Tag Archives: Grace Obeng

DEVIL’S FIVE RED CARPET WORLD PREMIERE

 

Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham with Paula & Rosina Wickham on the Red Carpet

Leading up to Devil’s Five Red Carpet Premiere, it was a lot of work trying to get the word out, promoting the event as much as possible.  I did everything I could to tell people (in person, phone, texting, emails, my website and all related social media), make the effort to land sponsors (I got Darkside Haunted House & Chambers of Horror NY for Devil’s Five Red Carpet Premiere and Long Island Ice Tea for After Party) and attempt to get radio/TV and journalists to cover our night to remember.

 

Devil’s Five Partners (left to right) Edwin M. Figueroa, Terry R. Wickham and George Brianka

There’s most definitely pressure and a high level of stress that comes with striving to influence people to buy tickets to see our unknown film.  Add that people don’t always have extra money, many don’t like to go out to the theater, combined with the increasing attention deficit level of today’s society, it was a difficult task to say the least.

“Abandoned” Star Siakie Tetteh with Jevon Duff

Also, folks have so many things to choose to do on the last night of their weekend, you can add another level of difficulty.  Plus throw in our culture’s addiction to not letting go of their phones, NFL games, Halloween activities and the Season 8 Premiere of The Walking Dead, it all made it a difficult road to plough.

“The Devil’s FIve (aka The Wraparound) Star Kevin Cusick on the Red Carpet with Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham

Sunday October 22, 2017 was a beautiful day in on Long Island.  The days leading up to that day I approached just like when I direct a movie.  I like to slow things down, simplify my life and try to do the things that relax me and keep me calm.  There is a stillness that I believe works wonders against things that can go a little crazy.  I do a lot of thinking, work out, do yoga and watch parts of movies that inspire me.

“The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” Actresses Rachael Scarr & Chanise Renae bask in the light of Devil’s Five World Premiere

I wanted to get to Seaford Cinemas early, so I could set up, set the volume level of the movie and be prepared to show a film I’d spent four years making.

“Choke” Actor Kata Peragine gets mic’d for his Red Carpet Interview

As usual, life can take you on turns and like a movie set, things can change like the weather.  I went to pick up a chicken salad for dinner, but Wendy’s drive-thru wasn’t fast at all and I ended up waiting 20 minutes in the drive-up window line.  Then when I got to the theater, I was behind with all the hustle and bustle that I never even got to set the volume level of the theater because I was doing other things that were necessary.

Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham with “Stash”/”The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” and “Choke” Actor Jesse Ray Sheps

As a director we like to think we have some control.  The truth is we can’t make money grow on trees, we cannot stop the clock from it’s endless circling and the weather, forget having power of that.  Mother Nature does what she wants to do.  People, that’s a whole other story.  We can’t snap our fingers and give them all the same work ethic, commitment to the film or drive to endure countless hours of filming/promoting etc.  Unfortunately, this is all just part of the process of making movies.

“Abandoned” (left to right) Star Aaron Mathias, 1st AC Giorgio Savona, Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham and Director of Photography Adrian Popescu

When I was a senior in high school right before graduation, my school, Snohomish High School (in Snohomish, Washington) passed out a magazine to all Seniors to give all of us something to read to inspire us to go forward with our lives.

Lucky for me this magazine had Rob Bottin, the Special Make-up Effects Artist from John Carpenter’s The Thing on the cover. Inside there was a huge article about how involved he got it on that film (which is one of my three favorite movies and the film that solidified me wanting to become a film director) and the incredible details about how long & hard he worked on that film.

Bottin spent a year working on the effects, most of which had never been attempted on film or duplicated since. The werewolf-like bearded effects whiz led a full team of artists into uncharted science-fiction horror territory and ending up in the hospital with nervous exhaustion.  His unearthly work ethic, combined out of the world creativity was something I admired and was determined to imitate.  Looking back at that now, I don’t know if sometimes if it’s a blessing or curse I choose to follow in his dedicated footsteps.

It was moving seeing all the people that came to support Devil’s Five. The turnout was big-time and everyone was excited to see the film.  This included not only cast and crew from all five movies, but friends, acquaintances, coworkers from each of the respective members of the films and total strangers who learned about our Red Carpet World Premiere in some way.

“Stash”/”The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound) actor Michael Pope, his friend Brenda Albert and Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham

Some of the folks I had not seen in near 30 years. Others in time increments short of that, but still long periods of time ranging from 5 to 10 years and so on.  The fact that those people would come to see our movie was incredibly gratifying and something that we did not take for granted. For them to choose us was inspiring and humbling at the same time.

Stash Actress Tina Surabian & husband with Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham

Seeing all the people that showed up to support Devil’s Five one couldn’t help but be touched deep inside. This happened on multiple levels because these people cared enough to be there for us and did what they had to, to view the film in it’s greatest exhibition setting.

“Stash” Music Composer Geoff Tyson, Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham and Writer Timothy David Clark

I was literally blown away that “Stash” Music Composer Geoff Tyson flew in from Prague.  Others drove from all over New Jersey, New York City and Long Island.  Larry Levy (our Riverhead Representative) drove down from Utica and caught just the last 25 minutes of the movie, but the fact he made it for even a part of the movie meant a lot.

“Abandoned” Stars Aaron Mathias & Siakie Tetteh with Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham

Meeting new people, seeing old friends and reuniting with the cast and crews was remarkable. I was very aware that the chances of seeing all those people together one place again was probably not likely to happen again. So I cherished it.

The Red Carpet was a little bit difficult to navigate since there were so many folks in the lobby. We had to take our turns getting in front of the camera for photos and at the same time Nicholas Girimonte & his documentary team tried doing interviews for the documentary they are creating to chronicle of momentous evening.

Devil’s Five Red Carpet World Premiere Documentary Crew (left to right) Issac Wong, Sal Peretti, Deddrick Raymond, Daniel Pomboyno and Nick Girimonte

I spent a great deal of time preparing my Introduction for the film. I wanted to try to inform the audience as much as possible about the difficulties we faced making Devil’s Five.

FIlmmaker Terry R. Wickham’s Introduction of Devil’s Five

I wasn’t doing this for pity or any kind of self-gratification. I thought it was important the audience knew some the many obstacles we had to overcome to get Devil’s Five to the big screen. I felt that if I was sitting in the audience I would want to know those things, since it would ultimately make me appreciate the movie even more. I planned to only speak 8 to 9 minutes. I probably spoke closer to double that, but the whole time I was conscious of the audience’s reaction and my sense of what I should say. I must have done okay as I got a lot of compliments afterwards.

Watching Devil’s Five on the big screen with audience was just thrilling experience for myself and I’m sure my two partners in the other theater (Edwin told me the next night seeing it on the big screen was great).

“The Devil’s Five (aka The Wraparound)” Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham with Actress Nadie Lahaie

We sold enough tickets that I had my cast and crew from “The Devil’s’ Five (aka The Wraparound)”, “Abandoned” and “Stash” and the ticket buyers I had influenced in one theater. While George and Edwin had their cast and crew from “Don’t Say These Words” and “Choke” and the tickets they sold in a second theater.

“Abandoned” Stars Aaron Mathias and Siakie Tetteh

It was beyond cool listen to the audience react to scares, suspense, humor and drama.  There were laughs, I heard some screams and saw people covering their face in fear throughout the entire running time of the film.  This made the experience a it lot of fun for everyone in attendance.

“Abandoned” Red Dress Maker Grace Obeng, Writer/Director Terry R. Wickham, Star Siakie Tetteh

After the film finished, there was rousing deep-felt response, which was made everything it took to get to this point worth it.  Then I did a Q&A in my theater for about 15 minutes and George & Edwin did a shorter Q&A in their theater.

“Abandoned” Dress Designer Grace Obeng & Star Siakie Tetteh are living it up on the Red Carpet Devil’s Five World Premiere

After the last credit I got a lot of great responses from audience members.  I tried to poll as many people as I could to get a feel on what they really liked, and the truth is I heard lots of different answers to what was their favorite episode.

Audience members Brandon Brass, Andrew Cohen and Michelle Morales are psyched to see Devil’s Five

Also I asked as many people as I could about what was the scariest part, I heard a lot of different reactions, which I took as a very good thing since Devil’s Five has so many different things offer. Everyone seems to agree that all the segments are totally different, which made our film diverse and very entertaining.

Left to right Sal Peretti films interviews, while Deddrick Raymond takes stills on the Red Carpet

I had to breakdown the Red Carpet banners and all the stuff I had brought to the theater, so by the time I got to Runyon’s for the After Party, a lot of people had already left, but I still spent a good hour talking to those who remained at got a lot of great feedback from both regular audience members and loved catching up with cast & crew.

Brandon Brass and Glenn McBride with Devil’s Five Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham

I’m a little surprised that there were at least 25 people that bought tickets that didn’t show and just as many cast & crew that cancelled coming in the few days leading up to the event.  I also expected probably fifty more people beyond that who seemed like they were genuinely coming but never showed.  In today’s world of flakey, flighty, unreliable people, Devil’s Five Red Carpet World Premiere still attracted almost 300 people into two movie theaters.  It’s an accomplishment and event nobody will soon forget.

 

Abandoned Principal Photography Phase 1 (April 23) Part 1

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Photo Jason Paluck

 

The principal photography for Abandoned happened in two phases.

The first phase was done Saturday April 23 and Sunday April 24, 2016.  That weekend the production went to a legendary location on Long Island that provided the film’s uninhibited setting.

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Director Terry R. Wickham on set. Photo Jason Paluck

 

Director Terry R. Wickham and Production Coordinator Jason Paluck first scouted this place in November of 2015 and key production team members had been there more than once in preparation for the shoot.  But as easy as it was to get in and out of it those times, things changed once shooting begun.

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Writer/Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham kneeling shares his vision for the moody scene filmed in the underelly of the huge structure. Photo Jason Paluck

The first scene to be shot of the movie was filmed in the bowels of one of the most noticeable structures on the property.  Though there was no electricity on the premises, Director of Photography Adrian Popescu brilliantly lit the scene with a couple of flashlights strategically placed amongst pipes and darkness, to go along with the high Lumens flashlights provided by Production Designer Michelle Rickert.

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DP Adrian Popescu got Wickham’s vote for the Prince of Darkness when he shot the dark first scene to go before the camera using only flashlights. Photo Jason Paluck

 

This scene went off without a hitch and looks absolutely dynamite. Proof of this is filmmaker Terry R. Wickham recently took a meeting with two producers about directing another film and after they saw this scene, they wanted to hire the DP for their movie.

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Make-Up Artist Alexa Branco prepares Siakie Tetteh for the shoot

 

But then the production hit some unexpected snags after the team made it’s way up through the large building.  While DP Popescu and 1st AC Giorgio Savona set up a beautiful slider shot down an super long hallway, Make-Up Artist Alexa Branco applied make-up to the two lead actors.  Suddenly without warning  there was loud pounding sound that stopped everyone in their tracks.

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DP Adrian Popescu sets up the slider shot that was to capture the long hallway of the structure, but unfortunately that got cut short. Photo Jason Paluck
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Editor/Production Coordinator/Still Photographer Jason Paluck (right) was a Godsend to Abandoned. He took the director to the location that inspired Terry Wickham to write the story of Abandoned. He found all the locations used in the movie and will be handling all the Editorial Post Production work as well. This is not to mention, almost all the photos within this blog were taken by Jason Paluck.  Definitely a man of many talents. Photo Jason Paluck

 

Production Coordinator Jason Paluck went to see the source and  discovered that the windows were being boarded up on the edifice.  This was probably in preparation to keep out kids  who would soon be out of school.  Production promptly stopped and Director Wickham consulted with Paluck on the choices they had.  Wickham decided to wait it out to see if the personnel outside would go away.  After a half-hour to 45 minutes the people outside moved over to the other side of the building, where the production team had taken silent refuge.

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A view of the connecting walk-way the production never got a chance to venture down during shooting, because of the circumstance. Photo Patrick Reilly

 

Based on the fact there was no way to get to the adjacent building the structure was connected to it, was decided to go back out the way everyone had come.  This proved easy and but the big problem was now the place the production had prepared to shoot in could not be used.  This definitely sucked because Wickham had mapped out every single shot with Popescu on a previous visit to the location.

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DP Popescu and 1st AC Savona captured beautiful imagery within the rundown spot. Photo Jason Paluck

 

So most of the team followed Wickham to another structure on the property rarely visited.  At the same time Paluck went with Popescu and Savona to see if the most iconic structure was available to enter. It was and after scoping out the best place to continue, three shots where filmed that captured the gloomy atmosphere of the place and propelled the story forward.

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Director Terry R. Wickham & Director of Photography Adrian Popescu on set. Photo Patrick Reilly

 

Wickham talks about his Cinematographer Adrian Popescu, “I choose to work with Adrian because not only was his cinematographery was first rate, but like his calm demeanor and positive attitude.  This was a movie where the shots had to be done pretty quickly without standard equipment and he was outstanding at capturing the film in some truly dark situations with little to no lights.  Plus communication is key between a director and DP.  I felt he clearly understood what I envisioned yet still brought his own skills to the table to make it even better.”

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DP Adrian Popescu (low left) sets up a slider shot that drifts past red Hazardous Waste Bags set up by Production Designer Michelle Rickert (low right). Photo Jason Paluck

 

On Abandoned, Production Designer Michelle Rickert was working on her 4th film with Terry R. Wickham.  Terry says, “She’s wonderful.  Works like a demon, never complains and always brings authentic details to every production that have made them better.  I consider her definitely part of the core team of people I work with. Again, she was without question fully committed to the movie going on multiple scouting visits to locations, preparing all the props in the movie in advance and the make-up effects as well.  I couldn’t be happier with Michelle.”

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The Devil’s Five veteran Patrick Reilly was back to record killer sound for Abandoned. Photo Jason Paluck

 

Patrick Reilly was the Sound Recordist just like he was on The Devil’s Five segment.  The Director says, “Pat was one of only two people that came from The Devil’s Five.  That gave me a sense of comfort with the dialogue recording and because I knew his skills and that he could roll with the hard work necessary for Abandoned.”

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Wickham loves how DP Popescu shot Abandoned. Photo Jason Paluck

 

Around 2:00 pm the production took lunch out in front of the dwelling.  After 20-30 minutes, the group hit another couple unexpected  obstacles. Right before the film team went back into the imposing Gothic structure, a fire truck with ladder appeared at the front of the building and a member of the fuzz was parked down the hill in the back, with a bunch of teenagers sitting on the ground.

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Photo Jason Paluck

 

Wickham wasn’t about to stop shooting the movie, so he lead 3 others into the building.  Unfortunately the team got split up and the other production personnel were not so ballsy.  When they made it to the back of the looming roof with walls, rather than entering, they sat down on a log in an attempt and wait out the law enforcement viewer.

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1st AC Giorgio Savona assists DP Adrian Popescu. Photo Jason Paluck

 

What made this especially frustrating for the director was that within the building there was absolutely no cell phone reception and extremely limited texting available.  Wickham says, “I could see the rest of my crew & cast right out the window, but couldn’t do anything to contact them.  So again, I had to be patient and wait it out until the patrolman and the fire truck left.  Once they did almost everyone came in to finish.”

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Photo Jason Paluck

 

Wickham further elaborates, “Listen when you are shooting a super limited budget film you have to do what’s necessary to get a movie made.  We certainly didn’t have the budget to make our own sets so you have to resort to what’s available.  Our production wasn’t the first and won’t be the last to film there.”

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A screen grab from Abandoned shows how amazing Siakie Tetteh is as video-vixen model “Billie Winters”

 

Once filming resumed Siakie Tetteh got the chance to really show her stuff as the video vixen model “Billie Winters.”  Wickham says, “Siakie owned the role.  She played “Billie” with just the right combination of fearlessness as a sexy model and brought emotional depth and sensitivity that will make the audience care about what happens to her.”

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Photo Jason Paluck

 

The startling red dress Siakie wears during the movie’s big photo session was a showstopper.  Siakie got super talented stylist Grace Obeng, who like Siakie is from Ghana, to hand-make the dress for her.   This costume ate most of the movie’s budget but Wickham knows it was money well spent.  “Listen the first photo session is the movie’s center.  Everything that happens builds towards it and then cascades down after it.  So we had to have an exceptional eye-popping dress that would make Siakie look sensational and Grace designed something that exceeded my expectations.”

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In this screen grab from the movie Abandoned, “Steve” (played by Aaron Mathias) prepares for his photo shoot with “Billie”

 

Aaron Mathias proved to be the right choice as the Photographer “Steve.”  Wickham gives the scoop on the tall actor, “I had been wanting to work with Aaron for a couple years.  What I knew of him before production was he as a smart guy who had a real good grasp of what’s important in life.  Social things and attitude.  I thought that would carry over into the character and without question it did.  Aaron has a real natural acting approach that makes everything he does just seem so real.”

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Aaron Mathias plays “Steve” the photographer that brings “Billie” (Siakie Tetteh) to the dilapidated locale that leads to terror. Photo Jason Paluck

 

Unfortunately the delays during the day hampered the team from finishing all that needed to be done.  Wickham intended to finish what they started the next day after some exterior shots but unfortunately that didn’t happen.  Read his next blog to find out what happened instead.