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Financial Literacy - Planning for your heirs
SPOTLIGHT
Legacy of Warner Bros
The granddaughter of Harry Warner, president and co-founder of Warner Bros., inherited more than money.
Planning for your heirs

Spotlight: Cass Warner

What would you suggest to regular folks holding down 9-to-5 jobs on securing their own financial future?

Believe in something they are passionate about and don't quit until they make it happen. That's part of being an artist. There are a lot of different ways to be an artist, and I think the best way is have a dream. You have to start day-by-day to make it happen. You end up happy at the end of your life because you haven't given up your dreams. So if someone is interested in real estate, start buying small and then grow. If someone is interested in art, start collecting small and branch out. But these are dreams and passions that will not only make you happy, but help in a financial future.

Ultimately what is your relationship with money and finances?

I love money (laughs). I love it because it's the energy that allows me to communicate what's in my heart and soul. Again, it's an art form. Managing money, making it, spending it -- all of that is an art form and it's unfortunate we don't teach this to our children. There are so many actions that you can learn.

Families used to pass down to their children the things that worked for them and we're losing that communication. And that's tragic because there is so much to learn from our roots and what our families did successfully or learning from their mistakes. If you don't sit down with your children and talk about things like "Hey, I made $1,000 last month, but I messed up -- I invested in this thing and didn't check it out first" -- how will anyone learn and grow?

What do you think you've learned financially from the Warner legacy?

So much. They felt they had a responsibility as people who held in their hand this powerful communication tool -- film. And they used film to educate, entertain and enlighten. That meant they made socially relevant pictures. They focused on issues of the day; they talked about the man on the street in an entertaining way. They decided early on that that was the kind of picture making they wanted to do and the kind of mark they wanted to leave. That's a certain artistic integrity that I hope I can inspire in others.

You're an indie filmmaker now, but way back when those types of films began, it cost maybe $1 million and that was a lot to raise. What's the average amount an indie film has to raise now in order to get made?

It's a wonderful time for independent filmmakers because you can grab a good HDV (high definition video) camera for $5,000 and you can just go and film something. Then you can learn how to edit on Final Cut Pro and do it yourself. I had to wait for the technology to be affordable for me to do what I've done, so I think this is a very exciting time. You don't need a lot of money to go and make a film. Studio filmmaking has risen dramatically while independent filmmaking costs have gone down. So I think we're at a turning point in history, entertainment wise. I'm really excited about the future.

-- Posted: Nov. 19, 2007
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