Director/Writer/Actor

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South Texas Underground Film Festival

This past weekend, we screened Devil’s Path at South Texas Underground Film Festival (STUFF - I love this acronym) in Corpus Christi TX. This is their seventh year having the festival. And this year, they screened their lineup with The Alamo Drafthouse Theatre, something they had worked long and hard for. On the festival’s website they tell you what their mission statement is. “South Texas Underground Film’s sole mission is to engage and inspire the community by screening films without discrimination, creating new films, teaching the art of filmmaking and networking with fellow filmmakers.” From my view…mission accomplished.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
What Keeps You Alive

With the number of film festivals that I attend for any number of reasons, I was thinking it would be cool to share some of my discoveries along the way. Film festivals are such a great way to introduce yourself to other filmmakers and their works. I’m often inspired by watching other works and it’s always a great reminder of how much it takes to actually make a movie. Any movie. So it’s especially cool when something comes along that really grabs your attention.

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Matthew Montgomery
Influential Movie Scores

I’ve been thinking a lot about music and how we’re all drawn to certain melodies at certain times and during certain situations. Music can attach itself to a feeling, a memory, a desire and affect you, the listener, so that every time you hear that piece of music, you are reminded of something or someone. Particularly for my writing, I use music a lot to help with my creative flow. With the right music in the background while I’m working, I can be more open to thinking outside of the box and ultimately be more productive. Movie scores are what I listen to the most while I’m working. This week I decided to share fifteen scores that have been influential for me.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
19 Filmmaker Resolutions

This week I figured what better thing to post about than New Year’s Resolutions. We all know the thing about New Years Resolutions. They last about a month and then you’re back to not going to gym or back to masturbating at work or whatever the thing is. It’s hard to keep ‘em going. But what the hell, right? Every year, you gotta get back on that horse and try again. So in the spirit of keeping to my filmmaker theme, I thought it would be cool to come up with nineteen New Year’s Resolutions for the writer/director filmmaker. Two thousand and nineteen resolutions seemed a little much. So nineteen. In random order.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Merry Christmas

Last week I got the chance to announce our first-ever distribution deal for a movie I directed. It was a surreal moment especially because we had known about the distribution deal for about a month already. We were just waiting for the press release to go live. So when it finally did, it was like breathing a sigh of relief. This was really gonna happen. Holy crap. Getting to this point had definitely not been easy.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
The Pitch

The other night I had brunch with a friend and we got to talking about projects that we were working on. I told her I had a few things that I was developing and she asked me to pitch them all to her so she could see which ones she liked more than others. And I suddenly found myself struck with a harsh realization. I have no idea how to pitch. I mean, I do, I’m just terrible at it. I stumble, say “uh” a lot, and end up digressing on any number of subjects. So this week I figured I would share some helpful articles and videos on pitching.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Christmas Vacation

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. To me, this is the absolutely best holiday movie ever made ever ever ever in our known history of Christmas movies. I love it so much that I’ve watched it every year at Christmas since probably 1989 when it was released. This past week, I watched it again. I annoy my husband because I randomly blurt out lines from the movie since I literally know every single word of the movie. Because it’s become a tradition for me and my family to watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation once a year during the holiday season, I figured I would share in my zany obsession. Here are five random facts about the movie, and five of my favorite moments from the movie.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Mr. Belvedere

If you know me, you probably know about the time I met Mr. Belvedere. I was somewhere around ten years old and loved this show for some reason. The show is about a sassy English butler who answers an ad in the paper placed by the mother of the Owens family. Mr. Belvedere ultimately has to adjust to life in the suburbs and every episode ends with him writing in his journal and recounting the episode’s events and then the moral of the story. I watched it every week throughout its entire six season run from 1985 to 1990. So when I first heard that Mr. Belvedere was coming to Corpus Christi, Texas, I knew I had to shake his hand. 

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
The perfect murder

So today I had jury duty and while on the subway, it got me thinking about a certain type of movie. Train movies. I bet you thought I was gonna say courtroom thrillers. Nope. Not this time. I have a bit of an obsession with thrillers that specifically take place in some sort of enclosed or isolated place. So basically: airplane thrillers, road thrillers, cabin thrillers, and train thrillers. I love these movies probably more than any other type of movie. When done well and smart, they offer an atmosphere of tension through the claustrophobic nature of the space they are in. And stakes tend to get raised. Although not shot entirely on a train, one of my favorite movies of all time is Strangers on a Train.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Guest House Films

You’ll play the lead and you’ll produce it with us! They said. (Or maybe I said?) I thought they were insane. I’d never produced anything before in my life. I’d acted a lot and been on a bunch of sets but I didn’t know jack shit about producing. And to be honest, it scared me that they seemed to think I knew more than I did. It made me think they might actually be crazy. But as it turned out, Rob Williams and Rodney Johnson of what is now Guest House Films knew more about me than I did.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Before You Get Home

Peter Stickles was my first guinea pig. He just didn’t know it. I’d never directed before. I mean, not on an actual set. And the shorts I had done before were really just me dragging my husband around with a camera and telling him to act this and act that. This time was different. I had a budget, a crew, a cast, craft services and everything.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Film School (USC)

The headline makes it sound like I’m about to talk about why you should (or shouldn’t) go to film school. I have no fucking idea. That’s the answer. My journey to and through film school was something that came as a blessing and curse for me. The specifics and reasons, I’ll go into later. But suffice it to say, it was a journey I was meant to go on and wouldn’t take any of it back. What this is really about is my own personal journey through film school.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Film Festivals 101

I always feel like I’m gonna throw up before we’re about to screen the movie. I’m a bit of a nervous Nellie at times in general so this isn’t all that surprising. But one of the things about movie making that is the most fun, albeit nerve wracking for me, is the film festival process. So I thought I’d write about what to expect when entering the film festival journey, from my perspective anyway, for the first-time filmmaker.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Writing is Rewriting

The revision process can be truly grueling for me at times. It’s like surgery. Maybe not quite surgery, but you get it. But I love writing. Scratch that. I love writing when I’m actually doing it. The truth about the writing process, at least for me, is that I spend a whole shit ton more time staring at a blank screen than the actual writing itself. That’s annoying.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Becoming Director

I didn’t even know I wanted to be a director till about seven years ago. I had thought about it, but never really took it seriously. After all, I was AN ACTOR! The first time I ever even considered directing, and again, it was just a passing thought, was in the fall of 1996.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment
Fire

Orange. This will never match, I thought. The sky stared back at me with this rusty hue. I knew we were in a shitload of trouble. We had just finished our first week of shooting. Just to add a little perspective - our budgeted schedule only allowed us to shoot for two weeks. TWO. That’s it. We couldn’t afford for shit to go wrong, let alone have the forest catch on fire.

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Matthew MontgomeryComment