I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of Sex and the City. I can sit back and re-watch previously aired episodes (and either of the two movies) and still laugh and smile at the funny, witty, yet blatantly true remarks that fly between the fiery female foursome. What makes the show ring so true to so many is that each of us can find a little bit of ourselves in at least one of the characters – the sexuality of Samantha, the couture eye of Carrie, the musings of Miranda, or the conventional simplicity of Charlotte. Oh, and the shoes…the shoes… let’s not forget the fabulous shoes! The fashion that walked right off the runway that we all covet on the screen makes us long for lusting after the Sex and the City-ish lifestyle more!
Candace Bushnell’s writing has always captivated me. Have you caught the episodes of her latest and greatest – The Carrie Diaries? It’s a prequel to Sex and the City, based upon her bestselling book. Bushnell also has a new novel due out in 2015, a continuation of The Carrie Diaries, called Killing Monica.
So when Candace Bushnell connected me with the brilliance of Michelle Ortega, owner of Hip Chicks Flicks, I had to pay attention. Ortega is about to bring us the reality show documentary version of Sex and the City – New York City under the dating microscope – The Single Ladies of NY.
Check out her promo video to get a quick feel for the quips and quotes that strike a chord so self-evident, you have to nod your head as you relate to the commonality shared across city boundaries into every girl’s single life.
“One of the sexiest things is to smile and be happy. People don't know what you're drinking, but they want a sip!” is a sample of one of the one-liners that sparks truth and at the same time lures you in for wanting more. What is the secret to attraction? What makes dating a success? The documentary is a seduction in of itself – sucking you in to the world of women who navigate the dating waters in the most famous city in the world.
The Single Ladies of NY is due out in October 2014 if Ortega, the producer and director, gets her backing of $25,000. Yes, it costs money to make movies. She’s going to canvas the city conducting more interviews to get a broader spectrum of people from all walks of life, ages, and experiences.
Besides interviewing your average singletons in the city, Ortega is consulting with dating experts, too, to give this film some meat and potatoes to back up the opinions and experiences of those portrayed. Filming these interviews constitutes an expense for the crew. Then there’s editing, licensing, insurance, and marketing costs to consider as well. This isn’t a mom and pop shop production. Ortega’s got the muscle of Directors of Photography Svetlana Cvetco and Norm Magnuson, Gaffer Chris Turiello, and Audio Operators David Tews and Heather Duthie all behind her. She’s aiming for film festivals and the future success of this film. If you’d like to help bring this project to fruition, and earn some film credits in the process, be sure to click on her campaign. Every level of donation has its perks!
This isn’t your ordinary “original” idea asking for contributions. Ortega is a video producer with over 20 years of experience. The final cut will be professional, heartwarming, and hilarious, that so many can relate to. It’s about time we saw a reality show version of sex and New York City come to life!
The success of shows stationed in The Big Apple in the past, brings out the belief that we can’t get enough of New York. It’s the big city allure – the background for countless movies – and the place for cultural revolution. New York City is the heartbeat of cosmopolitan chic for the rest of the world. Ortega’s premise asks, are the multitudes in an urban area what causes men to select many, instead of monogamy? Sort of like how you want to try different flavors of ice cream rather than sample just one? It’s a question worth exploring. Is dating really different in The City?
Ortega’s inspiration for The Single Ladies of NY stems from her own experiences.
“I had been through a fairly recent divorce from a long-term marriage of 13 years and decided to move to New York to get a new start. Being newly single in a place where I barely knew anybody, was far more daunting and humbling than I ever imagined. I'm such an independent person and for some stupid reason I just didn't think it was going to be that hard! Facing loneliness, learning how to flirt, navigating online dating, being over 40 in a young city… and learning what it meant to date again, was a bit overwhelming.”
“As I made new girlfriends and heard their stories of being single, I gained from their wisdom, was able to laugh at the stories and my own situation, and also get inspired and find comfort in this new chapter of my life. As with any of my projects, I decided to create this film to learn about myself and to help others who might be seeking the same answers. I'm not setting out to prove any points, but rather to seek a wide range of perspectives and get to some universal truths. I'm curious about the differences and similarities of women dating in various age groups,” Ortega explains.
Her own dating challenges, hopes, and shared stories of friends adds an authenticity to experiences that many of us have had, are having, or will have in the future. There’s something comforting in knowing that you’re not the only one who has been there, done that.
As with her work, Ortega is confident in her approach with people, which will no doubt translate into her success on both professional and personal levels. To start the ball rolling and gain some momentum for her movie, she boldly presented the trailer to Candace Bushnell on Twitter, who, passed it along to me, which I then picked up and ran with. Ortega was “thrilled” when her project was noticed by the person who pioneered “sex” and the “city”.
“I'm a big fan of shows that feature professional and empowered women, and Sex and the City is a classic. I think Candace Bushnell is quite an inspiration. Yes, sometimes when I send communications out to people like that I think for a second, ‘What am I doing? They don't even know me!’ but then I hit send anyway. [She remarks with a smile.] I made a vow to myself this year to go outside my comfort zone. Fundraising is certainly that,” says Ortega, who identifies herself most with Carrie Bradshaw from the HBO series.
If you are interested in making an appearance in The Single Ladies of NY, Ortega says that casting calls will be held. She is specifically looking for: women in their 50's and 60's, wider ethnic diversity, members of the LGBT community, and single men. She anticipates possibly using Craig’s List to find her targets, but she may also reach out to community groups, too – designer shoes not required.
“Dating experience is not a requirement. I would love to interview people who have chosen not to date or who are confused about dating and trying to navigate that realm as well. I'm not looking for photogenic quality so much as I am as a personal charisma that makes someone want to listen or get engaged. What I'm really looking for is to represent a wide diversity of ethnicities and perspectives,” shares Ortega.
If you think you have what it takes for the big screen, contact Michelle Ortega at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a picture and a bit about your background and story. You never know…
“I really like to capture the interviews in the environments where the single ladies live, work, and play. My favorite backgrounds include seeing some aspect of New York, so I try to get them outside wherever possible. I think New Yorkers are survivors. I think they're chic and savvy, but I also think they wear their hearts on their sleeves, are honest, direct and not afraid to be vulnerable. However, they're not afraid to kick some serious ass to protect themselves when necessary,” Ortega elaborates on the feeling she’s trying to capture in her film. [I think she’s got New York women pretty pegged!]
Ortega hopes to include everyone she films in the final cut, but she says that the flow of the feature, the editing, messages, and story arc will dictate who ends up in the film, and who hits the cutting room floor. The feature length should be around 90 minutes.
“The first screening will likely be a premiere in New York that is invitation only and for backers/participants in the film.”
As for Ortega, her dream is to live on Perry Street and make a living as a writer or filmmaker – maybe this is the start! As The Single Ladies of NY gains more momentum, Ortega hopes it will evolve into a TV or internet series that spans a global perspective on dating.
“I would like to interview The Single Ladies of California next so we can see the differences of the two coasts. I want as many people to see the film as possible. I have yet to meet a documentary filmmaker that actually makes decent money, but it would be great if I could work on this project full-time. I personally don't want to be famous, as I'm a pretty private person, but rather I would love for the series to be famous! Ultimately, I want people to find comfort, inspiration, solid dating tips, laughs, and love connections through the info they gain in this film.”
If you think you've got what it takes to appear in The Single Ladies of NY, email the producer, Michelle Ortega with your photo and your story.
Check out The Single Ladies of NY Kickstarter page here and consider donating to get your name in lights
Follow @singleladiesny on Twitter to keep up to speed on the film's progress
Cruise The Single Ladies of NY website http://singleladiesny
Go ahead, "like" The Single Ladies of NY on Facebook, too, while you're at it! You know you wanna!
Hip Chicks Flicks has their own YouTube channel, too! See!