April 24th, 2013
03:27 PM ET
Courteney Cox, Jessica Simpson and Aaron Paul are just a few of the famous who have joined fans in supporting Zach Braff.
The 38-year-old actor/filmmaker is following in the footsteps of Rob Thomas, who set a record when he Kickstarted a "Veronica Mars" movie in March, with his own Kickstarter concept: a follow-up to his 2004 feature directorial debut, "Garden State."
Called "Wish I Was Here," the movie's co-written by Braff and his brother, Adam, and centers on a struggling actor, husband and father named Aidan Bloom.
Braff, who also wrote and starred in the prior romantic dramedy, will portray Aidan, a 35-year-old who's still searching for his identity and purpose in life.
"He and his wife are barely getting by financially," Braff describes on his Kickstarter page. "Aidan passes his time by fantasizing about being the great futuristic 'Space-Knight' he'd always dreamed he'd be as a little kid."
But when Aidan's dad can't keep paying for a private school education for the couple's two kids, Aidan winds up home-schooling them, developing his own curriculum, and learning a few lessons himself along the way.
Braff's hoping to raise $2 million for the follow-up by 3 p.m. ET on May 24, and he's well on his way to reaching half of his goal within a day. He said he was initially going to go with a "typical financing deal" for the project, but doing so "would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film."
So in the aftermath of Thomas' Kickstarter success, Braff "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."
Funding "Wish I Was Here" through Kickstarter would give him more control over casting, location, editing and the budget, he said, and give him the opportunity to "make a movie ... with no compromises."
If he gets the money he needs, Braff wants to begin filming in August and wrap up "Wish I Was Here" in time to debut it at the Sundance Film Festival.
Like with "Veronica Mars," fans who contribute to the movie via Kickstarter will have opportunities to be involved. For $10, you'll get a "production diary," which includes weekly updates on the filmmaking process from Braff and a PDF of the script, and $40 or more earns the contributor a "Wish I Was Here" T-shirt. For $10,000, a fan could join the movie as a cast member - and one person has already snatched up that offer.
Those who give $100 and up are eligible to attend advance screenings and Q&A's in Los Angeles, London, New York and Chicago, which at the time of this post were rapidly selling out.
"My pal @zachbraff is a brilliant filmmaker," Cox, who's worked with Braff on her comedy "Cougar Town," tweeted Wednesday, while Simpson encouraged her Twitter followers to join her "in helping @zachbraff make another movie."
One fan was happy to support the movie, with one condition: “I'll donate to 'Wish I was Here' if you promise to cast ['Garden State' star] Jim Parsons and [Braff's 'Scrubs' co-star] @donald_faison. Deal?" the fan said, to which Braff replied, "done."
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