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Web Series Crush-o-the-Week: Twins – It’s Like Looking in a Dirty Mirror September 10, 2010

Posted by therealgirlsguide in Blog, interviews, news, Web Series.
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This week I decided to interview the director of Real Girl’s herself, the fabulous Heather de Michele about her OTHER (that slut!) web series, Twins: It’s Like Looking in a Dirty Mirror.

We snatched Heather up to direct Real Girl’s, the minute she moved back to LA after 10 years in New York, and haven’t let go of her since. In the past year, Heather’s directed several of our projects including our critically acclaimed stage play Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto, written by and starring Anna Khaja (“Aliyah” from Episode 5 of Real Girl’s), and our snarky-fun video The Crimson Tide (co-directed with Real Girl Reena Dutt) which parodies the utterly inane but eminently mock-able National Organization for Marriage ad The Gathering Storm.

Twins: It’s Like Looking in a Dirty Mirror follows a couple of 13-year-old twin sisters PBS science-show style “as they journey through life’s sibling-related obstacles during those awkward teen years.” The Twins, Sigourney and Sandy Snamf, are played by Anna Fitzwater (“Sexy Barista” from Real Girl’s episode 2) Emily Burton respectively.

The thing I find so intriguing about the series (besides the fact that Heather directed, shot it, and edited it herself…on the sly, in between Real Girls takes)…is that it’s entirely improved based, was shot on a zero budget, with only one or two locations…and is still funny and creative as hell. Jealous. But then I remember…she’s MINE, all mine. Well sorta. I mean, she does own an American-Girl Doll version of herself that I have easy access to. Picture below (when you’re done reading, as a treat).

RG: Where did the idea of Twins come from?

HDM: Two of the funniest women I know like to pretend they are headstrong teenagers from time to time.  I was inspired.

RG: Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

HDM: The entire series is improv based.  Lines were never scripted, though ideas on how the story would evolve were discussed before shooting… sometimes.

RG: How long does it take to shoot, edit and post an episode?

HDM: Each episode was shot in 3-4 hours time.  The editing process would take a full day or two and then the posting would happen the following day.  Our typical flow was Monday shoot, Friday air.

RG: Why did you choose to do this as a web-series?

HDM: Because we had absolutely no budget and the freedom to be as experimental and wild was we wanted was very appealing.  Web work is a very low-stakes medium and I think that lack of pressure breeds some of the best comedy!

RG: What’s the background of your team?

HDM: We all have theatre backgrounds sprinkled with some screen work here and there.  The three of us made up half of the NYC based sketch comedy group, Lesbian Pulp-O-Rama! Emily and Anna played some of the most vibrant, ridiculous and kooky characters in that illustrious body of work and I knew they would be perfect for a character driven web-series.  Lesbian Pulp-O-Rama!  ran steadily for four years, prior to that I had directed each of them in several plays.

RG: Any wacky on-set anecdotes?

HDM: Oh, wow, there were so many.  The wackiness often came from Anna and Emily taking their comedy to a vulgar and inappropriate place – I’d have to reign them in and remind the gals that TWINS is PG… sometimes PG-13.

RG: What is the most challenging part of the process?

HDM: Editing.  There was always an abundance of material to distill down to a short web episode.  Episode one could have been a feature film.

RG: Any advice you have for other female web creators?

HDM: Get a camera.  Honestly, though mine is already a bit out dated, having the ability to pick it up and shoot is very empowering.  Teaching myself to edit also gave me a great deal of control over my projects.  Not that I don’t love collaborating with large production teams, but when money is tight and ideas are flowing, it’s great to know you can just do it yourself.  Like Rosie the Riveter.

RG: What’s next for Twins? DATING?!

HDM: Season 2: episode 1 is in post – stay tuned for more from Sandy and Sigourney Snamf!!

RG: Any other projects you’re working on that we should know about?

HDM:  Yes!  I have the great fortune of directing Season 2 of The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else – coming soon to a computer near you!

To find out how YOU can help the support the cause of creating more awesome girl-powered comedy, please check out our Real Girl’s Season 2 Fundraising site (All donations are tax deductible!)

Carmen (with accomplice Jen) abucts Heather American Girl Mini-Me during the shoot.

The non-doll version of Heather on-set, with Robin Daléa.

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