He is the man behind That Feeling You Can Only Say What It Is In French Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Nathan Gathergood: At the time of making That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French, back in July 2010, I was working for ITV Meridian, on their news output. I am still in news, but now working for the BBC.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Nathan Gathergood: Working in news can be quite repetitive and also, depending on the news cycle, can be mentally draining. Although I’d love to be a filmmaker, sadly I am still in news. This short was more about escaping the drudgery and doing something creative and fantastical.
SKSM: When did you make That Feeling You Can Only Say What It Is In French? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Nathan Gathergood: If memory serves me well, we shot it in a few days, over the space of a couple of weeks in the summer of 2010. I think we only had four locations, the airfield, the plane interior, the car interior and the house interior. I bought a DSLR (that has been gathering dust ever since), hired a jib, got us all to the Isle of Wight (for the airfield scene) and bribed everyone with lunch. I think it cost less than £1000 to make, with the camera being the bulk of that sum. I think I had to pay a nominal amount to a college to use their mock plane interior. They had a course for cabin crew and the interior suited our needs (although in the wide shots you can sometimes see that there is a back wall!).
SKSM: How come you picked That Feeling You Can Only Say What It Is In French to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Nathan Gathergood: I liked that no-one else had done it at that point. I see from your excellent website that someone else has now attempted it and would be very interested to see where they took it and the choices they made. It felt like a good length on the page, but also manageable -there weren’t many characters. But most importantly, for me at that time, it felt like a challenge. I’m not sure if I rose to that challenge technically, due to the amount of car interior blue screen shots, for example, but I knew I wanted to stretch myself. Finally, the plot is a great one. I love time loop movies. I did my dissertation on 12 Monkeys and like how a subtle change within a loop, a word, a gesture can completely alter your perception of something you thought that the plot had already told you.
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?
Nathan Gathergood: I’d seen or read about it somewhere. I wanted to make a short, but getting a decent script is hard and writing one is even harder. Adapting one, on the other hand seemed like a sensible choice, so I think I was just searching for a short story to adapt and stumbled on the Dollar Deal. Luckily I had recently been to the US and had a spare dollar I could send to Margaret Morehouse, Stephen’s Assistant.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Nathan Gathergood: When we were filming the plane interiors, we only had a few hours in which to do it, before the next class needed the “set”. It was a Saturday, so goodness knows why they had to be in then -the rest of the college was deserted! So much so, that when a fire alarm test went wrong and the alarm didn’t go off, I was chasing around the site, trying to find one of the security guards for ages. It felt like some kind of very loud nightmare!
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?
Nathan Gathergood: I can totally see the logic behind it and I knew the Deal before I made the film, but it’s very frustrating. It’s a shame that there’s not a resource on Stephen’s website where people could pay a tiny fee to see them (all the time they were not commercially optioned).
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Nathan Gathergood: I had it online very briefly, so that friends and family around the world could see it and later saw on a forum that someone else had seen it, wanted to see it again, but couldn’t find it -she had very vivid memories of it though! It won a bronze award at the Vegas Independent Film Festival and a silver at the Isle of Wight Film Festival, so I take those as complimentary reviews.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Nathan Gathergood: I got it onto the roster of a few festivals after getting it made. It debuted at Cannes, in their Short Film Corner, but other than the VIFF!, the IOWFF and one or two Dollar Babies festivals, I forget where else it showed up.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Nathan Gathergood: Yes, I’m a big fan and have tried to watch as many adaptations as I can, from big hitter, like The Shining, to lesser known adaptations such as the Nightmares and Dreamscapes TV mini-series.
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)?
Nathan Gathergood: Only his signature on my copy of the Dollar Deal contract! I’d be surprised if he had seen it -he must be a very busy man…
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?
Nathan Gathergood: I would want to shoot a series of movies based on The Dark Tower books (but then, who wouldn’t?). I must have read the series through at least four times and the most recent couple of read throughs were actually listen throughs (I had the audiobooks on in my car), so I was freer to let my mind drift and I was constantly thinking how I would film each scene and editing the narrative as I listened. Those books were very important to me and I felt that the film was a real let down. As a standalone movie, it might be great, but I couldn’t get past the disappointment, that it was nothing like the books I had read (or listened to) nor the pictures I had in my head.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Nathan Gathergood: I’ve got a podcast out there, but more importantly, I’m trying to get a musical film off the ground -watch this space…
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Nathan Gathergood: I haven’t vomited since August 2000. I’ve never been to a barbers (although looking at my hair, that probably won’t be a surprise!).
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Nathan Gathergood: If they’re reading this, they must have an interest in Stephen King and Dollar Babies, so I would say -if you haven’t made a Dollar Baby, get out there and do it! Things are so much easier now -you can film and edit something to a very high standard on a mobile phone, so get out there and get involved. You can do it!!
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Nathan Gathergood: Thank you very much for having me Oscar and thank you for your website -it is a fantastic resource.