James Franco Is Doing the Crowdsourcing Thing Too -- For Charity

[caption id="attachment_59303" align="alignleft" width="220"]James Franco Getty Images[/caption]

It looks like Zach Braff must've rubbed off on James Franco when they were making "Oz: The Great and Powerful."

Roughly a month after Braff raised $3.1 million from fans to fund a new movie, Franco has taken to Kickstarter rival Indiegogo to generate cash for a series of three films based on his 2010 book of short stories, "Palo Alto: Stories." The book is named after the California town where the super talented actor/writer/college student/avid reader/whateverelsethisweek grew up. (A pretty cool band named themselves after the town, too). Franco enlisted directors Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung and Gabriel Demestree to work on the "trilogy" of sorts. He's trying to raise a half million dollars, with some fun incentives for fans, of course.

Ten bucks will get you regular updates from the sets and PDFs of each scripts. If you've got $10,000 laying around, you can be an Executive Producer and grab some dinner with Franco and his production pals (sadly, Seth Rogen doesn't seem to be included, but maybe James' brother Dave will be there... Hopefully they won't be serving spaghetti). $5,000 gets you in one of the movies. $7,000 gets you a painting (yep, he's a painter too).

There's a greater incentive than the tangible prizes, though: Charity. The proceeds from the three films will go to a non-profit group called the Art of Elysium. The group coordinates working artists to volunteer their time to work with seriously ill children to introduce them to the arts. Franco, who has worked with the group in the past, wrote on his IndieGogo page, "These children have inspired me and pushed me as an artist in ways that are truly indescribable."

"Over the past 3 years I have directed and produced 6 feature films," Franco wrote on the Indiegogo campaign page. "I've also begun dedicating much of my time to teaching. Giving new filmmakers the opportunity to direct and produce films has become one of my greatest passions." He also writes about the challenges in finding funding. "Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films.  Unfortunately, things aren't that easy. More times than not, I have put in my own money to produce my films and my student’s films."

"However, this time it's different; We need more funding, I will still fund part of it but I need of your help, filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give."

If all goes according to plan, the films should start shooting by August.

But don't take our word for it. Here's Franco himself: