Ed. Note: Today, we’re interviewing Tiffany Hodges, Cristina Doikos, and Judy Jerome, the three brilliant women behind a new series called Tick Tock. Since we’re all reeling a bit from the last week, the questions get super lady-focused. Not like it hasn’t already been an ongoing estrogen party here on YSA…
1)Your series, Tick Tock, tackles something that is, I think, on the mind of every woman over the age of, like, 28. Can you give us a quick synopsis?
Tick Tock follows three New York City women who must face the pressure of their biological clocks. Friends since college and in their mid thirties, they’re still hot in a manscape of aging hipsters and lumbersexuals, but their eggs are now considered geriatric. This single camera comedy series explores the biggest question every woman faces…to preg or not to preg?
2) Is the fear of getting “mommy-tracked” super real, especially as actresses? It’s bad enough for those of us who aren’t in front of cameras.
Tiffany: I think this is one of the main reasons all women in all industries put off this decision. But, the truth is if we don’t give birth to the next generation, who will? Men can’t do it. And, it’s okay to want to create a child and a career. The truth is we have to change the perception of the working Mom. It’s not about sacrifice, it’s about family and true partnership. I believe if you have the right partner, you can make anything work. And, as far as the perception of Moms in “the business”…well, women have been changing stereotypes for years, why stop now? Maybe that’s the job of our generation, and if you don’t rise to the occasion, you allow fear to control your future.
Judy: I remember (in my mid twenties) when I was pounding the pavement, and working a survival job, and taking classes, I could not imagine how artist families did it. I was convinced I had to be really successful and have made a lot of money to be able to have kids. I worried that having a child too soon would inspire a choice to give up acting. And I was not ready to do that. I now know a number of artist families- some doing better than others. It is possible, but still seems scary to me to this day….
Cristina: I’d say YES to “mommy tracked”! This industry is driven by the visual and more and more seems focused on youth especially for actresses. Having a baby immediately shifts you physically into another character-type at least for 9 months. The fear of not being accepted back into the industry in the same way as before is a risk. I suppose it comes down to whether or not the reward of a child is greater than the risk.
3) Your characters each have a different perspective on what having a child means– what it does to your body, your mental health, your career, and your relationships. Why was the diversity of perspective important to the project?
T: It was important to us to explore all sides to this complicated and life-changing decision. It’s different for our generation then it was for our mothers who were taught that having children was what they were born to do. Thanks to women’s liberation and modern fertility techniques, we have more options than women have ever had before. As a result, we are having babies much later in life. But regardless, we still have to decide or the option will expire. This is something men don’t have to face in the same biological way. We wanted to give a voice to all the different women of this generation who feel the pressure to suddenly have to grow up, find the right partner, the right circumstance, or maybe just the guts to put their bodies through a great sacrifice. It’s a BIG deal! Why not talk about it, share different perspectives, and laugh! After all, vaginas are funny. (Ed. Note: seriously, though. They really are.)
J: There are women who know they want children, there are women who know they don’t. There are women (like me) who want it when/if they find the person they want to have them with. There are women who regret! Every position and experience is valid. We want to share what the idea of becoming of mother a means to everyone- it’s not as simple as so many believe.
C: Well, the question is the same for everyone (to have a child or not) and there’s an expiration date to decide but every woman approaches dealing or not dealing with that question differently. It seemed only natural that we juxtapose the experiences of several women and show the different consequences of each character’s decision. And at the core it’s their friendship that helps them navigate their sometimes sticky situations.
4) Nowadays, when the public talks about women, we’re often qualified by our relationships to people– the old “mother, daughter, sister, wife” chestnut. How important was it to have each character’s own wants be the driving force behind their actions?
T: Great question! VERY important! It’s about time the woman’s story drives the plot. It is our decision whether or not to bare children. It is our bodies and we are in the driver’s seat. So, the main conflict in our series is man vs. himself…or, as we like to put it, woman vs. herself.
J: I know as a woman I deeply care about my relationships, and how I am an individual in a community and have a responsibility to both myself and my community. To offer the best I can to myself and my community, I have to operate from the heart and my own conscience. One must know what they want, to truly give their heart and soul to anything. Many women have decisions made for them, or are not encouraged to reach for their dreams. We want to highlight women that do!
C: We worked tirelessly to create very full, rich characters that show all the messiness and beauty of life. We attempt to cut down stereotypes of baby crazy women and focus more on the relationships these women have and how that helps to define what they want. Everyone has their moments, men and women alike, so getting all of that in there makes it raw and real. The goal is to see these women as people who learn and grow from their experiences.
5) How does the setting of New York City come into play? It still holds this very fantastical, Sex & The City allure for a lot of the country, but I also know that people who are having kids in the city aren’t flocking to the suburbs like they did when I was a kid.
T: NYC is like the fourth female character in this series. She’s smart, tough, and fabulous. She’s full of drive. Women in this City are modern thinkers. They don’t necessarily do what society expects, they do what they want, when they want. They are spending their twenties building careers, being single, and living independently in the greatest city in the world. And now fertility clinics are exploding with busy NYC women who have hit their thirties and are trying to freeze their eggs, get fertility treatments, or find a sperm donor. We love this city, we love our fellow female friends and we knew this was the best place to highlight our generation that is waiting longer to get pregnant.
J: I grew up in NYC, and I love it! The arts, the diversity, the shine, the grime- it’s like nowhere else. I am so thankful for the experiences I had growing up. The high fashion show of Sex & The City is only one small piece of the amazing that is NYC. We want to share all sides of NY!
C: Ahh, New York City – it’s still sexy, isn’t it? We always saw the City as a character in and of itself. It’s a city of excess and extremes. The NYC fertility industry is a perfect example of that. In a time when women are having babies older and have tons of fertility options, New York is there to cater to every whim. It’s really remarkable what a whole situation this baby making business creates. NYC has a pulse and pace that intensifies the pressure our characters are facing with their ticking clocks. It’s really charged and exciting.
6) The art of producing a project is so vastly different from the art of writing or performing in one. What has been your experience of pitching a woman-focused and woman-created project? I’ve gotten the impression from friends out here that the industry has a want for female-focused projects, but might not yet have a beat on which projects resonate with female audiences.
T: The feedback from virtually every pitch we’ve given has been great! It’s true there is a content war and female-driven stories are being sought. But, I think what makes this one stand out is that it is truly a female-driven subject that has changed greatly with this generation at this time. We are very confident that we will find the right home for the series. In fact, we are looking for a showrunner right now, and are targeting females.
J: There is a focus on more female driven material, and female players in the making of materials. We are very timely in that way- the universe is calling! We have had a lovely response so far from folks in the business. As we progress further, and higher in the food chain of networks, it will be interesting to see what the reactions are.
C: It’s empowering! Can I get a… #woman?! We feel the universe is perfectly aligned to tell this story. Look at our strong, bright First Lady, the first female presidential nominee, the first all female Ghostbusters! The list goes on. Now, pitching the project may be a different story but we are pretty confident that Hollywood is ready for some diversity and TICK TOCK is universal to all women and we are 50% of the population. It’s just a matter of finding the right platform to reach those viewers.
7) How can readers learn more about the series?
Thank you for letting us insert a shameless plug to increase our fan base. Join our mailing list at TickTockSeries.com to keep in touch with as more develops. We also welcome everyone to follow each of us on Twitter- @CristinaDoikos, @Tiffany_Hodges, and @judy_jerome.