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Local Filmmaker Goes Hollywood, Then Comes Home

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Matt Sullivan has lived the Hollywood grind working on shows like "24" and "House", but his ultimate goal is to write and direct a feature film he can call his own.

"I know I won't be happy until I do that," said Sullivan, who lived in California for eight years before moving back to Mamaroneck in November 2010. "That's what drives me, it keeps me going."

Sullivan fell in love with the idea while taking video classes at Mamaroneck High School, but can remember watching "Goonies" when he was three and wanting to do video graphics.

Now, the class of 2002 graduate is sharing that passion, as well as his Hollywood experience, with students of LMC-TV's three-week summer filmmaking workshop.

Sullivan helps students create a film, which they write, direct and perform themselves. Their film is titled "Dancing Through Time."

When Sullivan moved back home, he became the community events coordinator at LMC-TV, Larchmont, Mamaroenck and Rye Neck's public access channel.

"The nicest thing about being back here and at LMC-TV is there is a sense of respect amongst our co-workers for all of our ideas, all of our opinions," the independent filmmaker said. "There's a camaraderie here that didn't exist for a lot of the productions that I worked on out there."

After earning his degree in visual arts at Emerson College in 2006, Sullivan took off for the West coast with a group of close friends who all lived within a mile of each other in North Hollywood. "That was the goal," he said.

The Mamaroneck resident saw the Hollywood sign for the first time on a family trip his sophomore year of high school. "I took a mental snap shot, and I knew I'd see it again," said Sullivan, whose grin grew with the memory.

Sullivan's first job was as a one-day production assistant on "Deal or No Deal," which he got through someone he met during an internship with Radical Media in Los Angeles his senior year of college. The one-day job turned into a full-time job.

After getting sucked into the world of reality shows like "Celebrity Fit Club" and "Gay, Straight or Taken," he was left searching for a niche. That search included a stint as the art assistant on the seventh season of "24." The popular Fox drama was his favorite show and would become his best experience in Hollywood.

"It was the one show I wanted to work on more than anything else during my time in L.A.," Sullivan said. "It was a dream come true when they hired me on the show."

While the "24" crew made Sullivan feel like part of the family, Sullivan grew jaded during his next two projects on Fox's "House," and ABC's "Castle."

"I decided I didn't want to work for other people and wanted to do my own projects, and you just can't do that in L.A.," he said. "It's difficult to get people excited and behind you when you say, 'I want to make a movie,' because, so does everybody else.

"When the idea of making a movie comes up here, maybe it'll excite people a little more."

Sullivan fell in love with movies early in life, but had lost of bit of that passion working 12 to 16 hour days as an "expendable" cog in the movie machine, he said. Sullivan came home to rediscover that love and, watching his filmmaking workshop students this summer discovering video for the first time has been all the inspiration he could ask for.

"To be there and see that happen, it reminds me of when I was first learning filming and how fun it was," he said. "It makes me want to do more of my own projects."

Sullivan most recently created a promo video for a Mixed Martial Arts fighter before his first match. He relished how the short promo made the fighter jump up and down in excitement.

"There's something about movies and film and media that makes you feel like a kid again," Sullivan said. "I really like entertaining people, and that's the goal, to just get some reaction out of someone that's watching something you've made."

While ideas for a film are brewing in the part-time bartender's mind, he isn't willing to reveal what he has in store just yet. But, he did say whatever the project turns out to be, it would have to be shot in New York.

What do you think of Matt's journey in film? What are your favorite movies? Comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.

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