It’s hard to imagine that the Zach Braff of the underrated and delightful “Scrubs” would grow into the incredibly divisive filmmaker behind “Garden State” and “Wish I Was Here.” It was Braff’s latter film, his sophomore feature, that stirred controversy after he turned to Kickstarter for funding his personal passion project. Now, in the new episode of the podcast “Off Camera with Sam Jones,” Braff finally opens up his experience with the crowdfunding site and how the internet-at-large treated him.
With the luxury of nearly an hour and a half, Braff is finally able to talk about the firestorm that the Kickstarter campaign for “Wish I Was Here” created: “I felt the whole thing and the giant cultural conversation around it that it started, was misunderstood. With some Monday morning quarterbacking , I really never ever thought it would be so controversial. I really just wanted to make something with my artistic integrity intact.”
Contrary to what some of the most extreme detractors of Braff would have you believe, the filmmaker only thought of crowdfunding as “a rad experiment to remove the notes of a corporation, remove the changes of a fund, or a studio, or anyone corporate from the process entirely. And it’s something you could only do in 2013, at the time.”
He never thought of crowdfunding as a way to “make money off [his] fans,” instead viewing the perks and incentives for kickstarting as a virtual “marketplace [where] all the profit from that would go into making the film.” Braff admits that he was a bit naive about the process when he started his Kickstarter experiment and that had he known of the vitriol that awaited him, he wouldn’t have even bothered to go through with it. The former TV star even suggests that the negative reaction online will likely steer him away from attempting other deeply personal films like “Wish I Was Here” in the future.
The whole interview is frank, interesting and well worth a listen for Braff fans and maybe even his detractors. Listen to the Zach Braff episode of “Off Camera with Sam Jones.”