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The Shadow & Act Filmmaker Diary Series (w/ Matthew Cherry) Episode 8: "Meet Our Leads"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act July 1, 2011 at 6:30AM

Continuing on with the series. If you’re just joining us, click HERE to go back to the beginning, find out what this is all about, and catch up!
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Continuing on with the series. 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 episode 8 titled "Meet Our Leads":

This Monday we announced that Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie would be playing leading roles in my first feature film "The Last Fall". Words cannot describe how excited I am about working with actors and actresses of their caliber. They both bring a high level of credibility and authenticity to the roles of Kyle and Faith and I cannot wait for July 11th to get here so we can start shooting.
Saturday 6/25/11
Today was crazy. I was supposed to be in NYC shooting a music video for Eric Roberson today and my flight got delayed until 2:30pm so I had to spend the night in Atlanta. Thank God for friends. I finally got to NYC around 6pm but it was too late for me to come to set. Luckily my DP held it down for me so I went to my hotel and called it an early night. We have an early day of shooting in the AM.

Sunday 6/26/11
Today was all about Brookyln and this Eric Roberson ft. Chubb Rock - Summertime Anthem music video shoot. The video is gonna be dope because it has a Spike Lee "Do The Right Thing" theme to it. We had all the elements working. Vicious brownstones, a spanish Rosie Perez type chick getting her old school dance on, Eric rocking the authentic Jackie Robinson Jersey delivering pizzas and Chubb rock working the Bed Stuy Do Or Die T-Shirt holding the ghetto blaster and rocking the authentic Love/Hate four finger rings. The day went by so smooth and their was so much positive energy on set. I had a three person crew but Eric's team, especially Tiffany "sweetlocs" Taylor held production all the way down. I have to live in New York before my time is up here on this earth. I loved the vibe that everyone had. We wrapped around 8pm and I went straight to the airport to head back to LA because I knew that once Monday hit it was going to be turned up to a 1000% and we will officially be two weeks away from shooting.

Monday 6/27/11
Today I flew back to LA knowing that our official press release that was going to be announcing the cast was going to go out to the public. It was nerve wrecking. For all intensive purposes only close friends we're aware of the scale that I was trying to do this movie. It started out as a personal project among friends for $16,832 and very organically blossomed up to a 100K project. I think a lot of people think that I was just going to do a bigger version of my short film and will be pleasantly surprised to see some familiar faces playing our leads. I touched down in LA and saw that none other than Shadow And Act posted the news. What a great day. Today I finally went ahead and bought a new Apple Laptop. It was time. My old MAC died a year ago and I've been living the PC struggle life for far too long. This way I can edit on my old system whenever I feel like it now. Tomorrow we are scheduled to have a production meeting. I ended up linking up with Lance later in the evening and we went through the first act of the script and basically broke it down scene by scene. It's good to be working with a led actor who is as equally invested in the project as you are.

Tuesday 6/28/11
Today was all about script analysis. I am breaking down damn near every line of dialogue and going through potential adjustments, subtext, backstory, action verbs etc. On set my actors and everyone else for that matter are going to be looking to me for guidance and answers and I need to be able to provide as many as possible. It is very tedious and busy work but it is helpful that this script is loosely based on my own story so if all else fails I will be able to pull from personal experience to answer any questions. I linked up with my friend Monica Young who is kind of like my unofficial manager to deliver the final for this N'Dambi "Ooo Baby" music video we shot last month and we ended up going to Serving Spoon for breakfast. I have been working my ass off so I decided to treat myself to a movie night tonight to go and check out the new Transformers movie. One of the things that I realized with my mother's recent passing is the importance of having balance in your life and too not be all about work all the time. It's gonna be hard breaking out of that but it should be fine.

Wednesday 6/29/11
Today we auditioned for all of the other smaller roles in the film, Coach Green, Mr. Edward, The Manager, The Tow Truck Driver and we also saw a few more Christine's, Rell's and Von's. I always find myself wanting to rewrite certain parts of the dialogue when I am in auditions because the words come across so much better when you here many different actors saying the lines day after day. Rell is turning out to be the hardest role to cast. It's a very unique role in that he has to have this confidence and presence but he also has to be an actor that is a threat to Lance's character. A lot of the guys that we saw were either too young or they just didn't have that demeanor that we were going for. The journey continues. We got done with casting and I found a girl that really brought it an I think I like her in the role of Christine. We also found what we were looking for in all the other roles as well. Today was a good day. Michelle Adams is a beast of a casting director and my film would not be what it is if it was not for her.

After the casting sessions I meet with our UPM Lucky and our Script Supervisor Ann Doria. We meet at Coffee Bean, it's like that when your on a budget, maybe we'll have some office space on the next one if the budget is bigger. We basically meet to feel each other out and I liked her. She has a lot of credits and seems to be extremely thoro. Tonight I meet with a potential editor and I loved his vibe. He is all about the work and that is important to me as we are going to have a quick turnaround for this film and the fact that myself and whoever ends up editing this film will be basically living together for the next few months trying to get this film done. I want him to come on board as the DIT on set as well so if any issues come up with the footage that we can deal with them right there on set and not have to wait. Today was a full and productive day. Tomorrow we scout most of our locations and lock them in and we also will be having a production meeting.

THURSDAY 6/30/11
Today was extremely busy. Everyday I try to knock out at least two days worth of script analysis before 10am. I was supposed to meet at my producer Scott Hebert's house at 9am for the location scout. Myself, our UPM Dawn "Lucky" Manning, our producer Nikki Love, our DP Richard Vialet our 1st AD, Chandra Alexander and our 2nd AD Taylor Stratton. Because we have so many resources going into our cast we are trying to cut cost by using a lot of practical locations and spaces that we have direct contacts to. The first place that we went to my friend Monica Young's apartment complex that is over by Ladera Heights. This place is going to function as Faith (Nicole Beharie's) apartment. Everything checked out and looked good so then we went over to another friend of mine Steven Jones apartment. This location is going to function as Kyle's NFL apartment right after he gets cut. That checked out as well and then we went over to a sports complex to see some potential football locations. This space was dope too and the price couldn't be beat. We looked at it for a few other potential locations but all in all I think it's only gonna work for the football stuff that shoots toward the end of our schedule. We broke for lunch and went to Popeyes. Our 2nd AD never had it before so I felt compelled to open his eyes to a new eatery. After we ate lunch we went to a spot downtown to look at a potential hospital location. The spot is dope but a little more expensive than I thought it would be. My firend Ava Duvernay is shooting a hospital scene around the same time we are shooting outs so maybe we can split costs with her and shoot both of our scenes on the same day? It's a thought. We left the hospital location and then went and scouted a house that was close to Koreatown that could function as either Kyle's moms house or Kyle's dad's house. It was a little funky and modern but one of the bedrooms for Kyle was perfect. It had this little ass twin bed and I couldn't help but laugh imagining Lance's character coming home and sleeping on that small bed. The location scout started at 9am and ended at 4pm. I had to breakaway and go to the bank so that I could lock in this new apartment that I wanted to move into by the 1st. I did what I had to do so I could make it to the production meeting by 6pm.

Got to the production meeting and the plan was to go through the schedule and the shoot days. I gave a speech about my overall vision for the film and we got to work. Our 1st AD Chandra lead the way and basically went through each day of shooting. Afterwards I meet with the vanity departments to go over everyones look for the film. I am excited, we have a great team. Our stylists are Neiman Tate and Paige, Makeup is Starrlyn Burden and Hair is Anthony Cherry. After the meeting was over myself Scott and Nikki had to go over some budget things and go over some more things with our lawyer. All in all it was a very productive day.

FRIDAY 7/1/11
Today all I plan on doing is finishing moving into my new place and doing some script work and locking down the rest of our cast. We are less than 10 days away from principle photography. I am ready. We are ready.

-Matthew A. Cherry
"People will know you by your WORKS not your WORDS"
Transparent Filmworks

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This article is related to: Filmmaker Diary Series


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