The Dating Diaries stars Lucas Zaffari and Alison Balnar, and centers around three different matches at a speed dating service. The first table seats a young woman and a man who claims to be 27, but is obviously much older than that. The conversation between the two of them highlights the drastic age difference between them. The second table shows a young woman and a young man, played by Zaffari. Zaffari’s character is very into self-appearance and jumps at the first opportunity to toss in the word “crossfit”, and implies that even throws out the modern dating catch-phrase “Netflix and chill”. Finally, the last table shows a man and a woman, played by Balnar, where the woman immediately jumps into a conversation about marriage and children, and preaches about veganism. All three situations are display common problems that many face while on the tireless search for “the one” nowadays.
“The idea came from a collaboration with Lucas Zaffari and another actress, Michelle Marx. We were motivated to release our own comedic project,” said Balnar. “Soon after, the concept and story about three comedic speed dates came to life. We wanted to tell a comedic story of dating situations that stems from reality.”
Funny Or Die is an Emmy-winning comedy video website and production company founded by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy and has received tens of millions of hits.
“It feels fantastic to have the video up on Funny or Die. It's a great website with wonderful comedic content so I am thrilled that this project is on such a great platform,” she said. “I loved the creative freedom that was involved with making The Dating Diaries. When it comes to releasing a project on an online platform, there is so much freedom. The story and characters can be whatever you want them to be and there are very little restrictions.”
Zaffari agrees that the website was the perfect place to host the film, which premiered on the website on May 21.
“Funny or Die is internationally known for presenting entertaining well-made content and The Dating Diaries is all about that,” he said.
Balnar, who has had many more serious roles recently, wanted to experiment in the comedy genre, which required her to be more detailed-oriented than usual.
“My character, Mimi, was clingy, obsessive and extremely focused on finding a husband. When portraying her in a comedic sense, it was important to highlight those characteristics immediately so the audience could understand her purpose. I had a lot of fun playing her and the comedic atmosphere was a lot of fun on set,” she described. “Comedy requires very specific timing and choices. A big part of my preparation was finding those moments and consistently bringing them to the scene.”
That was not the only difficulty she faced.
“A challenge was keeping a straight face while shooting,” said Balnar. “There were definitely some bursts of laughter. However, laughter is always a great thing to have on set.”
Zaffari agrees that playing a comedic role is, in his words, “a delight.”
“Comedy, most of the time, is a light subject which by the end of a scene you feel light and energetic, while a dramatic scene that you’re breaking up a long term relationship for example, makes you feel drained and tired because it really is an emotional hangover and your body feels that way,” he said. “Comedy is always fun to do.”
Playing these roles gave Zaffari and Balnar both the opportunity to highlight their versatility, displaying that they command the screen both in heavy dramas and light-hearted comedy. Elizabeth MacDonald, a co-director on the project, agrees.
“It was a great pleasure working with the cast of this comedic short. Alison and Lucas bring strong work ethic, commitment and originality to their work, making them easy to direct and collaborate with,” said MacDonald. “Alison portrays her character, Mimi, with ease and demonstrates her natural comedic timing in her hilarious portrayal of a clingy and obsessive woman. Lucas also does a fantastic job at capturing his ‘frat boy’ inspired character. He takes direction easily and applies any adjustments with grace."
You can check out the film here.