Zach Braff Answers The Tough Questions On Why He's Using Kickstarter To Fund His Next Film

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 4, 2013 11:42 AM
3 Comments
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I learned that Zach Braff, who, as you all know, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $2 million to shoot an indie feature film, actually contributed to a campaign that I've pushed heavily here on S&A - the Freedom Fighters documentary project about exonerated black men who band together to form a detective agency to investigate cases of other men behind bars, claiming to have been falsely imprisoned.

Not that I'm implying that Zach learned about the project from S&A, but I was glad to see that he'd contributed to the campaign, which, by the way, still needs another $8,000 to reach its goal, with 6 days left.

But not only did Zach contribute, he did so at the highest level - says the filmmaker - which is $5,000!

So, it got me wondering whether the celebrities/entertainers/public personalities who've taken to crowd-funding to raise money for their projects (there haven't been that many that I'm aware of), and have done so with success, have themselves contributed to the campaigns of others - especially those thousands of other indie film campaigns that don't have any celebs/entertainers/public personalities to help sell them, and aren't getting blanket mainstream press coverage.

I hoped Kickstarter had some way for me to find this out, but, alas, there isn't, which makes sense I suppose.

But just a thought...

What I really want to share with you is this new, informative KCRW/Kim Masters interview with Braff, specifically about his Kickstarter campaign. I think it's an especially good interview because she asks him most of the tough questions - question that many of you have posed about celebrities who take to crowdfunding sites to raise money for the film projects. For example, obvious questions like: you're a Hollywood celebrity, so why Kickstarter? And also... but you have rich friends Zach, you have the kind of access that other regular folks don't, so why not exploit all of that? Also... the perks are nice Zach, but some would rather see their contributions act as investments, meaning they'll get to enjoy in the film's eventual financial success, assuming that happens. And also... aren't you invading an already very crowded space Zach, that indies have long felt was theirs? As well as... why not invest your own money, Zach?

And much more... 

Through it all, he also gives the listener some insight into how the financing process works for filmmakers at his level, the emphasis on international box office appeal, which we've touched on in recent posts, and more.

One thing he says that I wish she'd asked for further clarification on, is his statement that it's still illegal to *crowd-invest* (my term, not theirs) when she asks him about contributors who would rather invest in the film to see a financial return later, instead of giving money because they just want to see the project made, and are content with whatever perks are offered at their contribution level.

I wasn't clear on all that; maybe someone can explain it to me.

The entire interview is worth a listen on a Saturday morning or afternoon, so check it out below (Zach Braff comes in around the 7:20 mark, if you want to skip ahead. Although the first 7 minutes of the show, on the so-called "new fronts" with regards to the TV space, are worth listening to as well):

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3 Comments

  • Ava | May 4, 2013 1:59 PMReply

    I'm listening to this a little late but it is indeed a Saturday and an afternoon at that!

    Thanks, that was an interesting listen.

    Has anyone found out why individual investment in films is truly illegal? If so, it there really a realistic possibility of this happening in the near future? I'm curious as to what are the obstacles. It will be really interesting to discover whether this individual film investment can be a reality and what effect that would/might have on the studio system as well as what types of films are 'green-lit'

    Crowd funding films by celebrities like the ever expanding definition of what constitutes an 'indie film' is an ever evolving and sometimes sensitive issue.

    Lots of food for thought.

  • Charles Judson | May 4, 2013 2:36 PM

    The CROWDFUND act caps investment through crowdsourcing at $1 million. There'll likely be little to no impact on studio filmmaking.

  • Charles Judson | May 4, 2013 1:50 PMReply

    In regards to crowd-investing, the CROWDFUND act was signed into law last year, but it is still up to the SEC to fill in the details. There's a strong push from commentators and congress to have stronger anti-fraud protection in place that's impacting movement on that.

    There's also all the legal hoops crowd-investing will have that crowdfunding doesn't, that will have to be worked out. Currently you don't have to keep detailed financial records and provide them, under crowd-investing you would. Under crowd-investing you open the door to transferable investments (although there's a one-year restriction), which is great. However, how do you regulate that on a mass scale?

    Companies like Rockethub have been pushing the SEC to move faster and at least pilot test how it would all work.

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