The Crowdsourcer
Zach Braff took some hard knocks for Kickstarting his second movie with money from supporters. He has several million reasons to pay those critics—and the studios that passed on his film—no mind.

If you want a sense of how roundly Hollywood's faltering blockbuster economy has been criticized, consider that even the ostensible creators of it, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, have blasted it. Add Zach Braff to the chorus: "Like Steven Soderbergh said, the movie business is broken." When the actor-director's efforts to get his second feature, Wish I Was Here, off the ground were stymied by the studios ("They had all kinds of rules that wouldn't have allowed me to make the film I wanted to make"), he joined the crowdsourcing revolution, putting his celebrity passion project in the hands of the citizen-patrons of Kickstarter. "I thought, 'The film is about my generation challenging the status quo—why shouldn't I do the same thing?'" Braff reached his goal of $2 million (from nearly 30,000 backers) in just three days and ultimately brought in a total of more than $3.1 million from 46,000-plus supporters while attracting loads of publicity and outrage. "Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the vitriol came from other filmmakers who are not yet successful, whose rationale was that somehow I was inhibiting their ability to get financing," Braff says. "Sure, I have my own money, but I can't finance a $5 million movie alone. And as Kickstarter finally came out and said, I brought an insane amount of people to the conversation who knew nothing about crowd-funding."

Zach Braff, 38
Credit Check: Garden State; upcoming: Wish I Was Here
The Logical Next Step: "People making capital investments in my film and me recouping upside is what critics accused me of when I joined Kickstarter. It's actually an awesome idea, but it's also illegal. I wouldn't survive jail. Unlike Martha Stewart, I have no skills to offer my fellow prisoners."

• • •

Lego Is Putting the Block in Blockbuster
Could the route to box-office gold be the Yellow (And red and green and . . . ) Brick Road? Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the directors of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street, are betting big on interlocking blocks with The LEGO Movie, their animated action comedy voiced by the likes of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, and Channing Tatum. The cultural appetite is whetted. Beyond installations (a life-size X-wing fighter), museum shows, and art books, the first official doc on the toy phenomenon, Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary, is set to arrive in theaters in early 2014. And don't forget the little yellow minions that helped make the Despicable Me films monster hits—they look suspiciously like LEGO men. Coincidence? Hollywood thinks not.

• • •

The 2013 Hollywood Mavericks

The Transformer

The New Kings of Doc

The Antiestablishment Exec

The Dynamic Duos

The Soundtrack Wizard

The Netflix Natives

The Cutting-Edge Comedians

The Character Actresses

The Crowdsourcer

The Creative Capitalists

The Prestige Producer

The Rookie Filmmakers

The Indie Auteur