James Franco has waded into the waters of crowdsourcing for his next project, a trio of features based on "Palo Alto," the book of short stories Franco wrote about his hometown. The 35-year-old star is seeking $500,000 total for the films via the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
"We just need a little more help," Franco said in a video announcing the project. "I'm putting money into these projects because I believe in them and I believe in these filmmakers. These stories are very important to me and very personal." To help bring the three films ("Memoria," "Killing Animals" and "Yosemite") to the screen, Franco said he hired his "favorite directors at NYU," Nina Ljeti, Bruce Thierry Cheung and Gabriel Demeestere.
"This process is very exciting," Franco said about the recent shift toward using fan dollars to make films. "This is the best way to make movies. Because in this way the movies we want to make get made in the ways we want to make them. The only consideration is to make the best movies possible. I see these projects as great opportunities for all kinds of collaboration."
What separates Franco's project from community funded features set up this year by Zach Braff and "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas is that all the profits from "Palo Alto" will go to charity; Franco has worked with the group Art of Elysium, and plans to donate any proceeds to that organization. Indiegogo allows for a Flexible Funding option, which means that Franco will get to keep whatever funds he raises even if he doesn't hit the $500,000 goal. As of this writing, the "Palo Alto" project has raised $16,240 with 30 days remaining.
Should fans decide to donate to Franco's Indiegogo campaign, there are some bonuses, including James Franco's yearbook photos, a recorded message from James Franco, and even a cellphone voicemail. Of that last one, however, there is a caveat: "James will record a 15 second personalized cell phone greeting of your choice (James retains the right to edit the script if he deems the content inappropriate)."
For more, head over to Indiegogo.