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      James Franco becomes the latest star to turn to crowdsourcing

      Fundraising sites like Kickstarter are popular with regular folks looking to scrounge up a little cash to make a dream a reality, but celebrities are increasingly launching their own campaigns -- in spite of the fact that they could probably bankroll the projects themselves. For example, James Franco is looking to raise $500,000 to turn his book into a series of films. Franco is estimated to be worth over $20 million.

      The campaign, which Franco has launched via IndieGoGo, is looking to turn Franco's first book, "Palo Alto," into a trio of feature films for the low, low price of half a million dollars. Rather than opting for an old guard cast (or doing it all himself), Franco has selected a crew of up-and-coming filmmakers to work on the project. From the IndieGoGo site:

      Over the past 3 years I have directed and produced 6 feature films. 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.

      I strongly believe in this project and these visionary filmmakers. In order to cover all of the production expenses required to make these films a reality, we need to raise $500,000.

      To his credit, Franco has said that the profits of the films will be donated to The Art of Elysium, a non-profit organization that connects working actors and other creatives with children who are living with chronic or serious illness. Of course, the organization also accepts direct donations.

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