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Interviews

He is the Screenwriter of Andrew Simpson‘s Big Wheels Dollar Baby film.

SKSM: Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Devin Garabedian: My name is Devin Garabedian, and Im a screenwriter from Toronto, Ontario. Though my primary focus over the past few years has been in science-fiction television work, I was persuaded into writing Big Wheels” by the projects director, Andrew Simpson, who is a close friend of mine. Weve spent the better part of the past decade waiting for an opportunity to collaborate; this film is the result!

SKSM: You wrote the script for Big Wheels Dollar Baby Film. What changes did you make respect to King’s original text? 

Devin Garabedian: I was totally unfamiliar with Stephen Kings Milkman” shorts when Andrew brought them to me as a possible project for us to collaborate on. Listening to Andrew pitch the idea sparked a lot of ideas in my head; ideas about toxic masculinity, showmanship, and the power struggles that often play out between men. I started envisioning the project as a slow-burn thriller where the power dynamics of the three characters slowly shift over the course of the story, until the ending becomes the mirror image of the beginning.

And then I read the short. And while all of those themes are absolutely present in Kings story, they werent laid out in the way that Id imagined when I heard Andrews pitch. The story as written is extremely internal — a lot of the tension and subtext plays out between the reader and the charactersinternal monologues. Thats a difficult thing to translate to the screen, no matter how effective it plays out on the page. So I stuck to my intuition and crafted a script that I hoped was faithful to the spirit of the original story, even if it played a bit fast and loose with the plot.

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

Devin Garabedian: When I was 16 years old, I went to pick up a DVD of Spielbergs War of the Worlds” at Best Buy (big H.G. Wells fan!), and the cashier handed me a free copy of the shooting script. Apparently, it was being bundled with the first however many copies of the DVD. Id always wanted to be a writer, and Id always loved movies, but Id never combined the two things in my brain until that moment. Thanks Josh Friedman and David Koepp!

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

Devin Garabedian: Communication and trust. Great movies can and often are made even when the creative team arent on the same page, but it certainly makes it a hell of a lot easier when they are. A script first exists inside a writers brain, and misunderstandings can happen when other members of the creative team (directors, actors, editors, etc.) step in to make the project their own. Sometimes those misunderstandings lead to happy accidents and wonderful, unforeseen evolutions of the material — and sometimes things just get lost in translation. The more comfortable and collaborative everybody is, the better the finished product.

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

Devin Garabedian: Certainly, in terms of size and scope. But if Im being honest, the entire thing from my perspective was sort of a breeze — we had an incredible crew both above and below the line (many of whom are friends and colleagues of mine), and there was a lot of trust there. Writing the script for Andrew was a joy – our notes sessions were easy and comfortable – and the shoot was a blast. Everybody brought their A-game and I dont think Ive ever had more fun on set. Working with friends can really be wonderful.

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

Devin Garabedian: The same thing that attracts people to most Stephen King, I imagine — that wonderful tone, those memorable characters, that thrilling atmosphere. If we managed to capture even a tenth of Kings spirit in this, Id say we exceeded expectations.

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

Devin Garabedian: We spent way more time than we probably needed to testing and shooting Mark Rival pretending to urinate on his own shoes. We were just having too much fun. No regrets.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Devin Garabedian: My latest pilot is circulating in LA as we speak, and a second one is being prepped by my agent for prospective packaging. Im also working on a feature project that were hoping to get into production sometime in the next year.

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

Devin Garabedian: Who isn‘t? Hes one of a kind, and an absolute inspiration to writers everywhere.

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

Devin Garabedian: I am hopelessly obsessed with Cold War-era, d-grade science fiction movies. My idea of self care is lying in bed with the curtains drawn, watching the cheapest, low-budget thing I can get my hands on. I love them completely, and without irony. Theyre delightful.

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

Devin Garabedian: The Dollar Baby Program is an incredible offering from Stephen King, and proves that you dont have to be wealthy, connected, or experienced to make a movie. You can do it right now with your friends and a cell phone. I hope that the breadth of talent on display on this site encourages more people to take the leap and make their own Dollar Baby!

He is the filmmaker of Big Wheels Dollar Baby film.

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

Andrew Simpson: Well for the past two years now I’ve been working mostly as a Film Professor at Confederation College. On top of that I’ve been back into directing for about 5 years now and it’s been a dream come true.

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

Andrew Simpson: There was an old film channel when I was very young called First Choice. Once a year or so, they would have a free preview weekend where anyone could watch. When I was 8, I found myself alone with the TV on a Saturday and came across a film called “My Life as a Dog”. It was dubbed so I didn’t realize until later it was actually a Swedish film. I watched the entire thing in awe. I won’t go into details but its effect on me was profound. As I watched the credits and saw all those names who worked to make this moment possible for me, I knew I wanted to contribute and help make those moments happen for other lost kids.

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

Andrew Simpson: Big Wheels was shot during an August weekend of 2019 over two evenings. I still find it hard to believe we were able to shoot 10 minutes worth of edited material each day but that is a testament to how good this crew was. The cost of this film really should have been much higher than it was but so many people came to support us on this difficult task from the location to the car and of course the amazing support of William F White, Urban Post and Red Lab who all really stepped up to help us.

SKSM: How come you picked Big Wheels. A Tale of the Laundry Game to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?

Andrew Simpson: All of Stephen King’s shorts on offer are fun to read but many involve monsters or grand events and that wasn’t something I wanted to take on with this opportunity to work with his material. I wanted to play with the types of stories where he drenches us with character and how they behave and react. Big Wheels offered this opportunity and also room for nuance which our Screenwriter Devin, employed brilliantly in my opinion.

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?

Andrew Simpson: I had heard about it a few years earlier through conversation and was blown away when I looked into it but was not at a point in my understanding of this craft to justify taking on his material at the time.

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

Andrew Simpson: After we wrapped on Sunday morning, Mark Rival told us all it was his Mom’s birthday and asked if we could all sing to her which we all did.  It was a really nice way to finish the film.

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?

Andrew Simpson: Well we are trying to get this film into as many festivals as we can and are hoping to hear of another dollar baby film festival at some point. If there was ever any opportunity for us to get more eyes on this film in a way that King would approve of, I would be thrilled to join in.

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

Andrew Simpson: The hardest part of this film’s festival circuit is that it’s mostly online so I am unable to engage with people after the screenings like with previous films. But most of the feedback I’ve been getting is positive and that is very reassuring considering the amount of pressure you undertake when dealing with the work of such a beloved writer.

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

Andrew Simpson: We’ve been lucky and have had a few screenings thus far and we still have at least two more to go. We played at a Drive-In a while back and that was super fun!

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

Andrew Simpson: I am a huge fan! My first novel was Eyes of the Dragon which I read in Grade 6 along with a friend of mine.  My favourite book is IT, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. My favourite adaptations would have to be Kubrick’s The Shining which I know is controversial but I love it.  Also Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot is the gold standard of made for TV horror films.

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)?

Andrew Simpson:  I wish! Sadly no but I have sent him a copy of the film recently so here’s hoping he likes it.

SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?

Andrew Simpson: I have a special place in my heart for a book called The Long Walk. I read it many times in high school and have carried the dream of one day making that into a film ever since. Every time I read it, the images I see all seem to come from the 1970’s American vision of the near future. Films with the look of Westworld and the potential for violent intensity like something from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Plus the relentless images of young people walking to the point of death by exhaustion in order to achieve their dreams could be seen as difficult to shoot interestingly but I would love nothing more than to turn a seemingly redundant set of images into something endlessly dark and terrifying.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Andrew Simpson: I’m a couple weeks away from making a short with my students which I’m very excited about. We have some very sharp students and I can’t wait to work with them. I do have a feature script that I’m really hoping to get off the ground. It’s a romantic horror comedy, super odd but very charming and we have an incredible cast willing to sign on so here’s hoping it can happen.

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

Andrew Simpson: I was born during a citywide evacuation. A train carrying explosives and dangerous chemicals derailed close to where my parents lived. My mom was in labour in the hospital when the entire city of Mississauga was evacuated.

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

Andrew Simpson: Thank you for having me. To the fans, I hope I didn’t bore you! If you do get a chance to see the film, I would love to hear your thoughts!

He played in Dustin Ferguson‘s The Woman In The Room Dollar Baby film as Johnny.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: Hello there! I’m Erik Russo and I’m an actor, writer, director, cinematographer, producer and the sole reason why most of my ex girlfriends drink themselves to sleep at night.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: At the age of 41, I was a divorced, single dad, with a mediocre job that hit a glass ceiling with my extrovertive humor, energy and motivation in my home state of Rhode Island. I knew the only way to grow, learn and progress was to move out to Los Angeles.

SKSM: How did you become involved in The Woman in the Room Dollar Baby film? Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?

Erik Anthony Russo: I remember Dustin Ferguson announcing that he was directing an adaptation of the Stephen King short story, The Woman In The Room. I privately messaged him and was wondering how I could be involved in the project as I was very fond of King’s work myself. Surprisingly, Dustin revealed that he already planned on casting me as the lead character, Johnny, in the film and swore me to secrecy. I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity and especially thankful to working alongside Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: I think it’s the overwhelming decision of doing something immoral for justifiable reasons. Many of us have had to choose wrong for right on several occasions in our lives. God knows I have.

SKSM: You worked with Dustin Ferguson on this film, how was that?

Erik Anthony Russo: I have worked with director Dustin Ferguson over the last few years on such hit cult horror movies including Axed to Pieces, 5G Zombies, Angry Asian Murder Hornets and Ebola Rex. It has always been a fun experience working with him on these films. Carefree moments mixed with truly campy, well-written stories. But with this Stephen King adaptation, I was able to see Dustin in a different light as he was very passionate and respectful to the source material and was a lifelong fan of King’s works.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: I remember going over to Sally Kirkland’s apartment at least once a week to rehearse and run lines with her. Sally is a gifted method actress and she wanted to build that connection between her and I to make it believable onscreen that we were mother and son. She instilled some of her incredible knowledge to help me go through my character’s emotions, understand his thought process and reasoning behind the deadly ending of the film.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: They’re up in my DMs every damn day…heh heh. Seriously though, I’m very much in contact with all involved. Dustin has since cast me in such films as Zombi VIII: Urban Decay and Rattlers 2 and even had me do some occasional cinematography on his projects. He likes to think of everyone that’s involved with his films as a “fun little film family” and I couldn’t agree more.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Erik Anthony Russo: A lot of writing at the moment. I’m putting together a comedy pilot that I plan on shopping around for a streaming service and most likely involving a lot of familiar faces in Dustin Ferguson’s films. I’m also working with an author from my home state of Rhode Island, bringing his first novel, The Dog Bowl,  to the screen as a feature film or potential series . Also some cinematography with a planned documentary set in Western Massachusetts shooting late summer 2021. And I can’t forget acting. I’m wrapping up director Sophiah Koikas’ vampire-themed feature film Count Vlad of Fagaras in a supporting role at the end of May 2021.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: Huge fan. His film adaptations can be hit or miss, respectively. For every Misery or Shawshank Redemption, you’re always going to have a Langoliers or Thinner…but such is life, isn’t it?

You only can appreciate the good after experiencing the…not so good.

But nobody needs to experience that 1997 TV version of The Shining ever again though.

Oof.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: The accent is real. It’s not fake.

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

Erik Anthony Russo: Please check out my IMDb page for my latest projects and news. And as always…thank you for all your support and giving this guy a chance. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm5035040/

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Erik Anthony Russo: I hate cranberry ANYTHING. Cranberry juice. Cranberry sauce. Keep it away from me in any form. It’s the garlic to my Dracula.

He played in Andrew Simpson‘s Big Wheels Dollar Baby film as Bob.

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

Andrew Bee: I am Andrew Bee and I started acting in 2009. Before that, I taught competitive Ballroom and Latin Dancing for twenty-five years. I was really good at it, but it was never the dream. I won’t get into it here, but it took me most of my life to be able to pursue my great dream.

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

Andrew Bee: When I was six years old my father took me to see the original Planet of the Apes, with Charlton Heston. I was absolutely terrified, but that was when I knew what I wanted to do in my life.

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

Andrew Bee: I met the director, Andrew Simpson through a mutual contact and he told me about his idea to shoot a Dollar Baby short film. Andrew and I connected immediately, and without any thought I agreed.

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

Andrew Bee: Stephen King’s great gift is to be able to take any set of circumstances and turn it into an incredible story by creating absoulutely fascinating characters. This story, on the surface, is simple, but when it is revealed who the two main guys are, it takes on a whole different meaning.

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

Andrew Bee: I read the script, Andrew told me who he wanted me to play and it was perfect for me. As an EP, I just took the role.

SKSM: You worked with Andrew Simpson on this film, how was that?

Andrew Bee: I loved working with Andrew and will do it again as soon as possible.

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

Andrew Bee: Not funny, no, but special, yes. We had the complete support of William F, White’s, the largest film equipment rental Company in Canada. They gave us all the equipment we needed. Andrew was working there at the time and it was wonderful to see how they supported us.

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

Andrew Bee: I have contact with Benji Irwin, the cinematographer and we are planning on filming more short films together this summer.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Andrew Bee: I shot a feature in March and have done several commercials recently.

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

Andrew Bee: I grew up reading everything he wrote. I was in awe of his incredible creativity and storytelling ability. The first book I ever read was “Salem’s Lot”, and I think I was fourteen. I read it in a single sitting.

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

Andrew Bee: As I mentioned earlier, I was a dance teacher for twenty-five 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?

Andrew Bee: Yes, thank you for taking the time to read this and look for Mute, another Dollar Baby short I filmed last November. I am also in the process of adapting my third into a screenplay that we will film this summer.

 

He is the filmmaker of L’homme Qui Aimait Les Fleurs Dollar Baby film.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I am a lawyer from Mexico based in Geneva, Switzerland. I deal with International Trade Policy and International Dispute Settlement. This is my day job, but I have a wide range of interests and projects, mainly filmmaking, but I also like to write, take pictures, and even have a podcast, “The Rodolfo Rivas Project“.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I always wanted to be a filmmaker. I remember falling in love with film when I was a teenager, and when I found out that there was a Director in charge of making films, I knew I wanted to be one. Growing up in Mexico, that was something that felt out of reach, so instead, I became a lawyer. In law, I gravitated towards Intellectual Property since at least it would be adjacent to something creative, like filmmaking.

SKSM: When did you make L’homme qui aimait les fleurs? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I shot the film during the first half of 2019 in three big chunks. It was mainly done after work and during the weekend. The main difficulty was coordinating the availability of my co-workers, who are also the co-stars. Due to their availability, I was unable to get all the shots I had in mind. This became more apparent when I was editing, but at that point, getting everyone back for additional shots was just impossible, so I had to make do with what was available.

I spent probably like 800 USD on equipment plus a new laptop and software.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I am a big Stephen King fan. I remember reading his work since I was a teenager, and back then, King’s work was not considered serious literature. I didn’t care about that; I just enjoyed it and thought it was well written. I think the appreciation of his work has changed in the last decade. I am thrilled there seems to be a revaluation of his work.

When I saw the list of available stories, I read all of them. I was only familiar with a couple of them, and “The Man Who Loved Flowers” was not one of them. I like the story, but there were also a couple of others that I liked as well. The deciding factor was trying to use what I had available to tell the story. I wanted to showcase a bit of Geneva, and “The Man Who Loved Flowers” seemed like the one with the best chance of using my environment. I knew I didn’t want to make a verbatim interpretation, but instead, I tried to capture the story’s spirit and make it work with the tools and environment I had available.

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?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: Like I said before, I am a big Stephen King fan, but somehow I never came across the Dollar Babies. Searching things online about Stephen King, I came across this and found a couple of films online. After seeing information on it and picking the story, I wrote a couple of paragraphs asking for the rights and thought it would take months before hearing back. I heard back just a few hours later. I was thrilled! Although Stephen King probably had nothing to do with the process, I still like to think that he read my request and approved it personally.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: The first shot that came to my mind was the POV shot with the hammer attack. That was the money shot, and I pretty much build everything around it. When we shot it, I was holding the camera from the POV, and we did the shot a couple of times, and it didn’t look real. I kept telling the protagonist to swing the hammer closer to my head. I had to say to him a couple of times more before we got it. A few days later, I realized that the hammer came pretty close, but it was too late to panic by then.

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?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: My film made it to a couple of festivals, and I have shown it at home to some friends. That, to me, is enough. However, it would be great for it to be seen widely, and if that ever happens, I will be happy to do it. What would be even better is for Stephen King to see it and perhaps get a nice tweet from him.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I have not heard or seen the bad reviews. Even if someone has pointed out something bad in the movie, they have also said some good things about it. What I like to hear is when someone points out something, perhaps the influence of a Director’s or maybe something that I thought was not evident from the film, and it puts a big smile on my face because I realize they at least got something out of my movie. After I finished the film, I actually could not watch it. I just kept seeing everything that did not work or could be better, but after many months I can see it for what it is, and it just makes me happy.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: It did screen at several festivals. I tried to make it to one for the screening but could not make it. It would have been great to see it with a crowd.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I am a big Stephen King fan! He is one of my favorite writers. I think Pet Sematary is one of his best books, and it resonates more when you become a father. I also like The Stand, IT, The Shining, and his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, which I think is an excellent book for those wanting to learn more about writing.

In terms of film adaptations, I think Kubrick’s The Shining is one of the best horror films. I am aware Stephen King does not like it, but I think it is superb. I also really like Rob Reiner’s Misery. On non-horror adaptations, I think it is difficult to beat Stand by Me, also by Rob Reiner, and The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont.

On more modern adaptations, I love Frank Darabont’s The Mist, which I really believe improves on the original ending. I also like Andy Muschietti’s new adaptation of IT. Lastly, I think Mike Flanagan is one of the most talented directors working in horror, and he hit a home run with his adaptations of Gerald’s Game and Doctor Sleep. Doctor Sleep, in particular, managed to weave King’s story with Kubrick’s strand.

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)?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I don’t think I did! I think it was just with the person answering the requests. However, I do like to think that Stephen King read and approved my request. Hopefully, he also got a chance to see my film. If he did see it, it would be great to hear his thoughts on it someday, perhaps in a tweet.

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?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I don’t know if I will, but it would be great to do another one. Before I learned about the Dollar Babies, I was toying around with adapting “Lunch at the Gotham Café”. Every time I walk into a Café, I always keep a close eye on the maître d’. The cover image in the “Everything’s Eventual: 14 Dark Tales” collection of stories is just something I would like to replicate for a film.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I finished my second film, titled “Drive“. My red Mini Cooper also makes an appearance, and in that one, I am the protagonist, not so much because I wanted to, but because it was easier than coordinating schedules. I have also been thinking of making a short film about zombies, but the logistics of that would require the biggest team I’ve ever used.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I am an introvert, so people always seem surprised to find out that I make movies and have a podcast. However, from what I know about filmmakers, many of them seem to be introverts.

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

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: If they are reading this is because they are also Stephen King fans. It isn’t easy to find someone out there who is not a Stephen King fan, but if there, we probably need to find them and give them a Stephen King book.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Rodolfo Carlos Rivas: I want to thank Stephen King for continuing to write. He keeps tackling new ideas and inspiring others. He probably doesn’t need to do things like the Dollar Babies, but allowing others to play in his sandbox shows how he values his fans.

He is the filmmaker of Graduation Afternoon Dollar Baby film.

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

Enrico Drago: My name is Enrico Drago and I am from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design this past March with a BFA in Film and Television Production, and I am a writer and director, though there is no part of the filmmaking process that I dislike.

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

Enrico Drago: I was 8 years old when my dad and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in the theaters, and I don’t know what it was about that movie, but I just fell in love with filmmaking. I remember sitting in the car on the ride home and trying to figure out how I could make movies like the one we had just seen. I started “making movies” with my little sister where we would play out entire films and universes just… without a camera. Indy 4 made me fall in love with the medium of film, but it was JJ Abrams’ Super 8 that made me fall in love with the art, and after seeing that movie I got my hands on my first camera, a crappy little camcorder, and starting making shorts with my friends in high school and middle school, some of whom I still work with today!

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

Enrico Drago: We made Graduation Afternoon in the spring of 2019 as what originally started as just a class project, but quickly became something more. The production went extremely well, and I owe a lot of that to my co-director, Lily Sanders, and our director of photography, Noah Custer. It was at least 95 degrees on the weekend of shooting and most of the budget went to making sure everybody was staying hydrated. All told, the final budget of the movie came to around $125, which is certainly not bad.

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

Enrico Drago: Part of the choice was definitely a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. The teacher said that it was the only Dollar Baby that a student of his had never attempted in all his years of his teaching, and that inspired me. I also had just finished reading through Just After Sunset where the original short story makes its appearance and had really resonated with the character of Janice and a lot of the themes, and the twist at the end is just so surreal and realistic, that when I think about it too much, really freaks me out. You never know when things could just…end, it doesn’t matter how young you are or how much money you have. I really liked that.

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?

Enrico Drago: Back in high school, I wanted to adapt King’s short story, “The Jaunt,” and when I did some research on what I needed to do to make it happen, I found the Dollar Baby website and put it away in a mental file cabinet.

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

Enrico Drago: I mentioned earlier that I had a good group of kids that I used to make really early short films with in high school, and while we didn’t all go to the same colleges, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with my best friend and collaborator in high school, Chase Lopez, and bring him onto our set to help out the crew and make a cameo appearance. It was great to see him and make another movie together again.

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?

Enrico Drago: I think that’s just part of the business. I obviously want anybody who wants to see our movie to be able to see it, but it unfortunately might just be the way of the game that I can’t get it out to all of them. I can say that the video is public on YouTube so if somebody who hasn’t seen it wants to, they can!

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

Enrico Drago: We received a pretty healthy mix of both and I think they both have merits, though I will say that I learned a lot more from the bad ones than the good ones. The biggest criticism is about the audio, and I absolutely do not get angry when people criticize that because it is the biggest flaw. There was a miscommunication with our sound guy and all of the sound we recorded was lost, so we had to build the entire soundscape from scratch. It was everybody’s first time doing ADR and, honestly, I had a ton of fun learning how that process works, even if it is a little rough in parts.

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

Enrico Drago: I regularly submit this project to festivals, and we actually were semi-finalists at the Southeast Regional Film Festival in Jacksonville, which took place virtually during the pandemic.

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

Enrico Drago: I’m a huge Stephen King fan! I owe a lot of that to my dad who introduced me to King’s work by getting me to read Under the Dome when it first came out. My favorite novel of his is Doctor Sleep (though I am a huge fan of Insomnia and The Tommyknockers) and my favorite adaptation of his is undoubtedly Andy Muschietti’s It adaptation. I think it perfectly captured the spirit of the book in a way that most adaptations just do not. I also love George A. Romero’s Creepshow and The Dark Half, but Romero is one of the most important filmmakers ever to me, so I may be speaking from a place of bias.

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)?

Enrico Drago: I did not, and I do not know if he has seen it, though I like to pretend that he has.

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?

Enrico Drago: I actually do. I know I probably shouldn’t say that I’m just going to adapt his work without his permission, so I will say that I could have been working on writing a script for an adaptation of his novella, Elevation, for a while now. I think that story is beautiful and human, and super timely. Though, if somebody were to ask what novel of his I would want to adapt with studio backing, I would say The Tommyknockers. I think that story is massively underrated and could be genuinely terrifying. Also still holding out hope for permission to do that Jaunt movie!

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Enrico Drago: I just graduated college and I’m working on finding a job in the industry! I also am working on developing a couple feature scripts that I’ve written as well as making short films regularly to practice the craft.

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

Enrico Drago: I can play the piano and the acoustic guitar. Neither particularly well, but it’s a hobby.

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

Enrico Drago: Thank you so much for this opportunity! From one Stephen King fan to another, I wish you all nothing but the best and I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Enrico Drago: You can see more of my work on my website: https://edrago20.wixsite.com/enricodrago

Much love!!

 

He 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?

Dustin Ferguson: I’ve been filmmaking for 15 years and am currently fulltime. I’ve directed 110 feature films, nearly 100 music videos and several short films and TV shows. I was born in Kansas, raised in Nebraska and now reside outside Los Angeles in California. My Director alias is “Dark Infinity”.

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

Dustin Ferguson: At a very young age. In 5th grade, I wrote my first “script”, it was only 2 pages long haha, for a “Child’s Play 4”.

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?

Dustin Ferguson: We filmed it at the end of 2020 and early 2021. It was 3 total days. I spent about $1000 USD to make it. We filmed at a studio in Sylmar,CA for the Hospital Scene, my Manager’s Office in Panorama City, CA for the Doctor’s Office and my Condo in Murrieta, CA for the “home” scenes.

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?

Dustin Ferguson: I actually wanted to originally do “The Boogeyman” but that wasn’t available at the time, so I went for something more challenging, a “drama”, which I don’t usually do. I like to push myself to try new things and grow as a filmmaker.

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?

Dustin Ferguson: I heard nearly two decades ago he was doing this and about a year ago decided to investigate online and see if it was still active, and sure enough it was. I’m not a “film student”, who are the usual people to go through this program, but got special permission simply as a big fan, despite being an established filmmaker already.

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

Dustin Ferguson: Working with Sally Kirkland was amazing. She’s a true artist, and very skilled as an Actress. She brought so much to the screen that was priceless.

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?

Dustin Ferguson: I hold out hopes of an eventual physical release from Stephen King. It’s happened before (with “The Woman In The Room”), so my fingers are crossed for it to happen again with mine!

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

Dustin Ferguson: Everything has been very favorable so far, most people praising Sally’s performance, rightfully so. People have said it’s nice to see me tackle something different, that is was refreshing.

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

Dustin Ferguson: It won the “Betsy Palmer” Award already for Best Female Performance at the Without Your Head Easter Egg Fest and also recently screened at the Online Stephen King Rules Fest also.

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

Dustin Ferguson: Yes, I was born in 1982, so I grew up in the era of many King adaptions on film. Some of my favorites are Children of The Corn, Maximum Overdrive, Creepshow 2 and The Shining.

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)?

Dustin Ferguson: I was provided his mailing address to send a DVD of it to, which I did promptly, but have yet to hear anything back.

SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?

Dustin Ferguson: If I was officially hired to do one, of course! Creepshow has been made into an excellent series on Shudder, I would love to be involved in that or maybe remake Maximum Overdrive.

SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?

Dustin Ferguson: I Direct films fulltime, I recently completed the films “Demonoids”, “Arachnado 2”, “Zombi VIII” and “Rattlers 2”. I’m currently directing a couple films for Wild Eye Releasing.

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

Dustin Ferguson: That I’m a Rapper. Most people who know me already know that, but new people are always surprised. I’m “MC Dirty D”.

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

Dustin Ferguson: Thanks for showing interest in my work! Support means everything to me!

SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?

Dustin Ferguson: Check out my DVD Store for lots of my films:

https://kunaki.com/msales.asp?PublisherId=155419&pp=1

 

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

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

Ralf Lichtenberg: I’m Ralf Lichtenberg and I am a film composer. Writing music for movies is my job.

SKSM: How did you become involved with Dedication?

Ralf Lichtenberg: I met Tyna, the director, our first day of school at UCLA. She was studying directing and production and I my specialty in film scoring. Since then we have been friends and I have scored her projects ever since. So, when Dedication came up she asked me again and I was happy to write the music for the project.

SKSM: How did you get started as a composer and what do you do on production?

Ralf Lichtenberg: I started early in my life to play piano, and later a few more instrument. I always played my own little tunes and improvised instead of playing given music. It was just easier and I had more fun doing that. I was in music specialized schools and lived in a very musical environment. After I finished my psychology degree in Mexico I decided to formally study composition for media because music is what ultimately makes me happy. Then I met Chris Young in Vienna who encouraged me to come to LA and the rest is history.

SKSM: How did you get started to write the Soundtrack for Dedication?

Ralf Lichtenberg: Dedication was, like all other Tyna projects, very different and unique. I always enjoy writing the scores for her projects because there’s always something different and new in her story telling. Also, the fact that Stephen King wrote this specific story was special for me. But, when I get a new project I do what every film composer does: watch the movie a lot of times, procrastinate a lot, and then work with all the ideas that came during procrastination.

SKSM: Is this your most challenging audio so far?

Ralf Lichtenberg: Not at all because the actors and the editing gave me a lot to work with. It helps a lot and makes my job so much easier when I can just underline the action on screen more than having the task of “making them good”.

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

Ralf Lichtenberg: Well… It seems like that I’m always very lucky with my choice of entertainment while I’m eating. Apparently every time I eat and watch or review a movie to score, something gross happens on screen. So, it was no surprise that that happened with this one too. I remember it very clearly because I asked myself what they took to simulate the ejaculate on the bed.

SKSM: After Dedication did you write more music? If so what?

Ralf Lichtenberg: Yes. A bunch of feature and short movies. Even the music for Tynas first two feature movies.

SKSM: What are you working nowadays?

Ralf Lichtenberg: I’d love to tell you because it is pretty awesome but, I can’t talk about the projects. Hollywood is very secretive and I respect the NDAs.

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

Ralf Lichtenberg: Yes! His stories are very terrific.

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

Ralf Lichtenberg: Interesting question! I guess something surprising would be that I really enjoy reading and learning about physics. It’s a fascinating topic I like to spend my free time on.

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

Ralf Lichtenberg: Don’t do it… haha no… jokes aside. It is not an easy path but certainly a very fulfilling and rewarding way of life. As long as you try to grow, know who you are and what you are capable of, you are on the right way for your success.

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

Ralf Lichtenberg: I hope that your love for Stephen King lets you sleep at night… or day.

SKSM: Do you like something to add?

Ralf Lichtenberg: I just want to thank you for this delightful interview and thank you for your work on this website. It takes a lot of dedication (yep… that was intended) and that is remarkable.

He is the filmmaker of Beachworld Dollar Baby film.

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

Chad Bolling: I’m from Dallas but I also lived in Anchorage, Alaska for a while. When I lived there the Beach Boys and surf culture were popular so I knew I wanted to live in California when I was older. Now, that I think about it, the harsh climate in Anchorage must have had something to do with my needing to move to California and the popularity of California culture amongst my Anchorage peers. Needless to say, I ended up moving to Southern California after high school and it’s been a blur since. Once here, I went to college and worked in a couple of other industries besides film. I didn’t like any of them much, except maybe chef work.

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

Chad Bolling: I think it was always in my “DNA”. I have a theory that many of these big movie characters I grew up admiring were based on filmmakers. For example, when I morphed into Luke Skywalker as a child with a homemade lightsaber, I was unknowingly pretending to be; George Lucas. Strange as that may sound but I could make the same reference for Spielberg and Indian Jones, Robert Zemeckis and Marty McFly, and even Ivan Reitman and the Ghostbusters, to some extent.

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

Chad Bolling: I think back in 2013 or 2014 but I had been interested in it for a few years before that.
It took 3 grueling days to film. Actually, the first day was a ton of fun which is probably why the last 2 were so tough.

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

Chad Bolling: I think it was the only science fiction story King was offering at the time and I knew I wanted to do sci-fi.

Again, the fact that it was sci-fi was my primary reason. Also, I thought it was a pretty strong story when compared to the others albeit ambitious.

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?

Chad Bolling: I think I was reading a bio about Frank Darabont as he was the first “dollar baby” and found out about it there.

I knew. And I think I just sent him a one-dollar bill rather than a check. I know you’re not supposed to do that (mail cash) but it was just a dollar. I made sure the contract covered the dollar enough so it couldn’t be seen through the envelope.

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

Chad Bolling: We shot most of the scenes in my parent’s garage at night with a green screen after capturing some shots and plates in the California desert. We had to do it at night so we could get good sound. So, there we were, making something new, in a garage, in California… it seemed like some Silicon Valley start-up. You know, starting in a garage just like Steve Jobs and Wozniak did Apple. I thought that was something special, right?

Although, since we were in Southern California and not Silicon Valley, perhaps a toymaker comparison would be more appropriate. I heard that Disney, Mattel, and Christopher Nolan’s Bat-bike were all started in home garages in Southern California.

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?

Chad Bolling: I might get some slack for this but, I don’t mind. It’s just because the film, according to me, was never finished.To be honest, I’m not comfortable sharing it right now but I would put it on a Dollar Baby DVD or something like that if they wanted it.

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

Chad Bolling: Submitting to festivals was tough. I knew it wasn’t what they were looking for but I sent out a dozen or so submissions anyway. Got mostly rejections but surprisingly, it got into a couple of small ones.

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

Chad Bolling: It was screened at a Dollar Baby festival they had one year during Crypticon. I wish I could have gone but it was too far away and the timing was bad.

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

Chad Bolling: While I love the story of Beachworld and the cast and crew did a really good job, I think this film adaptation was more of a practice piece for me.

SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?

Chad Bolling: Visit my Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/cbcinema

 

He is the Producer of Walter Perez‘s Into The Night Dollar Baby Film.

SKSM: May you introduce yourself to our readers?

Ahmet Akinci: My name is Ahmet Akinci.  I am one of the Producers of “Into the Night” film.I am an Interior Architect but I work in a Company as a General Manager.

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

Ahmet Akinci: Films have always impressed me since my childhood. Always wanted to be a Movie Director. Watched lots of Movies from all periods of Movie Making. I thought being a producer would be a good step for involving Films.

SKSM: How did you become involved in ‘Into the Night‘ Dollar Baby film?

Ahmet Akinci: I was introduced to Walter Perez through a friend and offered to be one of the producers. After learned that it was Stephen King’s Project, jumped in the project, immediately.

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

Ahmet Akinci: I was in almost all phases of the production to make sure that the film making process has not been slowed down or interrupted by any means. From Planning to Financing I was always there to bring the great result.

SKSM: What was it like to work with Walter Perez on this film?

Ahmet Akinci: Walter Perez is a very talented Director. He knows what he wants, he is a perfectionist man. So, it makes fun to work with him.

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

Ahmet Akinci: We were shooting some scenes of the Film on Big Bear Mountains and I have a fear of heights, it was very difficult for me to drive up there and my hands sticked to the steering wheel due to the stress. Our Film Crew is fun, I really enjoyed working with them.

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

Ahmet Akinci: Yes I am, I like Pet Sematary, Rose Red, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery and Storm of the Century. I hope to work more on Stephen King’s Projects.

SKSM: What are you working nowadays?

Ahmet Akinci: I have a couple of projects, they are almost completed. One of them is “Norjack” by Walter Perez. Short action and thriller. It’s based on true events and you guys are going to like it.

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

Ahmet Akinci: I am an Interior Architect. I don’t have Film School background. I speak 4 languages. Former Bodybuilding Champion and Fitness Trainer.

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

Ahmet Akinci: Travel and Read! Try to enlarge your view and perspective about the life. I always encourage my friends to tell them travel all around the world. Once you travel other parts of the world, you will enrich your culture and self-education.

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