Saturday, May 18, 2013
My final word (I hope) on Zach Braff and Kickstarter
After getting the money he begged for on Kickstarter for his follow-up movie to GARDEN STATE, Zach Braff now has “gap” funding from Worldview productions. The Kickstarter campaign drew enough attention that he was able to achieve what he set out to do originally and that is get a movie financed that guaranteed him autonomy. I hope he refunds some of the Kickstarter money and I suspect he will. This was never a scheme to swindle anyone. And I have always said I admire that Braff wants to be true to his vision. But in essence those who donated money to his Kickstarter campaign were providing Braff bait. You were kind of pawns.
And again, young filmmakers in Kalamazoo don’t have the access to leverage their Kickstarter largesse and fame into making a financing deal with a production entity.
This gets back to the argument I originally made that in my opinion crowd funding sites should be championing the little guy, not $22 million dollar celebrities. For that opinion I have taken a lot of criticism. Who am I to say who should be allowed on Kickstarter? Who made me Grand Poobah of the internet? Hey people, do what you want. Support whoever you please. Buy Zach Braff a new Tesla if you like. But I think it’s wrong.
Kickstarter, in a response to my article and others like it, maintained support for Braff and other notables. Well, of course they did! Celebrities draw attention to their website and bring in more traffic. If there’s a big winner in this whole brouhaha it’s not Zach Braff, it’s Kickstarter. Does the increased traffic result in more funding for the small productions? Maybe. I hope so. But it sounds suspiciously like the “Trickle Down Theory” to me. It’s up to you to decide whether that worked.
But it seems I am not alone in my stance. Kevin Smith, who I have never met, has been trying to get the financing to make CLERKS 3. On Reddit recently he wrote this:
"We nearly Kickstarted the budget back in November, but now I'm feeling like that's not fair to real indie filmmakers who need the help. Unlike back when I made CLERKS in '91, I've GOT access to money now - so I should use that money and not suck any loot out of the crowd-funding marketplace that might otherwise go to some first-timer who can really use it.
"So if I can get away with it, I'm gonna try to pay for CLERKS III myself. As much as I love the crowd-funding model (and almost did it myself in early 2009 with RedStateGreen.com), that's an advancement in indie film that belongs to the next generation of artists. I started on my own dime, and if I'm allowed, I should finish on my own dime."
In his glossy promotional video Zach Braff maintains that studios would interfere with his casting choices. He recently signed Anna Kendrick (a hot actress with an Academy Award nomination) and Josh Gad (the toast of Broadway in BOOK OF MORMON and a highly sought-after TV and film actor). Uh… what studio would veto those choices? It’s not like he wanted to hire me to play one of the roles. If he was going to hire all unknowns or even non-actors I could see where a studio might have serious reservations. This is a business. But Braff just hired two hot extremely talented young bankable actors. So I don’t buy that argument unless he intends to have Josh Gad play his mother.
Okay, that’s hopefully it for me. Zach, I await your next video.