Interview: ‘What Goes Up’ Brings Videogames To The Rom-Com Genre
University of Lincoln students hoping to fund their videogame movie project have been successful, with cash pledged over on IndieGoGo far surpassing their original £3,300 goal.
We caught up with producer Hannah Skidmore and writer/director Matt Gambell to find out more about their upcoming videogame rom-com, What Goes Up:
The What Goes Up production team including Matt Gambell (top, right) and Hannah Skidmore.
Tell us a bit about the film, what is it about?
What Goes Up is a quirky rom-com that follows the story of Lee as he works with his best friend Ray to develop the best videogame they can possibly imagine, whilst he also tries to court Sarah, the girl of his dreams from the office downstairs whom he can barely work the nerve to talk to.
He soon finds that his future may just be laid out for him as things seem to be changing for the better, but what goes up, must come down.
How did the idea for the film come about?
Believe it or not we were initially writing a film about time-travel. I spent hours talking with Andrew about it; we drew sketches and threw some ideas around. A lot of what we planned came down to a graph and we were exploring the idea of a characters destiny and how it could change. It just kind of slowly developed into a message we were trying to get across and eventually the time-travel thing became less important and it was more about the characters and their choices in life. I’ve always been interested in the idea of karma and chaos theory. How one action can have a reaction and thinking how changing that action could have a complete opposite effect. So that’s really where the idea spans from, I’m not sure you’d realise that though. The final script is really different from what we initially spoke about. The message is there though.
What is your aim with this film?
With this project we aim to show that students have enough experience to make a feature-length film to a professional standard (even with a little budget). We want people who respect and love the art of filmmaking to get involved by volunteering their services to support the project. We already have a dedicated production team who are working hard on a daily basis for nothing except the drive and passion they have for the story we want to tell. We are looking for any help possible, whether it be funding, donating materials to use in the film or simply supporting the project by sharing it with your friends and networks.
Was using IndieGoGo always the plan?
We knew that we needed some way of raising money for this project. Initially we were expecting to make it on nothing, but we took a risk. We were hoping that enough people would find the project interesting and want to help us out, even by donating just a pound.
We had two options to start with – Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. We spoke for a while and the reason we chose IndieGoGo is because they offer a policy where you keep what you make, even if you don’t make your full target. We thought this would be best; any amount of money was better than nothing. Seeing as we were a group no-one had heard of before we really didn’t expect to reach our full target so quickly. We’re constantly amazed at how much support we’ve gotten from people and we’re still really happy for people to help out. We think it was the right choice.
Why did you decide to make the main character a game programmer, will other coders find the portrayal accurate?
I think it just made sense; it suited the idea of the characters and experience. We’ve always been inspired by the idea of the independent creators and there’s so many issues with the industry right now. I think it really represents more than just gaming. It’s reflective of what we’re trying to do too, after writing it we’ve constantly been talking about how we’re in a similar situation to the characters, which is a strange co-incidence. They’re working hard on getting something no-one has heard of out there and constantly being turned away by these bigger publishers, it’s only really with the support of crowd-funding that they make it. It was an interesting topic at the time, it still is, and it’s funny to find ourselves in a similar situation. I’m interested in game development and what goes into creating all this content, so I’ve tried to reflect that in the narrative, I think there’s a little bit of techno-babble in there hopefully it’s accurate enough to not feel forced and people will like it.
Are you fans of gaming yourself?
Yes. I think a large percentage of everyone working on the film is. Which is really nice. I’m currently re-playing through Final Fantasy X and I went out of my way to find TimeSplitters 3. There’ll be all sorts of gaming equipment in the characters office which is being sourced by the team, so we wont need to buy anything. I think we’re all trying to out compete each other by listing the vast majority of our own inventories.
Do you intend to include any gaming easter eggs or references?
I’d like to, I think there’s a few at the minute, I may add some more if there’s room for it. There’ll be lots of things in the den and there are a lot of references to things. I’m even hoping the gaming thing will be reflected in the score, I’ve sent my sound designer the soundtrack to The Sims games to get a feel for what I’m after. Imagine that, mixed with rom-com scores. It should be interesting. I think people will really connect with one scene in particular where a big publisher client is shooting down our two main characters. It’ll really make people laugh, but there’s a message there as well, on some major issues gamers have with the industry at the minute, which should be nice.