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Filmmakers descend on Jay’s Drive-In

Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
(Chris Johnson/
Megan St. John and camera operator Trevor Kelly examine test footage Sunday at Jay's Drive-In in Oregon to determine if a scene of the short film "Broiled" is staged and ready for action. St. John, the executive director of the film's production company, Third Wheel Entertainment, is not only directing the short film "Broiled," but also starring in it.
(Chris Johnson/
With the camera and lighting set up to shoot a scene of the short film "Broiled," acrtress/director Megan St. John, also the executive director of Third Wheel Entertainment, speaks with cameraman Andrew Smith (middle) and sound man Michael Hickey on Sunday at Jay's Drive-In in Oregon.
(Chris Johnson/
Actors Andrew Klass and Elizabeth Stenholt share a laugh while Trevor Kelly (left) and Andrew Smith set up the camera to shoot a scene of "Broiled" on Sunday at Jay's Drive-in in Oregon.
(Chris Johnson/
Cameraman Andrew Smith adjusts his settings while Trevor Kelly holds a white, gray and black sign to ensure proper lighting before a shoot of "Broiled" at Jay's Drive-In in Oregon. When filming at multiple locations over a month, and dealing with changes in weather, having consistent lighting is crucial to get a quality product.
(Chris Johnson/
After some test footage is gathered, Megan St. John, writer/director of "Broiled" and executive producer of Third Wheel Entertainment, looks at the framing of the shot Sunday at Jay's Drive-In in Oregon.

OREGON - A small group of dedicated filmmakers descended on Jay’s Drive-In on Sunday morning. Not for a bite to eat, but to gather footage for a new short film, “Broiled.”

Andrew Klass, who plays Tank in the film, says production is a labor of love.

“Everyone here is committed 100 percent,” he said. “Everyone has their heart in it. The days are long and exhausting but it is like totally worth it.”

He describes his character as a loser who doesn’t know he is, in fact, a loser.

“He honestly thinks the key to happiness in his life is getting a used truck,” Klass said. “That is his motivation throughout the movie.”

Klass became involved in the project because he has knew Megan St. John, the writer/director for the film and executive producer of Third Wheel Entertainment, Chicago.

The movie is set in rural America, and the plot is the story of two girls and two boys who coincidentally rob the town bank on the same day.

“The story is interesting and it is different,” said St. John. “It is dark and twisted and funny.”

Shoots are taking place on weekends this month near Oregon and Sycamore.

The staff at Jay’s enjoyed seeing the process.

“It is very exciting. This sort of thing does not happen everyday in Oregon,” Jay’s co-owner Terry Wilken said. “It is fun to be a part of it.”

He said St. John contacted him by email, and Wilken had a simple request.

“One of the requests we made was to get a copy of the film when it is finished,” he said.

Using a drive-in in a rural location was a natural fit for St. John, since she grew up in Montana.

“Whenever I write, I set it in a rural kind of environment. It is very American,” she said. “I would love to come back and film something else. I love this kind of rural environment.”

The weather over the weekend proved difficult for St. John and her crew, who have lofty goals of getting “Broiled” into Sundance.

“The deadline is September, but with the weather there have been a couple hiccups,” St. John said. “We may not make it this year. It is totally okay, because there is a list a mile long of festivals.”

Filming at a Malta farm was delayed by rain Saturday. While at Jay’s, the weather shifted from overcast to full sun. The crew just finished setting up the shot when the weather changed – a challenge for filmmakers trying to keep the lighting consistent throughout a shoot. Variation makes it tough to edit clips together.

When completed, St. John said the film will be playing in festivals. She also said they might look into online distribution.

Despite challenges, St. John is enjoying the process of making a film.

“It is really exciting,” she said. “We are working with a low budget, which makes me a nervous wreck.”

Samples online

Video samples of work by Third Wheel Entertainment are available online at Find the company on Facebook to see photos from the "Broiled" shoots.

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