Niagara Gazette — Just about everyone’s got a horror story to tell about a first date gone wrong. Boring conversation? Sure. Horrible food? Absolutely. Running into an ex or a nemesis? Uh huh.
City of Tonawanda resident Bryan Patrick Stoyle is chronicling the worst, and funniest, fictional bad date experiences in his web series “Failed First Dates.” And the season finale is set to launch on video hosting website YouTube Friday, just in time for the most romantic day of the year.
“I’m entertained by the whole dating notion,” Stoyle said. “I think it’s funny how everyone has a bad date story of their own. In any way a date can go bad, people have been sharing their experiences. It’s been fun exploring the pageantry and preparation we put ourselves through.”
Once complete, the show will feature 11 episodes focused on the dating life of main character Jon Paul Stevens (Stoyle). Each week, viewers meet a new potential partner for the story’s hero only to have something get in the way.
Stoyle said the scripts drew from some of his own experiences, but not any actual dates. Instead, inspiration came from a conversation he witnessed between two strangers while he sat at a coffee shop writing an unrelated project. The awkward exchange that afternoon, he said, made him think about his own conversations with women and how humor could be found in watching two people fail to connect.
“The title kind of sells itself,” he said. “Viewers have a pretty good idea what they’re walking into.”
Two aspects, he said, which shaped the production, were acting and setting. Talent, Stoyle added, came from both film and theater actors in the Buffalo area. It’s a mix, he said, that lends itself to variety other webseries exploring the same topic might not have.
Setting was another major aspect he said the show nailed perfectly. Much of the 11 episodes were shot on location at Perfetto Restaurant in Buffalo’s theater district, though occasionally Jon Paul stepped away from the dinner table and into the world of adventure with a lucky - or unlucky, rather - lady.
For these excursions, Stoyle and the film’s crew invaded - with permission - the likes of the Aurora Theatre in East Aurora, Skateland in Lockport and the Niagara Climbing Center in North Tonawanda.
He said the locations helped make the show even more original than it was on paper.
“I saw one show (about failed dates) on the Internet and each episode takes place at the same restaurant at the same table,” he said. “It’s always the same table. I knew I wanted something more. We ended up with great locations. We shot eight episodes at Perfetto. Skateland was amazing. The places we’ve ended up have been absolutely wonderful.”
As for what viewers can expect in the season finale, Stoyle said Valentine’s Day rears its ugly head for the main character. In what the writer and lead actor calls his most gratifying episode, the plot, based off a prank a college friend of his pulled a while back, leads to what he called “a touching story.”
“The exchange pays off so well,” he said, hoping to avoid spoilers. “It was touching to film.”
The show wraps itself up in a neat bow, he said, with a gratifying ending for those who’ve watched right along since the show debuted in mid-December. But he’s hoping NDStudios, which financed the endeavor, believes a second season is worth filming because he’s got more ideas bouncing around in his head he’d love to see Jon Paul suffer through.
With or without follow-up, though, Stoyle said he’s just happy he was able to tell the stories he has.
“The joke about the Buffalo film community is that everyone does horror,” he said. “I’m just glad we were able to do a comedy.”
To view every episode of the show, go online to www.youtube.com/failedfirstdates. It’s directed by Joe Blodgett of NDStudios, who also serves as an executive producer. Studio co-founder Matthew A. Nardone is executive producer as well. For more information, go online to www.ndstudios.com.
Contact reporter Timothy Chipp at 282-2311, ext. 2251 or follow on Twitter @timchipp.
View the first episode of "Failed First Dates" here: