O, The Places Film Will Take You!
I remember riding the bus one day while in college. I ended up having a conversation with a woman about school. I think she saw me reading a book and that’s what started our interaction. When asked my major I told her “film”. Her face was less than pleased. I paid her no mind, I was used to it. People just couldn’t understand why anyone would waste money studying film. For a short time I struggled with that same question. I never had a concrete answer as to why film. I stumbled through my undergraduate years fighting my passion for storytelling. I wasn’t sure what to do with it or where it would take me. Little did I know that film can take you to some unexpected but amazing places, allowing you to make connections and form relationships with people you would have never done so otherwise.
When I was asked to coordinate a feature film shooting in the DMV area I had no idea what to expect. I was told that we would be accommodated by the Directors’ family and friends. When I got to the house I noticed a big wooden plank above the door, it read “Matthews”. I knew that the Directors’ mother was a politician (with everything that happened with this election I made sure to research her and her views) but I never made the connection. Kathleen Matthews, a former congressional candidate. One night my production manager and me were invited down to have dinner with the family. Across from me sat their father, who looked slightly familiar but I couldn’t quite figure it out. People at the table kept referencing his show. I played along as if I knew exactly what they were talking about. We had a little break in conversation and I took that opportunity to research, quickly. Duhhh QUIN! This man sitting across from you is Chris Matthews, MSNBC host, political commentator, and author. Wow, I couldn’t believe I was having dinner with the Matthews. Even more, I couldn’t believe that for the next four weeks I would be their house guest.
The weeks that followed were pretty cool. Every time I ran into Chris or Kathleen in the kitchen I had to remind myself how crazy it was that I was living in their house. One night I ordered some sushi from this Japanese restaurant in the area. The food arrived right as Chris was walking in the front door. At first he was a little confused and almost told the delivery guy that he had the wrong address. Luckily for me I heard them and made it down the steps before my food got turned away (I’m sure the guy would have called me before that happened though). I always ordered food but today he was intrigued. He wanted to know how I was finding all these restaurants and ordering these different kinds of food. I introduced him to my secret, Grubhub. To my surprise he had no idea what that was or how to use it. I gave him a brief Grubhub run through. He was so impressed that he had me order food for him. It was an interesting interaction. I wonder if he’ll ever think to order through Grubhub in the future. Some of my favorite moments in the house were hearing his thoughts on whatever crazy shit Trump did on any particular day. It was weird for me to see him in the kitchen during the afternoon and then on national television some hours later. He’s such a humble guy and I don’t think he realizes how much of a recognizable face he is.
One day we had some teenagers, from the directors’ old high school, fill in as background on set. It just so happened that we were shooting close to the house that day so we used the Matthews’ house as holding. As the teenagers were huddled in the kitchen, waiting to be called to set, Chris wandered in looking for ice cream. Star struck, the teenagers just stood there starring at him. They literally allowed their eyes to follow every move he made from the refrigerator to the cabinet, back to the refrigerator, to the sink and so on. They kept looking back and forth at one another in amazement. Chris, being the modest guy he is, never even noticed. He spoke some funny words to them, picked up his ice cream and some fried chicken off the stove, and went back to his office. They talked about that for at least 45 minutes after it happened, excited and in awe. The rest of us couldn’t help but laugh.
Throughout my stay, Chris and Kathleen really made me feel welcomed and comfortable. I started to feel like their home was mine. It was really a great experience. When I told my parents where I was staying, they were in shock. My father is an avid watcher of Chris Matthews’ show and made me promise to tell Chris he said hi. Now my mom doesn’t miss a show. He’s her new favorite person. I often wonder what other amazing experiences this profession will bring my way. I hope that my time at the Matthews has etched me in their mind. I can’t wait until we meet again.
It sometimes baffles me that I almost allowed myself to give up on my passion. When I look at all my friends who had the guts to chase their dreams, it makes my heart warm. I notice how those dreams allow them to travel to some of the most interesting places and have some of the most rewarding experiences. I have friends who have performed at the Super Bowl and in some big music videos, traveled all over the world, and worked with some of the most iconic artists. So I say to you, always follow your dreams. You never know the places that dream will take you. I look forward to see where this dream of mine takes me next.