Actor Zach Braff has launched a US$2 million online fundraiser to finance his new movie after seeing the success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter.com campaign.
The former Scrubs star is seeking fan donations for his latest project Wish I Was Here, a follow-up to 2004 comedy-drama Garden State, and has promised rewards including T-shirts, advanced screenings and even the chance to appear in the film for the most generous backer.
Braff, who hopes to raise US$2 million by May 24, wanted to start the campaign to avoid a "typical financing deal" and admits he was inspired by the website's recent Veronica Mars movie project, which generated more than US$5.5 million in 30 days.
In a message posted on the fundraising page, he writes, "I was about to sign a typical financing deal in order to get the money to make Wish I Was Here, my follow up to Garden State. It would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film. I've been a backer for several projects on Kickstarter and thought the concept was fascinating and revolutionary for artists and innovators of all kinds. But I didn't imagine it could work on larger-scale projects. I was wrong.
"After I saw the incredible way Veronica Mars fans rallied around Kristen Bell and her show's creator Rob Thomas, I couldn't help but think (like I'm sure so many other independent filmmakers did) maybe there is a new way to finance smaller, personal films that didn't involve signing away all your artistic control.
"Financing an independent film the traditional way often means having to give away your right to the final cut, casting choices, location choices and cutting down your script to make it shoot-able on the cheapest budget possible."
Appealing to fans to join the scheme, he adds, "If you've liked the stuff I've made so far, I know you're going to love this. Whether you end up with a rad T-shirt... or an invite to a special preview screening, you'll know that without you, this movie never would have gotten made."