Over the last few months, streaming service Tubi has made great strides in increasing its original content. With a slew of original thriller and horror-themed films already in its originals library, this week the streamer dipped its toe into the rom-com genre with the premiere of Magic Carpet Ride. Written and produced by and starring Nicole DuBois (pictured at top), the movie follows the story of Callie, a successful, phone-addicted social media influencer and content creator who despite having millions of followers just can't win when it comes to love. Following one of the more unconventional meet-cutes in a rom-com, Callie connects with phoneless boat dweller Leo (Matthew Law), who dares her to accompany him on a phoneless day. If she can survive that, and take a moment to live in his present, Leo might be the one to answer her love life dilemma.
For self-confessed rom-com aficionado Dubois, whose array of online comedy characters like Hallmark Girl has already gone viral, making the leap to a mainstream movie in the genre marked a natural career progression. "I love when someone says they're a rom-com fan because I feel like there's not enough of us," she shared in an exclusive interview with MediaVillage. "My first video to ever go viral on TikTok was actually a Hallmark parody. So, I've been doing parodies of this stuff, which is funny because it's also when I realized, 'Oh, people really love watching me do rom-coms for some reason.' So, it's fun to have started out making fun of rom-coms, and then turn around and make a real one.
"But with this movie, I don't know if we're necessarily poking fun at the genre," she added. "We do bring it into more of a more real space, so it's not really like a classic rom-com where everything happens super easily, and super by chance, and it's all beautiful and magical. It definitely exists in the real world, and there's a lot of comedy, but it's a little bit crunchier than your typical rom-com."
With over one million followers already enjoying her content on a variety of social platforms, elements of the filmmaking process came easily to Dubois, and taking things to the next level was a welcomed challenge. "This is definitely the longest-form project I've gotten off of the ground successfully," she admitted. "It's not the first one I've written, but it's the first one that anyone has said 'yes' to. I've been writing for years, and before I was on TikTok and Instagram I used to [do] a web series on YouTube. Those have all been taken down because they were horribly terrible, and no one can ever see them. But I started the process years ago, so this is like the culmination.
"I think a lot of the characters in the film I probably wrote to be like characters I've done in the past," she continued. "But when the actors auditioned, they came in and brought to the table what they were doing, and it completely changed things. So, while I wrote all the hilarious characters in the film, I don't feel like I have ownership over them anymore. We hired brilliant actors and comedians that completely made them their own. Coming from sketch comedy, and working with other people, I realized that gold comes from collaboration."
While Dubois certainly shares some character traits with Callie, she insists she is just a character. "I think a lot of the insecurities and anxieties that the character has around her, like her feeling like she's being watched, all these things were very real for me when I started getting a social media following," she shared. "I refuse to say that this character is like me because then people are going to watch it and be like, 'Oh my God, Nikki, this is a nightmare.' But yes, a lot is based 100% on my own experiences. Like the ridiculous things that are just really true in this social media influencer world.
"But no, [she's] not based on me, as I am perfect in every way and nothing like this character," she added with a laugh.
As Tubi expands its existing original content library, Dubois believes the streamer was the perfect partner for her as a content creator. Having had a previous relationship with them (after working on some of their original online commercials), it was a familiar space. "I think we hit really good timing with Tubi because as they were ramping up, we had this project ready to go," she explained. "The producers that we worked with had signed a huge deal with Tubi to make a crazy amount of films. They were looking for rom-coms, and influencers for everything we were bringing to the table. They were amazing to work with and continue to be amazing to work with."
As far as original content goes, it's all a smart move for Tubi. Bringing in new talent with an existing audience in the millions only means more eager eyeballs, along with a built-in marketing campaign provided by its talent. "I've been posting about it," said Dubois. "With the movie out I can take some of the funniest clips and post them directly to my social media. I don't want to give everything away, just little teasers. And a lot of people in the film have a large social media presence so we have a lot of places to pull people to watch from.
"What's funny is I feel like I'm actually giving my audience something that they wanted from me," she added in closing. "So many comments were like, 'Put this girl in a Hallmark movie.' That's fun as it feels like everyone is in on the joke. Now they're like, 'Holy shit, she actually did it this time.'"
Magic Carpet Ride is now streaming on Tubi.
Photo Credit: Sela Shiloni
Click the social buttons to share this content with your friends and colleagues.
The opinions and points of view expressed in this content are exclusively the views of the author and/or subject(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaVillage.com/MyersBizNet, Inc. management or associated writers.