He is the man behind Here There Be Tygers Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
James Cochrane: I’ve been a Stephen King fan since about 1988 after I read Pet Semetary (someone gave us a whole box of books and I liked the cover to it so here I am). At the moment I work for a television company as a computer tech for High-Speed Internet- this is my means to afford the lavish lifestyle of which I am accustomed to, ie: buying way too many DVDs, purchasing the occasional limited Stephen King book and my NEW addiction collecting all things Joe R. Lansdale, and sometimes if I remember I will buy food.
SKSM: When did you make Here There Be Tygers? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
James Cochrane: We filmed Tygers over 3 days here in Prince George at a school that has now been closed down due to budget cuts- it was the top floor and for some fool idea I chose to film on the side that the sun came in almost all day… it was sweaty and irritating and fun as hell! The bathroom scenes were shot in the basement of the school so we did not need to move the cast or any of the equipment which was good cuz inherently I am lazy.
Through a friend of mine who runs a casting company we had a night of interviews about two weeks prior where I met all the kids who wanted to be in it and then I chose the 3 main and the 27 background children.
Our dolley for moving the camera (as best we could) without too much shake was my roommates rolling office chair and another I borrowed from work. We filmed the classroom stuff over the mornings when it was not as hot and the bathroom/hallway stuff in the afternoons.
Overall the productions cost me upwards of about 100 dollars and I think that that is a bit high- I hate high budgets I try to stay as low on the budget scale as I can cuz I am cheap and I don’t have the balls to ask people for money- but so many of my friends volunteered and pitched in that that in itself was probably worth tones more- hell with some of the volunteers I’m still paying…joke
SKSM: How come you picked Here There Be Tygers to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
James Cochrane: First off my history of Tygers is one of broken memories but the short version is this: My Grade 7 teacher (one of my favourite teachers of all time) read to us from Skeleton Crew during U.S.S.R. (unsustained silent reading) and I like Tygers then but it wasn’t until Grade 10 or 11 that I finally read Skelton Crew and put two and two together that it was a Stephen King story.—- So my happy memories of youth kept this story in the back of my head.—-….and when I finally got off my ass to be a filmmaker I pulled Tygers down off the shelf (actually I bought the paperback because I only have the hard cover)—- I like Tygers for it’s sheer wonderment. I like that we can maybe fool ourselves into thinking that maybe this was all a manifestation of the little boy’s mind. I like that we see the stigma of being young and being so embarrassed that you would rather be killed then risk being laughed at for being yourself. That is scary to me—- I still think like 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?
James Cochrane: As I said earlier I have been a King fan for some time now and I had heard about it through the many readings and articles I’ve collected. So somewhere in the vastly empty head of mine I knew about these Dollar Babies. Then when Lilja of Lilja’s library mention Jay Holben’s film I realized it was time to shake the moss off my ass and produce. So I sent a little email to her and she forwarded King’s work address- which in retrospect I should have known, I mean everyone in the world knows King’s work address… and then I sent it in.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
James Cochrane: If anything I’d like to mention to anyone planning on making a film one word of advice- they say never work with kids or animals and this is completely true save for this little piece of advice: you can work with kids if you have what I call KID WRANGLERS. These are adults- I’m talking 1 adult per 5-6 kids that can supervise the little buggers; keep them busy, keep them happy because a bored kid is worse than any spoiled actor out there
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 video release would be possible?
James Cochrane: I chose to do a Dollar Baby of Kings for the sole reason the test myself; To kick myself in the ass and DO something. I chose King because I love King and to try my hand at something that is his gave me the energy to do it and complete it- for him. —-As all the smoke cleared I have no plans to make a tape of this or DVD or anything else for that matter. This was my first film I have done more over the years that followed and am still doing them. I learned a lot from this one and made a lot of mistakes. —-There is a thought in the back of my head to pull out the old DV tapes and re-edit the way I work now but I’m sure that disrespects my past abit, I think. —–It is there in all it’s naked raw beginning-ness and I am proud of what I did but I don’t need to beat the world on the head with it. —-Tygers was never meant for most people to see… It took me a year to edit it (well it took me a year to learn how to edit it) and for all the people that helped me I thank them so very dearly cuz if it wasn’t for them it would have taken longer I’m sure. —- I have Tygers as a DVD for my family and friends and an mpg on my system… I will show it to everyone who asks but I won’t be releasing it into the wild.
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)?
James Cochrane: NONE and nope
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?
James Cochrane: Since I am on this shooting with children kick Suffer the Little children might be a larf- if for no reason than that. —–But what I hope to have Stephen King let me do now that I am older and wiser is Ballad of the Flexible Bullet- I lve that one… I think it would be great to film and spooky.
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?
James Cochrane: —