By: Natalie Jameson
From beating the odds to breaking down the barriers, rising film director Tony Chennault has established an incredible foundation in producing films by overcoming the many challenges associated with a hard life in a tough district. Starting from the rough streets of Philadelphia, Chennault has made it one of his missions to soar to the top of the film industry all the while providing a voice for those who face the everyday struggles of living in poverty. Developing his passion for film at such a young age, Chennault shared his amazing story and depicts an inside look on his journey to becoming a talented film producer.
Born in Pennsylvania, Chennault grew up in Philadelphia in the small neighborhood of Olny. Raised in a single parent household with two older brothers, Chennault and his siblings were taught the value of love and togetherness from their mother. Coming from humble beginnings, Chennault discovered his thrill for playing basketball in high school where he then became nominated as one of the top 50 All-American players within the country. After excelling in the rigorous sport, Chennault left home to travel and play basketball in other regions around the U.S.
” It’s not how you start your journey; it’s how you finish it.” ~Tony Chennault
Upon his transfer home, Chennault returned to the ailing condition of his mother’s health when she was diagnosed with upper respiratory issues. Not much later after his mother’s diagnosis, Chennault faced a new devastating reality when his oldest brother was taken by the hands of a drive by shooting. Chennault stated he was killed at the wrong place and wrong time. In honor of his brother’s life and memory, Chennault created a short film named “Chris” to serve as a tribute.
During his final year of high school, Chennault’s mother’s condition took a turn for the worst. She later passed of a heart attack when Chennault was a senior. After graduating from high school, Chennault attended college and enrolled in a film class where he became inspired to pursue the art of producing motion pictures. Thus sparked Chennault’s passion for developing entertaining content and gave birth to 267productions when he and 3 other friends from college formed their rising production company.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): The first question that I would like to ask you is how were you introduced to the world of entertainment and to the film industry?
Tony Chennault: Well, basically I had a professor and I took his introduction to film class and basically it taught me the fundamentals of film and I just fell in love with it. And after that I took it this past year, during my senior year.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): What was your biggest motivation for wanting to pursue a career in this industry?
Tony Chennault: I feel like there are a lot of untold stories, especially being from an urban community. There are a lot of great stories with people who have done great things and who never get the recognition that they deserve and I just love story telling. That’s why I’m really passionate about making films.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): Being that you’ve been in this industry for such a long time, I know that you have a web series that you’re working on, how is the environment like for you, working on the web series and in this industry in general?
Tony Chennault: It’s a lot different, you have to go out and prove who you are as a filmmaker. A lot of times you meet these big time executives and they want to know what type of work you’ve done. Who your work has touched, who has it inspired, do you have a following? These are the things they are looking for when you go into these meetings with these big time filmmakers and I think for me starting off six, seven months ago I got a nice following in this area. In this tri-state people follow what I’m doing and me and my team are here and heading in the right direction. We just have to keep getting better and better and hopefully one day we will catch our big break.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): What advice do you have for those who are rising industry professionals and those who are seeking a way to break into the industry and don’t really know where to begin?
Tony Chennault: First of all we all have a story. Everybody has a unique journey, and working in the film industry I would suggest doing stories and films that you are passionate about. If you are working on a project that you are not passionate about then you’re not going to give it your all and the people that you are working with are going to realize that. So firstly, whenever me and my team and my production get on board or making or creating a story, I want everyone to feel passionate about it like how I feel passionate about it. Basically, you have to be passionate about the story or film that you’re making.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): What is the one piece of advice that you live by?
Tony Chennault: It’s not how you start your journey; it’s how you finish it. Going throughout life you might have people who might have more privilege than you, but if you work hard and if you believe in the process everything else will take care of itself. So, it’s always about finishing your journey and keep believing in the process and things will eventually happen.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): What new endeavors or projects do you have coming up that you would like to share with the public? We’ve heard about your new web series, “Oldheads”, do you care to share a little with us about that?
Tony Chennault: Basically “Oldheads” was something that was common, that every kid in the urban community had. Especially where I was from. A lot of us grew up without fathers, so we had older guys in the community who would look out for the younger guys in the community, just pointing them in the right direction. With this story an old man is basically telling these kids that are youths that he understands some of the decisions that they are forced to make every day. The decision to rather remain loyal to one of your best friends whose involved in a life of crime in the streets or those in the community who are just at a crossroads. So with this web series “Oldheads” is basically giving youths a voice, letting them know we understand what they’re going through.
Natalie Jameson (BrightGirlWrites): Where can we keep up with you?
Tony Chennault: Like said through my Instagram. @267productions Instagram for all our latest updates, from what we’re doing to what we’re putting out. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram mainly. We have a YouTube page as well, @267production YouTube page that we’re going to put the first episode August 22nd. So those are the sites that you can keep up with me.
Starting from a challenging beginning to achieving the start of a career in film, Tony Chennault has proved that if you work hard to follow your passion and never give up on achieving your goals that it is truly possible for you to advance in your dream profession. Today, Tony Chennault still continues to produce films in the forms of web series and short movies with his production company 267productions. Their goal is to soar high in the entertainment industry and obtain recognition and high prestige for their creditable accomplishments. Chennault also continues to provide a voice to all who face a struggle and strive to achieve their dream of becoming successful industry professionals.