In case you’re just joining us, here’s a recap: It’s called the S&A Filmmaker Diary Series. Essentially, filmmakers who are about to embark on projects (in this case, feature film projects specifically) will be given space on this site to document their journey, from script to screen, diary/journal style.
It’ll be a weekly series, and, to start, Matthew Cherry, who was 1 of several filmmakers on our 2011/2012 Black Filmmakers To Watch list (HERE if you missed it), has agreed to kick things off. Matthew (whose resume includes directing music videos for the likes of Kindred The Family Soul, Common, Bilal and others, plus a short film titled This Time, starring Reagan Gomez, which played successfully on the film festival circuit) is currently in pre-production for his feature film debut, titled, The Last Fall.
If you missed the first 3 entries, click the “Filmmaker Diary Series” category link at the bottom of this post, or in the left column to catch up.
Here’s entry number 4:
PRE-PRODUCTION WEEK 4
This Saturday was the day of my mother’s funeral. This still doesn’t feel real. I guess that’s because I never saw her body. It just doesn’t seem fair, she was only 57. I wrote in my diary a speech that I wanted to say at the service. It ended up being 5 pages long. I didn’t have any sense of nervousness or fear when I read it in front of the 200 or so people that showed up. Everyone had nice things to say to me about her and I will miss her very much.
The whole week I wasn’t able to spend much time dealing with my film as I was back home in Chicago taking care of the business of my family and was also in pre-production for a music video shoot I had to reschedule. Luckily I have a great team and they held me down. My casting director Michelle Adams sent me some of the people that submitted for my film and let me tell you, I experienced an entirely new level of excitement for my project that I did not think was even possible. Literally 90% of black hollywood was in our inbox. From actors and actresses that I grew up watching on TV, to actors and actresses that I just saw in movie theaters a few days ago. It was a truly humbling experience.
I also heard back from my number one choice to play the lead guy in my film. He sent me a text during the weekend and said that he was interested and that we should meet up next week. We agreed to meet Thursday in Hollywood so I am excited about that as well. There is nothing like sitting across from an actor and showing them how passionate you are about your film.
I decided to try to get back to LA on Thursday, as the music video I was supposed to be shooting for “Kindred The Family Soul” got pushed back a week so that I could direct it. I need to be working right now to keep my mind off of everything that recently happened. I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday driving across country back to LA as I wanted to take my mom’s car back with me. I basically coordinated the video shoot over the phone with the help of my producing partner Scott Hebert and my 1st AD Travis Knight.
When I got back to LA everything was super hectic. Everything was going wrong with the video shoot and I knew it was going to take some last second miracles to pull the shoot off like how I wanted it to go. We had a full band, orchestra and a 30 foot techno crane and three locations. Very ambitious for a music video with a budget under $10,000.
My meeting with the potential leading guy for my film “The Last Fall” was at 6pm at the W Hotel in Hollywood. I talked to my friend Ava Duvernay before the meeting and asked her for some advice as this was my first meeting of the sort. She basically told me to be myself and to be confident in my script and my story. I got to the hotel at 5:50 and waited in the lobby for him. He arrived around 6:05. It was funny seeing the people there stare at him and whisper to themselves as they recoginzed him. I couldn’t imagine what that life is like every day. We went to the back of the lobby area and sat and talked for 2 and a half hours. The meeting went extremely well. I made my pitch and voiced my concerns and he did the same. He said that he really liked the script and wanted to do it. I asked him what needed to happen to leave this meeting with him attached to my project and he said that we just had to work it out with his representation. I stressed to him that our film is not a multi-million dollar production like his previous projects and that if he was going to do this project it was going to have to be more about the work and not about the check. We are all indie everything!!! He understood, at least I hope he did, and still was down to do it. This will be a MAJOR CASTING COUPE. I talked to him about some of the submissions that came in and that really peeked his interest as well. I mean if his peers were submitting for it with nothing to go off of besides my script and my casting director’s name, that really helped. I am not looking for any favor or any hook ups. My script is strong and there are a lot of capable actors out there. Now all I have to do is work out the deal with his agency which is easier said than done. He is represented by one of the biggest agencies in the world, William Morris Endeavor. I am very hopeful though. I needed this good news after the week I just had.
I had my music video shoot for Kindred The Family Soul “Magic Happen” on Friday in LA and killed it. My team was super strong. Thank you to Scott Hebert, Travis Knight, Jeremy Brilliant, Starrlyn Burden, Anthony Cherry, Neiman Tate, Monica Young, Ray Chew, Russel Johnson, Aja Graydon, Fatin Dantzler and everyone else who came out for being great. A lot of things came together at the last minute but overall it was the best music video I have ever shot. It was classy elegant and the storyline was strong. We started at 7am and wrapped at 8p. I plan on editing it this weekend so next week I can focus %100 on my auditions for my film.
I spoke with my casting director about trying to set up some meeting next week and reaching out to some of the actors and actresses that didn’t submit for my film, so hopefully that will work out as well. Overall it was a good week professionally but a rough one personally. I need to start going out more and having more fun. My mom is up in heaven now angel investing in my career and I will always love her. Peace and love.
-Matthew A. Cherry
“You will never experience personal success until you can truly appreciate other peoples success.”
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