Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Q&A with Terminus Producer A.M Esmonde

Sadly, horror novelist and producer A.M. Esmonde couldn't make it to the screening of Terminus at October's Moviebar but he did leave us this little message...

...and took some time out to answer a few questions about adapting his stories for the screen with the help of US-based filmmakers...

How did the film come about?
I’d written Blood Hunger and was keen to adapt it. However, knowing it would be impossible to have it made as a feature at the time, I wrote a zero budget 2 minute short - Revamped - based on one of the characters from the book. But as a showcase to get Blood Hunger made I needed something on a larger scale. By chance, Innerface films based in the USA contacted me about adapting my work.

How did you get in touch with the director Sean Parsons?
Sean P. Parsons and his business partner contacted me in 2009. Sean had a special effects background in LA and he’s a good writer and cinematographer. They sent me some shorts, writings and some SFX stuff.

How much input/involvement did you have with the script and then later with the production?
Having already made Revamped from the UK with Milden the director in Michigan, I knew it could be done and get good results without having to leave the UK. Innerface were based in Olney, Maryland and so we got a contract in place and it was done over the internet and via post. With Revamped I wrote it and supplied specific story boards, they’d send it to me and I edited it. With Terminus again I communicated over the all powerful internet. It also allowed Parsons freedom to a certain degree. It was Sean’s baby, he’d send me script and we’d go back and forth until the shooting script was locked down. Same with the editing and the rough cut.

Are there any major departures from your original material?
Yes, I didn’t want to single out chapters and in effect pull apart Blood Hunger. Also Blood Hunger is theatrical in nature and I wanted to make it more grounded which would have taken too much time. It would be like doing L.A. Takedown on a tiny indie scale knowing that Heat could be made in the future. So it’s an original story with the spirit of Blood Hunger. Sean had already outlined a story that I liked called ‘Acrylic’. From Blood Hunger is Terminus’ main character Anushka, in the book she’s an important part of the Serbian plot. Marquise, played by Stacey Jackson, is the character Monica in Blood Hunger. Through development, Acrylic became Terminus.

Has the film been screened anywhere else?
The film, after spending money on a lot of entry fees, did not get a showing in the States and is now modestly successful Video on Demand in the USA. I think it’s too visual, and not gory enough to appeal to horror festivals. It’s really a character drama and the vamploric stuff puts drama festivals off so it’s hard to categorise. In addition, due to the 42 minute length we didn’t feel it would be right to put it on DVD, hence the V.O.D. Moviebar really has an exclusive first showing. We could have got a feature running time but it would have been padded with stuff that really needed to be cut. Most of the cast were experienced theatre actors. They were getting use to film. Bruce Allen Dawson, known for his film roles and Theo 'Rick Vick' Johnson is a singer/model and really good bloke. Hello Rick! This is a UK exclusive.

Are there any plans for a follow up, or are you planning on collaborating with Sean again?

I’d love to work with Sean again and he’s keen too but to get a grant here you have to have the UK key crew. If I could I would though. But it boils down to money. That said, I’d love to make a film here rather than the USA. Terminus is Americanised. Its finding the right dedicated people to do it, especially on low/no budget when you want a big budget look. It has to come through love of the craft with hopefully a financial reward in the future.

What are you working on next?
I’m midway thought a third book and working on getting Blood Hunger adapted - tentatively titled Crimson Women. I’m trying to secure development finances to get the feature made.

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