He is the man behind In The Deathroom Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Jon Ferrari: I grew up in Orange County NY and ended up in the Buffalo, NY area to study audio engineering, followed by filmmaking. Currently I work as a video editor and cameraman for a location production company and love to make narrative films whenever I can.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Jon Ferrari: I was in a bad place in 2011. I had moved back to Buffalo from OC to be with my daughter. I had no friends, no other family nearby, and I was stuck working dead-end jobs to barely get by. I was listening to all of the podcasts by Kevin Smith I could get my hands on while I worked and became fascinated with his journey making the film RED STATE. For the first time I realized that being able to write and direct films is a very real, tangible thing. You didn’t have to be Steven Spielberg anymore. You could tell a compelling story with a few hundred dollars of equipment as long as you knew how to do it right. At that moment I decided to give it a try and I’ve been in love ever since.
SKSM: When did you make In the deathroom? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Jon Ferrari: We shot the film in the Spring of 2017 in East Amherst, NY. The production was stressful at first, with there being so much planning involved and such a small crew, but everyone was so professional and dedicated to making the film great that it all just flowed together. The atmosphere was always very positive and there were always laughs between takes. The actual production cost roughly $500 cash and most of it was to pay for effects & music. I pulled every favor I could to make it for as cheap as possible. The whole shoot took two days, with about a 2-hour reshoot, as well as an impromptu trip to Times Square for the final sequence.
SKSM: How come you picked In the deathroom to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Jon Ferrari: The story always intrigued me because it felt so raw and real, with no supernatural element whatsoever. I have an affection for minimalist settings in stories: here’s a bunch of people confined to a space and here a conflict, GO! It makes for a great adaptation. The story evokes a very specific feeling of dread and claustrophobia and I wanted to take what I saw in my mind while I read the story and bring it to the screen as unfiltered as possible.
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?
Jon Ferrari: I had heard about the Dollar Baby program years ago when I fell in love with the Dark Tower series and started reading everything I could get my hands on just to see if there were any references to Roland & Mid-World. I read IN THE DEATHROOM from my Everything’s Eventual paperback and knew that one day I’d make it if I were lucky enough to see it on the list.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Jon Ferrari: There were many laughs and fun moments throughout the shoot. Too many too count. My favorite moment was when our FX guy John Renna blasted Lidia Couzo in the face with a blood cannon. That was a dream come true.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Jon Ferrari: Feedback has been very positive overall. I’m really honored to have so many people like it.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Jon Ferrari: Of course I have to go back to The Dark Tower. The depth of the mythology and this endless multiverse, the characters and the seamless blending of virtually every storytelling genre I can imagine. The fact it ties all of King’s books to the same world never ceases to amaze me.
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)?
Jon Ferrari: I haven’t been in contact but I do hope he likes if if he has seen it. We all want to do his work proper justice when we send that dollar bill in.
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?
Jon Ferrari: I make it a point never to repeat myself, but if I were able to take on one of his stories again I’d want to make an HBO TV series on par with Game of Thrones but for the Dark Tower universe.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Jon Ferrari: Currently I am continuing to think of and write story ideas and have been seeking out an investor for a feature film passion project I wrote a few years back. It’s a neo-noir psychological thriller about a haunting relationship between a man and his mother.
SKSM: What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Jon Ferrari: I’m an accomplished guitar player and can be seen on my YouTube channel shredding it up from time to time.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Jon Ferrari: I’d just like to thank anyone with an interest in my work. It means the world to me that I can create something people appreciate. Without the audience our films are meaningless.