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She played in Ian Wolfley‘s Dollar Baby Big Driver as Tess.

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

Valerie Weak: I’m an actor and teaching artist based in San Francisco.  I work in live theater, as well as indie film (like Big Driver), commercials, voiceover, and my bread and butter work is what I call high-stakes role play.  Basically, these are emotionally charged, semi-improvised scenarios designed to let professionals practice their communication skills – I play crime victims for pólice officer training, patients getting difficult news for doctors in training, etc

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

Valerie Weak: I can’t pinpoint a specific moment – I started doing amateur theater as a kid, and it snowballed from there.

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

Valerie Weak: I auditioned and got cast – not a very exciting story…

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

Valerie Weak: I think Stephen King is a really great writer – the suspense in this piece, as she pieces it all together and realices she was set up, it’s really terrific.

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

Valerie Weak: Nope, I auditioned

SKSM: You worked with Ian Wolfley on this film, how was that?

Valerie Weak: Great! This was a super organized project, and a really well put together shoot.  Ian was open to collaboration, and sharing ideas.

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

Valerie Weak: The day we shot with the cat was a funny day – there were some tricky shots, including the one where I throw up the breakfast in the sink, the cat is there, and then I threw the bowl – it was a wide shot and difficult to get the cat to be where he needed to be.  I remember also a very cute dog – he actually belonged to the owners of the property we shot at, and got ‘cast’ in the film while they were location scouting!

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

Valerie Weak: It’s mostly via social media at this point – some folks have moved away from SF, but we check in there.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Valerie Weak: I start rehearsals for a play in a few days – a new play called ‘You Are My Sunshine’ playing the sister of a man who has just been released from prison after 20 years.

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

Valerie Weak: What I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed.  I really like the story Big Driver and some of the other stories in that collection.  The Shining, both book and the film are amazing.

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

Valerie Weak: I think I’m actually pretty even-keeled and not that surprising, unfortunately.

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

Valerie Weak: Don’t know that I’ve got many ‘fans’ out there.  I guess I’d say thank you, and thank you to you Oscar for reaching out to interview me, as well as for maintaining this website and this project.

 

He played in Simon Pearce‘s I Am The Doorway as Arthur.

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

Simon Merrells: Hi I’m Simon Merrells, a London born actor currently living in beautiful Europe!

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

Simon Merrells: I suppose I knew from an early age I wanted to act- our parents had sent my brother Jason and I , who is also and actor, to kids evening classes and Id always been entranced by the way great films and TV could transport you. I felt I knew the difference , and I also fell in love with the magic of theatre as a young audience member. But I suppose it wasn’t until I did my first school play  ,’A Man for all Seasons’, playing Cardinal Wolsey in a flash of inspirational casting by our English teacher/director that I realised I was serious about it – I was 13 and I remember studying footage of Churchill to see how an old statesman would sound, move, carry himself. And as soon as I stepped on stage I was bitten for life, so thanks Mr Downey!

SKSM: How did you become involved in I Am The Doorway Dollar Baby film?

Simon Merrells: I became involved in ‘Doorway’ because Ive worked with Simon Pierce before, on his first horror feature a few years back, and he approached me with the prospect of doing ‘ Doorway’. I had recently finished shooting a series in Prague (and was currently performing a Pinter play) after which I was  free), so I was happy to do something so different. From armour clad warrior to wheelchair bound ex astronaut! How could I refuse…?

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

Simon Merrells: I think Stephen King has such a wide fan base spanning generations- and people interested in horror, science-fiction, suspense, or just bloody well told stories are all drawn to his work and film adaptations of it- and  the familiar theme of alien invasion ,either of our planet or of the body itself still fascinates us. And of course in Doorway the idea of a hateful intelligent parasite growing within you and opening murderous eyes in the hosts flesh doesn’t need too much explanation as to its allure!

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

Simon Merrells: I didn’t exactly audition as I said, but Simon did come and tape me doing a speech or two , which I suspect made its way to the producer for final confirmation, which I guess worked out ok.

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

Simon Merrells: Like I said, I’d worked with Simon before , so I knew we were in safe hands. He’s young, but has an awful lot of experience, growing up around cameras and sets through his DOP father, and doing his own stuff from an early age. He’s knowledgable, calm and very good at running a set without any fuss or stress so it was a pleasure and I can’t wait to see the results!

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

Simon Merrells: Special moments? Well apart from those times when you feel something is really working and you’re in symbiosis with character and the story, I suppose having my hands covered in protective gel then accelerant and thrusting them into a fire to ignite and watching them burn was a new one for me! Our stunt guy Peter Pedero said as soon as it gets uncomfortable give me a signal and we extinguish immediately. And when it did I let him know in no uncertain terms! But I think it should look pretty stunning in the final cut.

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

Simon Merrells: Im still in touch with Simon obviously , as I have been over the years. My co star , Grant Masters like me has been pretty busy since so we haven’t had the chance to hook up, but I hope we’ll see each other at the London Sci-fi festival Premiere in early May, along with the rest of the crew. Looking forward!

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Simon Merrells: At the moment, I have just finished a recurring stint on Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, a marvellous project that should be out in 2019 sometime, and am waiting for the green light on Season 2 of Knightfall, the History/A&E studios show about the last years of the Templar Knights, shooting in Prague .

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

Simon Merrells: As a child I was always a horror fan, and Stephen King featured heavily from early on. I remember Salem’s Lot on the TV with James Mason, devouring The Stand, Christine, and all those wonderful short stories of which ‘ I am the Doorway’ was one! I loved Poe, Lovecraft, M.R. James, Bradbury, Ballard and many more so King was an obvious inclusion.

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

Simon Merrells: A surprising thing about me? Err, if I hadn’t been an actor I would have wanted to be an artist…I went to Mexico travelling for a year when I was 23 or so, and by pure fluke ended up being a Male model for magazines and fashion shows that paid for us to stay longer and travel extensively.

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

Simon Merrells: I hope everyone enjoys ” I am the Doorway‘ when its available, and stay tuned for news of  Knightfall Season 2!

 

 

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

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

Melanie Boyd: I am a lover of theater and animals, have three cats, and am pursing an associates in Veterinary Technology to become a Licensed Veterinary Technician. I received a BA in acting from Christopher Newport University and have been involved in several theatrical productions, my favorite of which was the “Red Velvet Cake Wars” series in which myself and two of my girl friends got into all kinds of crazy predicaments in the shows. Never have I ever had so many costume changes! It was loads of fun!

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

Melanie Boyd: I believe it was in high school where I found my love for it. There was a touring company putting on “Hamlet” at our school and I remember thinking I wanted to be able to make people feel the way that group of actors did when I saw them perform. There’s something really amazing about being able to step into another character’s shoes and experience life from their perspective. And if you are watching a production (film or on stage) you get to escape life for a while and enter that world as a sort of fly on the wall.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The reaper’s image Dollar Baby film?

Melanie Boyd: I had only been in Kentucky for a short while, but was missing being in stage productions and thought I would give film a try. I found the posting through social media and thought, why not?

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

Melanie Boyd: People always seem to have an interest in the supernatural, in things that aren’t tangable and we can only speculate on how they work. In “The Reaper’s Image”, you wonder if the mirror is really cursed or if it’s just some story made up by a curator to generate a bigger sale later.

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

Melanie Boyd: I auditioned, with some others, at a local coffee shop. It was a very informal table reading of some of the scenes for the production.

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

Melanie Boyd: Sammy and Kenny were both very pleasant to work with, and didn’t seem to mind my inexperience with film acting at all. Acting on film is definitely different than acting on a stage. On stage, you don’t get any re-do’s or someone saying, “cut”. If someone messes up or forgets a line, you have to keep going and cover the flub. It really keeps you on your toes.

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

Melanie Boyd: There were some jokes about not getting enough sleep and how my husband must’ve really made me mad when people saw me in the post curse mirror makeup. It was quite zombie-like. Also, the house we were filming in was near a road and train tracks, so every so often we’d have to pause filiming because our scenes didn’t take place in that time period.

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

Melanie Boyd: I am still Facebook Friends with some of the cast and crew. Social media is great for keeping in touch despite distance.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Melanie Boyd: I changed gears and am pursuing my other love, working with animals. I am on track to graduate in May of this year and will be a Licensed Veterinary Technician, though I always have theater and acting in the back of my mind. Perhaps I will be able to do both someday.

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

Melanie Boyd: Surprisingly, no. That is to say, I’m not a fan of anything horror. Scary movies and I don’t get along (hello nightmares), so I don’t even know what many of them are.

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

Melanie Boyd: I really enjoy stage combat, especially rapier, and played one of the Cardinal’s guard in a production of “The Three Musketeers”. Someday I also hope to ride a horse in a film. I always wonder when I see a film if it’s the actor or a stunt double doing the riding.

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

Melanie Boyd: Thank you for being a fan. Having people who take an interest in small independent projects keeps them going. Thank you for supporting the arts.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Melanie Boyd: It’s never too late to change careers or pursue another path that grabbed your interest. And no life experience is ever wasted. Enjoy the detours on the way to your destination. If anyone wants to see some photos from my stage life, check out https://www.facebook.com/actressmelanieboyd/ Thank you!

 

She played in Ian Wolfley‘s Dollar Baby Big Driver as Doreen.

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

Heidi Wolff: I’m an actress currently living in Los Angeles.  I started out mostly doing theater work and later began acting in some film projects.  Film was something I avoided for a long time, since the experience seemed so cold and technical compared with being in front of an audience and running through a play from beginning to end each night.  It was delightful to find that acting in front of a camera can be as satisfying as acting in front of an audience, though the process is so different.

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

Heidi Wolff: I knew I wanted to be an actress as soon as I was aware it was something you could be, though I wasn’t really able to get started until high school when I began auditioning for plays and musicals.  I went to school for acting, but money and other issues forced me to focus my energies elsewhere for a while.

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

Heidi Wolff: I had worked with Ian and Derek on a short film previous to Big Driver and was very excited to work with them again.  Both films I did with them were horror and it’s a genre I find really compelling.

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

Heidi Wolff: The story is suspenseful, but also has a lot of humor.  For me humor in a horror story has a way of tricking you into letting your guard down and making the horror much more upsetting and horrific.  I think the revenge story is made much more relatable by the Tess’s imaginative projections coaching her through the crisis.

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

Heidi Wolff: I don’t think the part was written for me, but I was suggested for Doreen during the casting process as I had worked previously with Ian and Derek on a film where I played a troubled psychic. I read the script and the role was exactly the one I wanted to play, so it was a pretty easy decision for me.

SKSM: You worked with Ian Wolfley on this film, how was that?

Heidi Wolff: I’ve really enjoyed working with Ian on this project.  I thought his script was a very thoughtful and clever adaptation of the story.  As a director, he has a very clear idea of the story, but is very collaborative in the way he works with actors to develop their characters.  He’s always willing to take the time to talk through scenes with an actor and will really take the time to create a scene.

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

Heidi Wolff: There was a scene where my character lets out a scream.  We rehearsed it quite a few times where the actress playing Tess and I would walk into the room and I would scream.  One of the crew upstairs became really worried that someone in one of the nearby houses was in trouble and wanted to call the police.

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

Heidi Wolff: I moved down to Los Angeles fairly recently, so other than the occasional social media contacts, not really.  Both cast and crew were really great to work with, though.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Heidi Wolff: I took a little time off because of the move, but am now ready to begin auditioning again.  I act in both theater and film, so am just hoping for an interesting project.

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

Heidi Wolff: I was a constant reader of Stephen King’s early work and have been an occasional reader of his current work.  When I was in high school, I was the odd person in my class, so Carrie certainly spoke to me pretty directly.

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

Heidi Wolff: I left acting for about ten years to pursue an undergraduate and graduate degree in Creative Writing.  I had a number of stories published and still do some occasional freelance editing work.

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

Heidi Wolff: Keep watching independent films.  It helps new voices to be heard and develop.

 

 

She played in Sean A. Skinner‘s Dollar Baby Rest Area as Jane Dykstra.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: My full name is Emily Diane Fradenburgh and I’ve been acting in film, tv, radio (VO) and theatre for the last 18 years.
I’ve worked behind the camera as well- everything from producing to craft services, casting to wardrobe.
In my “spare” time, and along with my husband, I own and operate a seasonal rustic wedding venue, wood-fired pizzeria and microbrewery in Western, WI.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: I can never remember not wanting to be an actress. I kept it a secret for many years though because I didn’t think it was possible, being from a small town in Minnesota. It wasn’t until I was ready to graduate college with a B.A. in Psychology that I took an “Acting for Everyone” class (I needed 1 more credit in that final semester). It didn’t take long- I finally realized that this is what I wanted to pursue. I stayed in college for two more years, ended up double majoring, earned my B.A. in Theatre Performance, and have been acting ever since. Having both degrees has been invaluable with my character studies.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: I first heard about Rest Area from producer, Edward Linder. He and I have worked together before but it had been years. He reached out to see if I was interested and available…after two words, I was sold: Stephen. King.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: I think we all have moments in life where we see or hear something we don’t agree with and we’re faced with the decision to do something or remain silent. In this story, the lead character has this same struggle and we’re along for the ride. In the original story, the lead character is a male. The fact that the lead is now a female takes it to another level! I’m so thankful the powers that be decided to adapt the script this way.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: I’m sure the role wasn’t written for me, but I did not have to audition for the part either. I actually love the auditioning process, but I’m also thankful that I was chosen early on.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: Working with Sean was great. I had heard of him previously and had seen a couple of his earlier films (which I thoroughly enjoyed), but we had never met in person. From the moment we first communicated online and over the phone, we were on the same page. It’s as though we had known each other for years. This carried over on set too- I felt instantly comfortable with him and very much appreciated the chance to play.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: Our first day of filming was at an actual Rest Area. It was a very ambitious first day. The Rest Area attendant, was an older gentleman named Patrick. He couldn’t have been more sweet and understanding. When we knew we were running over a bit, I walked in and spoke with him. I thanked him for being willing to stay a little longer and we exchanged a hug. He told me that his granddaughter was getting into acting and that he enjoyed watching what we were creating and could tell that we really loved what we were doing. I’ll never forget his patience and kindness.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: I’m thrilled to have reconnected with Ed a handful of other local filmmakers and actors and have made some new contacts. Shortly after we wrapped,
I spent most of the winter in Los Angeles, where Ryan Kiser and Brandon Van Vliet (the two creepiest characters in the film) live. Sean and I have stayed in touch and communicate on a fairly regular basis.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Emily Fradenburgh: Later this year I will be acting in two feature films, Project Eden Vol. II, and Sentinels 95.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: YES!! I’ve been a Stephen King fan for as long as I can remember…and have been terrified just as long. In college I was Carrie for Halloween- to date, one of my best costumes. It’s no wonder so many of his books have been adapted into movies, he is pure genius. Some of my favorites are The Shining, Dolores Claiborne, It, 11/22/63 and Misery.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: I live in a barn.

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

Emily Fradenburgh: Thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit about myself and this project. To those who are reading, I appreciate your time and interest too. Let’s keep celebrating Stephen King and supporting each other’s adaptations of his work!

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Emily Fradenburgh: I think Rest Area should be made into a feature length film.
Also, if anyone is interested in following my upcoming projects, please visit:

imdb.me/emilyfradenburgh

 

He played in Thomas Magnuson’s Dollar Baby The Man Who Loved Flowers as Flower Vendor.

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

Tom Swift: Tom Swift, actor, director, producer, once and future playwright. Have been acting for sixty years, professionally for forty. During those forty years, I have held thirty so-called “real world/day jobs” to support my acting habit; among them, zoo keeper, social worker, legal secretary, small kitchen appliance demo at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, commercial sign maker, university office manager, theater house manager, and substitute teacher. Ya do whatever it takes.

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

Tom Swift: Six years old, backyard production of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, directed by my older brother, Jim. I played the titular beast — no lines, but I attacked that two-by-four sheep we built with a ferocity that chipped one of my teeth.
My mother was the director of the Wesley Players at SMU and cast Jim and me when when she needed kid actors. Sixth grade school play, I was Santa Clause. I was “bitten hard” when young and never recovered. Made the decision to fully commit my life to the professional theatre at twenty-seven.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The man who loved flowers Dollar Baby film?

Tom Swift: Thomas (Magnuson, our director) placed the audition announcement in one or more of the many web and networking sites. Since I had been studying the Sanford Meisner Technique with David Cox and film acting with C. K. McFarland, it seemed that the student-directors’s films could be as much a lab for me as them, so I went for it.

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

Tom Swift: I’ve been thinking about that very question ever since we made the film. In general, it seems that there is type of reader and movie-goer that simply likes to have the crap scared out of them, especially if it involves palpable rising tension, which then explodes with no warning. Add to that — spoiler alert — that the main character, Love, is out of touch with reality, suddenly and brutally murdering a perfectly innocent woman, a proxy for an unseen source of heartbreak, and the effect is dark, bottomless pit dark. That experience is so different from our day-to-day lives that our empathetic imaginations are fully engaged, if not completely fulfilled.
Either that, or people just love violence.

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

Tom Swift: I emailed for an audition slot, got it, did it, thought I was terrible, and even though they were very complimentary, I didn’t hear anything, so I thought that was that and forget about it. Six to eight weeks later, Thomas sends an email casting me as the “Flower Vendor.” Their plans called for the shoot to be on the Courthouse Square in Georgetown, my hometown since I was thirteen years old. As I was moving to Austin after fifty-three years of family association with that wonderful little town, shooting “Flowers” there was the perfect closing curtain.

SKSM: You worked with Thomas Magnuson on this film, how was that?

Tom Swift: He took every problem (they inevitably crop up) in stride, always calm and focused. A less mature director could be expected to get a little panicky, but if Thomas was feeling any of that, he hid it quite professionally. It was a pleasure working with him. [And McCallum High School Cinematic Arts Department Chair, Ken Rogers, Thomas’s supervising teacher/mentor, built the perfect street vendor’s flower cart, complete with huge wooden wheels, giant umbrella and dozens of gorgeous prop flowers!]

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

Tom Swift: While the crew was setting up our first shot, David (Lee Hess, the lead) and I were sitting on a nearby bench, our arms bent at the elbows and resting on the top of the bench back so that we could face each other somewhat, just getting with the small talk and the like, when we were suddenly and simultaneously baptized by the fecal contribution of one of Georgetown’s famous Courthouse Square Green Herons sitting in the shady tree, ten feet directly above us. Utterly disgusted, we looked at each other and then up into the tree (ill-advised, to be sure) and immediately went about solving our wardrobe problems, David to his car for the spare shirt he had brought (a sure sign of an experienced professional), and me to Walmart to buy another t-shirt (a sure sign of a first-time amateur). Since then, when we see each other, David and I always make reference to our initiation into the “Brotherhood of the Shat Upon.”

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

Tom Swift: I keep up with them on FB, and Thomas and I updated each other by e-mail a couple of times, but it’s the nature of the business to busily move to the next project, while keeping the wonderful people you just finished working with in your heart.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Tom Swift: Three short films I appear in have been accepted at several prestigious film festivals, including Austin and Aspen. Very proud of those projects. And of course, the local theatre auditions are an ever-present opportunity.

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

Tom Swift: Yes, in the same way that I love waking up from an awful nightmare to find that I am, after all, perfectly safe.

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

Tom Swift: That zookeeper job I mentioned? I was a nightkeeper, going to work at midnight. My partner and I (still best friends thirty-five years later) had a very clear mission: check every animal as often as possible to be sure everyone was ok. 2,000 animals on 50 acres. Left me free during the daylight and evening hours for auditions, classes, recording sessions, shoots, rehearsals, and theatre performances, etc. It was the perfect job for an actor who loves animals. I learned so much during those five years in Dallas before moving to New York. And how many people have you met who have actually sat upon the back of an adult rhinoceros? Ten or twelve times over those years. I just adored that big girl, and she was ever so gentle with me. I would have been summarily fired if found out, but she — and my partner — kept my secret!

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

Tom Swift: Keep supporting the arts, folks. They’re what make us civilized.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Tom Swift: Sure. What’s the difference between a poorly dressed uni-cyclist and a well-dressed bicyclist? Attire. (Sorry. When you grow up with a name like Tom Swift, all you got is lame jokes. It’s a character flaw. I apologize.)

 

 

He played in Sammy Bates’ The Reaper’s Image as The Reaper.

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

Steve A Guynn: My name is Steve Guynn, I’m an actor, skateboarder, writer, guitarist, and painter.

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

Steve A Guynn: In 2003, I had enough credits to transfer from Lexington Community College to the University of Kentucky. I changed my major to theatre then, and have kept going with it.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The reaper’s image Dollar Baby film?

Steve A Guynn: I know Kenny Bates and Sammy Bates pretty well, we’ve worked on other projects together. I like working with those guys. They asked me if I wanted to play the Grim Reaper in a movie that is an adaptation of a Stephen King short story. I said “Oh Yeah!!”

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

Steve A Guynn: We all have dark thoughts that cross our mind, Stephen King is good at focusing on those type of thoughts and bringing them out into the world. I think people can relate to this story because it is atmospheric, the setting is perfect for getting your imagination going, and that’s what people feel when they read the story, they know something bad is going to happen.

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

Steve A Guynn: Sammy, Kenny, and Kristen are great to work with. They have a good thing going. People want to get involved with their production company because they know they finish what they start, and they’re a good creative team to work with.

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

Steve A Guynn: During the final scene, we wanted to get the shot of my cloak sweeping across the screen just right, and it was dark in the room where we were filming, so I kept sweeping my cloak over the camera guy and some of the crew. It was pretty funny at the time.

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

Steve A Guynn: I keep in touch with Kenny and Kristen pretty regularly. We’re all friends on Facebook, so that’s a good way to keep up with people and see what they’re doing these days.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Steve A Guynn: I’m in a feature length movie titled ‘Black Mamba’, another feature length after that titled ‘Immaculate Possession’, and another feature length after that titled ‘The Occasion’. Those are all going into production this year.

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

Steve A Guynn: Absolutely. I just bought his anthology titled ‘Bazaar of Bad Dreams’. Dude can write.

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

Steve A Guynn: I was into skydiving for years. I like jumping out of airplanes. I quit skydiving in 2007 when I started paying back student loans.

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

Steve A Guynn: Keep on doing what you like to do. There are times in life when you will get too busy to do the things you like to do, it is then that you have to make time. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of stress, or other people’s judgements, you got to keep on rolling.

 

He played in James Douglas‘ Dollar Baby The Doctor’s Case as Sherlock Holmes.

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

J. P. Winslow: Certainly. My name is J. P. Winslow and I was born in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. I live in central British Columbia, Canada.  I am an Actor and Historical Interpreter by trade.  I am also a writer and musician.

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

J. P. Winslow: It feels like I’ve always been an actor. My father was in show business and so it was a natural step for me to follow that path. I learned about acting and movies from my Dad. He was a film projectionist for years (he just retired) and ran his own movie theatre for a time and also worked on independent films.  We had a massive collection of classic films on VHS as early as 1978.  I became a fan of James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Charlie Chaplin, Betty Davis, Marlene Dietrich and many others at a very early age. The heroes in my household were actors and directors.  My parents considered acting a noble profession and they still do. My Father helped me write my first play when I was sixteen.  I began acting at the age of seven doing local stage productions and independent films and even through very difficult times I have always kept at least ‘one foot on the path’ – to quote Eric Clapton.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The doctor’s case Dollar Baby film?

J. P. Winslow: In November of 2016 I was working on a promotional video for Barkerville Historic Town with James Douglas. We were taking a break between shots and James mentioned that he was thinking about submitting an application to the Dollar Babies Initiative with the goal of producing The Doctor’s Case. James asked me if I would be interested in being involved and I asked him in what capacity.  He told me he’d like me to play Sherlock Holmes and my answer was:  F#*k yeah!

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

J. P. Winslow: The Doctor’s Case is appealing in many ways and here are three that I think are important. First of all, it is a story written by Stephen King. Need I say more? People have come to expect great writing from Mr. King and in The Doctor’s Case they find just that. Secondly, the story features Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. In these characters Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created what are essentially real people. In other words, Holmes and Watson exist in our collective consciousness on a global scale.  Even if one has never read a Sherlock Holmes adventure one still is aware of the character and his almost super hero qualities.  Finally, The Doctor’s Case combines iconic characters created by Conan Doyle with a plot created Stephen King.  In the story one finds the meeting of minds of two of the most successful popular writers in Western literary history, albeit from different centuries and different countries.

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

J. P. Winslow: This is a yes and no answer. There was no formal audition for me. That being said when I look back I feel that the shoot for the Barkerville promo became a bit of an audition although neither James Douglas nor myself was fully aware of it at the time.

SKSM: You worked with James Douglas on this film, how was that?

J. P. Winslow: Working with James was and is, in a word, easy. Of course we have a long history of working together. I remember doing improve with James back in ’01 or ’02. We have worked together as Historical Interpreters in Barkerville and at the now defunct historical attraction Storyeum in Vancouver.  James is also my supervisor at Barkerville. One of the best parts of working with James on The Doctor’s Case was that we are both fans of Sherlock Holmes.  We have both read all the stories numerous times and we both really enjoy the Granada series which was made in the ’80’s.  Our shared experience as Historical Interpreters also gave us access to a shared process of character interpretation and development. So we had a great deal of common ground as we approached working on the film.

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

J. P. Winslow: There were many funny moments both on set and off. It is difficult to share the humour because without context readers of this interview will be hearing ‘in jokes’. What I can say is that for me I knew I was doing something very special when I was working with the cast and crew of The Doctor’s Case.  I think we all felt it.  I believe we all knew that this particular film project was a once in a lifetime experience and that many of us would be changed forever.  I felt that I was in the right place doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.  I felt sixteen.

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

J. P. Winslow: Yes, I have a great deal of contact with many of the cast and crew. I see Andrew Hamilton, Stu Cawood, Shawna Berry, Michelle Lieffretz, and Danette Boucher on a regular basis as we all live in the same small town. I see Norm Coyne from time to time as well as Jenn Lewis.  I plan on a visit with Michael Colman when I am in Vancouver in April.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

J. P. Winslow: I am working with James on a new one-man stage show that I have written. The working title is Vampire Load and the plan is too premier the show this summer at the Sunset Theatre in Wells, British Columbia. I am also preparing for my seventeenth season at Barkerville Historic Town where I will do about five hundred performances and presentations during the summer. I plan to go to Victoria, British Columbia in October to re-mount another of my one-man shows entitled Gold Guns & Greed in which I play the mythical Agnus McVee: British Columbia’s Gold Rush serial killer.  I also hope to attend the world premiere of The Doctor’s Case at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival in Dubuque, Iowa this April.

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

J. P. Winslow: I read rather widely and have had the pleasure of enjoying a number of Stephen King’s works. I have two favorites and those are The Shining and Misery. I love The Shining because it is a brilliant look at the horror of alcohol addiction.  Misery is also appealing to me because it deals with mental illness and obsession and is a horror story that could easily be real.

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

J. P. Winslow: One thing that people may surprise people about me is that I am a fan of some pretty extreme death metal and I have a particular penchant for some of the music coming out of Sweden. I love Opeth, Bloodbath, Shining, Ghost, Ishan and other bands. In fact, I just attended a Watain concert in Vancouver last week.   I believe that Stephen King also enjoys heavy metal so he and I have something other than The Doctor’s Case in common.

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

J. P. Winslow: It has been a pleasure to answer your questions and I thank you and all the fans who will read this article for having an interest in The Doctor’s Case and for having an interest in what I have to say.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

J. P. Winslow: I would add that every aspect of The Doctor’s Case has been pure joy for me. Cheers.

 

 

He is the man behind The Things They Left Behind Dollar Baby Film.

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

Loyd Elmore: My name is Loyd Elmore Jr and I am one of the horde that is striving to be more than I am. I’m married to my wife, Mindy, and I have one daughter, Alison, and one step-son, Joesph. I’m pursuing my life long goal of being a professional writer.

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

Loyd Elmore: I thought being a filmmaker would lead me to life of writing. In a way, it did. It made me realize that filmaking wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do. But being a huge fan of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Charlie Chaplin, I decided directing is a lot like writing. Instead of typing it all on paper or on a computer screen, you’re putting it in the real world and in turn, putting it on camera.

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

Loyd Elmore: My friends and I made our versión in the Summer of 2010. This being my very first time of making a film, I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I have to laugh at it no w on how much I didn’t know. If it was any good at all, I have to thank the people (my friends) that took the time out to give me a hand, namely, Tim Avers, Melissa Zimmerman, Robert Gilmer (and his wife), my wife, Mindy, and Lisa McGuire.
Being new to filming, the production didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to. If you think it’ll take a day to do, you should forget that kind of thinking and TRIPLE everything. It turned out to take more than a month. And it didn’t help on the very first shot of the film (the café scene), it started to rain and didn’t stop. It completely ruined the audio. That rain went on to become the ‘Nashville Flood’ that flooded the whole área. A friend working on the film forgot a key prop in his car that we parked outside of where we shot the café scene. He got a ride back and on his way back to where he were, he ran into very deep wáter and completely totaled out his car. It was a bad day all around.
As for the cost, I believe I spent about $200 total. I called in favors, LOTS of favors.

SKSM: How come you picked The things they left behind to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Loyd Elmore: Well, the story really spoke to me. And more importantly, I thought it would be easy to shoot. Except for a few particular props, everything else was something I could get my hands on.

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?

Loyd Elmore: I had read an article on the internet. I can’t remember what it was from. I couldn’t believe it. I did a Little more research and found out it was completely true. So, I worked up an e-mail to send to him and off it went. It was about two weeks later when I got work from his assistant that after I sent the $1, I was free to shoot my film.

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

Loyd Elmore: Other than the flood (not really funny), it was good to see it all come together. It wasn’t perfect in any means but I could see that I sort of knew what I was doing. I didn’t want to admit it at the time but I thought if I was able to spend more, it might have been a lot better.
And, of course, the scene where we destroyed a set of the main props was a lot of fun. Using the hammer on the earth paperweight and causing it to explode all over the place was something I won’t ever forget. I had to mute the audio because it was a one-shot deal and we burst out laughing.

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?

Loyd Elmore: I’m OK with it being limited to view. I wish I had the time and money to go back and remake it, maybe I would want more people to see THAT one. But I have watched a few other Dollar Babies and some of those really need to be seen. Some are amazing. So, yes, I think there should be a website you could go to and watch all of them, the good and the bad (that includes mine).

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

Loyd Elmore: I have to say, mine was shown at a film festival and there was another versión of The Things They Left Behind being viewed at the same time. I spent less than a paycheck and they spent about $40,000. And it didn’t make it any better. There was good and bad points to both but even though mine wasn’t considered great, it wasn’t bad. The talent was there, it just didn’t hold up on the technical side. It honestly made me feel pretty good. It’s taken me eight years to say that.

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

Loyd Elmore: I’ve shown it once in Spain and once in the Netherlands. I think it’s seen enough of the light of day. Maybe if writing pays off and I can put some money in the bank, I can try it again.

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

Loyd Elmore: He has been a huge inspiration to me since I saw Christine for the first time. It was new to VHS (it’s been a while) and after I watched it, I got pulled into the Stephen King world. I bought the book, read that, and then went back and read everything I had missed. I haven’t missed one since.
As for favorites, The Talisman is my personal favorite book of his (and Peter Straub’s) and Bag of Bones, Eyes of the Dragon, and Duma Key really speak to me. But honestly, it would be much easier to tell you the ones I don’t care for and that would be countable on part of one hand. What are they? I’m not going to say.

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)?

Loyd Elmore: No, I had no contact with him. If he has seen it, he was nice and didn’t tell me what he thought.

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?

Loyd Elmore: As of now, I have no plans to make any more. But if I could pick any other Dollar Baby and I had the money to do it right, I would pick The Doctor’s Case. It’s his only story about Sherlock Holmes (well, honestly, it’s more about Watson) and to be able to work with those charators would be a dream come true.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Loyd Elmore: I have become more of a writer. I work on a blog about inspiration and dealing with depression called ambientthoughtblog.com. I also throw in some original short stories from time to time. And, yes, they tend to have that Stephen King flair.
But making films haven’t been kicked out of my brain totally. The idea of making another short film (I’ve done a few since making the Dollar Baby) is still hanging out. Maybe…one day…

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

Loyd Elmore: Honestly, those that know me probably wouldn’t be surprised about ANYTHING about me. Those that don’t know me might not even care.
How about this? I like brussel sprouts.

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

Loyd Elmore: Read my blog ambientthoughtblog.com and tell me what you think.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Loyd Elmore: One last thing. I believe we are here on this earth for a limited amount of time. If there is something you want to do (especially something creative), take my advice…GO DO IT!!! Don’t listen to those voices that say you can’t, outside voice or the horrible inside voices. Go make your thing. If you fail, it’s better to live with ‘I tried’ than living with ‘What if.’ But you might succeed. That’s worth everything. The hope of success.
Go make your thing.

 

He played in Sammy Bates’ The Reaper’s Image as Samuel Claggert.

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

Sonny Burnette: My name is Sonny Burnette, and I am a profesor of music at Georgetown College in Georgetown, KY, USA, appointed in 1990. I have taught courses in Music Theory, Music Appreciation/World Music, History of Rock Music, Liberal Arts Piano, Woodwinds, and Film Music. I grew up in Orlando, Florida. After college I went on the road for a year with a group called Common Ground. We performed high-energy shows in 40 states and Canada. We also worked with a lot of famous entertainers. Later, I was a performer and arranger/composer for a national religious broadcaster for nine years before coming to Georgetown College.

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

Sonny Burnette: The urge didn’t seriously hit me until our Theatre Department shot a feature film, Surviving Guthrie, 10 years ago. I had a small role as a campus security guard busting up a fraternity party. It was done very well with a professional production crew, so there was lots of energy on set. The excitement was overwhelming.  I was hooked!  Prior to that, a friend in high school shot a short comedy of me robbing a bank in Orlando, but that was simply some fun… 35 years ago. LOL. I never considered acting at that point in my life.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The reaper’s image Dollar Baby film?

Sonny Burnette: I had been involved with the Bates Brothers, Sammy and Kenny, of Rotting Corpse Productions on an earlier commercial shoot for a Scarefest TV spot. They were very organized and efficient, and were fun to work with, so I was thrilled when they asked me to have a role in The Reaper’s Image. I knew it was going to be a quality piece.

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

Sonny Burnette: I think most people love a good mystery. Until the story unfolds, one doesn’t quite know the dark magic of the mirror. And let’s face it, an antique mirror in the proper setting can be a rather formidable portal into the dark side.  I think people want to know what sort of ill the mirror is going to bring.

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

Sonny Burnette: Honestly, I don’t remember.  LOL. I just checked IMDb, which gives the date 2013 for The Reaper’s Image, so it was shot about five years ago. I do remember meeting Sammy and Kenny in their home and getting a feel for a character, but it may have been for the Scarefest commercial?

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

Sonny Burnette: As mentioned earlier, it was a pleasure to work with both Sammy and Kenny. The shots were well planned. The location was secured and perfect. And I just now remember working with Sammy and Kenny on another film, too, DisKillery. Rotting Corpse has its act together, which makes acting a much more rewarding experience than when a director doesn’t have things well planned. Sammy is a great director, making the actors feel at ease during the shoot. And he keeps things moving, so time is not wasted.

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

Sonny Burnette: A lot of times what makes a movie so enjoyable is what happens behind the scenes. I had a great time working with David Haney, Matt Mooningham and actress Rae Hunt. The darker the lines, the more fun we had joking around between shots.  LOL

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

Sonny Burnette: Sure. Thanks to Facebook, it’s easy to stay in touch with many friends in the acting world. In fact, I stay in touch with the three actors mentioned above somewhat regularly. And I’ve work with all of them on other projects. And I do stay in touch with the Bates Brothers, too.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Sonny Burnette: I recently was a doctor in a Humana pharmacy commercial.  Last week I had a role in a heavy metal music video.  I’ve got two movie roles coming up later this year. One is for a Chase Dudley movie called Between the Living and the Dead.  In the other, a Scott Wegener film called The Riddle of the Spider’s Web, I’ll be a modern-day pirate. I’m very much looking forward to both roles.

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

Sonny Burnette: I do love a good mystery, but, oddly enough, I’m not a huge fan of horror or scary movies if you can believe it.  LOL. I certainly do respect King’s body of work, however.

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

Sonny Burnette: Maybe a couple things… When I graduated from high school I took up sky diving for a year or two. And as a musician (woodwinds) I’ve performed for a large number of well-known entertainers: The Temptations, The Four Tops, Lou Rawls, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Ed McMahon, Jerry Lewis, Michel Legrand, and many more

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

Sonny Burnette: Sure! Thanks so much for taking a few moments out of your busy day to read my interview. It certainly is appreciated considering all the other things you could be doing. Blessings on ya!  J  And I wish you well if you are an aspiring actor.  It’s not all glamour—lots of work and sometimes disappointments—but if you keep at it, things will eventually fall into place.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Sonny Burnette: I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved in quite a number of projects since getting into movie acting.  I hope to do this well into retirement, God willing. While my personal web page is down, thanks to a software change, you can still check out some of the projects with which I’ve been involved on IMDb.  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3009275/

 

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