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Interview with "Dating Unlocked" Director Sam Coyle

Sam sits with her arms crossed on her knees and her right hand on her chin
Photo of Director Sam Coyle

Sam Coyle is a film director, writer, and producer known for choosing edgy projects. She continues to develop her vision to create unique stories that reflect strong female perspectives with a focus on challenging the norm and highlighting the weird and amazing of the underrepresented. Her work is told with a great sense of empathy and fervour, which brings her films to life through a feeling of naturalism mixed with a subtle, dream-like balance, dipping into the characters’ minds to better understand their perspectives.


Tell us about the name “Dating Unlocked”, what does this tell us about the show?

The conceit of the show is ‘Unlocking’ a second date with your chosen match. There is a physical door that the main dater unlocks at the end of each episode, where the chosen match has the option to choose a second date with the dater. So, you’re not sure if they will or won’t be behind the door - cue drama!

For me, there is also a deeper meaning of the idea around ‘Unlocked’. It’s about unlocking and opening up the traditional understanding of dating. Our show takes a deep dive into all aspects and interests within the queer dating experience, unlocking and expanding preconceived ideas that everyone is looking for similar things/types of people when dating.

Directing a movie, a show or a series one must first come up with a concept or feel for the show, tell us about your creative process that coalesced into “Dating Unlocked”.

I was first drawn to all of possibilities of the types of dating matches we could explore in the show. It was something I hadn’t seen before, so I was eager to collaborate with Charlie and Patrick (the creators), who already had a wonderful concept. I really wanted to shake up the format and explore areas that are sometimes a bit too taboo for mainstream TV but are so common in the LGBTQ2S+ community. Style and tone is always important in the work I do, and I wanted to bring that to the reality setting as well. We wanted the show to feel edgy, sexy, pop-y and safe, so we worked with our team to create that exact environment from the set design and make-up to the wardrobe and shooting style.

The host of the show caries the show quite well and is not phased by the different antics of the person wanting to find a date and those who are contestants. Tell us about your choice?

When auditioning for the host, I knew I didn’t want to go the traditional avenue with someone who’s more formal or speaks in a presentational way - we’ve all seen that before. Dating is vulnerable and dating on TV is even more so; I really wanted someone who is grounded, naturally charismatic, and knowledgable about the topics we wanted to discuss. Yaz ended up being that and so much more. Yaz is a dedicated educator in the queer community and works in both the intimacy and BDSM sectors. They absolutely killed the host role by making the daters feel at ease, asking questions to open them up, making them laugh, and sharing their vast knowledge along the way.

There is a broad range of contestants on the show and they cover a range of the LGBT+ community, tell us what you can about the screening process of those wanting a date and those who are on there to be chosen. How would you define the who, what and why you are looking for in the contestants?

I watched A LOT of videos for the casting process and there were so many great people that it was really hard to make selections. What it came down to most for me was their personalities; did they seem kind and fun. Also, because we had so many different themes for the episodes I had to focus on matches; did their interests align, did they have similar hobbies or kinks etc. I really wasn’t interested in looks - although we had some really hot daters on the show - but representation was at the forefront in the casting process. I wanted the viewer to feel represented in the cast. There are so many different type of humans in our world that don’t always get reflected on our TVs, and the queer community is so inclusive with gender, body-types, race, and sexual exploration that I wanted that highlighted in the daters we brought on.

Do you think there will be another season? Why?

Yes, of course! It’s one of the first of its kind. A fully queer dating show that is sexy, fun and teaches you about others’ interests. What’s not to want more of?

Border2Border Entertainment and you have been part of making a few shows together. What is that working relationship like and what should we look out for in 2022/2023?

It’s been so fun working with Border2Border. Charlie has shown complete trust in me creatively which allows our projects to flourish, and we are constantly seeing how we can push boundaries and dig deeper into queer narratives. We have season two of a show we did together, Avocado Toast on OUTtv, coming out soon, which has been taking up most of our time, but I am excited to see what we work on next.

Do you have any fun advice to those who are looking for love…besides being future contestants of the show?

Fun advice? Oh gosh, I don’t know. Try the dating app Feeld out, I’ve had some fun on there ;)

But also, just try being as authentically you as possible, it’s a waste of time trying to be anything else. Don’t worry about impressing anyone, if they don’t see you for all the wonderful things you already are then it’s not worth it.



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