In Directing Herbert White James Franco writes about making a film of Frank Bidart's poem, Herbert White. Though the main character, Herbert White, is a necrophiliac and a killer, the poem - and the film - are an expression of life's isolation and loneliness. A poem became a film.
In the rest of book, Franco uses poems to express what he feels about film: about acting; about the actors he admires - James Dean, Marlon Brando, Sean Penn; about the cult of celebrity and his struggles with it; about his teenage years in Palo Alto, and about mortality prompted by the death of his father.
These preoccupations are handled with a simplicity and directness that recalls the work of Frank O'Hara.