Sunday, June 23, 2013

LitStarter: Bringing You the Best in Bookish Projects

Welcome to another installment of Lit Starter! This is a regular look at some of my favorite projects discovered through two popular crowd funding websites: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The featured projects will be related to literature and comics, but not limited to publishing or writing projects.

No, you aren't imagining things. That's a picture of James Franco in the Indiegogo widget, holding a copy of his book, Palo Alto: Stories.

Famed actor and director James Franco has turned to crowd-funding in an effort to raise money to create three feature films, all of which have been adapted from his collection of fictional short stories about his hometown of Palo Alto, California.

Franco is asking for $500,000 to cover the production expenses of three feature films: Memoria, Killing Animals, and Yosemite. The money will be split evenly between the films -- giving each one a budget of a little over $160,000. The project is part of a flexible funding campaign, which means that even if they don't reach their target goal, they will be able to keep all money raised but are still required to fulfill perks.

Speaking of perks, most of the ones offered by this campaign are centered around Franco himself. Perks include yearbook pictures of him; signed posters and postcards; personalized videos, art, and voicemail messages. Backers at higher levels have opportunities to be in the film, attend special screenings, and visit the set.

Franco has enlisted the help of Nina Ljeti and Vladimir Bourdeau de Fontenay to direct Memoria, Gabrielle Demeestere to direct Yosemite, and Bruce Thierry Cheung to direct Killing Animals. All of the directors either currently attend, or have attended, New York University. Each of the films have been adapted from more than one of the short stories in Franco's book.

If you weren't already interested in the project because of James Franco or the adaptation of short stories into feature films, you will be interested to hear that profits made from film sales will be donated to The Art of Elysium. This non-profit organization is dedicated to pairing working artists with seriously ill children through art instruction, workshops, and special events.

In instances where famous folks turn to crowd-funding, it can be a disaster. The obvious question with the Palo Alto Stories project is this: why doesn't Franco just front the money himself? According to his Indiegogo pitch, it isn't that simple. He's looking to support young and upcoming artists -- the directors he's chosen -- and needs more money than he can give in order to do so. Franco's looking for the freedom to make movies independent of the politics inside Hollywood. He will also be giving back by supporting The Art of Elysium.

You can support Palo Alto Stories by James Franco by clicking here (or the widget above). You can learn more about The Art of Elysium by clicking here or following them on Twitter @TheArtofElysium.

Twitter handles included in this promotion: James Franco: @JamesFrancoTV, The Art of Elysium: @TheArtofElysium, Indiegogo: @Indiegogo

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