Haven’t we all experienced the Awkward First Date? Those dreadful silences, the near-interruptions as you both begin to talk at the same time. The comments you wish you could take back. The fumbles, mis-starts. It’s part of dating. And we all experience it, regardless of our age.
Filmmakers Jon Avnet (Black Swan, Fried Green Tomatoes, Risky Business) and Rodrigo Garcia (Albert Nobbs, In Treatment, Mother and Child) have joined forces to create and launch WIGS, an innovative digital channel producing high-end, original, scripted dramatic series and short films about the lives of women.PR Newswire (http://s.tt/1aDxv)
Their newest series, Christine, is a 12-part story about 29 year old Christine at a speed dating event. As of this writing, there are five live episodes for viewers to watch. The film puts us in the chair right next to Christine, played by America Ferrera, as she meets Ron, Daniel, Al, Matthew and Stephan ( the hunk who played Warrick in CSI, Gary Dourdan). Each of the films is roughly 8-10 minutes in duration and covers the time she’s with each man. Beautifully scripted and filmed the viewer is given an up close and personal taste of speed dating.
I’ve never had the opportunity to try speed dating, but I can still relate to the film’s portrayal of those first awkward dating moments. There is the initial appraisal of each other and the fumbling for topics to discuss. The realization that things are not going well and the “Oh shit, this is going to be awful” moment you know you’ve experienced. Through the course of this series we will see a range of situations and emotions. I don’t know how it will all end up, but I’m sure we’ll pick our own favorites for Christine (PS: at this moment I’m pushing for Stephan).
The characters in the Christine series are in their 20s and 30s. Some of the issues may differ but there are many commonalities in dating that we can relate to, even in the over 50 dating range. Speed dating sets an artificial tone for dating–you’ve got 2 people who are trying to make a quick assessment in a very short period of time. It looks anxiety provoking for Christine as she struggles to figure out what to ask. On the one hand, it is a good quick way to assess chemistry. I’ve had dates where I prayed for a bell to ring, signaling the end to my date, after a mere 8 minutes.
Here are some of the lessons we can learn from Christine’s experiences:
- Sometimes you get off on the wrong foot. You’ve probably experienced a moment when you realized things were “off” and struggled to regain composure. There was a moment in one of the earlier episodes where Christine loses her way. She suggests, bluntly that they just start over. Not a bad approach, really.
- “I’m 24, not 27″. Is it lying or as Al called it, “misrepresentation”? Name it what you will, but a lack of honesty sets the tone for a level of mistrust from the very beginning. It’s always best to be honest and this incident (in episode 3, I think) is a perfect example of how jarring it can be to discover you’ve just been lied to.
- Negativity. One of the guys, Daniel, starts off by talking about how bad his last date was. Why go into that? You don’t want to start a date by bashing your ‘ex’ or your last date. Be in the moment, focus on the person in front of you.
- Asking heavy questions. Christine asked a lot of serious questions. It felt awkward to me, more like an interview for Husband, than first date banter. You don’t need to ask the challenging questions at the beginning of the date. If you hit it off, there will be time to get into those topics. The initial meeting should be light-hearted and entertaining. Grilling your date about his personal history is a little off-putting.
The film series, Christine, would be great fun to watch if you’re in the dating world right now. But, the real value of this series lies in the concept of the filmmakers and their new venture. All of the WIGS productions are free and available on their website; WIGS is also available through the WIGS channel on YouTube. The WIGS films are written for and about women, featuring high caliber actors; Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Garner, Julia Stiles and many other impressive actors. This is the kind of sensitive, thoughtful film making women want to see.
I’ve been invited to partner with WIGS in the promotion of this series of films. What that means for me is access to episodes before they air and a chance to reach a larger audience. The acting and writing is excellent and I’m tickled to be able to use these short films as a way of talking about dating. It seems like a win-win to me. There are already 75,733 subscribers to the WIGS Channel on YouTube in the few short months since it’s premiere. Proof-positive of it’s appeal.
I urge you to go take a look. And, then come back and share your thoughts about Christine’s dating adventures. Tell me which guy you like so far!