The story below was originally published on Theo’s Roundtable, for which I am contributing writer.

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Did you hear? Zach Braff joined Kickstarter and just raised a butt-load of money. Nearly three million dollars as of this writing. What a visionary. Because of Braff, real folks like you, me, and your Uncle Sal will now have equal success—hell, if we band together, we could have even greater success. Get your Captain Planet rings ready, for it’s on, bitches. I’ll blast my Twitter followers, you blast yours, and Sal will hit up his bingo club, and BOOM we’re in the money. That’s how it works, right? We pester people for money until they give us some and then rather than make anything of merit we just keep hitting up those same followers with our “success story.” That is how it works, right?

No?

Then why is it every time I log onto Twitter, Facebook—hell, the Internet—I’m inundated with people begging me for money, if only a dollar? Rarely do we give a dollar to the homeless man or woman who is in need of food, but for Zach Braff, we’ve got a crisp twenty? We scoff at the inner-city child selling candy bars for a dollar to pay for uniforms. We cut music and the arts from our school programs—maybe because they’re not on Kickstarter. But Zach Braff wants to stare off into the middle distance for 90 minutes and we’ve got nearly three million dollars for him? Are you f—ing kidding me!

Zach Braff doesn’t need your money; he’s got his own—lots of it, or at least far more than Kickstarter’stypical user. Furthermore, all the money his fans just gave him wasn’t even what he needed—he got more.Much more. How? By pre-selling Zach Braff abroad to foreign investors/distributors. He says the more you support him, the “better” his film will be, because he’ll be able to do it (the film) “his way.” I’m sorry, but was Garden State in any way not a Zach Braff film? If what he’s saying is at all true about his intentions for joining up with Kickstarter, then every speech or interview he gave surrounding the making and/or release of Garden State should be preceded and concluded with the saying, Liar, liar, pants on fire.

I’m sorry. Rarely do I get this worked up publicly. But I’m just going to come out and say it: Kickstarter is stupid, and they’re stupid for letting people like Braff and others hijack their otherwise good karma and take it for a ride like the valets in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Zach Braff needs your help making his dream a reality? Go pound sand.

What’s worse is that Braff’s “success” and others like his supposedly give hope to everyday folks and creatives who believe they too can capture lightning in a bottle. This simply isn’t true. Braff didn’t work to reach his goal. He put his face on a site that is frequented by his core audience and a button that said pay me. Meanwhile, the folks that you could argue need sites like Kickstarter to get their “shot” are relegated to becoming panhandlers for 30 days at a stretch, hitting up everyone that has ever made virtual eye contact with them until they can’t stand it, forcing them to either a) stop following said person or b) give ‘em a buck to go away. As for the goodies? How many folks really want the items they’ve been pledged to receive? How many actually get them?

I experimented with a Kickstarter campaign for five days about a year ago, at the end of which I stopped because I didn’t like what I had become in my quest for funds. I kissed thousands of dollars goodbye and walked away never to return. That doesn’t make me better or more enlightened. It just wasn’t for me.

I’m not saying Kickstarter needs to die, or that it’s pointless, but it’s not innovative—not by a long shot. Turning to sites like Kickstarter isn’t being creative or unique when there are 20,000-plus other people doingthe same thing along side you. It’s become the new normal, which is why Hollywood—yes, Zach Braff is Hollywood—is getting in on the action. Why not pick up a couple of bucks that you never have to pay back? It’s the greatest deal ever, when you think about it.

Regarding the whole paying back part: Those who gave Braff money still will have to buy a ticket at their local AMC when his film is completed and distributed—a portion of which will go to Braff, thanks to his union. In other words, he gets your money in perpetuity.

PLEASE READ THE REST AT THEO’S ROUNDTABLE

  • Dave Blaylock

    Hmmmm. You probably won’t allow this to post but, Really? I have enjoyed your opinionated commentaries and reaches, at times your correct about the subjects you broach, other times not so much. I find myself hoping that you achieve greatness even though I know nothing about you, simply because you have a vision with film making and I am a viewer. I enjoy reading your site but this post bothered me, it reads with a sour grape back note. I can’t understand why you would be bothered by someone looking for funds to do what they love. Again I am hoping that you achieve success and are able to share with the world your film making. I would not have a problem donating a twenty to your cause if you were to go back to Kickstarter. Wishing you well.. a fan

  • http://twitter.com/ARobinsonOnline Andrew Robinson

    My apologies Dave. I never want to be seen as negative as I am typically a very positive person -overly so at times. While I stand by my remarks I agree perhaps I could have phrased them differently as to make the article more approachable. I appreciate your support though and thank you for not letting this one (or maybe two) posts stop you from wanting to read. I am only human and will take your criticism (in a good way) and apply it moving forward. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and for reading!

  • RevH

    Glad to read passionate people. Goes with my expresso in the morning.