NYWIFT member Katrina Medoff spoke with fellow member Misha Calvert about her web series, Tinder is the Night. Calvert serves as the series’ executive producer, writer and creator, in addition to starring in and co-directing episode 1 (“Tinder is the Night”) and directing episode 2 (“Pee Sitting Down”). Both episodes have been submitted to festivals as web episodes and short films, so they each have their own online identity, Calvert explained.
NYWIFT member and Tinder is the Night creator Misha Calvert.
What inspired you to create Tinder is the Night?
I wanted to pay tribute to some of the women that I had met over the course of my time in New York and also some of the experiences that I had as a young, single female dating in New York and London.
Does the title have any relation to the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, Tender is the Night, or was it simply a clever title that you liked?
Like so many other funny things on the internet, it’s absolutely meaningless. But if I were to ascribe a meaning to it, I would say those of us who are dating online are putting a lot of stake in what might happen by the end of the night. Everyone has their hopes, and I think that what I discovered is that for the most part, no matter how much I was romanticizing the other person, they ended up being more f**ked up than I was.
What comes next with Tinder is the Night?
I wanted to give the world a taste of the universe of this show and I’m in development meetings with a few networks and also screening around the world right now. So the ideal would be for a digital or television network to pick it up and run with it and create some sort of online dating comedy that’s representative of the experiences most of us have.
What have been your biggest challenges with creating Tinder is the Night?
The fact that I had never done it before. [It was] the first thing I ever wrote, the first thing I ever shot, and the first pilot I had ever starred in, and each of those things is a responsibility in and of itself.
A project begins and ends with the executive producer; essentially everything is the executive producer’s fault. That in and of itself was a huge learning curve.
I have experience in playwriting a bit, but it took me about two years to fully start to understand how to represent people and things on camera versus on stage.
And then there’s carrying a show!
Calvert as Eddie in Tinder is the Night.
Where have you found your biggest successes in both making and marketing your web series?
I have a really great graphic designer who helped with a lot of the visual marketing materials and also the website. I hired a great film fest strategist who was not only able to help me figure out where to submit, but also give me some notes on the edit early on that were very helpful. And I was very surprised at how well I was able to pull off the acting because by the time they yelled action, I was a wreck. I was producing, directing, still re-writing on set, and wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do my job as an actor, so I’m quite proud of myself for being able to do that last and crucial step.
What advice would you give to other filmmakers who are creating their own web series?
It’s really important to structure your process like an iceberg, so your biggest part of it at the very bottom is thankless and no one sees [it]. That’s the script first and foremost; if you don’t have a great A+ script, don’t bother. If you can’t write a script, hire someone to teach you how to write it or write one for you. Pre-production is invaluable … [there’s] never enough time. 90% of the work is in the script and then in the pre-production. If you do all of that properly, the other 10% is the actual shooting days and post production.
Throughout all of that, because it’s such a commitment and so stressful, it’s important to work with people who support you.
Watch Tinder is the Night at https://www.tinderisthenight.show/.