Director Soundman, a lifelong resident of Chicago, was inspired to use the power of film to tell a gritty tale of his hometown’s underworld in his new urban crime drama flick. Soundman chose an interesting title for his first feature film project- “The Lic.” This is actually an acronym for “The Life In Chicago.” Soundman, who founded company “All Work No Play (AWNP), knew he was on to something when he came up with his title.
“I didn’t want to leak that name until I had it copy written and attached to me,” he said. “Chicago invented the word ‘LIC,’ or lick — like hit a Lic — I just thought about it and God brought it to life.”
Soundman’s “The Lic” follows Rashad “RahRah” Williams who was released from a five-year stint in Cook County Jail after facing a litany of charges, including, armed robbery, B&E, murder and drugs, to name a few. RahRah, who beats his case, attempts to “fly it straight” even investing in his younger cousin Mac’s music career. RahRah ultimately falls back into the wrong path linking up with a Mexican Cartel boss. RahRah was “back on top” until “unexpected events destroyed his plans of being rich and putting his guys on forever.”
Soundman’s project was initially set to become a documentary.
“I was convinced Chicago could use a classic… a real classic, so I decided to make it an actual film” he said. “…I started writing it in my head.”
Soundman also mulled over naming the project “The Life In Chiraq.” But he found Chicago to be a more appropriate term. This was a personal decision for Soundman.
“It’s ‘Chicago’ not ‘Iraq’ or ‘Chiraq,’” he explained. “It’s a place where we want to live. Why should we embrace ‘Chiraq’ and comparing that to death and war of Iraq? This is Chicago, not Iran or Iraq. I lost too many that screamed ‘gang gang’ and ‘Chiraq sh*t.’ F*ck Chiraq.”
Though Soundman doesn’t embrace the term “Chiraq,” that doesn’t make “Chicago” any less cutthroat.
Soundman describes his Chicago as “bipolar.”
“It’s great, sad, bad, live, scary and dangerous,” he explains. “It’s hard living there… like being in a great and terrible relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in something in Chicago because it’s a city where it’s extremely difficult to get ahead. I think it’s designed to help or make minorities lose. Everyone there is so focused on themselves to the point it’s mistaken for hatred but instead the people are just focused on their lives and their family’s lives that no one else really exists.”
Just as hard as it is living in Chicago, it was also hard filming “The Lic.” Soundman revealed he experienced much “hardship” during filming. The obstacles he faced include the loss of OTF NuNu. Nuski was tapped to star in “The Lic” before tragedy struck. NuNu was gunned down Saturday, May 31, 2014 as he was sitting in his vehicle in a parking lot outside of Chatham Village Square mall at Cottage Grove and 87th Streets. He was 21.
“[NuNu] was gonna be a part of the film and that really threw me off because he was just at my home working on ‘The Devil Is A Lie’ video,” he said. “It hurt me seriously.”
It didn’t stop there.
Soundman tapped one of his former artists to appear in the film. His artist had just come home from serving time in the federal penitentiary in 2012, but was later gunned down right after shooting a scene.
Other potential actors slated to appear in the project include RondoNumbaNine, OTF BayBay and J Money.
Rondo and BayBay are currently fighting murder cases.
J Money, born Jerome Wood, died after suffering a gunshot wound to the head on Labor Day 2013 in the West Woodlawn neighborhood. He was 21.
“All the little guys that came to me and wanted to support seemed to be taken away,” he said.
Soundman’s project was delayed after he “caught two cases for not having a permit for shooting and “having over 15 prop guns.”
The prop guns, he said, were “confiscated along with two cameras and footage.”
The cameras and footage were eventually returned after the case, but not the guns.
“This movie means so much to me because I lost so much,” he said. “I lost a home, I lost my Range Rover trying to finance this film alone, all by myself. …I was robbed at gunpoint for some equipment also. And the story goes on and on, but GOD got me.”
Soundman utilized the Chicago’s Hip Hop market to find acting talent, including Fatz Mack and Big Swirl.
“I was looking at Fatz Mack for a year almost. Just the way he was caught my attention and I told him that when I start I will not forget him. He reminded me of a modern day O-Dog (Menace II Society),” he said. “…Everyone else I wanna say they were there and they applied themselves when I posted certain things and I knew them personally and knowing their demeanor I knew it was gonna come together. I believed in God to direct it.”
Soundman hopes for viewers to “appreciate” the film for its “talent and creativity.” He also hopes it opens the lane for more films to be produced.
Soundman isn’t the only filmmaker making a highly publicized movie in the City. Spike Lee made news after announcing he was prepping a big-budget film project titled “Chiraq.”
Soundman says he can’t compete with Spike money-wise, but he can compete in the creativity arena. Soundman does acknowledge he would love to collaborate with Spike on future projects.
Soundman’s project is slated to hit the net on July 1. Pre-orders are now available via Vimeo. It will be available for rent for $4.99 for a 24-hour streaming period.
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Filmmaker SoundMan Calls Feature Chicago Film ‘The Lic’ A ‘Classic’
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