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Author: jennotopping Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308722  
Subject: Thanks from Jenno T. Date: 3/27/2000 5:28 PM
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Hi fellow fools,

First of all I want to thank all of you who responded to my cry for help. Just having someone not come down on me felt so good. I beat myself up enough. I will try to respond to each of you shortly, but for now I just wanted to say thanks and that you've raised some interesting points.

1) Planning. Absolutely right. The biggest mistake I ever made was assuming that I could just keep on making that kind of money. But I was very young when my first movie was made and the run lasted 12 years with other big films getting made along the way. Really stupid that I didn't invest more to cover myself. However, if I had, I'm sure I would have spent anything I made from these investments to support my career/life goals. I probably would be broke by now, but not in debt. One thing that has changed is the internet. 10 years ago, when I was young and flush, I gave about 30k to an American Express Financial Services broker to invest for me. She doubled it two weeks. And two weeks later, she disappeared. And when I checked on my account, there was 2000 dollars left. I contacted American Express and they said they had no idea what happened to this broker of theirs. Sorry. I was burned very badly and, needless to say, I wasn't going to hand over my money to anyone else for a while. I tried to get AMEX to make good, (there were rumors of a broker purge at the company due to cocaine abuse), but the process became more trouble than it seemed (at the time) worth pursuing. I mean, I could just make MORE money, right? When it comes back...and it will...I will do my investing myself with the support of this wonderfully foolish place and feel confident I will have much more success.

2) Based on some of the comments, I began thinking, you're right. What's the difference between me and some big corporation that reorganizes. It's not like I squandered my money just buying things. Every penny of that debt was spent in the pursuit of having a successful BUSINESS -- Now you may question whether ART qualifies as a business, but as I said, there are several movie studios who have made hundreds of millions of dollars from my labor. There was no reason to believe the business wouldn't and still won't be successful. The question is WHEN? I believe in myself completely. If I had never sold a script or had a movie made, I'd say get a life for chrissakes. But this has been my life. I've never done anything else. I've just got to figure out how to keep doing it.

3) The bankruptcy thing is still not something I want to jump at. But I'm worried that negotiating a settlement might even be worse in my case. My credit, which is still good -- shit -- I'm their DREAM customer -- would be shot -- and I'd still be in a deep hole.

On the other hand, I don't see myself buying a house anyway. I never want to see another credit card in my life after this.

Except maybe to finance another independant film extravaganza -- just kidding...mostly.

One last question, I realized I have a bit of money in a life insurance policy -- cash value -- maybe 10k -- would that be considered an asset they could take? I've thought about borrowing against that to pay off some of the bills, but again -- it doesn't solve the bigger problem. 120k of cc debt -- and very little reliable income at the moment.

Sure that could change with one phone call. It's not like I have nothing out there. This is just the first time in 15 years of writing that a script of mine hasn't sold.

As for the Agent question -- yes, I've been as WMA, ICM...etc, etc, over the years. Fired my agent as you suggested, but the smaller agents all see me as a difficult proposition because I'm known as a very HIGH priced writer with very little HEAT right now.

And here's one for all you fools not in the movie business.

There are no PEOPLE in Hollywood. There are only thermometers.

Thanks again.
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