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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?