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I've heard some people finance films with credit cards. How?

Internet Filmmakers' FAQ

Over the past few years many enterprising filmmakers have managed to pull together enough money from a fistful of credit cards to bring their low-budget dreams to celluloid. Most of the budget for Kevin Smith's launch-pad film, Clerks, came from maxing out the plastic.

The approach used by Smith and many others was to apply for as many credit cards as possible, then use the combined credit limit as production finance. Today's credit card market is ultra-competitive, but also massively lucrative, so there are thousands of companies vying for the chance to offer you credit. It has never been easier for most people to obtain credit cards, and there are many exceptional deals such as interest-free periods, permanent low rates for balance transfers, and credit card cheques. There are even loads of web sites which track which companies are offering the best deals. So long as you have a good credit history already (and you're over 18 years of age), it can be quite easy to raise several thousand dollars or more.

However, it's worth taking a moment to consider the implications of hocking up a bunch of cards to pay for your next film. The obvious concern of course is, how are you going to pay them off? Minimum repayments will start almost immediately, even if you get introductory interest rates. And credit card companies might be all warm and friendly when signing you up, but they will turn nasty the instant you miss a payment. Film financing is an extremely risky venture, and the vast majority of films never make their money back. If you've financed your film with credit cards, and it doesn’t make any money, you'll be lumped with the debt. This can expose your assets (house, car, etc) to the debt collectors if you fail to keep up the repayments.

If you are considering using credit cards as a means of financing your film, the best advice would be to develop a rock solid, well-researched business plan so you're clear on how (and when) you'll make your money back.

Answer by Benjamin Craig  |  Last updated 13-Jan-2005