Tag Archives: Megan Penn

Terry Direct’s the Trailer for Whatever It Takes

Right to left Director Terry R. Wickham stands ready to get started while Steadicam Operator Frank Angelcyk discuses shot with Director of Photography Adrian Popescu, 1st AC. Giorgio Savona listens arms folded.

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.

The lead actors of Take It Back are (left to right) Nicholas Calhoun, Anthony Bisciello, Phil Locastro and Rocco Gioia

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.

(L to R) Director Terry Wickham leans down to look at his shooting script, while Grip Ian Biesinger is ready to assist, DP Adrian Popescu lines up shot, with Steadicam Operator Frank Angelcyk listening.  Giorgio Savona holds the Steadicam. Near far right actor Rich Haddad sits preparing to play the role of “Dan”

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.

(L to R) Grip Eileen Viglietta, Steadicam Operator Frank Angelcyk, Gaffer Dexter Fenner, DP Adrian Popescu, 1st Giorgio Savona holding Steadicam, Grip Ian Biesinger adjusting light

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.

In the screen grab from the Trailer for Take It Back, DP Adrian Popescu really captures  the moment with his lens and lights as Nicholas Calhoun plays “Lorenzo”

There’s one shot between his acting and the composition Adrian Popescu orchestrated, which looks right out of a Michael Mann film.

In this screen grab from the Trailer for Take It Back, “Gino” (Rocco Gioia) listens to “Mike’ (Phil Locastro) rant to “Betty” (Janice Silver)

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 really shines in the scene as “Sarah”, Sound Recordist Mark Fraunhofer holds the boom mic

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.

In this screen grab from the Trailer for Take It Back, “Sarah” (Megan Penn) is trying to deal with the death of a loved one. “Dan” (Rich Haddad) sits close to her right, while “Mike” (Phil Locastro) sits in the distant right

But Megan made them believers after seeing her performance.  I really enjoy working with her because she’s utterly committed and looks sensational.

Director Terry Wickham watches actress Janice Silver play “Betty” in front of Phil Locastro and Gocco Gioia, Grip Ian Biesinger leans legs crossed waiting to begin

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.

Cinematographer Adrian Popescu is a master of the camera in Yonkers, New York January 21, 2017

 

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.

DP Adrian Popescu and Director Terry R. Wickham show true chemistry as a filmmaking tandem. 1st AC Giorgio Savona has been part of both their filmmaking endeavors so far

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.

1st Assistant Camera Giorgio Savona between shots

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 with his rig

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.

 

Gaffer Dexter Fenner looks pleased to be part the shoot for the Trailer for Take It Back

 

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.

This is the only photo Terry could find that had Co-Producer RIchard Kern in. You can see Rick way back on the far right watching the scene scene shot of the four guys talking in the pew in Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church located in Yonkers, New York

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.

“Dan” (Rich Haddad) walks over to sit down next to his friend “Mike.” Steadicam Operator Frank Angelcyk follows capturing it happen

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 with boom on the set of the Trailer for Take It Back

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.

Make-Up Artist Regina Tune works her craft on actress Megan Penn

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 at work for the Trailer for Take It Back

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 operates the slate on the set of the Trailer for Take It Back

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 (center of photo) looks on as a shot is set up

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

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.

Director Terry R. Wickham as very pleased with his Camera Team (L to R) Adrian Popescu, 1st AC Giorgio Savona and Steadicam Operator Frank Angelcyk

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.

 

 

 

 

Megan Penn to Play “Sarah” in Whatever It Takes

Los Angeles/New York Actress Megan Penn will be playing “Sarah” in the upcoming trailer Whatever It Takes.

Director Terry R. Wickham says, “When I visualized the scene we are doing for the trailer, I felt there was a missing ingredient.  I sensed there should be a pretty woman mixed within the church scene to satisfy that part of the eventual watching audience.

I knew that not only should she be beautiful and sexy, but provide an innocence and softness the movie needs for balance.  Sort of a bright light mixed amongst the darkness of the situation and different moral characters.

I told this to Producer/Co-Writer/Actor/Creator Rocco Gioia.  I voiced that it would be smart if this female part became an integral supporting role within the feature film, because this would be unexpected and Rocco agreed.  I honestly looked at this part as sort of the Amy Brenneman “Eady” role in Michael Mann’s Heat, which is one of my favorite movies.

Rocco suggested we cast the actress that played my “date” in Edwin Figueroa’s Choke movie.  I couldn’t argue with that, so I called her.

Megan was immediately interested in playing the part and went as far as getting herself back to the East Coast from Los Angeles to be able to film the Trailer Saturday January 21st.  This shows incredible commitment & dedication on her part to the project.  I’m truly looking forward to working with her again, this time as her director.”

 

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Megan Penn is a Los Angeles Woman with New York blood. She was born in Long Island, New York and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles County. Miss Penn trained in a conservatory program at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, privately with Yale trained Gregory Berger Sobeck and at The Actors Collective with Bo Jesse Christopher. Feeling frustrated with the depth and complexity of female roles, she redirected her focus behind the camera, which led Megan to direct, write and star in her first short film Amenonamnia, a silent film about a woman who lives in her mirage-filled mind.  While well trained, but new to the Hollywood scene, old Hollywood glamour runs through Miss Penn’s veins. She is the distant great niece of Academy Award winner Anne Bancroft, who remains her greatest inspiration. Both actors are Strasberg alumni. Fiercely independent, Penn plans to be the kind of woman both in front  of and behind the camera. She will soon be featured in the upcoming notable art book ‘100 Women’ shot by fellow female filmmaker Nadia Lee Cohen.
@missmeganpenn

“Choke” Shooting begins Part 1

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Producer Terry Wickham talks to his Devil’s Five Partner/Director/Actor George Brianka before the shoot begins for “Choke” 11/5/16 New York City. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

I’ve got to tell you that producing and acting in a movie is a different experience than directing one.  It’s a lot less stressful.  “Choke” is actually the first movie I produced that wasn’t one of my own films.  I guess I must to have done a decent enough job, because I received propositions from two different directors to produce their next films.

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Left to right Lisa Zebrowski, Alexandro Jomar Ramirez , Terry Wickham, George Brianka and Jared Christopherson. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

As the Producer, I was responsible for putting together all the cast for a Red Carpet Event scene taking place at a supposed film festival and getting the main portion of dinner for the cast and crew (which numbered close to 25 people).

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Left to right Stephanie Almeida, Jesse Ray Sheps, Megan Penn get direction from Director Edwin M. Figueroa. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

When I was casting this scene I purposely choose more actors than were really needed, anticipating that some of them wouldn’t make it when the time came to shoot.  That’s exactly what happened.  Thank goodness I had experience to guide me, as three people out of 20, couldn’t make the shoot, so we were still good to go.

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Photographer Kato Peragine acts as part of the paparazzi, shooting the Red Carpet Event. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

As far as getting dinner, I made a bunch of calls to restaurants near the location and found that establishments in New York City are not as willing to helping a small production like ours versus Long Island or New Jersey.

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Director Edwin M Figueroa gives direction to Make-Up Artist/James Ippoliti’s “Date” Sarah R. Cruz on 11/5/16. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Thankfully I already had a good relationship with Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem and they provided most of the delicious food for the evening.

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Richard Kern (right) always likes working on movie’s like “Choke.” Paparazzi Photographer Christian Peragine (left) stands ready to take the next picture. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Also actor Richard Kern was able to get a tray of Baked Ziti from Dan Romano @ Frankies East Side Gourmet Italian Restaurant (located 313 Main Street Farmingdale NY 516-756-2753).

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Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Tiffany Figueroa (Edwin’s wife) took care of the rest of dinner that included spring rolls, yummy spaghetti & meatballs, snacks, drinks and more.  All in all there was more food than anybody could eat.

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Producer Terry Wickham in “Choke” acts in his natural role as a “Film Director.” Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

I don’t normally appear in front of the camera when I’m directing because watching the acting performances and viewing the shots is way too important.  Though I studied acting for 1-year at HB Studios in Manhattan, being in films is not something I yearn for or go out of my way to do.  But Edwin asked me and after all he had done for me as a cinematographer on my films Stash, XXistence Teaser Trailer, the Veronica Freeman music video “Again” and “The Devil’s Five” I couldn’t possibly turn him down.

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Left to right James Balsamo, Sarah R. Cruz, James Ippoliti, Terry Wickham, Megan Penn, Chris Sasser and some guy pacing in the back named George:) Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Since the scene was going to involve filmmakers, I decided to cast real directors & producers to join me in the scene.  Not every movie-maker wants to be on camera, so I did get turned down by a few and some didn’t even return my calls and or emails.

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Terry Wickham & George Brianka had a blast helping their Devil’s Five Partner Edwin M Figueroa, make the last episode needed to be shot, “Choke.” Photo George Brianka

 

Luckily I had some filmmakers who were up for the challenge and proved to be perfect for the film.

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On the first day of shooting “Choke”, you would swear George Brianka channeled the role of “Joe Cool” from Snoopy. Photo Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

My Devil’s Five Partner George Brianka, who Directed “Don’t Say These Words” segment and acts in “The Devil’s Five” segment as a pimp named “Mr. Jingles”, was more than game.  Edwin had seen first hand how good George can be on The Devil’s Five and plucked him out to act as the main character in the scene filmed.

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Jack Nicholson & Nick Nolte have nothing on Chris Blake Sasser. Terry spent a good deal of the night discussing all the things the two pals enjoy talking about. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

My long time writer/director buddy from Philadelphia, Chris Blake Sasser proved to be an excellent choice.  Chris has the look of a filmmaker who has dealt with the difficulties the industry can exert, sort of a “been-there done-that” quality, that made the scene more believable and in many ways a lot more fun as well.

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James Balsamo unleashed the full fury of ‘exploiting multiple meanings of words, similar-sounding words, always for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Filmmaker James Balsamo was a gas, providing a never-ending barrage of pans and quips that had most of us laughing.  Almost from the moment you spoke, James was quick to strike with a Double Entendre.   Plus he doesn’t let anything phase him.  He just flowed through the scene enjoying everything it had to offer him.

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James Ippoliti (left)  is a great storyteller and master of the “Selfie”, Terry Wickham and Sarah R Cruz got their mugs in this shot.  Photo James Ippoliti

 

James Ippoliti was another great guy to have in the scene because the Philadelphia based producer/journalist had lots of cool stories about his old radio show.  Plus all of us filmmakers had an affinity for movies made during the golden-era of horror (70s-80s), so there was a lot of talk about John Carpenter’s films, the best schlock films and so on, when we weren’t with our lovely on screen dates.

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Alexandro Jomar Ramirez played not only a important role as a filmmaker before the camera, but was valuable as Janine Giorgenti’s Wardrobe Stylist Assistant. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Fashion Stylist Alexandro Jomar Ramirez, who was on set to assist Designer/Wardrobe Stylist Janine Giorgenti, wanted to appear in the movie, so we put him in as a filmmaker.  All I can say is that Janine and Alexandro made James Balsamo, George and I look our best and of I think he had fun looking terrific as well.

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Some of the ladies left to right Megan Penn (front), Ingyang Muslin (back), Stephanie Almeida, in the distant right Noelle Figueroa and Alida Lang. Photo Kato/Christian Perigine

 

Speaking of which, I have to talk about the beautiful actresses who participated in the scene.

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Megan Penn sizzled as Terry’s “Date” for Red Carpet Event scene. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Megan Penn played my “Date” and scorched the screen in a spectacular red dress.  I really appreciate how she came in immaculate make-up and in that killer outfit.  I actually didn’t get to act that much with her because Edwin split us up on opposite sides of the scene.  But Megan made enough of an impression with Edwin, that she may end up playing a much bigger role in the film.

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Make-Up Artist Sarah R Cruz finally received some on camera love as James Ippolitit’s “Date.” Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

I was very happy to have Stash, XXistense Teaser Trailer, The Devil’s Five Make-Up Artist Sarah R. Cruz make her onscreen debut as George’s “Date.”  There’s no doubt that Sarah is a gorgeous woman and everyone loves her.  The fact that she’s worked with Edwin and I so many times before, not to mention George, makes us like a small film family.

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If you think you’re going to get something past Alida Lang, it’s not going to happen, as George’s character will attest. The ravishing beauty made her presence felt during the Film Festival scene. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Alida Lang who was in the XXistence Teaser Trailer, brought her good looks and ended up being elevated to a bigger role than just a “Date.” Alida has a wealth of experience in front of the camera and she did a wonderful job interacting with George.

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This shot captures the positive nature of Stephanie Almeida (right). She’s someone who loves smiling and passes that optimistic energy to everyone around her. Photo Stephanie Ellen Almeida

 

The striking brunette Stephanie Almeida played Chris Sasser’s “Date.”  Stephanie’s energetic approach made her a pleasure to be around and she juxtaposed nicely against Chris’ Hollywood-hardened self.

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Rrita Toka traveled a long way from Kosovo to New York City, but we were very lucky she did. The actress/model was wonderful for the movie as James Balsamo’s “Date.” Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Rrita Toka was incredibly sweet.   Rrita’s fine features contrasted nicely against James Balsamo, as his “Date.”  Where as James is a bit burly, Rrita sparkles like a exquisite piece of jewelry.

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Lisa Zebrowski hails form the mid-west and brought a totally different look the production needed. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

Lisa Zebrowski played Alexandro’s “Date” and with her dainty charm and red-hair came across as nothing short of chic.  Lisa told me she had a great time with everyone involved and that meant a lot to me as Producer.

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Ingyang Katja Müslin controlled the drinks given out, which were made of apple cider and cranberry juice. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Ingyang Katja Müslin was perfect in the role as the “Bartender/Waitress.”  The blonde, who comes from a potent mix of nationalities, was not just easy on the eyes, but wonderful to speak to.   You never guess such a feminine woman would be as skilled at climbing rock cliffs most folks wouldn’t dare think of scaling.

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This grin from Dazzle Lin is something you saw quite a bit on the set of “Choke.” Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Dazzle Lin has an unmistakable smile and zest that just makes her a joy to be around.  I found it a lot of fun to listen to her Taiwan accent and the exuberance she radiates.

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Noelle Figueroa was just as pleasant of a person as this photo suggests. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

Noelle Figueroa played the “Entertainment News Reporter” was very easy to get along with.  I didn’t interact with her a whole lot as she was placed on a different part of the set than I was, but she thanked me for putting together the group of actors that was there and that she had a great time.

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Ian Clarkson, seated in the middle of this photo (wearing sunglasses) was back working with Terry & Edwin, the first time since he was a Key Grip on Stash in July 2014. Photo Kato Peragine & Christian Peragine

 

It was great seeing Ian Clarkson again as it had been over two years since he worked on Stash.  I know from Edwin’s reaction when Ian walked in, that he was just as happy to have him in his movie. Since Ian has so much experience having worked on rigorous Realty TV shows and other film & TV, that acting as a “TV Cameraman” was a piece of cake.

To hear about Janine Giordenti’s amazing Wardrobe Styling and the rest of the cast & crew look for my next blog, which will finish off the November 5th Shoot for “Choke”