Zach Braff on His $2 Million Kickstarter Project: 'I Had Nothing to Lose'

5:20 PM PST 05/03/2013 by THR Staff
Zach Braff

The "Garden State" director talks "Veronica Mars," anxiety over hitting the crowd-funding goal and answering all his critics.

Zach Braff has heard the arguments about why he shouldn't be using Kickstarter to fund his new film. But he doesn't buy his detractors' logic. 

"My brain has trouble with the logic of saying I'm taking money away from another Kickstarter project if I'm bringing people that didn't even know about Kickstarter to begin with," the filmmaker told Kim Masters, host of KCRW's The Business and editor-at-large at The Hollywood Reporter, in an interview aired on the radio station

On April 24, Braff launched a pledge fund on the platform to hit $2 million to finance his next film, titled Wish I Was Here, and succeeded at reaching the figure within days. That film, which is expected to cost between $4 and $6 million, will be the first that the Scrubs star has written and directed since helming the acclaimed 2004 Fox Searchlight title, Garden State

STORY: Has 'Veronica Mars' Ushered in a New Era of Movie Development?

"I never talked to studios. I didn't want to make it with studios," Braff told Masters about laying the groundwork for the project. "Since Garden State, I've had so much experience of that being a nightmare." The filmmaker explained that he spoke previously with financiers who wanted Wish I Was Here to film in Vancouver with an estimated budget of $4 million, but he ended up not going in that direction. 

The success of the crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie project, which hit its $2 million goal in a day and subsequently raked in over $5.7 million in pledged funds, was a turning point. When he decided to go the Kickstarter route, Braff said on KCRW, he felt anxious but figured it was worth a shot. 

"Everything I have done that ... I've had success with has been preceded by people saying 'That's not going to work,'" he said. "And that was the same with this. People saying, 'You're going to put your face on this thing' and 'What if you build it and they don't come? It's going to be humiliating.'"

More than 33,000 people have contributed to the project since it launched, and Braff hopes that the number of financiers ends up topping 50,000.

"I just thought I had nothing to lose," he said. "I thought, 'I know I have this loyal fan base. I know they want me to make another movie. I know they want me to be totally in charge of it. I know that it will take some explaining because there are people who don't understand how the business works and will be confused.'"

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Braff confirmed in the interview that Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons will appear in the movie and stated that there will be three components to funding Wish I Was Here

"There's the Kickstarter financiers, there's my own personal investment and then the difference will probably be met by pre-selling some minimal amount of foreign distribution," he said.

As to how much he will personally invest in the film, Braff said: "I don't know what it is yet. I guarantee you it will be a lot of money but I don't know what it is yet because it will all depend on where we close on Kickstarter."

Listen to the full KCRW interview here

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