Working in the Film Industry Could Not Just Be a Daydream, but a Reality - Lane Cheek (Hollywood Film Producer & Writer)



By the time I started working on TVD the show was in its 6th Season and the rest of the cast and crew had been working together for five years already. I was the fresh-faced new kid and was immediately adopted into the family. And that’s honestly the word I would use to describe it, family… The TVD Family.


Tell us about your background and journey

I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland… military kid. Dad works for NSA (National Security Agency) a large leap from the Film Industry. Even though I come from a family that has nothing to do with the industry and doesn’t understand at all what I do, they have always been the most supportive of me following my dreams and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Growing up I loved movies, escaping in them, rewatching my favorites, and day dreaming about how the story would continue if those two little words “The End” hadn’t scrolled across the screen.

In high school, we had to take an aptitude test, and my test came back saying I would make a good Producer. It wasn’t until that moment it even occurred to me working in the Film Industry could not just be a daydream, but a reality.

I ended up going to the Los Angeles Film School right in the heart of Hollywood.  It was an intense hands-on film program where you got a two-year degree in 13 months, I knew instead of going to a four-year college I just wanted to learn in an environment that was as much like an actual film set as possible and for me, that worked.

I was extremely fortunate to get some paying film set gigs while still in school, and soon after I graduated I got hired as an on-set dresser for Lake Bell’s first movie that she wrote and directed called, “In A World.” It was because of that film I was able to join the IATSE Local 44 Union and start working on union film projects.

My next job was as the Art Coordinator for “The Bachelor”. There I was in my early 20’s, getting paid to travel the world. It’s this job that really ignited my love of travel. After a few years of doing that, I decided I wanted to try living in Atlanta as their film industry had just started picking up, and I got hired on Season 6 as an Assistant Prop Master for “The Vampire Diaries.”

It was after my time on TVD that I moved back to LA and started the transition to writing and producing. Which is what I’m currently doing and love.


How was your experience of working on Vampire Diaries?

By the time I started working on TVD the show was in its 6th Season and the rest of the cast and crew had been working together for five years already. I was the fresh-faced new kid and was immediately adopted into the family. And that’s honestly the word I would use to describe it, family… The TVD Family.


Film sets are like summer camp. You end up working so many long hours together and then hanging out after hours also, that it creates lifelong bonds. There are cast and crew members from that show who are still some of my closest friends today, and a few who I’m even in development with on current projects. At the end of the day, I think we all just want to be able to work with our friends as much as possible, and thankfully I’m surrounded by some extremely talented friends.


Where do you derive inspiration for writing?

Honestly from life. In each character or story, you leave bits of yourself… You pull from your own experiences, whether those are adventures you’ve had or emotions you’ve felt. Embedding bits of your own truth to me is what draws and moves an audience. I want my stories to really connect with people.


Tell us about your upcoming projects?


I’m currently in pre-production on a drama feature set to shoot in California this fall. A great character-driven script is very female-centered. I also co-wrote a rom-com feature (a project I’m doing with one of my fellow TVD mates and another talented friend of mine Sarah Adina) that we’re producing with an amazing company called Resonate Entertainment. This project I’m extremely excited about it because comedy is my favorite genre. I love to laugh and want nothing more than to bring some joy to this world.


Which book would you recommend to our readers and why?

My dear friend Jedidiah Jenkins wrote a book called “To Shake the Sleeping Self”, and along with him being such an entertaining storyteller, it’s a book that will stir your soul and remind you that who we are is never set in stone. We can always change our identity, live a life without regret, and full of adventure. And that kinda life makes for great storytelling.


What are some of your production projects?

I produced a tv show called “License to Kill,” a true-crime docu-series. It was a fascinating experience. Another project that I co-produced actually happened as a result of a vacation I took with friends. We were in Hawaii for NYE and went free diving with sharks with a company called One Ocean Diving run by a husband and wife team Ocean Ramsey and Juan Oliphant. 

The experience was so moving and learning about how sharks are becoming extinct due to longline fishing and shark fin soup (aka due to us humans). A few of us went back and shot an environmental documentary called, “Our Planet 360,” filming underwater and in VR in the hopes to shed some light on this subject. I also had the pleasure this year of serving as a judge for the Mammoth Film Festival.



Read MoreDo What You Love, Love What You Do

Interview by - Mukund M

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