Post Academic

The life of a grad student, James Franco-style

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on November 14, 2010
Tags: , ,

Guess what?  It’s time for another James Franco post, which might be timely because our modern-day Renaissance man has a new movie — 127 Hours — and a new book — the short story collection, Palo Alto — to promote.  Some of the promo interviews Franco has given for the film deal with how grad school is going for him, which provides some good fodder for the blog.

Actually, Franco’s day-to-day life as a grad student might not sound that different the rest of us.  Even if his lecture snooze seen round cyberspace might suggest otherwise, he apparently doesn’t sleep very much, getting by on five hours of sleep.  And he’s late to sidejob because he didn’t want to miss class, although I imagine no one else’s office is on the red carpet.  Such was the case when apparently showed up late at the premiere of 127 Hours in NYC, since he didn’t want to skip out on Michael Warner’s seminar on Walt Whitman.

As for the rest of his grad school experience up to now, we’ll let Mr. Franco speak for himself, especially because he has had a lot to say about it.

On his grad school applications and admissions: “I applied to 15 creative writing Ph.D. programs. I got into 14. Some of them only accepted one fiction writer. I know there’s this idea that I’m getting a lot of opportunities because I’m a celebrity, and there certainly is truth to that, but it’s not like I’m coasting. I’m working all the time. Short of writing under an alias, I’m doing everything I can to treat this as seriously as I can.” (from

On being a perfectionist: “School offered a way to focus on something that had a new criteria for success, and its own rewards. It’s the reward of knowledge and learning things that I’m interested in. What it does is release me from pressure that I put on myself, where everything has to be perfect.” (from

On what his teachers think of him: “I showed that last movie at NYU last month, at a faculty critique,” Franco says, flinching a little. “It’s a fairly confrontational piece, and it got a little ugly. One faculty member — she’s always tough on me, but she flat-out called me an asshole. She jumped me. She was muttering it the whole time: What an asshole. What an asshole.” (from Esquire interview)

On not finishing *all* his reading: “You know, in Eat, Pray, Love, my character mostly appears in the first twenty pages of the book,” he says, and now the smile is broad, inviting, self-aware. “And I can definitely say I read the first twenty pages.” (from Esquire interview)

On extra-extracurricular activities: “I do masturbate a lot.  I don’t know why.  It’s like you have those days where it’s just like, I have a ton of writing to do, or a ton of reading to do, and you’re just like, OK, I’m just going to be on the couch all day or in bed all day just doing that….I tend to have a four- or five-time day.” (Gawker, originally from a Hollywood Reporter interview)

Ewww…that’s probably why they didn’t let him TA at Yale, because who knows what would happen with a ton of grading to do.

One Response to 'The life of a grad student, James Franco-style'

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  1. James said,

    What a bizarre guy….I can’t see him finishing the degree. Always a pleasure to read post academic James @ a blog about a whiny ex humanities grad student

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