FILMMAKER Q&A – Matthew Anderson – Director/Writer

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

MA: It was a variety of factors: the shooting of Trayvon Martin, my studies in criminal justice and race relations, as well as a desire to tell a story that had a strong message as well as entertainment.

GS: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

MA: The idea started in 2012, after the Trayvon Martin shooting, but didn’t get fleshed out until early 2019.  The original draft had the character of Zuckerman on over the top racist.  When my writing partner Craig M. Rosenthal (who was also my DP) read it, he helped me to tone down the character and make Gordon’s role a litte more ambigious.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

MA: No real challenge as most of my ideas were short films.  I find working in full length features more challenging because you have to pay attention to a lot more (characters, story, continuity).  Short films are microcosms, so the focus is more narrow.

GS: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

MA: As this was my first film as writer/director, the challenges was being a leader, and getting everyone where I needed them to be.  At first I felt that I didn’t have the “chops” to lead the cast and crew with this being my first film.  But by the second day, I pushed through, and learned a lot.

The other challenge was that is was 30 degrees and we were freezing.

GS: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

MA: Write your ideas, study everything, and work with people who know what they are doing.  You have to put the ideas onto paper and see if it makes sense.  Study books, work on films, learn everything.  Then, once you are ready to make your film, surround yourself with people who know what they are doing, or at least have a passion and solid work ethic.  Most importantly, learn from your mistakes.