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Interviews

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He is the filmmaker of Stationary Bike. Richard Enya story Dollar Baby film.

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

Robert McSweeney: My name is Robert McSweeney, and I am an independent filmmaker.

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

Robert McSweeney: When I was a Little kid and MTV came out I seen a AC/DC video and knew that  I wanted to be the guy behind the camera. Well life happened and that dream got puto n hold. Finally at the age of 48 I decided I was going to chase that dream. I enrolled in Full Sail University in the Digital Cinematography program. I had to make a couple school narrative projects and I got the movie making bug.

SKSM: Could you tell our readers the status of Stationary Bike or some updates?

Robert McSweeney: We are almost finished with filming. It will be in post-production August 2022.

SKSM: Who will be involved in this project?

Robert McSweeney: I am staring in this film. I play Richard Enya a pod caster who needs to lose some weight. I am the Director, Set Decorator, Casting, Cinematography, Producer.
Eric Celentano is our Director of Photography and Lead Gaff.
Jordan Hood plays ScarKro a blood thirsty scarecrow.
Jordan Engle plays Bastion the killer clown.
Juanita Merriman plays worker.
Kazket Bound is our composer/score guy.

SKSM: Why did you pick “Stationary Bike” to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Robert McSweeney: I choose Stationary Bike because until I learned of the Dollar Baby program I never heard of it.
A lot of the plot takes place in the leads head so it left a lot of room for visuals. Finally I just felt it ya know. As I was listening to the audio book I was envisioning the story and how I wanted to tell.

SKSM: Due to Stephen King uses a lot of internalization in this story. What are the biggest challenges you might have when shooting?

Robert McSweeney: One big challenge I have had is keeping the cast. I have had to recast and rewrite this project three times. I have a solid crew and an amazing unheard-of cast. If you like good old fashion B flicks you will love this.

SKSM: Where would you like the premiere of Stationary Bike film to be?

Robert McSweeney: If I could rub a magic lamp and have it anywhere I would pick the 48 Lounge in New York City

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

Robert McSweeney: I am a huge Stephen King fan. My favorite adaptations are 3) Carrie 2) Pet Cemetary 1) Christine

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

Robert McSweeney: I found the Dollar Baby program completely on accident. I was searching for grants for filmmakers in Washington State.

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

Robert McSweeney: I am BBQ pit master, and when I was 18 I was a cook in a 5 star restaurant.

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

Robert McSweeney: I would say if they want to learn the basics go to Full Sail University’s Digital Cinematography online program. That, and that there’s nothing to it but to do it. Don’t let budgets stop you from making content.  The funding will come later.

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

Robert McSweeney: Thank you for taking the time to read this. I had a lot of fun and hope to do it again

 

 

 

He is the filmmaker of Garrish Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

A.J. Gribble: Hello, I’m A.J. Gribble and I’m the director of Garrish! Started making films when I was about 14 with an iPod and haven’t stopped since.

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

A.J. Gribble: We made Garrish back in May-June 2019. Honestly, filming only took a few days. It was about a few months after we premiered Cain Rose Up that we started writing and filming. It didn’t cost anything to make it haha! It was filmed on my iPhone 7 with a stabilizer and a few attachable lenses. We just used whatever we could that wouldn’t cost any money and I kinda just pointed and shot then on to the next scene.

SKSM: Garrish is the Cain Rose Up prequel. Why did you film the prequel later?

A.J. Gribble: We didn’t think of making a prequel. We made Cain Rose Up first. After it premiered, I thought about filming an extra scene to add in as a flashback. And the more I talked about it with the lead Natasha Bogutzki, she started thinking of more ideas and that eventually turned into a whole script for a prequel film. So after we wrote it after only like 3 days we just went out and filmed! It just sort of… happened haha!!

SKSM: How the casting process went?

A.J. Gribble: The casting was really easy. It was just a mix of actors that Natasha knew from the plays that she’s done and people I knew and it was really easy.

SKSM: How did you get the permission to film in a real college?

A.J. Gribble: I’m apart of the radio station at King’s College. The station manager Sue Henry, helped me get permission to film and King’s was really supportive of the movie being filmed there.

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

A.J. Gribble: Oh man… Lights always going out during a scene. Too many cars passing by in the background and ruining a take. Filming after a huge storm in a cemetery is not fun! Also just me tripping with the camera in my hand… I never claimed to be the best filmmaker out there!

One thing I would love to tell is about a member of the cast, Joe Blizman. We filmed with him for the dinner scene for only a few hours. It was his first time acting, he’s always wanted to do it and he was so excited and nervous. He was so proud after it was over and even made a blog post about it and was… just so excited. And then a few days after we filmed with him, he died. It was just so sudden and heartbreaking. He’ll live forever through this movie and he’ll always be remembered.

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

A.J. Gribble: There’s been a lot of good reviews for this film. It premiered at the Stephen King Rules film festival last year and that was a lot of fun! A lot of talented filmmakers and people at that festival. When Garrish premiered on the second day, a lot of people in the chat seemed to really liked it and get into it! So I was really happy to see that. A lot of people praising my directing, writing, Natasha’s acting and and then rest of the cast. The score of the film by OneManStanding. Just… everything that I worked hard on, they praised and I’m forever grateful.

Of course, there was a good amount of not so good reviews out there. And because I don’t have that much confidence in myself, I need to look at the bad criticisms to humble myself and see what I can do to improve.

SKSM: What’s the next to A.J. Gribble?

A.J. Gribble: What’s next for me?…. That’s the big question, isn’t it? Haha! Finishing up a script at the moment and hoping to start filming this summer! It’s very different to what I’ve done already so I’m excited.

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

A.J. Gribble: Thank you for having me back! This was fun. To the fans… keep on supporting indie filmmaking! It’s such a big and great community and everyone appreciates it when you take the time to watch their movies and talk with them about it. It means a lot, especially to me. Keep on rocking!

 

She is the filmmaker of The Woman In The Room Dollar Baby film.

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

Tyger Sharee: Hello! My name is Tyger Sharee’ and I am a female filmmaker from Flint, Michigan. When I’m not being a filmmaker, you can find me in my apartment listening to Rock and Roll, painting or having my nose in a book.

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

Tyger Sharee: When I was very young I always wanted to be an Actor. That was always my first passion. After I finished school in 2015 I started getting acting jobs regularly and soon after I began writing for fun. As for Directing, I really wanted to just try it out and see where it would take me.

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

Tyger Sharee: We made TWITR last April. I couldn’t have asked for a better team. Everyone did a fantastic job and we knocked it out in two days.

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

Tyger Sharee: I’m a big believer in Fate and I believe 100% that Fate had some sort of play into how this worked out. I randomly chose TWITR based on the title alone. Out of all the options this one stood out to me. I knew nothing about it or that it was the first Dollar Baby made; I just really liked the title. After I was given the go to move forward I read the story and couldn’t believe what it was about. At the time I was working as a CNA at an Assisted Living Center. Daily I saw how families reacted to such news as Johnny did with his Mother and some of the burdens they went through dealing with a loved one that is sick.

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?

Tyger Sharee: I found out about Stephen King’s Dollar Baby’s back when I was in school. At the time I wasn’t into Writing or Directing. Flash forward 6 years and one bored night on the internet I looked it up and saw that this was still going on and applied for the story and heard back a few days later.

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

Tyger Sharee: A memorable moment that happened on set was a car somehow caught on fire outside of the building we were filming in. Luckily no one was in the car but that thing was crispy by the time the fire trucks got there. It was good entertainment while we took a lunch break.

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?

Tyger Sharee: I feel like this will change in the future. A lot of people still don’t know about the Dollar Baby deal which is surprising given who started it. Hopefully there are more festivals and participants in the future. Releasing everyone’s movies on DVD’s would be a great idea too!

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

Tyger Sharee: I am fortunate to have all positive reviews so far. Everyone did an amazing job and it definitely shows in the movie.

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

Tyger Sharee: I just recently submitted to a bunch of festivals all over the world. I would love to have my film shown over in Europe!

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

Tyger Sharee: I’m a very big Stephen King fan. Fun fact, we share the same birthday!
Some of my favorites are The Shining (made for TV series), Pet Sematary and The Shawshank Redemption.

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)?

Tyger Sharee: I haven’t had any contact with Stephen King. If I did, everyone and their mothers would know about it. Haha

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?

Tyger Sharee: As of right now I do not have any plans to make another Dollar Baby, but the one story I would love to adapt would be “The Man Who Loved Flowers”. I love that story so much. When I read it I could totally see it being played out and it being turned into an awesome short.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Tyger Sharee: Right now I’m writing my own stuff and will be adapting another film this summer from an original story I wrote.

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

Tyger Sharee: The one thing people are surprised to know is that Tyger is my actual name and not a stage name.

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

Tyger Sharee: Thanks for accompanying me on this interview and be sure to follow me and my future projects on my Instagram @tygersharee

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Tyger Sharee: If you are an up and coming filmmaker or a seasoned filmmaker look into doing a Dollar Baby. It’s fun and it’s also not bad to have on a resume.

 

He is the filmmaker of Here There Be Tigers Dollar Baby film.

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

Aaron Botwick: Hi! Joshua Meadow and I are students at Oberlin College in Ohio. I study English and Film, Josh studies film and Comparative Literature.

SKSM: When did you make Here there be tygers?

Aaron Botwick: We had just completed our previous film, The Last Ache, which is a noir modernization of the Edgar Allan Poe story, The Tell-Tale Heart. We were looking for another story to adapt and I remembered reading years ago about the Dollar Babies project.

SKSM: Why did you choose this particular story to adapt? Did you have any other in mind?

Aaron Botwick: Here There Be Tygers was actually our second choice. The first was The Moving Finger, but it was not available for adaptation.

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

Aaron Botwick: I read some of his novels years ago, and I enjoyed them, but I wouldn’t tag me the title of “fan”

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Aaron Botwick: We are working on the script for a horror movie about abortion.

SKSM: Can you tell me a little about the production? How long did it take to film it? How many people were involved? Any bloopers that has happened?

Aaron Botwick: Filming was very short and quite accelerated. Our cinematographer, Jason Outenreath, had to travel out of the country in the spring and we wanted him to be involved in the project, so the shoot took over a weekend.

As for the bloopers, this was definitely the most disastrous production I’ve ever been in. On the first day, we burned out an electrical phase in the school’s science room, so we had to shoot the hall scene afterwards. The next day, Jason plugged a light into a faulty outlet and he almost got hurt by a fireball. Later, when the actor who played Kevin did not appear, we found out that he was about to be expelled from school and that he had to go to his house to talk to his parents. In the end he showed up three hours later.

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

Aaron Botwick: The film has just been completed and, for now, it has not been selected for any festival.

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?

Aaron Botwick: We have no plans to adapt another King story at the moment. But the last word is never said.

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

Aaron Botwick: Thanks to you! Greetings to all readers!

THIS INTERVIEW WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SPANISH IN MAY 2010 ON INSOMNIA DIGITAL MAGAZINE

He played in Rob Darren‘s Dollar Baby Mute as Father Callahan.

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

Ross Alzina: I am a person that loves life and the experiences that life offer. I relish the fact that I had the opportunity to pick and choose my own path in life.

As far as jobs, I’ve had many different kinds. I would choose with the philosophy of,… that job looks interesting, I’d like to do that.

I’m retired now, but there is nothing in life that I can look back on and say… I wish I would have tried that.

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

Ross Alzina: I never wanted to become an actor. I wanted to be a stuntman. Of course looking back there is a little acting required in that, but I didn’t think about that.

I had just finished doing a live Wild West stunt show in Las Vegas when a fellow came up to me and said,… hey, would you like to be in a movie. I thought about it a minute and said,… sure, why not. So I got a non speaking extra part… but while on the set I studied the actors an I was impressed by their talent and I thought,… that job looks interesting, I’d like to do that.

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

Ross Alzina: My good friend Rob Darren introduced me to the project.

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

Ross Alzina: I think people relate to it because any part of the story can happen in real life… maybe to you, someone you know, a story in the news, etc

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

Ross Alzina: Neither, Rob asked me if I liked any of the parts, and I said I’d like to play the priest if it’s ok with you. The script was already written but I asked Rob if I could make some changes if I thought it needed it. He said alright.

SKSM: You worked with Rob Darren on this film, how was that?

Ross Alzina: Working with Rob as a director is a dream come true for an actor. First he is a wonderful human being with an endearing personality… no alpha here. Second, he has a vision and he knows what direction he wants the project to go. Third, he lets you know what he wants in a character, but is very open to suggestions because in his mind the commitment to excellence of the project is the utmost importance.

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

Ross Alzina: We were in the parking lot of a Catholic Church waiting to film, I was dressed as the priest and as the congregation exited the church, they thought I was a real priest and treated me as such.

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

Ross Alzina: I’m probably the worst at keeping in touch with people, but I still communicate with Rob from time to time.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Ross Alzina: I’m in Mexico working on my tan.

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

Ross Alzina: I do like Steven King’s work. Mostly I love the plot twists and the fact that the characters behavior can change just when you thought you had them figured out.

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

Ross Alzina: In spite of me being a terrible person for keeping in touch,… know that everyone I’ve worked with in the industry holds a special memory for me and will always be remembered in my heart.

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

Ross Alzina: I sincerely hoped that you enjoyed Mute. We as cast and crew gave our very best to make sure the quality of our work was something special and that you the audience would be able to enjoy it to the fullest.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Ross Alzina: I would like to add one thing… I researched the accent for my character ( Father Callahan the Priest). I went on YouTube and found that an “A” list vocal and dialect coach had tutored Leanardo DiCaprio in “Gangs of New York” his rating of 1.4 out of 5 was one of the worst ever for an Irish accent. I looked at two more websites of vocal coaches and read their reviews… both scored very low for their interpretation of the Irish accent.

So I thought if “A” list vocal coaches and profesional language coaches got these kinds of reviews… I was in a no win situation.

So I decided to give my character his own dialogue and accent, one that I thought fit him, not copying Barry Fitzgerald or any particular Irish providence or dialect… I just improvised.

Of course I got some negative comments on the final product. One I particularly liked was… “that was the worst Irish accent I’ve ever heard”.

Since the film never said where the priest was from, and from the thousands of accents and dialects in the world, this critic offered up his own opinion that the priests accent was Irish… my goodness, I’m happy, that’s all I could ask for,… a win in a no win situation.

He is the filmmaker of I Am The Doorway Dollar Baby film.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: I am a 2020 graduate of Towson University in Maryland. Though my major was in acting, I have long held a filmmaking passion. My formative years were largely spent behind a camera, directing my friends with scripts I typically wrote in an evening. I Am the Doorway was different, however; this was a movie I had spent much time in brainstorming and writing.

Apart from my acting/filmmaking gigs, I work at a marina as a dockhand. In my spare time, I enjoy collecting books, most recently tales of polar exploration. I also frequent the outdoors, camping and hiking and the like.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: When I got a camera for my birthday in fourth grade. I immediately began making movies, and quickly developed a love for it. Though I don’t know if filmmaker fully describes what I aspire to be: I am a storyteller. I not only make movies, but write and act as well, be it for the camera or theatre.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: I Am the Doorway came about due to a month-long winter break from college in which I had nothing else to do with my time. It was January of 2017. For years I had had a desire to adapt this particular story, even before I knew of the Dollar Baby program. I grew up on sci-fi and horror movies, with a particular fondness for space travel gone wrong plots, and King’s tale was the perfect blend. So I wrote the script, got my usual filmmaking friends to partake, and used the resources available to me. I already had the camera, so really I only had to worry about the sets and makeup. Being a theatre kid, I thankfully had no shortage of friends talented enough to pull off the eye-hand effects.

Most of the scenes could be shot around my house and neighborhood (I thankfully live on the water, so scenes taking place along the cape in Florida were not difficult to pull off). What presented a problem was the space mission segment. Mission control ended up being the computer lab of my high school, and the spacecraft interior was a trailer decked out in reflective blankets with various appliances adorning the walls.

Arthur’s wheelchair was loaned by a friend’s father, who happened to be a pastor. He let me borrow his church’s wheelchair for the duration of the production. I failed to mention it was for a horror film.

All in all, the production was guerrilla in style. As soon as one scene was shot, we moved to another part of the house to film the next. Then we were down the street at the local beach, or rounding up students at the high school to be extras. It was quite the whirlwind. But after twelve days, the production wrapped, with the only expense being the spacesuits that we wore (white painters’ suits with stickers and patches applied to be reminiscent of Apollo-era flight suits).

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

Samuel Pomerantz: Growing up, I took a particular interest in the history of America’s space program. The Apollo missions to the moon were very important to me. Since most of the fictional media I absorbed was in the horror genre, this story seemed the perfect one for me to adapt. Once I learned it was up for grabs on the Dollar Baby site, I jumped at the chance. I especially liked that it was based loosely off of NASA’s own plans to send a manned flight to flyby Venus in the mid-70’s, which in turn influenced the flight segment of my movie.

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?

Samuel Pomerantz: I believe I learned of the program from a book about Stephen King. I had been a long time fan of his, and upon learning there was a legitimate means for me to adapt my favorite story of his, and for only a dollar, I knew I had to attempt it.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: The final day of filming, we were scheduled to film the space capsule slamming into the ocean; this was to be accomplished by dropping a model off of a floating scaffold at my father’s place of work, a marina. He called me right before I was going to leave the house to inform me that, of all days, his contract was being ended and it would be his last day at the marina. My heart sank, and I offered to forgo the shoot and to work out something different for the scene. My father’s response: “Hell no! I’m gonna spend my last day here having fun!” So I showed up and we went about the property getting the shots needed and it was such a fun process, since I typically don’t get the chance to involve my parents in my movies. It was a great experience, and I know my dad appreciated it as a way of not having to deal with the negativity of the morning’s events.

A further happy note: the folks that terminated his contract ended up being ousted, and he was brought back and has been running the facility since.

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?

Samuel Pomerantz: I must admit, it is a bit of a bummer. I would love the opportunity, not only to showcase my movie to others, but to see what projects various directors have concocted. There’s no shortage of ideas out there to adapt King’s works, and I’d love to see the various takes artists have had over the years.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: Not too many reviews I’m afraid, as it had a restricted release (I imagine most Dollar Babies do), but I fondly remember first screening the rough cut of the movie in the front seat of my buddy’s car. They reacted enthusiastically to what we had pulled off, and the product got even better once music was added later on.

Others have commented on the convincing zero-gravity effect present in the space scenes, accomplished by an old Hollywood trick. Ron Howard, when making Apollo 13, filmed various scenes with the astronaut actors framed from the waist up, maneuvering in a somewhat ridiculous manner that, when on camera, looks like they’re coasting in space. So it was nice to hear from the audience that the effect truly worked.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: Albeit an admittedly amateur production, I would definitely be open to screening the final product at a festival should the opportunity arise. My friends and I had such fun making it, and that enthusiasm is prevalent throughout the picture.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: Absolutely I am! Of his short stories, this remains my favorite, but as for full length novels, Misery reigns supreme for me. I also greatly appreciate his nonfiction piece, Danse Macabre.

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)?

Samuel Pomerantz: Unfortunately not. I hope he has seen it, and if so, enjoyed it! Would love to know his thoughts on the finished product.

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?

Samuel Pomerantz: I frequently check to see what stories are up for grabs, to see if any appeal to me. I would especially be interested in adapting Strawberry Spring; during my time at Towson, I frequently had to walk home on foggy nights across campus, and as a result, allowed my mind to wander and dwell upon how I would pull off an adaptation using my alma mater’s campus.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Samuel Pomerantz: A few stories of my own, including a full length novel. It’s a supernatural thriller, naturally.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: I originally detested horror! When I was little, I allowed the hype to terrify me, and swore up and down I’d never like scary movies. Then I was forced to watch one at a sleepover in fifth grade. That was the catalyst that led me to an unending rabbit hole of horror media.

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

Samuel Pomerantz: For those of you that have made your own adaptation, I commend you! It is an arduous task, no matter how much assistance you may receive, and that feeling upon completion is like no other. For those of you weighing whether or not to attempt your own: do it! You won’t regret it in the least.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Samuel Pomerantz: Thank you for reaching out to learn the story of this little film! It woke stirring memories, ones that fill me with fondness. I hope to connect more with fellow Dollar Baby directors, to learn their passions, and the stories of their films.

 

She played in  Jenny Januszewski‘s The Boogeyman Dollar Baby film as Lester’s Mother.

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

Christine Mascott: I am a professional actor and performer. My resume includes work in Film, Television and theater as well as professional voice work. Currently, I’m narrating a lot of audiobooks too.

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

Christine Mascott: I remember when I was in third grade I wrote a play and wanted to stage it. And my family has stories about my going around singing classic rock as a baby, but I really got bit with a love of theater when I was in high school. I had a very interesting theater director then, who staged things like Sophocles and Brecht, instead of the usual musicals. At the same time I was competing on the speech team and working with a coach on Dramatic Interpretation, which was presenting excerpts from plays, and we always chose challenging pieces. So, the love of acting was definitely born then, working on such heavy classics. My first professional acting jobs were doing classical theater tours.

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

Christine Mascott: Years ago, Jenny Januszewski, the director and I became friends working on a national tour of a musical. I was actually in management on that production and she was a singer. We have stayed friends. When she was making this film, she knew I did voice work and had a studio, so she asked me to play Lester’s Mother.

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

Christine Mascott: Probably the fact that we all have times we can hear our mothers’ voice in our heads. It’s universal.

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

Christine Mascott: I didn’t have to audition. Jenny just asked.

SKSM: You worked with Jenny Januszewski on this film, how was that?

Christine Mascott: Great. We collaborated long distance. I recorded the voice in my studio and sent her the files for critique and then recorded the revisions.

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

Christine Mascott: None I recall. I wasn’t involved in the live production. My role is a voice role and was recorded independently.

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

Christine Mascott: Jenny

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Christine Mascott: I have recorded over 20 audiobooks in the last year and have also been doing commercial voice work. Next month I will be filming a role in a short film playing a caregiver for a woman with dementia.

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

Christine Mascott: Yes. My favorite is ‘The Stand’. I have another professional tie to his work as well. I had a small dayplayer role in the second season of the Hulu show ‘Castle Rock’ based on his universe.

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

Christine Mascott: I’m also a rock singer.

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

Christine Mascott: “Be true. Be brave. Stand. All the rest is Darkness.” –SK

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Christine Mascott: Thank you so much for interviewing me!
www.christinemascott.com

He played in  Jenny Januszewski‘s The Boogeyman Dollar Baby film as Lester Billings.

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

Sam Brilhart: I’m a comedian and an actor who’s been performing since I was a teenager. I’ve been lucky enough to improvise in Chicago, be a standup comedian in Los Angeles, and even act in Moscow.

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

Sam Brilhart: In high school, I was being recruited to play college football. I learned that I could major in the theatre on a football recruitment trip to Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. I thought it was exciting, and when I went back to school, a friend of mine asked me where I was going to go to college. I told them Wayne State, and they said, “what the heck are you gonna do there?” I told them I was gonna be an actor.

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

Sam Brilhart: Jenny, the director, had taken my headshots years ago when I first moved to the city, then I had a small role in her award-winning 3D film, then we did The Boogeyman.

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

Sam Brilhart: There’s something very universal about it that I feel resonates with people.

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

Sam Brilhart: I didn’t have to audition, nor do I think it was directly written for me. I probably got lucky, and I was the only guy in town, and it was adjusted for me.

SKSM: You worked with Jenny Januszewsky on this film, how was that?

Sam Brilhart: It was an honor.

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

Sam Brilhart: We shot most of the exteriors in Michigan. I had a flight layover in Chicago when traveling from California to Michigan. I missed my connecting flight and had to take a train the rest of the way. Jenny’s sister picked me up from the train station. I didn’t have my bag, it was on the flight I missed, and nobody had time to get it because we were shooting the following morning. I’ll never forget this. Jenny gets on the phone with the airline and tells them I’m a groom at a wedding. She’s my soon-to-be wife. She can’t have me gone for five hours during all the chaos leading up to the wedding. Could they please deliver my bag even though it’s five miles outside their delivery zone? My bag showed up 90 minutes later.

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

Sam Brilhart: I still talk to Jenny.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Sam Brilhart: Stand up comedy.

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

Sam Brilhart: I’m not a fan of his writing. Scary things scare me, but I am a fan of his as a human.

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

Sam Brilhart: I’m not very surprising. What you see is what you get. Although I did perform as a giant chicken doing standup comedy on season 15 of America’s Got Talent. Youtube it!

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

Sam Brilhart: Thank you.

He is the filmmaker of Mute Dollar Baby film.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: Hello, Oscar. My name is Sergey Sharovatov. I am from Moscow, Russia. In 2019 I graduated as a professional actor of theater and cinema from VGIK – Russian State University of Cinematography named after S. A. Gerasimov.  At the moment I have more than 40 roles in Russian full-meter movies, short-meter movies and TV-series.

My short movie “Mute” based on Stephen King’s story “Mute” is my director’s debut.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: I never intended to become a director, but after reading the novel “Mute” I realized that I really wanted to play the main role in this story. The fact is that I have experienced an almost similar story in my life. I mean that the main character also got through the betrayal of his woman. Of course, there weren’t such tragic consequences as in Stephen King’s story, but still I lived through quite strong emotions at that time. Immediately a picture formed in my mind and I realized that if I gave the direction to another person who hadn’t been in a similar situation, then the film would turn out to be different. So I had to become the director of this film not from directorial ambitions, but involuntarily, in order to convey on the screen exactly what I felt myself.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: It took almost a year to make the film. In January 2021 we received a contract, in January 2022 Mr. King got the finished DVD.

The peculiar fact about our movie is that we made it with the blessing of the Orthodox Priest Nikolay Konyukhov who read the script, believed in us and helped to adapt the dialogues of the priest with the main character to be common to the Russian mentality. He also blessed us for the film and gave his operating temple for the whole night for filming. For me, as an Orthodox Christian, it was very important to make this film without going against God. I wanted to film confession scenes in a real Russian Orthodox church to show how this story of Mr. King would take place not in a Catholic church in the USA but in modern Russia.

For a very long time we have been looking for a priest who would give his blessing for the filming of this movie. We did not start filming till we found a priest who would bless us and give us his church for filming.

I made the film entirely at my own expense. My friends and acquaintances helped me a little, for which I am very grateful to them. The film turned out to be very expensive for me in every sense, including finances. Of course, the film could cost two or three times more if not my friends who were filmmakers, but people I didn’t know worked in my team.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: “Mute” immediately hooked me with its plot and events. This is the strongest work not only in terms of dramaturgy and script, but also in terms of human morality. Indeed, there are a lot of controversial issues for each person in this story. All of us experience intense hatred and resentment when we are betrayed and as a rule we want revenge. Revenge and hatred are the strongest dark feelings of a person, which overlap even the feeling of love. Most of us give up implementing our revenge because it is  a violation of the law at least, and the commandments of God at most. But the fact of the matter is that our sin does not begin with sin itself, but with the thought of it.

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?

Sergey Sharovatov: I learned about this program by accident from fellow filmmakers. Then I googled and saw that there were cases in Russia when my young colleagues acquired the film adaptation rights of Stephen King stories and made films. When I submitted my request through Mr. King’s official website I wasn’t even sure that I would be approved in the USA because I am not a directing student or graduate. I wrote that I was an actor by education, I had a little production experience and I really wanted to make a film based on this story. Three days after sending the request I received the contract.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: Yes, there was. We filmed two shifts by car in September on the Yegoryevskoye Highway of the Ramensky District, Moscow area. There was a watermelon market on the side of the highway next to us. So, early in the morning on the second shift, we were waiting for the arrival of part of our film crew when suddenly a car drove up to the market  next to us and two big guys jumped out of it. The watermelon seller saw them and ran straight into the forest. One guy ran after him and the second one approached the seller’s car, kicked it and broke off the side mirror. The first guy returned and said that the watermelon seller had run far away and couldn’t be caught up. They got into their car and drove away. Our operator Vitya Antonov said that it looked like a local criminal showdown and we decided to move to another parking pocket with a different watermelon market. But there was no seller at the new point. Here we were, unpacking, a cool jeep drove up to us, the window opened and the guy, who had kicked the car of the first seller of watermelons, looked at me point-blank and asked: «Is that your market? What are you doing here?» I immediately replied that the market wasn’t mine and we were just making a movie. I explained that we had wanted to shoot at the first watermelon market, but after their showdown we decided not to interfere with them and moved here. At this moment all the car windows were rolled down, smiles appeared on the faces of big guys and they said; “Are you really filming? Can we film with you too?” It was a pity that we did not have scripted roles for them, their faces were very interesting and textured. I explained to these young people that there were no more roles, and they were not offended. They offered us to take all the watermelons, but we refused. After that they wished us good luck, said “God help you” and left. At that moment it seemed to us that it was not 2021 but 1991.

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?

Sergey Sharovatov: Of course, this restriction on the open distribution of the film on the Internet in the contract with Mr. King is frustrating, since I would very much like to see the films of my colleagues from all over the world and show my own film to the widest possible audience and not just the jury of world festivals. It’s a pity to shelve the movie. But these are the current conditions of the program. I think that it would be a wonderful solution for King’s fans from all over the world if the film appears on YouTube after all screenings at festivals.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: I have received so far only ratings from my family members and close friends to whom I have shown the film. None of them have yet spoken badly about the film. We finished the film less than a month ago.  Just this week I sent it to several international festivals. Now we are waiting for news from them.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: There are no specific plans. Time will pass and we will see where our movie will take part.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: To be honest, I never considered myself a Stephen King’s fan. To my surprise, already in adulthood I discovered that «The Shawshank Redemption», «The Green Mile» and «The Lawnmower Man», the films I liked so much as a child, were his hand business.

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)?

Sergey Sharovatov: No, we didn’t have personal contact with Mr. King. I don’t know if he saw our movie.

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?

Sergey Sharovatov: I already chose the story that I really wanted to shoot. I am happy about it. So far, there are no plans to shoot anything else.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Sergey Sharovatov: I act in Russian films and serials. Actor is my main job. It fills my whole life. “Mute” is my directorial debut. I don’t have any plans to do anything else. Let’s see if the audience likes my first film.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: Before I became an actor, I got a Ph.D. in Economics, taught Economics to students at the University and worked in the Moscow office of an American real estate and investment company for two years.

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

Sergey Sharovatov: I’d like to say a few words about the features of our adaptation of the story “Mute” and its film adaptation. In our film we tried to show how this story would take place not in the USA, but in modern Russia.

The main idea of the film lies in its Russian title: “Be careful what you wish for.” I would also add here “Beware of your thoughts and words that you pronounce anywhere.” Everything that we think about and what we desire can become a reality, since our thoughts are material. This Russian adaptation of the story “Mute” by Stephen King is about the repentance of a person in his thoughts and words. My task is to once again draw the viewer’s attention to the fact that our thoughts and words create our life and we need to be more attentive to them.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Sergey Sharovatov: I would like to add one important idea: “Art knows no boundaries.”

Despite the fact that we all live in different countries and speak different languages, we are united by music, literature and cinema.

In our case, you and I are united by a common love for the stories of Mr. King and for films based on his stories. It is wonderful that because of that love we are talking now.

 

He played in Sergey Sharovatov‘s Mute Dollar Baby film as the Priest.

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

Artur Petrov: Hello everyone! I’m Artur and I’m an actor. In 2019 I was graduated from VGIK and since that time I’ve been acting in TV series, movies and advertising.

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

Artur Petrov: First I got an education in economics, tried to work in different specialties, but one day I realized that I was out of place. And I ran away from work to enter the theatre university. Luckily, I was only 22 years old, today I’m almost 27 and I see that it was one of my best decisions.

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

Artur Petrov: My classmate Sergey Sharovatov called and told me that he wanted to make his own short movie based on a story by Stephen King. And he wanted to invite me to play one of the main roles. I didn’t know anything about movie, but I immediately agreed.

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

Artur Petrov: I think that story attracts people so much because it’s hard life story, which could happen to anyone. And it’s not about the sin only, but more about the thought of it. All of us were in hard situations in real life and watching the movie we can try on the story of the protagonist for ourselves and get the material for thoughts.

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

Artur Petrov: I didn’t have to audition, my friend invited me directly and all the text of my role was written by Sergey, me and a few priests and screenwriters who advise us.

SKSM: You worked with Sergey Sharovatov on this film, how was that?

Artur Petrov: It’s always a pleasure to work with your friend and It’s even better to work with a professional and his team, who inspired by one general idea to make an amazing movie.

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

Artur Petrov: Of course, there were some funny and special moments during shooting, but I didn’t remember them because I tried to be deeply immersed in the role and task of the character and I didn’t notice anything around.

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

Artur Petrov: Yes, I stay in touch with the main part of our team, because I knew them from other projects on which we worked together and “Mute” wasn’t the first and I hope won’t be the last.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Artur Petrov: Nowadays I’m preparing for new auditions and new awesome roles which I want to play this year.

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

Artur Petrov: Yes, I’ve read Stephen King’s books and watched a lot of films based on his stories. “The Green mile”, “The Mist”, “The Shining” are my favorite horrors and thrillers. Stephen King is rightfully one of the greatest writers of these genres.

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

Artur Petrov: I was born in Kazakhstan, I lived there all my childhood so I always had a lot of problems and refusals for work in Russia because of my Kazakh citizenship. Soon I will receive a Russian passport and all these problems will disappear, I hope.

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

Artur Petrov: If I could say something to the fans, I can quote my character: «be careful what you wish for». Especially, bad wishes 🙂

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Artur Petrov: But seriously, live honestly according to your conscience, watch good movies and enjoy life.

 

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