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He is the filmmaker of The Escape Plan Dollar Baby film.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, but have lived in Los Angeles for the past several years to pursue a career in entertainment (mainly in writing). These days I focus much of my time on 30-min comedy TV pilots, which I understand must be a little strange since this interview is about Stephen King. I live with my cat, Jack Nicholson, and take walks around Los Angeles whenever I can.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: By the time I was six-years-old, I had epilepsy, asthma, lactose intolerance, and absurdly thick glasses. Without much else to do, I watched every movie I could find on TV. The characters kept me company while I was stuck inside most days. When I was twelve, I grew out of every one of my ailments, but never lost my passion for film. I knew at that young age that filmmaking would be the path I’d pursue above anything else.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: We filmed The Escape Plan in early 2016, in two fast-paced days. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a RED camera (Dragon 5K), which helped capture shadows well in the dark room we mainly filmed in. We made the film on a budget of $3,000, sourced from various contacts. Both days of production were long, 13-15 hour days. I remember not having even a moment’s rest for the first day, so my advice to anyone out there is to schedule an extra day of production for your own sanity.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: Stephen King is just an incredible writer, able to make his characters relatable while throwing them into situations most people would not get out of alive. I chose to adapt this specific story because it felt like a twist on a normal interrogation scene. In the original story, our hero is a journalist being held by soldiers in an unnamed country. Shackled in a small room, the entire situation seems hopeless. Yet the hero’s internal monologue is witty in a way that eases the tension, in my mind a perfect character for the screen.

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?

Jordan Tandowsy: I happened to come upon a story right after graduating film school about King writing so many stories he wanted to help students by optioning a few of them. I reached out to someone at his estate, who was nice enough to send a list of stories available and a contract to sign. Stephen King’s so gracious, the contract only asked for 1$ and a DVD copy of the final product.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: At one point in production, one of our actors required makeup to simulate a cigarette in the eye. We didn’t have makeup on set the entire day, so he walked around most of the day with a fake cigarette dangling there. Everyone brought a lot of energy to the set, which made the whole process a lot easier.

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?

Jordan Tandowsy: I’m mixed on this issue, because I see it from both sides. I imagine Stephen King doesn’t want to be associated with any adaptations that might be obscene, yet at the same time it was a lot of work to put this film together. It would helpful to have an internet release, and I hope it happens, but even having the opportunity to adapt his work is worth it.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: The audience response to the film was mostly positive and sold out multiple showings. Like anything you might make, there are things you wish you could go back to and improve. More time, more money, but you have to accept there’s only so much of both. I didn’t make this film for acclaim, though I appreciate everyone that’s said they enjoyed watching it.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: I’m a major fan of Stephen King’s writing, not as much so the adaptations of his work. The Shining, Carrie, and Shawshank Redemption are all wonderful, but as I’ve experienced you can never truly adapt the essence of his mastery. The Outsider is one of my favorite books of all-time, I read it in two days which is something I almost never do. The Stand is brilliantly written, moving in and out of different stories with ease. I’m finishing up Salem’s Lot at the moment actually, another great title of his.

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)?

Jordan Tandowsy: I like to imagine King has a DVD of The Escape Plan in his collection, that he watched it. But I respect his privacy and have not personally had contact with him. The fact that he gave a film school graduate like I was the chance to use his name on our production meant a lot to me.

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?

Jordan Tandowsy: If I could get the rights to “The Eyes of the Dragon,” I’d shoot it in a heartbeat. He doesn’t usually write fantasy, but in Dragon he manages to keep the story grounded in our common humanity. It’s an incredible adventure story as well, which is just a lot of fun to see on screen.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Jordan Tandowsy: These days I’m meeting with production companies and literary managers, working on finding a path in the world of TV writing. I’ve had the honor of receiving some awards and going to cities I never would’ve otherwise.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: I’ve played a zombie character on the Robot Chicken: Walking Dead Special DVD.

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

Jordan Tandowsy: Thanks for taking the time to hear about my experience adapting a Stephen King story, it took a lot of hard work from a lot of different people to make it happen.

She is the filmmaker of I Know What You Need Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: May you introduce yourself to our readers? Who are you and what do you do?

Julia Marchese: Hi! My name is Julia Marchese and I am a filmmaker, actor, writer, podcaster, cinephile and Constant Reader living in Hollywood, California.

My first film, 2016’s Out of Print, is a documentary about the importance of revival cinema and 35mm exhibition and preservation to culture. It features interviews with filmmakers such as Rian Johnson, Edgar Wright, Kevin Smith, Joe Dante, Mark Romanek, John Landis, Stuart Gordon, Joe Carnahan, Tom Holland and many more.

Out of Print was shot half on film and half on digital, and I was so thrilled to have a 35mm print of the film made. The film won the Programmers Award at the Sidewalk Film Festival and has played at art house cinemas, universities and film archives all over the world. The film is available on DVD, Amazon Prime and streaming & the 35mm print is still touring the world, having just played the Film Archive in Austria earlier this year. The film print lives now at The Academy Film Archive in Hollywood between screenings.

SKSM: How would you decide that shoot movies was your mission?

Julia Marchese: I’ve loved movies since I was very small, and have been an actor since I was a kid as well. I have directed plays since I was quite young, and I moved to LA to act, and have been in several independent films and plays. Out of Print was my first film, and I was able to fund the film via Kickstarter and learned how to make a film by making a film – from pre-production to post-production, screenings, festivals, press and distribution, I went through every single step with passion for cinema and joy of learning. I love the immortality of cinema, and the ability it gives you to view the world through another person’s eyes.

SKSM: Could you tell our readers the status of I Know What You Need or some updates?

Julia Marchese: We are in pre-production right now. Looking to start casting soon, which will be critical, since the short focuses on three main characters with a lot of dialogue, and each character character – Edward especially – go through really drastic character arcs. We want to do as many local hires in Maine as we can, and pay some local businesses for the use of their locations, and really show off the beauty of the state, so that’s something that we will shortly begin to delve into.

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

Julia Marchese: I have an affinity for strange fictional characters – examples being Arnie Cunningham from Christine, or Norman Bates from Psycho, or Martin from Romero’s Martin – these broken boys that are so messed up, but also you kinda just want to cuddle them? (Before their psychotic break, natch). King describes Edward in the second paragraph of the story, and I was totally on board. He’s described as unkempt, with thick glasses, an oversized fatigue jacket and mismatched socks – my heart was won. So from that point on I was really along for the ride with Elizabeth, the main character, who meets Edward and is charmed by his strangeness. She knows something is weird about him, but doesn’t know how weird.

It’s a very small and contained story, with very little flashiness and I like that about it. It’s also an incredibly creepy story about manipulation and the line between love and obsession. But no matter how spooky the story is, it is – at its core – a love story. It features a character who has powers that have been used in other King stories to bring down secret government agencies, burn down proms and stop future tragedies from occurring, but in this story they are used for love. An intriguing premise.

I am keeping the film set when the story was first published in Cosmopolitan Magazine, in 1976. Partially because I am a true lover of vintage aesthetics, but also because of logistical reasons – the story would change completely if it took place in a time when the internet exists. I tried as hard as I could when adapting the screenplay to keep the script as close to the story as possible, keeping much of the existing dialogue.

Every adaptation of one of King’s stories is a different version of that same story – seen through that filmmakers eyes – and I think that is what makes the Dollar Baby program so fascinating, and why King probably still wants to see all of the finished adaptations – because you can never tell how someone else interprets your work. And I think I can safely say no one else sees this story like I do!

SKSM: Where would you like your movie to premiere?

Julia Marchese: It’s interesting, isn’t it, making a movie in 2021, while we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, because this all starts to take on a hypothetical gist. So if you’re asking me dream movie theater? If location and time and pandemic were no object? I would say either the Egyptian in LA or the Prince Charles Cinema in London, but I love so many independent cinemas around the world, and if it’s my fantasy it gets to play at them all!

SKSM: Would you like your film to be screened at a particular festival?

Julia Marchese: Film festivals are definitely in a sea change right now with the pandemic and the future of moviegoing and cinemas up in the air (which breaks my heart). I of course want to see my short screened at a giant film festival with a huge, enthusiastic audience – every filmmaker wants that. But I don’t think that will happen for a while. So I don’t know, I just have to keep moving forward and see what happens! I cannot WAIT to (when it is totally safe) get back in the cinema and watch movies with an audience again.

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

Julia Marchese: I am a HUGE Stephen King nerd. I started reading his stuff on the bus in junior high at about 11 years old – IT, Pet Sematary and Carrie were my first books of his and I was sucked in from there. In junior high I enthusiastically made all my friends watch Pet Sematary and even dressed like Post-Micmac-Burial-Ground Gage Creed for Halloween one year as a kid. I’m hardcore.

I realized three years ago that I had never tackled his master work, The Dark Tower series. This needed to be remedied immediately. So I devoured the books, loving each one more and more and starting to panic as I neared the end of the series. I didn’t want the story to end!! I got to the 11th stanza in book 7 – The Song of Susannah (Constant Readers will know where I mean) where the reveal was going to be so good and I was so excited, that I needed to prolong that feeling as long as possible.

So I decided to pause my reading there and read every Stephen King novel and short story related to the The Dark Tower (there are A LOT, over 40 short stories and novels combined!) before re-reading the Tower series (and then continue on to the Marvel comic series omnibuses and The Dark Tower companions after that). It’s taken me two and a half years so far and I am still working on it. It’s the most incredibly brilliant literary multiverse puzzle that I have ever undertaken, and I am enjoying putting the pieces into place more than I can say.

My favorite works, besides The Dark Towers series, are The Long Walk, IT, The Talisman, The Stand, The Dead Zone, Firestarter and, of course, I Know What You Need.

SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1?

Julia Marchese: I must have heard about it because of Frank Darabont? I just know that I read I Know What You Need, thought to myself – how DOES one get the rights to a Stephen King story? Looked up his website, messaged them, and here I am with a contract!

I think what I love most about Stephen King is that he gets it – he certainly doesn’t need the money from these Dollar Baby shorts, and we know he understands that because he sells the rights for a dollar! But he is interested in helping out fans of his that want to film his stories, and he has the curiosity still to see what comes out of it. The fact that it is in the contract that you have to send him a finished copy of the film to view just proves what a caring, super cool guy he is.

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

Julia Marchese: In October of 2018, I went on a pilgrimage to Maine to finally visit all of the towns I read so much about all of these years – Portland, Bangor, Pownal. I drove around the gorgeous state and was entranced – I had never seen the changing of the leaves before! I took an amazing Stephen King tour of Bangor and was in absolute heaven walking around “Derry” and seeing the canals, the storm pipe, the bird baths, Paul Bunyan, Pennywise’s drain, and even Stephen King’s house itself. It was like walking through one of his novels. Pure bliss.

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

Julia Marchese: I would say be sure to follow the passion you have for the film and to work towards the vision of the film in your head, but not be obsessed by it. Ask your crew for help in assisting you on what you need to learn more about and include their ideas – it’s a group effort. Also, work on your organizational skills. Very important. And remember, like Elvis, you gotta Take Care of Business in a flash.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Julia Marchese: I also host a podcast called Horror Movie Survival Guide, where my co-host & take a deep dive into a different horror film each week, focusing on how you can survive that film. We have covered MANY Stephen King films, of course! I also started #stephenkingsunday through the podcast, where I post something Stephen King related every week and a nice group of Constant Readers get to chat about it, it’s been very nice! Check me out at @juliacmarchese on all social media platforms and lets talk King!

 

He played in Jordan Tandowsky‘s The Escape Plan Dollar Baby film as Clerk.

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

Jonathan Maurer: My name is Jonathan Maurer, I’m a multihyphenate filmmaker originally from New York, based out of Los Angeles. I work primarily as a producer, and also a writer, director, and actor.

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

Jonathan Maurer: I actually had a late and somewhat unique entry into acting, through the backdoor so to speak. I entered USC film school in 2012, wanting only to be a writer/director; my first semester directing professor told us one day, “If any of you are serious about directing, you should take acting classes to learn how to better communicate with actors.” After getting up-and-down performances in my first few short films, I decided he was right, and began auditing acting classes. I found a studio I absolutely loved, and before I knew it, I had caught the acting bug. It was never my primary pursuit, but became something I really enjoyed and took on, mainly for fun and experience, as time allowed.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The Escape Plan Dollar Baby film?

Jonathan Maurer: As acting was never my primary job, I never got an agent, and instead self-represented. I saw a casting call for what was then called In the Deathroom and thought it sounded fun, so I applied.

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

Jonathan Maurer: Life & death stakes! It doesn’t get much more dramatic than that. There’s a pulpy simplicity to this one that keeps you wondering how it will resolve.

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

Jonathan Maurer: I sent in a taped audition for this, although I was cast ultimately in a supporting role that I did not audition for.

SKSM: You worked with Jordan Tandowsky on this film, how was that?

Jonathan Maurer: It was a lot of fun. This wasn’t a very big budgeted project, really just a small group of people making something for the love and fun of it. As in all projects of this nature, it’s the passion of the director first and foremost that will either get it to the finish line or not. Jordan kept things light and easy, and everyone seemed to really enjoying being there.

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

Jonathan Maurer: In the original script, I was supposed to be a New York City bodega clerk. When we couldn’t secure a storefront location, we decided to alter it so that I was a guy selling loose cigarettes on the side of the street, something not very common but not entirely unheard of in NYC. I got to ham up a little bit of a NYC accent, though I’m not sure how convincing it was, haha.

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

Jonathan Maurer: I think I’m friends with most of them on social media! Of the bunch, I have the most contact with the producer, Mary Rachel Gardner. We’ve kept in touch on some of each others’ projects over the years.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Jonathan Maurer: For the last few years I’ve worked a steady job as a producer at an agency and production company based in West Hollywood. Additionally, I take freelance gigs as time and my interest dictates, mainly as a producer but occasionally as an actor or writer/script doctor. I’m currently working on a few different scripts, at least two of which I hope I can self produce in the near future.

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

Jonathan Maurer: Admittedly I am not much of a reader of Stephen King, though of course I’m familiar with a lot of the films adapted from his work. They’re of notoriously scattershot quality, but I can definitely say Kubrick’s The Shining is among my very favorite films.

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

Jonathan Maurer: I am currently in the contestant pool for Jeopardy! So my next appearance on your screens may be playing myself, haha.

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

Jonathan Maurer: Thanks for your interest in independent film! They are often made with more love and passion than a lot of the fare you’ll find on Netflix. It’s important to support upcoming filmmakers, and often a lot of fun to see their development.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Jonathan Maurer: See you at the movies!

 

She is the Producer of Tyna Ezenma‘s Dedication Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: May you introduce yourself to our readers?

Kerry-Ann Ellington: Yes, I’m originally from the beautiful island of Jamaica but currently residing in Southern California. I’m the second born of seven children. I’m affectionately referred to as a mediator/zen master. I’m also quirky, I don’t take myself too seriously, I’m VERY greedy and have a sinful obsession with board games and coffee.

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

Kerry-Ann Ellington: After dropping out of Med school, lol Kidding… sort of. I took an Improv class as an elective in college while on the path to becoming a Pediatrician and fell in love with all things visual arts so I switched my major to Communications. I actually started out as a writer but I wanted to be a decision maker in order to keep & produce my intellectual properties so I simultaneously started reading up on Producing films while learning the craft of screenwriting. However, I abandoned the role of Producer/Writer after I got pulled into acting. It wasn’t until I met Tyna when I shifted back to what I believe is a natural gift of mine, Producing. Tyna hired me as an actress in one of her short films and after offering some help while on set, she asked if I’d be interested in being her Assistant Director for her next film. We went on a filming spree for about 3 years straight where my role shifted back and forth from Assistant Director and/or Producer.

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

Kerry-Ann Ellington: During our filming spree, Tyna found this Stephen King project, edited it down to a short film version and asked if I would Produce it with her and I said yes.

SKSM: Can you tell us about your work in the film?

Kerry-Ann Ellington: As Producer, I was responsible for making sure the film got done in a timely manner and that everything and everyone remained on the same page. Tyna and I broke the script down together then selected the location and hired the cast and crew. It’s not uncommon for me to wear many hats (as most independent filmmakers do) while filming so I was crafty, set designer, medic and any other role that needed to be done in order to have a successful shoot. I believe it took us about 3 weeks tops from pre-production to post with Dedication. Very high pressure filming but we never wavered on making sure we produced a fantastic film.  I’m picky with the projects I lend my name to. I’d rather skip out on a project that’ll just add to my resume vs making sure the story is strong and the project is filmed exceptionally well.

SKSM: What was it like to work with Tyna Ezenma on this film?

Kerry-Ann Ellington: Tyna and I work very well together. Working on Dedication with her was fun and exciting. Our sets are always filled with laughter and great energy. We have similar filming styles and can pretty much read each other’s minds when it comes to prepping, shooting and editing a film. It’s truly a blessing getting to work with her.

SKSM: Was there any funny things that happened while filming (Bloopers, etc)?

Kerry-Ann Ellington: Yes, we always have bloopers. 🙂 The bedroom clean up scene where Young Martha had to ingest Peter’s secretions was quite interesting and funny. Our actress Cameo was a real trooper with how she handled it though. Having to do more than one take and take it seriously was quite a challenge but she was up for it. I think we also had some funny moments and mixed words during the fighting scene which helped cut the tension from such an intense moment in filming.

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

Kerry-Ann Ellington: Who isn’t? He’s an extraordinary writer with a warped mind. I mean that in a good way though. 🙂

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Kerry-Ann Ellington: I’m continuing to build Ellington Productions. I’m reading lots of scripts and writing some as well. I’m also pitching multiple TV series and Feature Films to various distributors and investors and praying that some of them will make it to TV & movie screens (after COVID) sooner rather than later.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Something you’d like to tell our readers?

Kerry-Ann Ellington: Thanks so much for asking them, this was fun! To your readers, thanks for reading, stay blessed and positive. Don’t lose your childlike view on life, if you have, it’s never too late to turn it around. Also, be yourself, never conform!

He is the filmmaker of The Man Who Loved Flowers Dollar Baby film.

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

Taylor Doose: I am a writer/ director based out of Los Angeles. I have worked in everything from kids cartoons to big budget feature films and everything inbetween. Most of my own projects tend to lean towards horror, but I have had the most success with my documentary work. I am currently working towards shooting my first feature film later this year.

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

Taylor Doose: I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a story teller. I thought about being an author, a stand up comedian, and even a teacher, but once I realized that all of my lifes biggest lessons and in turn my moral compass had all come from the movies that had always been there for me. At 8 I got a camcorder for Christmas and faster than you can say filmmaker I was telling stories through the lense.

SKSM: When did you make The man who loved flowers? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Taylor Doose: We shot The Man Who Loved Flowers in 2017, so just shy of 4 years ago. It was done as a student film with a group of film students that had only done a few shorts up until this point. I self funded the whole project and ended up costing around $1,000. Being a student project we didn’t have a ton of time to put it all together, we had about a week of pre production, 2 days/ nights to shoot and about a week of post production. It was a pretty smooth production aside from all the usual prat falls that come with any production.

SKSM: How come you picked The man who loved flowers to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Taylor Doose: I have always related more to the grounded horror stories, the horrors that could happen to any of us in the real world. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition in the original story between love and horror and how they are seperated by such a thin line.

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?

Taylor Doose: I had run across an artical online talking about great oppertunities for film students that talked about the dollar baby program and being able to obtain rights for $1. I discussed it with some of the other students. It didn’t take a lot of convincing, especially after I agreed to flip the bill.

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

Taylor Doose: The biggest suprise was in the casting process. It was the first time I had done a legintimate casting session. It was such an eye opening process as I went in having an idea of exactly the type of person I was looking for, but through the process and seeing how each actor interpeted the piece it changed who the charecters were and the tone of the whole piece.

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?

Taylor Doose: It is both thrilling and terrifying. Being able to see how different filmmakers approch the same story and interpet it is so great. Being able to connect with an audience is amazing, but knowing that if I had it all to do over again especially with how my skills have progressed I would love the oppertunity to do it all again and really impress the amazing King fans out in the world!

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

Taylor Doose: Most of the reviews have been positive as far as the acting, writing, and music. The cinematogrphy has been critacized a bit, which again knowing what I know now we would have done things a lot differently. But we are alwasy our own worse critic so no matter what anyone has said I only see the problems.

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

Taylor Doose: By this point it has done it’s time. It was at a few festivals which was fantastic and now it can live forever online for everyone to enjoy.

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

Taylor Doose: I have been reading King for as long as I can rember. I am pretty sure I was reading The Shining and Salem’s Lot when the other kids were reading Goodnight Moon. I have always loved the original Pet Semetary, the IT mini series and Creepshow. But by this point it’s almost imposible to list all of the amazing adaptaions that we have.

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)?

Taylor Doose: Unfortunity I have not head if Mr.King has seen it, if he has I hope he enjoyed it and might consider letting me show him how much more prepared I would be to adapt his work now.

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?

Taylor Doose: Given the oppertunity I would of course jump at the chance! I would love to adapt The Raft. It was my favorite part of Creepshow 2 and I think there is a lot of amaing story telling oppertunities still on the table especially with the technology not avalible.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Taylor Doose: Right now I am workng at getting more projects off the ground and freelancing whenever posible.

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

Taylor Doose: That although I love horror over any other genre, my real dream is to direct a musical!

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

Taylor Doose: Just that if you want to do anything, just get out and do it! The only thing holding you back is you. It won’t be easy, it might feel imposible, but if you love it enough you can make anything happen.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Taylor Doose: Don’t let anyone define your life. Live everyday like tomorrow is not a gurentee, becasue it’s not.

 

He is the filmmaker of All That You Love Will be Carried Away Dollar Baby film.

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

Thad Lee: My name is Thad Lee. I write, make films, and take photographs.

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

Thad Lee: I always liked to rhyme. Over time I began writing poems. But my shyness about my work kept me from reading them aloud until I was a senior in high school. That same year I enrolled in a class called Mississippi Writers. The instructor broke us up into small groups for our final project. The assignment was to present a writer we studied to the class however the group wanted. I had wanted to make a film ever since eighth grade when my science teacher took a day off from teaching biology, pulled down a screen before the blackboard, and projected the Big Foot movie he made with his college friends. My parents had a camcorder, and I swayed my group towards making a film. Our instructor was not entirely pleased with Infactuation of Death Among Mississippi Writers, which screened many months late. It had little to do with Mississippi writers, instead focusing on the deaths and afterlives of a Choctaw warrior, a Confederate soldier, and a drugged teen, none of whom had anything to do with any story we had read. It also had a misspelled title. Still, I loved making it.

SKSM: When did you make All That You Love Will be Carried Away? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Thad Lee: I received the Dollar Baby rights in the winter of 2017. I began working on the script in early 2018. By the spring I was casting and location scouting. That summer, we traveled to Clarksdale, Mississippi for two days and shot the first part of the story, which establishes the major plot device throughout the rest of the film, the notebook. In King’s story, it is revealed that the Salesman has had the notebook for nearly seven years. I wanted to give Rhes Low, who played the Salesman, time to let his hair dye fade to grey and get a bit out of shape to make the time passage more realistic, so we waited until February of 2019 to film the rest of the film. We went back to Clarksdale for two days and shot in Oxford for five days.

SKSM: How come you picked All that you love will be carried away to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Thad Lee: When you apply for a Dollar Baby there are a selection of short stories that you can choose from, and they each have a brief summary of work. Although Stephen King is best-known for his horror stories, I did not want to make a horror movie. The summary of “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away” was: A man checks into a Lincoln Nebraska Motel 6 to find the meaning in his life. I was at a point in my life where I could go in several directions. I needed to think it though, make the right choice, and go along that path wholeheartedly. I knew I could put my energy into this story where the stakes were similar.

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?

Thad Lee: I was finishing up a MFA in screenwriting at the University of New Orleans, and one day I broke up thesis-writing sessions by driving to a book store. While I was there, I browsed the magazine stand and saw The Complete Guide to Stephen King, which I believe covered every feature film and television adaptation of his work. The Shawshank Redemption article touched on director, Frank Darabont’s first film, “The Woman in the Room.” I learned it was a Dollar Baby and thought the idea of King giving film students a chance to work with his material was interesting and generous.

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

Thad Lee: I really wanted to weave as much of the language and settings from the story into the film as possible, so I was dead set on actually filming in a Motel 6 in Nebraska. I used Google maps to get overlook views. None of them really seemed to match up with the hotel in the story that backs up to a farm. Then I realized all the cast and crew I wanted, with the exception of cinematographer, Matthew Graves, lived in Oxford or Memphis.  Paying for their travel for a week in the dead of winter to the Midwest became obviously asinine, particularly for a little film like this one, which had no way of ever making a dime. So, I spent about a week driving to every Motel 6 between Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Pulaski, Tennessee; taking pictures, scouting the landscape, and talking to the people who ran the hotels. The one in Pulaski was a real contender. It backed up to a corn field, and its owner wanted ten rooms booked for a week. He put me in touch with Motel 6 Corporate.  They wanted to know if the Motel 6 property, its employees, other guests, or their automobiles would be filmed. I sent them the script and the storyboards, which had the hotel, its employees, and other guests’ automobiles in honest sight. I then sent them a standard location release but never heard back. I was disappointed, but it was really a blessing. It made me look at Clarksdale again. Its flat highways could be Nebraska. Its cornfields may not back up to a hotel, but we could cheat that. So, we did, and found the hotel we needed in Oxford at the University Inn. They let us film in the lobby and in the parking lot with actors screaming at each other in the wee hours. No one seemed to mind. It was perfect.

But the thing I really hated losing more than anything about Motel 6 was its spokesman, Tom Bodett’s line, “We’ll leave the light on for you.” Our story ends with the Salesman’s life depending on whether or not he sees a farmhouse light across a field during a snowstorm. I wanted to work that into the film badly, just on signs on the wall or on No Smoking signs, so I wrote Mr. Bodett, himself, thinking he’d get the story and maybe even wrangle me a little money from Motel 6 themselves to help make the picture. I am sure it was the weirdest email he has gotten in years, and I was surprised not to hear back from him. Well, one night I told my wife, Carlyle Wolfe Lee, I was changing Motel 6 to Hotel 7, and that I needed an advertising line that had light in it, “Something like Hotel 7, a well-lighted place.” She said, “Oh, like the Hemmingway story.” I didn’t know what story she was talking about, so she fetched it from her shelf. I read “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” later that night and felt a wonderful synchronicity between it and King’s story, for they are both about suicide. So A Clean, Well-Lighted Place became my hotel’s catchphrase. Next I made a crude logo, which insulted Carlyle’s creative sensibilities, so she had mercy on me and re-made it into something any motel chain in the world would be lucky to have.

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?

Thad Lee: Part of the Dollar Baby Deal is that I had to agree not to publicly screen the film after its one year festival run is over. I believe exceptions can be made, but there has to be written conscent from Stephen King in order for that to happen. It was first screened at the Black Hills Film Festival in South Dakota on February 22, 2020, so I imagine on February 23, 2021, my Dollar Baby will be retired.  One of the reasons King started the Dollar Baby was because of the impact films made on him growing up. Making this deal with outsiders was a way to open doors for them that might not be open otherwise, so I am not upset with the restrictions. That is the deal I had to make to be able to work with his material.

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

Thad Lee: So far we have been selected to 41 film festivals and won awards at 26 of them, including many for Best Film and Director. I am pleased that so many of my crew members have been recognized for their work. Matthew Graves has won several awards for his cinematography. Actors Rhes Low and Johnny McPhail both been honored for their acting by many festivals. I am also pleased that our music has won awards for the score as a whole and that Winn McElroy was Best Song for his composition “Jonah” by the Southern Shorts Awards.

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

Thad Lee: The only one I knew I would screen it at was the Oxford Film Festival, which is where the bulk of the film was shot.

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

Thad Lee: Yes, I am a fan of Stephen King and many of his screen adaptations. I love The Running Man, The Shining, Misery, Stand By Me, The Green Mile, and most of all, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dead Zone, Christine, and Carrie.

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)?

Thad Lee: I had no personal contact with King during the making of the film. I haven’t sent him his copy yet. I will when film’s one-year life is all-but-over. That way I can tell him in a letter how the project fared in the world. And I hope he likes it.

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?

Thad Lee: I have no plans to adapt another King story. But if he likes what I did with “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away” and has something in mind for me to make, I doubt I’d say, “No.”

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Thad Lee: I am working on a feature documentary about married photographers Maude Schuyler Clay and Langdon Clay called Two Lives in Photography.

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

Thad Lee: I can cook a few good dishes.

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

Thad Lee: I hope you enjoyed reading about the making of the film. I hope some of you make your own Dollar Babies.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Thad Lee: I would just like to say thank you, Oscar, for being interested in the film and collecting these interviews about all the Dollar Babies. Good luck to you and your hopes.

He played in Robert Smith‘s Morning Deliveries as Spike.

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

Paris Peterson: My name is Paris Peterson. I’m an artist of many sorts. I work primarily in the art dept. for film/commercial work, but my north star is over the acting field.

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

Paris Peterson: I’ve pretty much always known I wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember. I started out acting in local community plays when I was really young, like four. My mother would make the sets and costumes which was really special. I was the only one out of my siblings who stuck with it after we moved. Long story short, I’m attracted to the human condition.

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

Paris Peterson: I had just moved to Los Angeles and was looking for my own work. I stumbled across a casting call for MD, and submitted because who wouldn’t want to play a milkman?

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

Paris Peterson: I haven’t met too many people who have read it other than Robbie and some of the crew, but what attracted me to it was this incredibly dark feeling that was thinly painted over this seemingly innocent imagery of the suburbs. I always feel some sort of underlying darkness in suburban areas, so that definitely resonated with me.

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

Paris Peterson: Neither, actually. I submitted myself on a casting website, and I shortly heard back from Robbie saying how much I looked like his version of Spike, and then after offered me the role. I’d say there was definitely some luck involved.

SKSM: You worked with Robert Smith on this film, how was that?

Paris Peterson: Robbie is a true talent. Before working on Morning Deliveries, I had only seen his past few shorts on youtube. Real guerilla, DIY kind of films that were very compelling. One of them really frightened me. I knew from that moment that he was an artist with a clear vision, one with whom I wanted to work with.

His approach to this film was backed heavily by collaboration from all ends of production. He referred to making the production like “playing jazz” which I thought was really clever. I believe that just opened a floodgate of ideas from all people involved. Being on set felt safe for exploration and collaboration.

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

Paris Peterson: We shot the film in Taft, CA which was a town Robbie grew up in. Even just being in that town was very special and helped me understand a part of Robbie in a way. Very grateful for him to invite me into his worlds, real and fictitious.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Paris Peterson: I’m currently working on a feature film with Robbie that we plan to shoot next year. I’ll be taking on my first leading role in a feature which is exciting and terrifying. He’s written something really special that will be a huge challenge for me. Other than that, I’ll be auditioning here and there—just staying busy creating whatever I can.

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

Paris Peterson: You know, I have to admit I’m much more familiar with his stories through film rather than on a page. I read many short stories from “Skeleton Crew” before we filmed Morning Deliveries, and found them to be so compelling. My parents gifted me The Shining when I was 7 years old, and that film flipped my world upside down. I also grew up watching (and loving) Cujo, Misery, Carrie, Shawshank Redemption, Children of the Corn, etc. I think It (1990) was the first movie that I can remember terrifying me as a child.

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

Paris Peterson: I’m colorblind and can sneeze with my eyes open.

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

Paris Peterson: If you want to see Morning Deliveries, hit up Robbie at rob@robbiesmith.org ! I’m sure he can provide a link.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Paris Peterson: Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far!

He is the filmmaker of Grey Matter Dollar Baby film.

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

Bolen Miller: My name is Bolen Miller, I’m a writer/director from Portland Oregon.

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

Bolen Miller: I have always loved movies, I believe my first trip to the theatre was a Godzilla movie. I wanted to be an actor at first, but I think I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was 15. I worked at KFC at the time (they paid me 4.95 an hour) and I saved up 600 bucks to buy a video camera, then I started shooting little movies with my friends.

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

Bolen Miller: We made Gray Matter almost 2 years ago in Portland, Oregon. It took a long time to get the financing in place, but that also gave us time for pre-production. I worked out a shotlist and schedule then hired the best crew in the Pacific NW. Our Cinematographer Sam Naiman is also a professional steadicam operator who trained with Garret Brown, (the inventor of the steadicam). We also hired Christina Kortum owner of Ravenous studios, Christina is the best Special FX artist in the Pacific NW.  It was a challenging 3 day shoot with 6 locations. We could only film at the liquor store while it was closed. On our last shot at the liquor store, actual customers from the neighborhood started coming in to buy coffee. It was wild!

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

Bolen Miller: I would have been happy to adapt anything by Stephen King, but Gray Matter is one of my favorite King short stories, it definitely scared me as a kid. I really love how the story is told as a story within a story. I feel like that  can sometimes draw an audience in just a little bit further than usual.

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?

Bolen Miller: I’m a pretty big Stephen King fan, a constant reader since I was 10. I knew about the Dollar Babies before I sent in my request. Someone at my film school told me about it, and I got started right away.

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

Bolen Miller: The actor playing the main narrator ADAM, is Ted Rooney, who also plays the Irish gang leader in BOARDWALK EMPIRE and the actor in the Liquor store who plays BILL is the Horse Whisperer in Zach Galafinakis’s BASKETS both of these guys made everyone laugh and helped create a fun, stress free atmosphere the entire shoot.

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?

Bolen Miller: I really wish there was a way, I am working something out that maybe I can screen it live after or during the festival. We still need to clear that with Stephen King, but I believe it may be possible.

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

Bolen Miller: We have not gone to film festivals just yet, but so far all of our reviews from friends, family and colleagues have been positive.

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

Bolen Miller: We are currently building out our festival strategy, we are definitely open to suggestions. 😉

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

Bolen Miller: Yes I am a King fan, and my favorite book would have to be IT, and my favorite adaptation would have to be Carrie.

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)?

Bolen Miller: We finalized GRAY MATTER and sent it to Stephen King on HALLOWEEN. We are still waiting to hear back.

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?

Bolen Miller: I would love to adapt another King property, my first choice would be Firestarter, but I believe someone is already working on that.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Bolen Miller: Currently I am putting together a festival plan for GRAY MATTER, and writing a Sci/Fi TV pilot that is a bit like LUTHER meets QUANTUM LEAP.

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

Bolen Miller: I once went skydiving and crashed into a fence. I got 17 stitches on my forearm, and my brother filmed the crash.

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

Bolen Miller: You’re Welcome! And to the fans I want to say that I am working out a way that I might be able to do a live screening of GRAY MATTER so every Stephen King fan out there can have a chance to see our adaptation of GRAY MATTER. Thanks!

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Bolen Miller: Be excellent to each other!

 

She is the Cinematographer of Jack SawyersGotham Café Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers? 

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: First of all, thank you for including me on your website. My name is Rachel Garcia-Dunn, and I’ve had the pleasure of being the cinematographer on two dollar baby films; Gotham Café (2004) directed by Jack Sawyers, and In the Deathroom (2020) which is covered in another interview.

SKSM: What does cinematography mean to you?

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: Cinematography essentially lets the audience participate in the action on screen. The camera is a character; it has moods, it has autonomy, and it can fly with superheroes.

When you are telling a visual story, it’s important to set a mood that is appropriate for the story. This can be done through production design, lighting and camera motion.

Frenetic camera motion can heighten the intensity of a car chase or a fist fight, and slow, serene camera motion can calm the audience just before the frenetic impact of the car crash to heighten the moment further.

SKSM: We live in a time when independent or indie cinema prevails and that is why digital is more used. When you are working, do you prefer digital or celluloid?

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: Gotham Cafe was shot on s16 film, Kodak 250D, and 500T Vision 2 color negative, and transferred to video. It looked amazing.

The Film was shot almost entirely in sequence, and during the telecine session, the machine room guys couldn’t wait for the next master so they could find out what happens next.

Each format has their own benefits/drawbacks from an artistic standpoint. From an economic and technological standpoint digital is the clear winner.

Digital has finally become everything that film tried to be through out it’s history – grainless, ultra high-resolution, 18 stop dynamic range, Super wide gamut and color depth, and unparalleled low light sensitivity.

What’s not to love?

SKSM: What does it take to be a good cinematographer?

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: Always be expanding your knowledge in some way or another. Equipment evolves, techniques change, tools change.

Keep shooting all the time. Learn to light, stay calm, and don’t be a jerk.

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

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: All films are challenging in their own way, so I prefer to concentrate on the success of these great films.

Gotham Cafe was awarded Best Cinematography at the 2005 Festival of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and the Supernatural in Las Vegas.

And In the Deathroom is currently having a stellar festival run, and has already garnered several awards for the story, and performances of the actors.

I couldn’t be prouder of both of these films.

SKSM: How was working with Jack Sawyers on this film?

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: Working with Jack Sawyers was a great experience, and we have since worked on many projects together over the years. He’s a fantastic director, and a great guy.

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

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: Steve Wozniak was in the cast of Gotham Cafe, and one day he was telling a very amusing story about how he likes to fake out convenience store clerks with 2 dollar bills, because the clerks invariably believe the currency is counterfeit.

He then passed out $2 bills so we could do it ourselves. I think that for him, it was a form of activism.

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

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: I was born on Halloween.

SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Do you like to add anything else?

Rachel Garcia-Dunn: Do one thing every day towards making your dreams/goals a reality. Don’t give up. Don’t be a jerk.

(…Yes, you can do more than one thing…)

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