With Paul Deeter
I'm always excited to stumble upon fresh content and new discoveries through streaming platforms or good word of mouth. Sometimes, like I mention in my interview with the creators of I Would Have Kissed You the winner in an aisle of bottles of wine is usually the one with the best label. The artwork of Kissed You done by @notbadia on Instagram, is as clickable as the show is easy to watch. Having to do with something with IG's algorithm for discovering new influencers and creators, I stumbled upon Hadley Dion and Marisol Diaz' page for their web-series, a heavily accoladed lean ten-part show about two young college-grad women whose friendship remains tethered despite the unpredictable nature of their dating life and the men who come along. The series has a clever title, with each episode adding a variation to the statement: I would have kissed you. Where this line originated is something I found out when I had the great opportunity of interviewing the creators.
Purely Kino: So the titles are significant to the episode and also kind of, like, the identity of the show. Did (you) have the idea for the titles, even before the idea for some of the episode roots and some of the the plots were laid out?
Marisol Diaz: I don't think we had come up with the titles beforehand because we had already come up with the ideas for the characters... and we had all these ideas of what we wanted the characters to go through, and like comedy bits that we had ideas for and I think that is really where we came up with the titles.
Hadley Dion: Yeah the episode titles definitely came later... "I would have kissed you" is a text I had sent a guy very much similar to the Luke and Mattie relationship where I went out with someone and he got food poisoning.
HD: (laughs) ... so like I would have kissed you if you hadn't thrown up was definitely a text at some point.
PK: (laughs) Gotcha.
HD: It's definitely a mood.
PK: I was gonna go into the question about how you guys wrote, Maddie and Olivia...and then also just like where some of the inspiration comes from. Was that (inspiration) close to home, and were these personal experiences that you wanted to share?
MD: I think it was like funny things that have happened to us or like people we knew...just in general knowing how difficult dating can be. And even just little things that may have happened to us or other people, we kind of built on those ideas and really exaggerated them.
HD: Yeah I think the first few drafts were probably closer to home but then some things weren't like dramatic enough so we either shifted them or brought in other stories we'd heard from other people.
PK: It seems organic. Did you guys have earlier on...in the process of fundraising and researching and kind of creating the roles, an idea (to cast) Mallory Lowe (Mattie) and Janelle Marie Rodriguez (Olivia). Did you have an idea that they were gonna be on from an early standpoint, or just get lucky (laughs).
HD: (Marisol) had known Mallory a long time, I've known Mallory a really long time, and she was definitely someone we had talked about. We auditioned other "Mattie's" though. I think,
MD: (picks up) ... it was so clearly her and when the two of them came in to read together there was such magic we knew they had to be the mouths of Maddie and Olivia together... I think I remember this pretty early on, and I don't know if you remember this (laughs) I think you had said met Janelle in an acting class and you texted me immediately "This girl came in and she's so Olivia".
PK: Yeah what they had was great, so that makes a lot of sense.... So I guess I was going to ask when you were making this, did you guys always have an idea this would be a web series or guess at some point it might have become a movie, or something?
HD: We've gotten asked this a few times because its the length of a movie. But I think we always intended it to be a series, right?
MD: Yeah we did. Very early on we didn't know we were gonna make it, we were just writing together because... we had all these ideas. At some point... we kinda looked at each other and asked "do you want to make this" and "yeah sure!"
HD: I think we talked about a podcast maybe, but then it just transformed itself to this eventually. We knew that we had stories that we wanted to create... a series seemed like a good outlet.
PK: Are you guys interested in expanding upon the series maybe or the characters? Even if you don't have the same (actors) associated with the the story do you think that you would continue these characters in any way or continue the story-telling aspect through a podcast?
HD: It's definitely come up since we put the series out there. People are like "oh my gosh, what's going to happen in season two" and we definitely have an idea bank for sure that we've kept throughout the years. I think we wouldn't want to make more unless (laughs) and this sounds kind of gross, but like the money to make it to pay everyone fairly and we got away with making this series on a ton of favors that we still try to make up all the time.
MD: We had a shoestring budget.
HD: We'd love to make more don't get me wrong, but we would want a budget to treat everyone fairly.
As most of the projects of 2020, I Would Have Kissed You exists outside the narrative of Covid-19, and we discuss whether or not the pandemic will affect future love stories.
PK: I've been in a weird kick lately of watching like early 2000s late 90s romance format comedies like You Got Mail, movies that are just prehistoric now. It makes me curious because certainly shows, at least I can think of one or two like This is Us that have addressed COVID in their narrative. It seems like a lot of movies are tip-toeing around it and I wonder if in a few years dating films are going to be so much so different because of what's going on, and I'm not trying to get dark or morbid or anything, or if it's just something that will be glassed over in the narrative.
MD: That's interesting you bring this up because I was just watching the last season of This is Us and I didn't know they had addressed Covid in it.
PK: Oh no!
MD: Oh no you're fine!
HD: How dare you spoil This is Us!?
MD: (continues) when I started watching this season, I don't want to say that I don't want to watch stuff that takes place during Covid because I'm like living in it. I think we all know what it's like.
HD: I'm watching Superstore... they're also addressing Covid. I don't personally think I'm interested currently in stories that are Covid-centric... I know a lot of people have the same feeling. It's too soon.
MD: Yeah it feels too soon.
PK: I totally agree with what you're saying, people want to escape from that. Where I see it is it's kind of interesting to think that maybe when people go back and look at (I Would Have Kissed You), just like how we look back at You Got Mail and think of "oh wow remember when people used dating apps". It just makes me curious... an idea of how the future's going to be.
We discuss the future of the romance genre further, along with the importance of discussing the problematic male characters and the representation of the female leads.
PK: Do you guys think as creators that you'd be making these films for the next 10-20 years based on your perspective and how you've aged, or do you think you can keep up on the trend of how dating changes?
HD: It would be a different story, if I was to write about something dating wise, unless it was a continuation of Kissed, I would use my other dating stories that I haven't been able to, that happened between writing and now. So many wackadoodle things. I think it would definitely evolve, I'm more interested in writing about serious relationships and growing with someone other than dating.
MD: What we really wanted to show was what came down to a real friendship between these two characters, Mattie and Olivia, and we wanted to show... the end of their series isn't the end of their lives. There's so many things that could happen and they're changing and growing as people and their friendship is changing and growing. There's these other people that could come in and out of their lives and they're not going to be there forever. We also wanted to give them a little bit of power and empower them at the end... when one of the characters is willing to rid something bad, a bad energy she had in her life.
Marisol and Hadley go into series and pop culture content they're watching and would recommend. Marisol finished The Vanishing at Cecil Hotel. Hadley just read Fight Club and a Shirley Jackson novel. She's also watching Jane the Virgin. Marisol is reading Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. She's caught up on This is Us, and is watching Wandavision. Hadley is unsure about Wandavision, so Marisol and I whole-heartedly recommend it. After chatting TV for a bit, I ask them about what else they're working on.
PK: Just to bring things home, do you guys have anything to (mention) down the road, any shows you're working on. Is there a way to support or donate future projects you're working on?
MD: If anyone wants to see updates on the show the best place to go is the Instagram @kissedyouwebseries, Twitter @KissedWebSeries and website . I check the social media pages pretty often I'm pretty easy to get ahold of. The show is on Twisted Mirror TV and its easy to register for a free account and watch it, and you can rate and review it if you like it, that would be awesome to see more reviews on there.
HD: My main plug is the show, I also work on the Mortified podcast and Ooh You're In Trouble! Especially if someone reading has a kid, it's for kids 9-13, anywhere in that kind of realm. Outside of that you can find me on Instagram... I like to post on my story weird things I find on Etsy.
MD: They're terrifying. We clearly have very different tastes, in stuff.
HD: NO! They're all jokes. I send Marisol severed Barbie doll heads on Etsy, and she's like "What is this?!"
MD: Like why are people selling this? Why is this a thing?
HD: Why not? Monetize everything! Capitalism baby!"
I Would Have Kissed You is streaming now on twistedmirror.tv
For more information about the show visit https://www.kissedyouwebseries.com/
The Mortified and Ooh You're in Trouble! podcasts can be found at www.getmortified.com