The Making of “Pawn’s Move”

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Tyler Roberds and Jami Harris star in “Pawn’s Move”

First, introduce yourself and the role you played in Pawn’s Move.

My name is Caleb Vetter and I produced and directed the film Pawn’s Move.

What is your filmmaking background?

I really haven’t had any formal training. My love for film can be traced back to when I was 5 or 6 jumping up in front of my dad’s camcorder asking “Can I see?” so I could look through the viewfinder. I started by shooting wedding videos, dance recitals and corporate videos just to learn the technical side of things, which eventually led to our first few short films. In 2008 we made an hour long film that, when all said and done, was good practice for dealing with larger projects. We needed that experience because a few short projects later we were shooting Pawn’s Move.

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Producer/director, Caleb Vetter, with the director of photography, Ryan Breitenbach

How did the idea for Pawn’s Move come into being? Describe in brief the process from idea conception to filming.

Pawn’s Move started as tiny idea while listening to Dave Ramsey, the financial talk radio show. There was a caller with an unusual situation and it got me thinking. My family and I changed changed and added some to what he had going on. We kicked ideas around for a while and finally settled on something we liked and hired a screenwriter to flesh out the story and take it to completion. She changed a few things along the way as well, and naturally the final screenplay looks much different from the original idea. During the final drafts of the screenplay we began the casting process, auditioning mostly local actors but also a few from out of town through video auditions.

Where did you do your filming? How did you select your specific locations?

About half of the filming was in the town I live (Leavenworth) and half was in a small nearby town (Weston). I chose these mostly because of how close they were and they fit out needs. Interestingly, the diner which is portrayed to be in Weston in the movie, is actually located in Leavenworth. And the restaurant shown in Leavenworth is actually in Weston (well… until they moved to Leavenworth last year).

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How did you assemble your actors/crew?

We hired a casting agency to put the word out to find actors as well as word of mouth. We had a fairly minimalistic crew, about a dozen, and I knew most of them before Pawn’s Move. However there were a few that I met through colleagues. Almost the entire crew was local.

Describe a typical day of filming.

Long! We had a short production schedule and most of us were pretty green, so that made for long production days. The average day was 14-16 hours and I know we had a few 18 hour days. That’s why in a lot of the behind the scenes photos you see half the crew sleeping. Being inexperienced, things took a little longer than the typical film set, but we did get faster toward the end and were able to finish on schedule.

Tell about some of your film festival experiences.

I really didn’t attend most of the festivals in which Pawn’s Move was accepted. I was at the Bare Bones Film Festival as well as the Kansas International Film Festival. Both of those were fun to attend and we were happy to be awarded the Best Family Film and the Audience Choice For Features at the Bare Bones.

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What has been the response to Pawn’s Move?

Fairly positive. I think the ratings on Netflix are a good representation of people’s reaction to the film. There are many people that really love it, a few middle of the road reviews, and some people that didn’t enjoy it. I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t an Academy Award winning film, but it is a worthwhile story told in an engaging way. I’m finding that a lot of people enjoy watching it.

What is your goal for Pawn’s Move?

To finish it! Success! So many films get lost by the wayside and never even reach the final edit. Although that was my number one goal, I did anticipate a limited distribution, even if it meant getting it out there myself. So far I have been very happy with my distributors. Pawn’s Move is in many Christian book stores (physical stores and online), was in Walmart for a while and may be back there soon, Amazon.com, iTunes, and streaming on Netflix.

Do you have plans to make any more movies?

Absolutely. I have several small projects in the works and am hoping to get things together for another feature before too long.

How can people learn more about Pawn’s Move?

For more info and to watch the trailer, you can go to www.pawnsmovethemovie.com

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Stephen Greer as Irving.

If you’re a filmmaker who would like to be included in a Faith Flix article, contact Sharon Wilharm Editor –  sharonwilharm @ att.net or send a message via the contact form athttp://www.faithflix.com contact page

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