Why Some Stars Get Kicked Off Kickstarter

Kickstarter failures

Crowdfunding can be difficult — even for famous folks

For a while there, Kristen Bell and Zach Braff had us thinking that all a celebrity had to do to make money on Kickstarter was just show up. Post a pitch video on the crowdfunding website and voila, fans shower you with dollars like rose petals.

If only that were true. As some other stars who have followed in their footsteps have found out, fame offers no immunity from failure when it comes to getting millions to finance passion projects. There doesn’t seem to be any one reason why that is, but pointing out the many pitfalls may protect the inevitable next wave of entrants before they suffer similar consequences.

SEE ALSO: Zach Braff Kickstarter Success: Will Crowdfunding Transform Showbiz?

Before celebrities even open their mouths on Kickstarter, they’ve got one strike against them. Why give money to someone who’s already a success? But as Bell and Braff proved with their own pitches, charm and wit can work magic.

But now that other stars are giving Kickstarter a go, it turns out it’s not so easy. Former teen TV star Melissa Joan Hart was forced to suspend her bid to fund her romantic comedy, “Darci’s Walk of Shame,” after generating little more than $50,000 in a month’s time. Employing the same kind of self-effacing humor Braff and Bell used in their own pitch videos just didn’t work.

It simply may be that Hart isn’t as beloved as Braff, who is a dynamo on social media. But her failure may be due more to a case of content than personal popularity. While Braff was pitching “Wish I Was Here” — exactly the kind of film his fans loved last time around with the cult classic “Garden State” — Hart was pitching a title character that represented a departure from the squeaky clean roles with which she made her name, which is like asking people to love you for doing something other than what they love you for. On Kickstarter, talent should stick to what made them popular, not look for a departure.

SEE ALSO: $2 Million for ‘Veronica Mars’ Breaks Kickstarter Records, Gets Greenlight

That’s not the mistake Shemar Moore made. The handsome TV actor played directly to the fan base he built up from his days on the soap “The Young and the Restless” by pitching a romantic comedy of his own with himself in the lead role. He, too, borrowed from the Braff playbook by appealing to fans about how he was struggling to maintain creative control of his film.

But while Moore uses his video to pour out his heart about artistic integrity, he’s also parading his chiseled chest by whipping off his shirt midpitch. Maybe that kind of hypocrisy is why he’s currently nowhere near reaching his $1.5 million funding goal.

At least Zosia Mamet of the HBO series “Girls” keeps her clothes on in her own pitch. And she doesn’t want millions of dollars, just $30,000.

But it’s what she wants it for that may be the problem: to make a musicvideo with her sister, Clara, for a folk music song they wrote.

Really, Zosia? You’re a great actress, but who on earth is going to finance your “unique brand of folk via body percussion, banjo and harmonies?” Most would presume your “Girls” salary can cover this kind of indulgence.

With absurdity like this, a Kickstarter celebrity parody was inevitable. And it came courtesy of comedian Jon LaJoie, who doesn’t even bother pitching a passion project. “By simply turning over your hard-earned money to me, I could become super-rich without all the added pressure of actually doing something,” he deadpans.

LaJoie cuts to the heart of the self-entitlement and condescension of some of these celebrity Kickstarter videos. Maybe that’s why there’s so much criticism that online crowdfunding is best left to the unknowns who are most in need.

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  1. mandy lee wilson says:

    Hart’s reason for all of us to fund her project??to show hollywood she can be a rom com lead…So we are supposed to fund her wanting to be a bigger star?its ridiculous. VM was a project we’ve wanted for years so it was easy to pledge.. Zach Braff clearly his fans liked the concept…Moore and Hart’s projects sound like every other bad movie on hallmark. No Thanks. I bet they though simply being semi famous(lets face it they are c list at best) would encourage people to fund their projects.It takes more than that , it needs to be worthy…not something any angst ridden teen can do.

  2. TulseLuper says:

    Seriously, Jon Lajoie or whatever his name is deserves all the Veronica Mars and Zach Braff money combined. That was genius.

  3. DMD says:

    Veronica Mars movie wasn’t even a challenge in my opinion, fans and people wants that a lot.
    Passionate fanbase that dream, begged demanded this movie for years. So of course it was funded quickly. Braff also talked about it for awhile before starting his kickstarter if I remember correctly.
    Also, it was a kind of “last resort” thing. At least for Veronica Mars, people knew they tried almost any other venue before asking money from the fans.
    Braff, at least, prove for some people that he can make a decent movie.
    Hart and Moore are “just” actors. And everyone knows that you can love an actor, and see him totally in love with a project he’s working for, and dislike the movie. And both Hart and Moore have an history of “not -so-wise-choice” for their roles.
    In short, assuming people love the for actors; Can they trust Bell (and mostly Rob Thomas) and Braff to give them a good movie ? Yes because previous works that they have written or directed say so. Hart and Moore ? They haven’t done nothing before that to prove that we can expect something good; They are way more risky.

  4. Frank W says:

    The little movie I was involved with, Pete Peterson’s The Las Vegas Monster, a tribute to the lesser know MS ridden stop motion technician’s dream project couldn’t even raise funds from the practical effects community and the producer only needed $4500! Now Harbinger Down is looking for money there, too.

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