Try to get through James Franco's Indiegogo video without feeling Hulk levels of anger, because there's a charitable slant to the project that could change your mind about top-billing stars mining their admirers for cash. Yes, the actor has hopped on the celebrity crowd-funding wagon, joining Zach Braff and the Veronica Mars crew. The debate about stars using Kickstarter or Indiegogo for their pet projects continues to rage on, but Franco wants to give back if you offer your dollars and cents to him.
The actor-director-artist wants to raise $500,000 to create short films based on his debut short-story collection Palo Alto. It centers on a collective world of jaded teens living in suburbia. Publishers Weekly wasn't a huge fan of the writing: "Given that Franco could have opted to coast by on movie-star mystique, the decision to write about the suburb of his upbringing is intriguing. But the author fails to find anything remotely insightful to say in these 11 amazingly underwhelming stories." Booklist had kinder, gentler words for it: "Franco conveys something we all know but enjoy hearing again: growing up is painful yet wonderful. The deceptive simplicity also masks the complexity of Franco’s writing."
All profits of the campaign will go to Art of Elysium, which is a charity that "supports first-time feature-film directors that have been volunteering their time with children in need." Many of the directors of Franco's film project seem to stem from NYU, where he teaches. Prizes include an original Franco painting, dinner with the actor, and VIP screenings. Will you be digging deep into your pockets for this one, or is it as nauseating as some of the other celebrity crowd funders?