Creator Jodie Younse sits down with her Producer Siobhan Doherty. The second season of her award-winning series, Pairings, premiered on June 25th.
Siobhan: What has it been like to take on something as big as Pairings?
Jodie: Daunting, for sure. It did really help being in the community and seeing things behind the scenes with Gold and other shows that David Nett and Rick Robinson had done. I’ve been on a lot of sets in being a production assistant for other TV shows. Any time I’d get the opportunity I would go and shoot stills for anything being filmed.
Siobhan: What was the story process for the scripts? How did you come up with the idea and develop it?
Jodie: Of course, like all great ideas, this came up over a bottle of wine and was a slightly inebriated idea at its inception. And then we just rolled with it because part of the reason I fell in love with Ed (Robinson, Jodie’s husband and co-creator of Pairings) was because he could cook so well. Just the concept that cooking makes a man sexier…I’m always coming up with random ideas for scripts. I spit them out at Ed and he runs with it. So he’s kind of my inspiration. I guess we’re each other’s inspiration. We’re each other’s bounce boards.
Siobhan: That’s really cool. Did your process change from season one into season two?
Jodie: Well, it definitely evolved. In season one, we just sat down and randomly thought of things over a glass of wine. In season two, we knew where we had to go and we knew where we wanted to take it, so we actually scheduled time to sit down and say, “Let’s discuss the romance between Rose and Alan. Let’s discuss where we want to take Bobert’s story.” So we were a bit more structured in how we developed the story.
Siobhan: Did people’s reaction to the bet surprise you as a female executive producer? Did you think of it as risqué when you were writing it?
Jodie: It’s funny. I didn’t think of it as risqué when I was coming up with the idea. It was mostly my idea to say that, “Hey this guy is going to sleep with a whole bunch of women, because he cooks really well.” It wasn’t until later, as we really put the script together, that my husband said that the lead character might be seen as doing something terrible. And I thought, “Oh, I guess it is kind of terrible.” So it was really important to make the lead character likeable. We actively put it out there and asked a number of females, “Hey, read this script. Does this bother you?” And nobody came back to say, “Oh, how can he be sleeping with so many women because he’s cooking for them?!” If anything they said, “Oh awesome he’s cooking. Can I get in line?”
Siobhan: It almost seems to be an odd thing to him that it’s happening. Not like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to do this thing.” It keeps him human rather than a douchebag.
Jodie: Yes, we did a lot of revisions and we did change it quite a bit to make sure that he stays likeable even though he is sleeping with a bunch of women that don’t know that they’re part of a bet. All of these things sound really terrible, but we really tried to make the whole story endearing. Although, he is supposed to be somewhat unlikeable towards the end of the (first) season. The whole point is that he has gotten himself to a point that he’s not comfortable with. And I think it’s because he is suddenly not comfortable with it that we find it a little bit OK. It was also important to write strong female characters.
Jodie: The sushi chef in the show we intentionally wanted to be a female and what’s really kind of funny is that when we were looking for locations for the sushi restaurant we contacted a couple of sushi restaurants and our first choice, Sushi Central, got back to us right away. We went in to scout and the total irony was that the owners, (husband and wife) Philip and Tali, are both sushi chefs. Tali said that it was very rare to find a female sushi chef. What is kind of amazing is that Tali is not just female, but she’s Israeli.
Siobhan: Wow! What’s been the most surprising thing about being an executive producer?
Jodie: Surviving. Just the fact that I bit off way more than I could chew and I came out on the other side and had a product I was proud of. Looking back, I have no idea how I did some of the stuff that I did. And, looking forward I thought, “Oh my goodness, how am I going to do this all again?”
Siobhan: Was there anything that changed in how you dealt with things as a producer for the second season?
Jodie: I would primarily say don’t do too many things yourself. And definitely delegate. In season one, I said I could take care of the props, the set design, the costumes, making calls, reaching out to locations, and, oh yeah, having a brand new full time job at the same time.
Siobhan: Oh my goodness.
Jodie: So, in season two, when it came down to small props that I would normally say, “I’ll design the cover of the magazine that you’re going to see Bobert’s face on,” instead I said, “No way. I am going to reach out to other people to help me out with this.” And I did. That way I was able to not only take it off of my plate but have somebody do a way better job than I was going to do.
Siobhan: Right. Delegate to someone who wants to do it. Speaking of wearing lots of hats, you are both director and executive producer at different times. Did you direct and executive produce on season one as well as on season two?
Jodie: I directed more in season one than I did in season two. We had actually broken it up so that I would direct two episodes in season one that were very ‘Drew-heavy’ and by Drew, I mean Rick Robinson, who was our primary director who plays the character of Drew. The more time he spent on the screen, the harder it was for him to direct behind the scenes. Those were the episodes I took on to direct. Now, what do I like better? Definitely producing.
Siobhan: Really, why?
Jodie: I’ve never wanted to direct. It’s not something that I ever had on my list of things to do. Cinematography? Yes. Direction? Not so much. And that really came through when I directed the first season. That directing was not something that I wanted to do. Not that I hated it, by any means, but I just didn’t have the eye for it. I was too busy looking at so many other things that I forgot I was supposed to be directing. I think that was my producer mind. I was making sure there were no water bottles in the frame, that somebody else was getting ready and, “Oh, yeah, that’s right, I also have to direct these actors.” In season two, I did direct the food sequences again. And that’s because, one, there’s no actors acting in it. You just see hands.
Siobhan: Ah, yes, hand acting.
Jodie: And two, I have this huge passion for visual food. One of the things I love to do is food photography. Using my background in food photography and making this food look absolutely appetizing and delicious and making you hungry, that’s why I enjoy filming food. I am curious about, you, actually, Siobhan. You have a really awesome show called Super(fluous)- was your Kickstarter successful?
Siobhan: Yes! Super(fluous) is my new webseries and we want to be able to hire an awesome crew, so we thought that Kickstarter was a great match. After seeing the success of both Pairings Kickstarter campaigns, we thought it would be cool to work with our community to create our first season. What, to you, has been the coolest part about making a second season of your show?
Jodie: The coolest part is just being able to make it. We were able to do it with fan support and a being part of the community. That’s a big part of it. Being a part of the web series community has been an extreme amount of fun. Making a second season means that we get to see all of these people again and go around to the festivals and just be a part of the community all over again. I think it really proves something to be able to do a second season.
You can watch Pairings at PairingsTheSeries.com
and follow Jodie Younse on twitter at:@
and Siobhan Doherty at: @siodoherty