The moment that Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell launched a Kickstarter for the Veronica Mars movie, a whole lot of people started lining up for the gold rush. Crowd-funding had been used previously to make any number of independent projects, from short films to comic books to plays, and was the Internet equivalent of holding a bake sale and inviting your friends. By showing up and raising well over $2 million for Veronica Mars, Thomas turned the bake sale into an Entenmann's factory-- and slowly but surely, more big names are jumping in on that assembly line.
The latest to go prospecting on Kickstarter is Zach Braff, who has set up a page to fund Wish I Was Here, his second film after 2004's Garden State. Though Braff calls it a follow-up, it's not a sequel-- though the thematic similarities are pretty clear. Here's how he explains it in his video for potential backers:
(Can we talk for a second about how Donald Faison still hasn't aged since Clueless?)
Here's the plot synopsis in text, which makes the parallels to Garden State even clearer-- if you hoped Braff might make a movie about something other than a guy trying to find his way through middle-class existence, you're mistaken:
"Wish I Was Here" is the story of Aidan Bloom (played by me), 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.
Garden State and Braff are both easy targets at this point-- when it came out, it was my first experience of witnessing en masse the "I liked it before it was cool, so now I don't like it at all" phenomenon, when people seemed to reject it entirely because it was unhip. At the same time, the Kickstarter has reached $133,000 as of this writing, after people live for only a few hours. Compare that to Melissa Joan Hart's project, which has aimed for $2 million and has netted just $35,000 so far. Zach Braff, love him or hate him, is about to be the latest big name to completely subvert the usual film funding process. Are you ready to get on board?