Lessons from Don Carmody


Behind every great film is a huge team of talented people, all working together to create the final piece of motion picture magic. When I realised that “Silent Hill” (2006) was my favourite film ever, I wanted to find out as much as possible about the team behind this magnificent film. Whilst watching all the Behind the Scenes of the film, twice over, I saw that everyone involved in the film, from the actors to the wardrobe department, were all highly motivated and passionate about making the best game to movie adaptation.

One of the many people interviewed was one of the film’s producers, Don Carmody. He looked like a typical Producer. The larger than life man controlling the entire film, who knew exactly what they were talking about. Here was a man who definitely knew what he was talking about, not just in the sense of making a film for making money’s sake. He was passionate about “Silent Hill”, he knew the direction the film was going, he knew the fanbase out there wanted something terrific, and he knew how to deliver it.

Earlier this week I managed to speak with Don about his career and about what it is that makes him (and his movies) tick.

  • You have been in the film industry for over thirty years now, was this something you always wanted to do or was it just something that you fell into?

(40 years actually) Accidentally I guess, in that I wanted to be an artist but my father insisted I get a University Degree. My life drawing teacher had just been hired to teach film-making at Canada’s first University Film School and suggested I study with him.

  • During your time in the business there must have been big changes, how have things changed during your time working for the business? What has been the biggest change?

The biggest change has to be the advent of the digital age, and how quickly the production of movies has been overtaken by VFX. No surprise the biggest non-change is still the need first and foremost for a good story.

  • What do you look for in a film for you to get behind it? Is it primarily the script? The writer? Or are there other factors?

The story, always the story and how cleverly it is told.

  • You are known best for producing horrors, what is so attractive about this genre?

I like to make horror as it is fun and immediately satisfying. But I also love comedy. Some of my biggest hits have been comedies.

  • Do you have a personal favourite film that you have produced?

No I like them all equally. Some end up better than others but you never set out to make a bad or indifferent film.

“…the biggest change in the industry has to be the advent of the digital age, and how quickly the production of movies has been overtaken by VFX”

  • What is your favourite film ever?

I have favourites over a number of different genres. There are many movies that I can watch over and over so I guess those – “Alien”, “Some Like it Hot”, “West Side Story”, “Jaws” etc.

  • You have produced several of the “Resident Evil” series of films, and both of the “Silent Hill” films. What attracts you to this “game-to-film” genre of film? 

They usually come with a built in audience, also with a built in set of critics too though!

Quite doubtful at this point, but you never know!

  • In 2010, the UK Film Council was abolished, making it nearly impossible for British films to get off the ground or be funded. Do you think it’s getting harder for films to be made in countries other than the USA? What is it like producing films in Canada?

The UK has just introduced new funding rules which I think will help the industry, which is good because it is a very strong industry with storytelling skills second only to the US.

Thank you to Don Carmody for taking the time to talk to me. His website is available HERE!