film music

Introducing the Short Film: Game of Me

Game of Me-Short Film1.jpg

By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

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?

Game of Me-Short Film3.jpg

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.'

Game of Me-Short Film2.jpg

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.

Discover more of her film music or explore her royalty free music now.

Introducing Animated Short Film: Warmth

Warmth-Animated Short Film.png

By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you like animations, touching stories and short films, you will absolutely love Warmth! I was so pleased to connect with Erik Boismier, a super talented animator, when he commissioned me to work on the music to his wonderful animated short Warmth. He's been so kind as to let me interview him and to give us all a bit more insight into the creation and thinking behind Warmth. So, let's get to it...

Who are you and how did you get into animation?

Clara-Warmth Animated Short Film.png

'My name is Erik Boismier. I was born in Chatham, Ontario and grew up watching just about every animated series I had the time and capacity for.  When I was 8-years-old, I had something of a revelation when I realized that making cartoons was a job, and ever since then, it was what I wanted to do for a living. I went to St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario for their “Tradigital Animation” program; it was a great program for learning several forms of animation (hand-drawn, stop-motion, 3D, etc.).

Some time after graduating, I made an impulsive decision to move to Vancouver, BC and look for work in the animation industry there. A former college classmate was already working in the area and introduced me to a number of her colleagues. In 2013, I got my first job in the animation industry, at Bardel Entertainment as a builder* on the show “Mother Up!”.

I've since gone to work for Atomic Cartoons and have been taking contracts from them exclusively for a few years now.'

*The job of taking finalized designs of characters and props and turning them into animate-able digital “puppets” for lack of a better term.

Where did the idea for Warmth come from?


'A long time ago, in part thanks to an online discussion about animation I was lurking on, I got the idea to do something where I could animate two characters with different animation styles interacting with each other. Clara, the girl in the short, is entirely hand-drawn frame-by-frame. Meanwhile, the robot Aleph is a build; digital cut-out puppet with the pieces pre-drawn and then manipulated to create motion.

Certain elements of the story were definitely influenced, whether subconsciously or deliberately, by Big Hero 6 (a robot with health care abilities) and The Little Match Girl; another short story and animated short(s) about a young orphan struggling in the winter.
Visually, Disney's Renaissance-era movies had a heavy influence on me. Additionally, the new servant robot model seen briefly in the beginning of Warmth is very similar in both design and concept to Robot-1X from Futurama.'

What is Warmth about?


'Warmth is set in a nondescript distant future where robot servants are a household item.  When the newest model of robot servant is released, people begin throwing away their old ones.  Clara, a young orphan who lives in a junkyard, one morning finds one of the discarded robots at her doorstep and quickly establishes a bond with it.  The robot seems to have some malfunctions however, and Clara wants to keep her new and only friend running.'

Were there any challenges in the making of it? Also what are you most proud of from all of this?

'Like a lot of things, the first major challenge was getting started. I had certain story beats worked out very early on but could never figure out a way to tie them together. I began discussing the idea with a friend, and he brought up the idea of a junkyard setting. Once I had that piece, everything else started to fall in place and I began writing the original story treatment.

The next big challenge was the background painting. My skill set is primarily that of a character animator; environments have never been my strong suit, and painting is something I have never excelled at. I took some time to look up and learn painting techniques I was unfamiliar with. There are backgrounds in the short I'm quite proud of, but there are some others that I still sort of wish I could have done a better job on.

Aleph-Warmth-Animated Short Film.png

Using coloured line work proved to be the most time-consuming part of the animation. For Aleph, it wasn't much of an issue since the nature of his animation meant there weren't too many unique drawings. For Clara however, it meant breaking up the lines around every specific colour fill (skin, hair, scarf, etc.) and then filling those lines with the correct line colour; and doing that for every single drawing of her. I don't regret doing it because I love the look of coloured line work, but it was enough to make me decide against it for whatever my next personal animation will be.

I would say I'm most proud of finishing the short. I've always had a bad habit of starting personal projects with a lot of ambition that end up going nowhere. That, and there are a couple shots I laid out as a deliberate challenge to myself.

When Clara first walks up to Aleph, you see her reflection in his eyes. The moment I got the idea for that shot, I knew I had to do it, but expected it to be complicated to put together. Honestly, that one really wasn't that bad in the end.
The shot of Clara setting up a new TV, on the other hand, was probably the most difficult to animate. I feel like it looks deceptively simple, but there were a lot of layering challenges to work with (her arms and the TV having to go behind and in front of the table in the foreground for example).'

Who was involved in the creation of Warmth?

'Visually, Warmth was basically a solo effort; I wrote the plot, drew the storyboards, painted the backgrounds and animated the characters and effects; but I did have help and support from friends. My friend and roommate Grant, as alluded to earlier, helped me put the story together with the idea of the junkyard setting. He also assisted in updating some of the backgrounds (adding a little more scrap and junk).

Another friend, Rachel, was consistently supportive while I was regularly showing progress updates to her. She also named her daughter “Claira” after I suggested the name (albeit spelled differently) based on the character in the short.

My on-going employment at Atomic Cartoons was also extremely helpful. The experience they've given me has improved the quality of my animation and my proficiency with software like Toon Boom Harmony dramatically.

What part does music play in it?

'While I believe that good animation can sell its mood with or without sound, music is a great tool to emphasize that intended mood. A good balance of music and silence is important too. I'm not a fan of wall-to-wall music placement that some shows use and made a conscious choice early on not to do that with Warmth.

The nice thing about a fully produced piece of media is that each element can compliment the others and elevate them; for instance, good music can often carry an otherwise weak scene. Pacing is something I agonized over throughout the production, often extending or shortening scenes, even by a factor of 3 or 4 frames sometimes. The final timing still had some bits I was unsure of, but your music pulled them together really well.

So the music's role in Warmth was to highlight the moods of the scenes whilst also helping along some of the moments that were maybe a bit weaker on my part.'

Why did you decide to work with me and how was that whole process for you? What do you think of the music now?

'When doing any kind of self-funded production, it's incredibly tempting to use as many free resources as you can to keep the cost down. While I didn't have too many qualms with using public domain sound effects, music was a different matter. The name Kevin Macleod springs to mind as probably the most popular source for free background music. His music is great, but it presents a problem if you want your material to stand out: Everyone uses it.

I watch a lot of YouTube content, and I've noticed a lot of different content producers using the same music. A friend of mine even described the phenomenon as, “the sound of having no audio budget.”

And because I really wanted Warmth to have an individual identity, I decided it needed to have an original (or at the very least, less ever-present) soundtrack. So I began searching for a composer to commission.

I encountered a couple of dead ends along the way, but a Google search did eventually lead me to your website. I listened to a number of the tracks you have available and was impressed by the range I was hearing. While the music on the site is great, I had trouble envisioning the tracks I was listening to as music to use in Warmth, so I opted to contact you directly.
Working with you was fantastic. You composed the soundtrack much faster than I expected and I only ever felt the need to call for a couple minor changes.

I'm quite satisfied with the music too. All the right moods were hit. The “Saving Clara” theme even gets me involuntarily clenching my teeth with worry during the final scene.  Exactly the feeling I want the audience to experience.'

Let's take a look at your wonderful creation Warmth...

What are your plans for the short animation?

In my final year of college, I attended the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), which features several screenings of independent animated shorts. I would really like it if Warmth could be included in one of those screenings, so I'll absolutely be making an effort for that to happen. I'll be looking into other festivals as well.

I'd also like to spread it around online. I'll likely be dropping in on a number of animation communities across Facebook, Reddit, etc. to share the YouTube link.


About the authorNinichi is a UK-based freelance music composer. She has composed the soundtracks to various games, films, shows and more. Contact her: to commission music for your project now.

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing the Short Film: The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room Short Film.jpg

Interview by Ninichi | Contact | Follow 

Towards the end of last year, I had the pleasure of working on the music to an inspiring short film called The Waiting Room. I connected with experienced filmmaker Dexter Goad, who runs ShadowDogProductions, and am now excited to share with you a short interview with him, which offers some insight into the thinking behind this production...

Who are you and how did you get into film production? 

'My name is Dexter Goad and I've been writing, producing, and Directing films for 15 years.  I got into filmmaking because I tried getting my novels published for 10 years to no avail.  So I looked into getting one self published.  What I discovered is that if you finance your own novel you're considered a hack, pathetic, a loser.  Your novel isn't good enough so you had to pay for it yourself.  However, if you finance your own music album, your own paintings, your own movies, you're respected as an artist MAKING IT HAPPEN!  I've never figured out why this hypocrisy exists, but its a real thing.  So, at the time, I was young and I cared what people thought of me & I didn't want to look like a loser.  So, I decided to finance a film based on one of my short stories instead of finance the publication of one of my novels.  The film turned out horribly, but I discovered I loved filmmaking way more than I'd ever loved novel writing and I've never looked back.'

Wow amazing! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Let's now take a look at your short film The Waiting Room. What can you tell us about it? 

'Waiting Room is about how we lie to our loved ones to "protect" them.  How that can be good or bad, and how our loved ones can often figure out that we're hiding something despite our best efforts.  In my experience, people who lie to protect their loved ones are almost always doing so to protect themselves as well.'

Who's involved in the film?


'The only nationally known actor in this is Lilianna Ketchman, from the reality show "Dance Moms."  She's only ten years old and her background is in dance, but she has an innate ability to act that I think people are going to be impressed by and enjoy.  She was impressive enough to me that I shot another short film with her right after Waiting Room and she will be my lead in a mid sized budget horror film we're shooting this summer called "Death's Delay."'

Where did the inspiration for The Waiting Room come from? 

'I thought it would be interesting to explore the concept that everybody in a medical waiting room has their own story and in most cases they're going through something stressful or they wouldn't be there.  Even if you're just there for a routine checkup, you're always afraid that they'll find something bad.  If you could see stress as a visible thing, I'd imagine a hospital waiting room would be the most thick with it.  After this I added in the layer about lying and protecting people with your lies.'

What do you hope people will take away from it? 

'I don't approach my work in this way.  My approach is always to pour as much of myself into the writing and production of a work, then get out of the way and see what happens when people experience it.  Because what invariably happens is people will take things from you'd never imagine or expect.  That's a really fun part of the process for me.'

Awesome. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Now let's talk about music! What part does the music play in a film do you think?  

'Music in film is like clothes:

  1. Absolutely vital part of the process
  2. Can't imagine it absent
  3. When it's working properly, it accentuates what's there, hides what's necessary, reveals what's desired to be revealed, but doesn't get in the way.
  4. You should never be conscious of it being present

I often talk about why filmmaking is the best creative field because its the ONLY creative field that uses all other creative fields.  You have writing, acting, music (writing and performing, including singing), photography, sculpture (set building and props), architecture (set building), painting, makeup, hair dressing, clothes making, dance (straight or as stunt choreography), and technically creative fields such as computer graphics and design, editing, and color correction.  Literally any creative field you can imagine has been used in film somewhere at some time.  I love collaborating with creative people in all these different fields, but I must admit that musicians are some of my favorite people to work with.  Probably because I don't have a lick of musical talent myself but wish I did.  I'll be producing a musical short film this year and I can't wait.'

How about in Waiting Room? 

'For Waiting Room I needed music specifically composed to the footage because it's such an intimate, personal story - (sometimes you can buy precomposed tracks and drop them in and it's fine for certain types of projects, but this is a character driven piece, so it was important that the music be specific.)  Which is why I sought out a professional like Ninichi and I'm very glad I did.'

It's been amazing working with you on the music to the film. Thanks for trusting me with it. Here's a sneak preview (on the right) of some for the music for those wanting to have a little listen. 

Now onto other things. What were the biggest challenges in creating Waiting Room? 

'This was actually a very smooth, easy shoot.  I've been doing this a long time and there used to be some major struggles getting the days shot, but since about 2014 the accumulation of experience and adding really good crew members to the team have combined to streamline the process.  For instance, it was nothing in early years to start at 8am and not finish until midnight and that with having had to forgo several shots we really wanted.  In the past few years we've been able to start at 9am and finish around 7pm.  So it was with Waiting Room.  Experience really can be the best time saver there is.

It all starts with the writing.  I knew I wanted to shoot this in a single day, so I wrote what I knew we could get within that time frame.

Even the post production has been without drama because the music came together really fast and our color correctionist is somebody I've known a long time and is really good.'

Where can watch it?

'We'll be doing a special internet premiere within the next couple months.  Stay tuned.'

How exciting! We'll definitely keep a look out for that. Also, are you working on any other films and if so, where can find out more?

'We've always got something going on.  You can follow me on Instagram or Twitter at ShadowDogProd'

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.

Discover more of her film music or explore her royalty free music now.