie with the number of people that a "flop" nowadays gets.

And besides, how on earth are we supposed to believe you that buying a movie ticket is voting with your wallet? First of all the stuff I want to vote for isn't even on the ballot - I'm in Germany and all I get on my ballot are movies that are dubbed - no original audio. So I stay at home and don't watch TV because, guess what - ALSO no original sound. So I have to get pay TV - guess what happens there? Yes, again, shitty offerings, half of the subscribers only want the Sports package, the other half the movies and of those maybe 5% want the original voices and sound.

Kickstarter offers THE WHOLE WORLD to fund ANYONE, including Zach Braff. It doesn't take anything away from anyone. There's so much money out there, lying on the street. You saying that the 10 bucks Braff gets from me isn't going to some indie guy is like saying paying 10 bucks for the latest Star Trek Movie is taking money away from indie guys.

That's, quite frankly, idiotic.

I have money for both. And so has everybody else. And on top of that Braff makes people sign up on Kickstarter who will then maybe browse around and discover all those indie guys that they would never ever have discovered if Braff hadn't turned them on to Kickstarter.

It's a WIN/WIN for all, and your comment sounds quite a bit detached from reality. You apply an old Hollywood model of finite amount of funding on a world that has no boundries and literally infinite amount of money available there for the taking. There was a time when the guys who run Kickstarter thought 50,000 bucks was a hugely successful project.

I am pretty sure soon Hollywood executives will become obsolete and to be honest I thank Braff for taking the plunge. The sooner we get rid of people who make directors like Steven Soderbergh stop making movies the better.

Sebastian Peitsch said...

Small addendum: I wrote my comment before I pledged money on Kickstarter for the Braff movie, before I read a comment, before I read any other website and before I heard the interview on KCRW's "The Business". Heck I didn't even know that there was a VM movie funded on Kickstarter before I read your post even though I was a huge VM fan back in the day and hate every second of Kristen Bell on House of Cards because it makes her look slutty and that's specifically what V never was.

It's really funny that I hit the nail on the head from my experience with funding iPhone and iPad accessoires on Kickstarter the last two years.

This whole discussion is so 2012. We've had it with so many businesses already and that idea of Kickstarter being "ruined" with people from "The business" when it's so clear that Kickstarter is going to disrupt EVERYTHING and might be the doom of the Hollywood machine as it is now...

I'm in my fourth decade on this planet and it's so extremely funny to see people who grew up with something come up with the silliest arguments to express that something is "ruining" something else.

The people commenting that Sundance was ruined by the industry is such a hoot. I can't stop laughing.

Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the like will get RID of that industry as long as net neutrality is guaranteed. As long as information is free, something Aaron Schwartz fought for, all these gatekeepers will finally be gone.

No more "Episodes". No more "Indie".

A couple thousand people will be able to come together and just be able to make sh*t. Deal with it.

raise money for film said...

A while back, Kickstarter bounced the shark (or nuked the cooler or whatever the most cutting edge form of that is). It's now standard. You're just set to see a greater amount of these sorts of things at Kickstarter, not less. To utilize your similarity about film celebrations -don't grieve Sundance, attempt to discover the present incredible independent celebrations rather. The thought shouldn't be to disregard the Braff sorts of ventures to make Kickstarter be something else; assuming that you feel the way you do about how crowdsourced financing might as well work, discover the following Kickstarter.

Btw, the new radio fellow for the M's is working out extraordinary, however it'd still be dazzling to catch you do several recreations this time of year. Hopefully somebody needs a vacation day for benevolent explanations and you have sufficient energy and interest.

Sean Detente said...

Ironically this entire rant comes from the developer of BioShock.

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