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Zach Braff Launches Kickstarter Campaign For New Directorial Effort 'Wish I Was Here'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
April 24, 2013 9:39 AM
16 Comments
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Zach Braff

Whether or not you approve of the millions raised by the Kickstarter campaign for "Veronica Mars," it's really all a matter of perspective. Some folks are just fine giving Warner Bros. what is essentially a free movie, while others are a bit more hesitant to fund a picture whose budget is mere pocket change for the studio. The lines of ethics and charitable contribution are gray and shifting and certainly this latest celebrity endeavor will continue the conversation.

"Scrubs" actor and "Garden State" filmmaker Zach Braff is ready to make his sophomore directorial effort "Wish I Was Here," but he needs $2 million, and he wants you to help. So why should Braff get your cash? Well, as he explains in the video below, while he could get money from the usual Hollywood channels, he wouldn't be able to retain final cut or cast the movie to his liking, so he's hoping to make it independently to retain full creative control. That seems reasonable enough.

So, what is this movie all about? Here's the official synopsis which promises more indie quirk:

"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.

When his ailing father can no longer afford to pay for private school for his two kids (ages 5 and 12) and the only available public school is on its last legs, Aidan reluctantly agrees to attempt to home-school them.

The result is some funny chaos, until Aidan decides to scrap the traditional academic curriculum and come up with his own. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn't find.

Braff wants to cast Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") as his best friend in the flick, and should it all come together, he tentatively plans to start shooting in August with an eye on making a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (though having the movie completed and locked for January 2014 would be ambitious to say the least). As you'll see on the Kickstarter page, he's got plenty of work done already and a crew coming together as including cinematographer Larry Sher ("Garden State," "The Hangover" movies).

Anyway, watch his Kickstarter vid below and we're sure you have some thoughts on this whole thing, so share them in the comments section.

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16 Comments

  • Sorrybutit'strue | April 26, 2013 1:01 AMReply

    Money issues aside, Garden State is the most horrible, self-indulgent, bullshit movie I've ever seen and, even worse, it ruined Natalie Portman for me like three or four years. Someone needs to make a kickstarter to keep him from making a second movie asap.

  • Josh 348 | April 26, 2013 12:40 AMReply

    He made 8.4 million for the 2007-2008 season of scrubs. Just one year. 350,000 per episode, making him one of the best paid per episode actors on tv. There were 24 episodes per season; he makes considerably more in one episode than the vast majority of doctors. Other website put his net worth at 22 million.

    "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."

  • Tim | April 25, 2013 4:49 PMReply

    He admits turning down the financing to make this film, and his stated reasons for using Kickstarter are all about artistic integrity. But, another more general idea of integrity applies in the real world: if you have a good idea and a real passion for it, then you should be willing to invest in yourself, at least with real sweat equity and likely with real capital as well. And if you're not, how can you say with integrity why in god's name anybody else should, whether in exchange for profits or for swag and emotion? Considering Braff et al. will own this thing 100%, thanks to all the free money, that burden of proof has got to be even higher.

  • lenij | April 25, 2013 2:27 AMReply

    He looks like a total dick in that picture.

  • Janie | May 21, 2013 2:47 AM

    He's a total dick in person

  • anonymous | April 24, 2013 8:59 PMReply

    from celebritynetworth.com: estimated net worth of $22 million dollars. Zach Braff is most widely known for his role as Dr. John Dorian on "Scrubs", but he has also shown promise as a writer/director with "Garden State", his directorial debut. The film cost $2.5 million dollars, made $35 million dollars at the box office, and was critically praised.

  • Potion lords | April 24, 2013 5:40 PMReply

    This is greedy narcissism at it's worst. The guys starred in a hit sit-com that went on for almost a decade and is now in syndication. He is a multimillionare and he is begging for money. It's sickening.

  • Daryl Hannah | April 24, 2013 2:46 PMReply

    Fall Out Boy, now Braff. The mid-2000s are coming back to haunt us. GO BACK TO THE SHADOW.

  • P-DUB | April 24, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    I love that you guys chose the absolute worst photo of him for this article.

    Also, yeah, the story sounds like another navel-gazing indie snoozefest that I have a low tolerance for now. I have nothing against small filmmakers telling personal stories, mind you. I just don't have any particular need to see what Zach Braff has to say about anything.

    Garden State is a good movie. I don't have any problems admitting that. I think it has several very strong moments, a great soundtrack, and some appealing performances. But I think it's safe to say, based on the work Braff has done since, that it was a fluke. He got lucky and wrote the right movie for that time with the right songs and audiences connected.

    But I think if someone like Braff, who still has indie-clout from that film, can't raise $2 million dollars for this project it's for a reason. The one thing people forget to talk about is that sometimes scripts suck. It's very likely people have read the script and thought it sucked. Otherwise, I'm sure there are indie producers or studios like Fox Searchlight who would give him that small amount of money.

    As for needing final cut, get over yourself. I just finished reading a great book about Scorsese where he talks about how he didn't officially have final cut on his films till "Goodfellas." Plenty of great films can be made by smart filmmakers with good producers and a strong story. I supported the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign and I think that's a strong case of a filmmaker who couldn't get his film made otherwise but at least found a way to make the studio meet him halfway. This seems more of a case of Braff looking at VM and thinking "Wow! I bet I can get them to fund mine too! No more shopping this thing around town!"

  • Alan B | April 24, 2013 12:04 PMReply

    Nothing will ever match the unashamed lunacy of Tom Wilkinson giving Zach Braff a drive-by-smile near the end of 'The Last Kiss'. That film is all kinds of stupid, but that moment is 'The Wicker Man'-style laugh-out-loud moment. Don't know what that scene has to do with this story, but I am so disgusted by this lazy cashgrab that I am trying to do something - ANYTHING - not to find Braff and slap him.

  • EGGHEAD | April 24, 2013 11:20 AMReply

    I actually liked Garden State. And the soundtrack. And the fact that it was made his way.

    Also, he hasn't done much since Scrubs. I'm sure he isn't as loaded as he use to be.

  • Tommy Mittola's Warts | April 24, 2013 10:26 AMReply

    So this is what happened to his character in "Garden State" after he married Natalie Peezy and had some kids. He's still a hopeless, self-indulgent shitbird - only this time with two kids to make him seem more relatable. Ugh. Just pay for the movie yourself, you foolish prick. Then let us get upset about how overuse whoever is today's equivalent of a 2004 The Shins (Local Natives? Ra Ra Riot? Penny for My Bunghole?).

  • downwiththesickness | April 24, 2013 10:24 AMReply

    In this case, he can use his own damn money. Let Scrubs pay for it--it'll be a nice retribution.

  • rabiman | April 24, 2013 10:24 AMReply

    Sure, Zach Braff. Why not?

  • james | April 24, 2013 10:02 AMReply

    Little whiney b*tch. What planet do you live on Braff?! I can get the money but I can't have my way! For f*ck's sake. And what a pathetically patronising video. Here's an idea - rather than giving your money to Zach Braff so he can 'retain final cut' (seriously, who f*cking cares anyway? Who do you think you are, Stanley Kubrick?), give it to some charity where it's actually going to do some good.

  • Vincent | April 25, 2013 1:05 PM

    ^this

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