Lauren Patrice Nadler: Director and Producer
Cliché: Where does the title It’s You, Not Me stem from, and how does it reflect the series as a whole?
Lauren Patrice Nadler: It actually reflects the entire series. It’s You, Not Me is about two relatively normal, attractive, hip, young, eligible people kind of living in a parallel universe, while looking for love. They sign up for online dating and at every turn are faced with off-the-wall dates. In life, sometimes we think it is us… but maybe it is “them.” Personally, I do believe that we as human beings have a certain amount of responsibility in what we are attracting, but I guess online dating can be a real crap shoot. Karen and Luke keep attracting the nuttiest of the nuts. So it can’t be our heroes… it’s got to be you, NOT me.
There have been other works that deal with the woes of dating. What makes this series different than, say, You’ve Got Mail, or the rest of them?
The difference is that most of the dates that take place in the episodes are based on real experiences, searching for love online. The entertainment factor was amped up by expanding on the stories, surrounding our heroes with really special and unique supporting characters, and the performances are stellar. As the director, I had the time of my life collaborating with these actors, all of whom (with the exception of comic Rick Shapiro) are my students and have been for anywhere from 2-14 years. It was beyond a pleasure to work with them on this as they are coming up in their careers. Because of our history, the collaborative aspect and the chemistry was built in, so it was a special treat that I was able to bring several of them back in multiple episodes to haunt Karen or Luke repeatedly after their failed dates. These encounters are very outrageous, yet plausible.
Also, we shot IYNM over the course of a year, so it was an interesting challenge maintaining the continuity and being able to continue to be creative. For example, as in any projects, we encountered some obstacle. Scheduling conflicts led to having to add characters to fill spaces. This fleshed out the personal lives of the lead character, which gave the whole series a lot more flavor. In addition to my approach to scripted material, part of my teaching includes powerful long form improvisation and most of my students and this cast are really, really gifted at this, so this series was really a tribute to my master class. We took advantage of the opportunity to sprinkle in rants and free falls with improvisation, deviating from the actual script. Much of this stuff did, in fact, make the cut. Then there were some of the people that we were inspired to cast that led to writing, for example, our “special” episode MOB SCENE… but it is probably still the “true” dates that would win the “crazy” award, if there was one to win.
What does it mean to be an (un)romantic-comedy? Is it bashing love, or embracing it?
That’s an interesting question. Bashing or embracing–neither, or maybe both. It’s an unromantic comedy because most of the dates end up not ultimately having a romantic connection. But everyone is really, really trying. I do believe that every character in this, on some level, is optimistic about the prospect of love. So I think, in this case, we are embracing it.
Did you have any help filming IYNM?
This project was very challenging because there was basically no budget. In acquiring the resources, I had to rely heavily on favors. It was shot and edited almost entirely with the help of my interns and friends offering donations to Lauren Patrice Nadler Studio. IYNM was primarily a teaching set. Most of the crew were my students who wanted to get a taste of being behind the scenes. It was with the assistance of a small handful of sophisticated, patient, experienced crew members in key positions; beginners became experts and were able to support this project getting made. Everyone came out the other side with an elevated awareness of the filmmaking process, and I cannot thank both the skilled professional and the loyal diligent ambitious newcomers enough. I would name them all here because I love them all, but I don’t want to forget anyone.
What kind of humor does the show use?
I wouldn’t even know how to describe it in one word. It is believable, absurd, campy, ironic, potty, belly-laughing. There are parts that could literally make you laugh hysterically to tears. At the premiere, I was actually blown away by the amount of non-stop laughter from beginning to end. In the post production, which was a very long process, for the most part, I was alone in the room reviewing and transcribing notes and waiting for the next cut to see if the notes I was applying worked. I knew what I shot and what I wanted to see in the timing. My editors were great and delivered anything I asked for, as long as it was possible, based on what I shot. My DP’s were great. I like to cover the shit out of my scenes and they gave me everything I could have dreamed of. So I believed that I knew I was looking at something funny. But when you are the only one in the room and the only one laughing, it’s hard to tell. So between Renee and I, we locked each episode without much feedback from anyone else and had to trust it worked. So the premiere was real validation. It’s funny. This show knows what it wants to be. It isn’t brain surgery or Oscar worthy, it is just damn entertaining and really, really funny!
Do you think people will relate to the series and cast?
Absolutely! I think that we can all relate to having a desire to make a connection. We can all relate to the fact that against all odds, no matter how many times we are shot down, or kicked in the gut, when it comes to love, we just never stop trying. We tend to keep dusting ourselves off. The difficulty is that many people are just not always what they seem to be. There will always be those that lie, embellish, or have too many issues or too much baggage. Some are too insecure or overconfident or inappropriate, but we are all vulnerable. I think many people will relate to our heroes and there will definitely be some that will relate to the unique dates. I am also sure there will also be those that will be looking in a mirror and not see the reflection at all.