By far one of the most entertaining people we've had the pleasure of interviewing is Wendy Litner. From her adorable laugh to her comedic take on the struggles of infertility, there is no question as to why her web series was one of this year's recipients for IPF funding. Check out what the lawyer turned web series creator has to say about How to Buy a Baby and check out the trailer for the upcoming series below!
netTVnow: Where did the concept for How to Buy a Baby come from?
Wendy Litner: I’ve been struggling with infertility for years and I’ve always written about it in more of an essay format for other outlets like Huffington Post, xoJane, places like that. I took a TV writing course and fell in love with screenwriting. I just loved the idea of trying to talk about this subject in a funny way, little snippets of a couple’s life. I just felt like web series really lent itself to that kind of format.
There was a women screenwriting workshop for web series specifically and I thought, “I’m gonna give it a go!” I got picked and from there I met producers and other people in the business. It was really incredible to get to work with these other amazing women and get to see things come to light.
netTVnow: Going back to the writing workshop, can you tell us more about that?
WL: Yes! That was the Women on Screen program. It was basically just writing a pilot script and at the end, professional actors would come out and read excerpts of our projects. It was really exciting getting to see an actor read your work and see it happen! The actress that played Jane in the trailer Meghan Heffern, read the part at the showcase. She is just the loveliest most talented person on the planet, and she agreed to sign on which was so exciting.
netTVnow: Let’s talk about the couple. What can you tell me about their characters and where they are in the series.
WL: I kind of think of them as the Catastrophe couple if the Catastrophe couple couldn’t have a baby. I really wanted them to both have an edge and both be funny. I didn’t want just the guy to be funny and the girl be more of the straight man. I wanted them both to have this cynical view of what’s going on.
They’re your average 30 something couple that expected to just have sex and get pregnant but it didn’t go that way. It was important to me that Jane not be Charlotte from Sex and the City. I want her to still have this uncertainty around motherhood; in that she’s struggling with, “Do I even want to do this?” or “Am I even going to be a good mother to this baby I can’t even have?” so I wanted her to have that complexity with it too.
A lot of the time with couples who aren’t able to get pregnant, they come off obsessed with trying to have a baby. I was hoping to make my characters more fleshed out than that where they’re not just focused on this one thing but more of how this intersects into the other parts of their lives like their relationship, their sex life, work and everything else.
As for Charlie, I wanted him to be sort of be dry in his humor and this became sort of their way of flirting with each other by poking fun at one another.
netTVnow: I love the way you really took a very hushed up topic and really worked to lessen the stigma on infertility. Is this something we will see more of in future episodes?
WL: Yes, I hope that it has a bit of in your faceness to it in terms of addressing infertility. I sort of found that to be my experience too. You know, you go into a fertility clinic, you’re all there for the same reason but still people don’t want to look each other in the eye. There seems to be this sense of shame. So I want Charlie and Jane to be really out there and have no problem sitting in a coffee shop and being like, “My testicles don’t produce viable sperm,” or “My uterine lining is straight fucked.” I want them to really open about it and hope that people see they’re comfortable talking about it.
netTVnow: In the world we’re living in now with LGBTQ couples using fertility treatments not being a bad thing, it’s still very weird that heterosexual couples see it as one.
WL: Right and I can’t understand way, especially in this age of oversharing and social media. Like with pregnancy announcements-everyone loves to hear that people are pregnant but don’t want to hear about the very real struggle to get there. For the series’ promo we had Jane and Charlie shoot an “infertility announcement.” Then I saw a couple on BuzzFeed that had done a whole series of infertility announcements and I was so happy to see people being able to share their difficult situation with good humor. And great pics of an amazing couple!
I feel like infertility is having a moment in the way that mental health did a couple years ago and is sort of shifting in terms of being talked about.
netTVnow: You submitted your series to IPF, what can you tell us about that process?
WL: IPF is the Independent Production Fund and, if chosen, they give you a huge percentage of your production budget to make your series. Certainly I wouldn’t be able to do this kind of project without something like this organization and am so grateful for incredible organizations like this who are supporting new creators in these kinds of mediums. Go web series!
We found out that we are one of the projects that IPF will be funding this year and we couldn’t be more excited. We can’t wait to bring you the first season of the show!
netTVnow: You were a lawyer and now you’re writing web series. How did that happen?
WL: Yes! I used to be a lawyer and now I’m not [laughs]. I always knew I wanted to be a writer and my parents were always like, “That’s nice, why don’t you become a lawyer and you can write about law!” [laughs]. Not quite the type of writing I was hoping to do but I went into law and it’s not that I hated it but I just got to the point where felt like I would rather fail as a writer than succeed as a lawyer.
Just feeling that shift I decided to take that jump but I say that with a caveat that I do write legal textbooks full time [laughs] so my parents ended up being right and I do write about law! I’m starting to shift little more, I’m working as a story coordinator on a TV show in Canada so I’m getting to do different types of projects and learn and grow and develop as a writer, which has been really wonderful.