I hope all you darlings had a most fabulous Valentine’s Day weekend! (Yes, V-Day will always take precedence over President’s Day on this blog…just saying;-) Our day consisted of walks in the snow flurries, homemade(ish) Italian, and matinee tickets to…you guessed it. 50 Shades of Grey. Which was so much more delightful than I ever expected…the only thing that would have made it better was having the sequel and the sequel to the sequel playing right after!
Speaking of love and sequels and the perfect Valentine’s experience…I have people to introduce you to on the blog today! Bertha Leal and Victoria Colladoare are the genius behind a new web series, created and filmed (with an iPhone!) right here in NYC, Love (Asterisk). Here’s what it’s about:
Love (Asterisk) is the story of two roommates, Robyn and Daniela, who live in New York City, have entry-level jobs and, as struggling 20-somethings, are trying to have it all. Their evolving friendship, combined with the actress’ chemistry and unmistakable comedic timing, unfolds through a series of growing pains, weird sex, professional hang-ups, and bad Tinder dates.
In order to meet New Yorkers’ general impatience of all things (i.e. our binge watching desires), they’ve made all 10 short-format episodes of the show available on Valentine’s Day (take that, 50 Shades!)
We were delighted to chat with Bertha and Victoria, getting all the juicy details about art, love, and dating in the Big Apple!
1. What was the inspiration for creating Love (Asterisk)? Are any of the things we see based on real life…or is it all totally fictional?
Bertha: Vicky and I stayed up late one night obsessing over a text her ex had sent her. He’d written something like “I lobe you” and we went off on a tangent about how men send out all these weird signals. Of course, twenty minutes later he sent her another text that read “Love*”. It had been a typo. We laughed so hard at ourselves and how we’d over-analyzed to death this one minute detail and the idea for a web series started to take root. I hate admitting it but 90% of the show is our real life stories. Tragic! Haha…
Victoria: Um… I think the better question would be “Is anything in this web-series fictional?” Haha! The idea came from a text I received from my ex but that was just the catalyst. Bertha and I were both going through heartbreaks at the time and we began to trade stories.
After bouts of laughter, anger, tears, and endless jokes, we realized we couldn’t keep this to ourselves. Other girls out there needed to know they are not alone in this.
2. Being an actress/producer in NYC is seriously living so many NYer’s dream! Can you give us a behind the scenes run down of what the creative process was like for making this web series?
Bertha: The creative process was more like let’s procrastinate as much as humanly possible process. A regular Sunday writing session would be to go to brunch, talk about our crazy nights, sit at our computers, come up with two sentences, watch Netflix, have lunch, sit at our computers, come up with two sentences, watch Netflix, have lunch, sit at our computers, come up with one sentence, have dinner, improvise the scene on our feet, and finally write all of it out. We didn’t push it when something was just not working.
Victoria: The creative process was really fun and organic! It was basically having tons of girl talk and then writing it down. I think one time we even recorded improved versions of scenes, played it back, and chose what worked. As for the actor/producer role, it was the biggest Buddhist lesson I’ve ever learned! You have to find balance and learn to wear one hat at a time. We did the whole thing on a $0 budget, so we had a lot of help from amazing friends that lent us equipment and their time.
We made it an artistic choice to film the whole project on an iPhone, not solely because of the budget, but also because of the nature of the show. It’s about our generation’s connection to our phones and how much it plays into our dating reality. So the iPhone fit perfectly!
3. After creating a series on love you must be quite the expert! Any dating tips or advice for those searching for love in NYC?
Bertha: I am not by any means an expert. I may, in fact, need a few more lessons in this thing called life.
But one thing I’ve learned for certain is: If it’s love you’re looking for, stay off Tinder!
Victoria: I second the “No Expert Here”, but during my short time here in NYC, I have learned a couple things. Most importantly, remember that YOU are a prize! So no need to make huge characteristic changes. It takes too much effort and it’s better to be with someone who will love you just the way you are.
I think dating is the best way to get to know the city. So my advice is to take the pressure off of trying to make the date work and focus instead on making some memories in this gem of a place.
4. Okay–worst date ever. And go!
Bertha: I was running 15 minutes late to meet this guy for a drink. After I apologized profusely he grabbed my waist and whispered “It’s okay, let’s just hope you’re worth it.” I should have bolted right then and there because the night only went from bad to worse. He inadvertently called me a prude after I voiced my discomfort with the unsolicited grab (I’d never met him before! Oh yeah I forgot to mention, we met online. First red flag…) and insisted I have another beer when I was so clearly ready to go. I wish the story ended there. Unfortunately, it went on long enough for him to call me an abrasive New Yorker and to relentlessly try to kiss me. He was a real Prince Charming. Needless to say, we never spoke after that. Lesson learned: when it’s time to go, leave!
Victoria: Well, this one is a twofer. I had the brilliant idea of setting up back to back dates on a Saturday… Worst idea ever! The first guy was a not a very nice person. He mentioned that homeless people should just get over it and get a job, kept telling horror stories about his ex, and to top it off, he was a Communist. As a daughter of Cubans, I knew that wasn’t going to go over well back in Miami. I decided to give it a chance anyway in an attempt to not be “close-minded” but we really had nothing in common. I was hoping date number 2 would go smoother. I mean after date number 1 one it could only go up, right? Wrong! This guy was just fake listening to me, which made me fake listen to him. I wanted to say “We’re clearly not into each other… Can we go? I have some Netflix to catch up on” but I felt that would have been rude… Maybe I was the bad date?! (Gasp!)
5. Let’s talk about fun date places! What’s your favorite spot for:
Bertha: I love this restaurant Ramen Thukpa in the West Village. It’s tiny, unassuming, and the food is out-of-control delicious!
Victoria: I do love me some restaurants, but honestly, there’s nothing like cooking pasta together at home. And you can always head to Columbus Circle afterwards for some ice cream and an incredible view.
Casual weekend date?
Bertha: Brunch followed by museum hopping.
Victoria: A free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. If you’re feeling bold, there is a cute little Cuban restaurant called “Besame Mucho” near the port on the Staten Island side.
Iconic NYC date?
Bertha: Eating ice cream while watching the sun set from The Highline. Classic!
Victoria: Heading down to The Blue Note for a night of good jazz and getting all googly eyed. Although most of us are on a budget…so Smalls Jazz Club will do the trick with a cheap cover and great jazz.
And most importantly…top 3 Netflix films to watch on a date?
Bertha: Annie Hall, You’ve Got Mail, Rocky (Gotta give the fellas a break from time to time from all the mush!)
Victoria: A Bronx Tale, any Kevin Hart stand up show, and a good classic like Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Now head over to their YouTube channel and get your binge watching on! Enjoy!