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Matt Croyle Launches ‘Circle, Michigan’ Via Hatchfund 

One Fish films has launched its latest project on Hatchfund for funding. ‘Circle, Michigan’, an hour-long television pilot, is looking to raise $2500 for its initial production costs.

The follow up to Croyle’s feature film, ‘Potential Inertia’, ‘Circle, Michigan’ will also shoot in Venango County, Pennsylvania.

All contributions are tax deductible. For more information, or to make a pledge, please visit:


A Few Thoughts From A First-Time Feature Director On Making A No-Budget Independent Film

While we’re inching closer to wrapping principal photography on Potential Inertia, I’ve decided I would take a bit and discuss some things I’m learning, or have learned, throughout the process of making my first feature film.


Our picture is, pretty much, what the industry describes as a “no-budget” feature. Through crowdfunding we’ve acquired backers/producers from all over the world, but we’ve raised nowhere near the amount that I originally wanted for the picture’s budget – but, we’re getting it done anyway – because we want this picture made.


I’m not quite sure I would call myself a “filmmaker”. If the act of simply making a film counts, then sure. But when I think of the term filmmaker, I think of people like Scorsese, Kubrick, Coppola, Russell, Soderbergh, Jarmusch, and the like. Sure, I’ve directed online shorts, an award-winning web series, and for the stage, but I’ve never made an actual feature film until now. Those guys are proven. I am not. I guess the real point I’m making is that I haven’t proven anything to myself, most importantly, as far as putting a feature film out into the world to live on its own. So, I’m going to think of myself not as a “filmmaker”, per se, but as a “documenter of my own experience”.

With that said, making a movie is hard. Very hard. Super-hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And while I could be making the worst movie in the history of mankind (which isn’t actually true, because I saw a truly horrific full-length film online the other night which may qualify), the fact is I feel good doing it, and I know I’ll feel even better when it’s finally, as they say, “in the can.” Nobody tells you how hard it’s going to be. Well, some do, but it’s truly something you have to figure out for yourself – or with others straggling along with you on your exhausting journey to put a ninety-minute slice-of-life out to any kind of audience you can trick into mistaking your blood, sweat, tears, and intrinsic failure, for an actual “real” movie. Here’s the thing: As Kevin Smith puts it, “Every movie is someone’s favorite movie.” And, he’s right. So, you don’t have to be a “filmmaker” to make a movie. You just have to be willing to let yourself make a film.


One thing I’ve come to realize is that no matter who you are or what you do you will always have haters. In today’s age of technology, anyone can make a flick. Anyone. Seriously. Over the course, so far, of making this picture I’ve come to understand that the majority of my haters out there hate me because I am doing something they wish they could do, or had the support to do, but somehow they are not doing it at all. These people don’t even have to know anything at all about me, but they hate me with a passion.

The best words of encouragement I can give to someone dealing with all the hate is to acknowledge it, note it, and shake it off. Ultimately, those people who are not supportive of you have their own issues they need to deal with. And the best thing you can do for yourself, and your picture, is to keep that in perspective. The hate doesn’t have anything to do with you. Thousands of people are working on movies everyday, and they don’t hate them – they hate you. So, suck it up, brush it off, and shoot your flick. The old saying is true: “Haters gonna hate.”


There’s always that old mantra to never do business with your friends. Horseshit. Your friends are the ones who still believe in you, even when they’ve seen what an idiot you can sometimes be. And, chances are, they are like you in their tastes. If you like art, they probably do too. These are the people who have held your hair when you puked, carried you to your front door when your broke your leg on the ice, bitched-out your ex for making you cry in front of your entire class. These people love you and want you to be successful, at least intrinsically for yourself. These are the people that have your back. Not having them around would be more of a handicap than having them there.

The same goes for people you are bringing into your little world that is your picture. They should be able to see the process, and your ideas as something they can get on-board with – even knowing that things will almost never go according to plan. The better someone is at their craft, and the more you surround yourself with them, the more they will push you to be better at yours. The great thing about these people is they will ultimately become your friends. You will bond, share histories, news, and make memories that you’ll always remember. This is a collaborative process, this making a film thing – so surround yourself with those people you trust, enjoy, and dedicate your time to making the best movie you can with them. If anything, you’ll always have something to talk about later in life.

“NEEDING” VS. “WANTING” – What to shoot.  (And being resourceful.)

The most important thing I’m learning, by making this flick, is that I can’t let anyone tell me that I can’t do it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do something. That’s not up to them to decide. There are going to be plenty of times during production that you’ll look at yourself, your project, your cast and crew (or lack thereof), and you’ll want to pull your hair out. But you have to step back, and look at the big picture and be resourceful.

For example, one shooting day we had called for 100-150 extras for a scene. Four people showed up. Four. At first I, obviously, was mad, hysterical, and annoyed. But, after calming myself down a bit, I stepped back and really looked at what I “needed” to shoot as opposed to what I “wanted” to shoot. My story is a very intimate one. It’s about the central characters, not about how many people attended the graduation ceremony I was attempting to shoot that day. So, instead of “wanting” to shoot 150 people, I realized I only “needed” to shoot a handful – those involved in the story. With some careful camera placement, and some added sound, I was able to cut a scene that’s visually about the core participants, but it still sounds like there is 150 people present.

When you’re working with no budget, “wanting” something isn’t always an option, and maybe it won’t even make your story any better. You just have to be able to step back and realize that your picture isn’t always going to turn out exactly the way you want it, and will almost never be exactly what is on the page.


Just as the haters will hate, not everyone you talk to or email is going to get on-board with your crazy little indie film idea. In fact, most people will tell you how cool an idea it is to your face, then blast away at their friends about it later. They’ll be willing to “help out” in any way they can, but then seem to fall off the face of the planet when you’re actually in need of a hand on set, or call for a bunch of extras. This will happen with the most organized of productions to the chaotic ones. Here’s the thing, though: You can’t expect them to. You can’t expect everyone to be excited about your project, your work (and some people will say it isn’t work because you’re not getting paid – or paid very little). They all have their own lives to live, and errands to run, and babies to feed. So, again, you have to suck it up and do the best you can with what you have.

I would say that 95% of directing this first feature of mine has been the art of problem-solving. The other 5% is the shooting, and the fun stuff. Whether it be logistics, scheduling, props, lighting, it’s solving problems that will consume most of your time. Not that all of those things are the director’s responsibility on larger-budget sets, but when you’re making your first feature I think it’s imperative that the director take on most of the responsibility them self. Why? Because I think it’s a great learning process for future projects if you take responsibility for the things that don’t work, and take the praise for the things that do. This way, your first picture is truly, undeniably, yours.

I’d like to close this article by saying that I’m so very grateful for the support we’ve had, and continue to have, on my first feature film. I’m learning as I go, and it’s a very humbling experience creating a world for everyone to come visit for while. I’m also very proud of everyone involved. It’s taking us a while to finish our project, but I hope when we do it’s not too much of a disappointment to audiences. I’m proud of what we’re putting together, and I guess that’s really the most important thing – I’m creating something together, with a bunch of like-minded people, who share a love for telling a story.


COPYRIGHT (C) 2013 Matt Croyle. All Rights Reserved.

Six True Indie Feature Films, From the Northeast, I’m Ready To See Already – By Matt Croyle

There have been some great happenings in the past few years when it comes to independent film in the Northeastern part of the United States. With the advancement of technology, and the fact that anyone can now make a film with a low-end DSLR and a computer with editing software, some great projects have taken shape in our “neck of the woods”.

I’ve been keeping track of some projects that I’m interested in, and have compiled a brief, but quality, list of the films I’m truly excited to see come out of the Region. What is special about this list is that these films are truly independent films. We’re talking minimal to no budget, probably no location permits, sometimes remote locations, very small crews — but these pictures are being made, and made well.

I’ll, of course, plug my own film as part of this post. Shameless, I know. But, hey, we do what we must.

Please take a look at the films being produced by the tireless and hardworking people of the Northeast.

6.  “THERE ARE NO GOODBYES” by John C. Lyons

While I’ve seen this completed film, I feel that everyone else should see it too. The production was based here, but John was able to shoot in places in Ireland and in Prague while on vacation. This is such a wonderful film, and those with close ties to Erie should really settle in and enjoy it. Here’s the trailer:


5.  “POTENTIAL INERTIA” by Matt Croyle

Of course I want to see my own film, especially when it’s finished. It’s a story about dealing with loss, the one thing we all share in this experience of life. We’re over half-way finished with principal photography. We have ongoing funding, so if you’d like to help “like” us on facebook to the right and visit the site. You’ll find all the info there. Here’s the teaser:


4.  “UP COUNTRY” by Lucas McNelly

Lucas shot this picture in his home state of Maine, in the middle of the woods. And while very little is known about the film, if it’s anything like his last effort I know it’ll be worth the watch. Lucas has been working on this picture for quite a while, and I’m sure we’ll hear more about it soon enough. The funding was raised using Kickstarter. I was able to find a rough cut of a scene for the film (which doesn’t really give much away) below:


3.  “LOVER’S GAME” by Danielle Earle

Danielle is based in New York City — and while the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple sometimes screams money, Danielle is making this picture happen on her own and with the help of her backers. Danielle’s platform of choice is IndieGoGo, and she’s looking to send this film to the festival circuit. Here’s the trailer:


2.  “543” by John Rockovich

John is from the same hometown as I am, and it’s kind of strange we’ve never worked on anything together. He’s currently finishing up this film, and has just released a teaser on Vimeo:

1.  “WINTER’S KILL” by Dylan Freedman & Ryan Johnson

Shot in and around Jamestown, NY. Well, doesn’t this look like a whole bunch of awesome? Enough said.


Filmmaker Matt Croyle’s Guest Lecture At Clarion University (Full Video) – April 9, 2013

(CLARION, PA)      Filmmaker Matt Croyle recently spoke to students at Clarion University of Pennsylvania about film, writing and creativity. Below is the video of the event:


For more information on “Potential Inertia”, or to help out and support the film, please visit: The Official Potential Inertia Production Site.

Day One Production Stills For Feature Film “Potential Inertia” Released

(OIL CITY, PA) – The first production stills from Matt Croyle’s upcoming independent feature, “Potential Inertia” have hit the web via the film’s official Facebook page. The film is being entirely grassroots funded. To make a donation to the project, and get your name on the film as an associate producer, you can visit: The Official Potential Inertia Site. Check out the production stills!

First take. Kevin (Paul Schermerhorn) and Katie (Brooke Bartolomeo).

Matthew King as Declan Holmes, the central character in the story.

Katie Williams, portrayed by Brooke Bartolomeo.

Kevin (Paul Schermerhorn) and Katie (Brooke Bartolomeo) share a moment.

Kevin (Schermerhorn) and Katie (Bartolomeo).

Declan (King).

Your Name On The Big Screen – Fundraising To Continue Through Post On Pennsylvania Feature Film

Funding To Continue Through Post-Production On Pennsylvania Feature Film

By Tabitha Leroux, Associated Correspondent

OIL CITY, PA – Want to have your name in the credits of a feature-length film? Want to be able to do it for as little as five dollars? That’s right! For five bucks you can be an “Associate Producer” on Matt Croyle’s upcoming, debut, feature film entitled “Potential Inertia“. The entire film is being grassroots funded and is being shot — not in Hollywood or any normal production hub — but in Western Pennsylvania. Venango County and its surrounding areas, to be exact.

While Croyle has been on major motion picture sets and has “hob-nobbed”, as they say, with people in the industry, he’s chosen to produce his first feature film where he grew up. Croyle gives credit to the area’s natural beauty and a strong sense of “home” to his decision to make the production local.

“We have some great support here in the region to make the film,” Croyle stated. “It’s a very underrepresented area in the film industry. And, while the people in the area are totally for us making the film here, the funding is always an issue. This area doesn’t have the economy that other major production hubs have — like New York or Los Angeles. So, we’re branching out and opening things up to fans of independent cinema, from around the world, using the internet as a funding tool.”

With a talented cast assembled of local actors, as well as veterans from the Pittsburgh and Erie regions, cameras are scheduled to begin rolling in approximately about a month (somewhere in the first couple weeks of June) in the small town of Oil City, Pennsylvania. The fundraising effort for the film will continue through post-production.

“A lot of effort is going toward pre-production right now, especially on my part,” Croyle said. “It’s a small production crew, and everyone is making this film as volunteers. I’m finding that a lot of my time is being spent doing the pre-production work of like five or six people – location scouting, scheduling, casting, securing musicians for the soundtrack – it’s an extremely engulfing experience. I’m learning a lot in the the process by doing the majority of the work myself, but I’ll be glad once we start principal photography because I’ll really be able to just settle in and shoot and direct my actors.”

Croyle is no stranger to “doing it all”. His web series, “Monster”, just screened at the 2012 Los Angeles Web Series Festival last month. In the series, Croyle was in front of the camera, wrote, edited, and directed.

Croyle’s One Fish Films is the production company behind the film.

For more information about how you can get your name on the big screen, please visit: The Official Potential Inertia Production Web Site

Copyright (C) 2012 Tabitha Leroux. All Rights Reserved.

OCHS Grad Ready To Produce His First Feature Film

OCHS grad ready to produce his first feature film

By JEREMY JOHNSON Staff writer

Fresh from an awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Oil City High School and Clarion University graduate Matt Croyle is gearing up for filming and producing his first feature-length film, “Potential Inertia,” to be shot on location this summer in Venango County.

Croyle returned earlier this month from the Los Angeles Web Series Festival, where his Web series “Monster” won an award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Comedy, Sketch Comedy, Translated or Mockumentary series.

“Monster” (available for viewing at is what Croyle considers to be standard movie fare — a semi-autobiographical story about growth and empowerment following a loss (or, in this case, a break-up). The series is described as a pseudo-fictional, documentary-style, Web series focusing on a man and his attempt to explore the monster in himself and those around him.

“It sounds cliche, but we write what we know,” Croyle said of his award-winning series. “In a nutshell, it’s about this guy who’s getting ready to make a feature movie … and he has a camera crew come in for pre-production. But instead of using them for what they’re there for, he instead uses the opportunity to say things to his ex that he should have said to her a long time before.”

Croyle said loss and separation — as it is for many writers — is an underlying theme in much of his work. “I am fascinated by loss because that’s the one thing I feel is truly universal to every person … on the planet,” he said. “We ultimately leave this world by ourselves, alone, and it’s that understanding that forces me to examine why we have a tendency to clash, to drive each other away, to abandon and forget, to fight with each other.” In that way, Croyle said he’s not just a filmmaker, but a documentarian of the human condition. “I write about (loss) to understand how I deal with it myself, and how others ultimately do so, as well,” he said. “I think we’re recording a sociological fingerprinting of the human condition at his moment in our history. And the more we understand ourselves, the closer and better we can be as a species.

“’Monster’ tries to stay true to that human condition we all share,” he added. “I think that by giving an audience member something that he or she can relate to, can gravitate toward, then you’re building a future audience in the process.”

But aside from storyline, Croyle said “Monster” is an important example of how movie-making — and for that matter, movie viewing — is changing in light of increased technological developments. “’Monster’ was a way to explore the realm of new media,” Croyle said. “The Internet has changed everything, and it’s still evolving. New entertainment forms, such as the Web series, have been birthed from its evolution, and ‘Monster’ was a way to experiment with that medium.”

Momentum rolled into “Inertia”

“Monster” is just another step in the progression from novice filmmaker to feature film director for Croyle, who just last year saw his one-act play, “Jerry’s Pub,” selected for the first-ever Canton One-Acts Festival in Michigan.

Croyle’s past filmmaking experiences will culminate this summer when he begins shooting his first feature-length film, “Potential Inertia,” a One Fish Films production. “(The movie) has been a project in the works for quite some time,” Croyle said. “It’s something I’ve always planned to do. It’s a personal story to me that I think everyone can gravitate to, that everyone will understand.”

Croyle said pre-production and casting is finished for “Potential Inertia,” and he expects filming to begin “in the next couple of months.” He said the film will feature a soundtrack furnished entirely by local musicians.

“We’ve assembled a great cast consisting of actors from the area, including Pittsburgh and Erie,” he said. “We’re aiming for the festival circuit. We want the movie to make the rounds.”

Croyle calls the film a “grassroots” effort, and said he is still trying to drum up funds for production costs. Anyone interested in learning more about the movie or how to contribute can visit for more information.

History of a filmmaker

While Croyle has always had a keen interest in movies (he was inspired early on by the works of directors like George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg), it wasn’t until Croyle reached college at Clarion University that he started seeing filmmaking as a career opportunity.

“In high school, I had access to my parents’ VHS camcorder and my friends and I would shoot little skits and things like that just for fun,” Croyle said. “I think we just liked capturing images, or at least seeing ourselves on TV. “But it wasn’t until college that I really began to take an interest in filmmaking,” he added. “(Clarion University’s) English department offered a screenwriting course, a movie genre course, a movie studies course — things of that nature. In taking those courses, that was the first time I’d ever actually shot and edited anything semi-cohesive.”

Since his early days of filmmaking, Croyle said he has grown as a director from his experience working — mostly as an actor — with stars such as Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Seth Rogan and directors like Greg Mottola, Kevin Smith and Academy Award winner Edward Zwick. But what inspires Croyle most, he said, are the endless possibilities for telling a story that only film can provide. And as technological advances continue, so, too, does the medium of filmmaking expand, he said.

“With the rise of digital technology, the limits of what can be done on a movie screen are dissolving away,” Croyle said. “That’s extremely exciting to me because that doesn’t confine me as a writer at all, and telling stories that connect us is what I truly love to do. “It’s important to have something to say, and more important to share it,” he added.

Copyright (C) The Derrick. 2012.

“Starting Over” – LIVE Acoustic Concert To Benefit POTENTIAL INERTIA – 3.3.12

7:30 – 10:00 PM at Art On Elm, 228 Elm Street (alt. entrance at the Mosaic Cafe on Seneca Street), Oil City, PA

A live acoustic evening of music featuring artists that will be featured on the soundtrack to the upcoming feature film ‘Potential Inertia’, which is being produced and filmed right here in Venango County and Western Pennsylvania.

Only $3.00 at the door for the entire evening, and money raised will go directly to the ‘Potential Inertia‘ production fund to help make the film.

Third Day Of Preliminary Auditions Set For “Potential Inertia”

Auditions for our feature film are scheduled for Sunday, February 5th, from 12-5pm, in the Impromptu Room of Art on Elm, 228 Elm Street, in downtown Oil City, PA. Those of you who have already auditioned need not attend.

DECLAN HOLMES – 21. Declan is an Everyman. He’s a screenwriting student at a university and is about to graduate and step into the “real-world”. He’s self-loathing and narcissistic at the same time. Has recently been abandoned by his fiance. ‘Potential Inertia’ is his story — in the context of the film, but also within the film.

OLIVIA ALEXANDER – 21. Olivia is spunky and wise for her young age. She’s cute, but not too beautiful. She has sort of a rough side to her that isn’t quite apparent — but it’s there, and it’s overshadowed by a simple tenderness.

KATIE WILLIAMS – 21. Stunningly beautiful. While she appears strong, there is an underlying nervousness and child-like fear about what she wants in many aspects of her life. She was engaged to Declan.

PROFESSOR ROBERT STEMMLER – 44. Professor of Cinema, Robert (or Bob) knows the industry well, but for some reason has opted for education rather than practice. He is Declan’s mentor and friend.

SARAH HOLMES – 19. Declan’s younger sister. Pre-med. Smart and quick.

WILLIE EDWARDS – 21. One of Declan’s inner-circle of friends. Has a thing for Sarah.

JACOB GOURLEY – 21. Another one of Declan’s friends. Willie’s best pal.

KEVIN WHALEN – 21. Probably Declan’s closest friend, as he confides in him more than the others.

MR. HOLMES – 50’s. Bedridden in a hospital. His relationship with his son has always been rocky.

There are several minor speaking roles available along with a great amount of extras. If you are interested in being an extra, please send us an email to

AUDITION SIDES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE PHYSICAL AUDITION and not before. You will be given ample time to look over any scene you wish to audition with before the actual audition. However, the producers may wish for you to read more than one scene, so be prepared to cold read if requested.

Any questions can be directed to the Director, Matt Croyle, at 814.676.3532