Washington Road

In September 2001, Terry R. Wickham made a short film called Washington Road.  It was designed to be part of Good Morning America’s “I See Scary Movies” contest.  The movie had to be maximum 3-minutes long and not contain any elements that would prevent it from being broadcast on TV, if chosen a winner.

Director of Photography Sean McGinn did a phenomenal job setting the mood with his lighting for Washington Road.  This sequence was actually shot on a road called Washington Road in Mahopac, New York
Director of Photography Sean McGinn did a phenomenal job setting the mood with his lighting for Washington Road. This sequence was actually shot on a real road called Washington Road in Mahopac, New York.

Terry had entered the same contest the year before with his movie Sarah.  Terry says, “I was really frustrated when I saw the films that ended up winning.  Sarah was dark and serious, while the ones that won were kind of creepy but funny at the same time.”

Terry is focused on making Washington Road in Mahopac, NY
Terry is focused on making Washington Road in Mahopac, NY

So in response to seeing what the judges were looking for Terry wrote the script for Washington Road with his wife Paula.  Terry brought the scary-suspenseful side, while Paula added the humor, specifically the little plastic pink/orange hammer the “Killer” (Steve Deighan) uses to get the unsuspecting girl (Kim Vasilakis) in the truck.

Co-Writer/Co-Producer Paula Wickham came up with the idea of including the little pink/orange plastic toy hammer for the  "Hammer" scene.  This scene was shot in Massapequa, NY.
Co-Writer/Co-Producer Paula Wickham came up with the idea of including the little pink/orange plastic toy hammer for the “Hammer” scene. This scene was shot in Massapequa, NY.

The multiple choice plot line came out of Terry’s frustration as he didn’t know exactly which way he should take the movie, so gave  the audience the choice to select what they think is happening, with no wrong answer.

Danny Hayden, Steve Deighan, Kim Vasilakis and John Leone in Massapequa, NY.
Danny Hayden “Guy in truck”, Steve Deighan “Killer”, Kim Vasilakis “Girl in truck” and John Leone who plays “The Director” in Massapequa, NY.

Washington Road held casting auditions unconventionally in Penn Station because it was a public place central located and free.  Terry says, “I wouldn’t have been able to do it the same way a week later when on September 11th, New York City was attacked with the jets flying into the World Trade Center buildings.”

Diane Everheart stands upset, while John Baldi cringes at the situation.  This scene was shot Paula Wickham parents home (the late Santo & Rose Tavormina) in Massapequa, NY.
Diane Everhart stands upset, while John Baldi cringes at the situation. This scene was shot Paula Wickham’s parents home (the late Santo & Rose Tavormina) in Massapequa, NY.

That tragic day would be a big part of the shoot as cast & crew had friends & relatives lost in the disaster, which emotionally affected us all.  Terry says, “If you look at my wife’s Ford Explorer seen in the film, you will see an American flag on the radio antenna to show our support for our country.  Plus the very last credit dedicates the film to those who perished that day.”

In Massapequa, New York the little production really pulled together to try and deal with the massive destruction of 9/11, which happened 10 days prior to the shoot.
In Massapequa, New York the little production really pulled together to try and deal with the massive destruction of 9/11.

The film was shot 9 days later.  On Friday September 20th the movie within movie scene was shot in Massapequa.  Kim Vasilakis, Danny Hayden, Steve Deighan, John Leone, Paula Wickham, Rachel Germaine and Jeanne Vasilakis all appeared in the scene.  The next day, Saturday September 21, 2001 the production traveled north to film the opening and closing scenes.  These were photographed next to a water reserve for NYC in Mahopac/Caramel, New York.  The last shooting day took place at Terry’s inlaws home on Long Island in Massapequa, NY.  Diane Everhart & John Baldi performed the bickering couple.

DP Sean McGinn performs "Killer's" tracking shot around truck in Mahopac, NY.
DP Sean McGinn performs “Killer’s” tracking shot around truck in Mahopac, NY.

Because of the events of 9/11, Good Morning America cancelled their “I See Scary Movies” contest so it looked like there was nowhere to go with the film.  That is until Terry found the 3-Minute Chillers Contest running @ UrbanChillers.com the end of October, with only one day left before the entry deadline.  Terry says, “I called my Editor/DP Sean McGinn to ask if he could submit the film over the Internet and he did just before the cutoff date.”

Cinematography/Editor Sean McGinn lines up a shot in Massapequa, NY.
Cinematography/Editor Sean McGinn lines up a shot in Massapequa, NY.

Speaking of Sean McGinn, Washington Road would be the first of four films Terry would work with the Director of Photography/Editor/Post Production Supervisor (Washington Road, Help Me, Hair of the Dog & Anomaly Trailer).  Terry says, “There is absolutely no doubt that Sean McGinn elevated my film work.  His hard work, expertise with lighting, shooting, editing and post production work was one of the main reasons my films got better. ”

DP Sean McGinn lights the interior of truck in Mahopac, NY.
DP Sean McGinn lights the interior of truck in Mahopac, NY.

Washington Road would go on to be chosen by Apple Computer (the sponsor of 3-Minute Chillers Contest) as one of the Top-50 films of the contest.  Next came the intense wait to find out if it would be a Top-10 finalist by the folks @ UrbanChillers.com.  We found out the second week of December 2001, when the film was unveiled on their website with a gold skull designating it as a finalist.

Kim Vasilakis, Terry and Steve Deighan are having a great time shooting Washington Road in Massapequa, NY.
Kim Vasilakis, Terry and Steve Deighan are having a great time shooting Washington Road in Massapequa, NY.

The biggest news came in March 2002, when Paula Wickham received an International phone call on her cell phone (Terry didn’t have one at the time) that Washington Road had won the 3-Minute Chillers Contest.  The film beat an assortment of  films from all over the world in competition that included a 2-month online voting period (January 1st to the end of February 2002), which was open 24-hours a day/7-days a week.  We were later told that Washington Road was victorious in the Contest by a wide margin, which Terry considers one of his greatest accomplishments to date as a filmmaker.

Danny Hayden & Terry in Massapequa, while distance Sean McGinn sets up another shot.

Danny Hayden & Terry in Massapequa, while distance Sean McGinn sets up another shot.

 

Steve Deighan played "The Killer" in the movie and would later appear as an FBI Agent in Hair of the Dog.  The graveyard in the distance was part of the plot line of the of they young couple's parents being murdered & buried there by the "Roadside Killer."
Steve Deighan played “The Killer” in the movie and would later appear as an FBI Agent in Hair of the Dog. The graveyard in the distance was part of the plot line as one the young couple’s parents in the truck were murdered by the “Roadside Killer” and later buried there.

Kim Vasilakis and Danny Hayden played the young couple in the truck.  Listen to the dialogue in the beginning.  Are they talking about having sex or killing someone?

Kim Vasilakis and Danny Hayden played the young couple in the truck. Listen to the dialogue in the beginning. Are they talking about having sex or killing someone?

 

An onset "visitor" In Mahopac.  The real Washington Road street runs next to the West Branch Resevoir, which was being protected after 9/11.  This location is 47 miles north of New York City in Putnam County.
An onset “visitor” (the bottom of the light) in Mahopac/Carmel, New York. The real Washington Road street runs next to the West Branch Resevoir, which was being protected after 9/11 because it’s water is for New York City residents. This scenic shooting location is 47 miles north of New York City in Putnam County.  The production was worried that it could have been told to leave because of this, but thankfully that never happened.

 

Kim Vasilakis and Danny Hayden get ready to do the opening scene in Mahopac, NY.
Kim Vasilakis and Danny Hayden get ready to do the opening scene in Mahopac, NY.

 

Kim and Danny are not sure it's a real police officer behind them.
Kim and Danny are not sure it’s a real police officer behind them.  Paula Wickham took this shot (along with almost all these other shots) and influenced Terry & Sean to get the same shot in the movie.
Steve Deighan and Terry discuss the climax of the opening scene in Mahopac, NY.
Steve Deighan and Terry discuss the climax of the opening scene in Mahopac, NY.
DP Sean McGinn is about to shot the "Killer's" POV tracking shot approaching the SUV in Mahopac, NY.
DP Sean McGinn is about to shot the “Killer’s” POV tracking shot approaching the SUV in Mahopac, NY.

 

In Massapequa, Terry directs the middle scene in the movie that really throws the audience for a loop.
In Massapequa, Terry directs the middle scene in the movie that really throws the audience for a loop.

 

As "The Killer", actor Steve Deighan is ready for a little "Hammer" time.
As “The Killer”, actor Steve Deighan is ready for a little “Hammer” time.

 

Kim Vasilakis recoils with terror as "The Killer" Steve Deighan goes into the truck.
Kim Vasilakis recoils with terror as “The Killer” (Steve Deighan) comes into her truck.

 

Sean McGinn and John Leone discuss the film within a film.  John Leone had previously worked with Terry as the "Club Owner" in the movie Evil Streets.
Sean McGinn and John Leone discuss the film within a film. John Leone had previously worked with Terry as the “Club Owner” in the movie Evil Streets.

 

Sean McGinn looks on as Terry directs Rachel Germaine and Jeanne Vasilakis (Kim's mom) who play part of the film crew scene in film within the film.  This was shot in Massapequa, NY.
Sean McGinn looks on as Terry directs Rachel Germaine and Jeanne Vasilakis (Kim’s mom) who play part of the film crew shown in film within the film. This was shot in Massapequa, NY.

 

Kim & Steve relax between takes.  Steve is sitting on the exact same place where "Johnny Garrett" (Steve Rodriquez) attacked "Sheila" (Nicole Bryl) 5 years before in the movie Evil Streets.
Kim & Steve relax between takes, while Rachel Germaine is looking back at them. Steve is sitting on the exact same place (wooden pallets) where “Johnny Garrett” (Steve Rodriquez) attacked “Sheila” (Nicole Bryl) 5 years before in the movie Evil Streets.

 

Sean photographs, while Terry gives Danny extra direction.  This location is in Massapequa behind Pappalardo's Pizza Cove, located 1079 Hicksville Road in Massapequa, NY.
Sean photographs, while Terry gives Danny extra direction. This location is directly behind Pappalardo’s Pizza Cove, located 1079 Hicksville Road in Massapequa, NY.

 

Diane Everheart is OK with getting wired up for the scene shot @ the Tavormina's in Massapequa, NY.
Diane Everheart is OK with getting wired up for the scene shot @ the Tavormina’s in Massapequa, NY.

 

John Baldi plays "The Writer" at typwriter, while Sean sets his camera up in Massapequa.  The homeowners (the late Rose & Santo Tavormina) of this location are depicted in a life-like artistic drawing that hangs on the upper middle portion of this photo.
John Baldi plays “The Writer” at typwriter, while Sean sets his camera up in Massapequa. The homeowners (the late Rose & Santo Tavormina) of this location are depicted in a life-like artistic drawing that hangs on the upper middle portion of this photo.

 

Diane Everheart and John Baldi prepare for the scene.  This is the perspective Sean McGinn saw from her corner shot perspective in Massapequa, NY.
Diane Everhart and John Baldi prepare for the scene in Massapequa. This is the perspective Sean McGinn saw from his corner shot perspective.  The living room seen in the distance, was used 4 years earlier when busty superstar SaRenna Lee was filmed talking to her manager on the phone after reading the scary email she received, in the segment “Stalk” from the movie Evil Streets.

 

"Patches" the guinea pig,  one Paula & Terry's pets, watches the movie get made in Massapequa.
“Patches” the guinea pig, one Paula & Terry’s pets, watches the movie get made in Massapequa.

 

Diane Everheart and Sean McGinn prepare to do scene in Massapequa.  In the distance, all four of the Wickham's pets can be seen left to right: Sweetie Pie & Mariyln sit on their perches in bird cage.  Patches is the guinea pig in white bottom cage.  While "Midnight" the black gerbil is in the blue topped small aquarium.
Diane Everhart and Sean McGinn prepare to do scene in Massapequa. In the distance, all four of the Wickham’s pets can be seen left to right: Sweetie Pie & Cinnamon sit on their perches in bird cage. Patches is the guinea pig in white bottom cage. While “Midnight” the black gerbil is in the blue topped small aquarium.

 

Terry check the shot Sean McGinn has set up @ the Tavormina home.
Terry checks the shot Sean McGinn has set up @ the Tavormina home.  A life-like artistic drawing of the late Rose & Santo Tavormina hangs on the upper middle portion of this photo.

 

Diane Everheart argues the quality of "The Writer's" (John Baldi) work in Massapequa.
Diane Everhart argues the quality of “The Writer’s” (John Baldi) work in Massapequa.

 

John Baldi & Sean McGinn wait while Terry goes over his shot list to make sure they have everything in Massapequa, NY.
John Baldi & Sean McGinn wait while Terry goes over his shot list to make sure they have everything in Massapequa, NY.