The Garden State Beginnings
I remember the first time I saw the movie Garden State. It was my senior year of high school. After hearing my wistful peers dote over Zach Braff’s directorial debut for what seemed like half an eternity, I checked it out for myself.
I walked away from Garden State employing words in my review such as ‘visceral’, ‘poignant’ and ‘brilliant’ – similarly swept away upon a swell of shimmering Shins refrains, feverish visuals destined to exist as Tumblr fodder and one dangerously unrealistic manic pixie dream girl in the form of Natalie Portman.
My opinion on Garden State has somewhat changed after enough time has lapsed for me to calm the fuck down. Perhaps thanks to the cynicism my own adult experience has provided me, I’m able to see Garden State for what it probably was all along – a movie best described as only ‘pretty good’.
So when I heard Zach Braff was directing another movie ‘in the same vein as Garden State’, I was hardly champing at the bit. But thousands of others understandably were as evident from $2 million in funding through a site called Kickstarter.
Kickstarter defines itself as the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects – and I can unabashedly say it’s a marvelous concept in principle. Kickstarter provides independent developers the ability to attract funding necessary to bring their occasionally radically innovative ideas to life, developers that lack the clout or exposure to make it happen otherwise.
And then there’s Zach Braff.
Do Celebrities Really Destroy Kickstarter?
Zach Braff started a Kickstarter project to fund his Garden State follow up despite a successful and highly profitable television career, amassing well over a million Twitter followers in exposure. People are pretty pissed off about it. Because,
Slow down a second. This might be hard to swallow for some people, but not every Kickstarter project needs to be dripping with the same romanticism of a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel. Not every Kickstarter project needs to be inherently noble, the veritable ‘diamond in the rough’ so hopelessly overlooked.
Do you honestly expect every Kickstarter creator to be the cliché starving artist? Zach Braff has a lot of fans willing to spend a lot of money on a Zach Braff movie – deal with it. And besides, why are we completely overlooking the huge amount of exposure much smaller Kickstarter projects are receiving thanks to Braff?
Where the Zach Braff Controversy Gets Stupid
The worst argument I’ve heard against this Zach Braff business declares, “If you only have so much money to give to charity, give it to cancer research”. C’mon.
Slight disclaimer here: Donating to charity is awesome and makes you feel awesome. It should always be encouraged. BUT…
Why should anyone be made to feel terrible for pitching $10 to fund something they personally enjoy? Under Ken Levine’s logic, I suppose I should feel ashamed that earlier this week I spent $37 on this stupid/awesome David Carey camp shirt knowing I could have sponsored a hungry child in Africa instead. It’s basic capitalism, my friends. Just because you’re participating doesn’t make you an evil person, even if you happen to be Zach Braff.
It’s your money – invest it as you see fit.