June 4th, 2017
An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 80 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews
I’m a filmmaker and hip-hop artist, not always in that order. I grew up in Irondequoit just outside the City of Rochester, and went to West Irondequoit High School. After high school, I moved to New York City to study filmmaking at School of Visual Arts, and ended up staying. Currently, I’m living in Brooklyn, but base most of my productions in Rochester.
What inspired you to be an write and direct? Early experiences worth sharing?
Storytelling was always the thing to do. I have a memory of being nine years old writing a comedy about the new millennium, and I don’t know where that even came from. I know that, now, I write because I have to. I have ideas that need to be put down, and if I don’t spend time regularly writing I get anxious. As for directing, I only do it out of necessity. I don’t love directing, I love writing. But, at the moment, no one is going to produce my writing unless I do it myself. So that is why I direct.
Pursuing the arts is constant conflict. For me, writing is the only purely enjoyable part of the process. Everything else is just conflict. Pre-production, shooting, editing, marketing. It’s all conflict, problem solving, stress and occasional moments of magic. I think I overcome adversity every time I cross the finish line with a project, just because of how unlikely it seemed at the start.
I want to write about real things, but I get bored easily. I want to preach but I don’t want to be preachy. I think I have an advantage over a lot of filmmakers in that I’m not hyper confident that people want to sit down and watch my nonsense just because it’s my nonsense. I feel like I have to earn people’s eyes and ears every step of the way, and if I’m not telling a different story in a unique way, then why am I wasting an audience’s time? I think a lot of artists, specifically artists whose work can only truly exist for an audience (like filmmakers, performers), get a little too self-important and forget that nobody owes them their attention. You have to earn it, and I think realizing that can set someone apart.
I wish I had more non-creative hobbies. I make music regularly, perform regularly, and write all the time. I’m currently suffering from a news/current events obsession that I tell myself is to benefit my work but we all know its self-destructive and terrible.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
Dark Justice! It is a comedy web series about the first black cop in a small town, and deals with racism and policing in America. Best of all, it stars Che Holloway! That is my main jam right now, but I always have a lot of irons in the fire. Too many. This summer, I have a new rap album coming out with Rochester’s own DJ Mario Bee. I’m shopping around a feature script, pushing Dark Justice and developing a few film projects for late in the year. It really is too much.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
Creating, creating, creating. Writing, performing, and not in too much debt. Either living in NYC, Rochester or a ship in the Atlantic Ocean with a small but loyal crew to evade the law (known as “pulling an L. Ron Hubbard”).
Make a lot of things often, but don’t burn yourself out by biting off more than you can chew. I try to take on projects that have an end in sight and don’t require years of my life or credit card debt. Of course, easier said than done. Learn from your mistakes, and let failures be useful in that way.
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?
Follow my show Dark Justice on Facebook and Instagram via @DarkJusticeShow, or watch it at www.DarkJusticeShow.com and subscribe on Youtube. Follow me on Facebook.com/MikeGerbinoMusic and Instagram via @MikeRapsToo
On other writers: