Tag Archives: VFX Artist Martin Bresino

Stash is finally completed!

On Monday July 10th, 2017,  the slow-burn atmospheric “Stash” finally reached completion.  Stash is the second of five segments that make up the feature film Devil’s Five to be finished.

Terry directs young Jesse Ray Sheps, Richard Kern and Almog Pail in “Stash”

Producer-Director Terry R. Wickham talks about it, “I am extremely proud to have finished this movie, because in more one day it will be 3 years since we shot our first shooting day (July 12, 2014).  But more than surviving that long time frame, it is deeply gratifying overcoming all of problems we had to face.  As the Director of the film, I had to have not only the ultimate vision of what the film could be, but the endurance of a marathon runner and the inhuman patience of Michael Myers.   But you know what,  against the odds and disbelief of some people who doubted me, I accomplished my goal and fulfilled my vision of the film and I didn’t do it alone.

Executive Producer-Actor Richard Kern on the set of Stash @ Inwood Hill Park 7/19/14

First off, we didn’t raise enough money on our Indiegogo campaign to make the movie . Then Executive Producer-Actor Richard Kern stepped in the last hour of the campaign to donate a significant amount of money that enabled us to go forward and shoot the film. Not only did Rick support the movie with funds, but he also generously gave us his commercial van to transport all the equipment to and from shoots.  This was gigantic after we spent $500 a weekend the first shooting weekend renting a U-Haul van.  Without his van, we could not have afforded to haul the equipment needed for the rest of the shooting weekends.  Plus Rick chipped in more money, so that we could afford insurance on the movie.  He was unbelievably supportive.

Almog Pail stars as “Faith Daniels’ in Stash

Then we had to shoot at totally different locations than what was in the script, because we couldn’t secure those original locations.  The Salvetti family ended up allowing us to shoot on their 17 acres of wooded property in Califon, NJ, which was another huge help towards making Stash reality.  Many thanks to G. Paul Salvetti for playing such a big role in this happening.

A daytime view of the awesome location the Salvetti’s provided for Stash

Since we were severely under the budget needed, we had no choice to hire a sound recordist/sound designer who wasn’t really up to snuff.  This ended up becoming a nightmare.  This sound recordist/designer only showed up for half the time (which meant half the movie was silent) and when he did, the sound was so poorly recorded we had almost no usable dialogue.  Six months later, after replacing him with another sound designer, I had the cast re-record all of their dialogue (ADR) for the movie.  Afterwards, I thought this second sound designer was working on the sound over the summer of 2015, only to find out he lost his Visa and was shipped back to Europe.  Then in the fall of 2015, I got a third sound designer, who after starting working on it, resigned saying it was just going to be too much work to do.

Stash Director Terry R. Wickham, Sound Designer Thomas Jackson and Actor Jonathan Weirich “Minister Malcolm” in an ADR Session

So I had to find a fourth sound designer, whose name was Thomas Jackson.  Thomas determined the ADR that was recorded with second guy was not good enough and I was forced to bring back the entire cast  to perform all the dialogue a third time!  I give all the actors a ton of credit for doing this.

Almog Pail let’s it out as “Faith Daniels” in the second go around of Stash ADR Sessions in New York , NY

Thankfully Thomas was a up & coming pro and had use of professional audio recording rooms, at an audio school he was attending in Manhattan.  This proved to be pivotal because we didn’t have the money to rent out those types of sound recording rooms.

Sound Designer Bryan Lopes finished the last twenty percent needed to complete “Stash.” His expert skills and taste really brought the movie to a higher level,

You would think that was the end of the sound problems.  But after Thomas worked on the movie from January 2016 to first week of December 2016 (finishing about 80 percent of the sound work needed) without warning he totally stopped communicating and I never heard from him again.  I had no choice but to find a fifth sound designer and that’s where Bryan Lopes stepped in.  I can’t thank Bryan enough for being the sound closer for Stash.  I had all sorts of ideas on how to improve the film and together with his talent & an ear for finding just the right sounds, the work he did made Stash a heck of a lot more creepy and genuinely atmospheric.


The other major problem was that “Stash” is a movie that’s about a smart phone applicated scavenger hunt.  Every time we photographed the phone, we set it up with a green screen with black XXs, so that later in post, we could add our own motion graphic App. The original editor was going to handle this issue, but after a year and a half he still hadn’t tackled it.  So I replaced the editor and had to find someone who would (with no money).  After searching, I thought I found a VFX artist from School of Visual Arts, but ultimately she backed out and I really didn’t know if we were ever going to be able to pull it off.  Somehow a VFX Artist from Los Angeles named Martin Bresino contacted me and ended up doing all the smart phone VFX needed and he even created a onscreen demon for the movie.  To this day, I’ve never even seen a picture of Martin, but he really saved our film.  Without his amazing flawless VFX, we wouldn’t have a finished film.

The “EditingNinja” Jason Paluck, took over Editing “Stash” and even contributed some VFX shots

I can’t leave out Editor Jason Paluck.  A year and a half into the films making, Jason took over for the original editor.  He immediately went to work making trims, doctoring footage, color correcting the movie and even doing some of the visual effects Martin Bresino didn’t have time to do.  Jason has become not only a good friend, but an invaluable member of the Devil’s Five team and really cares about the outcome, since he edited both Stash and Abandoned.

Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham on the Califon, NJ set of “Stash”

Those who know me, know I’m incredibly motivated individual. But there was something that really drove me to finish Stash and make it the best it could be.  It was my former friend’s (a friend since 1987) response to seeing a rough cut of the movie. In his own words ( I’m copying & pasting a portion of his last email), “There’s also a huge issue with Stash. In my opinion, it would be impossible to make a releasable version of Stash. If you insist on trying to release Stash, I’m telling you it will only hurt your reputation and everyone else’s in it.  Stash simply does not work anyway.”

Director Terry R. Wickham defends his vision of Stash against all naysayers

His words and the lack of faith from a few other friends lit a fire under me.  I was determined to do everything I could, with the assistance of the talented post-production people mentioned above, to prove him/them wrong and to show the world the film’s numerous qualities.

Cast and crew of the “Bake Sale” scene for Stash 7/26/14

In the end, including all cast & crew, 56 People worked on “Stash.” It was a gigantic effort for such a challenging 31-minute low-budget film like ours, to overcome everything mentioned in this blog and even more that I didn’t say. The finished film is a real testament to everyone involved.  I can’t thank the cast and crew enough for all they did to make it happen.”

Abandoned Principal Photography Phase 2 (July 23) Part 1

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A screen grab from Abandoned shows that “Billie Winters” (played by Siakie Tetteh) sees something that terrifies her


During the 90 days between shooting phases of Abandoned Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham was extremely busy on the post-production of Stash and The Devil’s Five Segments from the feature film Devil’s Five.  Wickham says, “During this time we recorded the last couple ADR sessions of dialogue for Stash with Sound Designer Thomas Jackson and I honed on finding the right music composers for The Devil’s Five and Stash.  I found Houssem Turki from Tunisia for The Devil’s Five and Geoff Tyson for Stash in Progue.  Plus I was working with Editor Kris Ramsey on polishing The Devil’s Five Final Cut.

stash poster 5-14

I also had to unearth a VFX Artist for Stash.  I thought I had the right person in New York City, but they ultimately bowed out forcing me to locate another person, which I eventually did with a VFX Artist in Los Angeles named Martin Bresino.

Devil's Five Poster

I also found an excellent Sound Designer for The Devil’s Five located in Los Angeles named Juan Pablo Moreu, who dove right into the film supplying Foley, sound effects, cleaning and mixing the dialogue.  In the process of looking for the Sound Designer for TDF, I found Anthony Canchola in Chicago for Abandoned.

We also took advantage of this time to come up with multiple locations as backups for Abandoned in case we had trouble again at the original location, because I told Production Coordinator Jason Paluck we had to finish shooting the next time we all got together.”

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Jason Paluck teamed with Production Designer Michelle Rickert and scouted at least three new locations that could substitute in case needed.  Paluck actually had more places than that on his radar.

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Make-Up Artist Regina Tune (right) gets Siakie Tetteh (left) ready on the morning of Saturday July 23rd, while PA Jevon Duff (center) looks on


When the film team got back together on Saturday July 23, everyone was back except for the roles of make-up artist and 1st Assistant Camera.  Wickham says, “It’s almost impossible to expect a crew to be the same 3 months later because people travel, take vacation and move onto other projects.  Thankfully we found more than suitable production members in Make-Up Artist Regina Tune and 1st AC/Steadicam Operator Leftonred Atanycorner to step into those roles and I was relieved that the core crew remained the same.”

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Filmmaker Terry R. Wickham used the massive forsaken setting to generate as much suspense as possible 7/23/16


This time Wickham and Paluck devised ways for the production members to be as stealth as possible and not draw attention.  Wickham says, “Jason and I discussed at length what we could do differently the second phase..

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The decayed site was the perfect environment for the story of Abandoned to take place


The first thing was we gathered and parked most of the cars off the premises at 8am.  Then we ate breakfast there and then car-pooled in together in just two cars.  We wanted to start the day at a structure that nobody ever goes.  It’s a set of buildings we always planned on shooting the last couple sequences of the movie.  The only little thing we had to worry about was Jason noticed that poison ivy had grown up into the walkway into the building.  Thankfully he noticed this and we didn’t have a problem. ”

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In this screen grab from Abandoned, “Billie Winters” (Siakie Tetteh) runs for her life. This is captured magnificently by the Steadicam work of Leftonred Atanycorner on 7/23/16


The Director continues, “I had hoped to be there about 3 hours and we ended up there just short of 5 hours.  All things considered that wasn’t bad, as I had our Steadicam Operator Leftonred Atanycorner doing some pretty ambitious Steadicam moves.”

Production Designer Michelle Rickert was right in her element at the desolate location, providing an eye popping set piece for Abandoned on 7/23/16


The first scene of the day really let Production Designer Michelle Rickert create something ghoulishly spectacular.  Wickham expounds, “I think it’s the greatest set-piece Michelle has created so far on any of the films we’ve done together.  She knew how important the look of the space had to be in what we called “The Kill Room.”  What she did was further tell the story of the antagonists in visual terms and then Adrian’s remarkable lighting to go along with Lefty’s Steadicam work made it all gel together.”

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In this screen grab from Abandoned, “Billie” knows it’s time to leave when the 1st cloaked figure (Patrick Reilly) shows himself. Production Designer Michelle Rickert’s terrifying set piece is the highlight of this scene 7/23/16


This scene also brought Sound Recordist Patrick Reilly into a new role on the film. The guy who was supposed to play the First Assailant never showed or even called to say he wasn’t coming.  So the filmmaker asked Reilly to play the part and he gladly stepped into the role.  Wickham says, “Pat has a strong physicality that probably comes from his martial arts training and guitar playing.  It wasn’t hard for me to envision him for the part.  Listen, sometimes things happen for a reason.  Donald Pleasence wasn’t John Carpenter’s first or even second choice for the role of Dr. Loomis in Halloween and we all know how that turned out.”

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A screen grab from Abandoned shows that “Billie” (Siakie Tetteh) has no where to run within the confines of the huge run down locale the movie takes place. 7/23/16


Then the team filmed the rest of the scenes that followed during the climax of the movie.  Wickham says with excitement, “My vision really came to life with everyone doing their part to make it happen.

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On Abandoned Cinematographer Adrian Popescu exhibits he is a master of light and lens


Director of Photography Adrian Popescu can make so much out of so little.  The deserted place we were shooting was in pretty bad shape. Obviously there was no electricity of any kind, but there  was jagged pieces of steel sticking up from the floor with parts of ceilings scattered about.  Adrian used it all to his advantage with his implementation of some GED lights and his Sony FS-700 Camera’s amazing aptitude to capture images in dark conditions.

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Steadicam Operator/1st AC Leftonred Atanycorner stands in the distance while Director of Photography Adrian Popescu (blue shirt back to us) prepares the lens and other camera equipment to shoot Abandoned on 7/23/16

I’ve also got to talk about Leftonred
Atanycorner.  Lefty put in more than a full day’s work. During the 12-hour shoot, Lefty told me he guesses he operated the Steadicam 8-hours on Saturday July 23rd and that sounds exactly right to me.

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DP Adrian Popescu and 1st AC/Steadicam Operator Leftonred Atanycorner listen to Terry Wickham’s direction in “The Kill Room” 7/23/16


When I envisioned the story and wrote the screenplay, I wanted to move the camera a lot.  I would even say it’s actually my preference of choice and my directorial style, that had never really been displayed as much as it is in Abandoned.  I have tons of gratitude for Lefty really busting his butt to make my vision come to life and for Adrian lighting the sequences and setting up the camera to be able to shoot these longer shots that cover a lot of ground.

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This photo displays the camaraderie on Abandoned. In the distance DP Adrian Popescu and 1st AC/Steadicam Operator Leftonred Atanycorner prepare the camera and Steadicam rig, while Make-Up Artist Regina Tune (front left) Siakie Tetteh, Sound Recordist Pat Reilly and PA Jevon Duff get ready for shoot on 7/23/16


This is a perfect example of the incredible team work that happened on Abandoned. I didn’t want a big crew for many reasons.  First of all a sizable crew wasn’t conducive to the the location we were filming at and to be honest I had come off two movies with close to 40 to 53 people working on them, so I wanted something more intimate.

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Director Terry R. Wickham is with Production Designer Michelle Rickert as she sets up “The Kill Room” in Abandoned.


When you are directing a movie with a lot of people involved, it’s very easy to lose track of things.  There were many instances on The Devil’s Five segment where four people were trying to talk to me at the same time (one in front of me, one behind me tapping me on the back and two people tapping me on each shoulder).  Because there are more people to communicate with it takes not only more time but energy.  It’s like a big machine that needs to be fed gas and get oiled up to work right.  I was yearning for something smaller, where I could really get my vision to the screen without it being watered down by being so spread out.

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Writer/Producer/Director Terry R. Wickham on set of Abandoned 7/23/16

Without question I absolutely enjoyed those other experiences on the larger crewed films, because I was the one who designed them to have full teams of people behind them.  I’m actually quite comfortable leading a full group of people and have been conditioned since I’m the oldest of nine children.   I feel very proud of both films and handpicked the  folks who I worked on them.  But I was very conscious of everything that could separate Abandoned for sake of the movies not feeling the same and it would show my diversity as a filmmaker.”

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A screen grab from Abandoned shows that “Billie Winters” is in serious trouble and needs to call for help


Look for Wickham’s next detailed blog to continue the story of what took place while Abandoned was photographed on Saturday July 23rd, 2016.