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Funding dreams on credit: Film financing

By: CreditCards.com
Posted: 3/19/2013 8:00:00 AM
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Dreamer: Kenny Golde

The dream: Making a movie

How he used credit cards: He maxed out multiple credit cards and took out a business loan to finish a movie that went over budget, for total debt of $220,000.

How he paid off the debt: He almost went bankrupt, but spent more than a year negotiating settlements with creditors instead. He lost his home in the process.

Advice for others: "When it comes to your dreams, work hard and be smart. Don't be frivolous," he says. "The worst thing that happens is it doesn't work out."

The back story: Producer, director and screenwriter Kenny Golde was in the middle of shooting the film, "Uncross the Stars," starring Barbara Hershey, when his main investor had to be hospitalized and then died. The movie was already over budget, and Golde had to make a decision: Stop filming or find the money to finish it.

Golde had been wanting to make the film, about a widower grappling with grief, since he first read the script 10 years earlier. He decided to use his five credit cards, and he also went to the bank and opened a business line of credit. "I looked at myself not just as some guy who wants to make a movie and put it on credit cards, but like any other business owner," he says.

But just as Golde began trying to sell the movie in 2008, the recession hit. Credit was drying up and the movie didn't sell. "It just happened to be really bad timing," he says. "Everybody panicked."

He was paying $4,000 a month in interest and couldn't keep up. He met with a bankruptcy attorney, who told him about debt settlement . He decided to try to settle his debts for less than he owed. After stopping payment on his bills, and more than a year of stressful negotiations, he got $150,000 written off and paid the remaining $72,000. "It was an extraordinarily difficult situation," he says. He recommends getting everything in writing: one creditor contacted him to try to get more money after he paid the account off as agreed.

To help other consumers, Golde wrote "The Do-It-Yourself Bailout," a guide to debt settlement. He is now free of credit card debt.

See related: Main: 5 who funded dreams on credit An ode to credit cards for entrepreneur's business startup cash