John S. Carolan
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?
John S. Carolan: My name is John S. Carolan, I’m an indie filmmaker and photographer from Yorkshire.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
John S. Carolan: 2- I had always loved watching films and telly, ever since I was little, but I’d never wanted to make my own, until about 2014, when I came across a documentary called ‘’Cinemassacre 200’’. It was about filmmaking and there was something about it that sparked my imagination. Suddenly I know that the world of a filmmaker was for me, and that’s the way it’s been ever since.
SKSM: When was The Woman in the Room made? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
John S. Carolan: The film was made in 2019, end of April, beginning of May, and all in all, it took about 4 weeks or so to make. The cost of the production escapes me it’s going back some years now, but I believe it was around the £200 mark, with most of that going to the construction of the hospital room set, which was built in my small studio.
SKSM: How come you picked he Woman in the Room to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
John S. Carolan: Well I was drawn to the story when I first read it, but it did not impact me as much as it did later when I experienced some personnel loss of family members, then it took on a new light and made me want to make my own film version of the story.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
John S. Carolan: Because the story theme is sadly a universal one, that of loss and to some extent the cruelty of time passing. Along with the harshness of some decisions, we must make in life. All of these things are to some amount things we have exspereds in our lives whether we like it or not. And as such we are drawn by this story as we emporis with the main character and his situation.
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?
John S. Carolan: I have an odd habit of looking into things that intrigue me as much as possible, and one of these many things was adaptations of the works of King. This would lead me to discover the short films ‘’The Boogeyman 1982’’ ‘’The Woman In The Room 1983’’ and ‘’The Disciples Of The Crow 1983’’ and then on to the Dollar Baby as a whole. So yes I did know about it before I got in touch about the rights.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when the movie was made that you would like to tell me about?
John S. Carolan: Goodness that’s an interesting one, I suppose one of the funniest moments was in getting the dollar itself. As when I went to the travel agents to get it, they were having some technical problems and asked if id whate, I didn’t mind as I was in no rush, and was enjoying a podcast. Anyway an hour later the problem was fixed and I was asked to come up to the desk. The look of surprise and bewilderment on the person’s face, when she found out I had wanted all this time to ask for $1, was very funny and made my day. Apart from this, there were also the amount of times we were goofing around on set, the worst of which was when me and Lucas (the star of the film) appeared in a scene together, we always goof around and try to make people laugh.
SKSM: Are there points that you say afterwards that we could have done better differently.
John S. Carolan: Yes, the lighting is off in some shots and the room set looks a little fake. But every film is a learning experience. I’m still very proud of this film, even though it’s still ruff around the edges, buts that’s to be expected, I have wondered sometimes about getting the rights again and remaking to film, and who knows maybe I will one day when I’m old and have time on my hands again.
SKSM: Are there things cut out of the movie that you miss now?
John S. Carolan: Nope, not as far as I can remember.
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?
John S. Carolan: Well it’s a shame that the film can not be easily shown, but that’s what we signed up for, so there’s no real use grumbling about it. As for it this will change in the future? I think that that really lays with King.
SKSM: Can you describe the feeling when the movie was done? And how the film was received after viewing.
John S. Carolan: I felt happy that it was done and that I could move on to the next project. It was reserved very well after a showing to my class, with them enjoying the film a lot.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
John S. Carolan: I know I reserved feedback from my teachers about the film, but I can’t remember what it was. I do remember that my grade for the film was distinction, which I was very happy about.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
John S. Carolan: Not at present no, the most I do with the film now is sometimes screen it in private for friends.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
John S. Carolan: I’m a light fan of King’s, not to the extent of reading all his books, but I’ve read and enjoyed a good couple of them. My favourite of his works are ‘’Night Shift’’ ‘’The Shining’’ ‘’Different Seasons’’ and ‘’Misery’’. As for adaptations of his works that would be ‘’The Shining 1980’’ ‘’The Woman in the Room 1983’’ ‘’Maximum Overdrive 1986’’ The Shawshank Redemption 1994’’ ‘’Stand by Me 1986’’ and ‘’Misery 1990’’
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)?
John S. Carolan: No, I sent him a dollar and a Dvd of the film, that was 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?
John S. Carolan: Not at the moment, I did have plans to make another dollar baby, this time of the man who loves flowers, but that never got off the ground. There is one story I remember reading a long time ago called ‘’Mile 81’’ I think that would be fun to make into a short film.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
John S. Carolan: Nowadays I’m working on a short fan film adaptation of a James Bond short story. I’m also finishing up getting my MA degree in film production.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
John S. Carolan: Well the one thing I can think of that surprises people is when I tell them that I started making short films in 2015 and at the time of this interview I’ve made 55 short films.
SKSM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
John S. Carolan: God knows, I’d like to be working full-time as a filmmaker, but that’s something we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
John S. Carolan: You’re welcome. Heeem well all I’ll say is if there is someone reading this who is interested in the arts and wants to become an artist, whether that be in wiring, filmmaking, painting, music or whatever else there may be. Whatever you make will have mistakes no matter what you do, the thing is not to look at them and let them stop you, it is to look at them and learn from them and keep moving forward, keep practising and keep on making as slowly but inadvertently you will get better and better as time goes on, and also never forget to have fun with your work.
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
John S. Carolan: hank you for reading and have a nice day.