A little over three years ago, filmmaker Josh Seftel's father passed away. After that, he says, it became difficult to keep up with his mom. He didn't use the phone very often and she didn't like email.
But then he got an idea.
He got his mom, Pat Seftel, an iPad and flew to Florida to teach her how to use it. Pretty soon they were video-chatting regularly. A filmmaker by nature, he began recording and turning the conversations into short episodes for Youtube, called My Mom on Movies.
"I've learned a lot about my mom through these, which is one of the best parts," Seftel told NPR's Rachel Martin.
He says he didn't know that she had appeared as a dancer on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and that she enjoys reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Seftel says having the Web series allowed him to go beyond the usual conversations any of us have with our parents.
"We get stuck on these scripts," he says. "We talk with our parents about, 'When are we going to see you next? What are we going to eat when we see you? What time are you coming?'
"What I find with these conversations we're doing is that we're connecting as friends."
For her part, Pat Seftel is glad — and pleasantly surprised — that her son started this project.
"I sort of feel lucky that my son is interested in even doing this with me," she says. "You know, I'm just his mom."
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
A little over three years ago, filmmaker Josh Seftel's father passed away. After that, he says, it got difficult to keep in touch with his mom. He didn't use the phone that often, she didn't like email. But then he got an idea.
JOSH SEFTEL: OK. It's ringing.
(SOUNDBITE OF RINGING)
PAT SEFTEL: Hello? Can you hear me?
SEFTEL: Hey, mom.
MARTIN: Josh got his mom, Pat Seftel, an iPad and they started video-chatting. He turned the conversations into short episodes for YouTube that he called "My Mom on Movies." They take on the big topics in pop culture.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)
SEFTEL: Were there any surprises that you saw with the Golden Globe announcements?
SEFTEL: The pilot in "Flight."
SEFTEL: Denzel Washington.
SEFTEL: Denzel Washington, right.
SEFTEL: Do you think he's handsome?
SEFTEL: Yeah. Not as handsome as he used to be. He's sort of getting older.
MARTIN: Mrs. Seftel apologized to Mr. Washington in a later episode.
SEFTEL: I've learned a lot about my mom through these, which is one of the best parts. She was on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand." She danced on that show.
MARTIN: No way.
SEFTEL: And I learned that she's reading "50 Shades of Grey." So, she definitely knows what S&M is.
MARTIN: Oh. I would love to play a clip. Josh has asked you, Mrs. Seftel, about "Dancing with the Stars." Let's listen to this.
(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)
SEFTEL: Are you a good dancer?
SEFTEL: I think so. That's what we did when we were growing up. Dancing was how you met people. And then I met your father, and he was a great dancer. So, when we would go out, we'd dance away the night. It would be fun. So, I miss dancing. Maybe that's why I like "Dancing with the Stars."
MARTIN: Are these questions you would ask your mom anyway or is there something about this format? Does that give you more license to ask for things you wouldn't ordinarily?
SEFTEL: I think so. I think that what happened in everyday life is that we get stuck on these scripts. We talk with our parents about, you know, when are we going to see you next, what are we going to eat when we see you, what time are you coming? And what I find with these conversations that we're doing is that we're connecting as friends. And then we end up, you know, learning things about each other.
MARTIN: And, Mrs. Seftel, do you think you two have a different relationship as a result of this?
SEFTEL: Something new, so I guess it is different. And I sort of feel lucky that my son is interested in even doing this with me. I mean, I'm, you know, I'm just his mom.
MARTIN: Well, it was such a pleasure to talk with you. Josh Seftel is a filmmaker in New York. He started a new web series. It's called "My Mom on Movies." You can find it on YouTube. Josh, Mrs. Seftel, thank you so much for talking with us. And Happy Mother's Day, Mrs. Seftel.
SEFTEL: Oh, thank you. And same to you.
SEFTEL: Thanks, Rachel.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.