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Wish I was here by Zach Braff (kickstarter.com)
483 points by taytus on Apr 24, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 205 comments

Here's what I think is missing from this kickstarter (and was a huge part of the Veronica Mars kickstarter success) -- you can't pay a reasonable amount of money and get the final product.

I realize he probably can't sell advance tickets (beyond special cases like opening night) but how about, say, the DVD/Bluray/iTunes/Amazon version when it becomes available. I'm not a huge Zach Braff fan, but I liked Scrubs a lot, and I enjoyed Garden State. I would totally pay $20 to get the production diary + digital version when it becomes available.

Personally, I think the "pay me to make this movie/tv series and if I get the money I will deliver it to you" model is the future for a lot of entertainment (especially for known quantities like -- say -- the people who produced Stargate SG-1). The inefficiency of paying a network to speculatively create and back TV shows based on guesstimated potential advertising revenue and a tiny chance of a massive payoff if the show is a hit is horrendous.

"Why aren’t you offering a Digital Download or DVD reward?

I wish I could give you all everything you want. Unfortunately, giving away the movie could scare off the good distributors for movies like this, because the theater chains insist on having the “first run” of movies before they are available on DVD or digitally. I want all my fans to be able to see this movie in their hometown theaters on the big screen if they want to. I hope you like the rewards I am offering, and if there’s something you don’t see on the page, please comment and let me know."

It is pretty simple--why would someone buy the rights to his DVD to only find out that the top 20k fans of his who would be buying that DVD/Download already have it.

And also those same fans are now less motivated to go see the film in theaters because their DVD is already pre-ordered, potentially hurting box office revenue.

It is actually brilliant, now he can go to the distributors and say "these thousands of people were so excited about this project that they paid to make it... so of course they will pay us to see it!"

Maybe. Or maybe many of those people have paid to have the film made, and now will think nothing of pirating it.

But then the point could be made that those thousands of people on Kickstarter would be advocates or "net promoters" for the movie.

Why not make the download or BluRay available when they get released anyways? I wouldn't care. And I would have paid $30 to get this plus the playlists/script.

Because that's not how distributors work, I'd assume. They'll want exclusive rights in their territory.

He could buy the DVDs from the distributor at wholesale and send them out to his backers. This would flip the negotiation around since he'd be guaranteeing a certain number of sales.

Not convincing me I don't WANT a DVD. Sure its hard, distributors want what they want, but thats pfft to me. For my $20 I want something.

Your goals and Zach’s just don’t align on this one—so don’t back it. His feelings will probably not be hurt and he will still be glad to sell you a DVD when the time comes.

This is a Kickstarter project, not an Amazon pre-order.

Right. And unlike almost every other Kickstarter 'art' project, it doesn't propose sharing the result with the folks funding it.

I think the guy might consider just taking a loan or whatever, to fund for-profit ventures in the future.

Hold on, the original Garden State cost only 3.5 million to produce. You're telling me Braff doesn't have 3.5 million to finance this thing or get a loan from a traditional outlet/rich friends/George Harrison's Estate?

It sounds like this is his pet project, with him starring, and him getting most of the profits, but he wants his fans to take all the risk? Seems off to me. Granted, he may not want to personally take on the risk, which is understandable, but its a personal vanity project no one is demanding. Just bankroll it, Zach.

Kickstarter being used by well funded celebrities who just want to minimize their risk to zero seems wrong to me. It should be for startups and good ideas that can't get funding elsewhere.

He's worth about 22million (according to a google search). I imagine much of that might be tied up in stocks/real estate, etc. 3.5M is not a trivial sum at that level of wealth.

He could certainly borrow it (with interest), but why? Fans aren't taking risk-- they are buying something that they want.

Rich/influential people can dodge most risk. Example: the top 7% of the US had their net worths soar 28% from 2009-2011. The rest of us lost 4%. (source: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-economy-wealt... )

Fans are taking the risk that the project will not be delivered.

Can't reply to my sibling here, but no, they do not get their money back. Once a Kickstarter is funded, the money goes to the organizer and then it is gone. It's on their honor to deliver on their promises. Kickstarter does nothing to enforce that. It's somewhat by design, they don't want to saddle starving artists with tons of debt because they made a mistake on how much it would cost to fund the rewards. But that also assumes it's being used by starving artists. Kickstarter seems like it has largely become just an advertising and presales system for established artists and companies.

Do you really think this is a meaningful risk here? Would be a huge hit to his reputation if he broke $2M and bolted. With a risk of $1-75 for most folks, that risk/reward ratio seems fairly trivial.

It's unlikely that Braff would "bolt" with the money, but I could imagine the movie getting canceled after the money has been spent, leaving backers with no movie and no refunds.

That seems pretty unlikely, and kind of highlights how this transforms the risks. If Braff funded it directly, his risk only pays off if he makes the movie and it makes enough money. While using crowdfunding, the backer's risk is only if the movie is not made.

But if it's not delivered they get their money back. . .

>But if it's not delivered they get their money back. . .


Backers get refunded if a project doesn't meet the stated funding goal [1]. Once the goal is met and the money has been collected it's between the backers and the creators. [2]

"It's the project creator's responsibility to complete their project. Kickstarter is not involved in the development of the projects themselves."

1: Seems to me that lowballing the base goal while piling on a bunch of stretch goals would be a questionable way of gaming this as a creator.

2: http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/accountability-on-kickstarte...

Kickstarter reviews applications to determine a realistic floor for the funding goal, to prevent or at least greatly reduce that gaming. They wouldn't let you launch a campaign to start a new SpaceX with $10,000, for example. Otherwise everyone would circumvent the system with a campaign for $1 and then stretch goals, as you say.

Source: an online acquaintance who ran a Kickstarter campaign for a video game, and had to revise his initial funding goal upwards by several multiples at Kickstarter's insistence.

Those are extreme examples. A $10k SpaceX is obvious, virtual panhandling with a $1 goal is just as obvious.

I think "gaming" a system implies a reasonably intelligent exploitation.

Something like creating a Kickstarter "for" a sequel to a well-regarded game and setting the actual delivery of that sequel as a top-end stretch goal. The immediate funding goal could only deliver an expansion to the original game. The intermediate goals might be something like a new engine for the not necessarily delivered sequel. Such a project could collect its goal several times over before being asked to deliver what it purports to.

This has been done. It's essentially advertising one thing (the Kickstarter title) and delivering something else in the fine print (the goal structure).

A simple rule restricting the Kickstarter title and promotional blurb to be representative of the immediate funding goal only would go a long way toward addressing this. Restricting the dollar ratio of the initial goal to the top end stretch goal would probably help as well.

I'm sure the review process addresses some things, but how effective can it really be? The breadth of projects types and sizes is too wide and too many will fail (won't provide any return on the cost of a review).

Touche'. I did not know that.

There's no other way it can work, really.

If you're a creator, and collect a lot of money to make something (with some level of risk), there's a chance you'll spend the money trying but still fail -- this is a very real prospect especially if you're trying something technical that hasn't been done before.

Then what? They can't give the money back; they don't have it anymore. Forcing them into bankruptcy would basically kill Kickstarter.

So their only option is pretty much what they did -- with the course-correction added about a year ago that now they emphasize the fact that projects may fail.

Not a problem, I imagine many people don't know that.

After all, Kickstarter's business is taking 5% rake on those donations so it's not in their interest to make it apparent.

> Kickstarter being used by well funded celebrities who just want to minimize their risk to zero seems wrong to me. It should be for startups and good ideas that can't get funding elsewhere.

Shouldn't the users of Kickstarter determine whether a project is worthy?

You have personal reasons for not funding this project but seem to suggest that other people shouldn't be allowed to fund it either.

If Kickstarter users think they're getting value for their money, let them fund the project.

This is Zach himself running the Kickstarter campaign (at least as far as I can tell). This isn't a stealth marketing campaign by a Hollywood distribution company, using Zach Braff as the front man. This is Zach the person. He may be a celebrity, and he may have tens of millions in the bank -- but if there's an interesting way to validate demand for his movie, market the movie, and partially finance it, why shouldn't he try? It's smart business.

Now, I understand the argument that the Zach Braffs and Rob Thomases of the world pose a danger to the future of truly independent artists and filmmakers. As I see it, there are two potential dangers here: 1) that they raise the creative and marketing bars beyond the level of the average Kickstarter artisan's ability to compete; 2) that they attract big companies, who will start subverting the Kickstarter spirit by using it to market, pre-sell, and finance Hollywood productions.

Of these two dangers, #1 hasn't seemed to materialize just yet (though the jury's still out). If anything, the presence of big names on Kickstarter seems to be shining more of a spotlight on the site -- and the rising tide may lift all boats. Danger #2, however, remains distant but possible. One can only hope that the market is smart enough to reward the deserving and punish/withhold from the undeserving. But we'll see.

In the meantime, I see no reason to limit Kickstarter to projects and people "who can't get funding elsewhere." Kickstarter should be a free marketplace for ideas. The quality of the ideas should drive the level of funding the ideas receive. If established filmmakers and stars want to trade off of their brands to get a leg up, so be it -- it seems to provide real value to their fans. Remember that there are real people in the "crowd" behind crowdfunding. If thousands of real people want to pay real money to see X product brought to life, why should we stop them?

If anything, Kickstarter may provide a real alternative to Hollywood financing for creatives who don't want to play the Hollywood game if they can help it. Aren't we supposedly rooting for that?

> but its a personal vanity project no one is demanding.

I'm not sure about that. It seems about 10,000 people are demanding it, as of noon Pacific time.

> Kickstarter being used by well funded celebrities who just want to minimize their risk to zero seems wrong to me. It should be for startups and good ideas that can't get funding elsewhere.

Ah, but these are not exclusive! Celebrities bringing their mass appeal to make more people aware of Kickstarter is exactly what will make it so that smaller players have a higher future chance of being funded through the platform.

> Kickstarter being used by well funded celebrities who just want to minimize their risk to zero seems wrong to me. It should be for startups and good ideas that can't get funding elsewhere.

Why not? This movie is a product, and the funders are the consumers of said product. If the product project meets its goal, the consumer gets its product, and Zach gets rich(?). If the project doesn't meet its goal, then we can assume there isn't enough demand for said project.

Sounds like a typical business. Kickstarter isn't an investment hive.

I don't know much about Zach or his work, but the project is already almost at $1m (50%) funding with 29 days left. Pretty impressive demand, so far.

“You're telling me Braff doesn't have 3.5 million to finance this thing or get a loan from a traditional outlet/rich friends/George Harrison's Estate? It sounds like this is his pet project, with him starring, and him getting most of the profits, but he wants his fans to take all the risk? Seems off to me.”

According to Braff, the $2 million he’s asking on Kickstarter won’t be enough to cover the entire production. On Twitter:

@zachbraff: 2 things for pple who are very upset about this Kickstarter campaign: I'm putting TONS of my own money into it.

And then there’s this Buzzfeed article[1]:

How much of your own money are you investing? “I don't know. It will depend on how much we raise, and who I do end up casting. Let's say we raise our goal, which is $2 million. If we only raise that, that's not enough to make the movie. There will be some element of selling some foreign [distribution rights] to meet the difference, and where that falls is where I will be splitting the difference. I'm going to make this movie in August come hell or high water. Wherever we fall short, I or some element of foreign sales will split the difference.”

[...] “There's always going to be detractors. The people who would say, "Fuck him, he should pay for it himself," I don't expect those people to be the supporters of this project. I get it. But if you scroll down [on the Kickstarter page], you'll see the person who's like, "Garden State meant a lot to me, I'm dying to see what this guy's up to next, I'm in." Those are the people I'm making the movie for. It's not a scam. If I wanted to make dough, I'd go back and be on another TV show.”

[1] http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/zach-braff-on-why-kickstar...

>It should be for startups and good ideas that can't get funding elsewhere.

Not sure how I feel about this.

Kickstarter does seem to cultivate a wonderful image of taking backers who support projects "to help them come to life, not to profit financially" and connecting them with creatives to enable "their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world". [1]

It's all very "feel good" and I can understand the feeling that established people or projects are taking advantage of the platform, masquerading in a way. However, it's a bit of a "So what?".

People want to put their money into this and feel a part of it. That's not necessarily helping or hurting anyone else who wants to use the platform.

I'd be really interested in seeing what the trends among backers are. How many small versus large projects the average person funds, whether there's an trickle down exposure to more needy projects from the large overfunded ones, stuff like that.

1: http://www.kickstarter.com/hello

I wouldn't mind so much if there was a reward structure in place. GS made like 30 million dollars in gross profit. Okay, so if I give Zach 10k of my money and he makes 10x on his investment, why am I not going to get 100k from him? Oh right, because its kickstarter. It exists under the guise of this "help us kick this project to life" but for Zach this is just a "get money, and dont give investors who made it happen anything back other than tchotchkes."

Kickstarter's reputation could be hurt if it just becomes a way for the well off to connect with investor rubes who are being ripped off and don't realize it.

>I wouldn't mind so much if there was a reward structure in place. GS made like 30 million dollars in gross profit. Okay, so if I give Zach 10k of my money and he makes 10x on his investment, why am I not going to get 100k from him? Oh right, because its kickstarter.

This is why I've generally only backed things I believe are genuinely novel and in need of support. I recognize backing as a donation, not an investment.

I'm all for the creation of a true "crowd" investment platform, but I imagine the administrative and regulatory aspects of a such a service pose a big challenge.

>It exists under the guise of this "help us kick this project to life" but for Zach this is just a "get money, and dont give investors who made it happen anything back other than tchotchkes."

While I have no clue about the costs involved in making movie and I don't know who this guy is, I've certainly seen projects which fit that bill and yes, it's absurd.

As far as I can tell, Kickstarter has done very little to prevent misleading projects other than added guidelines for hardware projects last May.

For instance, there doesn't seem to be anything stopping people from creating projects that only deliver the titular product as a stretch goal - blatantly misleading.

>Kickstarter's reputation could be hurt if it just becomes a way for the well off to connect with investor rubes who are being ripped off and don't realize it.

I don't know, as long the people get their tchotchkes eventually they're likely going to be happy.

I think the imminent danger to Kickstarter's reputation is having a large notable project go completely sideways. Suddenly, thousands of people who thought they "pre-ordered" something are going to realize that they actually just gave their money away and Kickstarter doesn't guarantee anything.

What do you mean? There IS a reward structure in place. Those rewards have real value to the people who are paying for them. I did not buy in to this campaign, and I'm guessing neither did you - because the rewards do not have the same value for us. But for the people who did buy in, I doubt they're being 'duped', I think they truly value what they're paying for.

Just because the reward system is not proportional to the profits the project makes doesn't make it any less of a reward system.

One more note - I really don't think this is a "get money and don't give investors...anything back". With all the rewards he's offering, particularly all those voice and video recordings, he's going to be working hard to make good on all these "tchotchkes".

> no one is demanding

If that were remotely true, you'd have a point.

10,928 people have spent an average of $73.88, proving there's a demand.

It does seem wrong.

Kickstarter will have to solve this problem themselves.

If Barack Obama (or any other well-known, progressive politician) decided to start some sort of campaign drive there it would probably raise millions and millions. But he already has millions and can campaign elsewhere.

I fear that Kickstarter and other crowd funding sites are headed for this type of take over by people who already have funding and funding sources unless they specifically make rules against it.

I had similar thoughts when David Braben was raising money for Elite: Dangerous. Perhaps these are just side-projects and they (and their rich buddies) have better things to risk a few million on. In other words they aren't that wealthy.

In general, the rule in film production is to do it with someone else's money. If you think this is unfair -- do you think employees of a company should have their retirement investments entirely in the company stock? A star or director is risking his/her reputation (and time) to make a movie, it's not entirely reasonable to expect him/her to double down with his/her own money.

My issue is that fans aren't being asked to take a risk, or even buy the product on spec -- they're being asked to DONATE.

If it turns out nobody wants to watch the movie he wants to make, at least not hard enough to pay for it, maybe he shouldn't try to make it. If he bankrolls it with his own money, and it turns out that nobody wants to watch it, it's probably because it was a bad idea. Kickstarter lets you find that out, with some uncertainty, without wasting a year of the lives of dozens of people.

how do you know he isn't putting any of his own money in as well?

Very true... when this thing goes over budget for the digital effects, I don't think you're going to see him hit up Kickstarter again. Personally, I'm willing to put up some cash to see another one of his movies made.

you can't pay a reasonable amount of money and get the final product.

Isn't that the intent, that it's a funding platform and not a retail purchase system? I remember Kickstarter making a very big deal about this a while ago.

The $30 streaming screening a is pretty clever alternative. It gets around distributer restrictions and allows fans to interact with with the team.

yeah, I agree that it is missing a $20/$25 digital download available after the theatre run.

I would like to see their reasoning, for this exclusion, beyond the distribution rights argument.

He is supplying products (various physical rewards and the emotional reward of being a backer) at prices that, he thinks, are adequate to the demand that is out there. Isn't that capitalism 101?

Plus, the early numbers are showing he got it right...

The question is whether that would actually make more money. If they fund it this way, they would kind of be chumps to have given the product away to all those backers.

I really don't like that they don't do a $10 - $15 digital download. You can provide the download after the film is in theaters, it can be thought of as a preorder of the dvd only cheaper for them.

They respond to this on the Kickstarter page:

> Why aren’t you offering a Digital Download or DVD reward?

> I wish I could give you all everything you want. Unfortunately, giving away the movie could scare off the good distributors for movies like this, because the theater chains insist on having the “first run” of movies before they are available on DVD or digitally. I want all my fans to be able to see this movie in their hometown theaters on the big screen if they want to. I hope you like the rewards I am offering, and if there’s something you don’t see on the page, please comment and let me know.

That says that theater chains insist on being first. But the download/dvd could come after the theatrical run. It would be nice if, in exchange for helping to fund the movie, I could get, you know, the movie.

The movie is the point of the whole enterprise; it seems like a natural reward.

It's more on distributors than theater chains. I believe by giving first dibs to a good distributor will allow the movie to be released internationally (either on cinema or bluray / DVD) easier and faster.

But, everyone will be able to buy that. If you want the DVD after the run, you can have that.

The rewards are all things no one can buy except by backing the kickstarter.

I don't care about any of the rewards.

I want to fund the movie - not to get a t shirt, or picture. I want to fund it so I can watch it.

You can pledge whatever you want and then select No Reward ("No thanks, I just want to help the project.").

>I don't care about any of the rewards.

Then don't fund the kickstarter.

I can't get the DVD after the run if the kickstarter fails. I'd like to help it succeed by committing ahead of time to buying the DVD.

I think it's a good idea actually. Kickstarter is about funding projects, not necessarily about getting stuff.

Heh, the good old "Kickstarter is not a store, it's just a website where you give money and get stuff in the mail later."

A lot of people don't seem to realize that it's also prohibited by the Visa and Mastercard TOS. You can't bill people's credit cards for a product that doesn't exist yet.

This is true but there are complexities. It's something that people can easily run afoul of if they're not paying close enough attention. If you charge someone for a pre-order of something that doesn't actually exist yet and has a risk of not existing at all then you can be in violation of Visa/MC TOS quite easily. Typically the way most pre-orders work is that there's a deposit and then the actual charge occurs within some window of time prior to the thing being shipped.

If you want to do crowd funding you can do that but you need to set up the expectations differently, to make sure that people know that they are donating to a project and maybe receiving a reward. Also, when purchasing things like plane or concert tickets it's important to note that you're not pre-ordering anything you're buying a reservation, you're purchasing a place on a list which will be used to allow entrance to that event or trip.

Interesting, but can't all pre-orders be thought of like "buying a reservation" ? You don't pre-order a book, you're purchasing a place on a list which will be used to determine who gets the first books.

That isn't remotely true; where'd you hear that whopper? A merchant can authorize and charge a card for any reason, and the cardholder can challenge it and it will be investigated. How would VISA and Mastercard even enforce "the product must exist", honestly? What about my charges for services rendered, or digital downloads, or...

You really think Amazon Payments would have let Kickstarter go this long if they weren't kosher?

Kickstarter is kosher, precisely because as the parent post said ""Kickstarter is not a store, it's just a website where you give money and get stuff in the mail later."

It's the fact that it's a donation, not the pre-purchase of a physical good, that makes it so.

If you're selling a physical good, you're supposed to deliver or ship it at the time of the transaction.

> where'd you hear that whopper?

Originally from our banker at Chase that handled our merchant account set up, but it's easy enough to confirm if you look:



> You really think Amazon Payments would have let Kickstarter go this long if they weren't kosher?

It's worth noting that even though Kickstarter is kosher, the area is gray enough that Amazon is not taking on any more Kickstarter-type sites until further notice precisely because of their legal concerns.

I think of it like giving to public radio. Generally the gifts in return for a donation are of a lesser cash value than the donation you're making.

Also... smackfu? Like formerly st marks place brooklyn smackfu?

Not that smackfu.

Whoa I can't believe there is more than one smackfu

But the Veronica Mars project just that,sooooo

I agree, but that's likely infeasible because it interferes with theatres' distribution rights.

Yeah, but as I addressed above you can release the download after it's been in the theater and out on dvd.

The Kickstarter supporters are likely to be his biggest, most loyal fans.

I can understand a reluctance to offer a reward that will disincentivize those same people from paying to see the movie on opening weekend.

The negative feedback on here is astounding, really the worst side of HN. I thought the promo was very funny and poignant, very inspiring. The brief is detailed and the rewards make sense giving the restrictions of producing and distributing a film.

What are you talking about? The feedback here has been overall very constructive.

Might of been a bit harsh myself, but most comments start off with a negative outlook.

The top comments all seem to be griping about the reward structure.

His "Garden State" movie and the plan for the new one don't look very formulaic. I stopped going to movies when I didn't need to find a place to make out with my girlfriend anymore and I stopped watching fiction movies when I got bored of seeing the same old stuff over and over.

He should list this in his discussion of risks, in that he never quite explains why its bad to put the financiers in editorial control of his movie, although they clearly do a good job of narrowcasting typical formulaic movies (to the small fraction of the population who likes that kinda stuff and therefore might not like his stuff). Also as per the narrowcasting comment his movies now sound interesting to me although I got bored with movies and stopped watching a long time ago (like most people, looking at percentages). So his risks section also needs a better plan to reach outside the usual movie going public than a kickstarter and maybe the Sundance festival.

He may get more money from the general public if he writes to a general public audience who has no idea who he is, rather than what appears to be indie movie fans. I'm not asking for a major editorial content change, just add another 10% length explaining why would the average dude off the street who doesn't do the movie thing since he was a kid, care, much less send him some dough?

Note that I've personally sent/kickstarted Jason Scott the nonfiction documentary producer enough to buy a plane ticket or two over the years, this isn't a new idea.

Now this is assuming what I got out of imdb and kickstarter has any relation to reality. Maybe Garden State is just another boring romantic comedy or teen fart joke formula movie. Can anyone who's actually seen his movies, comment?

Garden State is one of my favorite movies, and even I'll admit it's a pretty formulaic bildungsroman, very much in the vein of Cameron Crowe. The strengths of the movie are less in the overarching plot and with the details, such as the soundtrack, cinematography, and excellent script.

At first blush, this new script looks remarkably original. That being said, everything's relative: there's the old cliche that every possible story has already been told, and I think the trick is less to put forward something new and more to put forward something great.

In terms of the strategy behind the campaign: it seems very much in the vein of the Veronica Mars kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-m...), in the sense that its appealing more to the fans of the original work (I'd imagine the cult of Veronica Mars fans and the cult of Garden State fans has some significant overlap.)

Sorry for hijacking this thread, but it is totally fascinating to me which German words make it into the English language. "Bildungsroman", nice one. Is this actually used often?

In mainstream discourse? No. In literary criticism, yes.

I read it this morning in the english Wikipedia entry for "To Kill A Mockingbird" - it's relatively common in that context.

It is used quite frequently in reviews of literature, even at the non-professional level (e.g. amazon reviews)

He's not trying to convince someone who never watches movies to pay him. He's trying to convince people who watch movies and want to see the director's vision to pay him. This campaign is a way of funding his movie without catering to popular tastes. If you haven't heard of Zach Braff, you're probably not the target of this kickstarter.

It's probably worth adding that Zach Braff is exceedingly well known amongst my peers. I'd be very surprised if someone I met at a party hadn't heard of him.

Garden State resonated with me in a way few movies do. I was in a similar emotional state at the time, so that helps, of course. You can read a plot synopsis elsewhere, but what hooked me, and has stayed with me, was the emotional honesty in most of the scenes.

Looking at the numbers he probably wont need to go looking to recruit people who havent heard of him, Scrubs is one of the most popular comedy series of recent times and Garden State was a pretty big hit.

Garden State was a good quirky indie romantic comedy, it wasnt particularly formulaic in execution but if you can dislike entire genres for being the same there are probably plenty of things to find in it to not like.

"Garden State was a pretty big hit."

Yeah that's exactly what I mean by narrowcasting. Wikipedia claims $26.7 million north American box office, if you estimate $10 per ticket that big hit equals 2.67 million north americans watched it. Google's quick guess of population of north america in 2008 five years ago was 528 million. That means movies are so incredibly narrowcasted that if 99.5% of the population can't be bothered to watch, its a big hit.

If you try to appeal to only a tiny 5% fraction of the general population, you get 10 times as many paying viewers than if you get a pretty big hit solely within the tiny moviegoing crowd. Thats the power of broadcasting or mass media vs narrowcasting.

Many people have commented that its a cool movie, I'll add "Garden State" to my list.

Well, in the sense that it cost $3.5mil to make and made $26.7mil just in NA, it was a "pretty big hit".

This is the same reason Kevin Smith gets to keep making movies: he doesn't spend a lot and makes the studio a bunch of profit on DVD and foreign sales, even if his NA box office tanks.

That's not what "big hit" means. The name for that is "highly profitable".

Not that it completely undercuts your point, but you have to limit your numbers to the population that sees R-rated movies in the theater.

There's a chunk of your "population that can't be bothered to watch" that were too young, or who were in nursing homes, prisons, hospitals, etc. and can't reasonably watch any movie in the theater.

Garden State was one of the most enjoyable movies I've ever watched. Kind of amazing it was made on a shoe-string budget.

Backed. Hope there's more like it.

Zach Braff and Garden State are pretty well known. I didn't even know Garden State was an indi movie until now.

Doing new things within the constraints of a genre is one of the marks of good art. All blues songs are the same just as all romantic comedies are the same. But Silver Linings Playbook was still a damn good movie.

Just noticed this response from Braff’s AMA:

“You can’t really raise enough money on Kickstarter yet. There are some new sites starting that will eventually allow anyone and everyone to own a piece of a movie; invest in it like a stock. But you can imagine the amount of legal issues this raises. So look for it sometime around 3012.”


What a difference a month (and a $5.7 million Veronica Mars Kickstarter) makes!

Little has changed, on Kickstarter you still can’t buy a piece of a movie, invest in it like a stock.

Braff clarifies in this Buzzfeed article[1]:

“I would love, more than anything, to have it be you get an equity stake. You have 10 bucks, you make your 10 bucks back with the percentage of profit, like a stock. But that's not legal yet. I think it's an exciting idea, that you can go, "Oh, I like x, y, and z, I want to buy a piece of that potential film project." I think that that's coming. But we're not there yet legally.

So what do you do in the meantime? You offer them any and every incentive you can think of. But at the very least, if you pay 10 bucks, you're joining what I like to think of as this club. You see how active I am on social media. I drive my family, friends, and girlfriend crazy. I get a lot of joy out of it. So turning that into an online behind-the-scenes filmmaking magazine, where there will be videos and content and people who are interested in the behind-the-scenes of the making of a movie will go on this ride alongside me — I think that's cool for 10 bucks.”

Buzzfeed: You're right — last year Congress passed the JOBS Act, which does allow for equity-based crowdfunding, but it can't happen until the SEC issues rules on how to do it. Which they haven't done yet.

[1] http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/zach-braff-on-why-kickstar...

Article includes:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

An irritating quote. I keep doing the same thing over and over again because I keep getting different results - at least where people are involved.

If "different result each time" (i.e. non-determinism) is the expected result, then you're not expecting a different result.

[head explodes]

Irritating in part because Einstein never said it. http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

When it comes to people, doing the same thing is rarely doing the same thing.

Great one, although that sounds like Yogi Berra.

I tend to hear this quote brought up by people who are either really eager to name drop Einstein or excuse themselves for being insane.

The quote makes much more sense within the context of scientific experimentation. Applying it to a typical, mundane set of experiences, to me, is pretty crass.

Pretty clever choices of rewards. There's nothing physical as a reward until the $40 t-shirt level. And the digital stuff is generally ephemeral, like a stream of the soundtrack vs a download of it, or a stream of the movie vs a download of it.

A lot of movide / documentary Kickstarters make the mistake of having a lot of physical rewards, on different timetables that need to be shipped separately, and end up not getting much money for the movie.

Looking back on the veronica mars kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-m...) I'm surprised to see that most of the largest pledges were hit (1/1 at $10K, 3/3 at $8K, 3/3 at $6.5K, 4/5 at $5K, 10/10 at $3.5K, 30/30 at $3K, 20/20 at $2500, 300/300 at $1000)

True, but the smaller ones look like they generated a crap-ton of money:

Pledge $35 x 22997 backers - digital download

Pledge $50 x 23227 backers - dvd

Braff's project isn't offering these pledge rewards, a decision he seems to be OK with for distribution but would probably generate TONS of backers.

In this project, the tee is $40. In VM the tee is $25.

But I think the soundtrack was seen by Braff as a Big Deal, which is probably why it shows up at a lower price point ($20) than the tee.

I glanced through the reward levels and I think he's done a smart job of pricing them.

A lot of people make the mistake of setting the reward levels at store pricing levels rather than rewards. Printed t-shirts are fairly expensive, especially when you add in shipping, so it's easy to end up with very little margin on a reward level that includes a t-shirt, especially if it's near the $15 dollar level (which is pretty much cost). It's smarter to use intangible rewards (like digital goods) that have near zero incremental cost or to make sure that you have at least 100% margin on anything else. Assuming that you're running your kickstarter for financing and not as a pre-order store.

especially if it's near the $15 dollar level (which is pretty much cost).

I remember ordering once (this was 7 years ago) at $5-$7 a tee and USPS charged around 2.75 at the time, for a grand total closer to $10

Yes but if the T-shirt award level had tens of thousands of backers, they can hire a large company like threadless to print and distribute the T-shirts (Even complicated Threadless t-shirts are mostly $20 with a nice profit margin, with free shipping on orders over $50). At these scales $25 is quite profitable.

You misread my statement. The claim the parent made was that $15 was near cost, and I was stating my experience that the soup-to-nuts cost is closer to $10 (and could be lower)

It was kind of a Big Deal. I've been part of or party to this conversation many times (details vary, this is the gist of it tho):

"blah blah blah Zach Braff blah blah"

"Who's Zach Braff?"

"The guy from Scrubs, he also did some movies."

"Oh yeah, Garden State right? That had a great sound track."

It is a big deal... the Garden State soundtrack is still in my regular rotation now almost 10 years later. Braff's projects have always had good soundtracks.

Yeah, and VM was $35 for the tee plus movie. Which personally seems to value the movie itself rather low.

I think it's just that these are real legitimate properties, and there are some people out there who both have money and are big fans.

Anyone else have an issue with funding someone else's dream when their net worth is say $20M and yours is maybe $100K or less?

Personally, I do. It's not my money, though, so it's none of my business.

I wonder how much this will help Kickstarter, to gain some big attention like this. It would be interesting to see more celebrity types doing their own projects.

> "You will provide your own travel and accommodation."

I found it sort of funny that if you pledge the $10,000+ you still have to provide your own travel. Kind of cheap, don't you think, Zach? Haha

EDIT: Yes, I understand the logistics of people making their own travel plans, I just thought it was funny (in general).

$10k from someone that lives down the road = $10k for the campaign

$10k from someone the other side of the world = $6k for the campaign

you see the problem here with deducting travel costs from the backing cost, right?

Don't forget $500 for kickstarter and about $200 for amazon.

Well, presumably people who dish out $10k+ for a kickstarter campaign can provide better travel arrangements than the producers can without using half of their donation.

Return business class flights in Australia to Los Angeles can be at least $15K.

Well, without it becomes a giant wildcard. Imagine flying someone in from the other side of the planet and providing accomodations - suddenly it ends up being less of a helping hand to make the movie and basically a very expensive premiere ticket and accomodation. All kickstarter rewards basically have to give you somwething back, but still make the project money, and usually the higher-tier rewards give you less monetary rewards and more feel good / influential rewards.

Or Richard Branson could look at it like a cheap way of financing a return trip from space.

I've wanted to see some big names kickstart their own movies for a long time.

I sincerely hope this is the start of a very positive trend.

(For what it's worth, I'd drop $500 right now for Cameron/Schwarzenegger to make Terminator 5&6)

I think it's brilliant. For a variety of reasons:

First, you lose the legacy financing model to make an independent (sub-$10M) movie. So you not only get to make your feature, but you get to keep all worldwide distribution rights. You're already winning.

Second, you make the status quo a part of the movie-making process. Something that has always been very "private" for filmmakers and "exclusive." Or at least that's what Hollywood has had the world believing for the past century. Even today when you visit a set (from experience in developing software for these guys) the entire on-set dynamic is a very closed system. People just don't want outsiders there. So Braff is changing this by allowing people to visit set, interact with the picture, be extras, get credits, even offering a role in the movie.

Three, this and Veronica Mars are changing shifting the paradigm for getting a movie funded. Sure - there's a lot of risk. These guys might not even make it, but if they plan right, budget accordingly, and have professionals involved (which I will assume they do) - they will make the movie. So I foresee a lof of indies going this route.

I agree with others that NOT having a digital copy / DVD for an $X dollar donation is a bad thing. But it makes sense why he doesn't want to do it. (He can, he's just not doing it because he wants to make more money on domestic and international traditional distribution deals).

BUT eventually, this model will shit away from the traditional way films are sold/distributed. If an owner of a project can raise MORE money to individual buyers (funders) vs. a 5-year distribution deal - than he/she will give up the rights and traditional distributors will be put out of business (no more movies for them, all online).

So again, I think this is the start of many more indies funding this way. It's pretty brilliant, they are already at $1.25M and will exceed the target 100%.

I think you meant to say "BUT eventually, this model will shift away", but yes you are correct

Excuse the typo(s)!

Shouldn't it be 'Wish I were here'?

OED, OAAD, Webster's all say either form is considered correct. Language is a living thing. "Was" was correct before "were" was proscribed by the Latinizers. Now they're deemed equally correct.

It's now accepted widely enough that I generally recommend English learners should avoid the subjunctive entirely: people coming from languages like Spanish are much more likely to over-use it in jarring ways than under-use it, since the few remaining uses of it in English are not even used by many native speakers.

I think I would say "were" in this situation myself, though.

I thought that every time the title was mentioned in the body copy.

I would imagine that the choice of title and tense probably has something to do with the movie's plot and theme.

Yes, but I suppose it's that way on purpose. Bugs me too, though.

With the way he kept on saying "Adam and me" I'm not sure if he's trying to be relatable or if he just speaks that way.

Unless I'm missing something, "Adam and me" looks correct everywhere he uses it.

Should it not be Adam and I?

It depends on the context. When combined with other subjective pronouns to form the subject of a verb, "I" is correct (as in "You and I are commenting on this topic"). However, when combined with other objective pronouns to form the object of a verb/preposition, you should use "me" (as in "Others are commenting on this topic along with you and me").[1]

[1] http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/words/i-or-me

Thank you!

It's interesting to see how celebrity doesn't necessarily lead to huge wins on KS. Veronica Mars raised almost $3MM on day 1. Melissa Joan Hart launched a Kickstarter over a week ago and was met with a very weak response, $$30K over two weeks.


Zach Braff has more indie cred, but lacks the cult following Veronica Mars had. If Braff stalls at around $1MM and MJH's maxes out at $50K, I wonder if that will be the last we see of celebrities for a while? It must be a pretty huge blow to the ego seeing that your celebrity isn't quite as bankable as you hoped.

Celebrity is more or less orthogonal, I think.

Obviously being well-known is important, but it's about reputation more than anything. Zach has a reputation for have a strong creative hand in film and tv projects which have had a very strong connection with fans, as his work on Garden State has demonstrated. The same goes with the Veronica Mars team. Had Rob Thomas or Kristen Bell tried to use Kickstarter for some non-Veronica Mars related project they may not have received as much enthusiasm, because Veronica Mars as a project and as an entity on its own definitely has fans and definitely engenders a significant amount of trust that they'll deliver a product that is worth the investment.

Also, I don't think you have any concept of Zach Braff's reputation or following, and I suspect this project will probably exceed its goal faster than the Veronica Mars project did.

Fair points, I'm not a huge Garden State fan and always saw Scrubs as an ensemble more than his starring vehicle. I can see that he's got a lot of Reddit cred and an enthusiastic twitter following. Will be interesting to see where it ends up.

Zach has a huge following on the internet, his reddit AMAs have over 10,000 comments (makes them some of the most popular) and he has almost 200,000 comment karma just from them. Photos and clips from Scrubs are a daily occurrence on reddit and he has an engaged Twitter following. Melissa Hart by comparison is relatively unknown, her Twitter followers don't seem to be engaged at all with 10 - 40 retweets per tweet and Zach has anywhere from 200 to 2000 for his tweets. He's in a different league to her and that doesn't even consider that ZB has a previous successful project, a cast of people that also have a big following and the project looks cool.

It's not just celebrity. Melissa Joan Hart's project just doesn't seem like it has much thought to it. "Oh they can do it for Veronica Mars, so let me do it too." The project video wasn't great. Plus the premise isn't known at all -- not saying a movie about "Clarissa Explains It All" would be successful, but it would have been more successful.

Someone at my work jumped out of her seat when I mentioned the Veronica Mars project to her. Zach Braff might not have the cult following, but at least he has the Reddit community and Scrubs/Garden State fans to at least get him to reach his goal. Many of the perks for the Veronica Mars project were filled quickly, which slowed down the funding after the big spike, so we'll see what happens with Zach Braff's movie.

Agree that it's not just celebrity - it's also campaign on Kickstarter. He's not offering as many obvious reward tiers (download, DVD) which are more tempting for backers which Veronica Mars did have.

True, good point.

Melissa Joan Hart also gained a fair amount of negative press for herself during election season, which probably has something to do with the less-than-thrilled response. She lost a lot of Twitter followers, and that was probably her main announcement vector.

He's quite active on "the internet" I believe, shouldn't be a problem even without cult following. But who knows. And I still think they shouldn't be on Kickstarter.. those are not indie movies in any way.

Anything that bucks the status quo in the entertainment industry is a good thing. Expect to see more and more of this and expect the traditional middle men to get more aggressive to prevent it from happening.

Agree with this 100%. This and Veronica Mars are totally changing the dynamic of how indies are funded. Studios are fuming right now.

Will the passing of the Jobs Act allow everyday people to make an actual investment with upside potential in something like a film? Is the corporate structure similar to that of a startup?

If the SEC ever manages to implement it, yes.

Disclaimer: I haven't read the page.

Why on Earth was this upvoted? The quality of articles on the front page has been truly disappointing recently.

This is not tech news.

It is using a technology platform. Any artist who goes out of their way to capitalize on what we developers build will be a star on HN,especially if they cut the middle man and show a commitment to platforms we associate with openness or coolness. At least that's how I view it. Louis C.K. is a great example.

While this specific movie may not be tech news per se the concept is very relevant. We're seeing a shift away from traditional funding models towards web tech allowing individuals and small teams to self fund. This fits the hacker ethos.

The remarkable thing here is how elaborate his Kickstarter page is. He's a famous actor/director, he could have just phoned it in, but instead he put the time and effort into making a great page. It shows the type of person that spends the effort to make great movies spends the effort to make all their projects great - including making a kickstarter page.

Doesn't want to take money because it alters his vision of the movie. $10K - have a line in the film. $7K - name a character.

So, let's review. On the one hand we have: change the casting of the major characters, rewrite the script until it completely changes the tone or meaning of the film. On the other hand we have: effectively become an extra in some random part of the film with a single line written by Zach, pick a name for a character that will be spoken at least once, at some point in the film.

Let's play "which of these completely changes the movie and which is an inconsequential and minor modification".

One line (that he writes) versus choice of casting, location, and final cut. You really can't see the difference?

Those are minute details. If he accepted money from a studio, there would be people telling him he needed to add whole scenes, even if they made no sense with what he was trying to do.

> I was about to sign a typical financing deal [...] It would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film.

It'd be super interesting to have some more specifics on what kinds of compromises these would be, just to get a better idea of what kinds of strings such deals come with.

He describes them, mainly not getting final cut and not getting his first choices on casting. You can't get more specific than that because the casting choices haven't been made and the movie hasn't been made yet, so there's nothing yet to say.

Maybe I do not understand this particular Kickstarter (and the economics/dynamics of movie-making, among other things), but I did not find 'revenue', 'profit sharing' or other related words/phrases anywhere on the page, or in this HN discussion. I've seen the rewards column, and though I'd like to add 'indie movie producer' to my resume, I don't see any prospective returns for what is essentially a risky investment (term used loosely).

Zach Braff is a very successful TV/movie star, does he seriously not have $2m of his own to make this movie just the way he likes it? Like others, is this crowd-funding exercise also mostly for 'social proof'?

Thanks to all who reply.

I'm not sure you understand the concept of Kickstarter. You are not an investor when you back a Kickstarter project. You're only paying in the hopes that this will help the project succeed, and for getting various prizes. For most Kickstarter project, you also get a first edition of the product or something similar if you pledge enough.

Quite simply, there is no profit-sharing or anything like that for Kickstarters. You pay money, get your reward (maybe - like you said, it's a risky investment). And that's the end of the transaction.

I understand that this is how kickstarter works, but don't really understand why everyone is OK with it.

Kickstarter is like a bake sale, where you pay more than the fair market value for things as a form of charity to support some activity. But projects like this remind me more of a bake sale to support your local major league baseball team (e.g. profits are used for the enrichment of a corporation/person(s)).

I would be much more likely to contribute to this project if, in the situation where the movie makes money, $2M (less the true cost of the rewards) were donated to something other than the bottom line of the real investors.

Thanks; I also found this reddit link[1] lower down on this discussion page which answers my questions.

[1] http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1d02a2/help_zach_bra...)

Just because he has 2 mil in the bank doesn't mean he should risk it on a movie...many actors/filmmakers have gone bankrupt doing that. It's because has millions of dollars he can afford to work on projects (like Wish I Was Here) with little financial reward.

>> "I don't see any prospective returns"

Besides the things he's offering in each tier you get a movie that is the vision of the creator and not altered by other backers. I thought the idea behind most Kickstarter projects is that you see something you like which can't get made without help. You want it enough that you are willing to give the creator money to make it happen and they might give you something in return - although that doesn't matter. Your real 'prize' is that the thing you wanted created is now a reality.

He can also enter with some of his personal wealth, to sum to the 2 million from kickstarter. I don't know.

It's very strange that one of the rewards isn't a copy of the film. It probably impacts his ability to sell distribution rights to the film, so it's understandable. It does limit the appeal of the kickstarter to casual fans, though.

Eventually, Joss Whedon will do this, and he will break records.

Does anyone have any examples of any films actually getting made from crowd sourcing? I would guess this and Veronica Mars stand a good chance since the people involved have made movies before and have built-in fan bases, but I am not aware of any actually working out so far.

I donated to one years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Swarm_of_Angels) and that went nowhere...

Blue Like Jazz


This is a far cry from 2 mil but they did get it made. I do believe they had one backer, before kickstarter, that was in for 500k and match whatever Kickstarter brought in. I donated 100 bucks after kickstart, so they got more funding not shown on kickstarter, and got a t-shirt and my name in the credits (along with several thousand others).

The movie wasn't great but the book that it is extremely loosely based on is good. Donald Miller wrote A Million Miles in a Thousand Years while writing the movie version of Blue Like Jazz. That book is even better.

Quite a few documentaries. Although those are often a special case, where the footage has already been shot as a labor-of-love, and the Kickstarter is to pay to edit and release it.

Electric Children

Off-topic: what if Kickstarter had been around in 2006 for Arrested Development? Perhaps we wouldn't just now be getting a season 4.

Netflix paid $3M for each new episode of AD. I doubt Kickstarter would have changed anything.


Hmmm, so they outbid Showtime for the rights, which cost them $3M per episode. This implies that this was a $3M vig on top of which Netflix then had to lay out production costs. So the costs per epi would be pretty high.

But...back in 2006 there was no Netflix to bid against Showtime. I've never been able to discover what Showtime was offering other than that Hurwitz seemed a bit insulted by the offer ("half the money for twice the work" is the quote that stands out in my mind, but I can't find a citation). If there'd been other competition for the show from a Kickstarterish platform perhaps the Showtime offer would have been more reasonable. Maybe. Who the hell knows. :)

David Cross was a super early investor in Kickstarter. I think they actually pitched him to do Arrested Development via Kickstarter. It didn't work out but he invested in the company. Don't quote me on the backstory, but I know for sure he's openly said he invested in the company.

Speaking of David Cross, I'd gladly support another season of Todd Margaret.

I suspect the same could be said of other shows, and in particular firefly.

Personally I would love to see Jericho picked up again!

I wonder what would happen to a show like Firefly[1] or Jericho[2] Caprica[3]if they were suspended after the first season, and the studio put up a kickstarter saying "We'll cancel unless we get $2m from fans of the show".

At least those shows do stand a chance with fan-backing. Something like 'Rubicon' would, I think, totally fail at kickstarter even though it was good.

[1] A great show. I'm not sure how well it would have lasted with the traditional US "spin out a series for as long as possible" format. But, with careful plotting, it would have been an amazing 3 season (12 episodes per season) show.

EDIT: Fox hates the Firefly fanbase. (http://io9.com/fox-bans-the-sale-of-unlicensed-jayne-hats-fr...) Really, this is just open contempt for people who are willingly promoting your content.

[2] I really wanted to like this. I did like the first series. I really wanted an OQO (the tiny handheld computer that one of the characters has). But the second series was daft. This could have been a pretty good show and it's a shame it's gone.

[3] Caprica was good, I thought. Had some interesting concepts.

>A great show. I'm not sure how well it would have lasted with the traditional US "spin out a series for as long as possible" format.

I think Joss Whedon has shown himself to be capable of maintaining quality in long running shows with Buffy and Angel. There are a few dips in both, but on the whole they pretty much just get better and better.

I have never backed a project as a poor college student, but I would back Jericho in an instant

I soooo wish there was a firefly kickstarter!!!

Whedon had said he doesn't have time for at least 3 more years: http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/joss-whedon-on-kickstarter...

Let it go, Indy. Firefly lay down for good to rest in serenity.

By the success of the campaigns I must clearly be in the minority here, but I find the use of Kickstarter by millionaires to be offensive.

I perfectly understand his unwillingness to give up creative control. That's respectable. But Zach Braff has GOT to have 2 million dollars. He could totally fund this himself.

I think the hole idea of raising money for free via Kickstarter and similar sites is very odd. It feels like high class panhandling to me. Maybe I'm just too proud to ask for money and don't understand why it's so popular. Still, I spend money on some stupid stuff. If the cast of Stargate wanted to make another movie or TV type show, I'd back it. I guess the world is changing and I haven't caught up yet.

It makes sense if you're an average person with a great idea and you lack the funding to get your idea off the ground. The original purpose was inventors and stuff. Then indie game developers got on board and now celebrities are abusing it.

The celebrity thing has gotta be like crack cocaine to Kickstarter. It gets them so much attention and so much money, but ultimately I think it is eroding their brand and building resentment.

> Zach Braff has GOT to have 2 million dollars. He could totally fund this himself.

How do you know this?

From 2 seconds of Google I found:


> The actor has cut a one-year deal with "Scrubs" producer ABC TV Studio that will pay him about $350,000 per episode for the 2007-08 season of "Scrubs," sources said. Each season consists of about two dozen episodes.

Not to mention residuals from syndication. Come on, man.

Since I believe Zach is going to make a great movie, I would love to help really crowd fund this (as opposed to crowd gifting as it is at the moment) and than get a share of the money the movie makes. But I guess this ain't possible on kickstarter just yet.

Who are the people who scoop up the 10K "be a cast member" thing immediately? Same thing happened on the Veronica Mars one. It was announced, and bam someone drops a ton of change to get to be in it.

I don't like seeing Kickstarter as a celebrity offering plate . I also find the "rewards" to be incredibly self-aggrandizing: "For just $250, I will take 15 full seconds out of my day to acknowledge you as a human being and utter a phrase of your choosing into a microphone. Or, for $10K, I'll give you the incredible privilege of working for me." Gee, thanks.

Not to mention that Garden State was basically an hour and a half of me rolling my eyes from how obsessively hard Braff tries to be 'original'. I'll pass.

In my opinion, the beauty of Kickstarter is that it's a democratic platform. If you don't think the rewards or the project itself are worth backing, then don't back it. If you do, back it.

It's not as if Kickstarter is this magical service to give celebrities more money: for example, Melissa Joan Hart's Kickstarter is doing pretty poorly (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/318676760/darcis-walk-of...).

I think that's a little cynical. Kickstarter is basically a way for the audience to act as patrons of the Arts: the rewards in this case are just a bonus. I think many people would support a project like this with no reward at all other than seeing the final product.

I think, once you see Melissa Joan Hart's kickstarter[1], you will see how sincere Zach's rewards are in comparison.

[1] - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/318676760/darcis-walk-of...

Garden State was not a perfect movie. But it was a very good one, and I didn't find it as self-conscious as you did.

Meanwhile, I think your read on the rewards is wrong—-they are meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. There are less personal rewards he could have offered, with less work involved. I think it would be more off-putting for him to not interact with his fans and supporters.

In the end, that's the power of Kickstarter. Neither you nor I are in charge of greenlighting this film.

I still want Carl Kasell's voice on my 'home answering machine'. If NPR offered that as a reward for a $250 pledge, I just might do it. (http://www.npr.org/programs/waitwait/features/messages.html)

The kickstarter amount climbed 80k while I was watching the promo. I don't think he'll have any trouble raising the desired amount.

I'm hoping for a Futurama project on Kickstarter.

Is he not getting any more of those sweet residuals checks from 'Scrubs'?

Find it hard to believe he would have trouble financing that elsewhere or out of his own pocket.

He replied about the personal financing here: http://www.reddit.com/r/videos/comments/1d02a2/help_zach_bra...

You're assuming that he's not and that $2 million is the total budget for the project rather than the additional money he would need to make the project a reality.

Other people giving him $2m means he has some idea that people will at least watch it.

It also means he has some of his own money available as a safety net if he needs it.

None of the reward tiers mention "being allowed to watch the movie" - I wonder how much piracy there will be of this?

If I'd paid $20 I'd feel okay about downloading it.

As was said on the Kickstarter page, he could.

But then again he would potentially lose final cut, character choice, location choice etc.

I think workbenches point is that he could have just financed the movie directly himself, not just that he could convince someone else to finance it.

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