Game Companion ~ Every Gamer Needs One
I watched the short film, Game Companion over the weekend and discovered a delightful little film that I hope eventually becomes a full length motion picture. The film reminded me of a what I imagine a mash up of Weird Science and Video Girl Ai might have produced.
The story is written by Brian Morelan and Directed by Jeff James Monson. So what is it all about? Well lets break it down without giving away any real spoilers. As geeks we love to game and this short is about that love of gaming and taking that love to new levels. Imagine that if you mastered a game that you could get yourself a kick-ass companion to help you on your adventures. Now imagine that this companion is a bit more than a simple AI. Essentially this is the set up for what makes a great story with an end that was not what I expected.
Lucky for me I was able to corner Brian Morelan and get him to answer some questions about his awesome little project.
The concept is sound and reminded me alot of Weird Science and Video Girl Ai. What inspired the writing of this story?
I tried to find some common themes in anime and use them in a short film. I wanted some great costumes and I knew cosplayers would probably be the key. When I had a chance meeting with Kari Klyne (a big local cosplayer), who ended up being one of the costume designer for the film, I knew we could make the project.
Ah My Goddess strongly influenced some of the make up and music in the film, though if you look carefully I am sure you can see others.
In your own words, summarize the film in a single sentence.
Bob’s greatest accomplishment is mastering a video game, earning him a Kimiko a video game companion; while she is impressed her enthusiasm fades.
You already have a solid story. Still I can definitely see potential for further development. Are there any plans to expand this universe?
Everyone is open to continuing the story, but there are currently no plans to do so. If we got approached by some organization I think we would be happy about it. We have a few logistical issues to work out though, the location was Jeff’s apartment and he no longer lives there and sold the couch. Sydney who plays Janey was 16 at the time, and she has grown significantly since a year ago when we filmed.
What kind of budget were you working with?
We had a few thousand dollars to make the film, ate pizza and subway, and packed as much as we could into filming days.
Have you made other films? Anything I have heard of?
We just wrapped filming our sci fi project for next year, with a working title of Mining Moon about a secret agent who works undercover for an illegal arms dealer, charged with locating renegade strong hold in the backdrop of a universe on the brink of civil war. All the main actors from Game Companion are also in this film plus many more.
Are you working on any other new projects that you can tell me about?
I worked on Somewhere in the Night, and the Paradox of Needing before with director Jeff James Monson. He wrote those projects, and Game Companion I wrote and we directed together. Jeff’s films were written as actor’s films to show off their skills, as he is an actor himself. Coming from a VFX background I wanted a story that really showed visually with costumes, make up, and VFX. I find that short films are less likely to go that direction. If you are looking for something you have heard of, I was an extra in Speed II, though I am not seen in it.
Vancouver Island has really been a hotbed for film making lately, the Hub City Cinema Society has created a focal point where film makers, actors and crew can get together and collaborate on projects. It is an exciting time locally for film making!
The key character in this story, at least for me, was Haruka. I asked Hannah Ryan, the actress who made her come to like a little about her.
Your character was the driving force for me throughout this film. Haruka was the person that drew me in but there were times that I felt that she had secret motives and perhaps emotions that were not fully expressed in the film. So tell me who was Haruka and what motivated her?
Haruka is a warrior, first and foremost. She’s been brought up in an environment which favours men (ask most guys which character they play, it’s usually a guy, not a girl. Regardless of how bad-ass Haruka is.) and due to that she’s had to become tougher, colder and harder than most women. She has no place for negotiation, no place for empathy and certainly no place for ‘orders’. She has become well versed in combat and the use of magic and sorcery so when she arrives in Bob’s living room, she shows no sense of fear. Her only weakness is her sister, Kimiko.
While Kimiko can ceratinly handle herself in a combat situation she’s also young and somewhat gullible.
Haruka’s duty is to protect her sister Kimiko and will do so even if it cost her her life. But…. let’s be honest, the chances of that are pretty slim!! 😉
As you know, We at Nerd Rage News love Cosplay and we were excited to learn that one of the unique aspects of this film was the costume design was orchestrated by a cosplayer. Kari Klyne, who worked on the film Sidekicks, was commissioned with costume design. As you can see in the trailer, her designs are quite good. As Kari told me, “the people that play Kimiko and Bob in GC, also played Lightning Luna and Wiley Weasel in Sidekicks respectively. “ This little fun fact is something that has inspired me to seek out Sidekicks and see what kind of goodies it has to offer. I asked Kari about her prior work and she said,
Prior to working on the films I’ve been cosplaying and performing at conventions for about 14 years alongside Julie who is my partner-in-cosplay-crime, so we definitely have a supply of costume pieces at our disposal.
Kari, can you tell me some of the things that inspired you for the creation of Haruka?
Thankfully I had wonderful help from my friends Julie (Kimiko) and Lila who helped me put together costumes for such a large cast I couldn’t have done it alone. We had been discussing costumes for awhile and decided that Haruka should be the opposite as Kimiko the cute one, it filled the cliché anime roles nicely. Lila is our master thrift store shopper and finds some wonderful unique pieces that we than alter as needed. The shirt she wore was one of those pieces, I dropped the bust line on it dramatically to give it that sexy ‘badass’ look. The rest really fell together quite quickly around that. The cape we were unsure of at first, but without it the costume just didn’t look complete, so the cape stayed in and I think it works really nicely with the whole look.
If you love anime, gaming, and geeky stuff, then you will love this little short. I highly recommend checking it out. The film is due for release next year but until then you can catch it at any of these fine events.
Brian added this addendum to the story “two of our young actresses from Game Companion got nominated for Joey Awards (formerly called the Canadian Youth artists Awards) for young Canadian actors. Sydney who played Janey in the film was nominated for her role in Game Companion and for a monologue category. She won the monologue. Jasper who played the French maid video game character is also in our new sci fi film got nominated for her role in it (even though the film is not finished we sent in her part).”
Here are some behind the scenes photos that show how much fun the crew had making this film.
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