What happens when you mix a successful TV star, a crowd-funding site and a plea for two million dollars? Controversy, apparently.
Zach Braff, known for his roles in Scrubs and Garden State (2004), has decided to write and direct his own movie using donations he gets through Kickstarter. The film, called Wish I Was Here (2014), follows the life of a middle-aged actor struggling to sort out his identity. (I’m sensing some autobiographical influences?) Inspired by the success of the Veronica Mars movie, Braff launched his own Kickstarter page on April 27th , asking users to pledge at least two million dollars to get the project up and running. Three days later, the goal was reached, though the actor will leave the page up until May 24th, 2013.
At first glance, it’s hard to have a reaction other than “OMG, ZACH BRAFF IS MAKING A MOVIE, OUT OF MY WAY, I WANT EVERY TICKET PLEASE.” However, there has been some criticism over the move that is completely understandable. So, where does the project fall on the Hot or Not scale? Let’s take a look:
He taught us about Guy Love during Scrubs, family dysfunction in Garden State and how to sound like a chicken in Chicken Little (which people seem to forget he did, so I thought I would remind you all). There are also these GIFS of him on the Internet which, although I’m sure he didn’t have any part in creating them, still make me happy:
Braff Wants Complete Control Over Movie (But Not In A Crazy Director Kind Of Way)
When asked why he did not use independent financiers to fund his movie, Braff noted how he didn’t want one negative audience test screener to force him to change the end of the movie. By using a Kickstarter page, Braff will get complete control over the direction of the movie and could even take suggestions from contributors. Like an artist dumping a record label, Braff aims to bypass the imposing movie corporations and make the project something he, and his fans, can be proud of.
Rich People Accepting Donations
Last year, Justin Combs, son of the infamous P. Diddy, received a full-ride to the University of California (Los Angeles) and kept it, despite being a member of a multi-million dollar family. In a way, Braff is in a similar situation. Though the actor made $350,000 per episode of Scrubs, he claims the estimates about his net worth are entirely off. But if these numbers are in fact true, does Zach deserve to ask for two million dollars from his lesser-paid fanbase? Should he be allowed to take advantage of this resource when he could fund the movie entirely on his own?
Kickstarter Belongs to Independent Artists
Zach is already a famous actor with millions of fans and a legacy that cannot be erased. But is that really what Kickstarter is for? According to many critics, Braff should be leaving the crowd-funding site to those who it was made for: struggling indie artists hoping to get noticed. With his project, Braff is directing the attention away from other, smaller users that deserve the attention.
People Are Paying For This Project…Twice
Similar to the Veronica Mars movie, contributers to the Wish I Was Here movie will not only be putting money towards this two million dollar goal but, once the movie reaches theaters, they will be paying for their ticket. So, technically, you will be paying money so that, later, you can pay more money. This argument, albeit, isn’t very strong because it ignores the very obvious fact that the money will be put towards possibly the best movie ever but if I didn’t say it, someone would’ve yelled at me for not considering both sides equally so… here’s to that person!
I have listed more NOTs than HOTs here, I know, but I actually very much support this initiative. While I understand the critics’ point of view, I’d hate to see such a valuable film opportunity go to waste because of financial tensions. Plus, if this project was rejected, then the Veronica Mars movie would also be subject to a similar argument and I wouldn’t want to witness a national cry sesh if that project was halted.
Image via Westword.com. GIFS via Tumblr.