She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms

She Kills Monsters: Virtual Realms is a play written by Qui Nguyen (Disney's Raya and The Last Dragon) distributed by Concord Theatricals. Under normal circumstances, the play is performed on the stage and the story is described as "a comedic romp into the world of fantasy role-playing games, with more 90s references than you can shake a D20 at!" The original work is set in 1995 Ohio, but during the pandemic, the playwright decided to create an updated version that would take place in modern day and allow for the play to be more easily produced over zoom or other virtual/streaming means.

I was approached by Kentridge Players, a theatre program in Kent, Washington to produce, shoot, and edit the updated script as a feature length film so that they could release it and sell tickets online. We specifically designed our production to succeed with the constraints of making a high school film production during Covid-19. Following all of the same shooting guidelines we used from our previous collaboration: The Laramie Project, we shot portions of the film indoors with one student at a time and our entire crew wearing masks. However, this project became more complex as we added additional elements such as shooting entire scenes with standard film coverage, but all of our characters wearing masks inside the high school as well as creating fantasy costumes (that incorporated masks) and going out into the woods to shoot our Dungeons and Dragons gameplay scenes.

The film was incredibly difficult to pull off, but I am very proud of what we were able to create. The production value of the film was also heightened with our choice to incorporate CGI Visual Effects into the film, an area of film production I had no prior experience in.

Blake Rizzo, a fellow Washington filmmaker was our VFX supervisor and he worked with me to implement a full animated CGI dragon into the finale of the movie as well as multiple other effects throughout. The project was directed by Jennifer Grajewski, with myself acting as producer, cinematographer, and editor.

The project streamed on ShowTix4U from May 7, 2021 to May 24, 2021, but due to licensing agreements is no longer publically available.

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Watch the Official Trailer for the film.

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Stills from the film. Shot on my Canon 90D.

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