Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Riding High

Missy and I are thrilled with the positive feedback we've been receiving for Episode 2! Thank you to those who are following our series and helping us to spread the word. We truly appreciate it.

As we've been enjoying the success of our YouTube series, Netflix has been embracing its own achievements, especially with the help of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Gold Derby points out that this is merely the third year that Netflix has been creating original content, and already "Netflix is tied with HBO for having the most programs up for the top series awards," of course including Kimmy Schmidt which is Emmy-nominated for best comedy. To read more about Netflix's breakthrough success online, see Gold Derby's article here.

Lori, Andrew Ridings, and Missy
With the success of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the show's actors now seem to be popping up everywhere. You can catch Tituss Burgess on the cover of the latest issue of Backstage, a source for actors seeking career information. Plus, hardcore Kimmy fans may recognize Andrew Ridings pictured above, who plays Buckley's tutor on the show. You will now see him as a cast member on NBC's new Coach revival. See more about his upcoming role here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Episode 2

Episode 2 is up! Thank you to everyone who has supported us and helped to make Episode 2 possible. We are so excited that US national cricket team player Beulah Pidakala was a part of it, and that our Indiegogo supporters provided us with financial support. So much love and gratitude to our friends and family. We hope you enjoy the new episode!

And in news about other new episodes, this time for the original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it's just been announced that the new Netflix season will be released on March 6. In the meantime, stay tuned for more Unbreakable Missy & Lori coming soon!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Unthinkably Hilarious

It's amazing how much can happen in such a short period of time! Before digging into some things Missy and I have been up to, I'll share our exciting news of the day:  we have been featured on lifestyle blog The Yellow Spectacles! You can see our awesome interview here. We are so excited that Katelyn Chef included us, and we're honored to have her support. Thank you, Katelyn!

Missy has been hard at work editing Episode 2 which will be launching shortly! In the meantime, not only did she show me her updates for Episodes 2 and 3, Missy also showed me the best bloopers! I know you can't yet tell what's going on in the photo below, but rest assured it's funny; I was laughing so hard my cheeks were hurting!

Episode 3 bloopers

In a recent post, I included a link to Decider's "25 Female Directors You Should Know." I was inspired by the article to watch The Namesake, a Mira Nair film that I had wanted to see ever since I saw the trailer many years ago. I loved the film, and not just because one of its stars Kal Penn is another New Jersey native in Los Angeles (I even had a chance to chat with him about our Jersey roots about a year ago). I loved the film's spirit and inspirational messages.

As I always do after watching a movie, I immediately headed over to the film's trivia section on IMDB. That's when I realized that I've accumulated such a wealth of knowledge on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt at this point that I could fill endless text for the site's trivia section on the show; for now, I've simply become a source of trivia for my friends who want to know more about the show.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Upcoming Episodes

Today, I met with my friend from Shane Mosley's team, where we discussed everything from our shared love for the movie 30 for 30: Broke, learning copyright regulations, Shane's upcoming fight in August, and of course our Unbreakable Missy & Lori episode which will feature a Shane Mosley cameo. As Missy works on editing the episode, you can see a sneak preview of it below.

Missy, Shane Mosley, and Lori
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fans seem to be going crazy today for the most recent Instagram post by Tituss Burgess, with him lip-synching to Beyonce's "Flawless." See for yourself:

Last night, the cast and creators of the show spoke on a Television Critics Association (TCA) panel where they discussed what's in store for Season 2. Mashable presents us with five things to expect from the upcoming season. Will there be more "Peeno Noir" in Season 2? Zap2it has the answer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's a Wrap!

Missy and I have had a busy past few days! On Saturday, we spent the day in Anaheim, heading to both VidCon and Vegan Faire. Sunday was a full day of filming, wrapping on production for Episodes 2 and 3. Now Missy is busy editing our next episodes so that we can have them up on our YouTube channel as soon as possible!

I was very happy to see that Ellie Kemper's performance on Friday at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal was lauded, judging by this Montreal Gazette article and the posts I saw on Instagram. I was also excited to find an article that linked lessons from Kimmy Schmidt to those which are beneficial for startups to learn about investors, especially since Missy and I share a common interest in the tech community.

While we were filming on Sunday, a passerby inquired about our production. He was very excited to learn that we have a female director, and said that we need more in the industry. Of course, soon after this conversation, I happened to discover Decider's article "25 Female Directors You Should Know." I was happy to see that I knew many of them.

And in truly bizarre news, in a quest to find one of my past blog articles, I instead came across an article which featured a tweet of mine. "Shane Mosley announces return to ring for bout with Ricardo Mayorga" begins with my tweet and group photo from our filming with Shane Mosley!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lunch Date

Missy, Lori, and Erin
I had a chance to meet up with Missy and her friend (from Jersey!) Erin for lunch today. Missy and I discussed notes for Episode 2, as we prepare to film our final shots this weekend. Erin mentioned that Missy has shown her a rough cut of Episode 3 - she likes it and can't wait to see it all come together!

When I watched GoldDerby's interview with Tituss Burgess today, I was so happy to hear that he and Ellie Kemper text all the time. I love that they have become real friends. Of course, when it was stated that there was an earlier interview with Ellie Kemper, I had to go ahead and watch that one, too. It made me so sad at the end of the interview when he asks Ellie about the Emmys. She truly did deserve the nomination.

The good news is that Just for Laughs Festival attendees can catch Ellie's gala tomorrow night! I really wish I could be back in Montreal for this. At least CultMTL shared a great interview with Ellie to promote her show. Another Canadian publication The Star also caught up with Ellie. I couldn't help but smile when I saw the correction at the end of the article:  "This article was edited from a previous version that misstated Ellie Kemper's year of birth." I guess they weren't using (my previous employer) Famous Birthdays!

Lastly, yesterday I noted that What the Fangirl's podcast interview that discussed Kimmy Schmidt focused on the show's passing from NBC to Netflix. If you're interested in learning more about the switch, I'd recommend reading "How Netflix Saved Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," written by Scott Christopher who starred in a community theater production with Tituss Burgess 15 years ago. Also, the Variety article "Emmy Nominations: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' Survives and Thrives" provides more details from series co-creator Robert Carlock.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Funny Business

Original, hand-decorated Unbreakable Missy & Lori bag
I have received confirmation from several of our Indiegogo supporters that the perks have successfully been delivered! Now that it no longer needs to be kept as a surprise, I can share our "Better than Jansport backpack" perk - the original, hand-decorated bag pictured above.

Today I listened to a What the Fangirl podcast interview with Rebecca Johnson from Supergirl Radio, where they discussed Kimmy Schmidt. It was interesting because they actually spent a lot of time on the episode discussing NBC's decision not to air Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and how the show has thrived on Netflix. I'm so happy it went to Netflix because if it actually did air on NBC, I probably never would have seen it!

Also, during the podcast, they mentioned the "comedy rule of three," a term I had never heard of before. I immediately researched it to learn more, and I'm glad I did. Although I've been a professional nonfiction writer for my personal blog, TopMBA, Intuit, and obviously this blog, I've never written fiction or comedy before. Since this web series marks my first foray into the genre, it was great to learn a new principle to incorporate into my writing. I'd start practicing using it now, but I'm too tired from a day of podcast listening, responding to emails, and donating towels to poor people with the same initials as me. How'd I do? I tried.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Civil Action

This is my mantra right now. Of course, Kimmy Schmidt is providing me with the solace I'm seeking.

And because I suppose my life wasn't enough like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, I was served jury duty. If I end up having to appear in court, I'll be picturing Kimmy's court scenes the whole time. Also this:

For anyone who's antsy to know what the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will bring, you should check out this article. Just as the show begins filming next month, we'll be releasing our next episodes for Unbreakable Missy & Lori!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Females Are Strong As Hell

One of the things I like so much about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is its positive feminist message. For an analysis of the show's feminist perspective, see this article.

Miss Piggy is a feminist. And about 12 years ago, I dressed up as Miss Piggy for an event (see photo below). Now, I embody the strong feminist Kimmy Schmidt character as Kelly Smith for Unbreakable Missy & Lori. Coincidence? I think not.

My friend Rachel as Kermit and me as Miss Piggy
Not only does the show provide a strong female voice, it also provides a strong, positive gay component with its character Titus Andromedon. Sadly, actor Tituss Burgess admits he's nothing like his zany character. We are so excited for his Emmy nomination, though, and we'll cry along with him if he wins!

While Tituss was busy sobbing after learning about his Emmy nomination, Jane Krakowski was cracking jokes about hers. Alhough Ellie Kemper unfortunately did not receive a nomination, you can see a video collection of her successful stint on The Today Show this summer here. Lastly, Jon Hamm, who has been nominated for 13 Emmys could potentially get one for his guest role on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, rather than for his starring role in Mad Men. We'll be looking out for this and other potential Emmy head-turners during this year's awards show.

As for our own production, Missy and I spent part of the weekend filming for Episode 2! We were so excited to work with Beulah Pidakala (photo below) who plays on the US Women's national cricket team. Talk about strong females!

From left to right: Missy, Beulah Pidakala, Lori, and cameraman Brayden

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rock Out

Ellie Kemper and Donna Farizan Periscoping from The Today Show green room
This morning, I watched Ellie Kemper on The Today Show as she Periscoped from the green room. Then, I headed off to work for Muse to demo their meditation device at the Idea World Fitness Convention.

Afterwards, I quickly headed out to see Tammy Faye Starlite and Jill Sobule perform. I had a chance to tell Jill how much she influenced my teenage years with her music, and that she was an inspiration for two of my upcoming Unbreakable Missy & Lori episodes. Amazingly, she wants to check out our series so I'm feeling pretty good right about now! I was seriously obsessed with the movie Clueless growing up and I'm truly honored that the singer of "Supermodel" knows about our series now and wants me to pass it along to her.

Jill Sobule and me

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Way of the Warriors

I'm exhausted from a day of running around, so even though today was a big day of great news, I'm just going to quickly write some updates:

1. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series!!!! Not only that, but Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, Jon Hamm, and Tina Fey all received nominations, with the show receiving seven in total. We were pretty bummed that Ellie Kemper was not listed as a nominee, but we're hopeful that she will be in the future. For a full list of the Emmy nominations, see here.

2. My friend has been discharged from the hospital!

3. Missy and I did a quick yoga session by the beach today during our business meeting. What a great day!

Cause females are strong as hell! Us being fierce warriors.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In the News

Emmy nominations will be announced tomorrow, so the entertainment news seems to be awash with nominee predictions. As we eagerly await the official list, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stars have also made their way into the headlines:

  1. Jane Krakowski will be on Broadway for "She Loves Me." See the Hollywood Reporter article here.
  2. Ellie Kemper was featured in the Montreal Gazette, as she'll be hosting a Just for Laughs Festival gala on July 24. I wish I could return to Montreal to see her there, but I'll just have to settle for following the live tweets.
  3. And the news Missy and I are really, really excited about... Dylan Gelula, who plays Xan in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, has been cast "to star in Kerem Sanga's indie 'First Girl I Loved,' a romantic dramedy about a burgeoning romance between two teenage girls," according to The Wrap. Xan as a lesbian! We cannot wait.

Time also listed Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as one of the best TV shows of 2015 so far. In other words, if you have Netflix and you haven't seen the show yet, what are you waiting for?

While browsing Kimmy-related posts today on Instagram, I came across this image:

I decided to see how Siri would respond to me. I was secretly hoping hoping she'd say, "Is that you, Kimmy?" so I was pretty disappointed when I got the following:

But I guess it's not too bad of a response after all. "You can be whatever you want to be" sounds a lot like an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt line anyway. (And when I tried, "Siri, I'm a mole woman," I also got "That's messed up.")

On a personal front, as my friend awaits her diagnosis, I am simply staying positive, continuing to send her love, and forging ahead. Thank you to those who have sent prayers and well wishes!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Friends First

As a blogger, there's one thing I've struggled with:  what to do when my professional news is good but personal news is bad. Today is one of those days, and I've decided that I will simply report the personal.

This morning, a friend of mine texted me that she was very sick and being admitted to the hospital. She asked me to pray or send good vibes, which I did immediately, and especially during my yoga this afternoon.

I decided to share this news here because it reminded me of something I told Missy when we first began our web series. I had said, "No matter what happens with this project, it's always going to be friends first." I live my life this way, and this news stood as an important reminder that friends and family come before professional priorities.

Secondly, my hospital-stricken friend has been there for me and supporting me since the beginning of my time in LA. A Titus figure, if you will. She even worried about my attending Full Circle's events, for fear that it was a cult. (Do I sound like Kimmy or what?) I assured her it was not, and I loved that she truly cared about my wellbeing.

Coincidentally, I happened to come across the below image on Instagram today. I call upon the collective power of healing and community and ask you to please send any positive vibes you can to my friend. Namaste.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Eventful Weekend

I attended some great events this weekend! On Saturday, I went to an Outfest panel entitled Web Series: In With the New Out. After a screening of episodes of "80/20," "Wallflowers," "Dyke Central," "Kelsey," "The Transgender Project," and "Where the Bears Are," Canadian moderator Damian Pelliccione of Boys in Tech spoke with representatives from each of the web series. Thanks to the other Canadian on the panel, Kevin O'Keefe from "The Transgender Project," I learned that there are government funds available for Canadian web productions. As a Canadian filmmaker in LA, I'm not quite sure if I would qualify, but it's definitely something I will be investigating. My major takeaway from the event was that I learned that this type of project can go in various directions - a web series can find success through many outlets. I'm excited to see where ours will go!

On Sunday, I attended Full Circle's Activ888 meditation, where I heard guest Mark Shapiro speak on the topic of authenticity. I'm particularly passionate about this subject, so I was very interested in his talk. I loved that, in speaking about authenticity, he fused it with the word "community." As Missy and I focus on our Unbreakable Missy & Lori series, and stay true to our project and ourselves, I believe that we will find a strong community who will support us. I am happy to say that we've actually received some wonderful feedback on Twitter recently, with our viewers saying that our first episode was "so funny," "awesome," and that they "look forward to seeing it progress."

Twitter feedback regarding Unbreakable Missy & Lori Episode 1
Today, I came across "Unbreakable Me: Finding Yourself After Parenthood #KimmySchmidt" by mommy blogger Lisa Collins. Collins reminds us to embody Kimmy Schmidt's zest for life, and to discover your true self. Perhaps your authentic self? At the end of her article, Collins asks, "Have you introduced the world to Unbreakable You?" I reiterate, have you?

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I think I'm becoming Kimmy Schmidt. Not only do I look the part and have the requisite wardrobe and accessories, today I thought to myself, Why don't people wear tie-dye anymore? It made me long for the days of youth when we used to tie bizarre knots on white shirts (sometimes also socks in my case) and soak them in various colored dyes. I was clearly born in the 80s.

My Kimmy Schmidt jewelry
Another sign that the times are changing is the way in which we consume media. It became clear during my time at Famous Birthdays that the younger generation finds their audience through means beyond traditional media such as film and television. YouTubers, Instagram celebrities, Viners, etc. are now the norm.

Even Netflix has contributed to a shift in the way we consume media, with a new study reporting that binge watching is on the rise and has become the new normal. A article even goes on to say that "some of the most popular TV shows among binge viewers have been original series produced by Netflix, including House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" and that "37% of people have spent an entire weekend bingeing a show." For those of you who fall into this category, happy weekend bingeing!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Sugar, Sugar

I'm so exhausted from a full day of filming, but I wanted to be sure to record today's events because they were truly amazing. Today's theme? Sugar!

Missy and I, along with our cameraman Brayden, filmed our entire Episode 3 today (filmed before Episode 2 due to scheduling). We started the day with an early morning at Sprinkles Cupcakes to shoot some key scenes for the episode, our first dose of sugar.

Missy at Sprinkles Cupcakes
In the afternoon, we headed to the beach for our second dosage of sugar:  legendary boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley. We were fortunate to have an opportunity to film with him, just hours after his upcoming August fight with Ricardo Mayorga was announced! He'll be coming out of retirement for this summer's rematch, but it was clear that Mosley has continually kept up his rigorous routines despite his retirement. I was interested to learn about his yoga and meditation practices, and build sandcastles at the beach alongside this down-to-earth celebrity. It was truly an honor to work with him and to have him in our episode.

The Unbreakable Missy & Lori team with Shane Mosley
The day was also interspersed with various locations for other scenes, and we were so excited that we were able to finish production on an entire episode in one day. I think you can tell from our huge smiles below just how sweet our day was!

Unbreakable Missy & Lori

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What's in a Name?

Last night, Missy and I discovered the following on Instagram:

The humorous officialnamemeanings Instagram account had clearly taken note of our Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt parody and included us in their hashtags for the name Kelly. How exciting!

I've been thinking a lot about names recently, especially since Missy and I are using our own names for the Unbreakable Missy & Lori series. I've thought about the fact that two famous people, who were born with the last name Weiss, changed their names:

1. Jonathan Taylor Weiss became the teen heartthrob known as Jonathan Taylor Thomas (JTT).
2. Erik Weisz became the notorious magician Harry Houdini.

Is this a sign? It's quite interesting because the first thing I noted about Missy, before I even met her, was that her last name was my grandmother's maiden name. Though we are most likely not related, I love that we have yet one more thing connecting us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Unbreakable Ellie Kemper

Ellie Kemper at the Upright Citizens Brigade on June 8

As I was sifting through my notes today, I came across some words of wisdom that I had jotted down on June 8. That evening, Missy and I had the opportunity to see a panel with the cast of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB). When asked about how to succeed in the entertainment industry, Ellie Kemper had stated the importance of creating your own material, as it puts you in control. Upon hearing that, I was ecstatic, as that's exactly what Missy and I are doing. Kemper went on to emphasize, "Don't quit." Just like her Kimmy Schmidt character, Kemper highlighted the importance of persevering despite challenges. I love how inspirational she is, both on-screen and in-person.

While working on our Unbreakable Missy & Lori social media, I listened to a Comedy Insider podcast interview that Scott Dikkers conducted with Kemper. Here, I obtained additional insight into Kemper's career. I learned that she only discovered an interest for comedic acting during college, much later than other successful actors. Also, her sister's internship with Conan O'Brien provided her with the helpful connection that led to a gig on his show. She also auditioned for Saturday Night Live at one point, but didn't make the cut. As Dikkers pointed out during the interview, it seemed that Kemper had a drive to succeed, such that any road bumps she hit along the way were minor and left her unscathed. This is quite motivating for me, as I embark on this mysterious journey for Unbreakable Missy & Lori.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

This is my first full week dedicated to Unbreakable Missy & Lori. Both Missy and I coincidentally had our girlfriends in town last week, and now it's back to the grind for me. Side note:  a funny moment last week was when the four of us were carded and I was the only one without a New Jersey driver's license! Sadly, I haven't had that one for several years, but I always have Jersey in my heart.

Today seemed to whiz by! I spent the day catching up on my emails, checking some important items off my To Do list, and preparing things for our next two episodes. I also met Missy for a meeting to discuss our upcoming filming day on Thursday. I'm so eager to get back into production! At one point, I even cried of happiness today when I emailed a very exciting potential filming location and they rapidly responded positively. It's so amazing how everything is falling into place and I am very grateful for each moment.
One thing we still need, though, is some beach paraphernalia! If anyone in the LA area would like to lend us some blow-up beach toys, beach chairs, etc. for filming, please let us know.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Full-Time Focus

Friday was my last day at my full-time job, as I decided to pursue Unbreakable Missy & Lori full-time. It was a bold move, but I wanted to seize this opportunity to focus on our LA-based parody of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt while the show is relevant. I also knew that I needed to see how much I could truly achieve with this project, and in order to do so, it would require my time and attention. 

Today was my first day as full-time Producer, Writer, and Lead Actress (Kelly Smith) for Unbreakable Missy & Lori. It was a busy day of organizing, meeting with someone to discuss a potential celebrity collaboration, working on our social media, responding to emails, and editing the script for Episode 2. Missy also uploaded our bloopers video which I'm eager to share below:

I recently felt that I needed some literary inspiration and guidance for this project. I happened to come across Amy Poehler's Yes Please and it has provided exactly the type of insight I was seeking. Here are some interesting thoughts I've had while reading the book:

  1. Seth Meyers says in the book, "Doing comedy for a living is, in a lot of ways, like a pony and a camel trying to escape from the zoo. It's a ridiculous endeavor and has a low probability of success, but most importantly, it is way easier if you're with a friend." I can honestly say that working on this web series with my best friend Missy has made the entire process so much fun and way easier than any other collaborative effort I've had in the past.
  2. The book has actually had me crying, more than laughing. I didn't think this would be the case, given Poehler's comedic background but I appreciated her heartfelt story about an SNL skit she regretted and later apologized for. I then laughed out loud when I read the perfectly-timed "Don't cry, sexy" in the book, advice given to Maya Rudolph during a distressing time at SNL.
  3. I think Amy Poehler may have helped inspire Tina Fey to write the plot for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I realize this may be a stretch, but in the book, Poehler admits to obsessing over true-life crime and at one point was particularly fascinated with the Josef Fritzl story. Also, Poehler had an Upright Citizens Brigade show that centered around them working out of an underground bunker.

I am aware that everything makes me think of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, since so much of my energy is focused on the show and my LA version. Even a brief note about Roseanne Barr in the book had me thinking, pinot noir? (For clarification regarding this reference, click here.)

Friday, June 12, 2015

LA Parody Adventures Have Begun!

My name is Lori and for, the most part, I'll be the one documenting the adventures of Unbreakable Missy & Lori here unless otherwise specified.

Missy and I are two best friends who live in LA, although we are both originally from New Jersey. We were introduced to each other in LA through mutual friends when our friends realized that we had a lot in common  - we're both from Jersey, love country music, work in Silicon Beach, and are part of the LGBTQ community. When we met on June 22, 2014, it was BFFs at first sight!

Our first outing! July 4, 2014

Missy and I were friends for a year before we started to think about the idea of working together, perhaps a YouTube series. The details of the initial collaborative discussion can be found on my personal blog, but suffice it to say that, we eventually settled on the idea of creating a project inspired by the Netflix original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

We settled on the idea of an LA-based parody of the show, with me starring as the Kimmy Schmidt character (renamed Kelly Smith) and Missy in the Xanthippe Voorhees role (renamed Xanadu Lauries). On May 24, 2015, our first episode entitled "Episode 1:  Kelly Smith & Xanadu Lauries meet" launched on our Unbreakable Missy & Lori YouTube channel. See the episode below:

Once the episode launched, we were able to begin working on our Indiegogo campaign to raise money for our next five episodes. We are currently 11 days into our campaign with 7% of the needed funds raised. We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed, helped to share the word, and supported us on our YouTube efforts.

Also, we had an exciting week, meeting the cast of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt here in LA. Below are a couple photos, but more can be found on our Instagram account.

(From left to right) Me, star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Ellie Kemper, and Missy

Jane Krakowski and me
We are so excited to see what the future holds for our project - we know that there are many journeys in store for us!