Jennings Lodge retirement home's paranormal being captured by filmmakers using extras from Homewoods on the Willamette

When a paranormal being appeared in their senior community, savvy residents of Homewoods on the Willamette knew exactly who to call — Ghostbusters.

"There was a ghost in the dining hall, (the ghostbusters) showed up and they got it," said Esteban Gaytan, director of "Ghostbusters: Who You Gonna Call?"

Gaytan, 18, a Beaverceeek resident, has been making short films since he was 8 years old, when he started filming family members for fun. Then came the advent of YouTube, and his films became bigger and more complex.

Now, with his parody of the classic "Ghostbusters" film from 1984, Gaytan has expanded his scope. He is still using family members and friends as cast members, but for this movie he also included residents from Homewood, and shot on-site at the community located on River Road in Jennings Lodge.

Although he has a script, Gaytan's films are not exact, scene-by-scene remakes of other movies, but are more of an homage to some of his favorite shows. He started eight years ago with a "Lord of the Rings" piece, which is now on YouTube.

In the original "Ghostbusters," there is a montage of events, so "Ghostbusters: Who You Gonna Call?" takes place "within that montage," Gaytan said.

He wanted to tackle this particular film because of the challenge of pulling off certain effects.

Gaytan's three "ghostbusters" are still family members: his father, Steve Gaytan; and his uncles, Clayton Howard and Joshua Delbuono.

He also now has a film company called GaytanFilm Productions.

Filming at Homewoods

On the first day of filming at Homewoods, the three men "in full costume, with multicolored lighted proton packs entered through our front doors, and the excitement began," said Karen Truax, the retirement center's marketing and community relations director.

"We watched as Esteban and his team brought in cameras, lighting, sound equipment and props. Esteban was totally prepared with a list of all the scenes he wanted to shoot that day, and quickly set up for the first scene to be taken in our library," she said.

Truax noted that several of her residents jumped at the chance to be in the scenes and that Gaytan was professional and took plenty of time to explain what each scene was about and how he wanted the residents to react.

"Many of our residents viewed the action from various spots off camera, and commented that they did not realize how many takes it took to capture the perfect scene," Truax said.

"Being a part of the 'Ghostbusters' filming was a lot of fun. It was a great experience to be part of a fun new adventure," said resident Darlene Fletcher.

"I was the only resident with a speaking part, I got to say 'Shhhh' to the ghostbusters from the second floor library," Susan Reiver said.

Nadine McCracken said it was a surprise to be chosen to appear in the movie, and in her scene she was with two other women, looking through books in the library.

"This is my second time being an extra in a movie. In 1986 I was in a movie called 'The Penalty Phase' starring Peter Strauss and Melissa Gilbert, which was filmed in The Dalles," she added.

"I am really looking forward to seeing the completed video sometime next year. It was a fun experience," Lela Riha said.

Truax said she and the residents are planning a gala event when the movie premieres at Homewoods sometime in the future.

Gaytan noted that the editing process is complicated and he's planning for "Ghostbusters: Who You Gonna Call?" to debut on YouTube in spring 2021.

"It takes four days to completely edit and render a single four-second shot of special-effect graphics (and) that's just a screenshot of a part of the movie," he said.

'Multitalented actor'

Gaytan, who was homeschooled, is now a freshman at Clackamas Community College, where he is taking film directing, public speaking and writing courses. All will serve him well in his future career in the film industry, he said, although he noted there are many resources available online.

He credits Michelle Leigh, founder of Oregon City Children's Theatre, with teaching him about behind-the-scenes techniques, like lighting and sound.

Leigh described Gaytan as "a multitalented, hard-working young actor, who has really developed incredible stage presence, having played Gaston in 'Beauty and the Beast' and Simba in 'The Lion King'."

He also is dedicated, always willing to assist and help out with anything and everything," she said.

Altogether, Gaytan has performed in nine productions and worked on the crew for "The Wiz Jr.," OCCT's most recent production.

"All along he has had an interest in crew, especially the tech stuff like lights, sound, microphones, and has been a huge asset in learning some of those roles and jumping up into the booth and helping out while we were training new people," Leigh said.

Two years ago, Gaytan took over videotaping and editing OCCT's productions for the archives, and also has volunteered as a camp leader and counselor for the group's youth summer camps.

Passionate about film

One of the qualities that Leigh admires most about Gaytan is his willingness to explore and be vulnerable on stage.

"He takes direction and pushes to truly be in a moment and make it real. He strives for genuineness and honesty in what he does, which is what I think is seen in his work on the films he has directed and edited," she said.

COURTESY PHOTO - From left are pictured, Clayton Howard, Karen Truax, Darlene Fletcher, Steve Gaytan, Lela Riha, Nadine McCracken and Joshua Delbuono. "When I first found out that he had directed films, I was in awe. How amazing that such a young man would find something he is so passionate about and seek ways to make it a reality," Leigh said.

"The films are respectful and an homage to the original. If he chooses a story/film/script it is out of admiration and he does all he can to do it justice," she said.

"The films are exactly what you would expect from someone of that caliber."

Leigh has worked with hundreds of young people over the years with OCCT and said that Gaytan is one she will never forget.

COURTESY PHOTO - From left, Ghostbusters Clayton Howard, Steve Gaytan and Joshua Delbuono don their proton packs and get ready to bring down the ghost haunting Homewoods on the Willamette.  She added: "I know I will be forever thankful that I have had the honor of playing some role in his life and cannot wait to see what he does next. I believe he could be a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry."

See past film productions by searching YouTube for GaytanFilm Productions and subscribe to the channel.

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