James Franco has until late Wednesday night to raise more than $200,000 to meet the half-a-million-dollar goal of his Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
Franco is just the latest filmmaker to jump into the crowdfunding game, following Zach Braff raising $3.1 million for a follow-up to "Garden State," and $5.7 million to make a film based on the cult TV show 'Veronica Mars."
But Franco is taking a totally different approach, one which speaks to his frustration with the traditional movie business.
Instead of raising money to make his own movie—like Braff did—Franco is raising funds to fund three films based on his book, "Palo Alto Stories." The goal is to "give very talented young filmmakers the shot they deserve at making movies," Franco said in a phone interview.
(Read more: Why is Facebook pushing its IPO price?)
"They maybe would have a very hard time getting funding if they went through traditional routes trying to knock on doors. I can already see they deserve a shot and I'm trying to give that to them."
Franco spearheaded the campaign in order to foster the next generation of filmmakers—not to turn a profit. Any proceeds from the movies will be given to a charity, The Art of Elysium.
Franco is certainly using his celebrity to draw support—if film fans donate $150, they receive a signed "Palo Alto Stories" book, personalized by Franco. A $300 donation buys a signed art print by Franco. The lower donations are more typical for crowdfunded films: In exchange for $10 supporters, get updates on the project and a PDF of the script.
(Read more: 'The big picture is great': Netflix's Hastings)
The actor-director-writer says that these new digital tools are a game changer to democratize and break open the once-closed movie business.
"For a long time ... the studios ran all the movies, and you had to somehow break into the studio system," Franco said. "Now the breakthrough is that the Internet and these crowdfunding resources have enabled people to really pinpoint the kind of movies they want to support. It's not just showing what kind of movies they like by paying for tickets; you can actually have a hand in what kind of movies are MADE from the beginning."