Filmmaker hopeful for BET contest

Rap battles are classic. Whether it’s good versus evil, East Coast versus West Coast or something simple, like two disc jockeys going head-to-head for the top spot.

Peterson “Petey Pete” Sylvert, 23, a fourth-year graphic design student from Fort Lauderdale, has taken this simple concept and incorporated an interesting twist.

The aspiring filmmaker is debuting his first short film, “Scratch Hustlers” in late November to Black Entertainment Television’s Lens on Talent competition. He anticipates the film to air toward the end of that month or early December. 

The Johnson & Johnson sponsored competition is for up-and-coming filmmakers to submit work for a chance at furthering their film careers and a grand prize of $100,000. The competition airs on BET Sundays at noon.

The 10-minute film is about an easy-going unknown disc jockey portrayed by WANM 90.5 FM radio personality, Byron “Byron J” Johnson. He ends up battling a group of popular club disc jockeys, the School Boyz. The School Boyz are Sean-D, Dressey Baby and DJ SpeedRacer and they play themselves in the film.

Johnson, a 24-year-old fourth-year biology student from Jacksonville, said the movie would relate to students easily because it is based on events that many of them have experienced.

The movie chronicles the feud between Johnson’s character and The School Boyz and it culminates with a rap battle.

According to Sylvert, the film shows the disc jockey’s role in parties and showcases the Tallahassee music scene. He did not hesitate to mention the film is about more than just being a great disc jockey.

“The film has drama,” Sylvert said. “There is significance to the movie. I mean there are DJ skills in the film but the movie is a drama.”

The drama he speaks about is the events leading up to the battle.

“There is an instigating radio host who creates conflict between the unknown DJ and the

School Boyz,” Sylvert said, not wanting to spoil the film.
According to Johnson, some of the clubs where scenes take place in the movie should be familiar to students.

“The movie is actually loosely based on Tallahassee [night] life,” Sylvert said. “One scene is shot in the Moon [nightclub].”

Johnson, who said he has not acted before, has learned the difficulty of acting from this experience and has deemed it a positive one.

“After this experience, I can definitely respect people who act,” Johnson said. “It was a lot of fun.”

Sylvert is confident that “Scratch Hustlers” will be a success. He intends to win this competition and make more films in the future.