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With $2 Million Kickstarter Campaign, Zach Braff Modifies Both Old and New Distribution Models

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | feelingsoblahg.blogspot.com April 24, 2013 at 11:34AM

Following the recent success of the "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter campaign, Zach Braff has launched a Kickstarter campaign of his own for his follow-up to 2004's "Garden State," "Wish I Was Here."
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Zach Braff's "Wish I Was Here."

Following the recent success of the "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter campaign, Zach Braff has launched a Kickstarter campaign of his own for his follow-up to 2004's "Garden State," "Wish I Was Here."

The film centers on Adrian Bloom (played by guess who...), "a struggling actor, father, and husband," who spends his days fantasizing about being his childhood hero Space-Knight. Bloom's father gets sick and can no longer to pay for the private schooling of Bloom's two kids, and with the public school on its last legs, Bloom decides to home-school his children.  Awkward, bumbling encounters seem to be what comes of this set-up. Braff wrote the script with his brother Adam.

Braff's campaign is an interesting one for Kickstarter. While the "Veronica Mars" campaign was launched because Warner Bros. wanted to build an audience to ensure one was there before investing money on a property it owned that had been accumulating dust for some time, Braff had offers to make his film, but the studios were asking for the rights to control his creativity.  

READ MORE: Before You Beg Us: Here Are Four Easy Rules For Every Celebrity on Kickstarter

Typically, with a production narrative like this ("The studio wanted first look, casting choice  and location choices, so I decided I'd make it myself!"), people come to Kickstarter and sell advance copies of the film. Not so with Braff. He wants to limit the number of copies of the film from circulating because he wants to keep bigger distribution deals on the table. Nevermind the fact that he can promise copies of the film after the film is out. Here's what he has to say on the page's FAQ section:

I wish I could give you all everything you want. Unfortunately, giving away the movie could scare off the good distributors for movies like this, because the theater chains insist on having the “first run” of movies before they are available on DVD or digitally. I want all my fans to be able to see this movie in their hometown theaters on the big screen if they want to. I hope you like the rewards I am offering, and if there’s something you don’t see on the page, please comment and let me know.

The campaign does offer physical rewards for some lower donation levels; it offers access or tickets to screenings online and in select cities for a premium price. But its reluctance to give people physical or digital copies says something about Braff's outlook on his audience. Either he thinks they don't need a copy of the film (his is the streaming audience), that they're rampant pirates that won't capture the video when it premieres on his secret online streaming platform, or that they will buy a copy of the film even after donating.

Braff's model is novel and, on the face of it, bizarre. "Veronica Mars" made its goal in one day; let's see how Braff does.

This article is related to: Zach Braff, Kickstarter