This morning I was delighted to read on Huffington Post that Zach Braff, star of the hit television show Scrubs, was embarking on his second directorial debut since his cult-film Garden State (which is one of my favorite films). What made this interesting is that Braff is not going through a major studio. Instead, he has decided to take the project onto Kickstarter and crowd-fund the entire project.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
Thousands of creative projects are funding on Kickstarter at any given moment. Each project is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The filmmakers, musicians, artists, and designers you see on Kickstarter have complete control and responsibility over their projects. They spend weeks building their project pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they’re ready, creators launch their project and share it with their community.
Every project creator sets their project’s funding goal and deadline. If people like the project, they can pledge money to make it happen. If the project succeeds in reaching its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are charged when time expires. If the project falls short, no one is charged. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing.
The best part about funding a project is that it tends to come with perks. Generally speaking, the project creator will create some sort of incentive for people to give more money. It can range from a complete script, first listen to the soundtrack, tee-shirts, free screens, and even roles in the film. Kickstarter allows for the project creator to not only provide a product but it allows for them to connect with their audience in a whole new level that would not have been able to be conceived in any other fashion.
What astounds me is how viral and fast Kickstarter can work. When I had first heard the story, I saw that Braff’s film Wish I Was Here had made $250,000 of its $2,000,000 goal. I checked it only about 10-12 hours later and was shocked to see this:
Braff’s film had successfully gained 17,194 backers of the project who have all contributed a total of $1,294,873 as of this screenshot. It astounds me because in the past an individual would have had to deal with the big shots of Hollywood, but with this innovative idea any single person who has a great idea and wants to be able to make it happen can find find a home here. It warms my heart a bit because I have always been a fan of the indie directors, people like Kevin Smith or Wes Anderson, who put out a product they envision and try their hardest to keep that vision from being altered by the movie business. They put the audience first rather than seeing them as a faceless consumer. It shows that the world has a soft spot for these underdogs too and it makes me very interested in how projects like Braff’s on Kickstarter will challenge and change how the movie industry works.