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Interview: ‘How to Buy a Baby’ Creator Wendy Litner & Actress Meghan Heffern on Crafting a Web Series and Taking a Look at Adoption

On August 23 LoCo Motion Pictures is releasing its second season of the web series, How to Buy a Baby, on the CBC’s web platform.  The show revolves around a couple’s struggle with infertility and the lengths they go through in pursuit of fertility.  While seeking treatment, the couple finds themselves surrounded by a plethora of interesting characters, which create for a hilarious viewing experience. 

The first season consists of ten very easily watchable episodes of about 6 – 8 minutes in length and can be found on the CBC Comedy YouTube Chanel.  On August 19th I had the pleasure to interview the lead actress, Meghan Heffern (who plays Jane on the show), and series creator/writer Wendy Litner about the show and its upcoming season.  I insist you give the show a watch – and not just because they were the nicest people- because it is a genuinely funny show that can give you some perspective on an issue that faces many people. 

Please be advised there are spoilers ahead. This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Sam:  So first off, I need to tell you that I really enjoyed watching the first season of the show. It was really funny. I thought it was an original concept and I loved how it displayed Toronto, so I thought it was great.

Wendy: I am so happy to hear that because we really wanted it to be of Toronto, so I appreciate that.

Sam: Perfect! This question is directed at Wendy: Can you tell us how you came up with this idea or how you knew that you wanted to turn it into a show?

Wendy: Yes,  I was diagnosed with infertility, and I just felt so alone in that everyone else was having babies and having baby showers.  All I wanted to do was scream from the roof top, “I am getting injections in my ass!” Nobody wanted to talk about it, so I really wanted to make something that represented that experience so that maybe others won’t also feel quite so alone.

Sam: Awesome, so when you were writing the characters of Jane and Charlie it was really you and your partner then?

Wendy: I think it started as a sketch of my husband and I, but I think Meghan and Marc who play them so brilliantly, brought so much of their own heart and warmth and humor to it that I think the final product is something really different and special – Not that my husband isn’t special, he is! – I think they just added so much more to what was on the page.

Sam: Did the situations that your characters experience in the show stem from real life events?

Wendy: I think a lot of them did. There are some that start in reality. In season 2, there is a terrifying phone call in the middle of the night, and that happened. Others are a bit more fantasy of what I wish I could do. There is a scene where Meghan tells another pregnant woman that she is pregnant too. That is more what I wish I could do sometimes. There is definitely a mix of both- It is a heightened version. The people in Jane and Charlie’s world are a bit humorless sometimes, where as our friends and family were incredibly supportive and wonderful in real life.   

Sam: Yes, I wanted to ask about the characters, how you came up with all the wacky and zany character’s, most of them giving unsolicited advice.

Wendy: Going through it, you become so consumed with infertility and wanting to become a parent that you feel like you’re living in the Upside Down.  I think I channeled that into characters. The reality is I would be out and feel like every single person was pregnant, even the men! I know the entire population wasn’t but that’s what it felt like. I tired to do that from Janes POV. This is sort of how Jane is hearing it and seeing it, and this is how Charlie is hearing it and seeing it.

Sam: Well It translated beautifully, I wanted to say, the characters, all of them from the main to the supporting cast, did a fantastic job.

Wendy: Thank you! You know it’s such a testament to Meaghan and her incredible prowess as a comedic and drama actress.

Sam: Now moving on to Meghan. What drew you to the role of Jane and the project all together?

Meghan: I actually met Wendy at a Web series incubator that she was participating in and they usually bring in actors to read their scripts, their pilot scripts. I just, as fate would have it, was paired with Wendy for the role of Jane. I read it and was just like, “Oh, I really hope that she makes this, and I really hope that she picks me to be jane.” I just loved it and connected with it so much.

Sam: Well you do a fantastic job.

Meghan: Thanks!

Wendy interjects: I fell in love with Meghan from the moment I heard her speak. We would have never auditioned anyone else, it was always Meghan.

Sam: That’s great. I wanted to continue with Meghan, I see you have been in a lot of TV shows and Films including Cloe, Wynonna Earp, Blue Mountain State, and Degrassi, like every good Canadian does.  I wanted to ask what it is like going from these differed sized productions to the more intimate web series format where many times it is just you, Marc and the camera.

Meghan: I loved how it was such a small condensed crew and cast. Listen working on big productions is fun and you get fancy perks, and trailers and fancy craft service, but there is something to be said about working with a bunch of people that you really admire and love on a project that came directly from somebody’s heart.

Sam: Of course, Do you feel that filming for a web series, you approached things differently as an actress?

Meghan: I don’t think so. I think I treated it like an hour-long movie. That’s how I Felt; I think it is, just an hour long episode of television just split into tiny little snips.

Sam: How long did it take you guys to film the first season?

Meghan: We shot for 10 days

Wendy: Yes! This [the second] season was 12 days.

Sam: To Wendy again, Is it different writing for a web series than a half hour television show or a movie?

Wendy: This is the first thing of my own that I’ve ever done, so I do not have a whole lot to compare it to. I have gotten to work on other shows like the Beaverton, but that is more sketch based so its very different. I’ve always conceived it as a web series, so I wrote it for that medium. Web series have a very focused A plot, whereas a half hour would have a B plot and a C plot. It was really fun to be able to really focus on that part of it and focus on these characters and their relationship.

Sam: Finally, the ending of the first season [Jane and Charlie get the phone call from the doctor’s office to tell them if jane is pregnant or not], it is a little bit ambiguous, and my suspicion is that it was purposefully so. Is there anything that you can tell me, looking forward to season 2, that you can give away?

Wendy: You will have to tune in on the 23rd and see.

Meghan: There is another season.  There’s season two of How to Buy a Baby, so you can assume that they maybe did not get their baby the first time around.

Wendy: Yes, that is correct. They did not get their baby. Now they are moving on to other paths to parenthood.

Sam: Thank you so much for your time, it was a pleasure talking to you. It sounds like you have a great time filming and a real connection among cast and crew, and I wish you the best of luck with this season and with your bright futures.

Meghan and Wendy: Thank you so much!

Wendy: It was so wonderful to speak with you!

Season 2 of How to Buy a Baby hits CBC’s streaming platform, CBC Gem, on August 23, 2019.

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