Lights! Camera! Cut the Budget!

Independent filmmakers are stealing the scene in Hollywood

Did someone forget to inform Robert Townsend that a Hollywood picture costs serious money, like $15 million? Why else would anyone have the nerve to launch a movie on a savings account of just $20,000? For Townsend, the film's director and star, a strong entrepreneurial urge overcame weak financing. When the director's cash ran out, he simply started using his two credit cards. Then he applied for twelve more of them to pay for film, costumes, rental equipment and food. He even paid his actors by filling up their gas tanks and charging it. His artful dodging finally paid off when...

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