Producer’s Comments on the Movie, Money as Debt

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paul grignon

By Paul Grignon       


Born in Toronto, Canada in 1948, I first became suspicious of our money system when I was in high school in Ottawa. We were studying logarithmic functions such as interest and it struck me that a money system in which money accrues interest at every turn could only function with exponential growth of the money supply. Something did not make sense to me. I wasn’t sure what it was but I had a strong feeling that banking was a scam designed to benefit bankers at the expense of everyone else. I vowed never to get into debt to bankers.

As fortune would have it I got to (mostly) fulfill that vow. As a hitchhiking, backpacking young adult I was led to Gabriola, a forested coastal island off British Columbia, Canada where the building code was not yet in effect. My partner and I were able to take up residence in a tent, then a shack and as the years went by, and our four children arrived, our primitive shelter without water or power gradually evolved into a modest but comfortable owner-built paid-for home. This was achieved on a sporadic income that would never have been sufficient to buy a home had we gone the conventional mortgage route.

For several years, I made my living in the logging industry as a seasonal tree planter until injury forced me off the slopes. Taking whatever jobs I could get at first, I eventually established myself in my longtime ambition to be a landscape painter and visual artist. (

In 1997, as a result of an inheritance, I was able to realize another long-held ambition. I set myself up as a digital video maker and produced several professional video projects.

The Original Money as Debt of 2002

In 2002 I was commissioned to produce a video for United Financial Consumers, now defunct, a small organization dedicated to defending credit customers from the predatory practices of banks. I taped a 5-hour seminar explaining an innovative strategy for reclaiming the equity banks defraud us out of when we sign for a so-called “loan”. I prefaced this rather abstruse lecture material by telling “The Goldsmith’s Tale” in animation form. Entitled “Money as Debt”, it was my first full animation project.

Requests for Use

Other monetary reformers saw this original “Money as Debt” cartoon and approached me about using my animation as part of an information package being sent to municipal politicians, urging municipalities to demand interest-free loans from our publicly owned Canadian central bank, the Bank of Canada.

The Canadian Action Party, a federal political party devoted to monetary reform posted it on their website.

Two gentlemen from the American Monetary Institute in the USA also saw the animation. One described my cartoon as “far and away the best explanation of fractional reserve banking” he had ever seen. They requested that they be able to use it for their educational purposes as well.

Money as Debt 2006

I informed them that I was in the process of writing a much-expanded script. I knew there was a lot more to explain and felt certain that an animated cartoon was the best way to overcome the eyes-glazed-over reaction one often encounters when trying to interest people in this subject. I asked them if they could wait a few months until I had finished the project to my satisfaction.

They agreed to wait and to assist me. Their avid interest in the project spurred me on. I worked day and night (12 -20 hours per day) for 6 months to complete the movie which was available for purchase by June 24, 2006.

My new US contacts were able to provide me with very valuable information and feedback on my script. One of them, a senior member of the Institute, had learned this information directly from US Congressman Wright Patman, who was Chair of the House Banking and Currency Committee for 12 years.

With the help of my partner Tsiporah and my neighbour and voiceover man, Bob Bossin, the final script was edited and rewritten numerous times. Money as Debt is now a colourful, fast-moving 47- minute animated short feature that explores the basic concepts of money creation in words and pictures that are not only clear but also enjoyable. It is intended for all audiences, including elementary school children. My particular hope is that it will convince environmental, social justice and electoral reform advocates that monetary reform is essential to the goals they hope to accomplish.

Money created as interest-bearing bank credit is a magic trick, a fraud - now 3 centuries old; one that very few people have seen through despite, or rather because of, its utter simplicity.

It is my intention to make this mysterious debt-money system comprehensible to everyone. It is also my intention to foster sufficient understanding of the problems with this money system that citizens will be motivated to join the monetary reform movement and/or create local alternatives to the global monetary system - a system in which most of the productive people of the world are collectively chained to an ever-increasing and perpetually unpayable debt.

This is a system designed for elite control of the people by those who have given themselves the privilege of creating money. It is also, I believe, a system that is designed for catastrophe. As the movie explains, there can be no sustainable civilization without a sustainable money system

paul at computer


Making the Movie – the Hardware & Software used

All work was performed on an Apple Mac Pro with dual 2.8 Ghz  Quad-Core Intel Xeon processors and 4 GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM.

Money as Debt animations were hand-drawn and animated in successive versions of Flash.

The 3-D animations were created in Swift-3D and incorporated into the Flash projects.

Photoshop was also used on occasion

The music was primarily created by playing on a MIDI input keyboard using the amazing capabilities of Reason

Some music was generated in Cybersynth Studio (now defunct), as well as Apple's Garage Band and Soundtrack Pro. I am indebted to various contributors for offering free online some of the sound samples, drum loops & MIDI files I incorporated.

I built the all the geometric 3-D models myself in Swift-3D and Carrara 

Landsapes and skies were created in Bryce and Vue .

Additional mesh models were downloaded from “free stuff” at 3D Café , Help3D and

Most mesh models were purchased from 3D CAD Browserand Content Paradise

The final video editing was performed in Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

The DVD was authored in Apple's DVD Studio Pro