He’s the man behind I Am The Doorway Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Simon Pearce: My name is Simon Pearce and I’m a director based in the UK. I work pre-dominantly as a freelance editor right now and alongside that direct my own shorts and features. My latest film is a 20 minute adaptation of the short story “I Am the Doorway“, by Stephen King.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become a filmmaker?
Simon Pearce: It was from quite an early age, both my parents are in the industry which I think gave me a natural interest, and certainly by the time I was 10 or 11 I knew directing is what I wanted to do. I started shooting a short film one day with a friend, just with the family video camera, simply because we were bored – and instantly fell in love with the whole process.
SKSM: Could you tell our readers the status of I am the doorway or some updates?
Simon Pearce: Sure. So we shot the film in Scotland in March 2017, and have been working on the post production ever since. The film was picture locked by the end of summer, and since then we’ve been focusing on the film’s visual effects, sound design and music. We estimate it will be completed by the end of January 2018.
We have some amazing people working with us on this project, from the cast; Simon Merrells (Knightfall, Spartacus: War of the Damned) and Grant Masters (Silent Witness, Rome), to the incredible people behind the scenes such as our director of photography Phil Méheux (Casino Royale, The Mask of Zorro) and my producing partner Wolfram Parge. All of them have been incredibly supportive of the project despite this being a short and the budget limitations that come with that!
SKSM: How come you picked I am the doorway to develop into a movie? What is it in the story that you like so much?
Simon Pearce: The story was actually first brought to my attention by one of the three screenwriters who adapted it, Jeffrey Stackhouse. He contacted me having acquired the rights for the dollar baby, and asked if I’d be interested in directing. He saw my horror feature film “Judas Ghost” at a festival in Los Angeles, where we both met, and that’s what led him to me for this project. After we spoke I went out and read the book which I loved. Obviously King’s writing is superb, but also the story felt so different compared to other stories I’d seen/read in that genre, plus the fact that it was this actually quite large scale science fiction story, distilled down to two people on a beach. The idea that it is in fact us that are the monsters from the point of view of these (potentially) alien visitors, and indeed the interpretation that this might all be in the head of our protagonist – there was a lot going on beneath the surface that I knew would be fun to explore and I loved the adapted script that Jeffrey and his two writing partners Wendy and Richard had written.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wikd guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Simon Pearce: That again was down to Jeffrey, I had never heard of it before I must confess, but I think it’s a great scheme that Stephen King has set-up and offers a great opportunity to aspiring film-makers.
SKSM: How does it feel that all the King fans out there won’t see your movie? Do you think that will change in the future? Maybe a internet/dvd release would be possible?
Simon Pearce: Well I certainly hope that they can! That is one drawback of the dollar baby in that it’s potential exposure, certainly initially, is limited to festivals – but I know there’s been incidences in the past where a limited online screening for a short period has been allowed, so fingers crossed that’s something we can obtain. We certainly plan to try! Our hope is that King himself sees it and something can be worked out (provided he likes our take!). As for festivals we of course plan to take it to as many places and countries around the world as we can. The horror/independent film community is one I’ve found to be incredibly supportive in the past, and I’d certainly love to show it to as many people as possible. We’re still completing the film but are very proud of what we have.
SKSM: I guess it’s very soon to asking this question but… where the premiere will be? Do you plan to screen the movie at a particular festival?
Simon Pearce: We’ll be setting up premieres in London and the US for sure and will be submitting to a variety of festivals, so again this will hopefully offer lots of people the opportunity to see the finished article. The best way to keep up to date is via our social media, @doorway2017 or facebook.com/iamthedoorway2016.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favorite works and adaptations?
Simon Pearce: I am although shamefully I must admit that’s down more to the movie adaptations I’ve seen more than books I’ve read, simply because I haven’t read that many. I am currently reading ‘IT‘ which I’m really enjoying (if you can use that word about a horror novel!) and it’s the story that has probably resonated most with me. I did really enjoy the latest adaptation of that too. The original TV movie with Tim Curry terrified me when I first saw it! I still have the odd dream about that damn clown now!
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories in the future? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Simon Pearce: I’d love to! It’s a great genre to play in and he’s the master! There’s no immediate plans but I’d actually love to do a feature adaptation of ‘Doorway’, I’m pretty sure our three writers are keen too…. so who knows, perhaps if it goes very well!!
SKSM: Are you working on another project besides this one?
Simon Pearce: I have a few things in development – an action/thriller entitled “Blood Valley” and another called “Burner”, one of which ideally I’ll be shooting next year. Action is another favourite genre of mine.
I’m also about to complete the second and final season of a science fiction web series called “Horizon“, which I worked on as director, writer and producer along with a close friend of mine and fellow director Paul Dudbridge. We released the first series online in 2015 and the next will be out around February of 2018. You can watch all the episodes so far at www.horizonwebseries.com.
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Simon Pearce: Perhaps the fact that until I was in my early twenties the horror genre was one I completely ignored! Not out of any ill feelings toward it, simply because I was a bit of a wimp when I was younger and so tended to avoid them! This hopefully also explains my shocking Stephen King pedigree until recently! When I made a horror feature in 2012 I started watching a lot more of them as preparation and am now really into the genre! I hope horror fans will forgive me for being late to the party!
SKSM: What advice would you give to those people who want to be filmmakers?
Simon Pearce: Mainly just to get out there and do it! The tools you need to do it are so much more accessible now and, no matter what you shoot, everything you make gives you invaluable experience looking back. I used to make shorts in my teens which were basically just myself and some friends running around the woods with BB guns, but it still teaches you a lot about shot placement, editing, orientation – how to improvise on set if what you’ve planned isn’t possible etc… It all helps to fine tune your intuition.
Don’t be afraid to help out on other peoples projects too – be it a music video, a commercial, another short, even filming your friends wedding! Again the experiences you gain will all help you down the line on your own shoots.
Finally I’d maybe say not to run before you can walk – what is happening now that its much easier to go out and shoot something, is people who’ve perhaps not done much in the past are diving right into features or other projects that are hugely ambitious – and you don’t want such a steep learning curve with so many variables if you’re fairly new to it. Make some smaller things first, make your mistakes – hone your craft, and then you can go to town!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Simon Pearce: Haha, well not sure how many people that would be aimed at in truth, simply thanks for reading and watching and if you want to see the film keep an eye on our social media channels for the latest! You can also follow me @cbaproductions if you really want to, I try to keep that pretty up to date with what I’m doing!
I wanted to make films because of the adrenaline and emotion I always experience watching films myself, to know someone, somewhere has seen and enjoyed my work will always be the most gratifying thing, so thanks to those audiences and people I’ve had the opportunity to speak with in the past, and to people like yourself for helping to push independent film!
SKSM: Would you like to add something?
Simon Pearce: Just a huge thanks to my amazing cast and crew for making this film possible! It would never have happened were it not for their support, and thanks to Jeffrey for first putting his faith in me to direct this adaptation.
Thanks so much again for the intervew and I hope you enjoy the movie when you see it!