2009-01-01 / Other News

Canarsie Resident Fulfilling His Dream Of Filmmaking

By Linda Steinmuller

(From left)Mickey Rooney, Dick Cavett, Jan Rooney, Black and Celeste Holm during filming of "Driving Me Crazy.".(From left)Mickey Rooney, Dick Cavett, Jan Rooney, Black and Celeste Holm during filming of "Driving Me Crazy.". Some people only dream about being in the movies, but Canarsien Keith Black is turning his dream into reality.

Black sees himself as a Clark Kent of sorts. By day, he's a mild-mannered ninth grade teacher — marking papers and tutoring 150 kids to pass their math regents at Sheepshead Bay High School. But at night, since phone booths are passé, he goes to his room (he extended his stay at his mother's house), dons his Movieman outfit and makes dozens of calls and sends lots of E-mails to studios and newspapers while simultaneously working on six scripts!

Black graduated from South Shore High School in 1985. He went on to college and eventually earned an MBA/CPA and became a tax accountant before going into teaching. He never had any production or acting experience, but has always been fascinated by movies, so he decided to try moviemaking as a hobby.

Five years ago, Black wrote his first short film, Get the Script to Woody Allen . The acclaimed writer/director/actor is Black's film idol. Knowing Allen had a weekly gig at a Manhattan jazz club, Black "got the script to Woody Allen," and his career was on its way. The short won an award at the Long Island Film Expo, aired on Showtime, was shown in flight on a couple of airlines and opened in eight cities for a Woody Allen movie.

Later, Black produced, co-wrote and starred in his first feature film, Driving Me Crazy, with very little money (his teaching and bar mitzvah money). He did, however, manage to recruit Oscar® winners, Mickey Rooney and Celeste Holm, talk show legend Dick Cavett, Oscar® nominees Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor and Louise Lasser (one of Woody Allen's leading ladies on and off screen) to star alongside him for basically nothing. You can see the film's trailer at www.drivingmecrazymovie.com.

Black claims his legendary chutzpah and talent has enabled him "to worm his way" into Hollywood with no money or connections. The actors believed in him and his script, he maintains, explaining that they did it for him and because they love to act.

Black ran out of money so Driving Me Crazy was never completed. He realized that "although I'm totally broke, I've never felt happier or so fulfilled! Making this movie has made me realize that a sense of achievement and self-expression are more important than material things — a message I impart to my students."

While his Hollywood career remains on hold, Black tried his hand at songwriting. In that spirit and in celebration of Hanukah, Black recently wrote " The Other Hanukah Song ," a tongue-in-cheek ditty about his moviemaking odyssey, which premiered on WOR Radio on December 19. Move over Adam Sandler!

Black, who admits to being "a tone deaf, chain-smoking frog," is proof that with passion and persistence, it's possible to accomplish your dreams.

Black's credo: "The real failure is to give up on your dreams."

Return to top

Copyright© 2000 - 2017
Canarsie Courier Publications, Inc.
All Rights Reserved