*Longtime songwriter and musician Vincent Brantley has traded the mixing board for a director’s chair.
With six platinum albums and a number of awards already on his shelf through the likes of Brian McKnight, Faith Evans and New Edition (He’s credited with writing “Cool it Now”) – the LA-based producer is now applying those efforts toward film. It’s a move, he admits, was done more for financial reasons than any other.
“I’d like to say my motivation was completely passion and creativity, but in the reality of things, I was going broke in the music business,” he tells EUR in an exclusive interview. “My royalties had diminished to Happy Meal money and Scooby Snacks. I needed to create a new vehicle for me to not only have a creative outlet, but to also be able to have an opportunity to provide for, feed and take care of my family.”
Once his decision was made to try Hollywood, stints in theater and acting schools followed for the next several years until Brantley felt he was good enough to go on several auditions. But after one too many casting calls brimming with bald-headed, goateed men who looked just like him – all trying out for roles like “Pookie from Compton,” and for casting directors barely out of their teens – Brantley decided the acting hustle would not be as rewarding as he thought.
“I’m a guy who started by selling my first song on King and Crenshaw chasing an A&R guy down, and now I’m gonna f**kin’ wait my turn for some kid to tell me it’s okay for me to play? No,” he says emphatically.
That’s when Brantley turned his full attention toward screenwriting – buying how-to books, studying under friends already in the game, like Mario Van Peebles and Michael King, and eventually penning his first feature length screenplay, Hopelessly in June.”
The film also has Brantley in the lead as a financial analyst from a strict Baptist family in Los Angeles who falls hard for June Flowers (Carolyn Neff), a businesswoman from a very liberal family. [Watch the trailer below.] The cast also includes Keith David, Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Jr., Ed Asner, Ella Joyce, Keith Robinson and Johnny Gill.
“I had something to say about what it’s like to be single and dating in L.A.,” Brantley says of the story. “I had something to say about what African Americans feel about the gay community. Why is it that Prop 8 was voted the way it was? The African American community didn’t embrace it. Let’s take a look at that, let’s laugh at it, let’s look at that dynamic and learn from it.”
“I hope this movie does promote tolerance,” he says. “We can have a difference of opinion, but we can still be respectful and tolerant of one another.
The filming process took about two years – on a budget so thin that the word “shoestring” doesn’t do it justice. And that challenge was just the beginning. Now comes the hard part, securing domestic and foreign distribution.
Brantley explains the process in the bonus audio below.