SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Clarence J. Woods: I’m currently a talent agent in Los Angeles, CA and I represent news and hosting talent. At the time that “Night Surf” was shot I was still a student at USC and had decided to co-produce a Stephen King project w/ a fellow co-worker at my internship with Wilshire Court Productions, which was a Viacom owned production company.
SKSM: How did you become involved in Night Surf?
Clarence J. Woods: As I mentioned, Peter Sullivan and I were working together for a television development company. Peter had the great idea to submit our project for the $1 baby exception and after receiving the approval from Mr. King’s legal team we started putting together the logistics of the production.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Clarence J. Woods: I did audition for the role, but I was also part of the re-writing process. Peter Sullivan felt I was the best fit for the role of Bernie.
SKSM: You worked with Peter Sullivan on this film, how was that?
Clarence J. Woods: Peter’s one of the hardest workers in the industry. He’s very organized and has the ability to control large productions very well. We’re still good friends and I try to help out on any projects when time permits.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Clarence J. Woods: Several interesting moments throughout the shoot. I think the shocked faces of the crew when we put a hole in a rented house during a fight sequence were priceless. I also remember shooting a scene late at night and having to strike the set when neighbors complained about the noise. We had to move all of our production equipment by the morning so the rental company wouldn’t know that we had more than four people staying in the house!
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Clarence J. Woods: Absolutely! Everyone in the cast & crew will always have strong bonds because of our great experience.
SKSM: What did you do after Night Surf?
Clarence J. Woods: After “Night Surf” I finished school and started focusing on my career. As I mentioned I now represent talent in the L.A. area. (imdb.com)
SKSM: Night Surf is a prequel to The Stand. Have you read/seen The Stand and what do you think of it?
Clarence J. Woods: I have read all of the pertinent work. I really feel that “Night Surf” approaches the entire theme of “The Stand” in a different way. In “Night Surf” I think the real tension comes from the complete isolation that the kids encounter. I think it’s these feelings of loneliness, especially within teenagers that creates a great dynamic. Obviously we took creative liberties with the translation because the way that “Night Surf” is originally written doesn’t translate so well to a visual format. I think Peter Sullivan did a great job of creating strong characters and great action given what he had to work with in the original short story.
SKSM: Are you (or were you) a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Clarence J. Woods: Absolutely. I think “Misery,” “Salem’s Lot,” “The Shining,” and “It” are amongst my favorites.
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?
Clarence J. Woods: Thanks Bernd. I just want to inspire any young film maker to absolutely take advantage of the $1 option offered by Stephen King. It’s a great way to practice adaptations of major literary work at an early point in your career. Additionally I just want to emphasize how important it is to have FUN! Don’t get stuck splitting hairs about how perfect a film looks, etc… It’s most important to be assertive and get the project rolling rather than not getting anything done in the first place.
Very best wishes,