Recently I had the great honor of watching the film: ‘Clicking for Love,' a new documentary by Pablo Pappano. The film itself is very interesting in that it really gets deep down inside the methods and mentality of people who engage in online dating. I know why I dated so much online, when I was single; however, seeing why other people took to the internet to find love was interesting in and of itself. Some people were too shy; some people were just too busy and others sought online romance because they were looking for a niche in their love life.
Pappano's documentary is interesting because it challenges the conventions of online dating that I've long hung on to in that I feel that I know what works in dating; that if you don't find success dating online you're a troll or some sort of sycophant with a foot and spork fetish (yes, in that order). I feel that I learned a lot from the film and from talking to Pablo about it afterward. Pablo poses the question: Is love really just a click away?
Alex: Why did you make this documentary?
Pablo Pappano: About ten years ago my family finally brought AOL into our home and ever since then I had spent a lot of time meeting women off of the internet. Because of my experiences with online dating, I felt I had something to say. Having attended film school and learning the ropes, I also learned to “write what you know” and I knew a lot about online dating. That's when I decided that I wanted to make a movie about that because there's a lot of stories about online dating from my friends and myself and I wanted to tell those stories in a movie. I put an ad on CL to find people who wanted to tell their stories as well, about online dating to see how they connected.
Alex: Why do you think people go online looking for love?
Pablo Pappano: It's an interesting question. For me, it's because I was shy. It was easier to get rejected online, rather than in person. There's such a passive aggressiveness in people. People can just go online and shop and go through a checklist and choose and move on from other people. But it helps people of various distances meet, even if it's only virtual. Still, there's a prevailing stereotype that people who do date online are some how desperate and that's totally not the case! I found that more people do date online than those that actually admit that they do.
The behavior, not the internet attracts a specific type of person.
Alex: Do you think dating companies run their sites to keep their members active?
Pablo Pappano: I don't think companies purposely sabotage people to be single. It just seems like they know how many people have actually met on their sites. If they were more forthcoming with their data and real figures people would be more willing to try their services. The number of successful relationships would be compelling for people to know. I don't think there's a conspiracy to prevent people from being in relationships. A lot of those sites say you'll meet the love of you life, it's just misleading. They should say you're going to meet a lot of great people, psychos or something like that. (laughs)
Alex: What did you learn from making this documentary?
Pablo Pappano: At first, I learned that internet daters have a lot of hilarious stories to tell. When I met the people, I realized there were interesting personalities behind these people; it was more than funny stories. It seemed like some people had dating baggage from their real life experiences and then went online anyway, and continued to date… They didn't realize they were attracting the same people type of people in online dating as in real life. They needed to realize that they need to do something different; do the opposite. I learned that these people are going for the same types of people online as they were in real life. The behavior, not the internet attracts a specific type of person. Online daters date to find fault. In the past, before online dating people would spend more time with each other to figure out if they are a match or not.
Alex: So what surprised you most while making this documentary?
Pablo Pappano: I was surprised about all the niche dating sites like midget and Gothic dating. I knew they were there, I just didn't know the full extent of their existence. Talk about having a filter, you can really get extreme with your filters! I didn't know about POF (Plenty of Fish) and that was such a huge site and it was a hookup site for a lot of people more than anything. There's a lot of middle age and elderly online daters too. I didn't know that; they're outside of my age group; lots of divorced people and widowers. People see the movie and want to try online. Younger people I interviewed didn't really try to do online dating and thought it was desperate. I figured that the younger people would be more willing to try online dating than older people. I was wrong.
Pablo Pappano went to the film school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles where he directed the short films Sick (narrative) and Trinidad (documentary). He was a co-writer of the film Creepshow III for the segment titled “The Call Girl” for Taurus Films. Recently, Pablo directed a speculative commercial for eHarmony.com after being a longtime member. He currently works as the Vice President of Operations at his family’s exterior maintenance company and spends his free time pursuing his dream of making films.