We all have that one friend we go to for dating advice. Whether to decipher an ambiguous text message or to help us refrain from going completely emo when the person we’re diggin’ is out on a date with someone else. That one friend is usually your first line of defense. In the new indie film, Date-N-Game: The Movie, American Music Award Winner, Kel Spencer, plays Kelvin Joseph, the recipient of the most relationship questions out of his crew of four, regardless of how bizarre they may be.
Joseph must help his crew of good-hearted, but sometimes misguided friends navigate the ups, downs and eyebrow-raising moments of their peculiar dating circumstances all while trying to make sense of his own love life.
Ladies and gents, welcome to Date’ N Game.
VIBE: What prompted you to create this film?
Kel Spencer: I co-created the Date ‘N Game event three years ago as a means for our generation to socialize in a new way and possibly meet someone new. So many relationships, scenarios, stories, and questions have come by way of our monthly DNG events that it would be silly to think this isn’t a microcosm of the entire black and Latino population between the ages of 21 and 45. The movie is an entertaining and also informative way to speak to it all.
What exactly is this film about?
It’s a romantic comedy. Four friends created this monthly game night that blew up overnight. Within that “blow up,” one of the four friends, [my character, Kelvin Joseph] seems to be who everyone comes to with their dating concerns. Joseph decides to start a relationship counseling service while co-authoring a book called Single Man, Married Man as a way to address all of the concerns while also figuring out his own unique love life situation.
Sounds relateable. How long did it take to write the script, cast folks and shoot the film?
Myself, my wife [Quana BelleVoix], and my dear friend, Lisa Harris, wrote the script in four days. We spent a week announcing and holding auditions and then we shot the entire film in three weeks. When you look at the adage of “Pros building the Titanic while amateurs built the arch,” this truly is a testament to that. For 80 percent of our production team, this was their first time working on any type of visual or multimedia production. We had a dope experience with this.
You’re a happily married man but you were once single. Tell me about one of your more funnier dating experiences.
Oh man. Well, I met a woman… actually it was at the Men In Black 2 wrap party. I was living in L.A. and working on the MIB 2 soundtrack at the time. We went on a date right after [only] for me to learn that her sitcom TV star ex-fiance [who she broke up with that morning] was at this same restaurant and chose to use our hangout time as the perfect opportunity to let me and the rest of the restaurant know about her kinky sex fetishes.
Right! He let everyone know how much he spent on much of what she was wearing, and then took her purse out to the parking lot to urinate on it. He was very respectful to me, but highly disrespectful to her. I had just met the woman two hours prior so you could understand my dilemma in not really knowing how or whether or not to intervene. Hmmm… maybe that should be my next script. [Laughs]
Dating is supposed to be fun, but a lot of people oftentimes get hurt. Does the film address the pitfalls of dating?
This is true and yes we do. When creating the shell for the script, we avoided the cliche topic of cheating and came up with six of the most popular dating and relationship issues that occur, yet hardly get addressed. One of those topics was attached to a lack of friendship. Not enough people make friendship their focus and most of the common relationship issues stem from [that]. I made sure to marry a woman that would probably be my Spades partner in the high school lunch room even if we weren’t attracted to each other. This is touched on in the film.
Talk to me about the lead single for the soundtrack that you and your wife collaborated on.
Yezzir! It’s appropriately titled “Date ‘N Game” and it’s pretty straight forward and self explanatory. Sonny Brix produced it and yes, my wife and I teamed up on the vocals. The Pow King directed the video and it’s getting great feedback so far.
Despite the vastly different approaches men and women take when it comes to dating, what’s the one thing you think both sexes want?
We both want partnership. We use terms like “ride or die” or “hold me down” but ultimately when we lay out the different categories of our lives from spirituality to finances to career to sex to leisure and relaxation, we eventually want a person who enhances those things.
Last question: why should anyone spend their money to see this film?
Because I hear the cultural cries for something different in black music, something new in black films, something unique in night life and because of that, I added a tag line to Date ‘N Game. That tag line is “It’s just different.”