I recently had the opportunity to interview Rick Harper who’s the director and producer behind the intriguing documentary “Room Full of Spoons.” Room Full of Spoons is a documentary project now in development, and raising capital to get to the next level. Its story is about the worst film ever made; the cult-hit phenomenon “The Room”, and its eccentric creator Tommy Wiseau.
You can watch and learn what this project is all about below, and read what Rick had to say in our interesting Q and A.
1. What’s the story behind your team wanting to develop “Room Full of Spoons” into a documentary?
I discovered “The Room” in 2010 and I immediately became obsessed with it, in weird way I felt I was the ultimate fan and that no one quite understood it like I did. In short, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.
At the time I had only ever dreamed of becoming a filmmaker, but when the owner of local theatre, The Mayfair, talked about bringing Tommy Wiseau to Ottawa my “production company” sponsored the event with the sole purpose of getting to meet him and possibly do dinner.
To my surprise, Tommy and I got along very well and he invited my team and I work to with him at several more screenings. Tommy was such a fascinating and complex person to me, odd and eccentric yet extremely intelligent and friendly, and at the time I felt The Room’s success was at its peak, so I had the idea of filming a documentary as a means to share this niche phenomenon with the world and celebrate Tommy’s uniqueness.
- Who is involved with the project?
We’ve been very fortunate to have the entire cast of The Room support the movie, many who I now consider personal friends of mine. They tell hilarious stories of how it was to work with Tommy, things that happened behind the scenes and their lives since appearing in the Citizen Kane of bad movies.
Most of the crew have made themselves available too, including Sandy Schklair, the script supervisor who takes credit for directing 90% of The Room. We’ve interviewed camera operators, the composer of original score, production assistants and even actors from other cult favourites. Room Full of Spoons really gets to the bottom of what makes The Room such a special movie. Juliette Danielle calls it “A love letter to The Room”
- What are the core goals for the film?
The great thing about this documentary is that it doesn’t only speak to existing fans of The Room. Our goal was to make it as comprehensive and interesting as possible for those who may not be familiar with the source material in hopes of expanding The Room’s fan base, all while answering each and every question the fans have debated over for years now. Following the success of Greg Sestero’s book The Disaster Artist and the soon to be James Franco/Seth Rogan film adaption, our hopes are for Room Full of Spoons to be an equally relevant companion piece to The Room.
- What have been the biggest project challenges and struggles to date?
In the process of putting together the documentary, I came to find that working with Tommy Wiseau in any capacity can be quite challenging. As the project got bigger, Tommy grew uncomfortable. For someone with such a “big” personality, he is actually a very private person. He supported this documentary in the early stages, but isn’t directly involved in the production. While the research was extensive, it’s very difficult to make him understand that Room Full of Spoons isn’t an investigative report or an attempt to marginalize The Room’s success or invade his privacy.
His lack of involvement actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to have artistic freedom and eliminate any potential biases. There’s a fine line between a documentary and a 90 minute commercial, if the person you’re documenting has control over the project.
- Have you been building an audience while the project has been in development?
Yes, we are very active on social media and engage with fans from around the world through memes, clips from the documentary and regular updates about the production. The Room community is huge and we’ve been working very hard to build awareness for Room Full of Spoons. We have an amazing fan base, several of who are now part of the film itself. UK rock band, Top Buzzer, have provided music from the soundtrack; Table 16 productions from Illinois have provided free film production services to us; and hundreds of fans have agreed to be filmed/interviewed about their favourite “So bad it’s good” movie.
- Have any good tips for creating a documentary?
Be patient- when creating a documentary, everyone involved is essentially doing you a favour. You can’t expect people to be as passionate or excited about the project as you are; many times there’s a grooming process involved. This is especially difficult in the beginning. It’s easy to question someone’s credibility when all they have to show for it is an idea. For example, it took 2 years to convince Phil Haldiman, (Denny from The Room), to meet with me. We were also fortunate to get other Room cast members to vouch for us and that secured interviews with their counterparts (which also took years in some cases).
Don’t rush- documentaries are not scripted so you never truly know when the story is over. By the time it’s released, Room Full of Spoons will have taken us 4 years to make. This of course wasn’t our original intention but time was very generous to us, we’ve matured as filmmakers and The Room’s popularity is at an all-time high. As a result, our release date was postponed a few times but only for the greater good of the project.
7. When and where can we watch your film?
Some recent developments are taking us to Europe in April for the final weeks of filming and we begin editing immediately upon our return. We expect Room Full of Spoons to be ready next fall.
Room Full Spoons will be available on DVD and so will More Spoons, a bonus DVD with hours of hilarious interviews and behind the scenes footage that couldn’t fit into the documentary. We also plan to have a limited theatrical release compete with prizes, Q&A sessions, and special guests.
- Any parting shots?
You have an opportunity to pre-order Room Full of Spoons and More Spoons now via Kickstarter.
The funds collected through this campaign will be put toward travel and costs associated with post-production. You can follow our progress at:
Facebook: Room Full of Spoons
We thank Rick for his time and insightful answers for documentary producers to learn from! We also wish him and his team all the best with Room Full of Spoons going forward.
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