It was Scrubs star Zach Braff who announced that his new comedy – the follow-up to 2004’s well-received Garden State – could not get made without the help of fans’ financial support on crowdfunding site Kickstarter. But a month on from launching a high-profile campaign to raise funding for independent film Wish I Was Here, Braff has not only hit his $2m Kickstarter target but secured millions of dollars in extra support from a traditional film financier.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed on Wednesday that Worldview Entertainment is stepping in with extra funds that will take the film’s total budget to about $10m. “Zach has proven again that he is a creative force in independent film, and we were immediately drawn to his powerful and unique story,” Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow told the site at the Cannes film festival.
Kickstarter is increasingly used by film-makers to raise finance for movies. Last month, producers of the Veronica Mars TV show secured a staggering $5.702m (£3.70m) to revive the detective series as a feature film. In September, the Charlie Kaufman–scripted stop-motion film Anomalisa raised a then-record $406,237 (£250,600).
Wish I Was Here is written by Braff and his brother Adam. Braff will direct and play the lead role of a father, actor and husband struggling to find his identity. Braff admitted in a video directed at fans as part of his Kickstarter campaign that he was close to a traditional financing deal to shoot the film, but didn’t want to give up the final cut and the right to pick the cast. In response, fans donated $2.6m.
But Twitter users and bloggers subsequently questioned why the actor, former star of the hugely successful, long-running sitcom Scrubs, did not simply use his own cash to make Wish I Was Here. Others wondered if it was reasonable to ask fans to contribute when they would not benefit if the movie became a surprise box office hit. News that traditional funding has been secured from a financier that will presumably want a return on its investment may further cloud the question.
In an interview with the LA Times about his Kickstarter campaign last month, Braff denied suggestions he had “Oprah Winfrey money”. He said: “I’ve done well in my career, but I am not sitting on $22m. I’m doing this so that one negative audience comment in a test screening won’t force me to change the end of my movie.”
He also said he felt fans were being well-rewarded for their contributions, with special early screenings and after-parties available to many.
Kickstarter is hit or miss for many independent filmmakers. Kevin Smith has said he’s going to bypass “Clerks III” on Kickstarter partially because he wants to avoid the headaches Braff is now getting, he wanted to ‘return to his roots’ and fund it himself, like he did the first “Clerks” and he believe Kickstarter should be there to “help the kind of up-and-coming filmmakers and entrepreneurs.”
Overall, I’m intrigued by what Kickstarter is allowing folks to do. It’s giving a funding option for entrepreneurs, artists and bands they never would have gotten before. Let’s be honest with ourselves, many banks aren’t handing out the small business loans like they were thanks in part to Dodd-Frank and Kickstarter is filling a void.
It also has been so successful, that it is legitimately making many wonder if the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) is even necessary since in 2012 it was reported that Kickstarter provided more money for more projects than the NEA did in all of 2011. Kickstarter’s co-founder felt he had to apologize on Talking Points Memo for that — why, I have no idea?
Having helped fund a project or two on Kickstarter, I mostly do it not for a return on investment (Like $5 to $50 is really an investment for a $20,000 project?), but to get the idea off the drawing board and into the production phase. If the guy with the idea ends up making a million dollars sometime down the road, so be it. My goal is getting a product in hand at the end of the day during the early adapter phase.
In the past it was waiting for a comic book, now it’s waiting for a “Settlers of Catan” game board.
As for the Braff / Smith debate, I believe Smith is on to something when he says that Kickstarter should be reserved for the up and comers. Guys like them have access to money and can get it with typically a call or two to a Weinstein. You and me, who have hopes, dreams, a drawing board, a camera and dreams need something like Kickstarter. The big guys don’t.
Great piece of work here from the House GOP Conference on the stalled economic recovery…now in its 5th year.
In the 27 months that the Internal Revenue Service put a hold on all Tea Party applications for non-profit status, it approved applications from similar liberal groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with obviously liberal names were approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” these groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
The controversial, 3-year-old strategy to manage the increasing number of political groups seeking tax-exempt status came under fire Tuesday. The agency’s own inspector general blamed IRS leadership for “ineffective management.”
“Ineffective management” is typically IG code not for incompetence, but political favoritism. Most inspector generals aren’t foolish enough to say outright what is going on.
Depending on the agency, a lot of these guys are presidential appointees. The last thing a lot of them want is to be suddenly replaced by the very president they are being forced to investigate. Then again, if the IG needed Senate approval to be confirmed, that can always make things interesting as well.
There is starting to get a lot of sparks behind the early smoke of the IRS scandal. Could be a fun next couple of months.
IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups Since 2009">IRS Admits to Targeting Conservative Groups Since 2009
Long thought by the MSM as the stuff of cranks and conspiracy websites like “NewsMax” and “World Net Daily,” it now appears they weren’t kidding.
Not the best string of luck the White House is having this week are they?
The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status, a top IRS official said Friday.
Organizations were singled out because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups.
In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.
“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.
Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. After her talk, she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice.
Agency officials found out about the practice last year and moved to correct it, the IRS said in a statement. The statement did not specify when officials found out.
About 75 groups were inappropriately targeted. None had their tax-exempt status revoked, Lerner said.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called on the White House to investigate.
Honestly, it should be the House which does this investigation. The Senate isn’t going to do jack against the White House as long as it is in Democratic hands as well as the Senate, then I’m not holding my breath.
Democrats with long memories like to say that tax audits against political enemies was a favorite trick of the Nixon days. Well, if they had any moral compass, they’d demand one of the Obama White House immediately.
Sadly, I don’t think such is the nature of the current generation of liberals. Threatening tax-exempt status is part of the current playbook; be it a church, a think tank, an advocacy group or whatever, it is the enemy, and it must be destroyed thoroughly.
Think I’m kidding? Read any press releases from One Wisconsin Now or the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in recent years?