Nikki Saltz and Sara Starkman, stars and creators of Slutty Book Club, are back at it again reviewing Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella, Carmilla, which has gained worldwide attention through the award-winning web series of the same name. We caught up with the stars to discuss their take on the novella, their web series and more. You can check it out below!
netTVnow: How did the concept of Slutty Book Club come about?
Sara Starkman: It was originally a scripted series that came to Nikki like a thief in the night. But then we axed that thief and rejigged.
Nikki Saltz: I thought of the scripted series a while back. Then I met Sara at a stand-up show and we did some work on a scripted version together, but we were just too adorable IRL, so here we are (mostly) unscripted, working the team at Smokebomb Entertainment.
netTVnow: If you only could describe your series in a tweet, what would it say?
SS: Two girls, one cup (Obvi this would get us mad followers).
NS: We do it all for the book(ie).
netTVnow: What's the selection process like in picking books to review?
NS: We have a lot of discussion about the book selection: What are the opportunities to make fun of it? Does it cover issues we care about? Is it associated with a super hot queer icon?
SS: We look at what's provocative, what's topical and what will most likely result in Nikki and I bursting into fits of laughter.
netTVnow: Let's talk Carmilla. I've read it before and would love to know your initial reactions, especially on how the characters are written.
NS: It was a thrill to read a pre-Dracula vampire story that has women at its center. I loved that. However, I'm kind of bummed that it wasn't braver. It still skirts around homosexuality, which some people say is to be expected of the time period. But Carmilla was published during the same era as Oscar Wilde, who was as out as the morning sun and jailed because of his sexuality. I don't think Carmilla is a particularly brave book or has anything to say about homosexuality, really. Sometimes I wonder if it's actually just a version of lesbian fanfic to tickle Le Fanu's fancy. All that said, it's a great story - all the elements of great horror are there.
SS: It was interesting; nothing earth-shattering, aside from the gruesome (and yet, deserved) ending. It was quite fascinating how Le Fanu shed some authentic light on the moody, intimate relationship shared between pubescent female friends, while they're in such a transitional, nebulous phase in life.
netTVnow: How do go about finding the little known facts for the books you've reviewed for your bonus content videos?
NS: Oh dear god, so much Google. And then Googling Google. What did we ever do without Google? Actually, it would probably be really fun to do a segment of Little Known Facts from Encyclopedia Brittanica. Do kids still know what encyclopedias are?!
SS: Let's just say our Google search bars now have very strange prompts.
netTVnow: You guys are seven episodes in and have had great fan reactions so far, what other things can fans look forward to?
SS: Stripping, probably.
NS: It will depend on how wide an audience we can reach, so if you love the show, share that shiz, please! I have lots of dreams for the show - guests to participate in our book discussions, author interviews and YouTube collabs with some of the awesome Booktubers we're getting to know through our channel.
netTVnow: Speaking of guests, you had Wendy Litner on your last episode! She's amazing. I know you guys met through Women on Screen can you tell us a bit more about that and the program?
NS: Women on Screen is an incredible group of females working in film who run incubators for female writers to workshop projects. It's a group I sincerely love and I encourage anyone reading this to get on board. It's an honest, open and supportive environment, and female writers need that so much. It gets overlooked that we come up against so much industry bullshit from men and as much as we take that shit on the chin, we need creative safe spaces in which to collaborate and learn.
Women on Screen really offers this up - Wendy was in the group developing her hilarious series, How to Buy a Baby. She is absolutely amazing, and we hit it off right away. She was wearing an adorable bow tie the first day I met her and I thought, "This adorable Jewish lesbian will be mine." As it turned out, Wendy is married to a dude, so I settled for lots of dog walking together. We're also working on a short film about unrequited love (true story) called, I'm in Love with Alicia Levitt.
netTVnow: Any other guests to look forward to?
SS: We always have tricks (and hoes) up our sleeves.
netTVnow: Any advice for those wanting to get into creating web series?
NS: Just go for it. Don't wait for somebody to give you permission. I think lately I'm seeing a lot of my peers getting stressed about not being able to make their web series through a grant or production company. But the internet is such a democracy. You can bypass all the gatekeepers and go straight to your audience. So keep it simple, do it yourself, believe in it and put it out there. If it fails, get a dog. It'll make you feel better and eventually you'll be ready to try again.
SS: Be patient, hydrate often and look for the learning experience behind every twist and turn.
netTVnow: Lastly, one reason why people should tune in if they haven't already?
NS: I think we might be the coolest book show on the interwebz. We actually might be.
SS: Because why else go on in life?
If you haven't already be sure to check out Nikki and Sara's latest review on Carmilla (you might even catch a familiar face from the web series). Subscribe and be sure to tell them how amazing they are so they'll continue bringing us some hilarious, sometimes scripted and borderline offensive commentary on Slutty Book Club!
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