Carving Out a Space with She Got Game

Despite the idea of the rarity of girl gamers, they actually make up close to half of the gaming population. While more more women pick up controllers and toss away stereotypes, many females are beginning to carve out a niche in the industry.  This is what Cailleah Scott-Grimes wants to highlight in her YouTube series and upcoming documentary She Got Game.

Scott-Grimes has traveled the world. She’s worked in the USA, Europe and she taught English in Japan. Throughout her travels, videogames have always been part of her life. She admits she isn’t the hardest of the core, but she’s a fan of art, and music as well. To her, videogames are the biggest compilation of her passions. Growing up she played games like Kings Quest, Duke Nukem, and The 7

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When she was talking about gaming with some of her friends, she realized she doesn’t know as much about women’s gaming culture as a girl gamer might know. This got her thinking that maybe there are people who might be curious too. So she’s treated herself as a guinea pig in the series. She wanted to separate herself from something like Tropes vs. Women in Videogames. Instead of taking a look at what’s wrong with the industry, Scott-Grimes wants to come in as a bit of an outsider to look at the people. The idea is for her to go in and speak to women who are at the forefront of the gaming world and see how the industry fits in their lives. “Issues of exclusion, or misrepresentation… are kind of inherent in the topic about women in gaming,” says Scott-Grimes, “we want to focus more on a positive aspect in that we want to kind of make role models out of these women.” So instead of analyzing games, they are highlighting people.

On the YouTube channel (Shegotgame), they’ve done that by featuring a Super Smash Bros. Melee competitor, game developers and storeowners. Not all are female, but they all speak about what the industry means to them. They’ve had sketches, parody songs and even performances from a band.

picture taken from She Got Game's Kickstarter page.
picture taken from She Got Game's Kickstarter page.

The documentary is a little different though. Instead of being more open, it will be more focused. One of the big topics Scott-Grimes wants to tackle is the idea of nerd cred. “I think there’s kind of a negative image that women run up against,” says Scott-Grimes, “they feel nervous talking to people or they feel like their opinions [about games] don’t matter that much.”  She’s refined her skills as a documentary filmmaker with her time in Japan. She discovered while teaching, that communication is key. She had to find ways to instruct her students who didn’t understand her, and she’s carried that over with the documentary. That mixed with a natural curiosity, Scott-Grimes hopes to peel back the curtain of women in the industry.

The plan was always to have the documentary and YouTube Channel to co exist as two slightly different entities that have a common goal but go about it a little differently.  So she went to Kickstarter. When people start to fund something, they can throw in their views of what they want to see, or an opinion they want to hear. To Scott-Grimes, this is something invaluable to the success of the documentary.  “Having more people involved helps us fill those missing holes,” says Scott-Grimes. The feedback has helped, and in terms of funding, the Kickstarter went over its goal of $10,000. The film should be ready for June 2015, but she admits it’s a generous goal.

She’s already started filming.  Some footage was borrowed from the YouTube channel. Now that the Kickstarter will be funded, Scott-Grimes can go a little harder. The money will cover travel, rentals, equipment and other costs of filming. She hopes to see the documentary can make the festival circuit, or even be shown in schools to inspire the next great game developers. She also hopes that with a little more recognition, she can speak to some women who work for larger game companies. So far, it's been difficult for her to get past the public relations wall, but she's still trying.

Despite this, the people Scott-Grimes has spoken to inspire her. “Every time I come home I feel this huge motivation," says Scott-Grimes. “If I’m going to commit to this project…If I’m going to make a space for them to talk about their work, I want to make it as good as possible and I want it to fit their perspective.”

The guanine pig in Scott-Grimes has a lot of work cut out for her now that the project will receive funding.  On top of  tending to her YouTube channel, she'll be filming a documentary. The overwhelming support on Kickstarter will help that 2015 release date become more of a reality so Scott-Grimes can carve a space for gamers to share.

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