He is the creator of One For The Road Dollar Baby audio production.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Sean Patrick Bridges: My name is Sean Bridges. I was born in Germany, and have moved around all my life, but I’m happy to call the Texas Hill Country home. Here’s my current bio which highlights some of my creative work:
He produced and directed two documentaries in the Caribbean. Out of many: One struggle for education about school kids getting a second chance in Kingston, Jamaica. And 20/20 Vision a look at the development of a global financial hub in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
He’s a Nicholl award-winning screenwriter. He’s worked on projects with Robert Rodriguez’s Troublemaker Studios. He started Audible Parade in the Texas Hill Country; they created Triple Six, a Las Vegas based serial audio thriller.
SKSM: When did you make One for the road? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to finish it?
Sean Patrick Bridges: I signed the contract in January 2020, and got right to work adapting the story. We moved through pre-production pretty steady until Covid brought life to a halt.
The cast and I were able to get back into the studio during the summer (with necessary precautions). My editor Heather Bridges and I dove into post production through late summer and deep into the fall.
With final artwork in place from Andy Johnson @Grayson Designs, I completed the production and submitted it to Stephen King by the end of the year.
It was an out-of-pocket budget of US$3500. Cast & Crew were willing to work way below their normal rates or even for nothing, simply because they wanted to be a part of bringing this Stephen King story to life.
SKSM: One for the road is the very first official audio-only Dollar Baby. Why did you choose this format instead of shooting a film like usual Dollar Babies?
Sean Patrick Bridges: It’s a happy surprise that we’re the first-ever audio dollar baby. I discovered the world of audio stories through the Austin Film Festival and fell hard for the concept. It’s a throwback to the way we used to tell stories, like vintage radio, but using modern audio techniques. It’s a marriage between old and new.
At Audible Parade we have full casts working their scenes together in the studio. Combine that with sound FX, music and ambient backgrounds and you create a movie for your mind. Cinema through your headphones. It’s a brilliant way to bring scripts and stories to life.
I had just completed my first full-length audio production. A suspense/thriller entitled Triple Six and was very happy with how it all turned out. When I was accepted to be a Dollar Baby, it seemed like the perfect fit for our next audio production.
SKSM: How come you picked One for the road to develop into an audio production? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Night Shift was the first Stephen King novel I ever read. My dad gave it to me when I was in middle school, and I fell hard and became a life-long fan. Anything I’ve done creatively can be traced back to that kid in school carrying one of his novels around in my backpack.
And as a thank you to my father, I added him into this cast. You can hear him paying for drinks at Tookey’s Bar. I get a kick out of that every time I hear him. I was able to bring my dad into the Stephen King universe.
I remember being unnerved by One for the road when I first read it, and the story never lost its luster. When I saw the list of available Dollar Baby choices, it jumped right out at me. I re-read the story and knew it was the one. Plus, I had written a werewolf western screenplay and a sci-fi / Frankenstein script, so I really wanted to create a vampire story to add into my creative portfolio. And this vampire story was perfect to adapt. A chance to play in ‘Salem’s Lot. I’m still floored I got to do 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?
Sean Patrick Bridges: This will show my age, but I remember watching the first set of Dollar Babies on a VHS tape. They released three of them as a compilation. And even back then I thought, wow what an amazing opportunity. I wonder how you could ever get the chance to make one of those?
Fast forward a couple decades, and I was reading an article (I believe it was from Den of Geek) that explained the history of the Dollar Baby and it had a link to the Stephen King website, along with the home page of the actual program.
They weren’t accepting any more requests that year, so I tagged the website on my phone and forgot about it. Until early 2020, when I checked out the website again and they were open for new applicants.
I submitted a formal application. The response made me feel like I won a golden ticket.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment in the production that you would like to tell me about?
Sean Patrick Bridges: There’s a nod to George Romero in the production. George Romero and Stephen King were close friends and collaborators for decades. And in the film, Day of the dead, the paperback of ‘Salem’s Lot appears in a scene. So since One for the road is a companion piece to that novel, it seemed fitting to have an Easter egg to a Romero zombie movie. As Booth is scanning through different stations on the radio dial, there’s a little snippet of Night of the living dead on one of the stations.
Special moments. You never know how production will actually unfold but this one was surprisingly smooth. This has been one of my favorite ensambles I’ve gotten to work with. I have to thank June Griffin Garcia casting. With her help, we were able to bring together a great group of professional actors.
The bulk of the story is really carried by the three leads, and they had to stand toe to toe with each other. If there was a weak link among the three, the whole project would have fallen flat. As we were recording some early scenes in Tookey’s Bar, having Ken Webster, Kenneth Wayne Bradley and Heath Allyn work together was such a thrill.
There were times when I knew I had what I needed as a director. But it sounded so good I’d have them do the scene over again, just to hear it play out live in the studio.
SKSM: This audio production won a Gold Medal from The Audio Fiction & Arts festival and it’s been selected to play at international film festivals. Could you talk more about that?
Sean Patrick Bridges: At the beginning of 2021, I started sending the production out to a number of film and audio festivals. We’ve been fortunate to hit a few. There’s still a dozen plus to decide before the end of the year so I don’t want to jinx it. But if we’re able to rack up some more festival laurels, that’s an even wider spotlight for our work.
I’m pleased with the finished production and proud of our work. I’m very happy with how it turned out. If the festival circuit enables people from all over to check it out for themselves, that’s the best kind of recognition you can get.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received about One for the road?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Honestly, I don’t think enough people have heard the completed production yet. I’m open to reviews, and let the chips fall where they may, good or bad.
The festival circuit helps showcase our work, as well as interviews like this. But I’m definitely interested in getting our version of One for the road out to the widest possible audience.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Stephen King taught me to learn to love to read. That’s probably the best compliment you can give a writer. And through him I discovered a number of authors and books.
I have a soft spot for Christine. Years ago I helped my father re-build a Triumph TR-6 and we listened to the oldies radio station as we brought that car back to life. That book will always be a sentimental favorite of mine.
The dead zone, Firestarter, Different seasons, The running man are books I find myself returning to time and again, just to get a spark of what I felt when I read them for the first time.
The drawing of the tree is a classic, but I lost my way through the bulk of the Dark Tower epic. Thinner. That was the first book I ever read cover to cover, I just couldn’t put it down.
Adaptations. I really enjoyed the director’s cut of Doctor Sleep. And Gerald’s game was a fantastic adaptation. Mike Flanagan knows how to bring King’s books to the screen and stay true to the source material. The Shawshank redemption & Creepshow. All-time favorites that never get old. I’m always up for a rewatch.
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)?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Not yet. I followed the contract, hit my budget and delivered a completed production during the allotted time. That was my job. But I always figured my work would go on the bottom of a very large pile. My contacts with his office has always been friendly. But yeah, Stephen King’s reaction will be a cherry on top to this whole wonderful experience.
SKSM: Did you ever think about turning this production into a movie?
Sean Patrick Bridges: I set out to create this as an audio production and I think it works on that level. It currently clocks in at 42 minutes.
But if we received serious producer interest in bringing my script to life as a film, of course I would be onboard. I can already see where I could flesh out the existing story into feature length.
SKSM: Do you have any plans on making another audio production or a film based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story, which one would it be and why?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Roadwork or The running man. I would relish the chance to turn either of those into full-length audio productions. I mean, in a heartbeat. Man, I’m smiling just thinking about that.
When I looked at the list of available Dollar Baby stories to choose from, my close second pick was, The last rung on the ladder. It’s a bittersweet story that I would love to bring to life. But I would tackle that one as a short film. I can even see the barn in my mind as I type this.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Our next full-length audio production will be based on a ghost story I wrote, 11:34. Coming in 2022.
And I’m currently in the midst of my next novel, an action/thriller entitled, Gunbarrel Highway.
SKSM: What one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Sean Patrick Bridges: My whole life, I’ve always been a dog guy. But since I moved to rural Texas, I discovered a calming connection with horses, chickens, deer. Different animals just seem to like me. If I knew that when I was younger, I could’a been a vet.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Thanks for taking the time to read it. If you’re interested in more information on existing and upcoming audio productions, check out audibleparade.com
SKSM: Would you like to add anything else?
Sean Patrick Bridges: Sure. Did you know Stephen King has his own radio station, out of Bangor, Maine. WKIT, 100.3. Dollar Baby audio productions seem like a good fit. I could hear them playing across the airwaves. Couldn’t you?