Secret crushes collide as influencer Minna and podcast host Frank navigate their hidden obsessions, peeling back layers of performative vulnerability to discover an unexpected attraction rooted in raw honesty.

In the enticing world of short films, director Emma Weinswig delivers a compelling narrative in “I Probably Shouldn’t Be Telling You This.” The film unfolds as a delicate dance between Minna, a self-flagellating influencer, and Frank, a podcast host, both concealing their deep-seated crushes and secret fandom for each other. As Minna graces Frank’s esteemed podcast as a guest, her initially performative vulnerability gives way to a genuine revelation, unraveling an unexpected connection with Frank based on raw, unfiltered truths.

Weinswig’s film navigates the intriguing dynamics of online personas and hidden desires, delving into the complex realm of attraction, honesty, and vulnerability. “I Probably Shouldn’t Be Telling You This” introduces audiences to Minna and Frank, characters cloaked in layers of masked emotions and unspoken affections. As their personas shed their flirtatious facades, a newfound attraction blossoms, grounded in the honesty and authenticity that transcends the superficiality of their public personas.

Join us on this spicy journey crafted by Emma Weinswig in “I Probably Shouldn’t Be Telling You This,” a short film that explores the intricacies of human connection in the digital age. With captivating performances and a narrative that peels back the layers of pretense, this film offers an intriguing glimpse into the vulnerabilities and truths that bind us together.

“I Probably Shouldn’t Be Telling You This” explores the dynamics of online personas and genuine connections. What inspired you to delve into the world of influencers and online obsessions, and how do these themes play out in the film?

I was inspired to write this after some personal experiences I had with liars and oversharers. I thought there was a fun tension in a character like Minna, who is both of those things. We’ve all witnessed and likely personally experienced how social media perpetuates and rewards lying and oversharing. I don’t say this on my high horse or with any grand opinion of how that’s bad or good – but we all create these characters online and in our daily life, myself included. And most of the time we faithfully curate and act those characters out. I was interested in capturing the moment of when one breaks character and how they defend themselves from telling the truth.

The characters, Minna and Frank, both have hidden crushes and obsessions. Can you discuss the process of developing these characters and how their online lives contrast with their real selves?

Minna is truthful about being a liar, in her life and online, she’s created this monster of a “brand” off of being honest about constantly lying that now has started to ruin her life. While Frank is a liar about being truthful, his whole persona on and offline as well as in his podcast is based on fake deep, performative vulnerability, which I would consider lying. He also has the ability to plan, edit and selectively share aspects of his life during podcast episodes. And in the film I hope audiences see how his bullshit ultimately just gets in his way. I was interested in the two of them being at opposing ends of the spectrum of lying. And with this film I wanted to ask whether there is any substantial difference between their respective approaches to deception, to prompt viewers to reflect on the nature and consequences of dishonesty in its various forms.

The film explores the concept of performative vulnerability. How did you approach depicting this aspect of influencer culture, and what commentary do you hope the film provides on the authenticity of online personas?

I wanted to explore the consequences of leveraging performative vulnerability for personal gain not only online but in our personal lives. It seems super rampant online, I was curious about what motivated behind individuals to strategically overshare and curate their personal lives to gain a following. Through the course of Frank and Minna’s conversation in the film and the fallout of their shared performative vulnerability, I aimed to blur the lines between reality and performance in the age of influencer culture.

The setting of a podcast serves as a unique backdrop for the story. How did you use this platform to enhance the narrative and bring out the complexities of the characters?

I felt that a podcast was a fitting backdrop as it’s its own kind of performance that one can still edit and redo and shape to their liking. Dramatically, I liked the tension of their conversation being a live experience but that doesn’t inherently mean it’s authentic. I was most curious about what happens when someone slips up on air, and the conversation that unfolds when deciding whether to edit or alter the episode.

The characters discover a deeper connection when they strip away their facades. How did you navigate the shift from performative vulnerability to genuine interaction in the film, and what message do you hope this conveys to the audience?

I hoped to capture the mix of relief and fear that arises when characters like Minna and Frank shed their facades, revealing the intricate reasons behind their self-imposed barriers they’ve both built with their “brands” that hinder them from ever being able to ever genuinely connect with anyone. And the tragedy of when they finally get that brief moment of authentic connection, but both run away from it.

The short film format often requires concise storytelling. How did you balance character development and narrative arc within the constraints of a shorter runtime?

With this particular story I had always set out for it just to be a short film. I was excited by the challenge of directing something relatively simple, really focusing on working with the actors and keeping the world visually stimulating when confined to one room. It was then in the process of working with the lovely actors, Alexis G. Zall and David Levi, that I became excited about the prospect of expanding the story with these characters.

The film touches on the blurred lines between online and offline life. How did you use visual cues and storytelling techniques to convey this theme, and what message do you hope viewers take away regarding the intersection of the digital and real worlds?

Primarily with their dialogue and how I set up the situation itself. They both go into the conversation harboring unspoken parasocial relationships with each other in distinct ways, relationships they both pretend don’t exist. And then with the direction of both actors, I focused on highlighting the dynamics that unfold when you’re attracted to someone’s false online persona and then you meet them in person.

How do you see “I Probably Shouldn’t Be Telling You This” contributing to conversations about authenticity in the age of social media, and what discussions do you hope it sparks among viewers?

I hope audiences who watch this film are primarily entertained by the antics and absurd measures these characters take to avoid authenticity, and I hope audiences perhaps can reflect on the ways maybe they too are being ridiculous in the lengths of their own bullshit.

What were the technical challenges in this film, and how did you overcome them?

We shot this in two days, shooting night for day with a very small crew. However I was lucky enough to be able to rehearse quite a bit with the actors so they were really prepared to tackle the fast paced overlapping dialogue. And my camera crew (shoutout Brad Powers, Jake Dugger and Shane Bagwell) were generous enough to agree to do a pre-light the night before so setting up on the day didn’t take too long. Also Will Noyce and William Lancaster conquered the edit– making the snappy overlapping dialogue work and nailing the comedic timing.

Can you tell us which are your favorite short films?

I just saw “The Family Circus” directed by Andrew Fitzgerald when my film premiered at SXSW in March. One of the funniest, most masterfully directed shorts I’ve ever seen. Also the score is incredible.

I just helped produce a film of Nathan Ginter’s called “Overgrown,” I know you just featured Nathan on your site. I’m a big fan of his and really excited about the film. It’s one of the most concise, chilling short scripts I’d ever read. My brother Ben Weinswig, and Malik Childs act in it. Very excited for it to be released.

Also Kristoffer Borgli’s short “Eer,” I love the comedy that comes from his realistic dialogue and how he somehow parodies and truthfully portrays modern narcissism.