Matthew Goldberg: A Solon Success Story


A picture captured the NFL 100th Anniversary commercial that Matthew Goldberg directed

Sabriya Zaman, Contributing Writer

According to US News & World Report, Solon High School has been ranked sixth in Ohio highschools and 188th in STEM schools. The Solon schools district is recognized across the Cleveland area for its high academic standards, standardized testing, state report cards and academic teams. Although the above rankings are mostly attributed to Solon’s academic standings, Solon students are also high-achieving when it comes to the arts. At Solon High School (SHS), there are countless opportunities for students to explore videography, creative writing, theater, music and painting. Solon’s show choir, Music in Motion (MIM), band, orchestra, and newspapers (Images and The Courier) are also widely praised throughout our Cleveland district. The art programs at SHS have helped many students discover their passions. And Matthew Goldberg— a 2000 Solon graduate who found success in the film industry— is no exception. Since Goldberg is so grateful to SHS for encouraging him to capitalize on his artistic abilities, he wants to reward students who have a proclivity towards the arts with his new scholarship.

Matthew Goldberg is living proof that you can make your passion a lifestyle. With the encouragement and support of his family and David Bruce (his Communications teacher), Matthew Goldberg studied at the esteemed University of North Carolina: School of Arts. Then, he slowly worked his way up to owning a production company called Film Forties that has three different divisions: scripted, non-scripted and commercial. Now, Goldberg is an executive producer who has now worked with HBO, Amazon, Netflix and A&E on various projects including the NFL 100th Anniversary commercial, a documentary TV series called State of Play and an eerie documentary called The Keepers to name a few.

In middle school, Matthew Goldberg became fascinated with movie production. He grew up in Youngstown, OH where his family was involved at the Ballet Western Reserve/Youngstown Ballet and the Jewish Community Center in Youngstown. The Goldbergs participated in youth theatre series, juried art shows and art classes, and by putting on those productions, Matt fell in love with the process of creating a cinematic masterpiece and presenting it to the audience. 

“Matt, as a middle schooler, had the opportunity to work with the union stage crew hanging sets, preparing the stage and learning about lighting and sound production,” said Matthew Goldberg’s father, Alan Goldberg. “All of these opportunities provided an understanding that what goes on in production is a lot more than you might see on stage, in front of an audience.”

In 10th grade, Goldberg moved to Solon High School and took a Communications class taught by David Bruce. At first, Matthew Goldberg had his heart set on pursuing film special effects, but Bruce’s class helped Goldberg restructure his aspirations to fall in line with producing. A producer specifically manages all the pieces of production including the story, talent and budget from the beginning to the end. 

Even though Goldberg didn’t always know exactly what he wanted to pursue, one thing he knew for sure was that creating videos were a better expressive outlet for him than writing. He had always been a visual and kinesthetic learner because communicating through a film instead of an essay came easily to him. His communications classes were where he could get a hands-on opportunity to create his own unique projects.

“Through [Bruce’s] classes, we had the opportunity to produce content for a local public access station, film weekly news programs, music videos and special events,” Matthew Goldberg said. “It really opened my eyes to TV production and some of the basic jobs that go into creating a piece of content.”

Unfortunately, sometimes classes that involve videography, dance, theatre performance, theatre arts and music are deemed “less essential” by school administrators. The state requirement to take at least one Math and English class each year, but only one credit fine art unintentionally stigmatizes art classes. This smaller requirements inadvertently creates a disparity between art and core classes. But Alan Goldberg feels like art classes offer a more interactive approach to teaching—something that standard core classes don’t have. 

“I am a believer that providing hands-on experiences with opportunities to present those experiences, offer [students] chances not found in many traditional classrooms,” Alan Goldberg said. “Unfortunately, we sometimes see these as less important, but for some students these become their core curriculum and their passion.”

This sentiment illustrates why there is such a need for arts to be promoted. Enter Matthew Goldberg’s ingenious scholarship, The David Bruce/Goldberg Family Scholarship, that will give Solon students the opportunity to receive a $5,000 scholarship based on their art portfolio. The scholarship was named after David Bruce who was an integral part of Matt’s journey. 

“Qualification for the scholarship will be based on a body of work, recommendations and the strong demonstration and determination to build a career in the Arts,” Matthew Goldberg said. “Transcripts, grades and class rank will not be considered and more specific criteria will be released in early 2020.” 

Kelly Tailford had the honor of teaching David Bruce’s celebrated Communications class after his departure. Presently, Tailford teaches English 9 CP (College Prep) and 12 CP, but when she used to teach Communications, she heard lots of great things about Bruce and his beloved class. 

She has been trying to promote Media Communications (the class that shares similar aspects to the communications class Matt took when he used to go to Solon) to her freshman because it gives them the opportunity to see the “behind the scenes” aspect of creating videos. 

“I am trying to sell it to [the freshmen] because I think it is so valuable,” Tailford said. “I like that with Media Communications you can be involved in a variety of ways…like last year I know there were students who really enjoyed being on camera and they got to take advantage of that, but they also had other requirements too, so they got to see the different pieces and parts of all roles.” 

So, if you are an aspiring movie producer, actor or really anyone interested in pursuing art as a career, this scholarship is for you. If telling a story through a video or a song comes easier than conveying it on paper, Matthew Goldberg understands that feeling and wants to reward those who learn differently. 

“I know that there are many students just like me and I’d love to give students the ability to express themselves in a different medium.”