He is the filmmaker of Morning Deliveries Dollar Baby film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Robert Smith: My name is Robbie Smith and I am a film director. And stuff.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Robert Smith: My grandma used to expose me to whatever she had rented on the weekend I’d stay with her. A lot of the time it’d fucking terrify me to tears, then she’d explain the whole process… the swell of the music and the way people moved. I wanted to be a part of that. Hellraiser III was my first Hellraiser, it was unfortunate.
SKSM: When did you make Morning Deliveries? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Robert Smith: We made Morning Deliveries in early March of 2020. We shot in Taft, Ca, where a crystallized version of the American dream still exists. We shot it for just about $7,500 (which we raised primarily through indiegogo) and we spent 3 days getting it all shot.
SKSM: How come you picked Morning Deliveries to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Robert Smith: When I first encountered the story Morning Deliveries, it perplexed me. I didn’t get it. I was pretty young at the time and always looked to King for spectacle ala The Stand and reading something as minor as Morning Deliveries just kinda rung my bell. This 3 page short story seemingly about nothing had wormed its way in my head and it never left. I’d revisited Skeleton Crew once or twice on trips and there are so many cool stories there.
I still think about Spike every other day when seeing service workers.
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?
Robert Smith: I had heard about the Dollar Baby program through stories from greats like Frank Darabont and had decided to give it a try. To be honest, I didn’t think it’d be that easy! Then when I had received word back I got to adapting and just kinda thrust myself into it. It’s really a genius little program. I’d love to see the more of them. (Dollar baby alumni please send me your links!!)
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Robert Smith: We prepared for this thing big time with location scouting and permits, but ended up doing 75% of it off the cuff and in places where we didn’t have permits/unscouted locations. A lot of really cool moments presented themselves and we took advantage of them. It was such a remarkable shoot in that it all went so beautifully.
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?
Robert Smith: I knew what I was getting into when I signed up for it. It does bum me out that we can’t have a public link of the short film, but that’s motivated me to get into film festivals and I’ve sent private links to various producers who seem interested in funding future projects based on the work with Morning Deliveries. I do hope it changes. I think we’ve certainly made the best Morning Deliveries short film and I always want to recommend it to Constant Readers. I’d love to just hear from SK! We finished and sent it out when COVID was just starting and I think it just kind of fell by the wayside.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Robert Smith: We haven’t received much of either. Most of the people that have seen it were involved with it or had funded it, so they’re biased and usually give it a generous review. That’s another bummer about not having it publicly available, I’d love to receive negative reviews that might result in some constructive criticism.
SKSM: Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Robert Smith: I’ve submitted it to several. Been rejected from 3 now. We just got selected to be shown at A Night of Misfit Films in Phoenix, AZ on 11/28/20! Very stoked on that. Waiting on word back from the rest.
The festival thing is expensive and rather heartbreaking! It’s a valuable feeling.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Robert Smith: I am a huge Stephen King fan. My favorite works are the Dark Tower series. I am truly obsessed with DT and the SK multiverse. I actually brought some of Dark Tower into Morning Deliveries with how Spike goes into Todash to do his dirty work in the milk van. Lots of rose imagery.
Favorite film adaptations are The Mist, Dr Sleep, Gerald’s Game and Cujo. Do you know what I’d give to see that Dark Tower pilot Glen Mazarra orchestrated?
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)?
Robert Smith: I have not been in contact with anyone other than Margaret Morehouse, who I assume is his assistant. I would love nothing more than for SK to see it and to remark upon it, good or bad. I think he’d be proud.
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?
Robert Smith: I don’t have any plans to adapt more Stephen King at the moment. After doing Morning Deliveries and being restricted with its release, I decided to concentrate on original material and to start working on a feature length film. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to work in that universe! But with the popularity I doubt an independent filmmaker like myself might get a chance.
If I could pick? The Gunslinger or Drawing of the Three. If I couldn’t play in the Dark Tower sandbox? Insomnia. (But that’s cheating ‘cause we’re still in the DT universe!)
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Robert Smith: I am working on a feature film to be shot in the Fall of 2021. It’s a snowy, melancholic ghost picture with a few surprises I’ve never seen on screen. Working on securing the last bit of funding for that now while we finish pre-production. I’ll be working with almost everyone from the production of Morning Deliveries, including Paris Peterson (Spike), in the main role.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Robert Smith: I was a cheerleader in my junior year of high school. I joined for my girlfriend. I could back handspring and back tuck. I didn’t last long, as I’m not a supremely peppy human, but I look back on my time with it fondly. I never played sports, so it was an interesting middle ground.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Robert Smith: Shit, if you want to see Morning Deliveries, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Ideally I’d like to show it to people who might be able to provide funding down the line for future projects, but if you’re a big SK fan and you’re interested in what I’ve done, then I’d love for you to see it! And this goes without saying, but if anyone would like to fund a film, please reach out! Also, please visit my website at robbiesmith.org to see my past work. Thanks!
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Robert Smith: Long days & pleasant nights.