“It took me over a year to write the script, and when I finished, I wasn’t sure if it was all that good,” he says.
“I was fascinated by this story, because it was true,” says Davidson, a University of Calgary English literature grad who went on to study at the Vancouver Film School (VFS). “I actually wrote the treatment for The Odds right after VFS, but left it. It wasn’t until three or four years later, when I was in Costa Rica, that I thought I should go back to it again and write a new draft.”
Davidson says he’s finally become comfortable with the creative process, no matter how frustrating or repetitive it can get, because some projects ripen at different times. And you can’t force it if you want good results. “Each story has to come out of you. And the ‘why’ of it is important to me,” he says. “That’s why I love making movies in Canada, because it’s such a different approach. We have a small and very passionate community of filmmakers in this country, and because it’s so hard to make movies here, the people who do it are committed.”
Davidson, who used to cut Flash Gordon episodes, says he has friends editing big movies in the U.S., but they’re not reaping the same life rewards as he is in Canada. “They may be working on an $80-million movie, but they have no real role in how it turns out. They’re just a very small part of a very big machine,” he says. “In Canada, the machine is that much smaller, and the financing is that much harder, but you can make the movie that’s in your heart — as long as it doesn’t require dolly tracks or a crane shot.”
Davidson says teen gambling yanked him by the aorta, because it touches on the ambiguous thread of teen morality and next-generation entitlement.
“I think this is a new trend in North America, not just Canada, so it resonates beyond our borders,” he says. “I met teens who were involved in this world. They were honest. And I realized a lot of this reminded me of my own story and my own teen hero. I fictionalized some of it to make it about gambling, but I think the central themes stand.”
Davidson says the coming-of-age theme is dominant, but really, the monolithic topic boils down to making decisions, moment by moment.
“I wondered if this was all about money, when I started writing the script,” he says. “And obviously, money has something to do with gambling. But the addiction and the compulsion come from someplace else. It’s about a feeling of control.”
He says it all makes for a good metaphor on the art of growing up and assuming responsibility for your actions, but he hopes his movie reflects some of the particulars of our current reality.
“If you’re really engaged in the game, you may not be engaging in your own life. … So even if you’re winning at the table, chances are, you’re losing somewhere else far more important.”
But aside from telling dirty jokes, do women behind the scenes deliver less-stereotypical female characters on the screen?
“The cop shows, the lawyer shows, they want to make sure they have a woman in the room for character development, for story development,” Cameron says, adding about her own show, “Whether we are addressing big issues of discrimination or not, a traditional male world like policing is interesting to explore from a female perspective, the rookie female cop. There is even more tension.”