Love* is a web series created by FIU Theatre graduates Victoria Collado ’12 and Bertha Leal ’09. The series consists of 10 episodes, ranging in length from 5 to 10 minutes, and will be available beginning February 14 on the 3tO5 website and YouTube. Love* is based on Victoria and Bertha’s personal experiences in New York City. It is the story of two roommates, Robyn and Daniela, who are struggling 20-somethings living in New York City, working entry-level jobs, and are trying to have it all. Their evolving friendship, combined with the actresses’ chemistry and unmistakable comedic timing, unfolds through a series of growing pains, weird sex, professional hang-ups, and bad Tinder dates.
Bertha Leal graduated in 2009 with a BFA Performance degree. She is a producer, blogger, writer, and actor who made her Off-Broadway debut in the title role of INTAR Theatre’s production Lucy Loves Me. During her time at FIU, she starred in various productions, including the solo performance Katharine Hepburn: The Best Man for the Job, which she also wrote and directed. Upon graduation, she was cast in Pinecrest Repertory’s Oleanna (2009) and the Alliance Theatre Lab’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago (2009), which received critical acclaim from local newspapers. Along with short-films Danny Boy (2008) and Hard-Bitten (2014), Leal has also written Detours (2010), a full-length play.
Victoria Collado graduated in 2012 with a BFA Performance degree. After graduating, she chose to stay in Miami where she wrote, directed, and performed for Micro Theater Miami, JQ Studio, and ArtSpoken Performing Arts Center. In 2013, Victoria decided to enter the New York International Fringe Festival, in the hopes that her show on famous Cuban singer, La Lupe, would be selected. It wasn’t but she did receive a job offer to be a Venue Manager for the festival. This job brought her to New York for two months, after which she got an internship with the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which exposed her to many companies and opportunities. Taking the advice of her former professor Michael Yawney, she applied to the Repertorio Español, for the prestigious Van Lier Young Director’s Fellowship, which she was awarded.
Victoria and Bertha have been friends since their days together at FIU. Now they are roommates and business partners, as part owners of 3tO5, a collaborative cohort set on creating, developing, and showcasing the work of talented artists. Be it through film, theater, or web based platforms, 3tO5 strives to produce original work; the kind that artists themselves want to see. The two talented young ladies took the time to answer a few questions about their upcoming web series, Love*.
What inspired this web series?
It is based on our personal experiences. We bonded at a time when we were both going through heart breaks and sharing the difficulties of being young professionals in competitive New York City. We started off talking about what we were going through and how funny it would be to have a camera capturing what was happening to us, and that conversation developed into this series.
What does the title, Love* mean?
Victoria – That is actually my personal story. I received a text from my ex saying, ‘I lobe you,’ which I didn’t understand. I spent a long time agonizing over it, analyzing and discussing it with Bertha. Later, he sent another text saying, ‘love*’ and I understood it was just a typo. We thought it would be a catchy name and one episode in the series actually deals with this greater issue of digital dating and how much of our relationship is spent texting, on social media, and having to decipher the meaning behind texts in the absence of tone and body language.
What challenges did you encounter putting the series together and what would you do differently if you had to do it over?
Bertha – Scheduling was a mission since we had a cast of 16-20 people and everyone had full-time jobs. Creating a series with no budget was certainly a major hurdle, but it also forced us to be creative and innovative. Getting permission from local businesses to shoot in their space was often difficult. Because we had to wear so many different hats, one personal challenge was letting go and knowing when to be the director or writer or actor.
Victoria – With or without a budget, there needs to be a script supervisor to handle the technical aspects of filming. If we had to do it over, we would find a way to get a script supervisor. It is incredible difficult to play that role and be a director/actor simultaneously.
Why do you think viewers will enjoy Love*?
It is a relatable series. Anybody can watch this and learn so much about women and how precarious the female friendship can be. It is honest and a lot of heart went into it. Love* explores so many themes that young people experience such as heart break, love, camaraderie and the complexities of dating in the 21st century. I hope viewers will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.