By Samantha Nelson
Matteo Guthrie is a junior English major at Oklahoma Christian University. He is a native of Edmond, OK, and is a popular face on campus. He also hosts a radio show and assists with Eagle Media. His love for the written word led him to be a historian for Sigma Tau Delta, an English honor society, and as a copywriter for Soundings, the Oklahoma Christian University literary journal. When not in class or studying to maintain his 3.7 GPA, he can be found practicing music for the Chorale choir, working on maintenance projects around campus or fixing his Chevy Nova in his garage at home. Guthrie enjoys watching Wes Anderson films and reading classic literature.
He has won third place in Soundings for one of his poems and has presented on his work at the Day of Excellence. His most recent accomplishment is his scholarship award for promising voices in creative writing. He also engages in numerous “creative endeavors,” including collaborating with a fellow student, Ethan White, on a comic book which has been in the works for several years.
The most interesting hobbies Matteo engages in are directing and writing independent films with his friend, Zachary Coak. Coak is an Oklahoma Baptist University student-athlete with a job as a wedding filmographer on the side. Guthrie and Coak recently submitted their latest film, “Somniac,” to an independent film festival.
Q. When did you start noticing in yourself an interest in film?
A. Let’s see…I was about six. I would put on films, which was basically just a bunch of drawings in crayon that I would sit my parents down on the couch for and make them look at these pictures that I had drawn while I narrate story stuff. Then when I got older, it went down to Lego stop motion. I take a bunch of pictures, put them on the computer and click the forward key a lot. Then as I got older, it went to little camcorder videos of just random things. Then I took a break for a while until high school, when I took a film class, which wasn’t really a film class—it was a workshop from someone who thought that they knew something about film—but it gave me access to a screenwriting program that I still use, and having accessed that, I wrote a lot. I have friends who are hooked into the film industry, and I’d send them stuff. They’d say, “Hey, this is pretty good, we should do something with it,” and that’s really where I am now; it’s a lot of creative endeavors just for the fun of it.
Q. What kind of films do you guys produce?
A. We produce usually 3-10 minute films. I think we have gotten to 15 or 20 before, usually fiction short films about various subjects, usually a little more fun as far as crime, or horror, or thriller films. Usually he (Coak) also is behind the camera, and I am more of a directing and writing standpoint, although I have managed to make it into almost every film that we have put out as an actor or a cameo appearance of some sort.
Q. What kind of awards has this won? Have you gone to any indie film festivals and gotten anything?
A. I have forgotten the name of the film festival. We’re sending our latest one, “Somniac,” in, and I believe one of Zach’s films that I only consulted on briefly, which was a documentary on one of the world’s biggest airsoft tournaments. His documentary was accepted into an online indie film festival. I forget the name of it; I have to think back. We haven’t really won much, but we’re not really doing this to win, either. It’s art for art’s sake. It’s a passion thing; it’s a hobby thing. I’m not in it to make money properly as much as I’m in it to make art.
Q. What have you accomplished already with these films?
A. I have definitely gained a lot of valuable storytelling experience. I directed my first script that I wrote in summer 2018, and it completely sapped me. The idea that came onto the screen wasn’t the same as when I wrote it in 2016. After doing that, there was college, and I took a break, directed some theater. Then I jumped back into it. I learned to cast small, push through what I needed to do effectively, how to write visually and how to direct better. There’s so much that you can learn from being on one of those shoots.
Q. What is the most difficult part about helping with Coak’s films?
A. The most difficult part is probably time commitment. I’ve been on 15-hour shoots; I’ve been on shoots that cumulatively – I’ve been on set for around 40. In planning something free, there’s the kind of problem of actually getting talent to be there, and whenever somebody says, “Oh, I want to do this!” and then you call them all to do this, they don’t. So kind of talent and time management, but really it’s being on set and putting in the time to get stuff done and do it right.
Q. You said that you’re making art for art’s sake. What makes it worth it to you?
A. I have an incredible drive to create. As far as things go, I don’t feel that I could just passively not create. I would go crazy, so whenever I’m writing, the first draft is always just to get the idea out of my head so that I can have created something, or else I go stir crazy. It’s mainly the push to create and also the push to challenge myself in ways that I haven’t before.
Q. Beach or mountains?
Q. “Lord of the Rings” or “Star Wars”?
A. “Lord of the Rings.”
Q. Best movie ever made, in your opinion?
A. “The Princess Bride.”
Q. Favorite book?
A. I really enjoyed “Anna Karenina.”
Q. Maroon or navy?
A. You already know this; it’s maroon.
This article was completed as part of an upper-level journalism course. It was edited and approved by Talon editors.