By Cynthia Reid | Shadow and Act June 17, 2011 at 4:59AM
Continuing on with the series. Again, not much of an introduction is necessary at this point, so I’ll just let you dive in. But if you’re just joining us, click HERE to go back to the beginning, find out what this is all about, and catch up!
Here's entry number 6:
Today as I write this I am getting ready for the second day of auditions for my independent feature film, "The Last Fall". We are still negotiating the contract with our leading man but it should be done anyday now. We had a couple of big production meetings this week locking in locations and setting up schedules. We are only three weeks away from shooting.
On Monday I met with two of my producers Scott Hebert and Nikki Love. We reviewed the schedule that myself and my 1st AD put together and started locking in as many locations as we could. We are still missing a few, they include a local mom and pop Ice Cream Store, a gym, a hospital roo,, and an office that can be used as the agents office. We started putting the word out to try and lock those in by this time next week. We then went up to the Screen Actors Guild and met with our SAG Rep. To my surprise she was a sister with locs. Amazing! I love seeing my people working behind the scenes in the industry in any and every capacity. She was really cool. She gave us a lot of great information and a shit load of paper work to fill out. Reasons like these are why I'm glad I have a couple great producers on the project so it's one less thing I have to worry about. I have to focus on my script analysis this week among other things. I worked out with my lead actor again this week. His contract is still being worked out but I'm confident it will all work out. He's as much invested into this project as I am at this point.
Tuesday, I worked out with my lead actor again and I started my script analysis. The good thing about this project is that is extremely personal but I still want to do the homework to unlock the subtext behind the words. On set the actors and everyone else are going to look at me to answer questions and I am going to have to have the answers. This week is all about getting myself prepared enough to where I can make educated and confident decisions on the fly. Today my casting director also started reaching out to actors that submitted (and ones that didn't) to start setting them up for auditions we have scheduled for later in the week. I also have a director meeting scheduled for tomorrow with an actress whose work I really respect. We'll see how it goes.
Wednesday, I meet with one of the actress I'm considering to be my leading lady (You gotta know it's killing me being able to name names but I guess that's what books are for). We had lunch at a restaurant in Hollywood. Since I am new to this process I'm not sure if a restaurant setting was cool or not but I wanted to try it out. We met around noon. We met for about an hour and a half. The meeting went really well. She was stunning in person and I couldl tell that she took my project seriously. She did have a slight issue with the end of my script but on the positive side that forced me to explain it to her and that was really helpful for me to stand behind the decision that I made to end my film the way I chose to end it. After the meeting was over we shook hands and went our separate ways. I dug her. She is going to be a force in this industry for a very long time even if we don't end up working together on this one. Tomorrow is the first day of our auditions and I have a Skype meeting at 9am with a New York based actress whose work I also really respect.
Thursday I woke up extremely early. I was excited. I had an early Skype meeting and we officially started auditions. The thing that is really interesting about this process is learning what actors are down to audition and which ones are offer only and the ones that pass on your project all together. Can't lie it's nothing like how I thought it would be. Actors and actresses that I thought would be too big to audition are down to and visa versa. What can you do? It's not like I'm some big time director yet or anything but it is interesting to say the least. At this point the only two actors I have locked in are my leading guy "Kyle" and the leading ladies dad "Ron", every other role is wide open .My Skype meeting with another potential leading lady went extremely well. She pretty but more importantly had a presence and a level of professionalism and passion about my project that I couldn't help but notice. She could tell that this story was a personal one for me and the fact that it is a black love story really appealed to her as well. She is pretty high on my list of actresses that I could see playing the leading lady, "Faith". We'll see how auditions shake out this week and go from there but after these two meeting I had the bar is set pretty high to say the least.
I got to the auditions slightly late because of the meeting I had but was interested to see how today was going to play out. I didn't know if it was gonna be all new faces or names coming but I was prepared either way. We auditioned for the roles of "Faith" (Our leading Lady) and "Rell" (The second leading male). I did pretty thorough script analysis for the two scenes that the actors were going to read for us so I was prepared to give direction if I needed to. Today was crazy! We saw some amazing new talent and half of black hollywood came out to audition for us. I was shocked. I know I have a great casting director but this is all so new and surreal to me. Actor after actor, actresses after actresses came in and auditioned and I couldn't help but remember what TV shows or feature films I remembered seeing their work in and they were standing right in front of me acting out the words that I wrote trying to be casted in my film. Crazy! A lot of people came out and really did amazing, this is going to be really hard to choose what actors and actress we are going to cast in the film. At the end of the day it's going to be about chemistry so that helps. Our session went for four hours. All in all today was pretty amazing and we'll do it all again tomorrow.
Next week we will be three weeks away from shooting and we really are going to have to lock down our cast. I want to do a table read and have at least a week of rehearsals prior to shooting. I am going to New York next weekend and will be shooting a music video for Eric Roberson and Chubb Rock's single "Summertime Anthem" (Yeah I know I am doing the most but I love directing music videos for soul artists). I can't wait to close this deal for our lead actor so we can put out a press release about it. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at how big this film is becoming. It's just good to know that regardless of what happens July 11th we start filming. Money is in the bank and the only thing that can stop us is us. I can't help but think about my mother everytime something big happens with this project. Can't believe she passed away three weeks ago. I know she is in a better place and is up in heaven making things happen for me so that I can live the life which I imagined and achieve success unexpected in common hours. Can't wait to get started so that I can make her proud.
-Matthew A. Cherry
"Don't say you can't believe it when it's exactly what you prayed for."