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Oct 17, 2017

Matt Weiss, director and writer of the documentary “Man in the Red Bandana,” is a traffic ticket attorney turned filmmaker who was called to action after hearing the story of a 9/11 hero. His film focuses on how one person can affect thousands with just one selfless act. Matt wrote, directed and funded the film, and has found more fulfillment and lasting impact in filmmaking than he ever thought possible. With the help of friends, connections through EO, and sheer determination, Matt succeeded in creating his film and is now continuing his journey as an esteemed filmmaker and director.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:51 – Matt is the director and writer of documentary “Man in the Red Bandana,” and the project has become the core of who Matt Weiss is
  • 01:10 – The film focuses on how one person can affect thousands with one ultimate selfless act using heroes of 9/11 and has gained awards, features, and attention around the country
  • 01:43 – Matt is a traffic ticket attorney in New York and has been a member of EO for 20 years and a part of the South Florida chapter since he moved to FL two years ago for a better quality of life
  • 02:51 – He still travels to NY, but he employs 20-30 lawyers who fight thousands of traffic tickets and take care of those cases, so his business runs smoothly without his presence on a day-to-day basis
  • 03:42 – Matt started working on “Man in the Red Bandana” 6 years ago without any previous experience in filmmaking when he was suddenly inspired by a story he was told
    • 04:10 – At lunch, Matt’s banker told him his son’s story and Matt became determined and inspired to share it
    • 04:30 – The story: Wells, the banker’s 24-year old son, worked in the South Tower and was there when the North and South Towers were hit
    • 05:30 – His family and friends thought he had died and held a memorial service without a body, and his body wasn’t found until 6 months later; however, his mother never stopped looking for her son
    • 06:16 – 8 months after 9/11 mother reads article, “Fighting to Live as the Towers Die,” which is an account from survivors and she recognizes a description of her son as the man who was their savior
    • 07:03 – Well’s mother instantly recognized her son in the survivor’s account because of his red bandana, which he carried with him since he was 8, and she confirmed his identity with the survivors
    • 07:30 – Survivors met with the family and were able to piece together Well’s last hour, his finest hour in which he saved numerous people and made various trips through the building despite the destruction, carnage, and horror
    • 08:41 – It is a story of courage, sacrifice, and selflessness
  • 09:30 – Matt felt everyone needed to hear this powerful story of heroism and selflessness
  • 10:18 – His hope in sharing the story is to inspire people to give, care, and put others first
  • 10:30 – Business was set up so he didn’t have to do the day-to-day, so he had some free time outside of his EO chapter presidency
  • 11:40 – Matt has pursued and accomplished a variety of things, including having run for mayor, so his wife wasn’t surprised when he came home wanting to make a film
  • 13:00 – As an EO member since 1996, Matt has enjoyed friendships with growth-oriented people and loves the unique opportunities and connections that EO provides
  • 16:40 – As a lawyer, the research and writing portions of creating the film were the most comfortable, a script was quite similar to legal writings he had done
    • 18:15 – Research and interviews shed light on the story’s details
    • 19:00 – The film connects the story with the person, and adds a comprehensive understanding to what took place
  • 19:36 – Matt worked deeply with his editor to create exactly what he wanted and funded the project himself
    • 21:00 – He didn’t know the project’s budget or timeframe and he wanted control and responsibility of it
    • 22:50 –Matt touches on how his efforts in filmmaking are so widespread and fulfilling, whereas in a breach of contract case only a few people know or remember it later on
  • 23:30 – Chad Verdi of Verdi Productions helped him complete his film, and has now asked Matt to be a part of his new project, a feature film called “Vault,” a true story about the largest vault heist in U.S. history
    • 24:19 – Matt had a learning curve with his own film, working with Verdi Productions will make for a faster end product
  • 25:24 – Matt has taken away amazing relationships, experiences, and learning opportunities while creating his film
  • 26:05 – Having been a part of every aspect of the film’s creation, he also directed Gwyneth Paltrow and wrote her script
  • 27:20 – He met Gwyneth through an EO connection and thought her feminine voice would add a softness to the film
  • 28:50 – He received so much help along the way and feels the story inspired them
  • 29:26 – It is a tragic yet uplifting story that has driven many to honor him through songs, runs, artwork
  • 30:30 – There is an amazing secret about Wells that Matt will not reveal
  • 31:30– Film is available on iTunes, and Amazon, and has been played in theaters all across the country in 40+ locations and 21 states
  • 31:45 – Film website
  • 32:30 – Dave introduces “Boxers or Briefs”
    • New York or Florida – Florida
    • Law or Film – Film
    • Star Wars or Rocky – Rocky
    • Loafers or Sneakers – Sneakers
    • Train or Car – Car
    • Tesla or Porche – Tesla
    • Pickup or Prius – Prius
    • Power or Sail – Sail
    • Book or Movie – Movie
    • Audible or Paperback - Paperback
  • 34:00 – Conference in Florida recap where Flo Ryda was present
  • 34:50 – You can contact Matt in regards to the film here or you can email him regarding legal help in New York here
  • 35:35 Dave closes the episode and encourages you to visit his website

3 Key Points:

  1. If presented an opportunity or story that strongly calls to you or that you feel the need to share, do not limit yourself to the things you have done before. Take the leap and create something new.
  2. Connections and relationships are key – daunting projects come together with the involvement of those who want to see it succeed.
  3. Sharing a powerful and inspirational story can mean the creation of a legacy – seek the creation something that makes a lasting impact and fulfills you.

Resources Mentioned: