She is the woman behind Dead Man’s Hand Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: When did you make Dead man’s hand? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Star Victoria: After falling in love with Shawshank Redemption, I reached the director Frank Darabont. In doing so, I learned about Steven Kings Dollar Baby program. So I scanned the short stories available and came across The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands. I knew recreating that story visually wouldn’t be too hard because of the resources I had so in August of 2012, I pitched the idea to Charlie Wetzel and Brandon McCormick. Both were protégé leaders at Whitestone Motion Pictures protégé program. Charlie assisted the screenwriters while Brandon mentored the directors. I was on the the director protégés at the time. Charlie asked his 11 screenwriters to draft a adaptation of the story anonymously and I would choose the top three scripts Iiked and then ultimately through notes and suggestions, choose the final script to move forward with. I chose screenwriter Tripp Gorman’s version because it seems the most feasible to recreate visually and stayed as close to the original story as I wanted.
SKSM: How come you picked The man who would not shake hands to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Star Victoria: I am not a big fan of horror movies or stories. I prefer stories that have more drama at the core such as Shawshank Redemption. To me, The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands had a more dramatic core as well as supernatural elements. I felt I could really tap into these and create a powerful emotional story, also I am a big fan of period films and this was based in the 1920’s.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wikd guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Star Victoria: I did some research on Frank Darabont and came across his Wikipeadia that mentioned the Dollar Baby program and how Frank had secured the rights to the short story Rita Hayworth.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Star Victoria: We have a Train sequence where one of the characters decides to commit suicide by getting hit with a train but at the last minute steps seconds before the train comes he steps off the tracks. So we shot it by lighting the train tracks prior. We discussed with the actor the safe distance he would stand in front of the train. We took into consideration by measurement how far we could be safely and still get the same effect. We did a blocking and tech rehearsal with the director of photography and actor to make sure everything was ready for the shot. We had no idea when a train would come but the good thing is, you can here the horns blow miles down the track. So we waited for a while hoping it would come any minute, it didn’t. So we all started to head inside and up the stairs. As soon as we got camera upstairs we heard the horns blow. The D.P. myself and crew all high tailed it outside and ran as fast as we could to get to our marks in order to get the shot of the train passing behind the actor. We got it and we were all super stoked about it. But let me reiterate, we made sure everything was done with safety in mind for the actor and the crew. All distances were measured and all actors, crew were no where close enough to the track to be harmed. We even took into consideration of large items that may be hanging off the edge of a train car. I used to work in Logistics dealing directly with moving goods in containers and such so I was familiar with what I needed to look out for. At no point was anyone ever on the track. As a 1st AD as well, I take safety very seriously.
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?
Star Victoria: Well, I share it with who needs to see it or who wants to see it so it’s not hindering me in anyway. But I do think we should have the opportunity to share it on the internet at least. I understand King’s reservations though. There may be some that are not up to his standards in terms of overall quality and in terms of the adaptation of his story so he has to protect what truly rightfully belongs to him.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reference have you received on your film?
Star Victoria: I have only received positive praise on the film. It has helped me with college applications and get future directing jobs. Most people just overall like the quality of the film, the acting and the way I chose my shots to tell the story. *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)? I did as all Dollar Baby filmmakers are supposed to do, I sent him a copy and I have yet to hear if he seen it or get any feedback. I doubt he does such a thing. I did hear he does watch them all though but that could be just a rumor, who knows.
SKSM: What are you working at nowadays?
Star Victoria: I am shadowing on a television show for future opportunities to direct episodic television.
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?
Star Victoria: If I could pick any story to make, I would like to remake Stand By Me. It was one of my favorite movies as a child. I even wrote a poem about it that I have. Here is the poem I wrote when I was in 7th grade so so many years ago.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Star Victoria: Follow me at Facebook.com/starvictoria and keep a watch out. I will be blasting all the social media sites when I get the opportunity to direct my first television show which I believe will be sometime soon. Thank you for the love folks, I’ve got nothing but love right back at you all!
SKSM: Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Star Victoria: I have a feature film called The Red Room: A Cabaret of Art, Body and Love that will hopefully be coming to a film festival soon so keep an eye out. We are still in the editing phase but soon we should have a completed version and ready to share with the world.