10 questions with Melissa Rivas
Melissa Rivas wore many hats on the production of Gamers, from Associate Producer, to voice actress, baker, boom operator, and creator of the soon-to-be-famous "Comforter of shame".
Melissa is a talented writer and editor and is on the short list of women in film to look out for in the near future. We sat down with Melissa Rivas to ask her ten questions.
1. How did you get involved in the production of Gamers?
Chris made me. Just kidding. I have worked with Chris for awhile, and there is something about him that inspires a strong sense of loyalty in people. So when it seemed that he was really serious about making a movie (not just drunk, as I had suspected), there was no question of whether or not I would help him. Everyone just kind of came along for the ride.
2. Tell us about the "Comforter of shame" What is it? Which character is it made for? How long did it take for you to design?
The comforter of shame turned out to be a monkey on my back. That damned thing took me 20 hours to make. It is a comforter that is given to Reese by Paul (in the movie, his mom made it) and it contains the names of all of Reese’s characters that have died on campaign. I didn’t count how many names are on it, but I think it is close to 2,000. Originally I considered sewing them on, but then I realized it would be crazy. Don’t tell, but all the names are courtesy of Sharpie.
3. The names are very unique on the "Comforter of Shame". Can you share some of them with us and tell us what they mean to you?
Oh…well, after awhile it became very difficult to think of names. With some help from the yellow pages, as well as my husband and our roommate, we came up with some weird ones. My favorite was Tertius the 3rd. I thought I was fairly clever on that one. My husband came up with a lot of dirty names that I didn’t think would be entirely appropriate, but I did use one. You will have to look at the quilt to find it, though.
4. What was the best moment for you in making this movie?
To be honest, the best moment was when we all got to watch the movie together for the first time. Up to that point, we had all been working very hard, very long hours, and frankly, at some points we really wanted to murder each other. But to see the final product, to see what we had collectively produced…that is a moment that I will never forget as long as I live.
5. Of all the various jobs you did on the film, what was the most difficult and why?
Boom operator, hands down. It looks so easy, just holding that stick with the microphone. Well, it’s not that heavy, but man, when you have to hold it over your head for more than a minute or so without moving, it starts to feel like a 2-ton boulder. There was one shot where we had to walk backwards through the kitchen, which was quite narrow. So the sound technician was behind me, and in front of me were Tito and the camera assistant who was guiding him. So there’s a line of 4 people walking backwards and Kevin (Gordon) in front, who is setting the pace. It was almost impossible and I think everyone ran into the counter.
6. What is your favorite scene in the movie?
That’s pretty hard to say…there are so many funny scenes. Probably the scene where Kevin is singing children’s songs. Every time I see it, it makes me laugh. I think it’s the fact that he’s sort of dancing while he sings, like he’s really into it. I’ve started singing “Wake up Dick” around the house. It drives my husband crazy.
7. We hear not only do you RPG, but you LARP! Can you tell us what that means and what is your favorite character to be?
Who told you!!! Well, if anybody doesn’t know, RPG stands for Role Playing Game and LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing, meaning you dress up and pretend to be a character, like a true geek. I have played many characters, but my favorite is from an old west game called Deadlands. My character was called “The Kid” (original, I know) and she was kind of funny because I put a lot of points into guns, so she can out-shoot almost anyone, but she’s still pretty young, so every time she sees violence she has to make a saving roll to see if she throws up or not.
8. Your husband contributed a lot to the movie. Can you tell us about that?
Well, for starters he loaned his name…Paul. He is still waiting to get it back. As I understand it, he also had some good ideas for making the script less offensive, like making the Stephanie character (Kevin’s seamstress) black to downplay the fact that she is, in effect, making a costume that looks more like a “grand wizard” than a great wizard.
He also gave me lots of chocolate, which helped immensely.
9. Were you surprised with the final outcome of the movie? What were your expectations?
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it didn’t suck. No, I knew it would be great. The strangest thing is how cohesive it is. When we were shooting, all the scenes were out of order and it was hard to imagine how it would come together to make a whole movie. It seemed more like little vignettes. I am extremely impressed by the finished product.
10. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead (not a relative or religious figure), who would it be and why?
Meredith Zealy. No, I’m joking. I wouldn’t take that opportunity from Dave Hanson. I think I would like to have dinner with Stephen King. I’ve often wondered how he likes his steak.