A Hollywood producer is returning to her hometown in Jefferson City this week to be part of screening her own film.
Gina G. Goff, of Goff Productions, was born and raised in Jefferson City just off Allen Drive. She attended West Elementary School, then went on to graduate with the class of 1980 at Jefferson City High School. While there, she was a Jay Band trumpet player, which she said was one of her favorite parts of high school.
"I was in every band I could possibly get into — jazz, pep, marching band — and I loved it," Goff said. "I made lifelong friendships with those same band members."
She grew up frequenting Lake of the Ozarks, where she visited her grandparents. Goff said she was always around water — whether at the lake or swimming at Memorial Park Aquatics Center. She also loved biking on trails across Missouri.
'A different arena'
One path she didn't think she'd take growing up was in the movie business.
After earning her bachelor of science degree at Central Missouri State University and master's from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, her heart was set on legal work. She worked as a paralegal in Kansas City post-college but simultaneously had a passion for movies.
After a move to the warmer climate of Los Angeles, she discovered the film industry was all around her.
"I thought, 'How cool would it be to be in that business, going from a paralegal perspective?'" Goff said.
Then an ad in LA Weekly for an American Film Institute movie-making camp caught her eye. She took two weeks off from her day job and participated in the camp. That's where she found her place in the film industry.
"We learned everything from A to Z," Goff said. "I was instantly hooked. I saw a place for myself in the business — I didn't want to be an actor, writer or director, but I realized the business needs people who are organized and good with money and people."
Eventually, she was able to quit her day job and go headfirst into the film industry. Not knowing anyone in the business, Goff joined every organization she could to put herself out there.
Other than making connections, she said, her skill set transitioned well into the movie business. She realized she'd already been doing production work, but in "a different arena" — the courtroom.
"There are a lot of similarities between a trial and a production," Goff said. "When you're in a trial, you're dressing your clients, telling them things you want them to focus on, things you prefer them to stay away from. Similarly, in film, you're presenting a narrative, and you want the audience to receive it well.
"It's not the normal story of how people get into the business, but I'm not sure there is a normal story," Goff laughed. "Everybody's journey and story are different."
Making 'Senior Moment'
Goff has learned a lot in the industry — including that not everything happens on your timetable. Her new film, "Senior Moment," was an example of that.
The film — releasing theatrically and on-demand Friday — is a comedy directed by Giorgio Serafini and includes a star-studded cast featuring William Shatner, Jean Smart, Christopher Lloyd, Esai Morales and Katrina Bowden, to name a few.
As a producer who often reads scripts, she is always looking for something interesting that will relate to a large audience. In this case, "Senior Moment" told a story about something not a lot of films do — love in old age.
"I read it and was just blown away," she said. "It's for a commercial audience, but also for an audience that gets overlooked a lot — the older audience. What people don't realize is there are people going to see movies that aren't superhero movies."
It was a longer project than usual, produced prior to the pandemic, but finished and sold during COVID-19 and the restrictions that have come with it.
Goff said the whole process has taught her a lot.
"I think everyone has learned a lot going through the pandemic about the kind of work they do," Goff said. "I've learned that we're definitely not essential workers. But I was very lucky and fortunate to have a movie to finish, not rely on (having to produce) during the pandemic."
'It was meant to be'
There were also aspects about "Senior Moment" that went exceedingly better than expected, which Goff said is evidence "it was meant to be."
The plot features William Shatner as Victor Martin, a retired NASA test pilot often seen speeding around Palm Springs in his vintage Porsche convertible with his best friend, Sal (Christopher Lloyd). His life changes when his license is revoked and his car is impounded. When he's forced to take public transportation, he meets his polar opposite, Caroline (Jean Smart), with whom he learns to navigate love and life again as he works to regain his license and car.
Goff said when she first read the script, the only person she saw for the lead role was Shatner. After reaching out to his assistant without expecting an answer, he called her back a few days later enthusiastic about the role. She said the "scrambling" of finding a director, putting together finance and the rest of the cast followed soon after.
"The casting was one of the coolest things about this movie," Goff said. "From the largest to the smallest roles, everyone came together to make it happen. That doesn't always happen."
From Jean Smart's ability to cry on a dime to Christopher Lloyd's priceless expressions, she loved seeing a "circle take" come together, knowing after a take when a scene would be in the movie.
Goff hopes viewers will enjoy the feel-good film and understand its message: You're never too old to fall in love.
"It's been a long journey to get to this point," Goff said. "'Senior Moment' is my biggest produced movie so far, and it won't be the last."
"Senior Moment" will premiere Friday at GQT Capital 8 in Jefferson City, which will be followed by a Q&A with Goff after the first showing. There will be a socially-distanced after-party on the outside patio of Prison Brews.
For more information about the film and where it can be viewed, visit seniormomentmovie.com.