He is the man behind For the Road Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Simon Scott: My name is Simon Scott and I’m the Writer, Director, and one of the Producers of For The Road. I’m a writer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon – For The Road is my second short film. I also work as an analyst for a crypto currency company. Lastly, I am a voracious reader and I love the outdoors.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Simon Scott: I started writing and acting when I was young to help cope with an active imagination and some early personal loss. In my teens, my friends and I started making these hilariously bad short films on old camcorders. I continued dabbling in film while pursuing my passion for writing and decided to put my skills to the test by writing and directing my first short film in 2014.
SKSM: When did you make For The Road? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Simon Scott: The first treatment for FTR was written the fall of 2016, and we entered production in Jnauary 2017. As with any short indie film, we faced a lot of challenges in production, from location and weather changes to health issues brought on by our relentless schedule. We had a successful Kickstarter campaign and my best friend (Diego Giovanni – Producer/AD) and I contributed as well for a total budget of about $10,000 USD. We shot the film over the course of 4 nights, with no pickups. Two of those nights were 13-14 hours outdoors, not something I’d ever do again!
SKSM: How come you picked One for the Road to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Simon Scott: I found a copy of Night Shift in my middle school library when I was 13 and One for the Road was instantly my favorite story from that collection. I wouldn’t read Salem’s Lot until much later, but I loved how King dropped you into a rich world full of dark secrets in the first couple pages. Growing up in rural Oregon, I really connected with the hard talking working class protagonists and the tension they feel with the high brow “city” people just passing through.
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?
Simon Scott: I’ve been a Frank Darabont fan for a long time, but it wasn’t until reading a profile of him in 2015 that I learned his first writing and directing gig was one of the first Dollar Babies. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to learn of this opportunity and was so happy to see one of my favorite short stories available to adapt.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Simon Scott: The entire cast and crew was such a gift to work with, which is really a testament to Diego’s ability to build a great team. In particular, the good natured humor everyone brought kept spirits light in sometimes difficult conditions. My favorite was filming the shot over Patrick’s (Patrick Green – Gerry Lumley) shoulder when Amber (Amber Stonebraker – Janice Lumley) goes full vampire and bites him. It was raining, about 3 or 4am, everyone was exhausted. We got four takes, and on the last take Amber lets out this really loud snort as she’s going in for the kill. Like really loud. They held the scene though and didn’t break character for a few seconds, but eventually, everybody – cast and crew, started cracking up. This little moment definitely helped us finish that night.
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?
Simon Scott: There are ways 😉 Dollar Babies aren’t necessarily prohibited from being posted online, but its tricky because it is Stephen King’s property, and the filmmakers aren’t allowed to make a profit on these films. This is a good thing – indie filmmakers should be focused on honing their craft and building their body of work, not profiting from other artist’s ideas. It allows us to focus on the art, and is a great way to stretch our creativity to make a unique adaptation. I’m just incredibly thankful for the opportunity.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Simon Scott: It has been well received by film festival audiences around the country. Viewers have praised the authenticity of the characters and acting, and it’s slow burn tension. We’ve received some criticism that its pacing is too slow (totally on me since I wrote and edited the film) and that the quality of the production suffers from inconsistencies brought on by lack of time and budget, specifically the weather. While this is common when relying on real weather, one scene was particularly difficult because in one part of the scene it was snowing, in another raining, and in another, totally clear. This all happened within one shot! I’ve never seen weather like that before, and some thought it was a product of mixing shots that were not filmed at the same time. Unfortunately, we were beholden to the bizarre weather we encountered.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Simon Scott: We’ve screened at a few festivals around the US and I’m happy to announce it will screen at the Dollar Baby festival at Northern FanCon in Prince George, British Columbia in May.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Simon Scott: Huge fan! I wrote a thesis in college about teaching The Dark Tower series for High School English Lit. Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary are still the scariest for me. My favorite film adaptations are Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, The Mist, and IT (2017).
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)?
Simon Scott: I did not, and I honestly don’t know if he’s seen it. A requirement for Dollar Babies is that you send him a finished copy. I did so with a letter, but did not receive a reply. I’d imagine he’s a little busy 😉
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?
Simon Scott: I’d love to do an adaptation of Salem’s Lot, but there are quite a few barriers in the way of making that happen (namely acquiring film rights and having sufficient backing to make a good feature length film)
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Simon Scott: I’m currently focused on finishing my third feature length script and preparing to submit it for competitions. I’m also trying to acquire funding for my next two short films with scripts ready to go. And always, building on ideas for my next writing project.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Simon Scott: I have a ton of varied interests which keep me busy. I love the outdoors, but I’m also an avid flight simmer. I love to fly all sorts of commercial aircraft in the sim, and I really do take the time to learn each aircraft and their respective systems to make the experience as realistic as possible. People ask why I dont just get my pilots license – because I’d rather spend the money on writing and making movies 😁
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Simon Scott: I hope you enjoy the film and if you’re an artist struggling with your craft, I encourage you to make your art a part of your daily routine, even if you dont always feel motivated or enthusiastic about what you’re producing – the commitment will teach your brain good habits and help you overcome those moments where you lack confidence or motivation.
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Simon Scott: Keep stretching what you read, watch, and experience. It’s easy to get stuck in a genre, a specific medium, or surround yourself with people you always agree with. We learn and grow from those experiences which challenge our preconceptions and help us understand a perspective we’ve never seen before.