Following in the footsteps of Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas – who turned to Kickstarter to raise millions for a Veronica Mars movie – Zach Braff made his debut on Kickstarter last week looking to fans to fund his film project.
The Veronica Mars campaign was a huge success; the film broke Kickstarter records by attracting 91,585 backers and pulling in $5,702,153 – more than double Thomas’ goal of $2 million.
Braff is also seeking $2 million for his film, Wish I Was Here, a project he describes as a follow-up (but not exactly a sequel) to Garden State, which he wrote, directed and starred in.
Unlike most Kickstarter endeavors, the Veronica Mars film is not exactly an independent project. The IP is owned by Warner Bros, the producers of the television series, and the studio reportedly wasn’t convinced that a Veronica Mars film would be a hit, but would green-light the film if the Kickstarter campaign was a success. In other words, the Kickstarter fundraising effort here was less about gathering capital for a production than it was about convincing a studio that there was interest in a project.
The case of Wish I Was Here is different; Braff does intend to make the film himself, citing artistic freedom as his reason for turning to Kickstarter. In his video pitch, Braff indicates that he doesn’t want to give in to a studio on choices of cast or final cut.
Nonetheless, this recent trend of high-profile projects relying on Kickstarter has raised several questions for industry-watchers. One of the biggest questions: If a star like Braff – who benefits both from personal wealth and professional connections – is turning to Kickstarter to get a project off the ground, what does that mean for crowdfunding in general?
Does it allow everyone – from Zach Braff to a recent film school graduate – a more even playing field?
Does it favor established talents at the expense of smaller, independent projects?
Could what was once perceived as an organic, small-scale approach to funding creative projects turn into just another marketing tactic, leading to “crowdfunding fatigue?”
We know of several projects by Full Sail students, grads, and faculty members that have successfully utilized Kickstarter to get off the ground, so we wonder what you readers think of this recent trend. Do you think the use of crowdsourcing to fund celebrity or corporate projects is acceptable? Does it depend on the project?
Tell us what you think.