Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Return to Web TV

As most of my friends know I'm not the most girly of girls. I have a very small amount of female friends. I prefer sneakers to high heels. And I pee standing up. Kidding! (Although if that were true life might me much easier.)

At one point last year I resorted to filling my calendar with a bunch of girl dates, hoping I'd expand my female friend base. Some of these pairings worked out, but others were a hot mess and almost comical. From the latter an idea popped into my head.

What if I create a web series about this process and call it "Girl Date"?

I shared my thoughts with my go-to comedy writer extraordinare, Jaime Fernandez (The Work Jerks), and we bounced around ideas for a series. Jerry Diaz (Room 28 Comedy), joined in on the fun for a bit of it and soon we had six solid episodes penned. But after all was said and done, we had one small problem: the title was limiting.

"What if there's a second season?" I asked. "Maddie (lead female character) can't keep going on dates."

We made a list of words that described Maddie and one of the adjectives was "ungirly." When I said the word aloud it lingered on my tongue. I ran it by Jaime who agreed it was simple and yet summed up everything our little show had to offer...And so there you have it, the birth of unGirly...But that's not the end of the story.

Casting was our next order of business and a large order it was. What had already been determined is that I would play Maddie, Jaime would play Jonathan and Jerry would play Joey (Maddie's best friends.) Yet we still had six actresses to cast as Maddie's counterparts for each episode. Without blinking I turned to the always hilarious Rachel Strauss (The Work Jerks) and asked her to make a guest appearance on the show. She enthusiastically agreed and I was at ease...for 5 minutes. There were still five slots left.

While we do know a lot of talented people, we also felt it was time to branch out and pull from a new pool of actors. I put together an ad on Craigslist and within a day had an overwhelming amount of head shots and resumes to sort through.

Over the course of a week we auditioned a slew of girls and each time we were thoroughly impressed. After deliberations we chose our five and felt confident that our cast would be a successful one. At this point I should mention we'd also booked an actor named Billy Yoder to play opposite Maddie in a short date scene for the first episode. It was such a small role that we didn't bother having Billy audition, his online work credited him enough. Simple as that.

After a couple of preparation weeks we were ready to start filming. There was just one problem...We lost Jerry. Not like the way a mom temporarily loses her kid at the mall, but like, to another production. We fully understood Jerry's need to take the other opportunity, but understanding didn't lessen the huge issue looming before us: who would play Joey, the idiotic perv of the group?? As I watched Billy Yoder's online work once more, the answer hit me.

"Jaime, what if you play Joey and we try Billy as Jonathan?"

Jaime looked up at me, spoon full of Cocoa Pebbles half way to his mouth, "That's a great idea." I called Billy to first see if he'd even be free to shoot on our scheduled 4 days of filming. When he agreed to that, we brought him in for a run-through.

As we chomped our way through sandwiches and staged some cold reads, we found a rhythm. With Billy playing the less manic but still comical Jonathan, Jaime playing dimwitted Joey and me playing, well, an exaggerated version of myself, we were golden. It felt right.

On June 5th we held our first eight hour shoot. Staging my apartment as the roomies' home, we filmed a bulk of scenes that would play out across all episodes. (Easter Egg** over the course of shooting I lost almost 15 pounds. There are scenes in almost every episode where I'm at first thin, later not so thin and then back to thin. I'm probably the only one that notices, but I still think it's funny - like Kristen Stewart's obvious wig in New Moon.)

It was over the course of that first day where we really honed in on our characters and developed the chemistry that I believe plays out in every episode. Add to the mix the fantastic actresses we booked and you have what I consider to be an unforgettable collaboration.

You can check out all details and episodes of the show by visiting: