Laura and Danielle Kosann–founders of The New Potato–took some time last week to discuss their new film, The Social Ones, with Solzy at the Movies.
The Social Ones makes its Digital/VOD release on Tuesday. The film examines social media anxiety disorder by way of a cover shoot. How did you first get the idea?
Laura and Danielle Kosann: We have an online magazine The New Potato (which is basically what The National Influencer in the film spoofs) and we were completely caught up in the content rat race of having to post a million times a day on social media, and also finding that the “social media influencers” we interviewed, their stories got more engagement than people like Robert De Niro’s! Laura got fed up and decided to write a script mocking that whole influencer world we had suddenly found ourselves in. The mental health element of it was always crucial to the idea, because though “social media anxiety disorder” is thus far a fictional ailment, it’s actually not at all fictional. Every day we are asking ourselves how social media is negatively affecting our mental health!
How did you go about casting The Social Ones?
Laura and Danielle Kosann: Casting this was honestly so much fun. Laura scoured tons of YouTube videos—some that had all of 4 views at a time – for young comedians from Upright Citizens Brigade. In many circumstances it’s like not believing the talent that is out there that you stumble upon. We also had an incredible casting director—Erica Hart—who was just unbelievable at reading our minds and calling so much talent in that we would not have otherwise found. And what we wanted basically was this ensemble cast of young up and comers perfectly complimented by amazing veteran actors. Which is why we were so happy the likes of Richard Kind, Jackie Hoffman, Debra Jo Rupp, Peter Scolari and Stephanie March responded to the script the way they did.
The Social Ones marks your first feature film. What was the most challenging part of the production?
Laura Kosann: It was probably wearing so many hats because of how independently we did this. I was so proud that Danielle and I produced as the only production company alongside Stephanie March who was our executive producer (and also stars in it and is incredible). At the same time, because we were doing it that way I found having to both direct and also produce on a very ground floor level leading up to the shoot could some days be challenging. All in all it was the most incredible experience we though because it basically felt like a 6-month film school crash course. It was also an experience that would be hard to replicate, because it was beautiful how we had all of the creative control and basically no one to answer to.
How did you decide on using Smash Mouth’s “All Star” in the opening credits?
Laura Kosann: If you listen to the lyrics, it completely epitomizes the idea of a selfie-anthem. This film satirizes the Brand Of Me world that we are in, and that song is truly about that. We’ve always said this film is very much a love letter to our generation as much as it mocks it, and “All Star” was that to the 90’s in a sense. The song is also just a complete throwback and there is actually a big element of nostalgia in this script. We honestly knew we wanted that song from day 1, and Smash Mouth’s managers probably have hundreds of emails from me in their inbox.
Social media can have its positives and negatives. What do you think are the positives of sticking with it?
Laura and Danielle Kosann: We’ve said this before because it’s really our favorite part of social media: We love how social media allows you to connect with and support the people that you’ve collaborated with artistically in the past, or maybe who you want to collaborate with in the future. Social media is such a great vehicle for communication in many ways, especially Instagram, it creates a kind of supportive artistic community with people you otherwise might lose touch with or would have never been in touch with. DM-ing people on Instagram to collaborate is something we do sometimes even more than email.