Here’s the latest in our ongoing Filmmaker Diary Series featuring writer/director Matthew Cherry. His debut feature film The Last Fall, with an ensemble cast that includes Lance Gross, Nicole Beharie, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith David and Harry Lennix, is well into its post-production. The teaser trailer premiered on September 9th.

At the bottom of this post, take a look at the trailer for the documentary by Cherry Locked and Loaded about the NFL Lockout, which was filmed earlier this year.

It’s been a while but I’m back with another entry into my filmmaker diary series. So much has happened in the past month and I am really excited to share some of it with you guys.

My editor Michael Norville and myself were working hard to get the film and locked as much as possible so that we could send it over to grammy nominated group “The Foreign Exchange” so that they could start coming up with ideas for the score and soundtrack. We sent a cut to them on August 21st, three weeks after we completed principle photography. Not bad huh? Since I edit myself the system that me and my editor came up with was that he would go ahead 5 scenes or so ahead of me and do a rough pass and then I would go behind him and tighten the cut and add takes that I liked, removed takes that I didn’t like, and make adjustments when necessary on my own computer. We are editing this film using Final Cut Pro. It’s easier and I can do my work from home on my laptop.

We still had like 10 different scenes that we had to shoot during pickup days, so it was hard to get a full feel of the movie without them. I showed the cut to a few of the producers and a few industry people whose feedback I respect and started making the proper adjustments with the footage that we had. We needed to shoot some crucial scenes to, the proposal, his agent telling him he was done with football for good, and a scene right after their first date, for example. Our schedule just didn’t work out the way I thought it would initially. Normally with super low budget indies you try to stay in as few locations as possible but with my music video background (often we would so one day shoots in two and three locations) I thought we could pull of the same thing with the film. Often times we were in three different locations in a day and out of 90 scenes only one was used more than once. We got close but no cigar. Honestly we should have scheduled an 18 day shoot instead of 15 but when you’re indie you gotta make the money that you have work for you. Due to schedule conflicts with one of our actors we couldn’t even schedule our pickup days until the weekend of September 18th. So we had to basically sit on this current cut for a month before we could lock picture. That only gave us a month to get the locked film color corrected, sound mixed and scored. Thank God we work fast.

I cut a trailer for the film a few weeks after we wrapped production. It was always meant to be a teaser trailer and it was something that I have always done with all of my projects. I knew that we had something special and I wanted something physical to be able to show the world 1. What the film was about without using any of the dialogue from the movie and 2. How good it looks. A lot of times films, especially urban ones, get the perception that they are of bad quality when they are independent and I wanted to get rid of that notion as soon as possible. Surprisingly a lot of the PR people that we deal with were against us dropping a teaser trailer. To me a “teaser trailer” is just that a tease. I plan on releasing an official trailer closer to whenever we premiere early next year but for now I wanted something that could go viral and maintain the buzz that we have going for the film. I mean unless you’re my facebook friend, follow me on twitter or read this blog then you probably didn’t even know this film existed. The point of the trailer was to expose it to a much wider audience. I sat on the trailer for a month (hardest thing I ever did in my life by the way) and we decided to go with an original track from “The Foreign Exchange” to set the tone. Our temp music was The Root’s song “Dear God” and everybody loved it. It was hard to switch that one but using “The Foreign Exchange” song made the most sense from a marketing standpoint and it tied us both together.

The trailer premiered on September 9th, the day of the first NFL regular season game, and wow was it well received. You just never know with these things sometimes. We included a lot of stats in the trailer that were related to the subject matter of the film with hopes that people would get what the film is about through that and then added some of the best images we could find that also helped tell the story. I mean we have a great cast, so why not showcase them. We ended with an epic slow motion shot of Lance being suspended mid air (We used the program Twixtor to do that by the way) and stated that the film was coming soon. A lot of blogs and websites featured it, including Shadow And Act, Necole Bitchie, Blitz and Glam and ESPN. Ellis Hobbs, our executive producer and former NFL player, actually went on Sportscenter that day to speak on the Peyton Manning injury and he plugged the film as well. The trailer pretty much accomplished what we wanted it to and that was to create awareness that this film is real and that it is coming soon. Gotta love social media.

Some interesting things started happening once we released the trailer. To this date we have had 7 different distributors, sales agents and/or agencies contact us about the film. Mainly asking us if the rights are available and if they can see the film. Nothing counts until it’s real but it was very interesting to see the interest get generated so much just off of a minute and 41 seconds teaser. Since we currently do not have distribution or a deal I would like to shop the film around when it is finished just to see what happens. To this day our film is not represented by anyone (by choice as of right now) as it still isn’t done yet, but I feel confident that we will be fine once we finish it. October/November is the goal is to start screening it. If any agents, sales reps or distribution companies are reading this and want to get in contact with us about the film feel free to contact us if you want to set up a screening.

We had our pickup days the weekend of September 18th. We were dealing with a host of issues. Not to go into too much details but that weekend was probably the hardest shoot I ever had in my life. The first day we had three location moves and the second day we had six. We were dealing with airports and barking dogs and all kinds of other random things. Lance booked a show on Fox so we had to take our initial three day schedule and condense it down to two. I also wrote and added a couple of scenes that I thought would help the film as well, but at the end of the day we got it done and that’s all that matters. Nicole Beharie came back to us to shoot as well as Darrin Dewitt Henson, Michael Moss, Dmico Anderson and Michelle Joan Pappilion. They all did a great job and I got what I needed. The clock is now on to start finishing this thing and getting a locked cut.

My editor and I locked picture three days after we shot the footage and had a mad dash to get it to our sound designer, colorist, and Nicolay from The Foreign Exchange so that they could work on the score. These next three week are going to be intense but everyone who is working on the project assured me that we can get it done so get it done we will. We are currently about a week and four days away from finishing the film and we initially plan on submitting it to Sundance, Pan African, SXSW and all of the other festivals that we would like to be apart of.

I am really proud of the this project and I am glad that the teaser trailer for it has been so well received, as we all know that stuff can go either way sometimes. I am excited about what the future has in store for everyone who worked on the project and it is my hope that it will be able to change everyone’s life. I want to create awareness and let people know that life in and after the NFL is not as sweet as you might think and if my story can change one fans perspective on it then I will have done my job. I also want one other thing, and it is a selfish request. I want this film to be as big as possible and not for any personal gain or reason. I want this film to provide me with the biggest platform possible so that I can tell the world what my mother Diana M. Cherry meant to me and means to me because regrettably I was not able to do it in person before she passed. God please grant me that request and I can die a happy man. I love you ma, hope I’m making you proud.

“The best way to predict your future is to create it”.

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Locked And Loaded Trailer from Matthew A. Cherry on Vimeo.