Game Companion: Interview with the cast
What’s it like working on an anime-inspired movie? We interview some of the cast members of Game Companion to find out.
Game Companion is a new short film from Brian Morelan that is coming to UK conventions and festivals starting next month. It’s about a gamer geek, Bob, who earns real-life anime girl Kimiko as a reward for completing a game, and the complications he gets himself into as a result. For a film so heavily based on gaming and cosplay culture, we were dying to know what it was like behind the scenes. So we caught up with some of the actors for an exclusive interview.
First up: Introductions!
Gord Bestwick plays Bob, the main character. He’s an actor who has previously worked on Sidekicks: The Web Series.
Julie Tyskerud plays Kimiko, the titular game companion. She’s an actor and cosplayer who will be starring in sci-fi film Mining Moon next year.
Sydney Howlett plays Janey, Bob’s cool skater niece. This is her first acting appearance.
Hannah Ryan plays Haruka, another fighter in the game, and is an actor / director who has worked on shows such as The Killing.
Leon Potter plays Cecil, Bob’s friend, and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Kings College in the UK.
Kari Klyne plays one of the fighters in the film, as well as conducting behind the scenes interviews and costume design.
Lila Parks worked on costumes and on-set photography, as well as additional roles in the film.
Now: The Questions!
- How did you get involved with the project?
Kari: I was approached by our director Brian when he recognised me as a cosplayer. He asked if I wouldn’t mind lending my costumes to his film and helping to create more. I agreed most willingly and have been an eager part of his productions since.
Hannah: I got involved in this project through the casting crew who held auditions in Nanaimo, BC. I read the sides for Haruka and immediately fell in love with the character. So often do I get type-cast as the ‘young mother’ or ‘hot blonde’ so it was a breath of fresh air to be up for a role as bad-ass as Haruka. I love strong female characters and I am particularly partial to action characters such as Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Selene from Underworld and Alice from Resident Evil.
Julie: I heard about project through my friend Kari, who Brian contacted while she was at work, and then my friend Lila asked me if I wanted to audition for a role in Game Companion. The inner actor in me was like “Audition! Sign me up!” So, I went for an audition and got the part of Kimiko.
Gord: I was speaking with Lila Parks and she had told me about it, and I had planned to go to the audition. By a strange coincidence, Brian Morelan (the director) had also contacted me via YouTube that same day. Brian had seen my work with “Sidekicks: The web series”, and wanted me to come in for an audition. So, after a great audition I was offered the role of Bob.
Lila: Through my local film community the opportunity came about. It’s very exciting to see a piece like this filming locally that focuses on Anime/Video game style genre.
Leon: I started out offering to help with the stunt direction, and while I was there Jeff asked if I would read for one of the parts… The rest is history.
Sydney: I saw on Facebook the info for the auditions, was intrigued by the story, and decided to audition even though it said that they were looking for 18+ year olds for the roles I read for (Kimiko and Haruka). A little while later Jeff contacted me and said that I wouldn’t be cast for either of those roles, however, would I be interested in playing “Janey”? The character was originally a boy named “Jimmy”, but Jeff said that if I wanted to, the name could be changed and I could be Bob’s niece instead of nephew. Of course I was interested! And the rest is history 🙂
- Have you ever cosplayed before and if not, would you consider taking it up after working on this?
Gord: I have done a teeny bit of cosplay. I’ve been the badly dressed tag-along friend to Julie (Kimiko) and Kari (Hikari aka The Pirate Fighter). I’ve been exposed to the Cosplay world through those two, and I’ve seen the enormous dedication and effort it takes to do it well.
Lila: Love cosplay! Have cosplayed for a few years making my own costumes though now it’s very tempting to buy pre-made costumes online that’s ready to go. But for now still making my own cosplays.
Sydney: I never have – but I’ve always wanted to! In grade 6 my dream was to open a lolita cosplay club in Tokyo.
Hannah: Although this is my first acting role as a video game character I have worked with AA Photography on video game photoshoots. Our latest collaboration was a Tomb Raider cosplay which can be viewed on my facebook page. It would be my dream to play Lara in the new instalment of Tomb Raider.
Leon: I have never done what would be considered ‘cosplay’ by today’s standards. I have been acting for many years and attended innumerable costume parties, but not cosplay, no.
Kari: I have actually been cosplaying since 2001 – my first convention being Aka Kon, in Richmond, BC, Canada. I have made and worn almost 100 costumes in that time. I love every aspect of it and the community and fan conventions are what I enjoy most about it. Now that I’ve been a part of a film production involving my passion it has really just fueled my desire to keep going and strive to become better.
Julie: Kari and I are cosplayers and have been cosplaying for a while now. We have a Facebook page called North Pacific Cosplay if you’d like to check out our costumes 🙂 I don’t think we are going to give up cosplay any time soon; it’s too much fun.
- What has been the most rewarding thing about working on this film?
Leon: The most rewarding elements of this film are twofold. The first being a culmination of great people working together in a fun, supportive and generous manner, and the second is watching this little film make its way around the world in festivals all over.
Hannah: The most rewarding thing I took from this film was the chance to work on fight scenes. Our fight choreographer, Leon, was so great at planning and improvising our scenes so they looked authentic. A lot of the fight scenes were edited out but we all had such a great time learning that just the experience of it all made this film a blast to work on. The crew was phenomenal, so patient and encouraging. I really enjoyed working with everyone!
Julie: The most rewarding thing about working on the GC project has been meeting everyone and working with them. Everyone has been so nice, welcoming, and fun. Also, the fight choreo was a freaking blast. Thanks Leon!
Kari: Getting to work with so many amazing and talented actors and crew! When finally you see the finished product and you’re like “Wow. I was a part of this!” Also finally being able to bring it to conventions and share such a fun, quirky piece with others that are very like minded and would be able to relate with some of the themes and characters in it. I think being able to share those moments with the audience is very rewarding.
Gord: Most rewarding? Well, I’d say the people I’ve got to meet, and also doing press has been a lot of fun. I’ve managed to get exposed to many of the wonderful local people who are involved in the film scene. I’m hoping that this leads to more roles and becoming a part of the film community.
Sydney: Getting to see myself act on film for the first time! I’ve only ever gotten to see myself act in videos taken of me acting onstage – and seeing yourself act for film is a whole new experience.
Lila: Most rewarding experience with this film is seeing how far it has reached through festivals and through the Anime/Gaming and Cosplay community. The cast and crew were all very enthusiastic and maintained a high level of professionalism and fun! Additionally, I would love to work on more films like this.
Thanks to all of you for your time, and we hope to see more of this film at UK conventions and festivals in the future!