@datingZoe is a breakthrough new comedy based on the real-life dating struggles of a lesbian in New York City. Shot in a mockumentary style and starring the talented Rachel Paulson and Olivia Jampol, @datingZoe brings heart and laughs to a time in life nearly everyone can relate to, while shedding light on the challenges of finding love in the digital age. The series will solicit interaction with the audience base as fact and fiction begin to meld. This project provides a unique opportunity for video platforms and distribution companies to reach viewers in a new way and is backed by a creative team that understands both digital media and the LGBT audience. We are incredibly excited to share @datingZoe with you and are beyond grateful for your help in making this reality.
MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
Zoe’s been on more dates than she cares to admit. She's experienced a decade of dating fails, and her hopeless romantic days are long gone. She can't help but wonder what she could possibly be doing wrong, and she wants help figuring it out. Enter Devon. She's Zoe's go-to girl as they navigate the New York City lesbian dating scene together. Because the old ways haven’t been working, they're taking a new approach.
Zoe's got yet another upcoming date, and with permission from the girl she's going out with, Devon will come along to film Zoe and her date in action. The plan is to share the date on social media and get a little insight from fresh eyes on why her dating skills have failed her.
As it turns out, people respond wildly to Zoe's little experiment. She receives ridiculous amounts of feedback and hundreds of offers from women wanting to be her next date. Zoe's dating adventures thus continue, with camerawoman Devon along for the ride.
While her dating life shifts into high gear, Zoe’s relationship with Devon also shifts from friendly to flirty. This only intensifies throughout Season 1, where certain circumstances lead them to act on their growing attraction.
ZOE (played by Rachel Paulson) has become jaded by her dating fails and is exhausted by a decade of letdowns. She wants to find love and refuses to settle, but she’s starting to believe she can't have one without the other. She's honest to a fault, which her friends find charming. Her dates... not so much. Her mom is desperate for grandchildren and is constantly pushing Zoe to find a “life partner.” Zoe’s cute, but her best friend is hot, which is not much of a confidence booster. The dating project helps with that. For the first time she has women noticing her, Devon included.
DEVON (played by Olivia Jampol) is used to getting a lot of attention from women but doesn't really seem to care. She lives in the moment and doesn't worry about the future. Unlike Zoe, she's been in relationships, but always ends up being the heartbreaker. She’s a social media whiz and a hot commodity in her professional life as well. Devon loves seeing Zoe as the center of attention for a change, but gradually realizes she wants to be the one providing it.
@datingZoe is a mockumentary-style comedy series with Devon's camera providing the central vantage point. Although Devon is a main character, we first get to know her only through her voice as she interacts with Zoe on camera. We eventually see (the strikingly beautiful) Devon as season 1 progresses.
The start of each episode (following the pilot) will have Zoe and Devon casually discussing social media responses from the previous date they posted. The next video date will then take place with humorous circumstances based on true-to-life experiences. Each episode will end with Zoe and Devon recapping the most recent date experience before posting it on social media.
Lesbian web content is plentiful but mostly lacking in originality. This is a chance to address the world of lesbian dating through a uniquely personal format. Integrating social media into a reality show was hugely successful on a larger scale with Bravo's The Singles Project, as was following various characters’ online dating situations on Catfish. Combining these concepts and using a mockumentary style allows the series to capitalize on past success but with a controlled outcome--a playful and meaningful tone with an authentic connection between viewers and relatable characters.
CREATIVE TEAM & CAST
Creator/Writer: Adi Riesenberg
Adi is a creative force. She worked in the TV news industry for a decade as an editor and producer (where she met most of the other team members), bringing to life stories as varied as fashion week to breaking news. She is now a professional storyteller at People.com, but her favorite story to tell is her own. The series is inspired by her blog, which sought to gain the insight of unbiased internet strangers on her nearly 100 failed first dates. Adi is more than just the series creator, she also serves as the lead writer and editor.
Executive Producer: Rachel Trobman
Rachel is a seasoned digital media executive whose expertise lies in content creation, distribution and partnership. She was part of the founding team at Zazoom Media Group before launching a successful production company working with clients like NBC Universal, SheSpeaks, Inc., Yahoo!, P&G, Wal-Mart and the NFL. In addition, Rachel is the CEO at Ouchie, a digital health company working to assist those in pain and those that care for them. Rachel is providing guidance on fundraising, content distribution, and budgeting for @datingZoe.
Producer: Lisa Cossrow
Lisa has spent the past four years working for large-scale network, cable and OTT series as a location manager. In this role, she has worked with permits, crew organization, scouting, budgets and vendor management. Her credits include Billions, VINYL, and The Leftovers. Her vast industry connections and knowledge will continue to serve @datingZoe well before and during production.
2nd Unit Director: Jessica Dunn
Jess, a member of the International Cinematographer's Guild, Local 600 IATSE, comes to the project with more than a dozen blockbuster feature film and series under her belt including Trainwreck, Jessica Jones, The Blacklist and The Following. Additionally, she has written and directed two narrative films, one of which featured at the New York International Short Film Festival. Her discipline, artistic vision and willingness to get involved in every aspect of a shoot are an incredible asset for this project.
Director: Brian Murray
Brian is a commercial and documentary director. He was the director and cinematographer behind Uncle Drew - the mockumentary-style Pepsi spot that has garnered nearly 40 million YouTube views for Chapter 1 alone. He has also directed for HBO's Hardknocks, ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series, and was a Senior Cinematographer for NFL Films. Brian is currently EA Sport's Madden NFL Director of Presentation.
Zoe: Rachel Paulson
Acting since she was a child, Rachel has appeared in short films and TV series including Mr. Boogy, Eastsiders, Heartland and The Chest. Rachel has also dipped her feet into writing and producing (Kleptos and The Chest) and serves as a contributor to SheWired. She is the little sister of actress Sarah Paulson, of American Horror Story, and Casting Director Liz Paulson.
Devon: Olivia Jampol
Olivia is an actor, writer and filmmaker. She is a Bat, a member of the resident acting company at the two-time Obie award-winning, The Flea Theater in TriBeCa. Recent productions include, Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, directed by filmmaker Joel Schumacher and Wolf in The River, written and directed by Adam Rapp. Currently you can catch her in the world premiere of AJAX by A.R. Gurney, directed by Stafford Arima. She also is the creator of the sketch comedy group Five Minutes Late.
USE OF FUNDS
Your funds will help us with the filming and post-production of the first season (5 episodes) of @datingZoe, along with initial promotion. Each episode is between 8-12 minutes in length. Episodes will be shot in the New York City Metropolitan area. Costs include: compensation of cast and crew, equipment rentals, transportation, sound mixing and color correction.