When creator/writer Rob Thomas announced that he and his cast were going to raise the funds to make a Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter, the response was decidedly mixed. The experiment was an enormous success, with the total topping out at over $5 million, but some were uneasy about the fact that Warner Bros. was essentially making fans assume all the risk by funding a film that they would in turn distribute. Many wondered what this meant for independent financing going forward, and now another major star is turning to the fundraising service to get his next film made: Zach Braff.
Though Braff hasn’t directed a feature film since 2004’s Garden State, he’s hoping to secure financing for his follow-up Wish I Was Here with an eye towards a Sundance 2014 debut. Unlike Veronica Mars, though, Braff’s Kickstarter is 100% independent with no studio involved. Hit the jump for much more.
Braff was actually about to sign a regular financing deal with a studio for Wish I Was Here before he decided to take the Kickstarter route. He even told Steve last month that he was planning on directing the pic later this year. He notes on the Kickstarter page that he was directly inspired by the Veronica Mars model to raise the funding for his next film without relinquishing his artistic control. By financing the film independently, Braff can maintain final cut and control over casting and location choices, as well as the film’s overall budget.
Braff wrote the film with his brother, Adam, and he will star as Aidan Bloom, a struggling actor, father, and husband “who at 35 is still trying to find his identity; a purpose for his life.” Bloom is struggling to raise his two young kids with his wife, and when his father is no longer able to afford private school for the children, he takes it upon himself to home-school them given that the only available public school “is on its last legs.” Bloom eschews the traditional academic curriculum and comes up with his own, discovering “some parts of himself he couldn’t find” in the process. The film will involve elaborate fantasy sequences, as Braff’s character is still obsessed with the futuristic Space-Knight that he always dreamed of being as a kid.
Braff is looking to raise $2 million on Kickstarter, and the plan is to start shooting in August and finish the film in time for a debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. He’s already roped in a talented crew, including cinematographer Larry Sher (Garden State, The Hangover trilogy) and production designer Judy Becker (Silver Linings Playbook).
It’s crazy to think that Braff hasn’t directed a film since Garden State—he did uncredited work on the script for 2006’s The Last Kiss but Tony Goldwyn directed that drama. Braff previously helmed a number of episodes of Scrubs, and when thinking about the fantasy sequences here I’m instantly reminded of his Wizard of Oz homage episode “My Way Home,” which is one of the best episodes of the whole series. As a big fan of Garden State I’ve been looking forward to Braff’s follow-up for some time, and I feel much more comfortable with the Wish I Was Here Kickstarter than the Veronica Mars one since there’s no studio or corporate entity behind the crowd-sourced fund.
Head over to Braff’s Kickstarter page to donate and to read more about his plan, and watch his Kickstarter video below.