”HOOKED” is a comedy written and produced by Brittany Portman, fully self financed by herself and her production company Brittany Productions. The idea behind HOOKED began couple of years ago as a school project that morphed into a comedy web-series and now into a pilot for hopefully a tv-show. It came to life in 2018, when Brittany decided to create a show based on her own dating life. The short received impressive feedback, winning lots of awards. Including the February 2019 Top Shorts Film Festival, the Award of Excellence at the Global Shorts Los Angeles festival, the Award of Merit at the One-Reeler Short Film Competition and many more.
When did you realize you want to become a filmmaker?
My love for filmmaking began when I was in high school. I was acting in musical theatre and doing some background work in film and television. When I was on set, I always thought the behind the scenes work looked very interesting. When I went off to college, I majored in film studies at Barnard College. Which mainly had film theory classes rather than hands on type of classes. One class they did have was film production. There, I made my first short called “Tea Time”. I wrote, directed, cast and edit the short. That’s when I realized how much I loved creating my own work and I knew that moment that’s what I wanted to do as a career.
What do you like the most? Writing or producing?
At first I liked writing, because I initially wrote HOOKED based off of my own dating experiences in college. It’s much easier for me to write stories verbatim to how they happened in real life, but when it comes to writing things that aren’t from real life, it’s much more challenging. I’ve found throughout this journey that I feel more comfortable producing. I love producing, because I love overseeing the production and seeing something come to life from the beginning. Producing has its own challenges, but I always work better when I am multitasking.
How did “HOOKED” come to life? What gave you the inspiration to create this project?
HOOKED first started when I did my first short for film production class in college. I had some bizarre dating stories in college and these are stories that you can’t make up! The story that inspired my short “Tea Time.” I met a guy in the library and he invited me up for tea. Literally, shortly after chatting and sipping tea, he asked if I wanted to take my clothes on or off! I was shocked but shortly after it happened, I thought the event itself was hilarious. So I made that the story for of my short! We had a screening of the films we all created for class. When I saw people’s reactions to my mine, that’s when I knew that I had to create more scenarios or episodes. As a result, “HOOKED” was born.
What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
Disney has always been inspiring and influential to me for so many reasons. For starts, Disney himself has always been someone that I look up to, because he is the definition of the American Dream. He created something out of nothing without having any connections! He had a dream and he pursued it without letting any adversities stop him. The one movie that has influenced my work is Aladdin. Princess Jasmine was a very different princess compared to other Disney princesses, in her attitude and how she didn’t want to be defined by a man or her royal title. She wanted people to respect her as an individual and as a ruler. It’s a very modern movie that has some amazing messages for young girls. At the same time, the love story between Aladdin and Jasmine is beautiful to see too. The music adds an element to making the love story so enchanting to see. In HOOKED, the main character Leah is “in love” with the character Aladdin and is in her search to find a real life Aladdin to show her the world. At the same time, Leah has her Princess Jasmine side, tries to find herself and become independent.
Any other upcoming projects you would like to share with readers?
I am in talks for other projects, but they are preliminary. I won’t be able to share much at the moment 🙂 .
What is something you like to do that people will be surprised to know about you?
The one thing that people are always surprised to hear is that I can tap dance! I began
taking lessons when I was 10 with Janine Molinari (Fun fact – she is married to the director of HOOKED). I have also taken ballet and jazz with Janine, but tap comes the most natural to me. I love to tap dance to Judy Garland and the musical 42nd Street.
Something you think every woman should try once in their life?
Every woman should try to write a story that’s based on true events from their lifetime. It doesn’t have to be a film. Women could write blogs, write a short story or share a story with anyone. When I wrote all of the episodes for HOOKED, I found it very cathartic. I wrote it years after all of these events happened to me. I wrote it from a place where I could laugh about it, instead of be annoyed or upset about it.
What is the craziest thing you have done, but you don’t regret it?
I haven’t done anything that I could call crazy, but there is one thing that I did that was unusual for me. I applied for an internship in Israel without letting my own mother know until I got the job! I never studied abroad in college, so I thought this could make up for it. I have no regrets on doing the internship, because it made me more independent. As a result, I enjoyed traveling much more.
What is something you will never do again?
One thing I will never do again is to have such a short pre production schedule before shooting. For this shoot, we had one week to prep, which realistically isn’t enough time. However, it was a very good learning lesson for the next time.
How can everyone keep in contact with you on social media?
You can find me on Instagram and Twitter as @BrittanyJPortman. Hooked is also present on social media: @HookedShow on Facebook and Instagram. @Hooked2019 on Twitter.