Game of Me, is one of the latest short films to be produced by Dexter Goad at ShadowDog Productions. This is the second short film that I've had the honour of being involved in with Dexter and it's been a real pleasure to have worked on the film score and to understand more about the story and where it came from. This thought-provoking and emotional story comes from Jenna Simon, one of the stars of the film and I'm really pleased to be able to share this interview which offers thoughts from both Jenna and Dexter on the making of Game of Me...
Where did the idea for Game of Me come from?
Jenna: 'It mostly came from my own life story, but we added elements of fiction to create a story that would be interesting and powerful.'
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Jenna: 'I am a 30 year old artist and actress who has been in recovery from an eating disorder for 3 and a half years. I originally drew for myself, but when one of my drawings went viral after being shared on my personal Facebook page, I thought maybe my work could help others in my situation and started sharing it on public platforms. I enjoy drawing, acting (I think my favorite is voice over work), and reading a good book. I think all art forms are amazing and enjoy appreciating the work of others, especially things I cannot do at all myself like music, singing and gymnastics. I hope to utilize my story to help prevent the same story from happening to someone else, even if it’s only one other person. One person with a better life is a step toward stopping the stigma around mental health and changing the system.'
It's wonderful to meet you Jenna and thank you so much for sharing that with us. Now let's look at the wonderful Game of Me! What is the short film about?
Jenna: 'It’s about a 16 year old girl with an eating disorder. She has a whole host of other problems, and she’s good at hiding them. The adults in her world aren’t really aware of what’s going on with her because they are busy attending to their own problems and life, so her struggles sort of slip through the cracks. The only one who seems to know what’s going on and care is her very young sister, who isn’t really capable of doing much to help. Even when she tries to ask their mother for help, the child’s concerns are put aside.'
How did you find the process of making it? What did you learn and what sorts of challenges did you face?
Jenna: 'The biggest challenge I faced was working with a subject matter so close to home. I actually anticipated acting in it to be easy for that reason: it was something I personally lived. It really turned out to be the opposite. Sometimes these struggles aren’t as removed as you think they are, but that’s all the not reason to create a film that depicts just how difficult it is.'
Wow, it must have been quite an experience. It's amazing that you have shared your experience with us through Game of Me and I'm sure that it's a story that will touch many. Now let's get some thoughts from you Dexter!
We've got to know you a little bit before through your earlier short film The Waiting Room and you've been doing this (i.e. making films) for quite a while now, so do you still enjoy it?
Dexter: 'I do, it's what I was born for. My father is a storyteller, always has been, and he's very good at it. But never professionally, just to friends and family. I feel like I'm the logical evolution of what he was, I've taken storytelling to a professional level.'
What are your goals & ambitions for your various films?
Dexter: 'To entertain, first and foremost. Entertainment is undervalued sometimes but we need it, especially when the world is crumbling down around us either in a macro way or just in our personal lives or both. We need to get out of our heads, even if for a few minutes. The day I first saw Infinity War was a really bad day for me in the middle of a bad week. That film did me an invaluable service by taking me out of my head for three hours and transporting me to some other place. I needed that break badly. We all do. So you should never undervalue the service that entertainment provides.
But, if while entertaiing you can also make somebody think or question or revisit their own perceptions, you've accomplished all you could ever dream of as a storyteller.'
Can you share with us why you create short films?
Dexter: 'Stephen King said it best. A short story is like a passionate kiss, a novel is like a passionate summer vacation affair. Both have their place and both are desirable for different reasons. So, while feature films get all the glory and actually generate money, short films fill a necessary hole in the pantheon of storytelling. Sometimes people only need, or have time and energy for, a single bite of story.'
Very true! It's great to get your thoughts on this. Let's take a look at the music now. From your perspective what part does the music play in Game of Me?
Dexter: 'It's crucial in this particular film because there are several scenes which simply don't work without the music. And not just any music, the music you wrote for this film perfectly accentuates what Jenna was trying to express.'
Why did you decide to work with me again on some of the film score?
Dexter: 'I've been doing this for 15 years and I've never reused a composer over more than two projects but we connect on a cellular level. We get each other, which really cuts through some of the time suck issues you can get into when having to explain things over and over. In the hectic lifestyle of a modern day filmmaking in which social media engagement is another full time job on top of everything else, if you can find talented freelancers who just GET you, that's an incredible resource.'
Where will Game of Me be released and when can we view it?
It's been submitted to film festivals all over the US so I'll keep you apprised of how that goes.
What’s your next project and where can we find out more about what you’re working on?
Our focus for the next couple years is a new webseries called Book Crushers which will be exclusive to Youtube. I'm happy to announce that Ninchi WILL be involved throughout.
Thanks Dexter for sharing all of your plans with us and for your encouraging words! We will all be sure to keep an eye out for Game of Me as it gets released and for your future web series Book Crushers too.
About the Author:
Ninichi is a freelance composer, creating music for film, games and other media. She has worked on a wide range of projects and is available to commission now. She creates custom music for films, commercials, tv shows and more, and also have a catalog of music available to license.