Social

   

Archives

  • 125
  • 869
  • 8,173
  • 29,568
  • 1,117,324

 

She played in Loyd Elmore‘s The Things They Left Behind as Paula.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Melissa Zimmerman: I live in Nashville with my husband and daughter. Currently, I am in Sales as the National Accounts Manager for a major studio at an entertainment distributor. Acting has taken a back seat to my life at the moment, but I will certainly entertain any offers that come my way.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?

Melissa Zimmerman: I think it’s always been in me to perform, but I didn’t act on it until I was in my 20s. My brother loves to chide me about doing Pepsi commericals in front of the mirror when I was in grade school. My first film was a horror film, Asylum of Terror. I wanted to be a screenwriter at the time and asked the director if I could be an extra, so I could better learn the filmmaking process. The director suggested I audition, but never having done any acting, I was hesitant. I auditioned anyway, ended up with a small role and when the lead female character pulled out of the film, he asked me to audition for the lead.  I did and suddenly found myself the female lead in a movie, when I had never acted in my life! It was an incredible experience and I’ve been hooked ever since. I just love being a part of the creative process and seeing words on a page come to life through acting.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The things they left behind Dollar Baby film?

Melissa Zimmerman: I met Loyd at work. We share an affinity for films, writing and filmaking. He knew I had acting experience, had seen some of my work and asked me to play Paula.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Melissa Zimmerman: It’s such a believable story. It has the same feel as the British science fiction series Black Mirror, where stories are set just enough in the near future to be believable. The entire world is so connected to 911, but it was a paralyzing moment for Americans. We remember where we were, how we heard it and for some, even what we were wearing. It is a terrible, painful moment frozen in our psyche. “The Things They Left Behind” helps one envision an alternate universe that allows some closure for these victims and their families by allowing the things they left behind to find their final resting place.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Melissa Zimmerman: Loyd already had me in mind for the part, so I didn’t have to audition.

SKSM: You worked with Loyd Elmore on this film, how was that?

Melissa Zimmerman: It was great. Loyd is dedicated to the art and made the experience fun. He is open to ideas that could enchance the scene and is particular and precise with each shot. He was so excited about the prospects of the entire journey – from buying the short for a $1, to watching it come to life on film to submitting it to Stephen King and various festivals. You could really see him come to life during the process. Loyd was doing something he had always wanted to do and his passion steered him toward the Dollar Babies and gave him the chance to bring to life a Stephen King short. I honestly can’t remember if  this was his first film or not, but he did a fantastic job handling all aspects of the process.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Melissa Zimmerman: I was pregnant at the time of filming. I had just found out and was in that “can’t tell anyone” stage yet. I wanted to tell Tim (Avers) and Loyd so bad, but couldn’t say a word. We also filmed the day the Nashville Flood began. I was afraid I couldn’t get home and was going to be stuck a few towns away, but was able to make it there before the waters rose to dangerous levels. It is certainly a day I will never forget!

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Melissa Zimmerman: Yes, I saw Tim just a few weeks ago and out and about in Nashville at times. I also stay in touch with Tim and Loyd via Facebook.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Melissa Zimmerman: I am gearing up for that screenplay I have yet to write. I write down thoughts, scenes, lines everyday, but have yet to have the time to sit down and bring it all together.   I’m also in talks about being the voice for a science fiction project with the creator of a Cable Access TV show I worked on for a few years.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Melissa Zimmerman: Mr. King is an amazing storyteller and though I am a big fan of his work, I have to admit, I’ve only read one of his books – Thinner. I would rather watch my horror than read it because I don’t want to be scared for that long. HA! Some of the movies based on his books that resonate the most with me are Needful Things, It (the old and the new movie), The Mist, The Shining, Carrie, and The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies of all time. I am looking forward to watching his latest book to film, Dark Tower.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Melissa Zimmerman: I love vintage horror comics reprinted from the old EC classics line – Tales from the Crypt, Haunt of Fear and Vault of Horror, but now those aren’t even being reprinted, so I moved over to Weird Love and Haunted Horror. I worked in a used music & comic book store after college which sparked that flame. I guess I have always loved comic books though, especially the style of how they are drawn, which probably explains why Roy Lichtenstein is one of my favorite artists. I love the twists of the vintage horror comics, although sometimes, truly, they are just ridiculous. My brother found a box of my old EC reprints in the attic at my mother’s house and it has been a true joy re-reading all of them.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Melissa Zimmerman: The “Dollar Baby” experience is an incredible opportunity for anyone who is interested in film making.  To have the chance to film an actual Stephen King short, well, really, it doesn’t get any better than that. It is a fantastic and wonderful thing that Mr. King has done by allowing others to film his work in this fashion. The fact that Mr. King probably watched a film that I was able to participate in…well, that is just amazing.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Melissa Zimmerman: I am a strong believer that the universe has plans for us all. Some of us identify quickly with our passions and others deny them because we are afraid of failure or embarrassing ourselves. When you step outside of your box, you will be amazed to see what you are truly capable of creating. The universe will continue to guide you to your true passions…so, if the world continues to nag you about something, listen.

 

He played in Stephen Dean‘s Rest Stop as Psychiatrist.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Doug Bertolini: I’m second generation Italian-American, born in Atlanta, GA. I’ve been acting for the past 25 years and with Hollywood basically coming to Atlanta, many network and film opportunites are now available to those of us working in this market.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Doug Bertolini: Many years ago, I was given a small speaking part on the set of a Home Depot commercial and I’ve been hooked ever since!

SKSM: How did you become involved in Rest Stop Dollar Baby film?

Doug Bertolini: A close friend and fellow actor Tom Amick asked if I’d like to participate in the production as the psychiatrist and said: “Absolutely!”

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Doug Bertolini: First off, it’s based on a Stephen King short story, which is a major draw in and of itself. Secondly, the production quality, story adaptation and fellow actors make this short film a must see.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Doug Bertolini: It felt like it was written just for me with my quirky and eclectic approach to acting; but no, I did not have to audition for this particular role. The director Stephen Dean felt after viewing my ‘Film-TV Demo Reel’ I’d be a perfect fit for the role.

SKSM: You worked with Stephen Dean on this film, how was that?

Doug Bertolini: Very enjoyable! We saw eye-to-eye on many facets of the character and how to portray him.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Doug Bertolini: I couldn’t quite place where I was pulling this character from in regards to my subconscious and then later I realized it was from a character actor on the Andy Griffith show of which I enjoyed watching as a child. His name was: Howard McNear and played the eccentric barber: Floyd Lawson (A very funny, stammering character!)

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Doug Bertolini: I enjoy speaking with the director Stephen Dean on occasion and Tom Amick and I often collaborate on how to improve upon audition techniques and delivering believable scenes.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Doug Bertolini: Currently up for a few roles in major studio feature films and of course it’s all about hurry up and wait and hoping you land the part!

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Doug Bertolini: Absolutely!

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Doug Bertolini: I’m a former US Marine and I guess ending up as an actor is rather the polar opposite of what most might expect. As a quick sidebar and an homage to the recent passing of a fellow Marine, Actor R. Lee Ermey (74) known for: “Full Metal Jacket” died on Sunday morning April 15, 2018.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Doug Bertolini: You might enjoy viewing my “Film-TV Demo Reel” on YouTube of which I recently edited in at the beginning a fun ‘snippet’ from the short film ‘Rest Stop’ scenes not seen in the trailer! Simply search: Doug Bertolini – then look for my “Film-TV Demo Reel” – (Hope you enjoy it!)

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Doug Bertolini: Try and catch the full-length (25-minute) short film ‘Rest Stop’ at a film festival near you!

 

 

 

He played in Christopher Birk‘s Dollar Baby Willa as Busboy.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Felix Flores: I’m a solo artist by the name of Felix and the Future. I’ve acted in some films, but mainly do music. I love horror movies.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Felix Flores: I came to NYC to study acting. I’ve always been a performer.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Willa Dollar Baby film?

Felix Flores: I responded to an ad for an audition.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Felix Flores: For me, I’m always drawn to those darker stories about people being lost in their minds questioning whether they can trust what they see.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Felix Flores: I auditioned.

SKSM: You worked with Christopher Birk on this film, how was that?

Felix Flores: He was a really great guy. Super supportive and all around positive person.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Felix Flores: Unfortunately no.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Felix Flores: I’m touring as a solo artist – Felix and the Future. I just released my debut album and a series of music videos. You can check them out at www.felixandthefuture.com

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Felix Flores: When I was a kid I was obsessed with his books. I read almost all of them.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Felix Flores: I’m still a little afraid of the dark. 🙂

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Felix Flores: Watch Willa and continue supporting independent filmmakers + artists. They are the ones making work from the heart.

Title: Uncle Otto’s truck (¿?) Bandera de Estados Unidos
Runtime: ?
Director: Brian Johnson
Script: ?
Cast: ?
Trailer
Web imdb Facebook Twitter

 

She played in Sammy Bates’ The Reaper’s Image as Nancy Spangler.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Rae Hunt: My name is Rae Hunt and I am an actor, model, & published poetry writer.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?

Rae Hunt: I took a theatre class in college as an elective and was hooked.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The Reaper’s Image Dollar Baby film?

Rae Hunt: I have worked with the Bates brothers on other projects and was asked if I would like to work on The Reaper’s Image.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Rae Hunt: Stephen King has such an amazing way of capturing the horror imagination and allowing adaptations for Indy artists.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Rae Hunt: I did not audition and was asked to do the role of Nancy Spangler. I had worked on another project in the past.

SKSM: You worked with Sammy Bates on this film, how was that?

Rae Hunt: Sammy and Kenny Bates are both incredibly kind and creative. They have a clear vision of what they want but also allowed me the freedom to develop my character as I saw fit.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Rae Hunt: The slap scene was real! The actor that played my “husband” wanted the real thing and not to hold back so I obliged. After the scene was over I quickly apologized 🙂

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Rae Hunt: I stay in contact via social media with other cast members and crew.

Twitter: @sh_author
Instagram: @rae.s.hunt
Facebook: Rae Hunt

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Rae Hunt: I have two projects coming out. Unconditional hits Amazon Prime on May 11, 2018 and The Curse of the Nun comes out late summer.

IMDb Link: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4890943/

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Rae Hunt: I am a huge Stephen King fan! I have even been to Bangor, ME where he is from and inspiration for many of stories such as It, Pet Cemetery, etc.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Rae Hunt: I am an adrenaline junkie and have gone parasailing, cliff diving, bungee jumping, rode coasters all over the world, and am going skydiving soon! I am also an international published poetry writer.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Rae Hunt: I appreciate all those who support independent film projects!

 

 

He played in Sean A. Skinner‘s Dollar Baby Rest Area as Lee.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Brandon Van Vliet: My name is Brandon Van Vliet. I’ve been producing and acting in independent films since 2004. I started a indie film label/production Company called Restraining Hollywood years ago that has consumed most of my life. I moved to L.A. new years eve 2014 and have been working in film/TV here ever since but I do love to come back to Minnesota to work on projects.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor? 

Brandon Van Vliet: When I was like 7 years old watching ‘Saturday Night’ live with my parents and that old show ‘Taxi’. I love Andy Kaufman and Danny DeVito.

SKSM: How did you become involved in Rest Area Dollar Baby film?

Brandon Van Vliet: I’ve been working with Sean Skinner on projects since 2013. He asked me nicely and I couldn’t  say no.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Brandon Van Vliet: It’s dark, mysterious and capitvating. Who doesn’t like that sorta stuff?

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Brandon Van Vliet: No, I didn’t have to audition.

SKSM: You worked with Sean A. Skinner on this film, how was that?

Brandon Van Vliet: It was just like any other time working with Sean. Fun!

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Brandon Van Vliet: Shooting in a public rest stop during working hours was pretty funny but having actor Jimmy Keebs on set with us made it special.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Brandon Van Vliet: Sure. Sean, Jimmy Keebs an actor and Briana Lee Rose the AD.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Brandon Van Vliet: A film I starred in and produced called ‘Play Dirty’ just got picked up for distribution. I’m the music supervisor and busy finding songs for scenes for a film I co-produced and co-starred in called ‘Rise Against The Fall’. I was a production manager for a horror thriller feature film we made in Minnesota called ‘The Dawn’. I have a couple auditions for some bigger roles in feature films coming up and the crew I made ‘Play Dirty’ with are shooting another film this August in Minnesota when I’m back there from L.A.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Brandon Van Vliet: Of course. I saw Creepshow and The Shining at a tender age and have been a fan ever since.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Brandon Van Vliet: I look dirty but I’m very neat, clean and organized.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Brandon Van Vliet: Thanks for taking an interest in our Project.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Brandon Van Vliet: Not much. Just wanted to thank you for the interview and working with independent films artists. It means a lot to us.

 

 

She played in Mark Howarth‘s Dollar Baby The Words Of The Prophets as Louise.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Georgia Pounsford: I’m a graduate of English Literature and Theatre Studies from the University of Sheffield.  I moved to London last summer and since then I have been gaining work experience within creative agencies.  That pretty much sums up what I’ve done so far, but what I want to do in the future defines me better: I want to travel more and experience as many cultures as possible, I definately want to do something which requires imagination, but ultimately I also want to work very closely with others – I’m obsessed with behaviour and I want to understand everything I can about people.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?

Georgia Pounsford: I don’t want to be an actress.  For one thing I’m not good enough, but I also wouldn’t have the right temperament.  You have to be extremely comfortable with uncertainty, and it can become a very consuming line of work.  That being said, I love acting and I find it fascinating, which is partly why I studied Theatre alongside Literature.  I like losing myself in fantasy, but I also think that the ability to act is one of the most powerful skills.  To be a good actor you must understand your character to the point that, even if you are playing the most well known person in history, you will still be able to surprise your audience.  You have to connect with a vulnerability that you would never understand from just reading about someone.  That is incredibly difficult and requires a great deal of imagination.  The ability to compeltely put yourself in someone else’s shoes is such a beneficial skill in many different lines of business.  If you can truly comprehend people’s thoughts, feelings, intentions and expectations, it  allows you to understand how they will respond to your work.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The words of the prophets Dollar Baby film?

Georgia Pounsford: James Turner who wrote the script approached me about the part.  I had previously acted with someone who knew him, and he told James I might be interested.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Georgia Pounsford: Like many of his other works, it is the element of suspence and fantasy that attracts people.  He’s also very good at creating magical realism, which allows people to understand the worlds in his books but to also see them in a different way.  Another theme in this story is the power of randomness, and people love trying to make sense of what they can’t understand.  This film is actually an adaptation of King’s short story ‘All that you love will be carried away’, which is esentially about a man trying to make sense out of graffiti until it drives him insane.

SKSM: You worked with Mark Howarth on this film, how was that?

Georgia Pounsford: Both Mark and James were great to work with.  We didn’t know each other at all before we started filming, but James sent me the script really early on so I could read through it, and they were both good at keeping me in the loop.  It was clear that James was a big Stephen King fan and Mark knew a lot about filmmaking, so i learnt quite a bit from both of them.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Georgia Pounsford: In one scene I got to play a dead girl.  I had to cover myself in blood, and the protagonist (who was my boyfriend in the film) kept seeing me in mirrors.  It was pretty fun getting to play the scary character.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Georgia Pounsford: Not since we finished filming.  I think they’re both still at university but I live in London now.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Georgia Pounsford: I’m not currently working on any other films.  At the moment I want to work in advertising and marketing, so am doing internships in London.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Georgia Pounsford: I’ve read a lot of his works and he’s got a really amazing mind, especially for the horror genre.  However, my favourite is his ‘Different Seasons’ collection from 1982, which actually consists of less horror than his other books.  This is actually where the story of the Shawshank Redemption comes from, which of course went on to be a great movie.  He’s one of those people I would love to meet and talk to for hours about random stuff, because he would probably give you a really unique perspective.  He also has a knack for creating very complex and compelling characters.  If an actor can get it right, that makes good film.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Georgia Pounsford: One of my biggest desires is to hug a sloth.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Georgia Pounsford: I definately don’t have fans, but if anyone has read this article it will most likely be because they have an interest in Stephen King, so I would reccomend reading ‘Different Seasons’ if they haven’t already.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Georgia Pounsford: Thank you!

 

He played in Loyd Elmore‘s The Things They Left Behind as Jimmy Eagleton.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Tim Avers: I’m a Nashville native and a father of two daughters ages 20 and 16. I graduated from university in the early 1990s with a degree in political science and communications and a minor in philosophy. I have a 9-5 office job at a small company and for the past five years I have volunteered with a national organization called CASA for Children, which helps young people in the foster care system.

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actor?

Tim Avers: My creative energies are really focused on writing although I have worked both with Loyd Elmore on the Dollar Baby and on AMC’s “Nashville” television program which was later broadcast on the CMT Network. In both cases I worked background.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The Things They Left Behind Dollar Baby film?

Tim Avers: I knew Loyd and Melissa Zimmerman through a girlfriend and I was happy to be asked to participate.

SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?

Tim Avers: “The Things They Left Behind” is simply a solid short story and although it’s connected to the events of September 11, 2001 in New York City it’s a universal story about grief and survival.

SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Tim Avers: For Loyd’s adaptation of “The Things They Left Behind” I provided notes on the script, contributed camerawork, and suggested shots.

SKSM: You worked with Loyd Elmore on this film, how was that?

Tim Avers: Working with Loyd and Robert Gilmer, who did camera and set work, was a great deal of fun. Loyd is just a natural storyteller and the whole process was enjoyable.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Tim Avers: As Loyd mentioned when speaking with you, we did much of the filming on May 1, 2010 which was the first of two days of torrential rain in Nashville that resulted in what the meteorologists call a “Thousand Year Flood.” The Cumberland River cuts through Nashville’s business and residential centers in the downtown areas and the river crested at almost 52 feet. This flooded the stadium of the Tennessee Titans, an American football team, the lower levels of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and numerous other buildings at a loss of about 2 billion US dollars. The flood also cost 21 people their lives.
So needless to say, it was a really strange and tragic event to have happen while trying to shoot a film! I’d actually left the baseball bat prop, on which my friend Roger Stewart did wood burning art and painting, in the trunk of my Mazda RX-8. Later that day both the car and I were nearly washed off the road by a rising creek. I only got out of the flood by wading to the safety of a passerby’s truck and ultimately the car engine was ruined and the vehicle totaled.

SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?

Tim Avers: Naturally I keep up with Loyd who has a great blog and Nashville is the sort of town where you often run into friends you’re not expecting to see. Melissa and her family are just some of my favorite people.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Tim Avers: From time to time I pound out a comic book script but most of my writing is political – recently about civil liberties and the gun issues that we are trying to address here in the US.

SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?

Tim Avers: Like a lot of people my age I find King to be a marvelous storyteller – but in my case I mean that quite literally. I got the opportunity to see Stephen King during his tour supporting independent booksellers and promoting the novel “Insomnia” in the 1990s.
There is absolutely nothing like hearing King read his own fiction. I also stumbled across a copy of a book on tape of Kind reading “The Dark Tower” and it’s something I could listen to on a monthly basis and still enjoy immensely. My favorite horror writer, though, is Richard Matheson, and I also enjoy Clive Barker and Cormac McCarthy, although his works are generally not considered horror.

SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Tim Avers: Oh… there’s nothing all that surprising about me.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Tim Avers: Even if you are a casual fan I strongly recommend seeing Stephen Kind live if you have the opportunity. He’s a terrific entertainer. His “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” is also essential.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Tim Avers: King is only asking for a dollar US to adapt these stories and I strongly recommend filmmakers of any skill level take him up on the deal! It’s a terrific experience.

 

He is the man behind Rest Stop Dollar Baby Film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Stephen Dean: My name is Stephen Dean. I am a native to Northeast Georgia, U.S.A. I am the creator/director/producer of Dean Film Works LLC. For over five years I was a law enforcement officer but eventually decided to go back to college and do a career change as the challenges of the profession neverquite fit my personality type nor the goals I set for myself in life. I ended up going to college and getting a Bachelor’s of Sciene degree in Business Administration/Marketing. Approximately 5 and a half years ago, I began working within the film industry in Atlanta, Georgia. I started as an extra and worked my way into being a full time stand-in on various big buget television shows and films. During the eariler years of this amazing adventure, I began training as an actor and taking film (on-camera) acting classes at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. Shortly after that I was signed by my first talent agent. I have been extremely lucky enough to be cast in several principal roles over the years in film and commercial projects! Aside from acting, my true love in all of this is directing, producing, and filmmaking in general. I love challenges! I use to be an endurance athlete (road cycling and mountain biking) and this has been the most difficult set of challenges I have attempted to date. It is an all consuming and grueling process. I enjoy thinking around the challenges associated with micro budget filmmaking. Like all filmmakers, I hope my budgets, as well as fan base, grow over time. There is just something so humbling about working so very hard and bringing good people together in the process. The task of finding ways for everyone involved to benefit when you have limited resources is a growing and learning experience. It has been life changing for me, and in a very good way! I am am very blessed and honored to be able to attempt the things I get to do with film production!

SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?

Stephen Dean: It is strange to me how this materialized into me being a filmmaker. Growing up in rural parts of North Georgia, I would often times dream of going to Los Angeles and becoming an actor but I lived in such a small world back then. Everything about my daily life told me it would never happen and that it was ridculous to even consider it. I felt a million miles away from filmmaking/acting/etc. I guess I was close minded and too young to understand that you can do anything you want in life. Then one day the world completely changed for me! A significant part of “Hollywood” just up and moved to Atlanta, Georgia! How?!? I’m still scratching my head about that honestly. That was when I knew I could try and be an actor. Through the process of acting and trying to make the auditioning process as cost effective as possible, I started buying my own home studio equipment to film auditions. Just some softbox lighting, a DSLR camera, and some other essentials tools.  I begin to teach myself basic video editing so I could save time and money and edit my own auditions. One day I just thought to myself, “Hey! You know how to make a movie, you’re already doing it! So make it official!” So I did my own original film noir web series called “Memoirs of a Godfather”. I went the extra mile and went through the process of getting it sanctioned under SAG-AFTRA New Media contract and attached a few union actors to the project. So it was an extremely gradual process over the course of two and a half years to me becoming a filmmaker. One thing I can say in absolution, it would never have happened if I didn’t have some of the best people in the world helping me make it all happen.

SKSM: When did you make Rest stop? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Stephen Dean: I got permission from Stephen King’s representatives to begin the project around mid October 2017. We begin principal photography in November 2017 and completed filming in late February 2018. Post production was completed in late March 2018. We worked on a “shoestring budget” of $1350. Admittedly, with all aspects of our film productions, fundraising has not been my strong suit and often times I am spread thin with numerous pre-production task ranging from casting, locations scouting, and administration work. Our cast and crew were all volunteers and the bulk of the tiny budget went to renting box trucks for two of the five prinicpal photography days, food/crafty, a hotel for one night of filming for cast to have a “green room”, and location rental fees. I spent an additional five days of production doing “B roll” footage, sound design, and drone shots. Post production took place gradually as we were filming and ramped up after we completed principal photography.

SKSM: How come you picked Rest stop to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Stephen Dean: That is a great question! I researched all options that were available and I knew that I would have a finite budget. While I was hopeful for a larger budget, I knew that no matter what, I was going to get it done. With that said, I wanted it to be as good as possible and some of the other short stories available, at least to me, called for a stage or an out-of-town location.
I also knew my version of Mr. King’s short film would have to be strictly “on location”. There were a few that could have worked well enough, but I wanted the story to fit the geography of North Georia and Rest Stop seemed to do just that! Rest Stop also spoke to me quite a bit. As a former Deputy Sheriff I dealt with many domestic violence situations. I was there breathing it in. The physical abuse against women and children. I swear I met real life variations of Lee and Ellen and I knew I could bring a certain amount of realism to the dynamics of that part of the story. I had five potentail stories picked out and I kept going back to Rest Stop. It just made sense to me. At the time, I hadn’t realized that Georgia had actually closed down all the highway rest stops around my area. I fell locations in stories are often some of the biggest characters of certain scenes, so I spent some time finding a place that I thought would fit well for our rest stop. It had to be dated, grimy, and feel relatively remote. I was extremely happy when a local University allowed me to film on their campus as they had a perfect fieldhouse that I abosolutely fell in love with! Luckily it all worked out!

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?

Stephen Dean: I actually had a close friend of mine mention it to me and they encouraged me to submit a request. That same friend came across the information online while researching various Hollywood directors. I sent in a detailed letter to Stephen King’s representatives proposing what I would like to do and how I plan to film rest stop and luckily heard back very quickly! It is such a great opportunity to bring a well developed short story to life!

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Stephen Dean: Oh yes! Many moments that were funny because of the challenges and shear bad luck at times! For instance: On the night we filmed the actual rest stop scene, it was in the low 30 F degree temps and we had so much equipment that storage containers were scattered all over the ground and covered with thick frost. The camera would have to periodcially be taken inside the bathrooms to warm back up to be operational. We had mishap after mishap. Our largest generator had a faulty voltage regulator and was putting out way too many volts so it fried out our largest spot lights and the largest fog machine. We spent so much time getting ready for special effects fog that never happend but you know, that is when you learn to roll with the punches. My Dad and my brother in-law put the fog machine in the back of our production box truck and tried to repair it, but it was a goner. Fried to a crisp! We had so much to do in so little time in most cases! C’est la vie! That’s film and television production by nature isn’t it?!
Another built-in obstacle was that the production schedule stretched through the major Chrismas and New Year’s holidays and beyond. With a volunteer cast and crew, we were relegated to weekends for shooting but the most special thing was that no matter the hurdles they were always there. The cast and crew were there the day after a severe snow storm when we shot a large mystery writer’s scene in the Buckhead, Georgia area. Some came from rural areas and did long drives to make it. The cast and crew were there on the all night shoot for the rest stop in freezing temperatures. They wanted to make this happen as bad as I did and we hadn’t the budget for reshoots. Do or die. That’s they only reason this worked. We had each other, and that is pretty damn special within itself.

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?

Stephen Dean: I’m not sure what to think about the controlled access as it pertains to these short films as I know Stephen King fans are a VERY devote and passionate group of fans as so am I and my cast and crew. On the other hand, I would hate for a King fan to see our film and absolutely hate it and it tarnish their original impression of “Rest Stop” by association. Film is such an influential medium that it has been accused of ruining books for viewers in the past, or at least that’s what I have read. I guess motion pictures stay with us, for better or for worse.
I am partially sadden as I would like to believe many King fans would enjoy our version of Rest Stop, but on the other hand I am thankful to the exclusive nature of film festival screenings only. As far as the public accessibility restriction, I do NOT think it will change in all honesty as this has existed this way for a long time. With Youtube/Vimeo/etc. and other online streaming services I am sure open accessbility could help emerging filmmakers draw a larger fan base and exposure. However, I sincerely respect the fact that Mr. King want’s to prevent monetary gain from his copywritten material as these short stories and the use of such content remains non-exclusive in nature. I truly beleive that the restriction is also in place to protect future investments related to the stories that may involve networks or studios. I don’t see a DVD release being allowed at any point as it is so easily self-distributable and pirated. I respect Mr. King’s copyright protection and his intellectual property.

SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?

Stephen Dean: It is early in the process at this time. I have received some good reviews from the initial  trailer but I am awaiting many responses from the film festivals we have entered very recently. Hopefully we will have some measure of luck on the festival circuit(s).

SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?

Stephen Dean: I am hoping we get a few screenings at some of the local Atlanta film festivals as this film was made entirely using local Atlanta cast and crew! I also am keeping my fingers crossed that we may get a selection into a few of the Los Angeles short film festivals this year. At this time we have not heard of any selections, but the film was just submitted to the first of ten film festivals approximately two days ago at the time of this interview. We hope to target between 30-50 festivals around the world including Raindance (London), L.A. Shorts International Film Festival (Los Angeles), The Atlanta Film Festival (Atlanta, GA), The Macon Film Festival (Atlanta, GA), The Marietta International Film Festival (Atlanta, GA), and the Hollyshorts Film Festival (Los Angeles) to name a few!

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Stephen Dean: Yes! I love many stories by Stephen King! I actually love The Green Mile although it makes me incredibly sad to read or watch. I first fell in love with Stephen King’s stories when I watched Maximum Overdrive as a young adolescent. Who could forget the killer ice cream truck!! Brilliant!!

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)?

Stephen Dean: I have only worked through his representative via email and that was limited to initial permission and outlining the specifics of the contract. I had an initial plan and vision for the film and sent it in to his office and just moved forward. While I would have LOVED to have spoken to Mr. King, natrually, I never expected that to happen and it did not to date. I sent him a copy of the film middle of last week at the time of this writing and have not heard back at this time but they have likely only recently received the package. I am not sure what he or his representatives think of the project. I certainly hope they like it, of course! At the end of the day I think we collectively accomplished a lot on very little funding. I am extremely proud of our team’s overall work, and I look forward to the future! This film project has made me grow as a filmmaker and taught me quite a few things that will help me become better in the future.

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?

Stephen Dean: I wish I had a shot at bringing one of Mr. King’s BIG stories/movies to life as a feature film! I know we live in a world of film and television remakes, but hands-down, I would want to remake Maximum Overdrive! I have always been a fan of that film. It was one of the creepiest movies of my childhood. Something about the goblin faced semi truck stuck with me in my childhood nightmares! Emilio Estevez was increible but I think with the new technology in cinema today that a remake could introduce a whole new generation to this wonderfully creepy story in a new and somewhat original format! Would the ice cream truck reappear in my new version? Are you kidding me?! Hell YES-! All in good humor! 😉

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Stephen Dean: I am currently finishing up a few details related to our Rest Stop project (festival submissions, networking, etc.). My team are working on growing our commercial and industrial base for Dean Film Works LLC and gaining more local clients in the Atlanta area. As far as narrative/theatrical film works, I am taking a short break until sometime midsummer. I would ideally like to do a series of ultra short film projects that will likely fall into the comedy genre. That’s if something else doesn’t come up sooner than that.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Stephen Dean: That’s a tough questions for me. I feel as though I live my life as a “mostly” open book. I maintain a measured degree of privacy as most people do and should, but the people who know me best would say I am very open, silly, and outgoing. Truth is, that is partly a misconception. I love and adore good people! I also enjoy my alone time and I don’t feel lonely because of it. I spend many many hours alone working. Some of my friends tell me I live an interesting life. I really don’t, but it’s cool they think so! LOL! I keep my head down on the computer editing, creating, and working extremely hard to make something “out of the dirt”. I have done many 22-32+ hour film editing and creation runs with minimal breaks. I know long hours and quick turn arounds are common place for many video editors, but it takes it toil and recharging becomes essential at some point. I expect great things to come from hardwork, not by chance. My closest friends know this about me. I often times tell them that doing anything great in life will be a cage match, a knock-out, drag-out, cage match. Nothing comes by chance and no one is giving hand-outs. I think strangers would meet me and not realize how competitive and focused I am but I enjoy having fun and momentarily forgetting about life goals and pressures to succeed. I am intense when I want to get something done and I have no issue putting the work in to make it happen. I think that surprises people that don’t know me. Just how far and how hard I will work if it’s something I really want but at the end of the day I believe that the people around have to be cared for and priortized too.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Stephen Dean: Absolutely! Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I truly enjoyed it!Thanks to the King fans for reading this interview and for your interest and support of our version of Rest Stop! We were so blessed and honored to be able to bring one of Mr. King’s stories to life! This whole experience has helped me and my team grow and learn! If nothing else, that makes the journey worthwhile! I hope all of your journeys are good one’s and that there are a few pleasant plot twist along the way!

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Stephen Dean: If you would like to know more about Dean Film Works LLC, please check us out at Dean Film Works LLC on Facebook or go to www.deanfilmworks.com! We truly appreciate all of you taking the time to learn more about us and our film adaptation of Rest Stop! We want to also thank Stephen King for allowing us this great opportunity to bring an intense and interesting short story to life through motion picture art! Thanks again everyone!

 

She is the producer of Dean Werner’s The Reaper’s Image Dollar Baby Film.

SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?

Nichole Aurora: Hello my name is Nichole Aurora and I am Creative Producer. For me Producing is were I found my niche. For me producing is such a gratifying work. Your job is to support the artista (the director). You gather the paing, the canvas and the muses. And then just allow them to work.

SKSM: When did you make The reaper’s image? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Nichole Aurora: The reaper’s image was shot back in 2012, it was the first short I had work done with Dean Werner. He was the first director at worked with who was ego crazed and didn’t push me into Makeup and costuming. He was about having a diverse cast and crew. For him it didn’t matter what color we were or our sex. He wanted the best team and wasn’t going to be closeminded to anyone. It was wonderful. It was a complete team effort. I read the script and was excited to work on it. I found us a 18 century home with full Antique of Antique furniture. I showed it to Dean and our production designer who rearranged a couple of things and really created a haunting space. It was perfect and we got really lucky to I found it.

SKSM: How come you picked The reaper’s image to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Nichole Aurora: The biggest draw for me, was Dean’s writing. He had created a beautiful haunting and interesting script. I was hooked and excited right away.

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?

Nichole Aurora: For me as far as finding out about the Dollar Baby program with Stephen King, I hadn’t Heard about it until Reading Dean’s script. And was completely thrilled and wanted to do more stories after that.

SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?

Nichole Aurora: We have some many stories on that shoot that we’re both hilarious and very mysterious. The first day of shooting Dean was actually graduating with honors from Redland University which is the very prestigious School here in California. It took me in the entire crew to convince him to attend his ceremony and that we had everything covered they’re on set until he got done. That morning, I got a call from the pólice in the city that somebody tried to break in to the house taht we were shooting in. I rushed down to the house and met with the cinematographer and production manager to go over and make sure nothing has been taken. Meanwhile we’re going over inventory and making reports, Dean is texting us to see how setup is going and asking questions and knowing how hands on he is we were all answering and telling eachother  not to tell him cause he would get from his seat at graduation and just walk out if he knew. We didn’t telle him til days later. We were able to laugh about it cause nothing was taken but the hardest part was keeping Dean in the dark till after his graduation.

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?

Nichole Aurora: It makes me a little sad and disappointed. The Dollar Baby program is such a great community. And I wish there was a festival and a you know DVD you could be a part of because your script was chosen that year. I am hoping in the future that we can have a stronger more visual platform to showcase not only are film but other incredible Stephen King shorts that are out there as well.

SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?

Nichole Aurora: Good refuses the direction, Dean is a actor’s director. He’s incredibly patient and kind and supportive when it comes to helping and guiding are actors to be able to give a performance they are proud of. Also the house gets a lot of attention.

SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?

Nichole Aurora: Right now we’re always looking for the right place to submitte it to. The festival world is sometimes a hard place for genre films.

SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?

Nichole Aurora: I am a Stephen King fan. I love Misery (Film too) and The Shining (Film too).

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)?

Nichole Aurora: I believe we were given his approval, and that he had received our film. I’m so sorry I believe most of that correspondent was with Dean.

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?

Nichole Aurora: I’d love to shoot more Stephen King stories. For me it’s all about the writing though. If the scripts are good and I can get people excited about it and I am completeley game to do another one.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Nichole Aurora: I’m working on my first feature we are in development right now. And my job as producer is getting people excited about it and locking down our financing.

SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

Nichole Aurora: People would be surprised to know that I love love love getting people excited about my projects and getting them to give us financing. For most producers it is a hard job and it is forme too. But I love the challenge and sometimes the win.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?

Nichole Aurora: Thank you for your love and support on our film. Lots of time energy and a lot of love went into it. Find the director who believes in you the way you believe in them and their work.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Nichole Aurora: Thank you so much for taking this time with me I truly appreciate it and hope we can do it again son maybe next time in person. Thank you again for the opportunity.

 

Magazine