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Shadow and Act Filmmaker Diary Series w/ Matthew Cherry: “One Week Until Our Premiere”

Shadow and Act Filmmaker Diary Series w/ Matthew Cherry: "One Week Until Our Premiere"

In this latest installment of the S&A Filmmaker Diary Series, writer/director Matthew Cherry continues to enlighten with all his pre-SXSW Film Festival premiere peaks and valleys, with regards to his feature film debut The Last Fall; and by the way, he still needs to funds to complete his Kickstarter campaign in order to cover SXSW trip expenses and post-production costs. As of this posting, he’s about 78% funded, needing another roughly $4,000 to reach the campaign goal of $15,000. So, if you haven’t chipped in, you’ve got just under 7 days to do so and help a brotha out by clicking HERE!

Hey guys so we are now officially one week away from our world premiere at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival and things could not be more hectic. There are a lot of things to do with very little time to do them so please allow me to explain what we had to do the past couple of weeks and what is still remaining.

The editing process has been a very interesting one for me. Thank God I know how to edit myself. I literally have tinkered with things in the movie for the past 6 months. It is funny how what I ended up with as our final version was very similar to what was in our first cut. I guess the lesson in this is to trust your first instincts and know that certain scene were shot for a reason. It is crazy how I would remove one scene here or shorten another scene somewhere else and it would throw the entire vibe of the whole movie off. I finally got a cut that I am happy with last week. Thank God.
It is crazy how important music is in a film. It can make or break the entire vibe of a movie. For this reason we pretty music had to revamp all of the music. Something just wasn’t flowing right. We hired a music supervisor, R. Michael Thomas, and a composer, Tremaine Williams, and we went into overtime trying to get a new tone for the movie set in a two week span. Personally I am a morning person. I like to wake up at 6am on most days and be in bed by 10p. For some reason I get more work done before noon, but these past couple weeks I have been up till 2 and 3 in the morning trying out songs and placing in music cues. I have been exhausted. I guess in a weird kind of way the pressure made us all step our games up. What can I say? It is a process. We had to have the final version of the film to SXSW in Austin, Texas by this past Tuesday.
Once we got to a version of the film that we liked with the new music in it and we all watched it for the first time I cannot tell you how amazing it felt. I have never had a version of this film that I was 100% in love with and I finally got it this week. Everything works and it fits together perfectly. The music, the score, the cues, the acting, the writing, the directing, everything worked. I think we are going to surprise a lot of people with this one. I love my movie and this was the first time that I could honestly say that. We had some marathon session’s at my manager, Monica Young’s, house these past two weeks but it was all worth it. 
Monday I had to export the film the HDCAM. I had no idea it was going to be so expensive. THe tape alone is $100 and to lay it down was another $600 (and they claimed they were hooking me up). What can I say, film is an expensive medium. I had to sit there and watch them lay the film down onto tape live, and when they did the first pass there was something wrong with their deck so we had to do it all over. I ended up watching the film at this post house 3 times before I was done with them. Luckily because they messed up initially they offered to overnight the tape to SXSW for me.
Now that the HDCAM version of the film is down in Austin there is other business for us to attend to. Mainly marketing materials and publicity. We hired graphic designer Jovan Price to help us create some different version’s of our teaser poster and some new post cards. We needed to add bottom credits, our laurel leaves, new website and a QR Code that scans back to our SXSW trailer tot he poster. She shot us over 3 different versions of the poster and I love all three. We posted all three versions to our social media sites and allowed our fans to vote on which ones they liked best. The gold one, was a fan favorite. We also have been in contact with Gatorade and they are going to be providing custom “The Last Fall” hand towels, with our films logo on them that we can give out down at SXSW. We plan on creating posters, post cards, t-shirts and key chains to make our presence felt down in Austin Texas during the festival. I need to hire a street team…
We hired entertainment publicist David Magdael to be our publicist for SXSW. Dude is a beast. He really knows what he is doing and I meet him in Park City when I was at Sundance this past year. He gave us a laundry list of things that we have to give him ASAP, like director’s statements, cast and producer bios, full cast and crew lists, clips from the movie, etc. etc. David is going to be key in getting distributors, press and audience members to come to our screenings. Like I said in my prior post, your publicist  is probably the most important thing you want to spend money on if you are playing at a major festival. His agency is David Magdael & Associates. I look forward to seeing him in action. I know he is gonna kill it for us.
Today is was announced that our film was an official selection of the 2012 Atlanta Film Festival. We are one of five feature films in competition and we are the only black film in this particular category. I am proud of that accomplishment.  We screen there March 25th at 6:30pm.
Next week we start doing pre-press for the festival and start creating our marketing materials. We also have one week left on our kickstarter campaign and we have currently raised over 11K towards our 15K goal. I am pretty confident that we are going to hit our goal but I know it is going to come down to the wire. I have learned a lot about crowdfunding during these past few weeks and I am anxious to share my findings. I have juiced every single resource I have to try to raise this money so we can finish our film and one thing I can say is that crowdfunding is not for the proud. “You have not because you ask not.”

This time next week we will be in Austin, Texas getting ready for our premiere later that night. Can’t believe is hasn’t even been a year since I even began writing the script. I want to thank everyone who has supported me throughout this process and also everyone who has donated to our kickstarter campaign. We have something special here and we will not let you down. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in Austin!


~ Matthew A. Cherry
“Life is short. Art is long”

Watch Matthew’s pitch below, and see the Kickstarter widget underneath:

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Has anybody seen Gilbert Grape? And, Where Are They Now? And, I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill. Well, maybe I should explain. Let’s start from my last comment… “I found my thrill”. Matthew Cherry’s journey/adventure/process/posts have been some of the most enlightening “articles” that have graced the pages of S & A. I mean, it’s safe to assume that we all visit S & A with differing agenda. Some come to tweet and roll while others come to rant and troll. Some come to push their wares and some come to cuss and swear. Then, of course, there are those who simply come as voyeurs. Nevertheless, if a person is a businessman, screenwriter, actor, aspiring director and/or producer, etc., his posts are worth the cost of a year of film school, and they might be more rewarding. I am serious! Listen, in this post he said “one thing I can say is that crowd funding is not for the proud”. See, that’s old school. The Temptations said it, “Now I heard a cryin' man,
Is half a man with no sense of pride
But if I have to cry to keep you,
I don't mind weepin' if it'll keep you by my side”. Anyway, I’ve come to believe the whole process of filmmaking is not for the weak of heart. Matthew has shown us the pits and falls, the ups and downs of his journey, and again, it appears to be a monumental task. Heck, way back he showed us the process of writing a script. Damn, that stops most people right there. Then, oh lord, the re-writes! Then funding, choosing the right actors, paying them, and (sometimes) coddling them. He even walked us through the process of using the right equipment. But wait, now we need the right people to run that equipment. And THEN, who’s on first? I mean, scheduling is another boogie bear. WHEN, WHERE and HOW is everyone going to get together to do the damn thang? Yep, Matthew talked about those headaches. Then there’s the ever present MEAN GREEN! Matthew said, “your publicist is probably the most important thing you want to spend money on if you are playing at a major festival”… MONEY HONEY! Travel… MONEY HONEY! Editing… MONEY HONEY! Music… MONEY HONEY! Re-shoots… MONEY HONEY! Matthew showed us the way. Tick tock it doesn’t stop. Sleepless nights, “marathon session's”, “a laundry list of things”, Matthew said it all. Yes sir, I’ve often said “going through” the storm is the BEST teacher. Now, where is Gilbert Grape and “Where are they now”? I am suggesting that it would be nice to hear from those who didn’t make it to the other side and WHY? Their project went nowhere or it was a financial failure. From web-series to film shorts, to full length films, there are reasons why the cream comes to the top. Does it start with the script, funding, vision, kissing the wrong a$$, constitution of the principle players, communication skills, salesmanship/marketing, acting, director, genre… what? Thanks Matthew.


Loved this! Thank you for being generous enough to share your story with aspiring filmmakers.

Joe Doughrity

Good luck Matthew!


The Last Fall is NOT the only "black" movie in competition at the Atlanta Film Festival. Welcome to Pine Hill (which was also won at Slamdance this year) is also in competition there.

But anyway, congrats and good luck!

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