August 25, 2011

Chad Eric Smith in Movie Black Kerchief



     Chad Eric Smith will end his seven-year stay in Westmoreland County with numerous theatrical accomplishments, the most recent being

  •      an extra, in the role of a Gotham City Police Department SWAT Team Member, on the set of The Dark Knight Rises filmed this month in Pittsburgh. “Of course, there is no guarantee that I will be seen on screen when the movie comes out,” he wrote on his facebook page.
  •      an actor in the role of Charlie in Black Kerchief, a gritty western film. “A good chunk of it was filmed at Fort Ligonier. Other filming locations included random, rural, areas of Western Pennsylvania having no signs of civilization.” It will premiere at the Hollywood Theater in Pittsburgh On Sunday, August 28th, 2011 at 7 p. m.   The trailer:


Chad Eric Smith

     Chad was born and raised in Washington, D. C., to supportive parents Erica Tollett and Jonathan Smith, a multimedia and music producer. He has a brother Zack and a sister Nina Harrison.

     He attended School Without Walls, a public, college-preparatory magnet school in D.C., where he joined an educational group, Teens Against the Spread of AIDS. While  participating in the dramatic skits the group used to present material he discovered  his interest in the theater.

     “I always had a theatrical personality,” he said.

     After graduating he came to Southwestern Pennsylvania to study psychology at the Greensburg campus of the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt-Greensburg). During his four years of study his interest in theater and music gained strength.

     “Theater, film, and music are my passion,” said Chad, who plays jazz piano.

     When he graduated in 2008, Chad saw many of his fellow students continue their education, seeking advanced degrees. Through his college years, his experience as a campus tour guide led to a post-graduation offer of a position in the admissions office of Pitt-Greensburg, the job which he is leaving this week. He accepted the job “to try to make some money and to get experience,” he said. “While I’m thankful for the three years I worked at Pitt-Greensburg, D. C. and Maryland offer more opportunity than Western Pennsylvania. I’m looking forward to closing this chapter of his life and moving on.”


     Chad has acted in over a dozen plays and films in the Pittsburgh area.

     “The first play I was in was at Pitt Greensburg. It was Picasso at the Lapin Agil by Steve Martin,” he said.

     He routinely sends out acting resumes with his head shot to online  casting spots. Every once in a while he gets a response to audition. Director Matt Kappel, in Pittsburgh, called him for a role in Black Kerchief, set in the 1800s, in which the characters are criminals.

Chad Eric Smith


     In Black Kerchief the main character, a member of a ruthless gang, is in search of answers regarding who murdered his family when he was a child.

     Chad plays the role of Charlie, a supporting character (meaning he has dialogue, multiple scenes, and is one henchman of the antagonist). Charlie, part of the gang, is fearful of his impending fate.

     Charlie is the only African American in the film that he knows of.

     “You don’t see black cowboys, but they did exist,” Chad said.

     He noted that to be Charlie is to enter “a very uninhibited role compared to his white collar job.”  Chad “got into” Charlie’s character by placing himself in the time period in which Charlie lived. Chad wanted to understand the character’s motivation.

     “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been,” he said. “Charlie was probably born into slavery and escaped, going west instead of north.  He joined the gang, where he felt empowered.”

     Being in the gang likely makes Charlie feel like he is a part of something, although he also realizes he “is still at the bottom of the totem pole in the gang’s hierarchy.” However, being part of the gang assures him of having nice clothes, food, and a gun. It also makes him feel somewhat like a man.

     “I hope this comes through in my character,” Chad said.

     Chad also created himself in the image of who Charlie was.

     “I grew a beard out thick for the ungroomed look,” he said. “I had some explaining to do at work, but the beard also was a good icebreaker.”

Chad Eric Smith as "Charlie"

     He also stuffed clothes into his abdominal region to appear chubby, and developed a limp..

     For contrast, the film has a flashback scene, depicting the gang members when they were younger and more clean cut.


     The film, Black Kerchief, will further Chad’s career in a practical sense by broadening his resume and developing a video montage, which demonstrates his versatility and range. He will also benefit from the networking and experience he’s gained by acting in the film.

     The maximum benefit, “leading to something bigger and better,” will result only if Black Kerchief receives a lot of exposure (film festivals, premier multiple times, online showings).

     For now, Chad would be content if his theatrical talents lead to doing enough gigs and acting roles on film and stage so he could make a living—having enough money to pay his bills and to live comfortably—.

     “The most ideal would be not to have to do other kinds of work,” he said.

     For now, he’s packing his apartment and office, preparing to say goodbye to Westmoreland County and Pittsburgh.

     And, he said “I’m looking forward to seeing this (Black Kerchief) in Pittsburg.” He hasn’t seen the film yet, but from the process of filming he believes he has “a lot of face time.”


     For those of you who want to join him, the Hollywood Theater is located at 1449 Potomac Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

     To read an additional comment by Chad, click on Chad Eric Smith on Acting



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  1. I received the following e-mail and was granted permission to post it here:

    Dear Carolyn,

    Thank you for the interesting bio of Chad Eric Smith who will be starring in the “Black Kerchief”. I’ve never met Chad, but certainly will be in attendance this coming Sunday night to ask for his autograph. However, I do know Matt Kappel who is a 2011 graduate of Chatham University. Matt lives in Ligonier with his wife Jess, and is the Writer, Director, Editor, and Producer of the film “Black Kerchief”.

    Thanks, too, for a nice synopsis of the film and mentioning that it will premiere at the Hollywood Theater in Pittsburgh on Sunday, August 28, 2011 at 7 p.m., and directing us to the trailer at .

    Your excellent article brings more news of Ligonier to the world. Keep up the good work!!

    Romayne Breniser

    Comment by carolyncholland — August 26, 2011 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  2. Black Kerchief … a long way from rocks and minerals in 4th grade, Matthew. All learning is good. You have always been a student, i.e. a person interested in learning. Keep up the great work.
    I can’t wait to see your film.

    Marcia S.

    Comment by marcia — August 27, 2011 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

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