Last month Zach Braff started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a new film entitled Wish I Was Here, and today the campaign wrapped — having surpassed its initial goal by over $1 million. Braff had initially sought $2 million, a figure he said would allow him to retain the creative control he sought for the project. The campaign broke that number within three days. Ultimately, Wish I Was Here raised more than $3.1 million dollars, with over 46,000 different individuals contributing.
Braff ran into backlash almost immediately upon launching the campaign. Unlike the Veronica Mars Kickstarter project, Braff wasn't trying to raise funds for a well-known property — Wish isn't a direct sequel to his 2004 film Garden State — and he was open from the beginning that the $2 million wouldn't even be enough to let him make the movie on his own anyway. Sure enough, the actor and filmmaker secured the rest of the funds needed for the film's $5 to $6 million budget through traditional means.
No matter whether one thinks it's appropriate for well-known and wealthy celebrities to utilize crowdfunding sites (Kickstarter argues that it's just fine), the Wish I Was Here campaign still represents an enormous number of fans and individuals determining what creative properties get made. Whether that trend will ultimately be good for the crowdfunding ecosystem, result in a new wave of independent cinema, or just fizzle out entirely still remains to be seen. For the moment, however, it represents the power of people voting clearly and distinctly with their wallets.