I just looked at my calendar and noticed it’s 2012! The future is now and part of that future: the TV not being on the TV anymore, but in adorable 10 minute increments on your computer. The latest entry in the web-series phenomenon is the adorable web series RomCom Dating Rules From My Future Self.
The series, which airs episodes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday over the next 3 weeks (find the link below) follows Lucy (Shiri Appleby – Life Unexpected, Roswell), a young woman working at a company that makes phone apps. She has just been proposed to by her boyfried, Brendan (Bryce Johnson – Pretty Little Liars.) He also basically accepted for her. But as she, along with the help of her friends, Kelsey (Alison Becker – Parks and Recreation), Amanda (Mircea Monroe – The Change Up), and Vincent (Martin Starr – Party Down), starts to naviagte this new adventure she begins to realize maybe this isn’t the best choice for her. Also helping: Brendan’s slightly attractive friend, Dave (Taylor Kinney – The Vampire Diaries) and some mysterious text messages that claim to be from her future self.
I talked to Appleby on the phone about this new series, which is her first time producing and I may have started it by gushing about a certain she show was previously on.
Melissa Miller (MM): Before we get to your new show, I have to tell you, I really miss Life Unexpected still!
Shiri Appleby (SA): Oh, you’re so sweet! Thank you , I really appreciate it.
MM: I’m glad it got an ending, so many shows don’t get that.
SA: I know, you’re so sweet. It was such a good show. But the whole group is still really close, so I sort of feel like I still have it a bit.
MM: Oh, that’s so good to hear. But moving on to your latest thing. My first question is about the cast, which is amazing. A lot of the people I’ve talked to that have watched the first episode are especially excited about Taylor Kinney…
SA: Yeah! [laughs]
MM: Right? And Martin Starr as well. How did you get them on board?
SA: Well, it’s pretty awesome. This is the first time I’ve ever been a producer on something and the guys at [our production company] Alloy gave me a lot of freedom. So I brought on the director Liz, Elizabeth Allen, who I had worked with a bunch on Life Unexpected. We didn’t have much of a budget so we decided, you know, we would just cast the show. Um, and Liz and I had both worked with Martin in the past and we both called and harassed him for a little while [laughs]. And we got him to say yes, which was awesome. And I found, we found, Alison Becker. We were looking for funny women so I went through the Parks and Rec imdb page, found a girl that looked kinda young, looked her up, started watching her on youtube, thought she was awesome. So I called up her manager and that’s kinda how that happened. We emailed a bunch of executives asking if they new any blonde, hot, funny chicks. And they responded with Mircea. Every single person responded with Mircea.
MM: Well that’s a boost!
SA: Yeah! And Taylor Kinney, who is the hottest thing ever and the nicest guy to boot, Alloy, they had actually worked with him a lot on The Vampire Diaries and they were huge fans of his. So he came over at my house. Rode up on his motorcycle, I was like dying that the hottest guy ever was walking into my house. And we just sat my dining room table, him, Liz and I, and we just talked, like ‘if you wanna play Dave, that would be like the best thing that ever happened to me.’ And he signed up.
MM: That’s amazing. I would have died if he was in my house.
SA: Yeah, he’s pretty hot.
MM: And, just because I’ve watched General Hospital for twenty years, Brianna Brown – I was really excited to see her. But I’m a little afraid she is going to kill Lucy.
SA: Oh you’re so funny! She’s actually with my management company. And we were looking for somebody and they said she had just done this great arc on Homeland and we looked her up and she totally looked the part. And she just came on set and just nailed it. We got really lucky.
MM: Yeah, she was really good in just that one little bit.
SA: Yeah, she has a real sense of herself and a real presence. It was awesome.
MM: So, as you mentioned, this is your first time producing. Has that changed your approach to playing the character?
SA: Absolutely.I mean I was literally involved in production meetings, picking the colors of the walls in Lucy’s bedroom, and the bathroom, and the house, and asking for wallpaper. I sat with the DP to pick out the right lenses and the right filters. I went one every single scouting meeting. I was involved in story and script. I mean, from start to finish. And what has changed in my performance was everything because I really didn’t have to do homework and prepare because I was living in the world for so many months before we started shooting, um, that by the time we got on set I was just so ready to attack it. It was just the most, like, creatively satisfying experience I’ve ever had.
MM: That’s awesome. Was there any specific past experience, or past work that shaped how you approached this one?
SA: Well, like, Life Unexpected, they gave me a lot of input. Liz Tigelaar is incredible and we would get together all the time and I would really talk to her about where I felt that Cate was going or what emotional journey Cate was having. And we talked about story. So, and like, Gary Fleder, who is one of my really good friends and was our director and executive producer, and he would really talk to me about directing and stuff. So I felt like I sort of got a tutorial on producing ad being more so a part of the creative process by being involved on Life Unexpected and on Dating Rules they kinda let me go for it.
MM: That’s cool. A nice training.
SA: Yeah, exactly.
MM: You were mentioning picking the wallpaper and paint colors. On our site we talk about fashion and style quite a bit as well.
SA: Oh, yeah. Great.
MM: Yes, I loved Lucy’s style, her personal style, but also the house was amazing.
SA: Yeah, wasn’t it beautiful?
MM: Yes! How did you kinda decide what was going to go in there and how to style it?
SA: Well, like, I’m a huge house person. I’ve been redecorating rooms, like my bedroom, since I was a little girl. I just gutted my house in LA. I’m like addicted. If you see my house I have like every copy of Architectural Digest and Elle Decor as well. I’m like obsessed. It’s my favorite thing. So the production designer came over. And I literally was like picking out things like lamps and chandeliers that I liked and show it to him in Elle magazine. And he’d be like, ‘well, obviously these are way too expensive but I can give you the same effect by putting mason jars with Edison bulbs.’ So when you see Lucy’s bedroom hanging over her bed are all these beautiful lights. And then I found this wallpaper that is like this collage wallpaper. And again he said ‘this is really expensive but what I can do is rip pages of books out and then tacky them on the wall behind the bed and then draw birds on them.’ Because we kinda came up with this concept that Lucy is like this bird that was learning to fly.
MM: Oh, I like that. That’s cool.
SA: Yeah. And then it all started to come together. We got in the best bathroom. And I had been in this one bathroom that someone had painted their bathroom like Tiffany blue and I was like, ‘please let’s do it in here.’ And it just really popped. So we just like kind of, we didn’t ave a lot of budget for wall paper. So we just used it in the right places so it could pop the room so everything didn’t seem matte. And really for the house we were going for an Anthropologie look. We wanted to create the house that every young girl would, like, want to live in.
MM: Yeah, I definitely wanted to find the house and live there.
SA: And all of it was done really inexpensively.
MM: I watched the episode a couple times because even just that first scene with the three girls on the phone and you could see behind them. I was trying to look at the little pictures and see what was on the walls.
SA: Those were all just from flea markets and garage sales. We made the whole thing on the smallest budget. It was the kind of house that any girl could have.
MM: I’m excited to even just look at more of the house. But beyond that, tell me what’s to come in tomorrow’s episode.
SA: In our next episode, Lucy, um, starts to realize and talk to future Lucy more and starts to figure things out. She gets conflicted and she and her girlfriends have a conversation which pretty much sums up what the show about: ‘How do you know you’re in love? What does it mean to be in love?’
Shiri and I also talked a little about the trials and tribulations of dating – an obvious theme of the show. Her biggest piece of advice: “just don’t play games.” If someone is playing games, it isn’t worth it. And hopefully soon we will be getting more advice from Shiri about life and love – she is shopping a book to publishers about how she came to learn the she is worthy of being loved by examining all of her past relationships. I hope to see it on the bookshelves soon!
Watch the trailer:
Watch the first episode:
Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae