When Jordan Weiss was a freshman at USC, she had a best friend she grew so close with (and was conveniently close in size to) that they got into the habit of sharing a closet. When the friend started dating an older guy who lived off campus, slowly the communal wardrobe seemed to drift out of their room and into his home.
“I woke up one morning and was like, ‘I don’t own pants anymore,’” Weiss says. “I was like, ‘I don’t know where any of my jeans are. I think she has all of them in this guy’s house.’”
Later in college, Weiss had a serious boyfriend of her own. She was young and struggled with self-confidence, and let herself be swept up in the adoration of her partner.
“It was easier to just sort of let this romantic partner like me, so that I didn’t have to like me,” Weiss says. “And I think I really got absorbed and lost touch with a lot of my friends.”
Coming out of college, Weiss changed her attitude: namely, to focus on finding female friends with the same gusto she typically reserved for dating.
“And I think it’s paid off, because in the years since college I think I’ve built a really beautiful, strong group of female friends,” Weiss says. “And I got to mine all their lives for material and put them in the show.”
The show is “Dollface,” which premiered on Hulu over the weekend (to less-than-favorable reviews, but here’s hoping viewers ignore that). It’s very much the breakout for Weiss, who is just 26; she wrote the show shortly after graduating as a screenwriting student from USC.
The show follows Jules (Kat Dennings), who, upon getting unceremoniously dumped by her longtime boyfriend, realizes she’s neglected her female friendships (Brenda Song and Shay Mitchell) over the course of the relationship and has to rebuild them.
While in school, Weiss, who grew up near Miami, studied all kinds of comedic writing, but wasn’t working on anything that was personal or indicative of her voice.
“My way of going about things in film school was more to say, ‘Oh, I love “30 Rock,”‘ so I’m going to try to write a workplace comedy similar to ’30 Rock,’” Weiss says. “And that was my way of learning how to write a comedic episode, but it wasn’t landing me with samples that felt like they were really going to be a good calling card for me in terms of expressing who am I as a writer and what am I trying to say, and what is my specific funny perspective on the world.”
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Her first job out of college was working as an assistant in the film industry; one of her fellow assistant friends (Scott Morgan, who is now a producer on “Dollface”) got promoted to be a producer and was headed to Atlanta to film “I, Tonya” starring Margot Robbie. Morgan had read Weiss’ writing sample (which “Dollface” is based on) and brought it with him to Atlanta, promising to show his boss. One thing lead to another and Robbie’s production company LuckyChap, came to produce “Dollface.”
“I remember at the time thinking it was kind of funny that Scott said, ‘Oh I love this. I’m going to show it to my boss.’ And I’m thinking like, ‘You guys are like cool indie film producers who are about to make like an Oscar movie about an ice skater with Margot Robbie. I don’t know why you’re reading my comedy staffing sample.’ But I guess I should’ve had more faith.”