Kait and Nic Series, created by Kaitlyn Krieg and Nicole Lee, is a four-episode comedy web series about two queer women exploring challenges of living and dating in NYC.
Filmed earlier this year in NYC, Kait and Nic Series has garnered over 2000 views in the short time that their YouTube Channel has been active. Our Editor, Christine, caught up with Kaitlyn and Nicole to find out more about the background for Kait and Nic Series.
Can you tell us about how you met?
Nicole: I can’t remember the exact occasion, but it was probably an LGBTQ improv show we were both in. I know I had seen Kaitlyn around the NYC improv community and I know we did one show together at the PIT.
Kaitlyn: Like Nicole said, I’m not sure of the exact moment, but we were both part of the Magnet theatre so we definitely saw each other. We did do a show at the PIT called Thank You For Coming Out which is an LGBTQIA improv show. I do know how we became friends though. Nicole had tweeted something about Wynonna Earp and I believe it was answered or retweeted by Emily Andras and I was like, “Wait, I know Nicole Lee” so it all started because of Wynonna Earp.
Kaitlyn Krieg and Nicole Lee
What inspired you to create your own web series?
Nicole: For me, creating a web series seemed like a natural progression from years in the improv comedy scene. Improv is a great tool and it’s really opened up my world both creatively and socially. Unfortunately, it’s a mutable art form. If you weren’t at a particularly great show I had and someone didn’t film it, that show is now gone into the ether. In a way that’s a beautiful thing – to be able to say you were in the audience for an epic improv show. It’s a terrible thing professionally. Performing only in improv shows doesn’t really add credits to your name or allow you to have something tangible to show someone else. A lot of my comedy peers have created their own podcasts, video sketches, and web series. I wanted to try writing and starring in my own web series, so that at the end of it, I could turn around and say, “Look! I did this thing!” And friends and family across the country and around the world can enjoy my work.
Kaitlyn: A couple reasons. One, I finally figured out that filmmaking is what I would like to do with my life. And number two, as much as I love all the web series I’ve seen, I was tired of seeing all these drop dead gorgeous women who are skinny and in shape. That’s a very small subgroup of the LGBTQIA. As a person with low self-esteem, I wanted to see people who looked like me. We live in a world where we compare ourselves to each other frequently and I was tired of not feeling attractive because I wasn’t being represented and I know others feel that way too. I also wanted to show someone, like myself, who is not confident around women. Who has depression and anxiety. We need better representation as that as well.
What makes your series different from the rest?
Nicole: A few things: Kaitlyn and I are new at this. That probably adds to our show in ways we can’t yet measure. We are not using a “formula of success” and we didn’t try to copy other people. We also had a predominantly female cast and crew. I think that sets us apart from even major film and TV productions. We wanted to showcase women of different sizes, ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientations. We also brought our own experiences and personalities into our writing, so hopefully, people get a sense of who we are from watching the show.
Kaitlyn: Women of all shapes and sizes. My love interest is a plus size woman because it’s time we see that in media. Women of color are finally being represented. We shine a positive light on bisexuality. We shine a positive light on lesbianism. The words “bisexual” and “lesbian” are actually spoken. We also have women of all ages. Also, our entire staff, minus one awesome dude, were all female. Our cast, minus three extras and Steve, are all female. This was co-written, co-produced, co-directed and co-starred by not only women but queer women. Our crew, minus that one awesome dude, are all members of the LGBTQIA. All our speed daters, minus the beautiful Talia page, who plays TSF2, are members of the LGBTQIA. It’s just really, really queer and we wanted to represent as many people as we could.
You used Indigogo as your platform for fundraising for your production costs. What was your experience like?
Nicole: I let Kaitlyn handle most of that, but it seemed pretty easy and straightforward to use. We sketched out incentives at levels that we thought made sense and that people might want if they provided financial support. I think we also had fun filming our promo and update videos for the campaign.
Kaitlyn: Indiegogo was very interesting and definitely nerve-racking. We are two women who don’t have a fanbase so we really were relying on friends and family. There were a few lull moments that terrified me, but in the end, everyone came through and we made over our budget, which was incredible. We just had to keep posting and boasting and that’s really all you can do.
What made you decide to write the show and star in it and as well as film elements yourselves?
Nicole: Kaitlyn was the one who had the idea for the show. She shared it with me and we riffed off ideas for four episodes in total. This was always our project, which meant we wanted to be in control of as many aspects of it as we could: casting, producing, directing. We wrote these characters based on ourselves, so starring in the show also made the most sense. We brought in our friends to be on the cast and crew – people we liked and knew would take the project seriously, but who would also contribute to a safe and collaborative environment.
Kaitlyn: My initial idea for the show came from a random thought: Why are Nicole and I not dating? And the immediate answer was, “She’s allergic to cats”. From there I think once we got down to writing, it just made sense. For me, this character is me. I understand my depression, my anxiety, my insecurities… who better to portray myself than me? The stories and those emotions are true and real. They all have impacted my life in one way or another. I wanted to incorporate them because I just think people need stories to relate to and when it’s true, it feels a little better to know you’re not alone. I think we need to hear more about breakups and failures and weird things like warts.
In what way are each of your characters like you, and in what way do they differ?
Nicole: The way we wrote the characters was by choosing a few essential elements from ourselves and then exaggerating them in our characters. Kaitlyn will tell you that Kait is very much her. But for me, there are some differences between me and Nic. I have definitely had issues with my gender presentation being unacceptable to men and women for one reason or another. I’ve also had my romantic side operate on hyperdrive and suffered from wanting to go too big, too fast when I’ve just started dating someone. Although I like words and word games, I don’t drop obscure words all the time in daily conversation. I also have never taken someone on a hot-air balloon ride.
Kaitlyn: This character is me. I have anxiety. I have depression. I am awkward as hell around women. I did have a wart on the bottom of my foot. I did date some crazy chick at the bar and that dude definitely said that to me. It is just me and my stories. Now Nicole mentions exaggeration. The only exaggeration of me is the finger guns. I have never done that to a woman and I really want people to know that.
I noticed several Easter Eggs for Wynonna Earp, Supergirl, and Carmilla (a few of our favourites too).
Nicole: That was a nod to the fandoms we follow and our inspirations for the show. We initially just dropped ship names, but our friends who were not familiar with them felt they were too on the nose and insider-y. So we opted to straight up reference specific show names. Sanvers was the exception because that one really did hurt. There are also a couple of tunes from Barbelle that fans of that show might recognize.
Kaitlyn: We wanted to pay homage to the things we enjoy. Wynonna Earp. Any time you get to say “Tacos are tasty” you have to take it. Wynonna Earp is also how our friendship blossomed, in my opinion. At the end of episode three, it’s like to Nicole said. We wanted to give a nod to fandoms. I’m definitely a fan of Wynona Earp and Carmilla, but we needed more and those were the ones Nicole followed. The song “Go Ask” from the incredible series Barbelle is also played in the first episode as background music. Karen Knox and Gwenlyn Cumyn were very generous to let us use that song. I requested it because I got the idea for Kait & Nic while watching Barbelle. And if you listen very closely, it actually fits extremely well within the scene.
What shows have had the greatest impact on you for creating this series?
Nicole: Speaking for myself, I would say Carmilla and How I Met Your Mother. I think Carmilla made the idea of doing a web series feel real and possible. And the structure of humour from HIMYM was a big inspiration for us in writing a comedy.
Kaitlyn: For me, it really was Barbelle. The fact that I was just watching this show and the idea sparked, it really meant a lot to me, but also most Canadian web series have had an impact. Well, KindaTV mostly with Carmilla and All For One. They just really helped me realize that your dream is tangible and you don’t have to have a huge budget to make a small little show.
Do you have any words of advice for fans who are thinking about creating their own web series?
Nicole: Build a network, if you don’t already have one. Find people who share your interests creatively and people who have the experiences or resources to help you achieve it. We asked a friend to be a DP who had experience filming and directing. She also had great equipment, which helped us end up with good quality footage. We asked friends we liked as performers to be our actors. Figure out a budget, which will help determine what elements you can have for your show and how you film it. If we had extra money, we would’ve hired a costume/make-up artist. Figure out how to best raise money for the project, given your budget goal. Finally, remember this is your project, and hopefully, one you feel passionately about. That will help keep you on track and motivated when you encounter challenges.
Kaitlyn: Be prepared to spend your own money (thank you, Nicole). It’s not the easiest process. There will be disappointments, but you have to be prepared. Know you might not get all the shots you want or it could be a rushed day of filming. But also know it’s your story and you get to watch your product come to life. It’s an amazing feeling to see what you can actually create. And I recommend a writing partner. You can bounce ideas off each other and keep each other on time if you procrastinate like me.
Do you have any plans for future seasons?
Nicole: I made that a little difficult when I accepted a new job and moved to North Carolina. A second season is certainly on the table, but it feels too soon to start planning one. If we have the fan base for it, we’d love to figure out what a second season looks like for Kait and Nic.
Kaitlyn: Like Nicole said, there are no plans at the moment. We’re hoping to be able to build a fanbase and hope people want to see more for a Season 2.
You can watch the trailer for Kait and Nic Series here:
-Written by Christine