Rocket3 Productions from Indianapolis brought a crew of film
professionals to Lincoln to make a movie in the Heritage in Flight
hangar at the airport during a cold and snowy January. The
production wrapped up this week.
For two theater majors at Lincoln College, it was a wonderful
chance to participate in a movie production experience.
Katie Bryan, producer of the movie "Dead Draw," reached out to
Lincoln College before the crew moved into the airport location and
asked Professor Kenneth Kendall if any theater majors would be
interested in an intern position. Bryan selected Bobby Wilhelmson
and Riley Dobson to intern on the set as production assistants.
Wilhelmson is a senior theater major at LC from Fort Morgan, Colo.,
and Dobson is a junior theater major from Lake in the Hills.
Several LC students jumped at the chance, but Wilhelmson's and
Dobson's resumes met the producer's requirements.
"Our set building experience was probably the major factor why
Riley and I were selected," said Wilhelmson.
Dobson added: "We have worked on a lot of sets over the years at
LC for our plays as well as acting. Lincoln College has a hands-on
theater department where we learn all of the aspects of staging a
Once the movie crew moved to town in January and set up shop in
the hangar, Wilhelmson and Dobson began their first experience on a
movie set. As production assistants, they worked for everyone on the
set, from producer to director to the technical crew that ran the
cameras, lights and sound system. They even helped some of the
actors between takes. Their jobs ranged from the mundane, like
emptying the trash, to the highly technical care of the complex
equipment used on the set.
In one scene, a bag of money was supposed to be hidden in an air
duct. The two LC students along with crew member Cory Garrett
fashioned the prop out of wood.
"We had to build that outside the hangar," said Wilhelmson, "and
it was cold and dark."
Most of the filming took place from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.
Dobson laughed as he said, "A lot of what we did was act as
gofers for the crew."
They ran errands, cleaned and prepped the set between takes,
swept out snow that had been tracked into the hangar, so that it
would not show in a scene, shoveled snow and built props.
They did get some downtime to watch the action, but generally
when they finished one assigned task, they were told to seek out
another professional and help in an entirely different area. They
were never idle for long.
As a junior at LC, Riley still had to attend classes during the
"I would get to sleep at 6:30 a.m. after spending all night on
the set, and have to be up by 8 a.m. to attend classes," he said.
"That and the cold temps were the hardest part of the job. I had
layers of clothes on and was still freezing!"
With years of stage experience, Wilhelmson and Dobson were able
to offer several impressions of the differences between making a
movie and staging a play. For example, the pace of making a movie is
much more intense than preparing for opening night of a play.
"On a movie set, everything has to be done now," said Wilhelmson,
"while working in the theater seems to be in slow motion compared to
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In further comparison, he said that on the movie set, the
director can coach the actors to find the personality of the
character they are playing while filming is ongoing. But while
preparing for a stage presentation, the actors are expected to come
to rehearsals with their character almost fully formed.
He further observed that it was not unusual for the director to
call for five or six takes to get a scene exactly right or to
correct mistakes that an actor has made. On stage, an actor gets one
chance to carry a scene perfectly.
To Dobson and Wilhelmson, the movie production seemed more
mechanical than preparing for a play. There was a lot of stop-and-go
on the movie set. A scene would last no more than five or six
minutes before moving on to another one, not necessarily in
"The movie set seemed more intimate than our stage productions,"
Wilhelmson said. "There were so many mikes on the set that I could
hardly hear the actors reciting their lines. Except for our upcoming
production of ‘Guys and Dolls,' we have never been miked up for our
Both Wilhelmson and Dobson were quick to point out that their
time in the cold hangar at the airport was a great learning
experience. They had praise for every member of the crew, from
co-producers Brett Hayes and Katie Bryan to technical personnel
Erwin (just Erwin) and Cory Garrett and the actors. Everyone was
great to work with. If the interns had questions about some aspect
of a scene, the crew members always took the time to fully explain
what was happening and why.
The students worked with professionals in the industry who knew
what they were doing. Garrett, their mentor on set building, has
worked on well-known movies such as the "Shawshank Redemption" and
"See No Evil II" and has been involved in producing music videos.
Wilhelmson and Dobson did not hesitate when asked if they would
do it again, even given the overnight hours and harsh weather
conditions. They both replied with a resounding "Yes!"
In movie parlance, now that "Dead Draw" is in the can, the work
of editing and cutting begins for the final construction of the
completed movie. The producers of the independent film will then
look for a promoter.
Wilhelmson and Dobson plan to keep track of the movie's progress
and hope to see the finished product. They both want to see if the
air duct they built makes in onto the silver screen. If it does,
Wilhelmson said, "We are going to tell everyone in the theater that
we built that prop!"
Now that the moviemaking experience is done, it's back to the
Lincoln College campus. They have been two very busy students. Look
for Wilhelmson and Dobson to return to the stage in the Lincoln
College production of the musical "Guys and Dolls," due to premiere
Feb. 12 and run through Feb. 16.
[By CURT FOX]
Check out these links for further
information on Dead Draw Pictures, from in the hangar to the stars
and their bio's, and more on the producers and the production.
From Chicago Now, Hammervision:
"Indiegogo Spotlight: Dead Draw is a crime-thriller worth