There is just something special about Zooey Deschanel that makes people just really want to get to know her. In the web series, Me & Zooey D., that is exactly what Alex is looking for: to become BFF’s with the infamous “New Girl.” This totally adorkable series is the brainchild of Ari Berkowitz , who also stars in the series as Alex. I asked Ari a few questions about the series:
Why Zooey Deschanel? Where did the idea for the series come from?
Last Halloween I had a lot of people tell me I should go as Zooey Deschanel –but not wear a costume. I have the glasses and the bangs for it. It happened enough times that I started to get annoyed. I decided I either had to get rid of my bangs, or get myself excited about them again. One day I looked in the mirror, and I thought, “What if I was the type of girl who would pee herself if someone told her she looked like Zooey?” And that’s how I came up with the idea for “Me & Zooey D!”
What are the challenges of putting together a web series?
This was my first webseries, so it felt like everything was a challenge! In general, I think the biggest challenge for webseries creators is organization. There are a lot of moving parts –before, during, and after the actual shooting part. It’s good to do as much planning as possible so that you’re ready for the shooting days because that’s where most of your money gets sucked up. And if you’re not entirely prepared, it’s a big waste
Personally the biggest challenge was trust. There were a lot of people helping to develop a story I had dreamed up, and at a certain point, especially as a writer/performer, I had to trust that everyone was doing their job. I couldn’t micromanage. While it was hard at first, it led to a lot of awesome collaboration –especially with my director, Hunter. It was a great experience and helped me learn the benefits of working with a team.
How did you find the other actors for the series?
You can’t hold auditions at your house because, well, it’s creepy. So we held them at a free audition space in LA. Through that space’s network, and Actor’s Access, we got a lot of actors to audition. For the big parts, I also asked a few of my friends to come in and audition, and some of them ended up being the best for the roles! I knew Brittany and Ben (Haley and Chris respectively) because our college improv teams had performed with each other, so I knew they’d do a great job.
Is Zooey aware of the series? (If so, what was her reaction? If not, are you working on that?).
We don’t know! I’ve calculated that we’re 1 degree of separation from her about 5 times. It seems like a lot of people maybe told her about it, but we haven’t actually gotten any emails from her…yet.
The last episode ends on a cliffhanger. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
The cliffhanger was a little bit of a personal dare. My bosses do a really good job of always going with their best idea –and trusting that they’ll find ways of dealing with the consequences. In the past, I’ve held onto my best ideas and my best stories, to protect them. But I’ve learned that if you take a leap, you’ll usually think up new good ideas.
The cliffhanger was my best idea, and I’m just hoping that if we have a season 2, I can come up with a good idea to deal with the consequences. I think I’m almost there.
Will there be more episodes? If so, where are you planning on taking the series?
I loved this creative team, and I really want to work with them again. If reception for the series is good, we’d love to do another season! I can do a pretty good Mindy Kaling impression, so we were joking that I may become obsessed with Mindy instead. Or I might come up with a rival band to She & Him called Her & He. We’ll have to wait and see!
Watch the first episode of Me & Zooey D. below and be sure to check out the rest at the official Me & Zooey D. website.