He is the man behind In The Deathroom Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Joe Leavell: I’m an artist / photographer in Indianapolis, Indiana and run my own business downtown there. The studio is around 15,000 sq ft and is comprised of mainly photography equipment and backdrops / backgrounds. It is in it’s 3rd year and has resonantly been sold. So I’m in the process of finding a second. I also share my time at St. Mary’s child center teaching “at risk” children and documenting there development. Currently I’m working on a documentary about the school and the function of early childhood education.
SKSM: When did you make In the Deathroom? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Joe Leavell: “In the Deathroom” was shot in three, 12 hour days last summer and post production started started in February 2009 and the finally showing in completion in November 18th 2009. It was funded through donations. Tony Profumo was the main producer and fund raiser. Tony and I (as of today) have never met. He contacted me after seeing I was casting for the short and wanted to be involved. The budget, in total had borrowed camera equipment and lighting came from my studio. Most cash was spent on location and food, drink, print, little advertising, and festival submissions. All together in cash was under $2,000 dollars US.
SKSM: How come you picked In the Deathroom to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Joe Leavell: I wrote to many writers looking for a short and to my delight the office of SK replied and explained the Dollar Deal to me. I can’t remember if I thought of the Deathroom or if it was suggested. I had sent links of my first 5 min short, that’s plot was 1 person torturing people and Deathroom was 3 people torturing 1. So the option to do the that tittle was a quick and easy decision.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Joe Leavell: Assistant director J. Tyson Harvey could tell you some of those stories better then I.
SKSM: If you know that there where more versions of “In the Deathroom” created would you choose another story to adapt into a Dollar Baby?
Joe Leavell: No. I knew there was some. I’ve found the best was to find where your art stands is to compare and contrast. I would have loved to have seen the dollar baby fest, just to watch the story telling and stylization differentials from both films. And soon more to come apparently.
SKSM: Now that your film is finished, don’t you think… Would you do it different?
Joe Leavell: Yes, there are things I wish we could have gotten (HD) to make it better. But I’m proud of the film and feel we played the had dealt very well.
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)?
Joe Leavell: We sent an unfinished version a few months ago and haven’t heard 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?
Joe Leavell: I think most directors deep down know the importance of making “The Gunslinger” and how great the pressure and price it would be to do so. Still, if I lived in a dream with a large budget… I’d do it.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Joe Leavell: please tell me what you think. Comment on the trailer at youtube.com