Episode 10: Becoming an Ex-Con Filmmaker, Journalist, & Earning Master's Degree While Serving 21 Years in Prison with Seth Ferranti

Peter “Chappy” Meyerhoff sits down with ex-con filmmaker Seth Ferranti.

A military brat, Seth was into drugs at the ripe young age of 13. At age 19 in high school, he had built an empire, supplying around 15 colleges across five states. In 1991, he became one of the first targets in the expanded war on drugs. He was initially arrested on the state level for “conspiracy to distribute LSD”. But upon discovering his extensive, nationwide network, he was reindicted at the federal level with a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE) charge.

Seth decided to fake his suicide in order to avoid jail time and moved to L.A. to lay low until all was forgotten. However, y then, he was one of the U.S. Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted Fugitives and it was quickly discovered that his “suicide” was a hoax. He was incidentally arrested when a shop owner called the cops after finding Seth and a friend smoking a joint behind his property, and in three days, the police matched Seth’s prints.

At 23 years old, Seth was sentenced to 25 years.

Determined to move past this period in his life as fast as he could, Seth found refuge in education. His love for writing and studying brought him a surprising amount of success while in prison: Seth earned three college degrees, including a Master’s, wrote 22 books on gangsters, drug lords, and prison gangs, and, alongside his wife, founded a publishing house and website, Gorilla Convict, and started a career as a journalist writing for VICE, Penthouse, and others.

After being released he started making films. In 2017, Seth wrote and produced White Boy, which is currently on Netflix. He currently has numerous projects in production and development.

Topics Discussed: 

  • [00:18] Seth’s story
  • [07:12] Losing his empire and going to prison
  • [12:15] Faking his own death
  • [21:25] Getting sentenced to 25 years at 23 years old
  • [25:28] Graduating with a Master’s and starting a writing career behind bars
  • [40:37] Writing for VICE in prison and working with his wife to found Gorilla Convict
  • [49:08] Making films after his release from prison
  • [56:41] Seth’s current projects

Connect with Seth Ferranti: 

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Key Quotes:

  • I never considered myself a criminal. I considered myself an outlaw.
  • Our criminal justice system and our prison system are corrupt.