A Love Letter to Fandom: i can’t even.
Have you ever had a roommate who was just as geeky as you? Or a best friend you bounced ideas off of, talked about and experienced your geeky passions with, and generally helped/hindered each other throughout your daily lives?
Filmmaking sisters Hayley and Alyce Adams have created a web series in Australia called i can’t even., and their main characters, Lex and Em, have that roommate/best friend relationship working really well. They love a lot of the same things (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and so many more), and the series focuses on one aspect of their fandoms in each of the six episodes. I watched them through the first time and laughed in my apartment by myself, and then watched them through again on the bus on my way to work. I’m pretty sure I laughed even louder, surrounded by strangers who probably thought I was more than a little bit strange. It doesn’t matter, though; I’m sure I’ll watch these episodes many more times!
I was lucky enough to get to chat (via email, anyway!) with Alyce and Hayley to ask them some questions about their lives, their work, and their passions!
SG-1: Did you both set out to be a filmmaking team?
Hayley: From the day we were born, I loved being the boss. And I guess Alyce liked to be off in her own little imaginary world. So yes, I guess we were destined to work together. Also, when we finished our Arts degrees, we realised that majoring in English or film studies wasn’t really that practical. So we decided to go to film school to study even less practical skills! Alyce studied Screenwriting and I studied Producing, and it always just felt like a natural fit to work together.
SG-1: As a writer myself, I find (sometimes large) aspects of myself in a lot of my characters. Which of you embodies Em, and which embodies Lex?
Alyce: Em and Lex are really a mix of the two of us. What one of us loves or does, we give as a character trait. Lex’s love for Ryan Gosling is definitely because of Hayley, and Em’s social anxiety is something she’s unfortunately inherited from me. Their dynamic is very similar to our own. We either spend a lot of time together watching The Office, or pushing the other to do something they don’t want to do (Had to recently talk Hayley into seeing The Force Awakens for the second time. She thanked me for it later. Kind of.) Sometimes people think we’re arguing, like how Em and Lex bounce off each other, but really we’re just talking in our own weird way. It’s how we communicate.
SG-1: Did you send someone to the States to stalk me for material for the episode titled “Book Addicts Anonymous”??
Alyce: I can neither confirm nor deny for legal reasons. Either way, I had plenty of material to draw from with my own experiences when discovering a new book series. When the first season of Game of Thrones came out, I got the box set and spent five weeks reading all five books, during which all communication from me consisted in monosyllabic responses or grunts. Hayley would come into my room every other day to ask if I wanted to watch something with her, or you know, eat, and if she was lucky I would respond with a ‘no’, but most of the time I think I ignored her. I had to know what was happening to the Stark family!
In the episode I used the Outlander series instead of Game of Thrones because I had just finished watching the series and reading the first book (which are amazeballs), but also because I didn’t think it would be believable that Em, a huge book reader, hadn’t already read GoT.
SG-1: Are you planning to shoot more i can’t even.?
Hayley: I guess it is time to let the cat out of the bag and announce that we have in fact filmed a Christmas special! Which, obviously, is out right before Christmas! In terms of a second season, it would be our dream and plenty of ideas have been discussed. We just need some time to “research” (i.e., watch more television and movies, and read more books!)
Do you have any influential filmmakers who inspire you?
Alyce: Joss Whedon is a big one. I love Buffy and own a bunch of the show’s scripts, as well as listened to any commentaries or podcasts that have the writers on it. If I could emulate one tenth of Whedon’s dialogue skills, I would die a happy woman. Otherwise, people like Amy Schumer, Mindy Kaling or Amy Poehler etc are all big inspirations for us. They get shit done in a tough industry, and are funny while doing it.
SG-1: I have no invitation power, so this is purely hypothetical: are you thinking about traveling outside Australia to promote “i can’t even.”? Perhaps to a convention running October 8 and 9 in Seattle?
Alyce: Ermagerd. That would be totally awesome. Hayley and I travel normally about once a year to the US to visit friends we’ve made through the Internet (and they’re normal! Pretty much) and do geeky stuff together. Our biggest achievement was going to the San Diego Comic Con, so you know, this hypothetical convention in Seattle isn’t completely out of the question, although October isn’t the best month. Who knows? One can dream.
SG-1: What other projects are you working on?
Alyce: Season 2 is always in the back of our minds, but besides that, we’ve also been developing another web series idea, which would be more literary. We’re big fans of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and the following book series trends that came out after that. We want to do our own one, but with an Australian novel. Probably shouldn’t say anymore about it though, because who knows when that will happen, but it’s been fun to work on.
SG-1: What is the most exciting thing for you both about seeing your creation being viewed around the world?
Alyce: It’s kind of crazy. I think the best experience that encapsulates it is when we got into the Official Selection and screened at New York Web Fest. We were excited, but obviously it was not something we were going to be able to attend. However, we got a message from the coolest fan saying that he lived in New York and would go for us and take photos. It wasn’t something we at all expected, but it was so kind and meant a lot to us. The thought that something we created did that is just surreal.
SG-1: What are your favorite movies/TV shows?
Alyce: Um, do you have an hour or two, or better yet, can you clear your schedule for the rest of the day? Having gone to a film school and created our own series means that whenever we hang out with friends, all we generally talk about is TV and film. It’s great, I’m not complaining, but makes it very impossible to name a favourite. What we’ve recently seen is Force Awakens (at midnight of course), Jessica Jones has been talked practically to death, and the Doctor Who Christmas special is very anticipated (which is also a plug and a clue for our own Christmas episode coming out!).
You can check out i can’t even. in its entirety on YouTube, including a behind-the-scenes bit Alyce and Hayley put together. I’m counting down the days until I see their Christmas episode pop up on my subscriptions page!