Meet the Miami native behind a Florida-inspired episode of ‘Big Mouth’

big mouth victor

Netflix’s animated comedy “Big Mouth” is such a hit that it’s already been renewed for several more seasons. And like so many pieces of binge-worthy pop culture, the show has its own Florida connection.

Victor Quinaz, a Miami native and New World School of the Arts grad, has been a writer on the show since season one, and he’s been able to put some of his experience growing up in the 305 into his writing. He’s doing that in a big way this season as the brains behind a Florida-focused episode of the show that’s screening at O Cinema on Thursday, Oct. 3

We chatted with him about how he pitched the episode, how he got into the business, and what he misses most about Miami. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How did the episode and the collaboration with O Cinema come together?

I’ve been writing on “Big Mouth” since season one and for season three we were talking about a spring break episode and I pitched “Why don’t they go to Florida?” And the Florida joke of all jokes is that you’re a young guy or a co-ed wanting to get to Daytona Beach or Miami and these kids wind up in Lakeland for a seder in a retirement home. 

I thought of [O Cinema] because my first movie “Breakup at a Wedding” screened at the Wynwood theater.

And I thought, “Wow, I wish this was around when I was a teenager.” We never really had an independent cinema and a place to do cool events. 

How’d you end up in Los Angeles and working on “Big Mouth?”

Growing up my parents said it’s either you go to [Miami Edison High] or you can try out for one of these magnet schools. I got into New World School of the Arts and that changed my life.

The only artistic person in my hemisphere before that was watching Robin Williams or Richard Pryor.

I graduated from New World and then studied to be an actor at Carnegie Mellon University.

And I quickly realized in high school that I wanted to do more than just acting. Whether that was producing, writing or directing.

The writing part came because I was really bad at memorizing lines, and the actor’s life was just not for me. So I started making short films and was a commercial director in New York for years.

Then I was kind of an early YouTuber with a channel called Periods. Films and that became pretty popular. I moved to Los Angeles and started seeing the trend of moving to television and thought, “This is where all the cool shit is happening.”

Do you ever work in your experiences from growing up in Miami in your writing?

“Big Mouth” is just rife with personal stories. Particularly season two where I was able to bring a lot of my Catholic education into that. We really do come from an extremely personal place, so almost every incident or story in the show comes from a very real place and is either exactly how it happened or very close.

What do you miss most about Miami?

I miss my family and nothing beats the beaches. And if you’re lucky enough to get on someone’s boat and take that out to the bay, that’s always great.

I don’t drink cafecito because of the milk, but obviously Cuban food is the best. One of my favorites is getting the fish dishes they do at that restaurant Little Havana on Biscayne Boulevard.

And most of the time when my brother and sister are [home] we’re kind of just gravitating around the house and helping my dad with stuff.

And how was your last visit it Miami?

Last time I was in Miami it was actually around Hurricane Irma, two years ago. My mom was freaking out and saying, “Your dad won’t put up the shutters.” I told my dad we’ve gotta put up the shutters, so I flew down and of course by the time we put up the shutters we had to take ‘em down.

So I’m excited to be back, especially with “Big Mouth,” and especially with this Florida episode. 

We also got a musical number in there and it is crammed full of every Florida man, Florida woman reference you can think of. Everything is in there: from bath salts to humping manatees.