Saturday January 21, 2017 was a very productive day for filmmaker Terry R. Wickham. It was the beginning of a 16-hour period of time that he led 18 people in making the Trailer for Whatever It Takes. The shoot began with the crew arriving at a call time of 3pm and didn’t end until 6:45am the next day, Sunday January 22, 2017.
This opportunity brought some crew from Terry’s film Abandoned, mixing them with the main cast from Take It Back TV Episode 1 (2015) and some new cast & crew members.
Wickham talks how things went down, “Whenever you do a movie, trailer for movie or music video there’s no telling how things will go because you are combining all sorts of folks. Some are experienced, while others are not. You don’t truly know the commitment each person will make or the work ethic they will exert beforehand. So in some ways it sort of crapshoot. The one thing that’s certain is no shoot is ever exactly the same.
But as we went to work, it was obvious to me that we had some hard working talented people on board who cared about what we were doing.
There’s one shot between his acting and the composition Adrian Popescu orchestrated, which looks right out of a Michael Mann film.
Rocco Gioia played his character “Gino” not far off the vest. This was a smart choice on his part, as he come across very natural. Some of his lines & expressions with “Sarah” (Megan Penn) had me laughing.
Actress Megan Penn delivered as “Sarah.” Leading up to the shoot I was met with some opposition from some of the stalwarts on the project as they didn’t feel her character was necessary and couldn’t understand someone would fly in from Los Angeles to do the part.
But Megan made them believers after seeing her performance. I really enjoy working with her because she’s utterly committed and looks sensational.
Janice Silver really impressed me as “Betty.” Not only did she bring the wealth of her life experience to the role which made her very believable, but helped transport Megan to the shoot as well. Most important to me was her positive attitude. She didn’t complain one bit when it took a while to get to her first scene and I appreciated her patience and understanding of the filmmaking process.
Director of Photography Adrian Popescu proved is worth in gold and made a lasting impression on everyone who hadn’t worked with him before. I got compliments on his work from almost everyone.
What’s so great for me about Adrian is that even though I came in with a strong vision (every shot planned out), when you get in the throes of production sometimes you need to alter or cut shots. When this happened I would go to Adrian to ask what he thought and he always had excellent feedback when I had to make such decisions. To me, it’s not just telling the DP what to do, but at getting his creative input to germinate our visual partnership on the movie.
Having Giorgio Savona back from Abandoned as First Assistant camera was nothing but a joy. Giorgio understood Adrian’s working style and provided Adrian the assistance as his right hand man. Giorgio brings a real upbeat attitude that makes the hard work even more fun than it should be. I can’t wait to work with him again on the film I’m directing and Adrian is shooting next month called Gruesome Threesome.
Steadicam operator Frank Angelcyk stayed beyond the time he had initially agreed to, which really helped to get the floating shots I had envisioned for this scene. I credit this to his character and obvious friendship with Adrian, who brought him aboard the production. I haven’t seen the footage since we shot but in the monitor it looked quite good to me.
I could help but notice the effort given by Gaffer Dexter Fenner. I kid you not that the man virtual never stopped working. I saw him stepping over pews during takes to attend to lights, flags, apply diffusion on a never-ending basis.
I’ve got to give Co-Producer Richard Kern credit. Besides finding Dexter and the two grips and production assistant, Richard gathered all the food for the shoot and took care of some production logistics. This was very helpful for the shoot because Producer/Co-Writer/Creator/Actors Rocco Gioia and Phil Locastro were busy playing their respective roles.
We have to really thank Rich Haddad for getting the location, which not only looked good but was very comfortable filming in. Plus Rich played the character “Dan” seen early in the scene. I felt his contribution as an actor was valuable because he help set up the comradery of the scene.
Sound Recordist Mark Fraunhofer joined the team shortly before the shoot when the original sound guy departed three days before filming. Mark captured what was needed with a combination of his lavalier and boom mics.
It was great seeing Abandoned Make-Up Artist Regina Tune again and everyone loved working with her. She certainly did her job making the actors look as they could. I just adore her how beautiful of a person she is on the inside and outside.
Make-Up Artist Maria Alexandra was new to the team and she was quiet and went about her job in an almost unnoticeable way, which is a compliment to her.
Five Towns College ended up providing the two grips and production assistant, so I was happy with who came out of that institution. The knowledge and integrity each person displayed reflects that school well. Plus they were the only people who got to the location before me, which hasn’t happened often in my 30-year directing career. So right of the bat they made a good impression.
Grip Ian Biesinger was pretty invaluable jumping right into helping Dexter get the lights set up and then later taking the reins on updating and clapping the slate. Ian definitely has what it takes to do this type of endurance work. There seemed to be no job too big or small for his skills and that’s the perfect attitude needed to succeed in this business.
Grip Eileen Viglietta was a real breath of fresh air on the set. She came in with a smile on her face and carried enthusiastic spirit that was infectious. This may not sound like a big deal to you, but on a movie shoot that lasts a double a normal 8-hour work day, it’s huge in making the experience more enriching. Eileen was also right there helping with lights and all related equipment, which was exactly what was needed.
Production Assistant Nicholas Girimonte was another real find. Positive, interested in everything, he served as Richard Kern’s right hand man taking care of all sorts of things needed to be attended to. He is definitely passionate about filmmaking and that’s the single most important trait anyone can have to do this type of work.
The only real problems over the shoot was having some perfectly good takes ruined by people talking outside the set area and some normal delays with lighting and the Steadicam gear.
Despite a high page count and over 20 shots to get in limited time, the shoot for the Whatever It Takes was a success. Sure I had to alter some of the shots I was hoping to get, but that is expected on every production. I look forward to when the Trailer/scene is edited and ready for everyone to see exactly what we did up in Yonkers, New York on this January weekend.