Although she only spent one year living in Sycamore, Megan St. John would later find that the rural areas surrounding the town would be the perfect setting for a film.
St. John, founder and executive producer of Third Wheel Entertainment, is shooting the short film “Broiled” in the Genoa and Malta areas this summer. St. John lived in Sycamore in 2003, but found herself returning this year to tell the story of “Broiled,” two girls and two boys who somehow rob the town bank on the same day. A love story and a few dark twists ensue before the end of the film. St. John said the northern Illinois area is the perfect place for her characters to exist.
“I grew up in Montana and always had a fondness for a rural, open setting,” St. John said. “When I lived in Sycamore for a year, I thought it was beautiful. When I was writing the script I had cornfields in mind and thought this would be the perfect place.”
St. John said the film will be on the longer end of a short film, probably 30 minutes when complete. She said she hopes to have the movie finished and ready to enter for film festivals by the end of September. She wants to someday have local screenings of the film, especially for those who have helped out.
“Everybody has been so great and friendly to work with,” she said. “It’s tricky to ask people if you can film in their house, but we found two farmhouses next door to each other in Malta and one farmhouse in Genoa.”
Betty Bloyd, one of the Malta farmhouse homeowners, said her home has a Malta address but is really just out in the middle of cornfields, five miles north of Creston. She said St. John picked out her house by accident.
“Since the road is under construction, [St. John] took a detour,” Bloyd said. “I was working out in the garden with my granddaughter and we’ve been teaching [my granddaughter] colors. So she points at the car and waves at it. Then the car drives by again and I think uh oh, she’s lost.”
St. John stopped for directions and liked Bloyd’s home and yard. Filming was done in the yard, including a church picnic scene, and filming will be done in the home, as well. Bloyd invited people over to serve as extras for the scene.
“I can’t put it better than the kids did,” Bloyd said. “You realize how long it takes to do things over and over to get it right. It’s hard work.”
St. John said they have also filmed at Jay’s Drive In Diner in Oregon and the Moon Dance Diner in Maple Park. They have filmed almost every weekend in July and will continue to film in the area for a short time in August.
St. John was excited to bring on three Northern Illinois University media studies students to help with the project.
“My professor shot me an email to tell me about it,” said NIU senior Nick Arcade. “I’ve definitely learned that there’s a lot that goes into a film in general. There’s a lot that goes into a set. It’s been a good experience.”
For more information about "Broiled" find Third Wheel Entertainment on Facebook or visit www.thirdwheelentertainment.com.