In April of 2011, filmmaker Graydon Sheppard and Kyle Humphrey, a graphic designer in Toronto launched the Twitter account @ShitGirlsSay. As the title suggests, the parody feed includes the typical and comical statements of your average female. Over 230,000 followers later, they’ve decided to bring the tweets to life with a web series. The first episode launched on YouTube December 12th and gained over 4 million views in just a week. Their second episode is up today. We caught up with co-creator, Sheppard, to find out how he made the web fall in love with all the smart and brilliant (wink wink) things that us ladies say.
What inspired @shitgirlssay?
It all started one day when Kyle and I were watching TV and one of us said “Could you pass me that blanket?” and it struck us as a question specific to women. We started to think about what that meant, for a phrase to be attributed to a sex, and began to come up with more on the spot. Suddenly we had gone back and forth with twenty quips and it dawned on us that they were the perfect length for Twitter.
How do you come up with the tweets?
Well, within days we had a document with about 200 Tweets ready to roll out onto the feed, so at first it was really almost magic, it just all seemed so clear. As we go on we’ll text each other or friends will suggest them, as well as our followers. They still come really naturally on their own, but we are also fine tuned to hear them out in the world, on the street, with our families. It’s like wearing 3D glasses, they just pop out to us.
Why do you think people connect with @shitgirlssay?
We somehow stumbled upon this quality that, as far as we know, nobody had really examined or brought to light. I think it’s because the cliché of “Do I look fat in this?” was pretty tired, a little bit mean, and completely overdone, so nobody really went further than that. We really think about what we Tweet, we avoid anything that suggests violence or anything that’s already been said a million times. I also think the Tweets that are funniest to us are the ones that are the most complex in their meanings. We really appreciate the complexity and layers inherent in these phrases and I think that’s why people connect with it, they feel “in” on the joke, not like the butt of it.
What was the process of creating the video version?
I’m a filmmaker, so we came up with the idea as something that would be a fun side project for me. We did a test video in the summer and then approached a team of people we wanted to work with using that video. We combed through the Tweets and decided which ones would translate into video, how they might fit together, and where each Tweet should be said. Then at the beginning of September, it was all happening. Suddenly I was changing into a dress outside of a van on Queen Street in Toronto.
How did you get Juliette Lewis on board?
Juliette was one of our first big followers on Twitter. We were so excited to see her name on our followers list, and even more excited one night when she Tweeted at us. After that we sent her a direct message and it turned out we had some mutual friends, so we met up that night and hit it off. Once we had cut the videos from September, we showed them to her and asked her if she wanted to be involved. A week later we were on set together!
What does the future hold- more videos? TV? film?
We have just released another video today, there’s a third episode coming out next week that has more Juliette, and it’s more intimate and different than the first two. Beyond that, we’re taking this break to work on planning our next moves.
What’s your favorite @shitgirlssay statement?
My favorite statement is “That poor dog needs water,” which is in Episode 2, and Kyle’s is “Could you pass me that blanket?” – the Tweet that started it all!