What inspired you to come up with the idea for the film?
Frustrated by a lack of meaningful female content that didn’t revolve around men or dating, we created Ex-Best as a way to explore the nuances of female friendship. We felt that the most significant relationships in our lives weren’t romantic ones. Rather, they were with our girl friends. Not only had we invested the most time and energy into these relationships, but we also infused them with all our loyalty and love, as well as our fears, insecurities and secrets. A best friend is your other half. She’s the one who knows you better than yourself. When these friendships end, it’s heartbreaking and disillusioning in a way that romantic relationships aren’t. We didn’t feel that the media was giving female friendship the attention it deserves, and when it did portray the friend break-up, we didn’t think it was genuine. The narrative of the guy coming in between two girlfriends isn’t one we find true to our lives or the lives of those around us. We wanted to tell an honest story about why friends break up and what happens afterwards.
How do you relate to your characters or subjects?
We have to admit that the characters are extreme versions of ourselves. Andrea is a sweet but insecure pushover whose desperate need to people please often renders her unable to speak. On the outside, Andrea appears put-together and content with her life, but underneath that prim exterior, she’s an unhappy mess. Leanne is an eccentric, intimidating, get-to-the-point kind of gal, who isn’t afraid of confrontation. But don’t let her resting bitch face scare you. Though she may be an acquired taste, Leanne is actually endearing, an emotional river waiting to spill over.
What aspect of the story changed the most during writing and production?
Throughout the writing process, the narrative stayed on course, but the character details, situations, and dialogue became more defined. We found that the more nuanced, odd, and awkward a situation, the more the audience could relate, so we really pushed ourselves to get specific.
What influenced the visual style of your film?
The work of Jill Soloway, Lynn Shelton and John Cassavetes.
What was the most courageous decision you or your crew made during writing and production?
We decided to shoot all 13 episodes like a film. Therefore, we worked out of order so we could shoot-out locations. This meant we were on a super tight schedule, shooting 52 pages in 10 days with over a dozen locations. It was tough, but we had an amazing crew – predominantly female – and we are all really proud of the result.
Were there any risks that you faced during writing/production and how did you find a way to embrace them?
Due to the extremely tight shooting schedule, we were at risk of not getting everything in. We also shot during pilot season, so many of our actors were gracious enough to give us their in-between audition times and weekends. We worked around schedules and shifted days when we could. When you’re shooting a micro-budget series, you have to be as flexible as you can.
What risks does your story take?
We wouldn’t call it a risk, but to tell a story about women and have none of the conflict revolve around men is something pretty rare. We’re proud to add our names to those who are working to get these kinds of narratives into the media and portray multi-dimensional women.
How would you encourage others to tell their story or manage through the process of screen writing or film producing?
We’d say start small and work your way up. If sitting down and writing a whole series or film seems intimidating, start with a scene. See what the characters have to say and go from there. Maybe you’ll find inspiration in the short form as we did. Our episodes are only four minutes long, but we’ve got thirteen of them.