Cate Freedman – Teachers
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) I just shot a small role in a new movie called All About Nina, where I play Maria who is an extremely nervous standup comedian. Eva Vives both wrote and directed the film. The script is very personal to Eva and it was a huge honor to get to be a part of it. Please check it out in 2018!
Q) Where did the idea for “Teachers” originate?
A) When The Katydids (a/k/a the six teachers) were doing live sketch comedy and improv together in Chicago, making videos online was starting to get pretty popular and became a great way for us to promote our live improv and sketch shows. We had so much fun making short videos together that we started working towards filming a whole web series. Our first idea was about a megachurch, but it didn’t end up getting shot. Luckily, our friend and all around incredible director Matt Miller, who we had asked to direct our megachurch series, was still totally game to direct us in something and had an idea himself. A few weeks earlier, Miller was listening to an NPR piece on teaching being the most revered profession in America and thought it would be really funny if The Katydids played teachers. We agreed and quickly started developing characters and scripts. We shot the web series over a three day weekend in the summer of 2012 at the middle school that I actually attended (which was a total trip AND the school was generous enough to give us a perfect location for free). Our web series is what the current TV series “Teachers” is based on.
Q) What is new this season on “Teachers?”
A) The new season of “Teachers” is an even deeper dive into the sheer craziness of the teachers in which we’re able to explore a few feminist topics through comedy.
Q) As the season progresses, how might dynamics flip or switch?
A) As the season progresses, you’ll see some highly unexpected relationships pop up all over the place for the teachers.
Q) Where do you and your character connect, if at all?
A) I connect with Ms. Feldman on all points, except for the fact that I have not done time or attended a Phish concert. I think I’m working towards staying out of both of those systems in real life, but never say never.
Q) Who is the most like their character? Who’s the least like their character?
A) I’d say I’m the most like my character, Ms. Feldman. It’s really hard to say which of us is least like their character because a little bit of each of us in real life has in one way or another become a part of our characters, which I think is pretty cool.
Q) Is there room to improv at all or do you tend to stick solely to the script?
A) We’re always looking for places to improvise, but sometimes if we’re running short on time that day we might not have as much room for improvisation as we’d like.
Q) You have great comedic timing. Is it something that has always come naturally to you or have you had to work at it?
A) Aw shucks, thank you very much. That’s really nice. I’d like to say it’s something that has always come naturally thanks to my hilarious parents, but I definitely had to work hard at being able to perform and share it. I am a shy person in real life with stage freight, high anxiety and lots of vomit. So, every day I’m actively trying to figure out how to be better at both comedic and stomach abilities.
Q) What have been some of your most memorable moments from filming “Teachers?”
A) There have been many memorable moments, but the one that sticks out to me is filming an entire day in air ducts for an episode in Season One in which my character accidentally allows a student to climb up into the ceiling. I felt like a comically out of shape person on “American Gladiators.”
Q) What makes the series such a perfect fit for TVLand?
A) “Teachers” is a perfect fit for TVLand because the network is supportive and encouraging of unique comedic voices.
Q) What do you think it is about the show that has made it such a fan favorite?
A) I think what makes “Teachers” a fan favorite is the fact that everyone, teachers and non-teachers alike, can relate to the show in some way. Even if you’re not a teacher, it’s likely you’ve attended school and understand what the elementary experience can be like.
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive to episodes?
A) Yes, I really enjoy the fan feedback on episodes. Getting to tweet with viewers during and after episodes has truly been a highlight of the whole series for me.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure fans know about “Teachers” and your character?
A) Please watch TVLand Tuesdays 10/9c!
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I’d like to say I’m very grateful and thank you from the bottom of my heart. THANK YOU!