UNICORN PLAN-IT’s Ashley Reed, Sarah Croce, and Haviland Stillwell: The Autostraddle Interview

by vanessa & carmen

As you must surely know if you’ve been reading this website at all in the past week, UNICORN PLAN-IT is returning to your computer screens in just a hot minute! Season 2 premieres on October 3rd and it’s going to be bigger, better and hornier. Lucky for us, since the show is created by Autostraddle superstars and is an exclusive Autostraddle lesbian webseries, we were able to score interviews with the smart, sexy, funny ladies who run the world UNICORN PLAN-IT (but also the world). They told us how they came up with the idea for the show, what it’s like to write the episodes, and they even shared a few juicy spoilers.

Beretta at Revolver is hosting the Season 2 Premiere Party this Tuesday, October 2nd at 6:30pm, so if you’re in LA make sure to check it out. The show premieres for the rest of us on Wednesday, October 3rd, right in the comfort of your very own computer screen. Stay hungry, stay horny.

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The Autostraddle Interview: UNICORN PLAN-IT Creators Haviland Stillwell, Ashley Reed and Sarah Croce

Creators of UNICORN PLAN-IT: Croce, Haviland and Ashley
photo by Sabrina Bringuier

AS: How did you guys come up with Unicorn Plan-It? Tell us the birthing story, if you will.

Sarah Croce: Haviland, Ashley, Brandy, Julie, Alex and I were all at The Abbey having brunch.

Ashley Reed: I think we were joking around and Croce said, “Bro, I would do a webseries if you would do one, we could just get together and we could just, like, write one.” And I was like, “Yeah, dude, let’s do it, let’s write a webseries, why not?” totally thinking that this is like most things you talk about at The Abbey . . . it will never really happen.

Haviland Stillwell: Riese has always wanted a scripted webseries on Autostraddle, so I felt that if we got a great idea together and made it ourselves and kept it low key, it would be a really good addition to Autostraddle. I thought perhaps it could grow into something more, and it would be a great way to showcase our talents and to use lots of great friends of ours doing the things that they do best.

AS: The characters on UNICORN PLAN-IT are each really strong personalities. Which character do you identify with the most and which character would you most like to date?

SC: I identify the most with Vick. She’s more with it than Keesha, witty, funny — not that I’m either of those things, but I’d like to be. She’s just more confident, and very aware of what’s going on. If I could hook up with any character, I mean, I would hook up with Bambi, but I would worry that she’d be a Stage Five Clinger. And Harmony is way too airy fairy, she’s not my type.

AR: I think I identify with Vick and Keesha. Vick has a little bit of me and a little bit of Croce, and Keesha has a little bit of me and a little bit of Croce. I’m probably more Keesha than Vick, and Croce is more Vick than Keesha. We thought that would be fun. Harmony is probably my type. Yes, Harmony. However, there are some really unbelievably hot go-go dancers. Back in the day I probably would have dated them, too. Harmony and all of the go-go dancers.

HS: I probably would identify most if you mixed Harmony and J into one person, and I would want to go on a threesome date with Harmony and Vick.

photo by Sabrina Bringuier

AS: So help us get to know your respective characters. What are their favorite foods, what do they order at the bar, what do they want from life?

HS: Well, since Harmony was best friends in college with Bambi, I like to think that Harmony was on a very specific path. Her path was the path of a Wall Street girl or something like that, very business-minded, getting things done, being super business-oriented. There is a flashback in this season that kind of shows her being in her Bette Porter mode a little bit. So you know, there’s definitely more of an element of that in her back story. I think there was an awakening that happened with her where she sort of woke up one day — metaphorically — and said to herself, “You know, there’s more than just this work work work, work-for-the-man kind of mentality, things are changing and I can contribute to the world in a really positive way.”

AR: Vick’s favorite food is definitely sushi. I think that Vick is one of those — she kind of orders at the bar, and what she orders depends on the nearest girl she is trying to pick up. For instance, if it was Riese at the bar and Riese was having her Scotch, then she would definitely order a Scotch to try and subtly pick up Riese. Whereas if it was Haviland, she would have vodka and she’d be like, “Oh, I’m drinking water, too!”

SC: Okay. Keesha, her favorite brunch food is scrambled eggs and cheese. She’s modeled a little bit like Kelso from That 70′s Show, and Keanu Reeves — she’s just kind of like, “I’m just gonna have fun,” but you know, she’s a little slow, a little dumber than your average character. She likes lady drinks, things with all sorts of fruit juices and stuff — she’s kind of like a grown-up kid. She’s incredibly emotionally promiscuous, so she will fall in love with women like that, but she never gets laid.

Ash, Croce and Hav or Vick, Keesha and Harmony?

AS: You brought on a new director, Rocco Shields of WingSpan Pictures, this season. How did that happen and how did it change things?

AR: Rocco and I were hanging out at the bar . . . I guess everything that happens around UNICORN PLAN-IT happens at a bar. She said, “Hey, what’s your plans for Season 2? I’d love to be involved.” So then I took it back to the girls and said, “You know, Rocco mentioned wanting to be involved, and I’m a huge fan of her work.” Then it just happened. It was kind of a touch and go, she was super busy so I was hoping it would work out with her schedule, and it did. She was a major asset. I love that girl.

HS: We wanted to get better and Rocco could bring certain elements that we didn’t have. We weren’t directors first, we were actors and writers first. She said, “You know, I can help you with some things, let’s roll with this.” So that’s what we did.

AS: We really can’t wait to see it. Can you describe a little bit what the writing process is like for you guys?

AR: We hang out for about an hour until Haviland gets nervous and says, “Guys! We should work!’ and then Croce gets out her computer and we start kicking around ideas until I get distracted and I start rattling off and talking to myself.

SC: I’m the fastest typer so I do the transcribing, and we basically just improv all the scenes and character voices, and it’s amazing. The best thing is that whenever Ashley or I say something really disgusting or off-base Haviland will always be like, “Ew, guys, I don’t know,” and then I’ll say, “Put it the script!” That’s our game.

HS: The writing process is very funny, because I work with two really smart girls who both have ADD and they are both brilliant and talented and I generally have to remind myself to calm down. Ashley is really good with dialogue, she is a writer first and an excellent screenwriter and playwright so she comes up with really incredible dialogue. Sarah is really excellent with cutting to the chase with things, and I tend to expound greatly.

AR: [Haviland] struggles [with our working styles], but she’s the backbone of Unicorn. She’s the form of UNICORN PLAN-IT. She holds it, she’s like the organizer, the whip cracker. She keeps everything together, she keeps us on point. Me and Croce, we’ll get to the shoot and be like, “Dude, can I borrow your script?” and she’ll be like, “G-d damn it, you guys!” She’s got her shit together, clearly she is a put together lady.

maybe at this exact moment haviland was saying “ewwww”

AS: That sounds really fun. Can you talk about what being on set is like? Is being on set just as fun? Was it different this season with Rocco there?

AR: Being on set is awesome and we love it. It’s really fun. Shooting days are long and crazy, but they are awesomely funny — there’s usually a wrangler. There’s a lot of improv and we’re encouraged to be crazy and really go with the scene, but at the same time there’s somebody who’s there with a hook, you know, waiting to reel me in. We show up with six different costumes because we are shooting six different episodes.

HS: Filming is really fun. It’s my favorite part, definitely. It’s what we prepare for and just as a person, I love being on the set. It’s very funny. We built more improv into our script this season because we knew, for instance, Ashley is incredible at improv, as is Sherri, so we wanted to let them go with a lot of stuff. We had an entire scene that we let Sherri just improv. We said, “Here’s what needs to happen, and what you need to get to by the end of this, but we just want you to roll with it.” Rocco directed it really well and Sherri totally understood what we were going for and we have clips we are going to post that are behind the scenes of us trying not to laugh out loud. We were turning purple laughing at her during the filming.

AR: It’s nuts — you basically have to stay on point and pay attention and know your lines, and if you don’t you better be good at winging it. Croce and I are usually in scenes together and I’ll be like, “Oh, and this is the part where we start making it up because we don’t know where the hell we are.”

photo by Sabrina Bringuier

AS: Who is the funniest person on set? Who is the funniest person in the world? Is Brittani Nichols the funniest person in the world? Yes, this is a real question.

AR: Brittani Nichols’ hair is the fucking funniest person in the world. That is my final answer. Her hair is so funny, her hair is funnier than my dad — and my dad is pretty funny. Sherri’s improvs made me wet my pants, so I will probably have to give it up to Sherri for funniest on set. Deborah S. Craig is in Season 2, she plays one of my hookups and she is the funniest shit you’ve ever seen. It would be a toss up between Sherri and her. Deborah pulled some shit on me that was just unreal. She did some of the funniest shit I’ve ever seen, ever. She was in a corset and drooling, that’s all I’ll say.

SC: Oh fuck. It’s hard to answer that because everyone is funny in different ways. Brittani Nichols, for instance, is so funny that like, you don’t get it for another two minutes. For instance, her production company is called Nichols & Dimes which is genius. As far as improv and delivery, I would say Ashley and Sherri are tied in funny. Sherri is a comedian, so her improv is awesome. Delivery, Ashley owns it, she always nails it. I’m editing it and I’m like, “Goddammit, how does she do that? Teach me how to do it.” The funniest person I’ve ever met in my entire life… [laughs] It’s a really hard question. Julie Goldman, I would say. Yes, for sure.

HS: Ashley is funniest, for sure. Although Sherri would be very close by her side. And just the collective, it’s a funny ensemble. Wait, who is the funniest person on the planet? Brittani Nichols. Yes, absolutely. She did work on our set. We gave her the title of ‘best boi,’ because she kind of did a little bit of everything for our crew and was super amazing. We are really happy she came and helped out. And she has a cameo, she’s in two episodes — really quick cameos.

AS: I want one of the interns to Photoshop a picture of Brittani in a unicorn suit, on a unicorn, in a TV.

via amazeballs intern geneva

AS: Okay, let’s get real for a minute. We have three Really Important Questions. Ahem. Sarah … what was it like to be on The Real L Word, even if just for a moment?

SC: Okay. To be on TRLW was awkward. The one time they got me I was at Lauren’s house, chilling with her and Amanda. I knew Lauren pretty well, and we’d hung out before, not with cameras or microphones. You are insanely aware of what comes out of your mouth, and when you go to the bathroom you’re like, “Are they listening to me pee? This is so awkward.” There was this sound guy outside of the bathroom, listening to me peeing. Since I know crew production, I just turned my mic off when I was peeing, or when I felt like it was a good idea. [Laughs.] It was whatever — I haven’t watched this season, I gather that I’m in the background a lot more than I thought I was.

AS: Ashley, this is the golden question on all lesbian minds: What was it like to be sort of sexy with Sarah Croce?

AR: Wow. [Pause.] It was really awkward, really fast, and a head bump was involved. Yeah, we didn’t use our talents. [Pause.] No, I’m just kidding. It was really funny, and then afterwards I felt really used and I’m like, “Oh my God, this is what it feels like, you’re such a dick, you made me hate myself.” And then I was like, “Come back, though.”

photo by Sabrina Bringuier

AS: Ha! Somewhat related, our third Really Important Question is, what’s your Hot 100 strategy this year?

HS: Gosh, I don’t like to say that I do anything that is motivated by wanting people to like me, I try and do things that I love and that I feel will make things better for the world in general. Cue the Michael Jackson song right now.

SC: Oh my G-d. [Laughs.] Okay, [valley girl voice] for my Hot 100 next year I’m going to run a really strategic campaign and mostly take pictures next to Mollie Thomas and get her PR rep, and we’re collectively going to run for Miss California together. It’s going to be like, Miss and Miss California — His and Hers — and I think that the more PR I get, the more likely I’ll get to be on the Hot 100 . . .

AS: [Laughs] We just know that you did actively campaign for the Hot 100 . . .

SC: That was one comment! I just wrote one comment, because I thought it was hilarious . . . and it fucking worked.

AS: Sarah Croce, ladies and gentlewomen. Okay, bringing it back to the serious stuff: What was your favorite episode or scene in Season 1?

AR: I really liked the release episode. I believe that is the fourth one. I directed that one and it was me and Lauren in the back of the U-Haul watching them do that scene. By the time we were done we were both bright red and I said, “I need a break.” So, that was really awesome.

SC: My favorite episode from Season 1 is the Parkour episode, where [laughs] I don’t really remember anything else except that shot of Ashley trying to Parkour down the wall and falling [laughs] it was so funny. I had to keep it. I was like, ‘This shot is a total accident and I have to keep it.” It cracks me up every time, and as long as it’s funny we want it.

if you don’t remember this scene go back and watch season 1 again right now

AS: Can you give us any spoilers for Season 2?

HS: I can tell you a juicy spoiler: I am, for the first time ever in my acting career, kissing a girl on camera.

SC: Season 2, episode 6 — it’s a spoiler that is far away, so you have to watch the whole season. There’s a huge party, and it’s gorgeous, there’s incredible lighting and . . . my character finds the love of her life. For the night, I mean.

AS: Oh boy — that’s reason enough to watch the whole season, right?! But finally, we’re already anxious to know — will there be a Season 3?

AR: I mean, I would like there to be a Season 3. If people are still laughing at us, you know? And if there’s a way, sure, I’ll play any day.

HS: We are always thinking about opportunities. As far as UNICORN right now, we are really just trying to edit the best product we can to get it out and to just keep on breathing. Right now we are focusing on post-production for Season 2, and we are bringing in a lot more elements, like different music and a different style. But who knows – there are lots of things up our sleeves for what can happen after Season 2.

photo by Sabrina Bringuier

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Vanessa is a queer feminist writer, NYU grad, crush monster, and Jewish Grandma In Training. She has a radical brain, a mushy heart, and a million floral print dresses. She's currently on a big adventure but she'll be back one day, pinky swear. In the meantime, she can sometimes be found on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 198 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. Thumb up 5

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    Brittani!! Yay! I also loved hearing the backstory, because I didn’t know and I did a radio interview to promote the event and basically I was like I bet they were sitting together and there were drinks involved and they just had a really great idea and now it is a really great reality, so thanks for justifying my off the cuff response :) I hope you all have a great premiere, and I can’t wait to watch the season! Love and Light!!

  2. Thumb up 4

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    but also. because you gave me a million, i’m going to sticker them on every public flat surface I deem appropriate.

    There is a autostraddle post for that, i think.

  3. Thumb up 3

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    So excite for tomorrow you guys! I’ve got my new unicorn plan-it shirt waiting to wear and have re-watched (for the nth time) all of my favourite season 1 episodes!! Pretty stoked that I got to scissor bump Ashley Reed at camp :P

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    I haven’t watched Season 1 (the problem with usually doing autostraddle on your phone), but I’m going to now (and I’m excited for Season 2!) because you are all SO FUNNY.

    Ashley, that is excellent advice re drink choice/picking up girls, although I’m not sure that drinking vodka the same way I do water would work very well.

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    Guys! After reading this I’ve had to rearrange my day so that I can re-watch Season One in it’s entirety. Thanks. But also really thanks! Also I speak for ALL of Australia when I say that we are pumped for Season 2.

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