Overthinking, NOT an Afterthought: An Interview with Tenea Intriago

In this era of on-demand content, where everything and anything (almost) can be found, played, and binged, it’s refreshing to know that some shows are tackling neurosis and social anxiety well. Overthinking with Kat and June from AwesomenessTV premiered on Youtube Premium late last year, and has stuck out for the richness of its female leads. June is an incredibly nervous and over-analytical individual, now paired up with the outgoing, honest, and slightly domineering Kat. Together, as roommates, they navigate life, love, and rent, all the while learning to become good friends.

Starring Tenea Intriago as Kat, the show gains a bit of a NOLA flavor. Tenea lives in New Orleans, books projects all over, while also conceiving them from home. She currently has a new show, Mother Hustlers, which recently hit its IndieGoGo funding goal, and is always on the lookout for more opportunities in casting and producing.

She was kind enough to answer questions I had on Overthinking, acting, and local movie theaters (you’ll love that part). Be sure to stream her show asap here:

Bill Arceneaux: Early on in the pilot of Overthinking, we see your character Kat shopping for a party. In the basket is a loaf of french bread. I couldn’t help but immediately think of poboys at a rager. Was this on Kat’s mind too? And where was the show shot?

Tenea Intriago: Haha, maybe it wasn’t on Kat’s mind, but it surely was on mine. Hard to see French bread and not think of a poboy. The show was shot in Los Angeles!

BA: Inner monologue and commentary seem to be the running theme and focus of the show. How, as an actor, do you express externally what you are trying to hide internally?

Tenea: I think people are always trying to hide something. Whether it be a laugh, a secret, a question, or even something to say. I think I just try to possess some idea that less is more.

BA: The pilot features a gag where the roommates pass by a television set. A crew sign hangs on a fence, listing the title of the project “OCD 2”, which is a Monk Revival. Having seen plenty of these signs in the New Orleans area, it was fun to witness a play on them, relating to both June’s social afflictions and being just a funny one-off joke. If you were a sign maker for a film shoot like, say, Roe v Wade, what name/moniker would you give it for crews to identify locations?

Tenea: If I were a sign maker for Roe v Wade I would make it say, “NO!”

BA: Your character Kat is quite spunky and very much a free spirit, compared to June who is awkward and silly shy. This conflict in buddy comedies has been going on probably since before The Odd Couple but is updated on Youtube with a kind of manic and fast-paced edge. Is this style representative of millennials and/or pre-millennials today? Is this just the speed that America operates at now?

Tenea: I wouldn’t say it’s representative of millennials or people before our generation because I don’t find comedy to be marginalized. There’s always gotta be a conflict of some sort, but how its executed relies on the content. I believe comedy is always changing because the world is always changing, and to me, comedy is the driving force that helps people cope with the world we live in. Comedy is representative of every generation. And it’s style has an ebb and flow and relation to whatever group of people. It’s so special that way.

BA: At this time, you have a project on IndieGoGo called Mother Hustlers that is seeking funding. What difficulties are there for an actor/producer in New Orleans to start a crowdfunding campaign?

Tenea: Oh man! First and foremost, it’s hard to make anything from the heart if you’re a woman. No matter what city you’re in. Chelsea Bryan, the creator of Mother Hustlers, is doing this with two other people with a sprinkle of me in there. So her difficulty is navigating her own business, being a mother, caring for herself, and executing this project. Its hard to get a lot of support when people don’t see money first, which is a little discouraging because we all just want to tell stories. And stories don’t cost.

BA: Shows like Superstore have gone a long way to showcasing pregnancies and motherhood as being beautiful but also very complex (and even painful). What will Mother Hustlers be adding to the conversation and representation?

Tenea: Mother Hustlers, in my opinion, will be a little more ‘edgy’ than most shows we see on television who convey this message. We want people to realize that there is no consistency, that sometimes you don’t have the support of friends when you need, that the story doesn’t always end on a high note, and that motherhood can be a completely isolating thing. However, the redemptive part, I believe Chelsea has so easily written in this story, is that the hope is our independence. That when all this is messy, we (mothers all around the world) handled it. We held it all. And we laughed about it at the end of the day. And the best thing, I think, about the show, is when you think the world will end (which happens often), at least we all know that we’ll laugh tomorrow. And laughing Is just the best thing in the world.

BA: Here’s a fun round of Boff, Marry, Kill: The Prytania, The Broad, Canal Place CineBarre. Go!

Tenea: OHHHHHH I LOVE SEX WITH THEATRES. Okay, Boff: The Broad. (It’s the best place to see a movie in the city, hands down. And it’s very intimate… Marry: The Prytania. (Because it will be there forever.) And Kill: Canal Place Cinebarre…because I’m sorry if you wanted to eat dinner and have the freedom to come and go while watching a movie…you should have just stayed at home. Or, had a nice dinner elsewhere and just go to The Broad.

BA: Do you have any advice for those looking to break into acting and film/television?

Tenea: My advice to folks trying to break into the industry: 1. Don’t be opportunistic. It’s boring and being an actor is better when you don’t expect anything from anyone. And it makes you kinder. And when you’re kind, more people want to be around you and love on you. And when that happens you feel like you can do anything. 2. It is not glamorous so don’t complain the first time you have an 18 hour work day on set in any capacity. 3. Take an acting class. 4. Don’t be above participating in student films. 5. Make your own stuff. 6. Make your own stuff. 7. Make your own stuff. 8. Remember when I said to make your own stuff?

Bill Arceneaux has been an independent writer and film critic in the New Orleans area since 2011, working with outlets like Film Threat, DIG Baton Rouge, Crosstown Conversations, and Occupy. He is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association and is Rotten Tomatoes approved.

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