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Wednesday
Jun192013

James Franco Joins List of Celebs Using Crowdfunding

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- It worked for Zach Braff and Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas. Now James Franco has turned to crowdfunding to bankroll a trilogy of movies.

Franco launched his campaign on June 17 to raise $500,000 through Indiegogo, a crowdfunding alternative to Kickstarter. Unlike Braff and Thomas, Franco doesn't plan on directing the films. He's raising the money so that a group of young filmmakers from New York University, where he attended the film program, can adapt his 2011 short story collection, Palo Alto.

"Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films," Franco wrote on his campaign website. "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 your help, filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give."

Levels of contribution range from $10 for copies of the screenplays to $10,000, which earns you dinner with Franco and an executive producer credit. As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign had taken in just shy of $50,000.

Crowdfunding started as a way for independent, mostly unknown artists to appeal directly to the public to fund their film, book, album and more, but now a growing number of established celebrities are turning to crowd-funding for their next projects.

That's got some people crying foul. John Trigonis writes on the website Daily Crowdsource that stars are "saturating the pool with their somewhat unfair advantage -- celebrity."

By far, the biggest success comes from the creator of Veronica Mars who raised a record $2 million in a single day for a big-screen version of the TV series. Then again, being a cast member of the critically acclaimed TV series Girls did not help Zosia Mamet reach her goal.

The 25-year-old daughter of playwright David Mamet sought $32,000 in donations through Kickstarter to fund a music video for her band with 17-year-old sister Clara, but managed to only rake in $2,783 after 14 days. Perhaps Mamet was feeling the backlash that has been building against the celebrity Kickstarter bandwagon. "It's possible that people are getting tired of rich, young celebs asking for money on the Internet," Jordyn Taylor of the New York Observer wrote.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio