Online dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr and Match have undoubtedly changed the way we form and maintain relationships. Whether this is for better or worse remains an ongoing debate and is certainly a ripe subject matter for comedic exploration.
TEXTUAL RELATIONSHIP is a satirical semi-rom-com that explores the world of online dating via the infamous second screen. The film's visual look is simple but effective in creating juxtaposition: crosscutting slick and fast paced conversations with wide shots and uninterrupted takes is an attempt to convey the stark realization that an online connection doesn't always translate to the real world.
Unlike most films, the characters remain anonymous throughout. By only referring to the characters via their usernames, I hope to encourage empathy with the audience by saying that these characters could be any of us. It is important that these characters are relatable because at the end of the day, these socially awkward characters just want the same as everyone else – someone to come home to and snuggle up with on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
The stylistic choice of having the characters regularly break the fourth wall and interact with the audience was a key component of the original play and was something I was fully intent to keep with the film adaptation.
By having the characters break the fourth wall it allows these characters to control how we, the audience, perceive them. Human beings are fragile. They want to show us how great their relationship is. However, this façade is instantly shattered when the characters both decide to meet face-to-face and we see how wrong they are for each other.
For me, this was the perfect representation of something we are all guilty of at one point or another. Whether it is choosing the best profile picture or making sure our 'good side' is on display, we all want to present THE perfect representation of ourselves to the world – more so when it comes to dating. This mentality only brings disappointment when we don't live up to those self-inflicted expectations.
Deep textual analysis aside, I love comedy and sometimes the best way to tackle delicate subject matter (especially relationships) is with tongue firmly in cheek. Sometimes life imitates art and other times we can't help but write about we know. Whether or not some of my own personal experiences with online dating have made it into this film is something I will just live dangling in the balance.