Josiah Cerio and his father, Chris, walked softly through the darkened woods, rifles in one hand and flashlights in the other.
The Cerios were on the hunt for a werewolf — or perhaps more than one. However, they were out of luck. An actor or actors to play werewolves were unavailable for the practice shots for the movie “WereBeast,” a horror flick “with a twist,” Scott Jones said.
The father and son were among about nine members of the Longview Film Club who assembled in woods behind Jones’ backyard for the shoot.
Jones directed the practice shoot while David Tuttle manned a video camera mounted on a tripod. A ladder topped with lighting leaned against a tree.
Jones said “cut” several times while giving feedback to the Cerios.
“We are going to do something with torches,” Jones told the actors and crew gathered, adding the camera was in low lighting.
He said practice shoots are designed to mimic future film scenes.
“Fog is rolling,” camera assistant Ashly Morton said.
The Cerios set off again, this time through a cloud of fog.
Jones ordered the scene cut, and urged the Cerios to go back into position.
“But I will have to say that little bit while you are with the fog looked fabulous,” Jones said.
The fog diffuses moonlight, makes it harder to see and adds to the tension of the scene, Jones said.
The practice shoot, which lasted about an hour, enabled the crew to hone their cinematic and acting skills. Club members previously shot aerial scenes using a drone.
Club members decided to make the film because they were pleased with a 14-minute film titled “College Bound” that was intended as a practice and not to be released, Jones said. They shot the film in four days and finished it in August.
“Our intent was to learn, but it came out better than we hoped, so we put it on our website,” Jones said.
Jones, a 52-year-old software engineer, said he likes to tell stories and wanted to make movies but could not do it on his own. He said he talked to family members and friends, and those conversations led to the creation of the Longview Film Club in late 2017.
The club, which has no dues or organizational structure, has grown to about 20 people who have an interest in movies, Jones said. He characterized the club as “sort of like community theater with a camera.” The club is made up of volunteers.
Club members include camera operators, script writers, film editors, colorists, makeup artists, lighting designers and at least two professional actors, Jones said.
Josiah Cerio, the youngest member at age 15, will play the lead role in “WereBeast.” He said he has been acting since age 4 with credits that include “The Middle” on ABC and “Paper Towns,” a movie released in 2015.
He said he joined the club “just to further my acting career and to produce movies.” He said his favorite actors are Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson and Dylan O’Brien, whose credits include “Teen Wolf” and “The Maze Runner.”
Like Cerio, Tuttle, 28, a student at Kilgore College, has cinematic ambitions.
“My plans are to develop skills that I will be able to use for projects of my own, and, hopefully, accomplish something in the club that we can use on a bigger scale,” he said.
Tuttle and the others plan to start filming in April and finish “WereBeast” in May, Jones said. Jones said he has locations lined up in Gladewater and Hughes Springs. He said the film is “several actors short” and needs more crew members.
Jones said the club has budgeted to enter “WereBeast” in five film festivals and hopes to produce three short films a year, adding that a feature film is years away.
While “College Bound” and “WereBeast” are the horror genre, future films will not have monsters, said Jones, who does most of the editing.
“We are a club, so we are always covering new ground,” Jones said. “We are taking one step after another in our learning practice.”
Jones said filming for “WereBeast” is scheduled April 27 and May 4 in Hughes Springs.
To audition for “WereBeast” or to learn more about the club, call Jones at (903) 746-6618 or go to www.longviewfilm.club .