He is the man behind Death Room Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Gregory T. Fugate: Of course, my name is Gregory Fugate. I have a passion for movies and books. From that passion I have become a screenwriter and novelist, filmmaker, actor, and graphic artista. I shot my first feature film in 2013, along with a handful of short films. I broke my back in 2015 and spent most of 2016 in rehab and therapy. I am currently in college working on my bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources. I am currently working in the human resource department for Volunteers of America and my goal is to take my experience in human resources and apply it to the film industry as a talent agent, while continuing to pursue my writing.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Gregory T. Fugate: I realized I wanted to be involved in the film industry in high school. I went to college to learn graphic design and animation, then discovered my love of writing. Then, in 2009, I had an opportunity to work with a local community theater where I met a lot of really awesome, talented, individuals who were also on the same journey as myself. This provided a launch pad for my filmmaking.
SKSM: When did you make Death Room? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Gregory T. Fugate: We started it in fall of 2014 as we were wrapping up a feature film. The production met with a lot of challenges. Several recasts, scheduling issues with locations, and several revisions to the script as those obstacles presented themselves. The Budget was very low, unfortunately, which was a major contributor to many of the production woes. I think, in all, I spent about $1,000. It took about six months to film it once all of the recasting and locations issues were dealt with, All in all, about a year.
SKSM: How come you picked In the Deathroom to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Gregory T. Fugate: We had just finished a movie with a large cast and many locations and I was looking to do something that wasn’t quite so demanding when it came to schedules. A small cast with limited locations, I felt, was the change of pace I needed. I really liked that the story was very adaptable to just about any age. I updated the story to reflect more current events and issues. There was even one versión of the script that took place in the Star Trek universe.
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?
Gregory T. Fugate: I actually learned about it by talking to my friends and fellow filmmakers Harley Morris and Warren Ray. After I got home that night, I quickly jumped online and did a search. I discovered the website, scoured the list of available stories, and brushed up on my King.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Gregory T. Fugate: One day filming a scene with a drone. It didn’t feel like work. We were having fun, still getting things done, but just really enjoying everything about the process. When you love what you do so much that work doesn’t feel like work – that’s special.
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?
Gregory T. Fugate: It doesn’t bother me that no one can see it. I was not happy with the finished versión and opted not to reléase it. In the future, I have decided that I will revisit In the Deathroom. As for a reléase, I am thinking of a limited run DVD reléase with two other King shorts.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Gregory T. Fugate: Only a small select group of people have seen it, so there are no real reviews.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Gregory T. Fugate: I do plan on screening the movie when I reshoot it. As for any particular festival, I haven’t settled on one… yet.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Gregory T. Fugate: I am a fan of his. I think the Dark Tower was his best work, but I really like most of his older stuff from the 80’s.
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)?
Gregory T. Fugate: I have not and no he has not.
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?
Gregory T. Fugate: As I mentioned before I am going to redo In the Deathroom. After that, I have considered doing a couple more. I have thought about maybe finding a few that can play off each other and make a trilogy of shorts.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Gregory T. Fugate: Right now, we are currently working on a documentary about the opioid epidemic. We’re expecting to wrap that in Dec, 2019 and I am finishing up a new novel this summer.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Gregory T. Fugate: Not much, actually. I’m a pretty open book.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Gregory T. Fugate: Yes. I want to do the story, Mr. King, and myself justice. I want to make a quality film that everyone involved can be proud of and I’m not going to rush it again.
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Gregory T. Fugate: If you haven’t already seen it, check out Mom and Dad starring Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair. I show up in there right around the 34 minute mark.