By Denise Louise Gregorka

Have you heard? Little Falls has once again been chosen as a place for filmmaking!

How fun to think that our city is being utilized more and more by filmmakers.

Michael Flores, executive producer, and Steven Nesbit, director, welcomed my visit on the set of their comedy “Wallace Peebles Paranormal Inspectre. “It was a bright February day here in Little Falls when I caught up with the film crew.  As I walked onto the set located in an old industrial building, which is now the home of Ace Hardware, I immediately noticed the great rapport among the crew, with a lot of laughter and a relaxed atmosphere.

~ The Executive Producer

Film's Executive Producer Michael Flores

Film’s Executive Producer Michael Flores

Michael Flores has been in the film business for over twenty years, starting out as an actor, which he still does, but has also segued into writing, producing, & directing. He explained, “The movie is a fun comedy about a crew of people trying to make a reality show based on their paranormal investigations.” He said that they do a breaking-of-the-fourth-wall, similar to what they do in ‘The Office’ where they actually speak to the camera and connect to the audience. He stated, “It’s a lot of fun; It’s a great vehicle for a comedy.”

He told me that he is using mostly local actors. He stated, “We try to use as many local sources and people as we can.”  He is very happy to be filming in Little Falls and added, “The area has been more than welcoming. The George family at Ace Hardware here are wonderful people.”

~ The Director

Film's Director, Steven Nesbit in costume

The film’s Director, Steven Nesbit, in costume

The film’s director, Steve Nesbit, who is from the U.K., wrote this film with his writing partner, Karl Hall, also from the U.K. This is their fifth film-writing together.

Nesbit, who also acts in the film, explained to me how difficult it is to write a story and sell it.

He stated, “The challenges we have as filmmakers in the current film industry is that films like this, and ones that we would want to make and view, have no chance at getting made because of the state of the industry. The film industry is very risk averse, so they rely on what they call tent-pole productions, which are basically reworking of the same material with very expensive actors in there to draw people into the cinema. We just can’t compete with that, and we don’t want to. We want to keep the creativity fertile with new ideas, interesting things, and new ways of doing stuff.”

“Part of that process, as has happened to me before with other films, is I’ve written a script that’s gotten picked up, and the studio gets a hold of that script. They say, ‘Yes, we love this, and we want to make it. We think it’s a fifty-million dollar budget… but, as a director, you’re not qualified to make a fifty-million dollar film.’ All of the movies I’ve made have been under ten million dollars. So, what happens is that you create this thing, but you are not allowed to make it. So, my thinking was, if I do ‘bite the bullet’ and I act myself, nobody can take me out of this, nobody can take it away, and it’s viewed on its own merits. If it succeeds, great, and if it fails, that’s on me. So here we are. We are paying for the film, and no one can tell us that we can’t. The downside, of course, is we would have liked a full-size crew, some budget, and more than anything…time!”

He explained that they have to do scenes with fewer angles and compromise in various ways to save time. He would have liked a month to shoot as opposed to ten days. Nesbit related that the actors are wonderful and he is very pleased with the film’s progress so far.

~ Filming

I followed Michael and Steve to the old, dreary basement of the building to watch a scene they were shooting, and I totally understand why they chose it for a haunted look.

~ Some of the Cast and Crew

I spoke with some of the crew during my time on the set. Not all were present during my time there.

Austin Green, who was born and raised in Little Falls, does the sound recording. He stated, “The fact that we are building the film scene up here is phenomenal.” He went to school for digital filmmaking. He said, “Coming back home and having the opportunity to do stuff…you can’t top it.” He worked with Michael on one of his previous films called “Sendero.”

Austin Green (left) and Jon McGinty (right)

Austin Green (left) and Jon McGinty (right)

Jon McGinty is the director of photography. He has known Flores for about fifteen years and worked on the movie “Sendero” with him as well. Jon is a gaffer on movies and TV shows in Los Angeles, and in his free time, he comes to New York to work with Flores.

Jenny Bryer

Actress Jenny Bryer

Actress Jenny Bryer, from Ohio, has returned to Little Falls for this film. She worked on the proof-of-concept film with Michael and Steven about two years ago. The three were the ghost-hunting team back then. She stated ‘We are really enjoying the area, and it’s a beautiful place with nice scenery.”

Actress Kristina Howard is from Utica, NY, and is a part of the team. She also worked with Michael Flores on the film “Sendero.”

She said she was enjoying herself and stated, “I love film.”

Kristina Howard getting direction from Steven Nesbit

Actress Kristina Howard getting direction from Steven Nesbit

~ More Behind the Scenes

I asked Michael and Steven if they do a lot of improvisations with scenes and dialogue. They said they always allowed for some improv and called it “the magic of the day.” The night before my visit, they had to pivot from a scene that wasn’t working. They were very frustrated in not getting the stairwell to look right for a shot. Michael Flores suggested, “What if it just slams me in this door?”. They filmed his idea and were thrilled with the results.

Crew working on a promo shot

Crew working on a promo shot

I was interested in knowing how long it would take to put the film together once all of the scenes were completed. Flores stated, “We are hoping to have a real quick turnaround. The great thing is that we already have an editor on board. We are sending him dailies, and he is actually piecing together assemblies as we go. The next morning we are able to watch a rough edit. It’s great because when you do it that way, you have an idea what the scene is ultimately going to be, and Steve, as the director, can look at that and say, ‘Okay, maybe we need one more shot of this,’ and we can make it up as we go.”

By the time they are done filming in Little Falls, they will already have somewhat of a full rough edit.

Another promo shot

Another promo shot

I asked if there was interest in the film from a buyer’s perspective. Flores stated, “Why we are doing this so quickly is to try to capitalize on a big opportunity that we have to sell this.” The film was originally shot in six episodes as a proof-of-concept for a television show with some interest in it, which fizzled out but was picked up again by someone who wanted a feature film out of it instead.

He stated, “We are still hoping that even after we do a feature film of this, someone will say, ‘Maybe we should use this as a TV show.'”

Michael stated, “This building is a production designer’s dream. That’s why we chose this place because it has that character.” He stressed to me that he wanted to give special thanks to Ace Hardware and Dave Warner.

What a pleasure to spend time on the set of this fun film. I am looking forward to another visit on the next one.


Denise Gregorka

Denise Gregorka

Denise Gregorka is a longtime Little Falls resident who has a love for the city’s people & history.

She is married to Craig, who is a Little Falls native, retired photographer & former business owner.

Denise has done costume collaboration for Broadway and off-Broadway theatre for 18+ years and has also been an antique/collectibles dealer for over 25 years.

She is not a professional writer but is compelled to hear and share the “background story” from engaging Little Falls residents.

If you’d like to reach out to Denise about a story idea, you can email her at gork4444@gmail.com.