News Column

Western Pa. filmmaker hopes others see the 'Potential' in his project

May 20, 2014

By Michael Machosky, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

May 20--It's no secret that Western Pennsylvania has seen a pretty substantial movie-making boom in the past few years. But it goes a bit deeper than Tom Cruise, Christian Bale and/or Batman coming to town, blowing something up, then going back home to Hollywood again.

A culture of filmmaking has taken root throughout the region. Venango County, for example, provides the setting for "Potential Inertia," a very low-budget independent film by writer-director Matt Croyle.

The project received a boost recently from Creative District in Los Angeles.

"Technicolor, the brand, the name, just launched this company called Creative District as a startup," Croyle says. "All the money was from Technicolor. They started doing this online creative community to promote filmmakers -- 7,000 members now. Our picture is featured as a feature project on their website."

The story is about a young man reaching that point of his life after college when he suddenly has to adapt to the very different pressures of the real world, complicated further by unexpected tragedy.

"It's about loss," Croyle says. "That's the one thing that everybody experiences. It doesn't matter who you are, where you are, geographically, economically. We all deal with loss."

His movie, which he has been filming during the past year, is about 95 percent done.

"It was written as a screenplay in college, like 15 years ago," Croyle says. "I put it on the back burner and moved to North Carolina. Went through a divorce. I had a lot to say. I pounded it out in a month, as a 90-page screenplay."

"Potential Inertia" has been funded primarily through crowd-sourcing, online at the film's website: The actors, producers and crew have donated their time and money to make the movie, but there are plenty of other production costs.

The website asks supporters to "get behind a film project that's not about cashing in at the box office, and is about what film should be -- storytelling."

"We have backers from nine countries around the world," Croyle says. "I started off on Indiegogo, just to kind of kick it out there. I learned from the model that Indiegogo was using, and I kind of developed it into my own thing."

Crowd-funding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter put time constraints on your project, but Croyle wanted to keep it more open-ended. He didn't want an artificial deadline to end donations.

"Originally, I thought we could shoot it for $10,000," he says. "I'd say there's three different parts of filmmaking. One is coming up with the film, developing it. Two is making it. Three is putting it out there for the world. All three are completely different."

Joe Fishel, a local actor and social-studies teacher at Kittanning Senior High School, found out about the movie on Facebook. He ended up becoming an executive producer on the film, in addition to taking a small acting role in it.

"I've been helping Matt out with a couple scenes, shooting scenes, giving him some ideas, helping promote the film," Fishel says of his duties as executive producer. "It's kind of an ambiguous term. Whenever I can help out Matt, I'm doing it."

Croyle says he's working on an agreement with the Oaks Theater in Oakmont to show the film as soon as it's finished. After that, he's hoping to start it out in some smaller film festivals, and go from there.

Michael Machosky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7901.


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Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA)