Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Actor/director Zach Braff arrives at the premiere of Fox Searchlight Pictures' 'Garden State' on July 20, 2004 at the Directors Guild, in Los Angeles.
The Kickstarter to make a “Veronica Mars” movie broke records, becoming the third-highest funded project in Kickstarter history with almost $6 million and bringing in more backers than any project ever. Now, Zach Braff, best known for the show “Scrubs” and “Garden State,” is bringing that “people who are already hugely successful asking for you money” thing back for another round.
Braff wrote and directed “Garden State,” and now he wants to make “Wish I Was Here” — and is asking fans for $2 million on Kickstarter to fund it. This is his first film where he’s the creative force behind the movie since “Garden State.” Some have argued that it doesn’t make sense for those who have the resources to get funding themselves to go to fans to raise money, but Braff addresses that.
“Financing an independent film the traditional way often means having to give away your right to ‘the final cut,’ casting choices, location choices and cutting down your script to make it shoot-able on the cheapest budget possible.”
You can check out Braff’s video pitch here, including some celebrity guest spots (watch out, “Big Bang Theory” fans):
He goes into greater depth, including addressing how financing it himself helps avoid what’s been referred to as “runaway production.”
“This film is set in Hollywood. Bizarrely, it is very expensive to shoot in Los Angeles. So unless I have the budget to afford to shoot here (where it takes place), I’ll have to shoot the film in Vancouver or Georgia or Louisiana and fake it to look like LA.”
Braff wrote the movie with his brother, and he lays out the plot — it shows some of the same elements of the ennui of a lack of direction found in “Garden State,” with someone who’s a few years older. He’s a 35-year-old guy forced to home school his kids, and he uses his own childhood fantasies to make that happen.
As Braff describes it in his video pitch, “I wrote ‘Garden State’ about a time in my life when I was feeling overwhelmed and lost in my 20s. I guess you could say ‘Wish I Was Here’ is about the next chapter of your life in your 30s. Not a sequel in story, but it’s a continue of the tone.”
Braff's name value also brings a lot of big celebrity supporters:
Unlike the “Veronica Mars” Kickstarter, Braff is asking for fans to support a tone and a filmmaker they like rather than an established property. He’s playing up the strengths people associate with his previous work, like the “Garden State” soundtrack — one of the rewards is playlists built by Braff for backers that they can stream during each week of production.
Also unlike “Veronica Mars,” Braff’s film doesn’t have any existing distribution deals. He notes that as a risk, but looks to try taking the film independently to Sundance and expand from there. Despite those differences, looks like "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas is on board:
Zach Braff's Kickstarter video is amazing. Nice shout out to Veronica Mars as well. kck.st/12fyTSa— Rob Thomas (@RobThomas) April 24, 2013
The movie also has another SoCal connection — plans to shoot part of the movie at San Diego Comic-Con.
At press time, Braff was almost halfway toward his project getting funded. He’s seeking $2 million, and hours into the process, he already had almost 12,000 backers and close to $900,000. Only time will tell if fans feel that supporting the work of someone who could get funding elsewhere is where they want to put their money in the long term, but projects like this seem to be drawing support right now. Oh, and Braff has an estimated net worth of $22 million — no word on whether he'll be putting in any of his own money.
This story has been updated.