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Will You Give James Franco $500,000 So He Can Make A Trilogy Based On His Own Short Stories?

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by Ken Guidry
June 18, 2013 9:43 AM
11 Comments
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James Franco

The subject of celebrities crowdsourcing to get their movie projects funded has been debated constantly throughout the year. The “Veronica Mars” movie and Zach Braff’s “Wish I Was Here” both managed to have successful Kickstarter campaigns despite many complaints and negative feedback the projects may have gotten. Now James Franco looks to get in the mix, this time using Indiegogo to crowdsource his project.

Franco has become quite prolific, and as he mentions on the Indiegogo page, has directed six films in the last three years. For this particular project, Franco looks to finance three more movies and he’s asking for $500,000 to fund all of them. The films are all based on Franco’s book “Palo Alto,” which is a collection of short stories that were inspired by his high school experiences growing up in Palo Alto, California.

He’s enlisting four directors to helm the projects. Nina Ljeti and Vladimir de Fontenay will direct “Memoria,” Bruce Thierry Craig will take on “Killing Animals,” and Gabrielle Demeestere will direct “Yosemite.” All of the filmmakers have attended or are currently attending NYU (three of the four as grad students). The rewards for contributing to the projects range from an audio recording by James Franco ($20 donation) to actually being in the movie ($5,000 donation). For $7,000, you can get an original James Franco painting (!), while a $10,000 donation to the project will give you executive producer credit plus a VIP dinner with Franco and his production team.

Considering Franco will not be starring or directing any of the films, it seems he’s hoping his mere celeb status will help get these films funded. It’s nice that he’s trying to give these NYU grad students help to direct these films and he does pledge to donate the profits to a charity called The Art of Elysium, a non-profit organization that encourages actors, artists, and musicians to dedicate their time and talent to children battling serious medical conditions. Franco’s heart might be in the right place, but it’s hard not to see the three films as mere vanity projects. The book itself has a decidedly mixed response, judging from Amazon reviews.

So what do you think of Franco’s crowdsourcing project? Will you be contributing money? Send your thoughts below. [Variety]

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11 Comments

  • jmi | June 19, 2013 12:12 AMReply

    Really interesting Ken, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across about crowds and citizen science.​ ​

    It’s called “The Theory of Crowd Capital” and you can download it here if you’re interested: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2193115

    Really powerful stuff!

  • Leonardo | June 18, 2013 3:23 PMReply

    At least accordingto IMDb, Gia Coppola was doing an adaptation of the book as her directorial debut.

  • Christopher Bell | June 18, 2013 2:30 PMReply

    Just like with the omnibus he spearheaded last year, this is just a way to get some indie filmmakers a little bit of work. He's using his celebrity to hopefully let that happen. Nothing wrong with this at all, in fact, more celebrities should do this kind of stuff.

  • Ben | June 18, 2013 1:00 PMReply

    there already is a Palo Alto movie

  • BEF | June 18, 2013 2:16 PM

    True. I worked on it. It screened two months ago. WTH?

  • shelly | June 18, 2013 12:20 PMReply

    He's not even bad. He is just terribly mediocre at filmmaking. And no one in the indie world has the guts to stand up and tell him that. Sundance just wants celebs attending so they give him a pass.

  • shelly | June 18, 2013 12:20 PMReply

    He's not even bad. He is just terribly mediocre at filmmaking. And no one in the indie world has the guts to stand up and tell him that. Sundance just wants celebs attending so they give him a pass.

  • Jeff | June 18, 2013 10:35 AMReply

    The guy's got shorts in every fuckin' color. He doesn't need my money.

  • CrombyMouse | June 18, 2013 9:56 AMReply

    Interesting desire but it appears to me that his writing is as horrible as his own directional projects. So the answer is NO.

  • hugh | June 18, 2013 9:52 AMReply

    why not use your own salary to make your terrible indie films starring yourself.

  • gene | June 18, 2013 10:58 AM

    Agreed. Franco is always annoying.

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