As we saw with the Veronica Mars project, the Internet at large is opining on whether or not Zach Braff should be using a platform like Kickstarter to launch his new movie. Two examples today…
“As is the case with all amazing things, however, there comes abuse. And Kickstarter abuse has become increasingly bothersome and offensive. By my definition, a Kickstarter abuser is a well-known person who has the financial means and/or professional connections to fully fund their project without asking their fans for money but asks anyway.
Most recently, actor/director/writer Zach Braff has joined the should-be embarrassed ranks of Kickstarter abusers– in this case, celebrities who could easily fund their pet projects without asking you or I for money. Braff, who was making a reported $350,000 per episode of Scrubs and who is currently wiping his ass with syndication money and who can be seen in the $215 million Oz the Great and Powerful, asked his fans for $2 million so that he can produce a follow-up to his 2004 indie flick Garden State. The result: As of this post, he’s raised $2.2 million and there are 23 days to go. If the history of celebrity Kickstarter projects means anything, fans will continue to give money to Braff, despite his goal being met. It also means Braff, like his fellow Kickstarter abusers, will gladly accept the excess funds. Classy.”
“Braff is the latest in a spate of big names passing the hat at Kickstarter. Rob Thomas and the talent behind Veronica Marsmade a huge splash three weeks ago when they raised more than $5.7 million to fund a film version of the popular show. The campaign, which inspired Braff’s Kickstarter, had a goal of $2 million and became the largest amount ever requested on Kickstarter to receive its funding. Braff became the second when he hit two mil, putting the two projects well above indie fare like the campaign to fund a film version of Eric Powell’s comic The Goon, the $52,527 campaign that funded the Oscar-winning short Inocente and (as of this writing) Brian Knappenberger’s push for an Aaron Swartz documentary.
These are huge successes for creators looking to do something outside the system, but what about people without name recognition who were never in the system to begin with?
While it’s not likely Kickstarter will overthrow Hollywood any time soon – making a single episode ofGame of Thrones costs more than any crowdfunding campaign has ever raised – there can be a bit of uneasiness when Hollywood plays in the indie world’s grassroots sandbox. Even Thomas acknowledged this when he told Wired it “would be so gutsy” to attempt crowdfunding a million-dollar-plus project that wasn’t a known property. And music industry blogger Bob Lefsetz wrote after Braff’s campaign launched that “when the big boys come to play, it squeezes out the wannabes. Kickstarter’s no longer a left field club, but the playground of the people who won’t hang with you, who are always behind locked gates and velvet ropes.””