Wish I Was There Greenlit by Kickstarter. Zach Braff”s Kickstarter campaign for the film Wish I Was There hit its goal within 3 days to raise $2 million. The Wish I Was There campaign is for thirty days and still has 26 days to go (the pledged funds are currently at $2.1 Million). Wish I Was There marks the second great success using the Kickstarter model. The initiator of that model was its first success story, the Veronica Mars‘ movie.
On the initial Kickstarter plan for Wish I Was There and where it might go now since it has already reached its goal:
The game plan was to use Kickstarter funding, and foreign sales, to raise the $5 million needed to make the movie. Braff, producers Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg planned to work practically free, upfront..they’ll likely wind up with enough dough to fund the whole movie without making pre-sales, and maybe enough to pay participants a little bit.
The official press release for Wish I Was There and Zach Braff’s campaign for the film:
Actor/writer/director Zach Braff today launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of the feature film “Wish I Was Here”. Braff will direct and star in the film which is based on an original screenplay he wrote with his brother, Adam Braff. Oscar®-nominated producers Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg (“Django Unchained,” “Contagion,” “Garden State,” “Erin Brockovich,” “Pulp Fiction”) will produce the film through their company Double Feature Films.
Best known for his role on the long-running sitcom “Scrubs,” Braff also wrote, directed and starred in the 2004 instant classic, “Garden State.” Most recently he appeared in director Sam Raimi’s enormously successful “Oz The Great And Powerful.”
“Wish I Was Here” is the story of Aidan Bloom (to be played by Braff), a struggling actor, father and husband who at 35, is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life. He and his wife are barely getting by financially and Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic Space-Knight he’d always dreamed he’d be as a little kid.
When his ailing father can no longer afford to pay for private school for his two kids (5 and 12) and the only available public school is on its last legs, Aidan reluctantly agrees to attempt to home-school them. The result is some funny chaos, until Aidan decides to scrap the traditional academic curriculum and come up with his own. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find.
With a goal of raising $2 million on Kickstarter in 30 days, the producers hope to shoot the film in Los Angeles beginning this summer. Donor incentives range from personal copies of the script to access to weekly behind-the-scenes video to invitations to the premiere and even a speaking role in the film.
Said Braff: “I am often asked by my fans or by the press when I am promoting films in which I’ve acted, ‘Why haven’t you directed another film since Garden State?’ The truth is, it’s very hard to get small, personal films made without sacrificing some aspect of your artistic integrity (final-cut, casting, minuscule budgets). Crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter could be a game-changer for independent films. Already 10% of the films at the most recent Sundance Film Festival had some Kickstarter money and that’s growing exponentially. Social media has begun to give content creators a chance to appeal directly to their fan base and say, ‘I wanna make something for you, but I’m gonna need your help.’ The supporters of mine across the globe who back this film project will not only get to see something that wouldn’t have been made otherwise, but they’ll get to do so knowing they made it happen.”
“Following the amazing experience we had working with Zach on ‘Garden State,’ we’ve always known we wanted to work with him again and couldn’t wait for the stars to realign,” said Sher. “I first became aware of Kickstarter about a year ago as musician Amanda Palmer’s campaign took off. Then, as we watched as the Veronica Mars campaign explode, it became impossible to deny the fact that crowd-funding is an exceptionally strong force in the future of independent filmmaking.”
The Kickstarter model is going to get a lot of films off the ground and I am glad this new phenomenon is happening. Others are even more surprised:
This is startling, that so many people are betting on a filmmaker, and not donating because they just want to see a movie version of a favorite TV show like Veronica Mars.
A possible look into the future of the Kickstarter model, problems with it, and its evolution:
I still wonder how these donors will feel if this movie turns out to be a big hit that pours off profit, because investors who put up almost half the budget of this film will be on the outside looking in when the profits are carved up. They won’t have points, or any ownership in the negative, which is the way industry insiders make their fortunes. Maybe the next step in this movement will be to protect donors on the back end in case of success. I wish I could fall in line and laud the artistic empowerment part of this. But if you look at this the way Deadline does, as a business, to me this still comes down to money that filmmakers don’t have to pay back, for a movie they will own free and clear, forever.
Mr. Fleming makes great points but misses the bigger picture. The people, the fans, want the project made. Period. If they do not donate, it will not get made and they will own no part of the project. If it does get made, they will own no part of the project but they get to watch the finished film. Mr. Fleming is also missing another point: the people that do donate do receive compensation in the form of swag, video greetings, premiere tickets, set visits, being an extra, tickets to the after party after the premiere, a role in the film extra, etc. To fans, who are the ones donating, this matters. They get to be a part of something they love.
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