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Zach Braff's Kickstarter Film Lands Josh Gad and Gets Full Financing

by
May 15, 2013
Source: THR

Zach Braff

Just last month, Garden State director and "Scrubs" star Zach Braff turned to Kickstarter in order to help get his new directing effort, Wish I Was Here, off the ground as an independent production. Well, the film raised more than $2.6 million from more than 38,000 people, exceeding the $2 million goal, in about a week. Nice job, Kickstarter! Well, maybe not. THR has news that the Kickstarter response to Braff's film has actually inspired Worldview Entertainment to fully fund the project, and it seems like the campaign was just a pawn in getting a real company to back the project as opposed to just going the indie route. More below!

Supposedly a small percentage of the money raised from Kickstarter will be returned in the form of a fee to Kickstarter, though it's not clear what happens to the money after that. Basically, the issue here is that Braff's intentions to subvert the studio system and do things his own way without interference from a financial backer don't seem genuine at all now. With backing from Worldview Entertainment, the film isn't really what Braff purported the project to be from the beginning. I'm hearing that those who donated might still have time to cancel their contribution if they feel slighted.

This is not good press for Braff and actually kind of makes me disinterested in seeing the film now, despite the fact that Josh Gad was just announced as joining the cast as well. For those out of the loop, here's the official synopsis from the Kickstarter campaign:

'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 (ages 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.

At the very least, people who contribute to the film should be given a little something extra after being deceived about the independent nature of the project, especially now that the film has full funding. If a full refund isn't in the cards, then something should be done for all these contributors who believed in Braff enough to fork over money. Otherwise, these people are paying to fund a movie that they won't even get to see for free when it hits theaters, and they don't get any of the spoils that Worldview will get for funding the film fully. This just seems disrespectful to passionate fans. What do you think?

UPDATE: Zach Braff responds to critics and explains all the funding right here:

UPDATE #2: Here's an update from Braff about some inaccuracies in THR's story:

Dear All,

The movie trade publication "The Hollywood Reporter" released an article today with a lot of wrong information about our project and I need to clear up some of what they said. I seem to get called a "douchebag" quite often these days. And that's fine; not everyone's gonna root for my success... but I can't sit by while my fans get wrong facts.

This is a whole new way of making a movie. There is lots of discourse on Earth about it. Some of it is very misinformed. Let's clear it up so you have it from my mouth. I will tell you the truth. As David Mamet's writes in his masterpiece, "Glengarry Glen Ross": The truth is the easiest thing to remember:

The Truth:

— The story out there about the movie being fully funded by some financier is wrong.

I have said on here and in every interview I've done on this project that the film would be fully financed from 3 sources:

My Kickstarter Backers
My own money
Pre-Selling foreign theatrical distribution.

Those three amounts will bring us to a budget of around 5 to 6 million dollars.

— Nothing about the making of this movie has changed. This movie is happening because backers funded it.

This film would not be happening without my backers. The traditional way is to have a financier put up the money and then sell the foreign rights. What I did, was to say to my fans, "If you and I provide the capital, we don't need some rich dude dictating how we make the movie; we can then go sell foreign distibution and we'll be all the way to our goal. Are you interested in that? So far 38,455 people have said yes.

— What happened today is that a financial company agreed to fill in the gap between what Kickstarter backers have funded and what I have put in, and what the movie will actually cost. Shooting could not happen without this.

When you pre-sell foreign distribution, you don't get that money for some time. So you need to go to a company to provide something called "Gap Financing". They are essentially a bank. Loaning us the "gap" between what we've raised together and what we need to actually make the movie. I have no idea where a 10 million dollar number came from but it is wrong and a lie.

It sounds like there was some misinformation. Read more of Braff's explanation and defense right here.

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  • Cody W
    "My life sucks and Im bored by everything PART 2" Sorry but Garden state was one of the most depressing and bland films Ive ever seen, and for the hipsters yes I "got it"
    • Xerxexx
      Depressing? By the film's end he was in a much happier place.
      • Cody W
        Yea unfortunately I had to watch the first 80 minutes to get there. Portman was cute in it Ill give it that but thats not hard to pull off.
        • Xerxexx
          Its good for a couple of viewings...the abyss scene is quite awesome.
  • FUZZBUG
    On one hand, it's a business, and to some extent you gotta do what you gotta do. But to use your fanbase as leverage in this fashion is definitely poor form.
  • Alex Williams
    In the Zach braff pitch on kickstarter he says that there is studio backing. HE...SAYS....THIS! He never says I wanna make a movie and I have no money. The whole point of the campaign itself was so that he would have enough money to make it his own way. Now he has the money. Wasn't the whole point to donating to him to see the movie he wanted to make? Who ... fucking.... caaaarreesssssss if the studios wanna give more money. THE MORE THE MERRIER!!! If people wanna cancel their money then 100% do so. Noone is holding a gun to their heads. But if anyone feels "deceived" then it's your own fault for assuming there wasn't studio funding as well. Two thumbs down. I'll see the movie I could give a shit if it's "indie" or not. That's like a hipster saying "i dont wanna see that band, they got signed and are making money now. sell outs"
    • CookieMonster
      No, he says that he was being offered money but refused it so he could do it out of the system and raise funds via KS: "I was about to sign a typical financing deal in order to get the money to make "Wish I Was Here," my follow up to “Garden State.” It would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film..." and "We want to make this film the same way we made "Garden State," without a distributor or financier demanding we adapt it to fit their needs."
      • Alex Williams
        he says he has money, but needs 2 million to make it his own way. he says he has financing, but needs the extra bit to cover the costs the financiers wont cover. that....is financing. thats why just like you said "We want to make this film the same way we made "Garden State," without a distributor or financier demanding we adapt it to fit their needs." re-read the part where he says demanding we adapt it to fit their needs. he is not saying we dont want a financier. he says "we dont want it to fit their needs". hence, he has money and if he wants more he has to do it their way. he raises the 2 million elsewhere and he can make it his way.
        • Alex Williams
          never once does he say "he was being offered money but refused it so he could do it out of the system and raise funds."
          • Alex Williams
            the extra 2 million is for the ability to have FINAL CUT. not to finance the entire movie.
          • Jcool
            No the 2 million was to make his own film without needing outside money. You clearly have no idea whats going on.
          • Bogey
            Uh hello...that's what the guy before you was just saying! That;s what "Final Cut" means you moron..You don't even understand film terminology so shut your fucking mouth...
        • Nate Dogg
          Wrong Alex. Go back to Go!
    • Oy Vey
      Braff says about a zillion times in the written pitch and in the video pitch that he turned to Kickstarter so he could refuse outside financing. There is no studio backing on the film. The financing is put together, as Braff says explicitly in the FAQ section: "With a combination of my own personal funds, backing from my fans and the sale of some of the film's foreign rights, I will be able to make the film I intended to make which I am hoping is a film you want to see." There is no studio backing, just some foreign, probably TV, deals. He is not looking for "an extra bit" of money. Primary funds are from Kickstarter. It says it right there.
      • Alex Williams
        "We want to make this film the same way we made "Garden State," without a distributor or financier demanding we adapt it to fit their needs." This is straight from the written content that has been (yes you are right) printed a ZILLION (thats alot!) times. Read it carefully... IF (and when I say IF i do mean IF) he had written: "We want to make this film the same way we made "Garden State," without a distributor or financier." Then yes, you would be right!!! But look...there is another few words that are crucial... ...demanding we adapt it to fit their needs." What he was saying is "we have financing" (he said this in the video as well) BUT, to protect their investment (said in the video) they insist on having final cut! Thus, if he raises the amount of money (2 million) to protect their investments even with the risk of an indie cast, he can have final cut and make the film he intended. And PLEEEASE if there is another interview or set of words out there that I haven't seen POST THEM HERE!!! AND SHUT ME UP!! Because if this is kickstarter campaign is the only evidence than its ALL IN HIS FAVOR! He didn't doop anyone, people just didn't pay attention when they handed over their money. Read the fine print and you shall be rewarded.
        • Alex Williams
          im not kidding, if there is some interview out there stating he had no intention of outside financing POST IT HERE. I will admit to being wrong I have no problem with that. But this kickstarter campaign is laid out pretty damn clear.
  • Brian Sleider
    Never liked this guy. Never have found him funny or entertaining.
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=582612593 Lawrence Bullock Cht
      He always speaks highly of you.
  • David Wetty
    I'll give Braff a chance to defend himself, but right now it looks like he's just another "go where the money is" Hollywood type.
  • BookMike
    This not only makes me dislike an actor/director I have enjoyed in the past, it makes me VERY leery of ever again contributing to Kickstarter. We've all been had... and that is NEVER a good feeling. So, Zach... and Worldview... beware the wrath of the irked consumer.
  • Ricardo_PT
    This is a little misleading. I'm not on tne movies industry, so I don't know how everything plays out, what I do know is that Zach stated on a backers only update that he would get the money through 3 sources: - kickstarter - his own money - selling the rights to worldwide distribution. He even said he would try to get this deal at the Cannes Film Festival. If this deal ge talked about is the deal he made with worldview then he's doing things exactly as he said to the people who gave him money and no one his getting cheated. I'm ok with people not liking Garden State or Braff, but the kickstarter project is going really well. I didn't pledge much, so I am paying for what I'm getting. Zach is doing a great job at keeping everyone involved with the project. We're getting casting news and updates almost daily. It's a great experience for someone who likes movies
    • Jenny
      Not "worldwide distribution" but distribution from worldwide markets. Worldwide is a company and not the same thing. This is definitely not what he mentions in his kickstarter platform.
      • Ricardo_PT
        I didn't understand what you said :p care to explain?
  • Deirdre
    As someone who contributed to Braff's kickstarter, I get that it costs more than $2M to make a movie---it was about getting final cut. Why be a hater?
    • Reymas
      He's putting his own money and in and getting foreign sales, both of which take the budget above 2 million. That said, "getting final cut" does not come with a price tag. He is not paying a studio 2 million to give him final cut, he's getting you and others like you to give him 2 million that would have come from a studio which would have negated to give him final cut. Studios hold filmmakers accountable. Kickstarter does not.
  • farquson
    kickstarter has a no refund policy, once you donate thats it.
  • racquetman
    Something tells me that we don't have all the facts yet; Braff couldn't possibly be this dumb, at least I hope not for his sake.
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ashley-Overton/9405495 Ashley Overton
    I've been following this project pretty closely and I believe what this article is referring to with worldwide entertainment as a backer is partially for international distribution of the film so that other countries around the world will have the opportunity to see the film. I believe it was clear from the beginning that this was going to happen. He is paying money out of pocket to fund the film, raises an addition $2 million from kickstarter backers and then gets another large backing from a company like worldwide entertainment in order to distribute the film all around the world. It's in his kickstarter interview. The total budget will come to about $6 million. Still indie. So I think this news is misinformed and also getting blown out of proportion due to people's personal feelings about Zach and kickstarter. I believe one of the main reasons he did this project through kickstarter is to connect with fans and share his love and working knowledge of filmmaking with all of us in a new and exciting way. But I'm a fan and this is just my partially informed opinion.
  • JMD
    Read the article guys. It claims Kickstarter states "it seems like the campaign was just a pawn in getting a real company to back the project as opposed to just going the indie route." Read the sentence above, there is no real source or direct quote from kickstarter at all. And if you follow the THR link above, it states nothing about Zach using kickstarter in such a deceptive manner. This is the authors opinion, not fact. Zach set out to finance this movie through Kickstarter and due to all the attention he was getting from fans, as well as casting announcements, Worldview Entertainment stepped in. Read up on them. They are not a major studio, they are an independent motion picture production and investment company. Chill
    • JMD
      let me rephrase, "Due to the films concept, story, fans and cast announcements, Worldview Entertainment kicked in."
  • Guest
    That video that he "responded" with was posted May 8th. How does he respond to the new criticisms?
  • Spanky Jesus
    That's it. I'm giving to the Don't Back Zach campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/don-t-back-zach
  • Nielsen700
    I backed this bitch with 30$. That could've gone to a new filmmaker or like... African kids. I hate and love Braff at the same time. I'm a huge Scrubs fan, but he seems like a pretentious dick in real life. Even though Garden State has flaws, I still love it. Love-hate relationships are hard.
  • K
    It's still an independent film. The only thing that would change that is if one of the big studios decided to finance it (i.e. Warner Brothers, Paramount, Universal, Relativity, Lionsgate/Summit, CBS Films, Sony, Disney, Fox, etc.) Worldview Entertainment is an independent financier. That's how the indie world works. Independent financing is the definition of an independent film.
  • http://dylanreeve.com/ Dylan Reeve
    This article seems like a baseless beat up. The THR story suggests that Braff secured *some* funding from Worldview - a small indie production company. Given Braff's very clear position on maintaining creative control it's highly unlikely he's given up that creative control. It was always clear he'd be needing additional funding sources, and this appears to just be one. It doesn't appear to change, in any way, the film he's pledged to make or what the backers will get in return.
  • JC Tenney
    You ought to at least add Braff's side of the story to this. Sounds like THR had some questionable sources... http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1869987317/wish-i-was-here-1/posts
  • Hilary
    Zach Braff is a shithead and Garden State sucks.
  • Nat Izakkson
    Always puzzles me when people just jump on the bandwagon of stories and continue to post the wrong and misleading facts without doing their own research. Zach's backers have never been deceived, they have been told from the start that their kickstarter pledges will only contribute to part of the budget of the movie and that he will put his own money in and foreign distribution rights being sold will make up the rest of the budget. WorldView Entertainment are "gap-financing" the film. They are essentially loaning the gap between the kickstarter funds and Zach's own funds until they receive the 3rd allocation of the financing, coming from the foreign distribution rights. Due to the money raised through the foreign distribution rights taking time to be received, "gap-financing" is needed for the film to be made.
  • Ricardo_PT
    Zach has already clarified this issue. And just so you know, Anna kendrick is on board!
    • Neuromancer
      Sweet!
  • avconsumer2
    Heh - no way to tell which comments were after the updates. Figured Braff was a good guy. He just kinda oozes... good guy. (or he's a much greater actor than I give him credit for) ;P
  • Alex Williams
    Sooo glad they posted the second update of Zach braff clearing up his "shady behaviour". I was WRRROOOONNNNGGG. everyone who i argued with, i apologize. As you are right :) I was wrong about Mr. Braff's intentions. I must have looked too much into what he was saying and found meaning where there was none!!! I am always willing to admit when I am wrong and you were all right. It did appear shady. Hopefully, his intentions are good! If not...well fuck.

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