Daytime Emmy nominee and co-creator May Chan chatted about “Surfside Girls,” which premiers this Friday on Apple TV+.
“Surfside Girls” stars Miya Cech (“Marvelous and the Black Hole” and “Rim of the World”), YaYa Gosselin (“We Can be Heroes” and “FBI: Most Wanted”) and Spencer Hermes-Rebello (“Troppo”). The series is produced by Endeavor Content and IDW Entertainment, and co-developed, written and executive produced by Chan, who also serves as showrunner.
What inspired you to write, produce, and create “Surfside Girls”?
“The Surfside Girls” graphic novel was created by Kim Dwinell. And one of the things that immediately popped out at me are the beautiful illustrations of this sleepy beachside town. Kim’s vision of Surfside has this nostalgic, retro vibe. It’s a place that feels safe for kids to explore and go on adventures on their own.
I grew up in LA, I have two kids (seven and nine) who are now growing up in LA. And while we love it here, it’s not exactly a safe haven for them to run around. Surfside has this freedom for kids and I thought, wow, what a great sandbox to play in. (Pun intended)
I also love Sam and Jade’s relationship. They’re best friends but they’re so different. At 13, they’re at a crossroads in their friendship. Will they continue to be best friends or will their differences cause a wedge in their relationship? It’s a relatable journey.
What was it like working with Alex Diaz and Julie Sagalowsky Diaz on the production side of things?
This is not just specific to Alex and Julie. But we were so lucky to have an amazingly talented crew to bring Surfside to life. Everybody brought in their superpower to make this show different! With our directors and writers, we had people who had worked on dramas; people who worked on serialized mysteries, and those who came from comedies and kids’ shows.
And I hope to have these different elements make the show stand out from other family shows. There’s something for everyone! On top of the crew, we had the best cast we could ask for. Miya Cech brought this outgoing, sophisticated energy to our science girl Jade. And YaYa brought a sweet vulnerability to imaginative Sam. Our actors really elevated the characters, across the whole show.
How does it feel to be a filmmaker and content creator in the digital age? (Now with streaming and technology being so prevalent)
Streaming has allowed filmmakers to create stories across 8 to 13-episode arcs. It’s creatively freeing when you get to let the stories breathe and unfold and be whatever length it needs to be.
Also, in the digital age, anyone with a camera and editing software can be a content creator and filmmaker. You’re not just waiting for some big studio to finance your story. People can get their voices and point of view out there.
What motivates you each day? What sparks your creativity?
A paycheck. Just kidding! Writers are kind of like observers of society. Living life and doing stuff that’s not just sitting in front of the computer sparks creativity for me. Or maybe that’s just an excuse for me to procrastinate.
What is your advice for young and aspiring filmmakers?
Focus on your writing and the stories you want to tell. There are a lot of factors that you can’t always control: what the market’s looking for, who is buying what, etc. Sometimes it can feel like a slew of disappointment and rejection in this business. The only thing you can control is your writing. So focus on that.
Who would you like to someday work with as your dream collaboration partners in acting and entertainment and/or producing?
I’d love to work with Ali Wong, Taika Waititi, Tom Holland, and Kpop girl group Twice… in a reboot of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Now that’s a collab!
What does the word success mean to you? (My favorite question)
Also a good question. I think it’s learning from your mistakes and trying not to make them again.
What would you like to tell our readers about “Surfside Girls”? (What’s the one thing you want them to get out of it)
We’re not clones of each other. Each person is unique with different points of views, interests, opinions, and personalities. Be open to that. That’s what Sam and Jade’s friendship is ultimately about. Can the Surfside Girls embrace their differences?