Thursday, December 31, 2009


Attention all actors and actresses that have submitted headshots for "This Time".  The moment of truth is coming on January 9th and 10th.  We have went through everyones pictures (good and bad submissions) and we will be notifying and emailing each and every one of you this weekend with location, dates, times, the character you are auditioning for, and the script (sides).  We are still locking down our location and as soon as we do we start emailing you.  We also may dedicate part of Saturday to an open casting call for those of you who missed out on submitting but we haven't decided yet. Sunday will be used specifically for callbacks. I hope you guys are as excited as we are to potentially work with you.  Good luck!!!

Reagan Gomez has written an amazing script and I plan on bringing her vision to life in a way that will bring recognition to all involved.  Currently "This Time" stars Reagan and Terri J. Vaughn.  Even if you don't land a major role we will be needed a lot of featured extras for our club scene and our wedding (brides maid, bachelorette party goers, etc.). We are glad to be able to bring this production to Atlanta Georgia.  We shoot January 22cnd, 23rd and 24th. We look forward to meeting you all in person next weekend.

Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

12/30 Script Analysis

Today was more of the same. Just locked myself in a room for about 12 hours and did 5 more pages of grueling script analysis.  I have 3 more pages to go after today. Thank God for Jill Scott and Red Wine :)

Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Monday, December 28, 2009

12/29 Script Analysis (FOR DIRECTORS)

Today I was focused man *Jay-z Voice*. I spent 12 hours today breaking down the first 5 pages of my script.  I will spend this entire week doing script analysis and committing the script to memory like the actors have to do.  Like I have said before it is beyond important that the director knows more about the characters than the actors themselves.  They are going to be asking me questions and I need to be able to answer them. I am also going to have their back to make sure that they are giving real performances and if they aren't I am going to need to be able to say the right things to get them back on track. 

I approach analyzing scripts through a system that was inspired by a series of steps that my mentor Anthony Hemingway suggested that I follow found in the Judith Weston book "Directing Actors". It is EXTREMELY tedious but I feel is necessary step for me.  I do a 26 point analysis of "EVERY" line of dialogue in the script, no matter how short or lengthy in an excel document. Mind you, depending on the line that every category may not be used but it forces you think about it in a way that you may not have thought before.

The 26 categories that I break each line of dialogue down in are:
(1) Ideas/First Impression, (2) Evidence For Your Ideas, (3) Paraphrase, (4) Questions That The Line Brings Up, (5) Three Possible Meanings, (6) The Reality Behind The Lines, (7) Facts, (8) Evidence, (9) Questions To Ask, (10) Issues, (11) Research, (12) Images, (13) Image Associations, (13) History (Backstory), (14)  What Just Happened, (15) Objective, (16) Obstacles, (17) Action Verbs, (18) Adjustments, (19) Subtext, (20) Physical Life, (21) Beat, (22) Subject, (23) Who Brings It Up, (24) Transitions And Connections, (25) What Happens, (26) Scene Event (Literal/Global).

I know it sounds like a lot to deal with and trust me it is. It took me 10 hours to break down 5 pages worth of dialogue this way. I enjoy it though because it forces me to think on my feet and it allows me to explore my characters with a depth that I may have never thought to before. 


Here I will show you how I broke down one line in the script:

"Good to see you my dude. 
It's been a long time."

-Ideas/First Impressions

The guys have not seen Kevin for a very long time.

-Evidence For Your Ideas

In the dialogue.


I am happy to see you, a significant amount of time has passed since we last seen each other.

-Question That The Line Brings Up

-How long has it been since the guys have last seen each other.

-Three Possible Meanings

(1) Maybe Dre is wondering why Kevin hasn't kept in touch. (2) Maybe Dre wants to know where Kevin has been doing all this time and what he has been doing. (3) Maybe Dre knows what Kevin has been doing and he is surprised to see that he made it back.

-The Reality Behind The Line

This is the first time the guys have seen Kevin in a long time.


It has been some years that everyone has seen Kevin in person.


Through giving the characters a back story

-Questions To Ask

How long has it been since they have last seen Kevin? Have they written letters or talked to him on the phone at least?


Make sure the actor that plays Dre says this line they have not heard from Kevin since he left and they thought he was dead.


None needed



-Image Association

Clock, watch.

-History (Backstory)

Dre hasn’t heard from Kevin at all since he left.

-What Just Happened

Kevin just walked in.


Dre wants to remind Kevin that it has been a long time since the last time they've seen each other.


Dre hasn’t seen Kevin in a long time.

-Action Verbs

Remind, affirm, praise, greet


Dre should play this as if he hasn’t heard from Kevin at all.  What if Dre wrote Kevin and never heard back from him.  It's like when you call a girl and you don’t hear from here no more but then you run into her years later.


Dre missed his friend

-Physical Life



Dre greets Kevin.



-Who Brings It Up


-Transitions And Connections

Dre says this line to greet Kevin as well.

-What Happens

Dre talks to Kevin

-Scene Event (Literal/Global)

Catching up with an old friend / Not taking relationships for granted.


As you can see this is a very tedious process.  There are 51 lines in the first five pages of my script and I did a 26 point analysis of every line of dialogue.  By the end of the day I will have filled out 1,326 excel cells full of information that will give me a better understanding of my characters. Again I must stress that this is "my"own personal process and I do not claim to know the only way to analyze a script.  Thanks for reading.

Director: Cherry

"This Time I Want It All"

12/28 Pre-production

Words for today are "WRITER'S BLOCK". With this video making it's way into my life I found it very hard to concentrate on my short. I'll hit it hard tomorrow twice as hard.

-Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekend Update

So I got a lot accomplished over the weekend. The main thing being that I got a DP. His name is Zubari Duniani. I worked with him on Girlfriends. I was the Stage PA and he was an Electrician. Now I'm a director and he is a gaffer of Tyler Perry's House Of Payne. I'm glad to work with him and give him a shot. He came up under acclaimed DP Don Morgan who has lit shows such as Home Improvement, Girlfriends, My Wife And Kids.

I scouted some more locations and still are not in love with anything in particular. The clock is ticking now but I'm not worried. I went through head shots this weekend all 800+ of them and picked out some favorites. We have some featured extra roles too that I need to think about casting as well. Bridesmaids, best men, etc. Monday I'm hitting the script analysis hard but it was good to relax a little bit.

Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Today I finally got a chance to start some script analysis. As a director one of the first things you have to do is own the material.  It seems silly but I read the script aloud several times just to make sure the flow of the dialogue made sense.  I caught a couple of things and made the proper changes.  I have a semi-decent amount of time to work at this thing and so I am going to take my time to ensure that I cover all my basis.  

Today I did two things for my script analysis.  I crossed out all references to blocking and emotions (i.e. She lovingly picked up the picture) in the script.  I did this because it is my job as a director to come up with blocking that is unique to the setting that we are shooting in.  Just because a script says that an actor is supposed to cry when they say or line or it says that they should look away doesn't necessarily mean that is what is going to happen on the day. Personally I like to come up with my own blocking as in most cases it helps the story. Also with further script analysis I will have different adjustments for my actors that will hopefully get them where they need to be emotionally to give a proper performance.  The last thing I want is to give out vague result direction. The last thing I did was highlight (in orange) all of the objects and props that will be used in this film.  I did that because I will need to compile of list of things that I need to have my producer buy and I also did it because sometimes the physical objects in scripts give you a deeper meaning to the characters inner life.  A picture, an outfit, they all contain clues to the subtext of the script.

Tomorrow I will take the first steps in breaking down the dialogue.  I'm not sure if I am going to break down each scene first, as I have a three chart progression that I use, or if I am going to do the whole script one chart at a time. We'll see where the day takes me.  I also have a lead on a couple DP's and I got some measurements back from some of my leads or the stylist.  Too bad the holiday is coming up. It kind slows up my work process.

Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Actors/Actresses: Tips For Submitting For Roles, Casting Calls, & Auditions

This Time has received over 800 submissions from actors and actresses throughout the country wanting to audition for the project. Me and my casting director Binti Lee have gone through several hundred headshots already and I must say I have seen it all from the good to the bad.  A lot of times people just don't know so after reading this post it is my hope that you will be better suited to submit yourself for projects with confidence. Even if we don't cast you in our projects I assume you are going to go on with your career and when you do I hope that we have provided some assistance to help you better submit in the future. 
Today I was going through several hundred actor submissions and I found it necessary to write a detailed blog about that process. I have tweeted my ass off about it before but I thought that it maybe more helpful to include all of that information in one place.  Like I have said many times before I am still very much up and coming in this industry and I do not claim to have all the answers or know all of the trade secrets but I will do my best to keep you informed from the things that I have personally learned in my couple of years in the industry. Also, throughout this post you will find examples of  headshots that industry professionals use to get work.

First and foremost if you want to be an actor/actress there are two things that I highly suggest you do.  The first is to take professional acting classes and hone your craft.  The second and most important thing is to take professional pictures.  Your headshot is your business card and it represents you out in the field.  If you fail to invest in yourself then why should a production company take a chance on you?

In regards to acting classes, that will be another post, but here I wanted to focus on your submissions.  There are different levels of actors, and with that said, there will be different levels of submissions.  Big name actors have agents and managers who do most of the grunt work for them and inform their clients for roles and projects that they think they would be a good fit for. Up and coming actors have to be more proactive in their process and usually have to seek out casting calls themselves.  For purposes of this blog I am going to assume that you all are up and coming actors and do not have representation.

There are several websites that you could visit to stay in loop for casting calls in your area. There is, LA, Actors Access, Central Casting, Craigslist, etc. Most don't charge a fee but I think a few of them do.  It's up to you to figure out if it is worth it or not as I don't endorse any of them one way or another. A lot of these casting sites allow you to check out local castings in your respective areas and allow you to submit online. Normally you have to submit a headshot and a resume and then they contact you if they are interested.

Like I always say, if you are serious about being an actor then you need to go where the projects are and that is normally NYC, LA, ATL and Toronto. Yes they film projects almost everywhere but most productions that film in cities other than the ones I have mentioned often times cast in one of these major areas and then move to those locations for filming.

Your headshot is your most valuable tool to get you work.  Professionalism is key.  Casting directors and producers want to know what you actually look like and if you have on heavy makeup and your picture is photoshopped to death then trust me you are setting yourself up for failure.  You should not be self conscious at all about how you look.  Productions like casting normal everyday looking people just as much as they like to casting drop dead gorgeous bombshells.  Use what works for you and never take it personal if they don't cast you.  A lot of times we have already in our minds what look we are going for and if you don't fit that look than why would we use you? 

You should set up a photo shoot with a professional photographer. Normally pictures range from $100 to thousands of dollars depending on the skill set of the photographer you choose to work with. Word of mouth is a great thing. Ask around and see who other actors who work a lot use for pictures and use them too.  You should get at least 3 looks done.  Normally it takes three different pictures to get an idea of what a person really looks like.  Everybody has that one angle where they look amazing, but again we're not looking for just amazing. We're looking to get an idea of who you really are and what you really look like.

Your hair and makeup should be minimal.  Natural is the key.  Producers and directors like to feel like they are working with a blank canvas and that they can upgrade you by changing your hairstyle or by adding makeup. It's easier to work forward than it is to work backwards so remember NATURAL! 

In your headshot you should always be facing the camera. ALWAYS. No side angles and definitely never have your back turned and face towards camera.  Most television shows, movies and commercials are filmed in medium and close up shots.  Your headshot should do the same. Some people look great smiling, some people look great not smiling.  You know your strengths. Use them.

Use basic colors in your pictures and nothing too over the top. Earth tones are best. You can choose to use a black and white headshot or a colored one.  I've seen both used and one doesn't have an advantage of the other unless they specify.  Keep two versions of each picture just to be on the safe side. Ladies, DO NOT submit bikini or lingerie shots unless they ask you to.  We know you worked hard for that body but leave something to the imagination, unless you want to be casted as pretty girl #1 at for the rest of your career.  You are the only person who is in total control of your image. The way you start will be the way you end. Be professional.

Never submit personal pictures. Use professional pictures only. This is the quickest way to not to be taken serious as an actor. And when you do submit for projects include at least three professional pictures. Sending one picture in doesn't give us a good idea of what you look like in real life. And please include your resume. We know you are up and coming so there may not be a lot to put down.  Be honest and do not make up anything. Hollywood is small and word gets around quick. Be honest with yourself and us and know that everyone had to start somewhere.

When going to castings in person, BE ON TIME. In this game on time is 15 minutes early and late is being on time.  You're going to be stressed enough, don't add to it. Wear comfortable clothes, but depending on the audition you may want to dress the part. I can't make this decision for you but I will say more often than not actors who take it to the next level stand out, in a good way. You have to realize than millions of people want this too, what are you going to do to make yourself unique?

Bring your headshot and resume with you to the casting. If you don't do this and I guarantee you will not get hired. It's about being a professional. Be nice to everyone. Nobody owes you anything and a lot of times the assistants opinions matter just as much as the casting directors. Be confident. Everyone is nervous in auditions. It how you deal with that nervousness that will separate you from other actors. Film and TV crews have hundreds of people on set at any given time all watching your performance. If you can't perform in front of a couple people then maybe you should look into another field because trust me it is only going to get worse.

Listen. Once you audition you may get notes and get asked to play the role a different way. This is to see how well you take direction. Make the most of it. Thank everyone for the opportunity to audition. It goes a long way. Then take a deep breath and move on to the next one.  You did all that you could do, no sense on worrying about it. If they want to hire you then they will be in touch. If they don't hire you then probably won't ever hear from them again.  Take nothing personal, it's just business

These are some tips I have for you guys when you submit for projects and you audition for projects. It is in no way meant to be a bible as to how to do it but it has been my experience with working with different casting directors on Girlfriends, The Game and Heroes that these things matter and do help.  Good luck with all of your future submissions and hopefully I'll see you on set.

Director: Cherry
"This Time I Want It All"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Monday was the first day of pre-production for This Time.  As the director of this independent project I have a lot to do with exactly one month to do it in.  I still need to find a good DP, lock down my locations and start my script analysis, among a myriad of other things.  I'm new out here in Atlanta by myself with nothing else to focus on but this project. Talk about being focused.
One of the first things I wanted to do was to get started on my script analysis but in order to do that I had to change the script some.  All of the male characters in the bar seemed to all speak with the same voice and I needed to change that, badly.  Now I have Malcolm as the more outspoken asshole character, Nick is more caring and reserved and Dre is the funny class clown type character. I also decided to eliminate the first park scene as it was redundant and very little information was conveyed. I finished the rewrite, which took several hours because the internet is such a huge distraction, and sent it out to Reagan and my producers to see what they thought.  Everybody seemed cool with the changes and felt like it sped the pace of the project up more so that is a win.

I am in a new city with damn near zero contacts so I am depending on the people that I know or have gotten to know via social networking to really hold me down here.  We have a huge wedding scene to shoot and I have never been married let alone attended an wedding before in my life.  This means that I am going to have to do a ton of research so I can become more familiar with the process. Also me and Reagan decided to go with a mint green color scheme for the wedding and I like the possibilities. Today I had to have everyone who we already casted send me their measurements so I could send them to the cloth designer so she sketch up some samples.  We don't have a huge budget so I am hoping to go with someone who is looking for exposure for their designing skills. I bought like 10 wedding magazines today to get a feel for different looks and colors.

I seen a couple bars/lounges too and I can't say that I feel in love with any of them.  In all honesty I want to put the money that we have on the screen and I am not really trying to pay for the locations.  I have had too many club owners hit me and say that we can shoot at their spot for it to be otherwise.  Gonna check out Ludacris's Restaurant Straits out later on tonight. Hopefully it'll be a good look.  Maybe we could get Conjure Cognac to do some product placement as well.

All in all today was a pretty productive first day.  I didn't get as far into analyzing the script like how I would have liked to but we are 30 days away so I can make up for lost time tomorrow.  It is important that I learn these characters and know them better than the actors themselves.  They are going to come to me with many questions and I can't afford to not have the answer.  There is nothing worse than a director who doesn't know what is going on.  There will be no doubt with project, trust. I also have to start going through these headshots and figuring out where we are going to hold this casting call on January 9th and 10th. We'll get there.

Director: Cherry
"This time I want it all"

Monday, December 21, 2009

"This Time" Concept & Development

Now that you know who I am. Let's get into what you came here for. What is "This Time" and why is it a movie?  I actually got inspiration for the idea or this project from listening to the John legend song by the same name.  On the series finale of The Game the song by John Legend "This Time" plays during the final montage.
I thought the lyrics were so powerful and I really could connect with the story. As a man we all have a woman in our past that we wish we could make things right with.  Initially I was going to shoot a spec video and take a chance with hopes that John would see it and like it and make it the official video like I did with the Jazmine Sullivan "In Love With Another Man" record.

Around the same time me and Ms. Reagan Gomez were twitter ranting like you know only we can about the entertainment industry and the lack of diversity.  I have a lot of strong opinions about this fact, being a black man who worked exclusively on sets for my two years in LA and I had an idea. Instead of the constant talking that we were doing why not collab with somebody who wanted to see some change too.  I hit her up and asked her what she thought about doing a short together and she loved it.  From that day on we tried to come up with some ideas.  I still had this John Legend "This Time" concept burning a hole in my pocket so I asked Reagan what she thought and she dug it.

Kind of like the old Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff tape "He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper" She was the writer and I am the director.  I have always been good with general stories (I think that's why I write great music video treatments) but I suck at dialogue.  Reagan is a natural born writer and when she sent me the first draft I damn near cried.  Her ability to write natural dialogue just took the idea to the next level and before you knew it we had a project worth developing.

Initially, This Time was going to be a typical love story which is pretty true to the lyrics of the John Legend song. A man runs into an old girlfriend and find out she is engaged. He interrupts the wedding and tries to win his girl back.  She initially turns him down, but then she stops him, they kiss, twirl around in a 360 degree angle and blah, blah, blah.

It was a good idea to build on but it was typical in nature we wanted to do something different. I don't want to give the entire story away but let's just say that we came up with a twist that makes this story a real tear jerker. We also made the leading male somebody who was returning back from Iraq to make it topical. Reagan and I both have family who is serving overseas and it just made sense to put a message with it as well.

We got all of the characters together and I thought that it would make a lot of sense to tap into this black Hollywood market that we know and reach out to some folks and see if we could get another name or two to be interested.  Terri J. Vaughn immediately came to mind and I had my boy Steven Jones who does PR for her reach out to her.  We sent her the script and she loved it and said she would do it. A great feeling indeed.

Then my ass did something that maybe my defining career moment or career failure. I quit my job at CBS on "Accidentally On Purpose". Packed up my car and moved to Atlanta on a whim. I just got an amazing feeling from some of the people I was dealing with there that this was a necessary move so I stepped out on faith and took a chance. Yea, I burned some bridges but that wasn't the way I was planning on going anyway so whatever right?

We decided to shoot the project in Atlanta because it is a hot and up and coming scene and or Rainforest Films family offered to help us out a little bit. I have been lucky to finally meet folks such as Dianne Ashford, Will Packer, JZ, Crystle Clear and others who are so immersed in the Atlanta production scene that they make it seem easy to shoot here.

We did an initial casting call which yielded some 800 submissions and I have scouted some locations, but today marks the first day of official pre-production. Shout out to my executive producer Liberty Madison and my casting director Binti Lee.

I guess in the greater scheme of things Reagan and I are doing this film because we want to inspire others to do the same.  I don't care how much money you make. If you cannot create your own projects and create your own opportunities then you will never truly be secure and your success will always come at the judgement of others.  Come and join us on our journey as we all attempt to create an award winning project.

-Director: Cherry
"This time I want it all."

Who Am I?

Hello everyone. I wanted to start by saying thanks for taking the time out to read this. Sometimes 140 characters is not enough to give people a sense of who you really are. 

Who am I? My name is Matthew Cherry. I just turned 28 and I am a director. I grew up in Chicago, Illinois.

 I attend The University Of Akron on a full football scholarship and graduated with a double major in Radio/TV Broadcast and Media Production and a minor in Marketing. 

I was not drafted but signed as a free agent out of college with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I played in the NFL for my first 3 years out of college with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens. 

I moved to LA and worked in production on many commercials, music videos and some TV shows such as Girlfriends, The Game, Heroes and Accidentally On Purpose. I thought about becoming an AD (Assistant Director) but my mentor on Girlfriends 2nd AD Heid McGowan told me that I'd make a great director and I haven't looked back.  
A lot times in life we're scared to pursue what we want to do because we feel like we don't know enough. Truth is. the people doing the job you want half the time don't know what they are doing either so you might as well take your shot too. I highly recommend learning your craft before taking that leap of faith first though.  I have directed several music videos (Jazmine Sullivan, Terry Dexter, Common, Kindred The Family Soul).

I am best know for my work on The Game and the Change The Game Campaign.  Back when The Game was on the brink of cancellation. I took the intitiative to try to save the show I worked on. I got the cast together and we started an unprecedented viral marketing campaign to raise awareness about the show. The show ended up being cancelled but it was to no fault of our own.  I am proud to say that millions of more people now know about The Game moreso than they did when it aired as original episodes on The CW.

A lot of people ask me how I got the name Director Cherry on twitter. Initially my name was @MacCherry because  MAC is my intials and nickname but when my Kindred The Family Soul music video for House of Love premiered on VH1 Soul instead of putting my credit as Director: Matthew Cherry they only put Director: Cherry. My mom called me when she seen it and asked who the hell is Director Cherry and the name has stuck ever since.

 I plan on doing more work in TV and I plan on expanding into feature film directing as well.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a little bit better. I am still very much up and coming but I plan on making my mark in this industry in a very major way next year. Follow me on my journey