Norwalk resident to direct suspense thriller in Firelands

Most people think of contact information, employment history and lists of awards, honors and references when they consider making their rsums. Norwalk resident James Welch is going a different route to get Hollywood's attention making a film. "This film is a chance to for me to show (off) my skills. It's like a video rsum," Welch said. "It's something to show the producers in Hollywood because Hollywood is not going to come to Ohio looking for the next big thing."
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Most people think of contact information, employment history and lists of awards, honors and references when they consider making their rsums. Norwalk resident James Welch is going a different route to get Hollywood's attention making a film.

"This film is a chance to for me to show (off) my skills. It's like a video rsum," Welch said. "It's something to show the producers in Hollywood because Hollywood is not going to come to Ohio looking for the next big thing."

Welch wants his suspense thriller "Curse of the Flesh" to showcase his skills in special effects and "horror-type makeup."

"It's not quite a slasher film, although there is some slashing done. It's got a good story. It all ties together," the 1980 Port Clinton High School graduate said.

The film is scheduled to start filming June 2, most likely in Sandusky. Other sets will be in Norwalk.

"There are a couple of places I haven't locked down," Welch said. "We're going to do a couple scenes at Berry's Restaurant (in June)."

Filming probably will last two to three months with another three months of editing after that. A professional musician in Michigan is composing the original score.

The movie's theme, an erie melody with many sustained chords and descending notes, was playing on a compact disc player when the Reflector visited Welch's home Monday.

Welch was inspired to make "Curse" after being the special effects supervisor and prop master for director Sam Oldham's science fiction film "CE4K," which premiered in Sandusky in 2004.

Welch said his niece, Rene Matthews, the manager of Ghostly Manor, taught him everything he knows about makeup. Welch has worked as an actor, prop and set designer at the Sandusky haunted house for the last six years. He worked at other haunted houses for four years before that.

One entire room in his residence is dedicated to horror movie memorabilia, framed photographs with various actors' autographs and, of course, various masks and props Welch created.

It was Matthews' connections that led to Welch's involvement in "CE4K." That networking also allowed him to spend several months in California with "CE4K" producers while they were doing a second film.

"I watched everything in detail," Welch said about learning as much as possible.

His time in California inspired to him to "take a stab" at writing the "Curse of the Flesh" screenplay, which took about three months to do. Welch said he only had to do two rewrites.

"I think I've got it where I want it now," he said, but pointed out it's possible the script could change as filming progresses and he works out various scenes.

"Curse" will include 18 to 20 characters. "Some of it may be walk-ons, but they have lines," Welch said.

One of the people scheduled to appear in the film is a veteran horror movie actress who is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. "She has got their blessing," Welch said.

He can't reveal her name because he is sworn to secrecy until the logistics are worked out. Welch described her as a "well-known actress from the '70s and '80s (who) did a film a few years ago with Keanu Reeves."

The rookie filmmaker said what's important about breaking into Hollywood is having contacts who eventually can put you in touch with someone who needs your skills.

"You've got to know somebody," Welch said.

He believes being successful in the film business is taking the necessary risks to fulfill one's dreams. The Norwalk man wants to show Hollywood he is capable of many skills needed to make movies.

"I've put everything I've got into this film," Welch said.

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