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He is the Cinematographer of Jon Mann‘s Popsy Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Jack Leahy: My name is Jack, among other things I’m a cinematographer, currently based in Nova Scotia.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a cinematographer?

Jack Leahy: The realization that I wanted to head in that direction was a result of multiple intersecting factors. Truth be told I’m still working towards becoming a cinematographer! I’m sure there are people who wouldn’t consider me as such. It can be a bit of an elusive, self-proclaimed title. I’ve been shooting still photography since I was in high school, and I didn’t really know what a DP was until I started watching a lot of movies while in university. Discovering the role of the cinematographer, DOP excited me deeply, it felt like a natural progression from my photography and YouTube videos I was making at the time. The idea that directors had stories to tell and that I could light and photograph their story with them was so exciting. Around the same time I reached out to Paul McCurdy and Kevin Fraser, two incredible Halifax based DPs that took long coffee meetings with me. Those couple of hours really solidified that cinematography was the direction I wanted to head.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

Jack Leahy: For this film, Popsy, Jon and I were floating references back and forth months before we shot. Jon had a list of movies and a playlist of songs, both of which gave me insight into the world that Jon was after. I had a few photography and colour references that I shared with Jon. Once we decided on a 4:3 aspect ratio and shot-listed a few sequences we were on the right page and had the visual approach was pretty solidified.

SKSM: You worked with Jon Mann on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a DOP should be?

Jack Leahy: It should be like working with Jon! A mentor of mine suggested that my mission should be to go find 5 more Jons, I’m still working on that. Ideally, the relationship on all project types is a collaborative one, playing off each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Jon has also become a close friend of mine since shooting Popsy, working alongside friends makes it all the more fun.

SKSM: You worked on a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. Was it your most challenging film?

Jack Leahy: It’s been long enough now that I don’t remember it like that. We had a blast making the film. It was certainly pushing the limits of what I was capable of at the time but we pulled it off.

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favourite lenses? formats?

Jack Leahy: There are so many interesting optic solutions out there. Most of which I have yet to have the opportunity to use. I have a couple of Pentax still photography lenses that I’ve had forever, and adapted to EF so I can shoot with them digitally. They are my favourite of the lenses I have access to. I’m excited to get my hands on some BlackWing7’s at some point.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Jack Leahy: There was this hilarious improv take that Sean McCullum did as the Mall Cop. I’m not sure how much of it he prepared but it was pretty incredible. It didn’t end up serving the scene so it’s not in the film but it was a good laugh on set.

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favourite DOPs/films)?

Jack Leahy: I’ve been certainly inspired by the greats who’ve pushed boundaries in the field such as Bradford, Savides, Deakins, Chivo, Cronenweth (both of them). But the takeaways from them are elusive and overarching. The biggest influences have come from Canadian DPs that I have been generous with their time and expertise. I’ve gained the most practical knowledge from Paul McCurdy, Kevin Fraser, Mat Barkley, Catherine Lutes, Jeff Wheaton.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favourite works and adaptations?

Jack Leahy: I am certainty a King fan. The Shinning is a stand out for me, I’ve also just started to read 11/22/63, it’s a beast of a book but I’m enjoying it so far.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Jack Leahy: You’re catching me during the COVID-19 pandemic so there has been a bit of break from shooting. I’ve taken this time to catch up on movies I haven’t watched, and update my website. I’ve also been working on a Litemat style LED build, sourcing the parts from the wonderful people at MOSS LED.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Jack Leahy: That I represented Canada internationally a handful of times in Sprint Canoe.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Jack Leahy: I’m your fan if you read this! Thanks for having me on here.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Jack Leahy: If anyone has made it this far, check out my website at www.jackleahy.ca and email me at jackgleahy@gmail.com

He is the Composer of Will Patrick RobertsMorning Deliveries Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Paul Duffy: My name is Paul Duffy and I love horror films. I am a professional musician and composer

SKSM: How did you become involved with Morning Deliveries?

Paul Duffy: I met Will Patrick Roberts (director) at a gig and then through the power of social media I learnt he was a film maker and we started vibeing about our love of films.

SKSM: How did you get started as a composer and what do you do on production?

Paul Duffy: I’ve always been a huge fan the horror genre. I remember seeing the original George A. Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead for the first time when I was a teenager and it blowing my mind. Those early zombie movies especially had the most brilliant soundtracks with those eerie 70’s synths and over the top impact sounds. So, when I started making my own soundtrack inspired music I wanted to recreate that. They’re the most fun.

SKSM: How did you get started to wrote the Soundtrack for Morning Deliveries?

Paul Duffy: Will and I got talking once and he mentioned he was working on a Steven King inspired short film and I immediately jumped at the chance of being involved. He sent over some test footage and imagery to me of Morning Deliveries along with some musical ideas and it was all so good that I knew exactly what to do for the theme. The John Carpenter soundtracks were a big influence.

SKSM: Is this your most challenging audio so far?

Paul Duffy: I wanted to give Will my absolute best work as I loved the project so much. I went and upgraded my home studio and started playing with some new sounds. It was great challenging myself but once I got started it came quite naturally and the ideas just flowed. You have to remember to enjoy yourself.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the music that you would like to tell me about?

Paul Duffy: I sent over a rough demo with the main riff but knew I had to make more of it. Then my wife and I went on a vacation to Universal Studios Florida in October and,of course, they have the annual Halloween Horror Nights event on! (I recommend going to any horror nerd like myself) The theme was 80’s horror so the music they played in the park was brilliant. When I arrived back home I found myself super charged full of electro, 80’s, gore, Stranger Things, Steven King nostalgia. It all poured into the finished music for the film and it fitted perfectly.

SKSM: After Morning Deliveries up did you write more music? If so what?

Paul Duffy: I love to make music all the time and try to record as much as I can. I’m messing with more sounds and techniques to broaden my musical making skills right now. The great thing with creativity is that you’re always learning.

SKSM: What are you working nowadays?

Paul Duffy: I have recently learnt how to make 8-bit computer game music, like the old Saga games, and I’m working on a personal project with that. It’s a completely different way of thinking about music and arrangement but it’s really, really fun.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Paul Duffy: To me, King is one of the masters of horror/sci-fi. He’s like The Beatles of horror writing. Without even knowing it you will have read, heard or seen his work. He’s embedded into the subconscious minds of us all and throughout pop culture. His stories and imagery will always be around.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Paul Duffy: I’m the bassist in a band called The Coral and have been for 20 years.

SKSM: What advice would you give to those people who want to be musicians?

Paul Duffy: Now technology can let anyone be a creative whether it be music or film making. So I say don’t be afraid to mess up and sometimes you can be your own worst critic. Most importantly always remember to just have fun and not be so serious.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Paul Duffy: Thank you and stay spooky.

SKSM: Do you like something to add?

Paul Duffy: Give Morning Deliveries a watch. It’s a brilliant piece of work. Also check out my Sound Cloud. It’s the one with Sasquatch as my avatar.

He played in Red Clark‘s Gray Matter Dollar Baby film as Henry.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I studied theatre in college and spent many years as a professional actor in Chicago, mostly on stage.  I’ve written a couple plays that have been widely produced in the U.S. and not-so-widely in Europe.  I’m currently on staff at a university in the Chicago suburbs and don’t pursue acting much anymore except for the occasional V.O. or on-camera industrial.  I did start directing for stage earlier this year.  Though incredibly demanding, it was a rewarding experience which I may do again—though Covid-19 has pretty much sidelined live theatre for the near future.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I was a musician in high school, playing bass in the pit orchestra and secretly envying those kids brave enough to get up on stage.  I didn’t come to it myself until my second year of college in 1977.  I hadn’t declared a major yet and at the time I was dabbling in Egyptology of all things.  Theatre seemed a lot livelier, so I went for it.  It was mostly my love of Shakespeare that drew me in.  I’ve been lucky over the years to have acted in over half his plays.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Gray matter Dollar Baby film?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: In 2008 I acted with Adrian DiGiovanni in The Nest, a short film directed by Tim Zwica.  A couple years later Adrian was an initial producer of Gray Matter, and he pulled me in to read for Henry.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: It’s so elemental.  The bone cold chill of winter, a tense trek through a dark forest, a mysterious house in a remote setting.  It has the feel of a scary story told in hushed voices around a campfire.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: Well, since Stephen King created the character of Henry, it definitely wasn’t written for me!

SKSM: You worked with Red Clark on this film, how was that?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I loved working with Red.  He’s very creative, patient, focused, and a real sweetheart besides.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I’ll always remember being captured and dragged to my demise.  I was dragged across the floor by crew, of course, not a monster.  I can’t think how many times we reshot that.  I could say it was “a real drag,” and yeah, it was uncomfortable for sure.  But you’ll never forget even pretending to be dragged to a horrible death.  All those interior shots were legitimately creepy.  Skulking around in dark rooms, the beams of our flashlights dancing across the walls.  It really put you in the mood.

Another thing I recall is our pick-up shots in the woods.  We needed to reshoot some things long after the snow was gone, but Red recreated it with white material stretched out through the woods strictly within the camera shot.  At the time I thought this can’t work, but it totally does.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I’ve stayed in touch with Red and with Aaron Christensen (Bertie).  Aaron does a Scare-a-thon fundraiser every October when he solicits pledges for every horror movie he watches and reviews online over the course of the month leading up to Halloween, so we always reconnect then at least.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I directed a production of Steve Martin’s play Picasso at the Lapin Agile a couple months ago.  My last on-camera work was a promotion called Cards Against Humanity Hacks the Election, which is still on YouTube and was a lot of fun to shoot.  Nothing in the works right now though, what with the Covid-19 lockdown.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: Definitely.  I’ve read over ten of his novels and one short story collection, though it didn’t include Gray Matter.  He’s always been a terrific writer, and I think he’s doing some of his best work these days, like Finders Keepers and The Outsider.  During the coronavirus crisis I decided to reread The Stand—which may have been a mistake! Combined with the actual news on TV, it was beyond unnerving.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: In the last few years I developed an obsession with cephalopods, and octopuses in particular.  I’ve gotten to handle a giant Pacific octopus named Petunia and been bitten by a Caribbean dwarf I found in the surf.  I now volunteer on weekends as a docent at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium just so I can connect with other octopus fans.  (And no, they are not monsters.  They can actually be quite sweet.)

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Scott Lynch- Giddings: I hope you enjoy Gray Matter.  It was a long process but great fun to work on.  While not a huge fan of horror movies myself, I have to say that acting in them has been the most fun I’ve ever had on camera.

 

He played in Matthew Maio Mackay‘s Dollar Baby A Tale of the Laundry Game as Rocky.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Marc Clement: My name is Marc Clement, I an Actor, writer, director, cinematographer, editor, singer, songwriter, bass player. I have a theatre company called STARC PRODUCTIONS with my partner Stefanie Rossi. STARC puts on 3 shows a year and had been up for many awards and winning a few also. I also teach acting and have made many short films.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Marc Clement: I have been acting for as long as I can remember, having my first lead role at 5 in school and it grew from there. Having been nominated for best actor in South Australia last year I feel I am definitely on the right path in life and would do nothing else.

SKSM: How did you become involved in A tale of the laundry game Dollar Baby film?

Marc Clement: I first met Matthew during a project I am working on had him for work experience and since then Matthew has proven himself to be a force in the industry working relentlessly and producing some amazing work.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Marc Clement: It’s the typical clever, suspenseful writing of Stephen King that keeps readers and watchers guessing

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Marc Clement: No I didn’t have to audition. Matthew asked me if I wanted to play the role and after reading his adaptation I was very keen to be involved, I also knew the DOP very well so it was an easy choice.

SKSM: You worked with Matthew Maio Mackay on this film, how was that?

Marc Clement: Matthew is an important part of the film making future of South Australia and hope fully Australia.  He is fresh and keen and learning more and more very project he completes.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Marc Clement: Every moment with fellow actor Brendan Cooney who is one of my best friends. Its always a pleasure to hang out with him, we have worked on numerous projects and we have so much fun together.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Marc Clement: I am working on my own TV Series called ‘Alright with Albright’ which is a comedy about home coming and redemption, very quirky and off the wall. I am writer actor and director and will play 5 characters.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Marc Clement: I am a huge fan of his work and anyone who enjoys reading a films in general know of his work and the legacy he will leave behind.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Marc Clement: I can juggle and ride a Uni-Cycle

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Marc Clement: Hi everyone, thanks for reading and look out for more of Matthews work and also STARC PRODUCTIONS & LEADING LINES work.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Marc Clement: Thanks!

She played in Mark Hensley‘s The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby film as a Victim.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Amy Scribner: I am an actor and writer living in Los Angeles.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Amy Scribner: I’ve been acting since I was five and realized I wanted to pursue it profesionally after I started my first corporate job in New York City after college.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The man who loved flowers Dollar Baby film?

Amy Scribner: I know the director and writer, Mark and Peggy, from Naked Angels Tuesdays@9 Los Angeles, a cold reading series, and have acted in another one of their films.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Amy Scribner: The story of the slippery slope between love, obsession, and madness can be interpreted in many ways.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Amy Scribner: I don’t know if the part was written for me, but, fortunately, Mark and Peggy thought of me for the role.

SKSM: You worked with Mark Hensley on this film, how was that?

Amy Scribner: I’m so impressed with Mark.  He decided to start directing and just did it, learning as he went.  He’s so accomplished in sound that he brings a lot to the table in film.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Amy Scribner: Planning what a murder should look like is funny when you’re with the right people.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Amy Scribner: Absolutely. I’m friends with Mark and Peggy and several others.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Amy Scribner: Writing, recording voiceover, and shooting short films with my husband while we’re in quarantine.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Amy Scribner: I admire his storytelling and writing but am generally not drawn to horror.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Amy Scribner: I write and perform sketch comedy.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Amy Scribner: Thanks for reading.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Amy Scribner: Thanks for representing short films.

He played in Red Clark‘s Gray Matter Dollar Baby film as Timmy Grenadine.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Kenneth Martin: I’m Kenneth, a 20-year-old student at Beloit College studying political science and theatre. When I’m not at college, I’m in Chicago playing video games, watching Netflix, or volunteering for progressive political campaigns. In addition to all of that, I also enjoy fencing, soccer, sailing, chess, and quizbowl.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Kenneth Martin: When I was a kid, both of my parents were ensemble members of Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, so I spent a lot of my childhood around rehearsals and performances. In 5th grade, I decided that I was tired of just watching plays; I wanted to be in them. So I auditioned and miraculously got the part in a Stage Left play.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Gray Matter Dollar Baby film?

Kenneth Martin: One of the actors, Aaron Christensen, was friends with my dad and told him they were looking for kids to audition. I was super excited at the chance of not just being in a short film, but being in a horror film with blood and guts and monsters, so I said yes.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Kenneth Martin: It’s creepy and very gross.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Kenneth Martin: I did have to audition. I’m not sure how good my audition was, but apparently I was lucky enough to be the only kid to audition, so I got cast!

SKSM: You worked with Red Clark on this film, how was that?

Kenneth Martin: He was great to work with; he’s very smart, kind, and good at directing young actors who don’t know what they’re doing.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Kenneth Martin: My first day of filming was the day before my 13th birthday, and in a stroke of luck it premiered on my 18th birthday. Because of this, Gray Matter holds a very special place in my heart as marking the beginning and end of my adolescence.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Kenneth Martin: I don’t regularly talk to any of them, but I occasionally enjoy reading the horror blog run by Aaron Christensen’s alter ego, Dr. AC.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Kenneth Martin: Like all other college students, I’m trying to figure out how to deal with classes at home for the rest of the semester.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Kenneth Martin: I am! Gray Matter was actually my introduction to him. So far, my favorite book of his is The Eyes of the Dragon, which I think does not deserve its negative reputation.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Kenneth Martin: I’m an incredibly picky eater.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Kenneth Martin: Stay healthy and keep in touch with people outside your household!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Kenneth Martin: Robert’s Rules are bad and should be abolished.

He is the filmmaker of Sneakers Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Gino Alfonso: My name is Gino Alfonso, I’m a writer/producer director and some times actor

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?

Gino Alfonso: When I saw Jurassic Park when I was 10 years old.

SKSM: When did you make Sneakers? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Gino Alfonso: I made Sneakers about 6 years ago, I got special permission from Stephen King to do it as it was not on the list of $1 Babies and explained to his people how much I loved the story and he approved me to do it. It took one weekend to film, cost about a $1,000 to make.

SKSM: How come you picked Sneakers to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Gino Alfonso: I loved the dark humor in it and it was classic King at the pinnacle of his short story form. It felt very much like a Twilight Zone episode.

SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?

Gino Alfonso: I had read an article with Frank Darabont, I believe in Fangoria and he said that’s how he made The Woman in the Room and helped him build his relationship with King to make Shawshank Redemption in my opinion one of the top 10 best King adaptations ever.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Gino Alfonso: When the main character is in the bathroom and trying to take a crap with the ghost talking to him, I couldn’t stop laughing at the actors sound FXs he made for farting, I know childish but it was hysterical.

SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?

Gino Alfonso: I think the internet is an amazing way for young and new filmmakers to get recognized even without going the festival route, there is no excuse not to be creating content. Everything is at our fingertips these days. You can make your brand for yourself younger and younger these days.

SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?

Gino Alfonso: Some of the sound quality I wasn’t thrilled with but the makeup FXs and visual FXs have been highly acclaimed

SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?

Gino Alfonso: We had a few small runs

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Gino Alfonso: Huge fan, I own everything available in print and on film, I own most 1st editions and even some foriegn versions. Stand By Me, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, The Mist, 1922, Gerald’s Game, Doctor Sleep (much to my amazement)

SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?

Gino Alfonso: I did not, just Ms. Morehouse who runs the program but she spoke to him on my behalf to get the approval for the rights to Sneakers.

SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?

Gino Alfonso: I do, but not as a short. I’m trying to build the track record I need to adapt a novel. One of my dream books is Rose Madder to adapt, though I’m not big on reboots, I’d love to do a darker more true version of Needful Things.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Gino Alfonso: My first feature Compatible is currently in post production which is a horror thriller starring Eileen Dietz (The Exorcist) Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th) Mindy Robinson (Evil Bong series) Elissa Dowling (Automation, Girl on the Third Floor) a film I was an associate producer on and actor called Attack of the Unknown is being released theatrically this summer starring Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street, Night at the Roxeberry) Robert LaSardo (The Mule, Waterworld) and Tara Reid (American Pie) and I’m in development on my next two features but can’t reveal much about those yet.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Gino Alfonso: I am an openly gay filmmaker and have been married to my husband for almost a decade.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Gino Alfonso: Thanks for reading and watching King and my work as well.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Gino Alfonso: Any producers/investors reading this I have dozens of scripts for sale and always looking for financing/partnerships feel free to get in contact on any major social media platform

 

He is the Cinematographer and Co-editor of Warren Ray‘s Maxwell Edison. The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

David Brewer: Depending on the day I am a filmaker, musician and an artist. I started filmaking specifically in 2011 with my feature debut, Nothing in the Flowers. From there I developed several series based projects as well as collaborated on film and music projects with other local talent. On Maxwell Edison I was the cinematographer and co-editor.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a cinematographer?

David Brewer: Just a long standing admiration for the visual arts. Most seriously in 2010-2011.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

David Brewer: Try to be an astute listener first and foremost.

SKSM: You worked with Warren Ray on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a dp should be?

David Brewer: You should speak a unique, almost coded language. You have to allow yourself to open up to different ideas, that are not always your own.

SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?

David Brewer: It had it’s challenges but the tight shoot schedule over a few days made it quite manageable.

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favorite lenses? formats?

David Brewer: I think DSLR has a nice fit in budget filmmaking but sometimes having more tools at your disposal, convenience, etc. takes time away from just creating a satisfying image. In otherwords, its less about equipment and more about using a tool that allows you to create more, tinker less.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

David Brewer: The final scene on the stairs was shot late, late into the night while an entire family was sleeping in the other room. We were super quiet and everyone was extremely professional and respectful.

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favorite dps/films)?

David Brewer: Coen Brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Adam McKay, Tarantino.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

David Brewer: I do enjoy the films based off his books, I am not a reader. My girlfriend however is a huge fan and has read/owns all of his works. My personal go to would be Cujo. You couldn’t make that film today without pissing off the dog lovers. Regardless of the breed used. It was frightening because it was quite realistic.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

David Brewer: I am pushing my musical endeavors head first now as I have been writing music for most of my life, just now going public with some stuff. I have a few scripts that I feel are quite strong but not sure if I will ever see them into films as they are quite ambitious and films are major work.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

David Brewer: That I am 49.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

David Brewer: The support for the Dollar Baby projects is amazing and I really never knew how far and wide the netwrok extended.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

David Brewer: Thank you for the interview and thank you for keeping this project alive.

He is the filmmaker behind Gray Matter Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Red Clark: Thanks for interviewing me, it’s great to be included with such a great group of people. My name is Red Clark, I’m a writer/director/editor, and I live and work out in Michigan and Chicago.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?

Red Clark: I started making movies when I was a little kid. When I was in High School in the 90s, I was one of the only kids at our school who had a camera, so I would put everyone in my films. It was a lot bigger of a deal at the time. This was before all the school violence that would follow at the close of the Millenium, so I was actually able to film projects at school and get away with a lot of goofy stuff. I put teachers in films, and they would hang out with me outside of class. There was a bully who didn’t like me, so I asked him to come and get eaten by monsters in a movie I was making. Jocks acted with nerds and goth kids. I got my first real date with a projectionist at my first film festival and won a 100 movie prize the same night (I took everyone out for milk-shakes). So movies were a way for me to tell stories and break down walls that most had a hard time facing during High School. I remember playing my movie trailer in the school lunchroom. Stop motion monsters run around, and the school explodes Rock and Roll High School style at the end. Everyone went nuts. I decided to skip class for the rest of the day (which I never did before) and play the trailer for every lunch period. So I’d say at a very early age I fell in love with film and storytelling and knew I’d do it for the rest of my life.

SKSM: When did you make Gray matter? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Red Clark: The idea for Gray Matter was to do a straight forward monster movie with all practical effects. I did a Kickstarter, and I raised about 8k after fees, one of the pledgers had to back out, so that dented the total amount. It probably all cost around 9500 to make, which all went into gear rental and practical effects budget. I started the film back in 2013. Even though I can actually work extremely fast, we allowed the shoots to spread out quite a bit due to actor availability and fabrication of the makeup effects. In the beginning, it was just myself and my good friend Ross, along with Mike Bove on camera, just filming when people whenever they were free. I had someone come in toward the end of production to assist me and organizing people for the shoots named Katherin Mraz. Like anyone helping, she ended up doing lots of random stuff like being a stand-in or throwing slime. Waiting for snow was also a big obstacle. For some reason, the timeframe I chose was the winter with the least amount of snow. I ended up faking most of it with white foam, baby powder and lots of soft focus. After Gray Matter, I vowed to never spread out a shoot like that again and compress things down shooting wise. Much better.

SKSM: How come you picked Gray matter to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Red Clark: It was always a favorite short story of mine. The part with the spider particularly creeped me out as a kid. I also just thought it was a weird, very straightforward monster story.

SKSM: I’ve seen how the spider was built. It’s really awesome. Could you tell me about it?

Red Clark: The spider was animatronic. All the effects for the movie are practical, down to the tiniest details that no one but myself would care about, haha. I contacted someone in Colorado, Kevon Ward to help build the mechanics of the spider. He eventually flew out to assist during the scenes. He is a massive talent. Kevon and Dina Cimarusti were vital to getting all the practical effects done, and Rebekah Lieto came in to help finish things during the home stretch. All the makeup people that helped on the project went on to win effects reality TV shows or work on television productions. We had a small but really talented bunch all across the board. Thomas Hodge, who did the poster, has done many of the John Carpenter Blu Ray releases. He recently did The Colour Out of Space poster for the H.P. Lovecraft film by Richard Stanley. His work continues to be insane.

SKSM: The film has references to Stephen King work. Fans we love those things.

Red Clark: I tried to put as many little references as I could. I did so for myself just as much as anyone watching. There’s an adaptation of the cookie commercial mentioned in Cujo and a Pennywise appearance (this was before the It remake was in motion). Stephen King stories all cross over like crazy, which everyone adapting his recent work has figured out and is now incorporating. King was and continues to be ahead of his time. He’d already created a marvel universe of horror before it was “cool.” See if you can spot books by the various talented King family in the movie.

SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?

Red Clark: I’d been aware for a long time as I picked up The Woman in the Room on VHS as a kid, I still have my old copy. I also did a book trailer for King’s publisher for Just After Sunset. It was a contest King was judging that I won and I was in touch with his secretary around that time, Marsha, who was an amazing and generous person. So I asked about doing Gray Matter.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Red Clark: At a certain point, it was just about getting the movie done, so I just started filming myself as stand-ins for different characters. I think me and my friend Ross played every role at some point. One night, I was stuck alone puppeteering a decayed kitten hand puppet. I threw together the cocoon last minute with coffee grounds, cotton swabs, and Elmer’s glue. So I was puppeteering with one hand covered in glop, and waving a flashlight in the other hand for lighting. I had to use my foot to run the fog machine and press record on the camera with my tooth. Another time I just hit record sat down, dumped slime and fake blood on myself, and writhed around thinking, “I deserve this.” There was another semi-creepy moment when I was editing and composing scary music in an empty studio where I pulled multiple one-nighters to finish. I had to use a body cast of myself as a dead body in the movie, and it was sitting in a body bag in a room in the dimly lit studio. Whenever I went to use the bathroom or get a snack at 3am, I would have to sneak past this body bag, which I know had my “corpse” in it, and that dead-looking version of my face. It started to really creep me out, and I was getting those “Shining” woman in the bathtub vibes… I’d be counting down to when I’d have to walk past my body. Also, it was cold out, so when the heat would pump back on, the bag would breathe a little like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Gave me the willies.

SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there can’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?

Red Clark: Anybody that contacted me, I would probably send a copy free of charge. I don’t think a DVD release would ever be possible, and I wouldn’t want it. This was purely a passion project. King letting filmmakers do this sort of thing is already extraordinarily generous and awesome.

SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?

Red Clark: I’m probably the movie’s harshest critic, haha. A lot of people have told me they liked it. I haven’t had a ton of reviews, but the response was very positive at film festivals. It won some awards. To me, it’s a straight forward old fashioned monster movie. I think it turned out alright.

SKSM: Grey matter had the festival circuit in the past around the world but… where was the premiere?

Red Clark: The technical premiere was in Chicago. It also played in at a Dollar Baby festival in Argentina, in Ireland, and one of my favorite places of all…at a Drive-In. The final showing was at The Catlow Theater, a historic single-screen movie theater next to my childhood High School. I filmed a werewolf attack in the attached alleyway as a kid. I always wanted one of my movies played there, so it was a fantastic finish.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Red Clark: I’m a lifelong King reader. Though I read a ton of film-making books at a young age, Stephen King and Ray Bradbury were the people that got me into reading short stories and novels. I enjoy reading everything King writes because the journey and characters are always well worth the time. If I had to pick a favorite, I would have to say these had the most significant impact on me: The Long Walk, Pet Semetary, and 11/22/63. As far as movies go, I’m a big fan of Mick Garris because of what he’s accomplished King wise and what he has done for the horror community in general. Not sure I can pick a favorite King adaptation, there are just too many fun ones. A guilty pleasure of mine is Maximum Overdrive. There’s just something hilarious about seeing Stephen King get called an asshole by an ATM, and that steamroller scene with the ACDC music cue gets me every time.

SKSM: Did you have any personal contact with King during the making of the movie? Has he seen it (and if so, what did he think about it)?

Red Clark: No personal contact, and none expected, of course! I did receive a signed and dedicated book from him for the Just After Sunset book trailer, but that’s about all directly from Stephen King. I’m not sure if he’s seen my Gray Matter, but I assume not since he has a very busy life, and there are so many Dollar Babies. Already grateful he saw my book trailer and I was told got a kick out of that at least.

SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?

Red Clark: I’m not sure I would ever do another King story, but I can dream, right? So much of the ones I like are already adapted or are currently being made. If I could pick one thing to shoot, I would say something like The Long Walk would be a dream. Maybe a proper adaptation of The Running Man. I would love to make an episode of the Creepshow series because I think I’d kill it, but that’s a “Reach” (pun intended).

SKSM: Have you seen the episode of Creepshow TV series? if so, what do you think about it?

Red Clark: One of the artists featured in my Gray Matter did much of the wraparound comic art for the Gray Matter Creepshow TV episode. That was kind of surreal to see. I think the episode did many things better character-wise than my adaptation. I really wish they wouldn’t have used any CGI since I personally don’t believe Greg Nicoteri needs it at all (his work is so good and stands on its own), but I’m picky that way. I love practical effects so much that I even put some stop motion in mine even though I know it looks hokey…I just wanted to do some. They also made their version super fast as I understand it. I definitely got a kick out of it. Adrienne Barbeau is so cool, and I’m a huge fan so what can I even say, that alone is worth the price of admission. Ironically, I had someone impersonating her radio voice for the WZON radio announcement in my adaptation. She is an icon.

SKSM: What are you working nowadays?

Red Clark: I recently wrote and co-directed some interactive shows that aired on the front page of Twitch. I have some other feature horror projects and series I am pulling together. My dream is to do a film or series for Shudder, home of the new Creepshow series. I absolutely love what they are doing for the horror community and want to be part of it.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Red Clark: I got locked in a cave in the middle of the night with a crazy forest Ranger, it’s a long story. I swam with alligators once. My life cast used for Gray Matter (the one that was creeping me out at night) appeared as an autopsied corpse on NBC’s Chicago Med. Fun facts!

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?

Red Clark: Stay weird, everybody.

SKSM: Would you like to add something?

Red Clark: I would like to pull focus and thank Stephen King for being so generous to artists and complete strangers he’s helped over the years. In these dark days, it is incredible to have people in the world who stand out like a lighthouse in the storm. I would argue that even though King has entertained and scared the shit out of generations of constant-readers, he’s mainly brought more hope and love into this world. So I’d like to say thanks “Uncle Steve” from myself and all the Dollar Baby kids.

 

 

He wrote the script of Gray Matter Dollar Baby Film.

SKSM: Hi Mark. This is your second interview for the site. Thank you very much! Remind to our readers, who you are and what do you do?

Mark McFarlane: Thank you very much for having me back, it’s always a pleasure to speak to you! My name is Mark McFarlane, and I am a filmmaker, writer, designer and artist based in Ayrshire, Scotland.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a screenwriter?

Mark McFarlane: I never actually considered pursuing writing, or even believed I had any talent for it actually, until I began attending college to study filmmaking. I come from a commercial art/graphic design background and initially I was focused purely on the visual aspect of filmmaking. However, creative writing was a significant part of my first college session and I was encouraged to pursue it by two amazingly supportive lecturers. Being a long-time Stephen King fan, his short stories were always my favourite part of his literary output, so naturally I gravitated to writing short stories myself, with King as a huge influence. Once I attended university to study film it was natural for me to begin writing my own scripts, and it was then that I really fell in love with the process of screenwriting. Being able to see my own words put to the screen was, and still is, incredibly exhilarating.

SKSM: You wrote the script for Gray matter Dollar Baby Film. I recently read it and I loved it. I think it’s very faithful to the original short story. Would you finally have made any changes before shooting the movie?

Mark McFarlane: Thank you for your kind words about the script, I’m extremely glad you enjoyed it! I don’t believe I would’ve made any significant changes to the script before shooting. Whenever I make films I understand that it is a hugely collaborative process. In the past, I’ve had whole scenes play completely differently on screen than it appeared on the page purely through the input of the incredibly talented actors I’m working with. In that case I was working from my own material and I was absolutely willing to make those changes. I think though, when you’re working from material based on the work of people like Stephen King, you must remain absolutely true to the spirit of the characters he has written, and the situations he puts them in. I spent a lot of time throughout the multiple drafts to really retain that structure he had in place, so I don’t feel any changes would have been necessary.

SKSM: You worked in a script based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging script for now?

Mark McFarlane: I think every script has its own unique challenges, and while I wouldn’t say ‘Gray Matter’ was the most challenging I’ve ever written, there were very particular issues which I needed to work around. These were mainly issues brought about by me transplanting the original Maine setting to my home country of Scotland. I could’ve retained the original setting but I think having a bunch of Scottish actors putting on their best New England accents would’ve been deepl detrimental to the film! That said, I think everyone is aware that us Scots have our own distinct way of talking that doesn’t always translate well! Fortuately one of the things I love about King’s work is that I find it universally relatable. I’ve known many older men in my life who I could draw easy parallels with the characters from ‘Grey Matter’, despite being separated by nearly 3000 miles of ocean, so it was simply a case of tweaking their voices to sound natural and unforced in my native accent. It also helped that I find ‘Grey Matter’ to be an incredibly cinematic short story anyway, so I suppose the real challenge was not screwing it up!

SKSM: Fans we can’t see your adaptation anymore. The rights to the story have already been sold. If you had filmed Gray matter, how long would the running time have been?

Mark McFarlane: We would have been looking to make it around 20-25 minutes.

SKSM: As I said before, you are unable to proceed with your Dollar Baby due to Gray matter was made as an episode of Creepshow TV series. Did you watch it? If so, what’s your opinion?

Mark McFarlane: I did watch it, yes. I’m fully aware that my opinion of it is heavily coloured by my disappointment at not getting to shoot my own version, but I was very unimpressed by it. I felt it compromised the original story too much, and reduced it to a bland ‘man turns into monster’ story. I love the characters and the relationships of the short story so much, and to not see those people, in that very distinct setting, left me feeling really low about it. Credit where it’s due though, it was well directed, the final effects of Richie’s transformation were excellent, and I have a lot of love for each member of the cast, especially Adrienne Barbeau. Perhaps some day I’ll be able to look at it with a bit more objectivity!

SKSM: Gray matter was adapted as a Dollar Baby film several times. Have you seen some of these adaptations?

Mark McFarlane: Unfortunately I’ve only been able to see the trailers for these adaptations. I’m a big fan of the Dollar Baby program and love that all these other filmmakers have been able to give their own unique take on such wonderful source material. Sadly I think my time has now passed for making my own Dollar Baby. I would’ve loved to bring my version of ‘Grey Matter’ to the screen, but so much time, effort and love was put into it, only to then see it be snatched away, that I feel it’s time to move on and work on some original projects. That said, I wouldn’t trade the experience of trying to get ‘Grey Matter’ made for anything. I learned a lot, and met some great new people, and I would recommend it to any filmmaker out there.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Mark McFarlane: Right now I’m working on a low budget horror feature with my friend and long-time collaborator Jimmi Johnson, who was the editor on Clive Barker’s Night Breed: The Cabal Cut, and is an incredibly talented writer and filmmaker in his own right. It’s a horror/black-comedy with heavy influences from films such as Evil Dead 2 and Eraserhead, about a woman who becomes trapped in a house being terrorised by otherworldly forces. Plus, I always like to sprinkle a few King and Dark Tower references into whatever I’m working on, so look out for those when the film eventually rolls out. That’s really about as much as I can say for now, but it’s been incredibly fun to write and I’m extremely excited to start shooting. We were actually ready to move into the casting stage, with the shoot itself pencilled in for around June/July, however the current Covid-19 situation has halted the production for now. As it stands I’m working on the storyboards for now, and as soon as it’s safe to do so, the production will be back up and running!

SKSM: Thanks again for your incredible support! Something you’d like to tell our readers?

Mark McFarlane: I think I’d just like to say thank you again to those people who reached out to me with their comiserations when the Creepshow adaptation was announced, particularly Jackie Perez who wrote and directed ‘Beachworld‘, and Shudder themselves who were gracious enough to compliment the teaser trailer I put out. If anyone is interested in seeing that trailer you can find it, and a selection of my other films at https://www.youtube.com/user/markgmcfarlanefilms. You can also follow my misadventures on Instagram @hotfudz, and find a whole bunch of my silly merchandise at www.redbubble.com/people/octoberfifteen/ all proceeds from which are funneled into our upcoming feature film, so any likes, subscribes, comments, and general support is greatly appreciated! Thank you once again for allowing me the opportunity to talk to you, it’s always a great experience, and an absolute pleasure to talk to the Dollar Baby community!

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