Prey For Me: Behind the Scenes

(Photography by Brian Kerber)

<< First Team Meeting - The crew for Erie Lake Pictures meets at Lucky's Cafe in Treemont to discuss their plans for the upcoming festival which only allows them 48 hours to write, film and edit a short film. 48 Hour Film rules imply that some of the film's major elements wold not be known until the kick-off event (Genre, character description, line of dialogue and a prop). The team's first meeting handled introductions, assignments and roles for the production. From left to right, "Prey For Me" (Director/Actor) John Galbraith, (Make-up & Special Effects) Mary Sanducci, (Executive Producer/Cinematographer/Director) Alexander Verdova, (Sound & Foley) Benjamin Stewart, Jessica Fleming and (Production Manager) Aislinn Story.

>> The Directors - Outside the Anatomy nightclub in Cleveland, directors John Galbraith and Alexander Verdova revel in the possibilities for their 48 Hour Film Project. Although they could not begin writing the script until the festival began, the two directors could not help but discuss many of the possible outcomes. Some of the possible genres that could have been drawn included Horror, Suspense, Comedy, Chic Flick, Documentary, Film De femme, Drama, Thriller, Fantasy, Buddy Film, Road Movie, Animal Film. The possibilities were endless, but the coutdown was beginning. Filmmakers and production crews began filling the nightclub as the kick-off event began.

<< 48 Hour Kickoff Event - Anatomy nightclub in Cleveland is filled with anticipation as filmmakers from around the city converged to hear the "required elements" for their films in order to not be disqualified from the festival. The 48 Hour kickoff event began at 7:30pm and the clock began ticking for the 48 Hour coundown. Teams drew their genre from a hat and Erie Lake Pictures pictures pulled "fantasy" for the second year in a row (Returning Pricess Mara 2008). Although each team received a different genre, all teams were required to include the character Helen Haynes (a court clerk), the line "It's just really, really crazy.", and the prop; a blender. Upon receieving the required elements, teams dashed out the doors and began conceptualizing and writing for their productions.

<< 48 Hour Kickoff Event - Anatomy nightclub in Cleveland is filled with anticipation as filmmakers from around the city converged to hear the "required elements" for their films in order to not be disqualified from the festival. The 48 Hour kickoff event began at 7:30pm and the clock began ticking for the 48 Hour coundown. Teams drew their genre from a hat and Erie Lake Pictures pictures pulled "fantasy" for the second year in a row (Returning Pricess Mara 2008). Although each team received a different genre, all teams were required to include the character Helen Haynes (a court clerk), the line "It's just really, really crazy.", and the prop; a blender. Upon receieving the required elements, teams dashed out the doors and began conceptualizing and writing for their productions.

<< 48 Hour Kickoff Event - Anatomy nightclub in Cleveland is filled with anticipation as filmmakers from around the city converged to hear the "required elements" for their films in order to not be disqualified from the festival. The 48 Hour kickoff event began at 7:30pm and the clock began ticking for the 48 Hour coundown. Teams drew their genre from a hat and Erie Lake Pictures pictures pulled "fantasy" for the second year in a row (Returning Pricess Mara 2008). Although each team received a different genre, all teams were required to include the character Helen Haynes (a court clerk), the line "It's just really, really crazy.", and the prop; a blender. Upon receieving the required elements, teams dashed out the doors and began conceptualizing and writing for their productions.

>> Conceptualization of the film - John Galbraith edits the script on a laptop as Alexander Verdova develops the film's visuals, storyboards and shot list. At this point "Prey for Me" was untitled, but both were very certain their film would be dark. "We were very inspired to make a dark film and when the prop (blender) was annouced, John Paul and I stared at each other with the most wicked of smiles," joked Alexander.

<< Gearing up for the First Scene - From left to right, Paul Zakrzewski (Cinematographer), Mitchel Lathrop (Editor/Lighting) and Benjamin Stewart (Sound/Foley) help set up "Prey For Me's first scene which would include a news report. This scene involves a green screen for the newsroom background and was shot around midnight right after the team had finalized the script.

>> News Report: Scene One - Director Alexander Verdova also appears on screen in the film, as he portrays Max Anderson, the news reporter who appears in the opening scene of "Prey For Me". In this picture he pauses bewteen takes to listen to Co-Director John Galbraith, who offers some sugestions on his performance. The Erie Lake team rushed to get this scene comlpeted beofore it got too far into the morning so Alexander could finish the film's storyboards and shot list. They wrapped at about 3am and the crew took a quick nap as director Alexander Verdova hustled to finalize his storyboard and shot list. Everything was prepared by 6am and the bulk of the film shoot would begin.

>> Multitasking Mitch - Much like several members of the Erie Lake crew, Editor / Lighting Technician, Mitchel Lathrop was needed in multiple roles. Here he uses his trusty Mac-book for use as a teleprompter. Mitch was heavily involved in setting up lights, editing on the fly and finding new uses for iphones. "Mitchel is a huge proponent of and is certified in Mac technology. He busted out his iphone and an App called Slate to use before each shot instead of a standard chalk slate and I couldn't get enough! For the entire film, each take's slate had Mitch and his iphone front and center," commented Alexander.

>> Prepping for Helen's first meeting with Jebidon - The first scene shot the very next morning (Saturday) was the interation of Helen and Jebidon within his home. Most of the film was shot in a non-linear fashion (not in order) to make best use of the rising and setting sun. In this photo Actors Jocelyn Wrzosek and John Galbraith prep their outfits and run through their lines as the scene blocking is explained off-camera. In the background is Jason O'Laughlin who operated the boom in this scene. Alexander Verdova would soon move in his camera just behind Jocelyn to film John, and Paul Zakrzewski was positioned just outside the open window to the right in order to get the desired shot of Jocelyn's character.

>> Getting into the moment - Alexander Verdova works with Jocelyn Wrzosek and John Galbraith in forming the pace and intensity of their intimate conversation over coffee as Helen and Jebidon. In the meantime, Mitchel Lathrop worked hard to filter the bright sunlight that was burning through the window just behind John. Fun facts about this scene include: The mugs both actors drank from were selected from around ten other options and yes, those are Star Wars figurines positioned a top the cupboards in the background but they were removed before shooting. However, a figurine of James Brown is sitting atop the cupboard on the right and was left in place in the haste of the moment, the body of which is slightly visible in a couple shots in the film (see the screenshot on the right). Alexander later joked, "I have no problem with James Brown being a part of one of our films."

>> The Cinematographers - Alexander Verdova films the intense kitchen scene in the image to the left and Paul Zakrzewski has mounted a ladder outside of a window to get his shot of Jocelyn in the film's scene where Helen and Jebidon first meet. "Prey For Me" is the second film that Alexander and Paul have worked together behind the camera. The first being "Returning Princess Mara" in 2008.

>> Helen in Her Moment - Jocelyn Wrzosek stops in a moment of reflection in between takes as her character looks though a window to see the true image of an insane Jebidon. John Galbraith pauses to admire the blood spattered blender, a "required element" for the 48 Hour Film Project. Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Helen in Her Moment - Jocelyn Wrzosek stops in a moment of reflection in between takes as her character looks though a window to see the true image of an insane Jebidon. John Galbraith pauses to admire the blood spattered blender, a "required element" for the 48 Hour Film Project. Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Cutting the Film - Editor Mitchel Lathrop gets to work on the green screen and graphics for the opening newscaster scene as the film crew plugs away on filmming another scene. Becuase of the rushed atmosphere many elements of production had to be squeezed together in order to make the 48 hour deadline.

>> Preparing for the Dark Side - Actress Jocelyn Wrzosek lays on the floor preparing for the darkest scene in the film where Jebidon cuts Helen to peices. Actor John Galbraith sits in a chair as the two practice a dry run of the horrific scene.

>> SFX Gurus - Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Jebidon and His Blender - John Galbraith pauses to admire the blood spattered blender, a "required element" for the 48 Hour Film Project. Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Helen in Her Moment - Jocelyn Wrzosek stops in a moment of reflection in between takes as her character looks though a window to see the true image of an insane Jebidon. John Galbraith pauses to admire the blood spattered blender, a "required element" for the 48 Hour Film Project. Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Jebidon Commited - Jocelyn Wrzosek stops in a moment of reflection in between takes as her character looks though a window to see the true image of an insane Jebidon. John Galbraith pauses to admire the blood spattered blender, a "required element" for the 48 Hour Film Project. Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Late Night Filmwork - As the sun has set on Saturday the film crew squeezes in some late night filming for Helen's living room scene which would actually be the intro to the film. Alexander Verdova dollys his camera away from the televison where he is seen in the newscast as Max Anderson. Jocelyn Wrzosek stops in a moment of reflection in between takes as her character looks though a window to see the true image of an insane Jebidon. John Galbraith pauses to admire the blood spattered blender, a "required element" for the 48 Hour Film Project. Special effexts artists Mary Sanducci and Thomas Parks discuss the murder scene and their plan for simulating a leg being sawed off! The leg they constructed the night before consisted of tons of laytex, pork shanks, fishing wire, fake blood and other secret ingredients to make it as life-like as possible. Although the actual cutting of Helen's leg by Jebidon with a hacksaw is only show momentarily in the film, the work of the Special Effects team was an absolute success.

>> Let the Editing Begin! - The team bunkers in Sunday morning for the main edit of the film. At this point the team has about ten hours to cut a final edit of the film, export it, and drive to deliver it at Anatomy Nightclub by 7:30pm. In this picture (left to right front row) Paul Zakrzewski, Alexander Verdova and Mitchel Lathrop focis in on the editing screen as (on couch) Daniel Brooks, Benjamin Stewart and John Galbraith sit back on the couch to watch.

>> Late afternoon Trimming - The team bunkers in Sunday morning for the main edit of the film. At this point the team has about ten hours to cut a final edit of the film, export it, and drive to deliver it at Anatomy Nightclub by 7:30pm. In this picture (left to right front row) Paul Zakrzewski, Alexander Verdova and Mitchel Lathrop focis in on the editing screen as (on couch) Daniel Brooks, Benjamin Stewart and John Galbraith sit back on the couch to watch.

>> Late afternoon Trimming - The team bunkers in Sunday morning for the main edit of the film. At this point the team has about ten hours to cut a final edit of the film, export it, and drive to deliver it at Anatomy Nightclub by 7:30pm. In this picture (left to right front row) Paul Zakrzewski, Alexander Verdova and Mitchel Lathrop focis in on the editing screen as (on couch) Daniel Brooks, Benjamin Stewart and John Galbraith sit back on the couch to watch.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

>>Director John - The production of "Prey For Me" submitted for Cleveland's 2009 48 Hour Film Project was directed by Alexander Verdova and John Galbraith and featured Jocelyn Wrzosek (Hero Tomorrow / Returning Princess Mara) as Helen Haynes, a court clerk obsessed with the mysterious tracks of a serial killer named Robert Wilkins Jebidon; played by John Galbraith (Returning Princess Mara). Haynes' infatuation drives her through a twisted fantasy about a woman's desire to be noticed by a homicidal monster.

The film premiered on August 6th, 2009 at the Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland.

"This film was a great opportunity to showcase two wonderful actors (Wrzosek and Galbraith) in a fantasy plot filled with tension. I feel we raised the bar from our first 48 Hour Film. Our production team was extremely efficient on set, given the 48 Hour crunch time", said Executive Producer / Director Alexander Verdova. "We also had an opportunity to bring in some talented new team members, like Lighting Technician and Editor Mitchel Lathrop, to help streamline our process. I feel we were all very proud of the outcome".

"Prey For Me" is the second 48 Hour Film Project submitted by Erie Lake Pictures and their second fantasy film produced for the contest. "We all had a good laugh when we pulled fantasy again for the second year, but felt there was so much possibility for the genre that we decided to stay pat", said Aislinn Story, production manager for Erie Lake Pictures. The previous year Erie Lake Pictures took the fantasy genre into a mystical world that included a lost princess, a fire breathing wizard, brave knights, dark elves and deceptive sirens in "Returning Princess Mara". In 2009 the fantasy would have a much darker tone.

Once again Cleveland's 48 Hour Film Festival was represented by an amazing community of filmmakers who each produced a wonderful variety of films. Remarkably only 4 films missed the 48 hour deadline out of 43 teams.

Cleveland's 48 Hour Film Project Producer Brian Bowers, now in his second year producing the festival, has played an integral part of the contest's growth. Under Bowers' guidance the festival has doubled each year since 2007; from 12, to 24, to 43 teams. "Brian deserves a lot of credit for pulling all of this together", said Verdova, "From keeping production teams notified about news and events surrounding the annual project, to organizing the kick-off events and theatre screenings; Brian was surely spending as many sleepless hours as the actual 48 Hour filmmakers. Erie Lake Pictures would like to extend a special thanks to Brian Bowers and the 48 Hour Film Project for the amazing opportunity".

For the 48 Hour Film Project each filmmaker was given a genre (buddy film, western, thriller, fantasy, etc) and 48 hours to write, shoot and submit a short film. "Prey For Me" had to include its genre (fantasy), a specific line of dialogue ("It's just really, really crazy."), a prop (blender) and a character (Hal or Hellen Haynes, a court clerk).

Erie Lake Pictures production "Prey For Me", written by John Galbraith, Alexander Verdova and Paul Zakrzewski, is a short film about a woman's dream to be noticed by a mysterious Cleveland serial killer.

For more information on the 48 Hour Film Project, go to www.48hourfilm.com/cleveland. (Watch the Film) | (Back to Home)