The Kickstarter campaign last month that crowd sourced funding for a Veronica Mars movie may be a fundamental shift in how films are financed. You've no doubt heard how movies will be democratized by Rob Thomas, Veronica Mars's creator, using the online service.
And the next Kickstarter movement has arrived:
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. I’ve been a backer for several projects on Kickstarter and thought the concept was fascinating and revolutionary for artists and innovators of all kinds. But I didn't imagine it could work on larger-scale projects. I was wrong.
Zach Braff’s reasoning for his "emancipation" from the Hollywood studio system is exactly what I feared would happen when Rob Thomas kick-opened Pandora’s Box.
Understandably, artists don’t want to compromise creative liberty. But leaning on your fan base for money? Fans already pay money to see your peculiar movies and buy the DVDs of your sitcom that lasted well past its welcome. Asking them to pony up to make your movie in the first place stretches what I consider "good faith."
What Braff fails to notice is how the Veronica Mars movie is being made. Its Kickstarter raised nearly $6 million for Warner Bros Studio to mobilize its film production machine. The Veronica Mars movie has all of the traditional distribution channels that give it at least a chance to make its money back. Wish I Was Here sounds like it’s being edited in Braff’s garage.
There’s no guarantee the project will even make any of the film festivals Braff lists in his pitch. There's no guarantee it will be finished. I’m all for admiring risk takers and job creators, but all of this sounds like one of Al Gore's risky schemes. The Veronica Mars movie hasn’t even completed casting. We don’t know if the populist model is feasible.
What is most glaring is that Veronica Mars is a known property that’s been around for as long as Garden State has been on DVD. But Braff is trying to coast off of the goodwill he earned from Garden State. Be real: There’s a reason Braff’s last major film, The Ex, came out in 2006. The Ex was a dud. Markets have deemed Braff not profitable. So if he's going to make another movie, someone else will have to sign off on those checks. This time, those people are the very fans that pay him money in the first place. Braff is betting it all on black—but his fans are the ones that have the most to lose.
As with hybrid vehicles, it’s always easier to spend other people’s money.