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He is the Cinematographer of Tyna Ezenma‘s Dedication Dollar Baby film.

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

Matt Fore: I’m Matt Fore and I’m a cinematographer. I’ve been working as a freelance DP in Los Angeles for about 15 years on everything from feature films to shorts, commercials, music videos and more.

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

Matt Fore: Ever since I was a kid in elementary school, I knew I always wanted to “make movies,” but never knew exactly what that truly meant until I was older. I began shooting and directing my own short films in early middle school in the mid-to-late 90’s on my family’s Sony Handycam camcorder, and continued throughout high school. I realized I was more drawn to the cinematography aspect of filmmaking rather than directing, and found myself attending the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography for college where I could study cinematography further in-depth. From there, it was off to Los Angeles to jump into the freelance world of filmmaking.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

Matt Fore: Every director has a different approach to pre-production and how to pre-vis a film, but it’s most always some sort of reference to existing material as far as color, contrast, scope, etc., and then applying an original view for the particular film – it’s always great to start with the broad strokes in that manner, and then dig into the film’s unique personality itself while surrounded by that context. It was fantastic to design the dark and shadowy elements of Dedication with Tyna, and find visually exciting ways to tell such a fantastic story.

SKSM: You worked with Tyna Ezenma on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a dp should be?

Matt Fore: Working with Tyna on Dedication was an absolute delight – she knew exactly what she wanted, but also gave me some creative wiggle room with camera and lighting. I think we were both very pleased with the end result, and had a great working relationship on the project. In general, I believe a relationship between the director and DP should be similar to best friends – be able to be honest and respectful, but also know the deep down truth of any situation and be able to act accordingly with what the project or day has thrown at you. As long as the director and the DP are on the same page, you’re usually off on the right foot for the entire film.

SKSM: You worked in a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?

Matt Fore: This definitely wasn’t my most challenging film, but rather one of the most fun to craft. Playing with chiaroscuro lighting contrast ratios and using darkness to conceal parts of the frame and set was such a blast for me, and helped tremendously when shooting on small sets. I felt like we really pulled off a visual mood and tone through the pools and starkness of the lighting.

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favorite lenses? formats?

Matt Fore: Having initially learned to shoot film in the early 2000s right as the industry was really transitioning to digital in a full and robust way, I still am a fan of everything Arri, including their Alexa and Amira series – they feel like most “filmic” to me and really exude that cinema quality and feel. I love Cooke lenses, especially the S4 series with their organic fall off. It’s been a while since I’ve shot 35mm film on a project, but that would have to be my favorite, followed by a model of Arri Alexa in the digital realm.

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favorite dps/films)?

Matt Fore: Some of my favorite cinematographers include the incomparable Conrad Hall and Roger Deakins, the former of which I was lucky enough to meet in person in 2002 at the Ojai Film Festival when I was just 19, only months before he passed away. I am influenced heavily by both of these DPs, as well as Darius Khondji (especially his work on Fincher’s Se7en), Bruno Delbonnel, Nestor Almendros, Matthew Libatique, and Emmanuel Lubezki.

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

Matt Fore: I am a huge fan of Stephen King in general – some of my favorite works of his (and there are many!) include The Shining, Doctor Sleep (the only book I’ve ever cried at while reading the ending), The Green Mile, Stand By Me, IT, and Hearts in Atlantis.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Matt Fore: I am currently prepping 3 different feature films, ranging from a horror film to a family drama and a cerebral psychological journey. In between these larger projects, I can be found shooting music videos, short films, and commercials. My wife and I also just finished up our own feature film that she wrote & directed and I shot & produced, that we shot during the COVID quarantine and are beginning to submit to festivals.

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

Matt Fore: I have an avid interest in science, space, and the universe, as well as how it all fits together. I also can get obsessed with maps – everything from city layouts to physical maps of landscapes of mountain ranges and basins – I never know what map I might get lost in!

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

Matt Fore: This is such a fantastic idea to allow film students to make and create their own films based off of Stephen King properties – to the Stephen King fans and filmmakers out there, get out there and do it! No film school is as good as learning by doing! I started making my own movies in elementary and middle school and followed that path to get to where I am today. It’s easier than ever these days to pick up a camera and bring your idea or concept to life. Explore, create, and discover!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Matt Fore: Thank you so much for the opportunity to discuss my background in cinematography and my work on Dedication  – I hope you all enjoy it!

He is the Cinematographer of Alexander Bruckner‘s The Passenger Dollar Baby film.

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

Grant MacAllister: My name is Grant MacAllister. I am a Los Angeles-based Cinematographer who specializes in dramatic narrative film. I studied cinematography at Columbia College Chicago and after graduating in 2012 I worked in the camera department on TV shows and feature films in my home state of New Mexico.

I moved to Los Angeles in 2018 to further pursue my career in filmmaking and shift my focus from camera assisting and into cinematography. Since moving, I’ve shot several award winning short films, including John Strucel’s “Cruel Perfection,” which was nominated for Best Cinematography at Glasgow’s “The Monthly Film Festival,” and the topic at hand, Alexander Bruckner’s “The Passenger,” which was nominated for Best Cinematography at the “Fantasy Film Festival” in Menton, France, and has screened at dozens of festivals worldwide.

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

Grant MacAllister: I knew it was what I wanted to do since I was a teenager really. I grew up taking photos with my parent’s 35mm film cameras. In high school I did a lot of photography and spent countless hours in the darkroom. I have always been one to notice the lighting in a space, or natural lighting while out on a walk and take note on the kind of emotion it elicits.

While in high school, I enrolled in a film theory and criticism course at the local community college and my professor inspired me to look more into how the movies I love are made. The following semester I started a film production class, learned about every position on the set and found myself gravitating toward cinematography. After completing a few student projects, my professors told me I had a good eye for composition. I loved that I was able to merge my interest and strengths from still photography into motion picture photography. I continued with my studies, earning my undergrad degree in cinematography. I spent those years learning more about lighting, the discipline of shooting on 16mm and 35mm film and some of the technical aspects of the job.

SKSM: How do you communicate with a director to design a visual strategy for a film?

Grant MacAllister: When deciding on the visual approach for a film I will do several reads of the script. The first read is just to get the overall idea of the story, the characters, the world they’re in. I try not to think of any lighting or shots in this read. After that I’ll read the script with shots, camera moves, and lighting in mind, and think of several options to present to the director. I’ll meet with the director and go over my thoughts for how I think we should approach the film visually and see what ideas they have in mind for how they’d like to approach each scene.

From there I’ll create a look book or mood board for the film. On “The Passenger” I had put together a 12-page PDF of visual references for the film. This included ideas for lighting for each location, and specific shots. I typically will reference shots from films I think fit the project visually, and photographs that I’ll save to my computer that I find inspiring. This really helps to immediately communicate the look that I envision and the tone of the film to everyone involved.

SKSM: You worked with Alexander Bruckner on this film, what do you think the relationship between a director and a DP should be?

Grant MacAllister: Working with Alexander was a great experience. He brought his passion for filmmaking with him to set every day, and I think the crew really felt that. The relationship between the director and the DP should be one of trust and collaboration, and that’s what I found with working with Alexander. He was very open to my ideas and shot suggestions but didn’t lose sight of his unique vision for the film. My philosophy when it comes to cinematography is that it should first and foremost support the story being told. Cinematography isn’t solely about capturing a great looking image; an image that conveys a clear idea and translation of the story is more impactful. I prioritize the director’s vision for the film and strive to accurately translate it through my imagery.

SKSM: You worked on a Dollar Baby based on a Stephen King short story. It was your most challenging film?

Grant MacAllister: The Passenger” was certainly not without its challenges. One of the challenges that stands out to me is when filming the bathrooms scenes at the rest stop. We had initially scouted the location at a park in north LA and were told we’d have access to any of the restrooms there. Naturally, we decided we wanted to shoot in the most spacious one to give the actors and myself room to work. On the day when we were scheduled to shoot, the parks department couldn’t get in touch with the person who had the master bathroom keys, and we had to re-work the scene to be in a much smaller single person bathroom. It ended up working out great for the story but was definitely a tight squeeze!

SKSM: When you’re going to shoot, what are your favorite lenses? Formats?

Grant MacAllister: My choice of lenses and camera format vary depending on what best suits the story being told. On “The Passenger,” I chose to shoot with Arri Alexa Mini and vintage Lomo Anamorphic lenses. Given that this was a story about someone with a split personality, I chose to use these older anamorphic lenses to add more distortion and unique character to the world these characters inhabit. I knew we would also be doing quite a bit of work inside the car, so it was useful to have the compact size of the Alexa Mini.

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

Grant MacAllister: We had this fake scorpion that we had used for the opening shot of the film. The plan was to use it as a placeholder for the scorpion to be done through visual effects in post, which we ultimately ended up doing, but the rubber scorpion’s movement looked surprisingly realistic. I’ve actually gotten questions about who our scorpion wrangler was on the film!

SKSM: Who are some of your influences (favorite dps/films)?

Grant MacAllister: The look of this film was influenced by Roger Deakin’s work on Denis Villeneuve’s “Prisoners,” and “Sicario.” We looked at Sicario for its landscapes, and Prisoner’s for the tone. David Fincher’s “Fight Club” came to mind as well, given that it deals with a similar theme of the protagonist having a violent and unpredictable alter ego.

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

Grant MacAllister: I am! I’ve really enjoyed the adaptations from The Shining, Carrie, Secret Window, Shawshank Redemption and HBO’s adaptation of The Outsider. There’s something in Stephen King’s work that lends itself incredibly well to be adapted to film.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Grant MacAllister: I just finished shooting a short film called “Positive” which I’m very excited about. It’s a thriller about two girls seeking revenge on the father who abandoned them. We are currently finishing up post-production on it and should be submitting to festivals soon!

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

Grant MacAllister: I love to cook and bake! Had I not taken film classes I probably would have ended up going to culinary school.

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

Grant MacAllister: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. To all the fans, I want to thank them for their support of the film. We’ve been having screenings all over the world, so there’s a good chance The Passenger will be playing at a festival or a virtual screening near you soon!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Grant MacAllister: If you’d like to check out more of my work, feel free to visit my website, www.grantmacallister.com and follow me on Instagram @cinematics.

Thanks again!

She played in Thad Lee’s All That You Love Will be Carried Away Dollar Baby film as Five & Dime Owner.

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

Susan McPhail: I am a retired teacher originally from Memphis, Tennessee. I’m married to Johnny McPhail and have lived in Oxford, Mississippi for almost 40 years. I retired from teaching about three years ago after catching the acting bug from Johnny.

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

Susan McPhail: Being married to Johnny, it was easy to become fascinated with the acting business. He was instrumental in getting me involved more and more as time passed. I had helped with several local productions and was a board member for Theatre Oxford for a number of years, so my interest grew from a variety of areas. I really became hooked when Johnny and I did a short film in Shreveport, Louisiana as part of the Louisiana Film Prize. Something seemed to really gel for me and I just knew that I wanted to do this acting thing more. Soon after, I was lucky enough to get a good agent (People Store in Atlanta) and things really took off from there. I’ve since been cast in films opposite Ben Mendelsohn, Nick Nolte, Joe Anderson, Harry Lloyd, Dakota Johnson, Shia LaBeouf, Carrie Preston, Justin Chon, Allison Janney, Bill Skarsgård, and Regina Hall. As of now, I have 34 film credits. Believe me, I’m as shocked as everyone else!

SKSM: How did you become involved in All That You Love Will be Carried Away Dollar Baby film?

Susan McPhail: Thad had been working with Johnny and had told me in the beginning of the process, that he’d find me a part. I thought, “Okay, cool!”. Then he did it and I felt that he really considered my personality when he cast me as the shop owner.

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

Susan McPhail: Firstly, it’s a Stephen King’s short story, so how can you go wrong?  Secondly, it’s not a typical SK fright ride, but a complex narrative about life.  It’s got ups, downs, comedy, tragedy, and the viewer never knows what will happen next.

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

Susan McPhail: We had a couple of read through sessions at our house with Thad, Johnny and me. Thad asked if I’d play the shop owner, and I, of course, I agreed. So, there was no formal audition.

SKSM: You worked with Thad Lee on this film, how was that?

Susan McPhail: Thad has a way about him that makes you feel like you’re doing great. He is very positive and professional and the way he directs is different than any other director in my experience. He is very precise and, as a result, the film becomes something special.

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

Susan McPhail: There are many great moments because I was there for all of the scenes in which Johnny appears. So, I was sort of a semi-crew member at times. The most fun I had was the day we filmed at Ground Zero in Clarksdale, Mississippi, and the (infamous) line about Jim Morrison was heard coming out of the men’s room. Over and over, etc. The young lady who did the make-up, Parker, and I mischievously “decorated” some bar stools with that line from the film.

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

Susan McPhail: Oxford, being such a small town, gives plenty of opportunities to see people you know. Lately (because of COVID) there haven’t been too many physical meet and greets, but I am friends on social media with most of them.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Susan McPhail: I just wrapped recording scenes from Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke for a zoom presentation for the Delta Tennessee Williams Festival (usually held in Clarksdale). On October 20, I will be traveling to Nashville to do a short for a filmmaker who saw me in The Peanut Butter Falcon and decided that I’d fit a character for him. This awful pandemic has really slowed things down for the film industry. Hopefully, things will start picking up soon.

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

Susan McPhail: Huge fan! This is going to sound weird, but his films scare me too bad to watch, but I will read anything that he writes. The books scare me too, but seeing them come to “life” scares the (bleep) out of me.

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

Susan McPhail: A large majority of people who act (I’d venture to say), started out or have a background in theatre. The only theatre that I’ve done or that I do, is the Delta Tennessee Williams Festival and that’s usually reading selected scenes. It terrifies me to think about being on stage and having to rely on my memory. I like it when we can cut and start over –ha ha. I am in awe of people who act on stage.

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

Susan McPhail: I’d like to tell anyone reading this to get involved! Go to film festivals, volunteer, meet filmmakers. And for Pete’s sake, if Thad Lee ever wants to put you in a film, jump on it! 

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Susan McPhail: Thanks for the opportunity to share my story!

She is the filmmaker of Willa Dollar Baby film.

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

Amy Driver: My name is Amy Driver, I studied film & television production in Dublin and currently I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I’m a freelance video producer, editor and social media manager.

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

Amy Driver: I started making films when I was 10 years old. My brother and I had an old camcorder and we spent all our teenage years pestering our friends into movies.

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

Amy Driver: I made Willa in 2012, when I was 20 years old and in my second year of Film School. It was a labour of love, built on a budget scraped together by bake sales outside the college canteen. We filmed Willa over two or three days, in County Cavan.

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

Amy Driver: I remember hearing about the Dollar Babies and reading heaps of King’s short stories. Willa struck me as a story that could be set anywhere at any time. I like the adaptability of it and of course, the romance.

SKSM: Can you tell us about the filming steps? Funny things that happened so far (Bloopers, etc).

Amy Driver: We filmed at an abandoned train station for one of the scenes, which was an awesome location. At the end of a very tricky and windy day of shooting we were ready to wrap when our continuity supervisor came to ask me a question. She lifted the clip on her clipboard and all her continuity sheets went flying off down the train tracks. We all had to jump off the platform and chase them down.

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

Amy Driver: Willa screened at Fastnet Film Festival in Co Cork and the Phenom Film Festival in Louisiana, back in 2012.

SKSM: This was your second Dollar Baby film. Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick another one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?

Amy Driver: Willa was my first Dollar Baby, The Deathroom was my second. I would love to film another Dollar Baby. Unfortunately I haven’t made any films since leaving college and Ireland. I am hoping to get back in to it soon and a Dollar Baby would be a great restart, I may have to start reading some more stories.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Amy Driver: I work on corporate videos these days and in my spare time I keep a log of script ideas for future reference. I came out to New Zealand to travel and have new experiences, I like to think I’m incubating my thoughts for future film work.

SKSM: What advice would you give to those people who want to be filmmakers?

Amy Driver: Try all the roles, gain an understanding of everybody’s job and appreciate the beauty of a team working together to create something.

SKSM: Something you’d like to tell our readers?

Amy Driver: Thanks for reading!

 

He played in Thad Lee’s All That You Love Will be Carried Away Dollar Baby film as The Traveler.

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

Johnny MacPhail: This is one of the best articles written about me: https://www.hottytoddy.com/2017/12/25/actor-johnny-mcphail-cotton-patch-true-detective/

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

Johnny MacPhail: I always wanted to be an actor. But it was beyond my wildest dream. I turned 50 and some movies started filming in the South. I decided to reinvent myself and find out what acting was all about. I believe everyone arrives on a different path.

SKSM: How did you become involved in All That You Love Will Be Carried Away Dollar Baby film?

Johnny MacPhail: I had been best friends with Thad Lee for many years and worked on a lot of projects with him. We were always planning to do something. He has thousands of hours of me on video. I don’t know if he Will ever uses any of it or not. He moved back to Oxford and asked me if I would play the carácter opposite Rhes Low. I had played opposite Rhes in an award-winning short film “The Embalming” I think he is one of the best actors of all times of course, I said yes.

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

Johnny MacPhail: The personification of The Note Book. My character was the notebook. I kept people guessing.

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

Johnny MacPhail: I feel sure he had Rhes and me in mind when writing it. Not sure when my wife cameo. He said, in the beginning, he was going to try and put her in. We worked hundreds and hundreds of hours reading lines sitting on my patio. Rhes wasn’t there. I don’t know when he worked with Rhes or if he did. Thad had a specific way he wants every line and every word to sound. She would read a line and have me repeat it after him. I used to do improv some for the film. But this time every word is exactly how it was written and exactly how he wanted it to sound.

SKSM: You worked with Thad Lee on this film, how was that?

Johnny MacPhail: He was different from any other director I’ve ever worked with. One of the best, If not the best. He worked on it for about a year conferring with me looking for locations and props. He had everything planned to the smallest detail. We rehearsed a lot. He would rent a motel room in Oxford and we would go through scenes. He would even have the Cinematographer and sound man there. He must have put thousands of hours into it before we started filming. We filmed in the Mississippi Delta the hottest part of 2018 and the coldest part of 2019. And you have never seen hot and cold weather unless you have spent time in the delta. Humidity and no trees to break the wind. Thad would stick with it when the rest of us would have to take a break to get out of the weather. Thad was totally into it every second. When shooting a scene, he was like a cheerleader. Standing off or behind the camera. He would wave, make facial expressions, directing and cheering you on. When you got it as he wanted, he had this little dance he would do spinning around.

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

Johnny MacPhail: When we were filming in Gator, Mississippi, we had to stop filming so that my wife, Susan could take the owner of the pickup truck to Walmart to get new tires. We all pitched in like one big happy family. The truck was shot we never knew if it was going to make it.

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

Johnny MacPhail: Yes all of them. Most of them live here in Oxford, the Delta, or close by. We are all very close friends.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays? 

Johnny MacPhail: Because of the pandemic I working a lot from home. Helped teach an acting class at the University of Houston Texas using zoom. In fact, I’ve been doing a lot of stuff using zoom, interviews after and before the screening of some of the film I’m in that’s in the festival circuit. Meeting with other actors and people in the film industry. The 28th Delta Tennessee Williams Festival in Clarksdale Mississippi is coming up in October. I always participate in that. The only stage I do nowadays because the movie industry is so spontaneous I can’t commit to a play. I might have to turn a movie down. Of course, I always have a few auditions out there a very few with the pandemic. But lately, it seems to be picking up a bit. We video most of our auditions from home. We very seldom do we go on location for as audition or a call-back. I have a Facebook page concerning the film industry. Do a lot of promoting and sharing information there. I work on it every day.  Facebook Groups https://www.facebook.com/groups/johnnymcphail/ 

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

Johnny MacPhail: Of course I love the movies that are based on his work and am honored to have my name mentioned on the same screen and page with his unbelievable.

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

Johnny MacPhail: I grew up on a farm, didn’t have much contact with people in social settings so I was extremely shy. I didn’t have a date until my early twenties. Then I went wild and crazy. Of course, they know the wild and crazy part is true.

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

Johnny MacPhail: Please join me on Facebook. I love to chat and share with people some of my best friends I met on the internet and have never met in person. Everything I have ever gotten is because I was trying to help someone else maybe I can help you that what I live for and trying to make the world a better place.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else? 

Johnny MacPhail: I love doing this please let me know if you need anything else I just didn’t understand in the beginning what you wanted. Most people just want a couple of paragraphs. If you need to know something just shoot a question to me and I will get right back to you thanks for everything. Someone said: “When two people meet no matter how brief both lives will be changed forever.” I think I’m the one who said it.

He played in Tyna Ezenma‘s Dedication Dollar Baby film as Peter Jefferies.

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

Lawrence August: Hey there! I’m Lawrence August… I grew up in the Chicagoland area and currently reside in Los Angeles, California.

I’m a published songwriter, part-time actor, wannabe screenwriter, and a full-time Self-Employed Nutritionist, with a focus on Childhood Obesity.

I help run a non-profit organization called Accept The Challenge, which aims to improve the health of children all over the world.

I love pursuing my passions and am very fortunate to wear so many hats!

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

Lawrence August: I acted in school plays growing up and was always a bit of a ham, entertaining my friends and family with silly impersonations of celebrities and what-not.

It was really in my college years when the acting bug bit me… I performed in several award winning stage plays and landed some really great roles. To be honest, acting was something that came a bit easy to me, in terms of comfortability. In many ways, I’m more comfortable on a stage as a character than I am as myself.

Luckily, I have so many other interests (as mentioned earlier), that I don’t feel a huge amount of pressure to “make it” as an actor. It’s a wonderful outlet and a great way to tap into the human condition.

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

Lawrence August: I was very lucky in that I had already worked on a pervious project with the director called Ghostwriter, where I played The Devil, and she liked my work.

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

Lawrence August: I think this particular story pulls people in with how unique and unsettling it is.

The Black Magic element is interesting and when you mix in the racial dynamics between the characters, the vibe of the hotel setting, the eerie backstory and fascinating motivation of the protagonist (played Amazingly by Cameo Sherrell, btw), you end up with something unlike any other Stephen King story.

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

Lawrence August: I did not have to audition for the role, but the role was not written for me. I was very fortunate to have been offered without having to read for it.

SKSM: You worked with Tyna Ezenma on this film, how was that?

Lawrence August: I’ve worked with Tyna on three films so far and she is great.

She keeps a very relaxed set, and gives actors a lot of space to explore and find the scene. At the same time, she knows very much what she wants and has a knack for communicating her vision with very concise direction.

Wonderful to work with!

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

Lawrence August: Hahahaha… well… yeah. Not sure how much I should go into it, but… one standout moment was when my character is having to “pleasure” himself in bed. This was somewhat awkward, with the crew members gathered around and the camera hovering above the bed, but I got through it and everyone was very professional. Definitely a special moment.

Oh, and I guess the other cool moment was when I snapped a photo of Cameo standing on set while the lighting was being set up. What stood out to me about the photo was the shadow of Cameo cast onto the wall near the bed. It felt… inspiring.

During my downtime, I played around with editing the photo on my phone, playing with the colors, contrast, etc. and it ended up becoming the poster for the film. That was what I would call a “happy accident”. I still can’t believe how that came to be. Magic!

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

Lawrence August: I’m in contact still with Tyna and Kerry-Ann Ellington, who by the way, I’d like to thank for introducing me to Tyna and getting me the role in Ghostwriter, which led to Dedication.

Cameo Sherrell is a Social Media friend and I’m always happy to see her thrive in the industry. She’s a brilliant actress. I’ll predict right here and now that she will be a household name one day. Believe it.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Lawrence August: Nowadays, I’m very busy with the work I’m doing as a Nutritionist and my nonprofit, but I also stay busy in the music studio, writing songs, and am looking at a few scripts that could be potential acting roles. I also have a sports comedy script that I’m writing with a friend in West Virginia.

Always something on my plate.

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

Lawrence August: I am, but I wouldn’t say I have looked at his entire catalog. I loved the film Misery, probably my favorite.

Other faves are The Shining, Carrie, Stand By MeFirestarter… probably a bunch of others I can’t think of right now, haha.

The man has been incredibly prolific. It’s actually baffling how someone can crank out that much material, and actually keep the quality so high.

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

Lawrence August: Probably that I rap. I’ve been rapping since I was 14, and can freestyle for days. Haha… most people are pretty surprised at that.

I think people that know me as their Nutritionist are surprised by my artistic side and the people who know me through the arts are surprised at my Nutrition knowledge.

I like it that way.

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

Lawrence August: No problem!

I’ll just say that I’m really thankful to have been in such a cool film and I hope whoever sees it will enjoy what we created.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Lawrence August: Be kind to each other. It’s what we need now in the world, more than ever.

Kindness. It doesn’t cost a thing.

He is the screenwriter of Simon Pierce‘s I Am the Doorway Dollar Baby film.

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

Jeffrey Stackhouse: My name is Jeffrey Stackhouse and I’m a Sandwich Delivery Boy. But let’s break that down, a bit:
I began in theater: after school in England I was an Assistant Director of  a lovely College Theater above Baltimore for a few years until I left for NYC. There I performed professionally in Baroque Opera for 5 seasons before moving on to New Music, wherein I created leads in 14 musical workshops and had pieces commissioned for me by the likes of Aerosmith’s producer Paul O’Neil and the original director of Jesus Christ Superstar & Hair, the amaaazing Tom O’Horgan.
I came out to CA to work as the villain of the best musical I’d ever encountered, Jon Stothers’ terrific Pilgrim, and got to watch someone brought on board flush $3M of investors’ money down the tubes. So: not that.
I then did some film, my favorite on a great indie project called The Crusaders that won Best Comics Film at Comicon, worked again with New Music composers, developed a then-pretty-severe case of Vitiligo that made me shy of auditioning and felt I’d move on to my 4th or 5th Entertainment Career … Decided writing horror screenplays was more stable, because I seemingly have no firm concept of reality.

SKSM: How did you become involved in I am the Doorway Dollar Baby film?

Jeffrey Stackhouse: My wife Wendy and I had been co-writers previously on a Spaghetti Western that won The PAGE Awards, and we were lucky enough to be selected for two of Mr. King’s stories, this and “The Ballad Of The Flexible Bullet.” We discussed it for a while and decided that “Bullet” was pretty much perfect as Prose and we could thus only equal it or fall short. “Doorway” however was Body Horror, and that has a bunch of lenses to view it through. Transformation is very fertile ground.
I often work with co-writers, and had just come off of what I felt was a successful collaboration with Richard Becker on an award-winning Military Horror called “Handful Of Dust” and we hoped that Mr. King’s name would be enough of a spotlight that we all might rise a bit, and so Wendy and I approached Richard as a valued resource and began talking the beats and approach.  My original thought was to create a film in the style of Argento and Cronenberg: a beautiful and lambent jewel that framed this absolutely brutal and terrible story, and that was our attack.
Now two years earlier, I had seen Simon Pearce’s feature horror “Judas Ghost” at Shriekfest Film Festival and it blew me away.  The acting was well directed, the shots were intriguing and served-the-story, the forward motion was intense.  But important for this project, his feel for color palate was beautiful.
After the screening, I had made damn sure he knew my thoughts, and I’d kept in touch, so I was able to pitch the project to him, and he was intrigued. And because he’s a consummate pro, he was able to attract the likes of DP Phil Meheux (Casino Royale, Mask Of Zorro) and Illusion Industries (SPFX for Pirates of the Caribbean) to the film.
“How did I become involved…?”
I was verah verah lucky.

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

Jeffrey Stackhouse: As I said, I think the subject of transformation is a very powerful one; in whatever Genre you play it, there’s an inherent resonance. Wendy and I are proud to be parents of a Trans child, and because it came near the beginning of Society’s wider recognition, we were involved with a lot of the “discovery” aspects of such. I came to realize that “change” is a very brave act. Our astronaut may or may not be quite so brave.

SKSM: You said you worked with Simon Pearce on this film, how was that?

Jeffrey Stackhouse: Simon was very open to listening to my thoughts on the piece, and to my initial approach, which was the lynchpin. He’s a good ally to have and brings extraordinary talent and work ethic to a project.

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

Jeffrey Stackhouse: Thanks to the Intertubes, I’m still able to interact a bit with our terrific leads, Simon Merrells and Grant Masters, and look forward to being able to see them bring their nuance and gravitas to other characters, some day. There’s a strong and enigmatic Spaghetti Western lead Wendy and I would love to see SM take on, and Grant would be a wonderfully creepy Doctor Richard and I have throughout the framing of an Anthology of ours.
Simon Pearce and I “speak” more often, and still gaze wistfully at a couple of Features we’d like to get going, but his newest film “Officer Down!” has had his attention, lately, and I look forward to seeing that.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Jeffrey Stackhouse: I’ve been working with another co-writer, Renfield Rasputin and developed with him a New Orleans set Horror Pilot about a damned priest, that won a major award, and also a current proof-of-concept Short-for-Feature about an EMT who takes a rescue call during a hurricane and finds a tortured angel in the old man’s shed. Those are great fun. And I’ve finished a Feature on my own about clever students in a School in England who figure out a way to replace our Universe’s God with another, but have to sacrifice literally everyone, just to get Its attention. Turns out it’s a love story, lol. That one might end up a novel, as well, since it’s too expensive for someone at my level, to get made.

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

Jeffrey Stackhouse: He’s probably my favorite living “voice.” I‘ve reread all of his work at least once and physically have all of his novels – one of our 18 bookcases is just his stories. I like to say that Roger Zelazny is like having your smarter older brother tell you a story, and Stephen King is like your best friend reading to you around a campfire, at night. Comfort food, for me.

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

Jeffrey Stackhouse: I’ve already done the Baroque Opera and New Music beats. Surprised? I enjoyed major-character voicework on a lot of Japanese Anime, including Otomo’s (of Akira fame) first feature Harmageddon and the legendary La Blue Girl (oh, you can Google, I’ll wait… Hentai is a world to itself). That might at least be intriguing, if not new to my circle..

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

Jeffrey Stackhouse: For screenwriters, learn formatting (I’m a Trottier baby) and then Tell Your Story.
The only storytelling tool you need is having read Joseph Campbell or Frazer, and damn your Education System if you haven’t already. Generalized Beat Sheets create generalized pap; how many great Screenplays have those gurus actually written?
On that, realize that all of the filmmakers of the 30s–60s had a storytelling vocabulary built upon what they had read. Even those great visuals that our filmmakers imitate today originated from a lifetime of sharing worlds with great authors.

— Writers in general: Be unafraid.  Stop asking permission.  Many folk before me have said you can’t edit what isn’t on the page, so write. And it’s alright to have written crap; silk purses from sow’s ears, amiright?

— For life? I’m absolutely the wrong person to take that advice from, but I will mention don’t suffer fools (“waves”) and surround yourselves with those who are kind.

But also, be kinder to yourself.  Realize you’re not alone.  If you’re down, reach out to people who might help. Those thoughts are more common than you think. Much.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Jeffrey Stackhouse: I have the start of a website at ShadowlandOnline.net that you might want to check, but it’s only a beginning and some pretty graphics.
Thanks so much for this opportunity, Oscar, and for your patience for my getting it done.
— My best to all of you out there. Stories can change the world. I hope you step forward and make some of that change.

He played in Thad Lee’s All That You Love Will be Carried Away Dollar Baby film as The Salesman.

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

Rhes Low: I live in Oxford, MS with my wife and our 4 kids. Although, I spent the bulk of my life in the entertainment indudstry (mainly in L.A. and NYC but recently in the southeastern US) several years ago I changed direction. I am now Director of Strategy for an integrated marketing and communictions firm- Red Window Communications.

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

Rhes Low: I always knew. The decision to pursue the craft as a profession came toward the end of my junior year in high school. My time until then had been Split between golf and theatre. After being accepted into the theatre program at Southern Methodist University, I dropped other activities and focused 100% on the acting. By the way, in hindsight, dropping other activities was not a good idea- as actors we draw from our experiences, therefore we should exuberantly explore other hobbies, art forms, and activities

SKSM: How did you become involved in All That You Love Will be Carried Away Dollar Baby film?

Rhes Low: The director, Thad Lee and I met in L.A. and kind of grew up together in the industry. I will always work for him – if he asks, I’ll say yes.

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

Rhes Low: Trying to overcome a broken world.

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

Rhes Low: It was adapted and written with me in mind.

SKSM: You worked with Thad Lee on this film, how was that?

Rhes Low: Thad’s preparation is extremely detailed and thoughtful. He is a pure artist with a very defined visión – and yet within that visión, he allows collaborative ideas to influence and ehnance the direction of the visión. That is one of the reasons, as I said before, I will always say yes if he asks me to work for him. His set is a true representation of what a collaborative artform/storytelling platform should be. A definitive visión that relies on and welcomes collaborative craftmen to enhance that visión.

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

Rhes Low: Other than being subjected to a giant shop fan blowing in our faces in the midst of 20 degree biting cold due to the wet humid southern air and me getting massively pissed off after the 15th take because, well, I guess I’m a wimp, no.

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

Rhes Low: I bump into everyone, every so often.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Rhes Low: A large portion of my time is spent producing podcasts for myself and some of my clients at Red Window. Additionally, I am producing a documentary on my podcast, The Brave Dutch, based on my grandfather’s WWII experience. He was shot down over occupied Holland and spent 15 months in hiding.

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

Rhes Low: Yes. He is a master storyteller.

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

Rhes Low: I’m pretty transparent. Not too many surprises here- ummmm, oh yeah, I love Disneyworld. Great storytelling, immersion, commitment, set design, inclusión. This is a recent discovery and I am surprised to know this about myselfJ

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

Rhes Low: Thanks for being fans. Share, share, share. Thad, influenced by Stephen Kings genius, has put together a lovely film that needs to be seen.

And thank you guys for creating a fórum for all of us fans to consume great info about folks who take a chance and invest their time to créate a storytelling experience that is thoughtful, engaging, and gives us the occasional escape from reality if needed and/or a window into reality if needed.

 

She is the filmmaker of Dedication Dollar Baby film.

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

Tyna Ezenma: My name is Tyna Ezenma, from Nigeria west Africa. I describe myself as a creative artist. My first degree was in visual arts so techinally I paint and draw, before going into photography, textile design, currently I found myself in the movie industry, specializing in directing and producing.

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

Tyna Ezenma: I first thought about it in 2010 after visiting Cannes when they were setting up for that year’s film festival. I finally saw the need in 2013 during a photography exhibition in ArtMonaco that I wasn’t able to completely tell my stories in still photographs.

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

Tyna Ezenma: It was my film school project for Advanced directing class in 2017, the adaptation took me two weeks and the pre production was about a month and we shot it in 3 days. The total cost was about $4600.

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

Tyna Ezenma: The story actually chose, I wrote to Stephen King’s office that I wanted to adapt one of his Dollar babies, I had like two other stories but he asked me to try Dedication as nobody has ever done it. I love challenges so I took it. After reading it I was attracted to the mystery and voodoo involved in the story as it is something that I can easily relate as an African.

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?

Tyna Ezenma: Growing up I was a huge fan of his novels, one day I just went to his website and saw that he offers his stories to students for just $1, I just abandon the script I was working on to request for his. I sent him a dollar cash.

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

Tyna Ezenma: I wouldn’t say there was any funny time as I was so tensed and nervous throught the production, I lived in my night wear for 3 days straight why writing it.

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

Tyna Ezenma: It was selected and screened in Cannes film festival in 2018, it was screened on UCLA campus, in Netherland for his fans, In New york in museum and other film festivals. Part of the contract doesn’t allow us to make profits off the project without seeking a different permission from him. To me it was a learning stage since I am into that genre of film making.

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

Tyna Ezenma: I got mostly good reviews in terms of acting, cinematography, directing and storytelling. The bad review will be that some people needed to watch it twice to fully understand it.

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

Tyna Ezenma: Yes I am one of his die hard fans, I have read most of his books but in terms of adaptation I will go with The Shinning and IT.

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)?

Tyna Ezenma: There was no personal connection apart from the emails handed by his staff but the contract was from him. Yes I sent a DVD copy to him and I think he likes it because if he doesn’t we will all have heard by now. He is very outspoken.

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?

Tyna Ezenma: I would love to shoot the feature version of Dedication, it was a 62 page story that I had to condense to a 12 page short script. My reason will be given a enough funds and time to tell the full story will be amazing.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Tyna Ezenma: After film school I have produced and directed 2 short movies and a web series, currently in post production for my 1st and 2nd  feature films.

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

Tyna Ezenma: That I can read an average of 60 scripts a month and I am a big fan of Korean dramas.

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

Tyna Ezenma: Thank you for the honor, I will say keep your dreams alive and if you can think it you can do it.

 

He played in Constance Hilton‘s Mute Dollar Baby film as Detective.

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

Josh Vokey: My name is Josh Vokey and I’m an actor. I grew up in Newfoundland, Canada and I’ve lived in Toronto since I was 18.

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

Josh Vokey: I did a school play when I was 11 and that was it. I spent the rest of my time in school between plays/improv/choir until I was able to audition for theatre school and move to the city.

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

Josh Vokey: I got involved with ‘Mute’ through Connie. She adapted Mute into a short film and also directed. The two of us worked together on Orphan Black for 4 years. She was one of the boom operators on the show and we got to know each other quite well over the years.

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

Josh Vokey: I think this story does an excellent job of blending the mundane with the unexpected. Three characters are having a tough day, each in their own way. They’re all trying hard to make the best of it, but quickly realize that there was nothing mundane about their days at all.

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

Josh Vokey: Connie offered this part to me. We’ve worked a lot together and there’s a lot of trust between us. I think that’s essential to making good film/tv.

SKSM: You worked with Constance Hilton on this film, how was that?

Josh Vokey: Working with Connie as a director was great. A+ experience. She’s collaborative and has a clear vision in her work. She gave me a lot of room to find the truth of the detective and his POV and I’m very grateful to her for that. I would work with her again in a heartbeat.

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

Josh Vokey: All of my scenes were shot over the course of 1 day. We had a great team and a positive vibe on the set. There weren’t so many “funny” moments as much as it was a very calm vibe. All of the scenes were about breaking through the BS of life to find something true. There was a grounded, supportive energy on the set that day that really helped myself and Cynthia find that truth.

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

Josh Vokey: Yes of course! I still talk with Connie and Cynthia (who played our lead and produced). Alona (our DOP) and I have worked together in the past in Newfoundland and hopefully again in the future!

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Josh Vokey: These days I’ve been keeping up with reading new material and developing my own projects. COVID has had a major impact on our industry -like most – and I’ve taken a lot of time to focus on my own training and development. Work is starting to open up slowly now and I’m looking forward to being back on set and digging into bringing good material to the screen.

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

Josh Vokey: I am a fan of Stephen King’s work. I started off liking his dramatic works when it was a kid like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and Hearts in Atlantis. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of a horror fan. I’ve always been a huge admirer of his ability to bring excellent character development to the horror genre.  He’s one of the greats and charged the whole game.

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

Josh Vokey: Surprising about me? Probably that I box on a regular basis. I play a lot of cerebral characters and I’m sure people would be shocked to know that I enjoy fighting for fun.

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

Josh Vokey: Thank you to everyone for supporting ‘Mute’ and reading this interview. We really appreciate your support and we’re happy to be a part of the world of Stephen King! It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to work on his material.

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