Award-winning filmmaker Rachel Tucker is the creator of Introverts, a comedy series about three introverted roommates coping with the single life, secret resentments, and loud-mouthed extroverts. Think Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Girls — if the main characters talked a lot less. To watch season one, click here. Rachel talked with Introvert, Dear Editor Jenn Granneman about her inspiration for the series, how humor helps us cope with the difficult aspects of introversion, what’s in store for season two, and more.
I, D: What inspired you to create the Introverts web series?
Rachel: My old roommate and I used to complain about how little we could relate to the Sex and the City girls because we would never open up about intimate details with our friends over lunch. Hollywood seems to revel in the idea of “progressive” depictions of women as loud and highly sexual — basically just like men. I think there’s a place for that, and I’m glad it happened, but I felt it was about time we saw a group of female friends who were as fun as the men but still felt real to me. I became intrigued by the idea of unspoken tension because these girls are too nice and afraid of drama to actually speak their minds. It didn’t occur to me until later that they were all introverts.
I, D: I’m not going to lie, I saw myself and some of my introverted friends in the characters of the three girls. Although exaggerated for humor, you depict introverts in a way that really hits home. Plus we all know that one extrovert who just won’t stop horrifying us with TMI. Where did the ideas for the characters come from? Are they based on people you know?
Rachel: They are all loosely based on people I know — usually combinations of several. I feel it is by far the best way to write realistic, three-dimensional characters. Then as the story develops, the characters start to take off and become their own thing. It’s fun to watch them make decisions the people they are based on would never make or when you have to change your story because the characters start doing things you never expected. In this particular case it was important that I showed three girls who were all introverted but introverted in very different ways.
I, D: As I’m sure you already know, there is no “cookie-cutter” or “typical” introvert. We all have our own personal style of introversion. What kind of introvert are you? How does your introversion affect your film-making?
Rachel: I’m probably more social than the stereotypical introvert. I like being around people, but I also need a lot of down time so I can read and write and do introverted things. I can’t imagine many things worse than being forced to work ten hours a day in a crowded cubicle surrounded by Hollywood types, which I’m sure has greatly influenced my decision to go the independent route. Parts of the job terrify me, but if you want something bad enough, you’ll have the incentive to go ahead and do something crazy like making a phone call.
I, D: You poke fun at what it means to be an introvert. How does humor help us cope with some of the more difficult aspects of introversion?
Rachel: I don’t know if these episodes are really going to help anyone with social anxiety or other introverted problems. But it just might comfort some introverts to know that they’re not alone and that others share their problems. I see a lot of one-dimensional portrayals of nerdy, socially-incompetent introverts that really annoy me. Sure, these girls can be nerdy and socially incompetent from time to time, but that doesn’t define them. I wanted to make these girls fun enough that, despite their flaws, they’re the type of people you wouldn’t mind hanging out with.
I, D: Artists often draw inspiration from personal experiences. Be honest! Have any of the situations in Introverts happened to you in real life? The Meet Cute, perhaps?
Rachel: Most of my writing is a twisted, fun-house version of real events. I have a friend who once named and talked to her stuffed animals. The extrovert is a combination of all the worst experiences I’ve ever had with extroverts. “The Meet Cute” idea actually evolved from a story told to me by my producing partner, Nick Lawrence. Though I have met my fair share of guys like that.
I, D: What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions about introverts in film and on TV?
Rachel: What bothers me most is when people confuse the word “shy” with introversion. It seems like often when television and film depict shy people, they tend to go so far over-the-top in the name of comedy that they fail to actually develop the character or understand that shyness. This perpetuates stereotypes, which I wouldn’t mind if I actually found the situation funny.
I, D: What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Rachel: Honestly, that would be dinner, lots of wine, and an evening at home with my cats and Netflix. I do like to socialize and go to parties, but I view that more like getting a haircut. It’s good for me, and I’ll feel better afterwards, but I don’t necessarily look forward to the process.
I, D: As a filmmaker, you’ve probably watched hundreds of movies. Got a recommendation for a best (and worst) movie for introverts?
Rachel: That’s a tough one. I’ve never thought of introverts as having different taste in movies than anyone else. If I had to pick though, I’d say anything written by Charlie Kaufman, particularly Adaptation. I’m also a big fan of Mike White or Mike Judge. Silicon Valley — that guy knows introverts. His extroverts are pretty good too. Worst movie? I don’t know. Every time I don’t like a movie like Drive or The Dark Knight, I look around and find everyone around me loved it. I’m probably not the person to ask.
I, D: You’re raising money right now through Kickstarter to film season two of Introverts. If you get the funds you need, what kind of awkward, hand-wringing trouble can we expect the girls to get into in season two? In other words, can you give us a sneak peak?
Rachel: I wrote thirteen episodes, of which we’ll probably make half, depending on how much we manage to raise. We haven’t made any final decisions yet, but a few episodes do stand out. Amy tries online dating and ends up going out with a guy she thinks just might be a Nazi. Waltra has to endure an outing with her blissfully happy and successful high school friends, which naturally brings out the crazy. And Susan tries to curb her temper and hang out with Amy’s friend she’s too polite to admit she can’t stand.