This post was originally going to be about Zach Braff's movie Garden State. I watched it recently for the first time in a couple of years and it blew my mind. Blew. My. Mind. Firstly, because I realised that it came out nine years ago. NINE YEARS AGO! I was seventeen when I first saw that movie. Holy flying time, Batman! Secondly, the characters in the film are all twenty six, the age that I am now. That really fucked with my mind. I fell in love with these characters when I was seventeen and now I am the same age as them. The next time I watch the movie I will probably be older than them. Such a weird feeling.
So, yeah, that's what this post was originally going to be about. However, I have decided instead to weigh in with my opinion on the hoo-ha surrounding Zach Braff turning to Kickstarter in order to help fund his next movie, Wish I Was Here. I may be a little late to the party as the internet has been bitterly debating the subject for several weeks now, but fuck you internet, this is my blog and I'll do what I want.
For those unaware, a brief recap of events: Zach Braff (of Scrubs fame) directed a little movie called Garden State nine years ago (NINE YEARS AGO!), everybody loved the shit out of it but he hasn't made another movie since. He has attributed his lack of filmmaking to being unable to attain funding without signing away his creative control. Inspired by the overwhelming success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign, Braff decided to go the Kickstarter route himself in order to help raise (some of) the money needed in order to make the film he wants to make without signing away his creative control to the "money guys".
First of all, I must point out that I am a huge fan of Kickstarter. I have kick started the shit out of a number of projects. Some of which have come to fruition, some are yet to and some may never see the light of day at all. Such is the gamble you take when backing projects on Kickstarter.
The Wish I Was Here Kickstarter campaign has caused a great deal of controversy and has split opinion right down the middle. On one side there are those that disagree with "celebrities" using Kickstarter. Their argument being that Kickstarter was designed for the "little guy", the "working man", the independent artists and inventors that would otherwise have no other means to raise funds for their art project/invention/whatever. Zach Braff is part of the establishment: Lead actor of a hugely successful sitcom and a celebrated indie filmmaker. He already has plenty of connections within the film industry and has openly stated that he could get funding for his film should he be willing to sign away the final cut. In essence, the main gripe seems to be that Zach Braff is a celebrity, therefore he must be a multimillionare, therefore should fund his own freakin' film and by "panhandling" on Kickstarter he is exploiting his fans and taking away backers from smaller projects that will struggle to compete with such high profile competition. (sources: TV comedy writer Ken Levine and Guardian columnist Lisa Marks)
My view, along with that of 37,180 others (the current amount of WIWH backers at the time of writing), is that we don't care if Zach Braff is a celebrity, we don't care if he is a multimillionaire, we don't care if Scrubs ran for about four seasons too many and just wasn't that funny any more, we loved Garden State and we're fucking psyched to be a part of Zach's next movie. We're part of it. We're in. We're along for the ride. Which will make watching the film when it comes out that much fucking sweeter. Maybe I have been drinking the Zach Braff coolaid, maybe I have been brainwashed by his effervescent personality. Maybe, maybe not.
I could have sat back, not bothered with backing the project and just torrented that shit from Pirate Bay when it is inevitably leaked online. But no, I backed the project, and providing it leaves me with the warm and fuzzies after seeing it, I will then pay good money to own a copy of the DVD. (I will then watch it again in nine years and have my mind blown that I am the same age as the characters. Oh, life. You evil genius.)
In regards to the view that WIWH will take money away from other projects, that is complete and utter bullshit. Kickstarter themselves have recently reported that the Zach Braff and Veronica Mars projects have brought "tens of thousands" of new people to the website. 63% of their backers had never backed a project before, and many have gone on to back other projects. Kickstarter estimates that those two projects alone have brought $400,000 to other projects. If those figures are correct then it goes to show that these high profile projects not only don't detract from the "little guys" but help raise awareness for them. (source: Film School Rejects)
The only thing I will suggest in regards to Kickstarter is to avoid it all costs when you are drinking. The money doesn't go out straight away and is only taken once the project has finished AND has reached it's full target. Too many times now I have received e-mails along the lines of "Such and so project has been successfully funded and X amount will now be debited from your account" and I'm like... "Say whaaaaaaaat?!?"
Drunk Kickstarting, like drunk eBaying except you only find out like a month later. Fuck.
NB: I was 100% sober when I backed Wish I Was Here and I regret nothing.