There are very few daters out there today who don’t have strong feelings about online dating. Kabir Chopra knows that well. The actor and director have often looked at the world of modern romance in his work and even published a “no-nonsense guide to online dating” in 2014. Chopra once again examines the ups and downs of searching for love in his new web series “Swiped to Death,” which is set to begin releasing episodes this summer. Chopra both directs and stars in the series and often turned to social media to ask singles to share some of their dating horror stories, many of which were adapted into the script.
We got to chat with Chopra about “Swiped to Death,” why dates go wrong, and the biggest mistakes dating app users are making today.
TTM: You’ve written a book on online dating and the modern dating scene has obviously inspired your work for quite some time. How did the idea for ‘Swiped to Death’ come to be?
Chopra: “Swiped to Death” has actually been several years in the making. When you live in the city for so many years, you start hearing a lot of crazy dating stories, especially in New York. So I just started collecting stories from my friends with the intention of taking one and making it a short film. But there were so many good ones, I couldn’t decide. So I came up with the idea of doing a series.
The Teal Mango: What can viewers expect from this web series?
Kabir Chopra: The series follows two South Asians as they both try their luck on a dating app. Each episode follows either Jay (played by myself) or Farah (played by Reema Sampat, who you’ll see in the new season of “Orange is the New Black”) as they go on a date with a new character. For some reason, each date goes terribly wrong. Each episode is about seven minutes long and based on a true story. The first two episodes are scheduled to release this summer.
TTM: Can you tell us a little about the rest of your cast? Where did you film the episodes?
Chopra: The role of Jay is played by myself and the role of Farah is played by Reema Sampat. We also have some incredible supporting actors like Paul Michael Polsinelli who starred opposite James Franco in King Cobra, as well as Tim Cordell, Christina Russo, and Sarah Bernero who were all classmates of mine at Studio 4. The series was shot in New York.
TTM: ‘Swiped to Death’ is a web series that incorporates some real life dating stories into the script, correct? How did you collect those?
Chopra: Yep! It all started with a single Facebook post, where I asked my friends to share some of their craziest dating stories. The response was overwhelming and really exciting. Even friends who I haven’t spoken to in years started reaching out to share their stories.
TTM: You obviously talk to a lot of online daters. What’s the wildest story you’ve heard in the years you’ve been doing this?
Chopra: Unfortunately I can’t share the craziest ones yet. You’ll just have to watch the series! But some of the memorable stories involved men lying about being single and trying to get physical on the first date, as well as women getting drunk and bringing a third person on the date.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that women definitely put up with a lot more BS than us men do. Big shout out to all the single women out there!
TTM: Are you online dating right now? What advice do you have for readers who are suffering from what some call ‘app fatigue’?
Chopra: I’ve actually taken a break. App Fatigue is for real, plus I’ve been spending a lot of time working on “Swiped to Death” and a couple of other projects.
My advice is to take a break for a month or two, and try to meet someone in real-life. You can meet someone at the gym, or the library, or the farmer’s market, or at your friend’s birthday party (this one is actually pretty effective since you both have someone in common)!
TTM: Finally, what do you think is the biggest mistake online daters are making today?
Chopra: I think there are two big mistakes: laziness and flakiness.
When you match with someone, don’t just write “Hi, How are you?” Be original. Show you read their profile. “Hey, I love that puppy in your photo. Is he yours or did you kidnap him?” is a much better opener than “Hey what’s up?”
I also can’t stand it when you match with someone, but they don’t respond to any of your messages. There’s a reason why you said yes to them, right? Even if you change your mind and aren’t interested anymore, just un-match them. Don’t leave people hanging. If you’re overwhelmed by the number of matches, maybe take a break?
Also ladies, please stop posting photos with you 3 other girls (for your main picture). If I have to guess who you are, I’m just swiping left. Just my two cents.
Be sure to also check out our interview with director Imran J. Khan about his new film “Prom.”