Everybody's a Douche, whether they know it or not.
Interview with Producer/Co-Creator/Actor Elizabeth Mitchell
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! The reasons why we made our series kind of shifted and expanded over time. Initially, it was just a silly idea..almost a joke between my partner, Sean McCarthy, and me. We were joking around and started riffing about a Doucheaholics meeting. The idea was a support group like AA, but they are all addicted to being douchebags. It was an exciting thought to us, so we decided we were going to do it. Initially, it was just a thing to make for us and entertain ourselves.
We pitched the idea to Dustin Strocchia, our long time collaborator and editor, and Kevin Loader, another longtime collaborator of ours, and they immediately loved it and were on board with the concept. It seemed to come at a perfect time too, since we had all been inundated with a lot of commercial and client based work around that point. I think the four of us were really drained mentally and spiritually, and definitely felt depleted of creativity.
So we made a vow to focus on creating something new and original to reignite the fire in our creative souls. So our why, our reason to make it, became a way for our team at Guerilla Wanderers to get our creative grooves back and return to crafting original work. Our reason for making this expanded again when it came time to create the characters and write the scripts, we wanted to bring on some of our favorite actors we had worked with in the past, who weren’t necessarily getting offered lead roles left and right. It became a way to shine a light on some diamond in the rough talents who we knew would be amazing in these parts, and give them a chance to stretch their acting muscles in ways they may not usually get to with traditional casting.
So Doucheaholics went into production as a way for us to create and play. Selfishly, I suppose, really just to make something we wanted to see with people we wanted to work with.
We’re all huge fans of comedy, and I personally think being able to make people laugh is the best thing you can for the world. The first day of principal photography on Doucheaholics was the day we lost Robin Williams. It was a huge blow to everyone on set, and honestly would have been understandable if anyone felt they couldn’t go on shooting. But instead, there was almost this collective feeling that we needed to go on, and move forward with making something we were hoping would eventually bring joy and laughter to audiences as Mr. Williams had done. So that became another big reason for not only making it, but for seeing the project through to completion.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
This series was made by people who love to laugh, and love to make others laugh. It features all types of humor, from silly and absurdist, to surrealist, deadpan, observational, and even some physical comedy. So there’s something for everyone, regardless of personal taste. Each character can be looked at as a satire, but they are always grounded in an emotional truth. Our hope is we can bring joy and happiness to our audience via raging fits of laughter! They’re also a lot of layers to the episodes and the characters, so if anyone wants to look beyond just the humor, they can watch some very flawed humans engaging in honest self assessment and reflection.
Maybe someone watching will recognize themselves in some of the members of the group. Each episode also has its own stylistic signature different from the others, and the series features homages to some of our favorite films. So any film lovers can look out for those, some are more obvious than others. It’s always fun when people talk to us after screenings and site the references they picked up on!
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Our tagline is ‘Everyone’s a Douche, whether they know it or not.’ This can seem like a joke, but the underlying message is that everyone is flawed. The personal themes vary from character to character, but the universal theme throughout the series is that we are all human. To be human is to be flawed. Some may have more glaringly obvious issues than others, but we all have our personal defects.
Nobody is perfect, being alive comes with having certain ‘douche-isms.’ Just because you look at the people in Doucheaholics and think you’ve got it better than them, doesn’t mean you’re not a douche! Trust me, someone out there thinks you’re a douche. Because you are. We all are, just in our own ways. Embrace it! Recognize it and work to be a better person. That’ll help with the way you connect with others...connection is another huge theme of our series. Underneath it all, no matter how different the members of this group might be, they all share a deep need to be wanted, heard, and a desire to become better versions of themselves. That’s not something exclusive to Doucheaholics, that’s something exclusive to humanity.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
Each script was written with a specific actor in mind, so the characters were born out of inspiration by the people who ended up playing them. Each actor’s real life persona informed everything from the rhythm and pace of the dialogue, to the core ‘doucheism’ of their character. Sean basically extracted an aspect of their personality and amplified it to an insane degree, then put that in front of a fun house mirror and wrote a character out of that. A recurring theme during the development process was thinking about putting some of these actors in these situations, or even imagining them delivering certain lines, and we’d get such a kick out of that. We knew if we were cracking up just thinking about it, once we got the actors on set and rolling it was going to be even greater than we could have ever dreamed.
We finished season one and have already begun production on season 2. This next season the Douche-a-verse is expanding with new Douches and plot lines.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We’ve been incredibly lucky in that all the feedback we’ve received thus far has been amazing. People really seem to love and connect with our show. I’ve heard more than a few times that people are actually really surprised it’s as funny as it is, like they were expecting a couple laughs but had no idea just how hilarious they’d find it. It’s always awesome to hear! Usually you can tell when people are bullshitting you too, and I haven’t experienced that with the feedback and reactions thus far. It’s all been overwhelmingly, genuinely positive.
Now in all fairness, this is the kind of show that people can usually tell just by the title if it’s for them or not. We’ve definitely told people about the show who react with anything from a straight face to a look of disgust. So we’re like, yeah this show is probably not for you then. They judge it right away and don’t give it a chance, so there’s no way to get feedback from those Judgey McJudgersons. More often than not though, we get reactions of laughter at the name and most people get it immediately. Those have been the ones who’ve sought out the show to actually watch, and they end up loving it.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The only time I’ve been surprised by any feedback was from people I had pegged as a little more on the conservative side. There have been a few--my MOM included!--who I just didn’t expect to dig it due to the R rated humor and language. Turns out my mom thinks a douche taking a dick pic in the middle of the gym is hilarious...who knew?! So really any surprises with reactions have all been for the positive. If anyone out there has wanted to challenge the series in any way, I’ve not been made aware of that. But always open to other points of view so bring it on and come at me bros! I would definitely welcome an opportunity to have a conversation with anyone who wanted to offer a different point of view or perspective on what we’ve done. I don’t think it’s possible to grow as an artist and a creator without being challenged.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
We just want to get Doucheaholics to as wide an audience as possible. This whole series--from the production to now the release--was all executed and financed ourselves. It’s been a grassroots effort from day one and now especially with the release and distribution we’re relying on ourselves to spread the word and get the series out there. Film festivals have been hugely instrumental in getting certain episodes seen by larger audiences, and we always make sure to attend those and promote the full series as a whole.
When we screened the pilot at Dances With Films in LA two years ago, and then episodes 3 & 4 there last year, my co-creator and writer/director Sean McCarthy did interviews with We Are Moving Stories, and we’ve used those articles ever since in our press kit. You guys are a fantastic platform for indie filmmakers to be seen and heard. You’re doing the Lord’s work team at We Are Moving Stories!
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Um....all of the above?
Really we are so proud of how this series turned out, and we just want to get it out there. We’re currently streaming on iTunes and amazon, and would love to expand to multiple platforms to spread the Douche to the ends of the Earth. Throughout the journey that was making and finally releasing the series, we were fortunate enough to screen at a lot of festivals, and had multiple interviews with journalists and podcasters. Those have all been huge for us to get the Doucheaholics noticed. We’ve talked with a few sales agents and buyers, and have a few more meetings lined up. We’re always interested in meeting with anyone who connects with the show and wants to see where they can help take it.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
We just want to make people laugh. We want to brighten days. We want to help someone who might be going through a rough time and give them a little escape. If anything, spending time with these characters could almost guarantee you’ll feel better about yourself, right? The world can be a troubling and sad place, and we live in an insanely absurd time. Sometimes, we all need to be reminded that life can be joyful and playful, and doesn’t always have to be SO serious.
We screened the pilot at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival a couple days after Trump was elected. It seemed everyone in the country was just hit by a wave of depression and shock. Even for a comedy festival, there was a noticeable lull in energy and excitement. I remember one of the festival directors saying that now more than ever what we were doing was important, and what was happening in the world outside that theater should be motivation to keep creating, to keep the world laughing. That really spoke to me, and if anything validated that we really are able make a difference and heal through the power of laughter.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Take a look inward and ask yourself, ‘What kind of Douchebag am I? What’s my biggest douchesim?’ If you can’t figure it out, ask those closest to you! If you’re open to asking and receiving an honest truth, I’m sure they’d be more than happy to enlighten you as to just how much of a douchebag you can be...That might spark a debate or two, eh?
Would you like to add anything else?
My co-creator Sean and I would just want to express our thanks for everyone who believed in our little idea enough to jump on board and bring this thing to life. Over 200 people ended up involved in one way or another, in front of the camera, behind the scenes, or both. Our collaborators pushed themselves beyond limits to make sure Doucheaholics ended up being as great as it turned out. It was truly a team effort, and we’re eternally grateful for all the work, talent, and support put in throughout this process.
Now that season one is complete, we have to let go and let our baby fly. Doucheaholics is out and belongs to the world now. So the one thing I will add is our hope that it brings all who watch smiles, laughs, and joy. That’s all we could ever ask.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
We’ve begun production on season 2, and hope to complete that before summer ends. One of our key collaborators and associate producers on Doucheaholics, Kevin Loader, just completed a short film script to shoot next, and Sean McCarthy is polishing a few feature scripts. We’re currently in post on another comedy piece featuring many of the same cast and crew as Doucheaholics, and hope to get that completed and released soon. Guerilla Wanderers is always engaged with commercial work, and our sister company, Digital Wanderers, has an influx of vfx and animation projects.
Interview: May 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, scifi, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Doucheaholics: Season One
Everybody's a Douche, whether they know it or not.
Length: about 60 mins + 20 mins of bonus content
Director: Sean McCarthy
Producer: Elizabeth Mitchell
Writer: Sean McCarthy
About the writer, director and producer:
Writer/Director: Sean McCarthy is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. He is the founder and Creative Director of the Bay Area production company Guerilla Wanderers Films. Sean is also an accomplished actor and voice over artist.
Producer: Elizabeth Mitchell is an actress and award winning producer. She joined Guerilla Wanderers Films in 2008, and has produced a number of commercials, music videos and branded content. Elizabeth has appeared in numerous films and commercials, and loves cheese and cats.
Key cast: Anthony Marks, Ashley Sullivan, Jenn Tripp, Mitch Costanza, Alexa Ponciano, Cheyenne Costanza, Cassie Lewis, Sean McCarthy, Elizabeth Mitchell, Syra McCarthy, Jared Forman, Justin Tran
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): YES! ALL!
Social media handles:
Made in association with:
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?: iTunes (http://geni.us/douchetunes), amazon (http://geni.us/doucheazon)