For anyone mourning Zach Braff’s absence from the spotlight post-“Garden State,” prepare to be inundated. The actor/director’s controversial Kickstarter campaign for his latest film, “Wish I Was Here,” may have surpassed its $2 million goal already, but the debate over his intentions is by no means over, even after Braff stepped up to the mic to deliver some clarifications.
Currently stacked at $2.5 million by close to 35,000 backers, “Wish I Was Here” appears ready to go as a pure and uninhibited vision -- as exciting or terrifying as that prospect seems – and the actor/writer/director has deemed (via LA Times) that the ongoing aftermath of his campaign is “overwhelming” and “not an overnight kind of thing.”
Describing the “very personal” drama, co-written with his brother, Adam, and about a thirty-something man homeschooling his kids, Braff said, “It's been funny to hear that people think this is some kind of money-grab. It would be the worst get-rich-quick scheme ever.”
Braff in fact put the campaign together with producer Stacey Sher and a team of legal experts over the course of many months, and he’s now addressed the project’s detractors – the “deliciously yummy vitriol” -- using his behind-the-scenes perspective. “It's not like when you go to the home page there's a big picture of me smiling at you; you have to click through past a lot of other worthy projects to find it. It’s not like I lobbied Congress to pass a tax to finance my movie. It’s just sitting there in a corner of the site. If you want to wave at it and back it as you’re passing by, great. If not, you can just move along and that’s fine too.”
A main point of criticism lobbied at Braff has been the actor’s comfy financial status in relation to a crowdfunding effort such as this – a status that Braff considers par for the course in film financing in general. Talking to KCRW’s “The Business,” Braff said, “Anybody that understands business will understand that most business investors are not taking 100% of their own money and investing it into their projects. They’re investing some of their money, and then going out for equity partners who invest with them. What’s revolutionary is that instead of four rich guys, I’m going to what may be 50,000 people who become my financiers.”
At the very least, Braff’s Kickstarter campaign has allowed a dialogue between filmmaker and his audience – whether you think that relationship should be allowed is another matter. Regardless, one aspect of Braff’s latest film will remain consistent to his past output: the music. ““I think if you like 'Garden State' or 'Scrubs,' if you like what I do, you ‘ll really like this, he says. “Also, the 'Garden State' soundtrack was a huge success, and here will be a ton of killer music on this soundtrack.”
Still mad? Weigh in below and listen to Braff's full KCRW interview.