Norm and I met five years ago when we were working at the same production company. We found out that we were both from Maryland and loved fantasy football, whiskey, Game of Thrones, and hipster dancing. I was directing some stuff, and Norm was writing and taking classes at The Groundlings. Inevitably, we started talking about what we could make together.
I really wanted to make something that I hadn’t seen before. I love watching series like Will & Grace, Broad City and Master of None, but I wasn’t seeing characters that I personally identified with. So, Norm and I looked to our own experiences to create the world of “Norm and Kate,” and through the process of writing about crazy events or bad dates, we realized we had something.
The tone we wanted to take with it was comedy through honesty. Norm and Kate are the “straight men” in a world of comedy that sits right outside their door. They don’t make jokes or deliver one-liners – they wander into everyday, grounded, awkward interactions and situations that are funny. I think the best equation for comedy is Sadness + Time = Comedy.
For Production, we knew to get the project done we will have to pull a lot of double duty. I directed and Norm played “Norm,” then we split the tasks of producers, writers, and editors. We shot those first five episodes, the first season, in four days, with like a crew of six or seven people.
We shot about ten pages a day. Most productions, if paced well, get about five to six pages a day done, depending on locations. We were privileged with amazing crew and excellent actors, and were beyond lucky when Kendra Ryan, our Kate, walked into the casting room. For the rest of the cast, we pulled most, if not all from The Groundlings, an Improv school and theatre in Los Angeles.
It was essential for me to get good actors who could improvise. Of course, I love what we wrote, but good film/television has to go through at least three transformations, in my opinion. The story you write, the story your actors tell, and what the editor discovers.
Comedy through honesty
I tried to make “Norm and Kate” more than just a show. I think the best way to introduce people to a different way of life is through comedy. Hollywood has a habit of ridiculous lesbian caricatures, lumping us all into one category. I wanted to do a show about a lesbian character where the fact that she’s a lesbian is the least interesting thing about her.
The more people can see people themselves represented in the media or culture, the more people can love and accept who they are, but also realize they aren’t defined by one thing. That’s its just a part of who they are – it’s not all they are.