Zach Braff’s Kickstarter

kickstarterBy now I suppose you know about Zach Braff’s Kickstarter campaign, in which he managed to raise funds to finance one of his projects (and exceed the goal) in less than a week.

Now, this campaign got a lot of media attention, mostly because Zach Braff is rich and famous, and so he got criticized for not paying the $2 million dollars he needed for his movie out of his own pockets. Then some folks said people were just “contributing,” and if the movie was to become incredibly successful, neither one of them would receive a cut of the profits. Others were basically accusing him of taking people’s money, or something like that, as if people are selling their kidneys on E-bay just to contribute to his campaign.

Anyway, my opinion is that Zach Braff realized the immense potential a community of followers has. And he did what he did, because he could. When you have over a million followers on Twitter, it also means that you have a core of die hard fans who will do almost anything you want them to. It sounds cruel or whatever, but it’s the truth.

Being an artist means that you develop a certain type of relationship with your fans. It’s uni-directional, in the sense that they never really get to know you, but they feel they do. You don’t know them, but they want you to. It’s possibly the strangest of all relationships that form between two human beings.

That’s one of the mistakes anyone who thinks Braff is doing something wrong makes.

Secondly, most artists want for their fans to validate their projects. It’s the best reason for having an online presence, actually. So, for him, it’s maybe not because he doesn’t have the money, he just wants to make sure he doesn’t waste the money. Over thirty thousand backers means at least thirty thousand people interested in seeing that movie made.

That’s something I didn’t read in any article.

Most people think money is such a trivial thing, that it somehow has the ability to taint any dream. Well, sadly we don’t live in a world of pretty concepts, and as much as we enjoy writing about virtue, bravery, kindness, and holding on to ideals no matter what, as much as we like to believe happiness to be a state of mind, the truth is that a hungry artist is a grumpy artist.

The only thing worth talking about is the fact that any artist who raises money for any endeavor whatsoever is kind of turning appreciation into money. People like what you do, admire you, and they’re willing to pay for this. It’s a sad reality, one I’m not really glad about, but also one I am grateful for, because without it I would have never gotten this far.

Maybe this is the immoral side of being a modern artist, but I do like to believe that, as Oscar Wilde said, art is neither moral or immoral. Art is either good or bad, and as an artist you have to get the work done, by any means necessary.

When I first decided to run a crowd-funding campaign, I did it with the fear of not reaching my goal. Of failing. And failing is one of those things you never quite get good at. But I tried it out of desperation and frustration, out of fear of losing precious time, simply because I couldn’t afford to finance my projects.

Maybe I’m exaggerating a bit when I say that I was almost afraid to write because I couldn’t afford to pay in order to get my books out, for readers to read.

This is Cristian Mihai’s sad reality, one I cannot avoid, and contrary to what some people might think, one I do not enjoy, but I do have to rely on people’s generosity in order to pay the bills.

For instance, right now, when you can contribute here, and maybe get something in return. Any contribution is welcome, as long as you don’t sell an arm and a leg to help me.

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10 comments on “Zach Braff’s Kickstarter

  1. Writers are artists. I totally agree!
    You do a good job with words. I enjoy the scenarios you create.
    A tree cannot make a forest. Certain heights cannot be reached without support.
    Keep up the good work, you’ll get all the support you need to reach your best, as long as you keep giving it your best.
    Welldone!

  2. Personally, I have a great love for Garden State. I also know that $2 million dollars is a pretty small amount to film a movie in LA, so I have some doubts that Braff isn’t adding personal funds to his project. As someone with a brother who works on TV & Movies in LA as a grip, I am delighted to hear Braff is planning on filming in LA. (Or at the very least, in America.) You see, I know another part of the film industry. Not the high profile jobs like producer, actor/actress, director, cinematographer etc. I know about the electricians, the grips, the hair & make-up, wardrobe, prop masters, carpenters etc.who belong to various unions (which are not easy to get into) & see movies being made in places like Canada as a serious Labor Issue, a way to exclude the Union Workers. So I hope Braff’s shooting in LA will create some jobs for people.

    • I have a little update on my thoughts here. When it comes to films, there are different pay scales that come into play for people working on the film. The lower the budget, the more of a chance people will end up working on the film at a lower rate. However, if the film hits the theatres & makes a lot of money, those that took the pay cut to make the film never see any of it. This happened with the film End of Watch.

      When it comes to kickstarter, I think crowdfunding is a very cool thing. Are there people who will abuse it? Well of course. Is someone with an established following more likely to abuse it? Not necessarily.
      Peace, xx

  3. Anson George says:

    As an artist (music, film, writing, painting, etc) one is subservient to the art itself. not the other way around. That is why there are no morals in art. We are all like hopeless heroin addicts, willing to do whatever we must in order to get that next fix (A.K.A. moment of inspiration/aspiration)

  4. With all due respect, perhaps you can find a paying job and/or a sponsor to help finance your writing projects – there is great self-satisfaction (not to mention integrity) in not having “to rely on people’s generosity in order to pay the bills.” Best of luck to you, as I am a follower, but have also experienced that making one’s own way in life is “priceless.” We are all struggling artists in our own way!

  5. chelebub says:

    I am trying to figure out exactly what Zach Braff did wrong by going online to get funding for a movie. How is there anything wrong about it? If no one thought it was worth funding they wouldn’t do it would they?

  6. Good luck from musings of a digital vagabond

  7. All I ask is that folks spread some of that Zach Braff love my way. Here are my recent thoughts on the subject: http://comicsgrinder.com/2013/04/25/kickstarter-wish-i-was-zach-braff/

  8. “Being an artist means that you develop a certain type of relationship with your fans. It’s uni-directional, in the sense that they never really get to know you, but they feel they do. You don’t know them, but they want you to. It’s possibly the strangest of all relationships that form between two human beings.”

    This is such a profound insight and it really gets to the essence of fandom…whether someone is a fan of a writer, athlete, performing artist.
    There are some well-known authors who I want to approach to read Advanced Reading copies of my novel. Why?? Because I admire their work and in some sort of emotional logic (which is quite different from rational logic) I feel that their approval will make people want to buy my book, or, at the very least, will make me feel good about the book. But approaching them almost feels like stalking at times!

    BTW, just wanted to let you know that I bought The Portrait of a Writer. Haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I am looking forward to it.

    Best regards!
    Jan

  9. musingsoftompo says:

    I think you are confusing your individual experiences in trying to obtain funding for your project and Zach Braff’s incredibly shrewd marketing for his project. You are trying to write to live and are doing it in a good sense. He utilized Kickstarter to draw attention to himself and people paid not for his works but rather because Zack Braff is using Kickstarter so they felt compelled to donate money.That is where the vast majority of criticism stems from. He is taking attention away from those projects that truly need the bulk of those funds. Braff utilized cheap marketing. Your work is marketing itself by being good not relying on cheap tactics. We can talk about morality because in this case it isn’t and issue of the art but rather business.
    Mardaweh

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