E3: Season 3 of EastSiders Needs You

You should not look for any objective reporting here.  I’m just simply biased. I fell in love with EastSiders five years ago and have been awed by the talent and the dedication and the blood, sweat and tears that Kit and John and their team have put into this series. They’ve been telling the stories they want to tell on their own terms and, trust me, that’s powerful. And rare.


Image|EastSiders Season 3 Kickstarter

And it’s also why people connect with them. They are real. They are authentic. They are from a singular vision. Too much of “entertainment” is decided by committee. And that’s why the edges aren’t sharp. It’s why the comedy is lukewarm and the drama is tepid. And it’s why we don’t see stories of substance, stories of depth, stories of importance that reflect the LGBT experience in this country. And now, more than ever, we desperately need to tell those.


Image|EastSiders Season 3 Kickstarter

If I’ve convinced one person to give to one of these Kickstarters and convinced another five to sit down and watch an episode, then I’ve changed the world just an infinitesimal bit. And maybe even made it better. See if I’m right about that.

Read some of what I’ve written over the last five years (or not) and then go to www.eastsiderstheseries.com and donate to this Kickstarter.
EastSiders – New Web Series Worth Watching 2012
Kickstart This — “Eastsiders” Needs You 2013
Kit Williamson: Logo Online and the Web Series Renaissance 2013
How to Say Thank You — A Saga and a Case Study in Doing It Right 2013
Why I’m Supporting EastSiders — And Why You Should, Too 2014
Kit and Van and Cal and Thom and … Cassandra? 2014
When Not Shutting Up When You are Told to Shut Up is Important 2014
Kit Williamson on Slut-Shaming 2015
Return to Silver Lake – Long-Awaited Arrival of EastSiders Season 2 Does Not Disappoint 2015
Verdict on EastSiders Season 2: Most Assuredly the Best of the Lot 2015
Emmy Nods for EastSiders 2016


Cal and Thom live in Silver Lake … and also in my guest room in New Jersey.

Help Van Hansis Make This Series

Hello, Blogosphere. There are nine days left to help make the web series Ms. Guidance by making a contribution through Kickstarter. (Maybe eight now; I’m late.)


The Ms. Guidance Company all pride-ified.

Well, you know I am very bully on making your own art happen these days. One of the gifts that technology has given to creatives is the ability to make more art accessible to more people on a very grassroots level. And social sharing, though services like Kickstarter, has empowered more and more people to be a part of this rise of independent production with a very, very minimal monetary contribution.

Actor Van Hansis and playwright James Ryan Caldwell created the series and Hansis is also starring as well as taking a turn behind the camera, co-directing with Melodie Sisk.

There’s the satisfaction that comes from making someone’s dream come true. If that’s too damn esoteric for you, I would suggest that you’ll get personal pleasure out of watching a well-crafted story, well-told. Isn’t that why we watch anything?

Also, if you’ve read this blog long enough, you’ll know that Hansis is on my short shortlist of people that I would pay to see read the phone book. (Do people have phone books anymore?) My soap opera people will know Hansis from his former incarnation as Luke Snyder on As The World Turns, recently called out — correctly, I might add — as Number 1 on thebacklot‘s list of 25 Greatest Gay Characters in soaps. My web series folks will know him from EastSiders, Kit Williamson’s smash-hit web series about a dysfunctional gay couple and their equally dysfunctional straight friends. My indie film friends will also be looking forward to his turn opposite Gale Harold in Casper Andreas’ upcoming Kiss Me, Kill Me or the 2013 horror film Devil May Call or maybe the thriller Occupant.

Look, he’s just good, okay.


Ms. Guidance creators James Ryan Caldwell and Van Hansis.

I read somewhere that Hansis described Ms. Guidance as Strangers with Candy meets Anton Chekhov. That’s a genius line. How do you not want to see that?

There’s nothing I love more than stupid funny that makes you think; that sticks with you. And from the little teasers I’ve seen, that’s what this is. What do you do when your life doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to? That’s comedy gold, my friends. (Oh, trust me; that’s hilariously bitter experience talking.) Also, Uncle Vanya is one of the funniest plays ever written — yes it is! — so, there’s that.

In addition to Hansis, the cast includes Amber Gray, Adriane Lenox, Ian Unterman, Tyler Hanes, Marco Zunino, and introduces Elliotte Crowell as Jenny Bump, an actress who has a nervous breakdown on the New York stage and returns to her old performing arts boarding school as potentially the worst choice ever for an interim guidance counselor.

Just log on to Kickstarter in the next nine days (eight now, maybe) and pledge. You can pledge as little as $5 or really as much as you want. Hey, for $750 you can get a dance lesson from Tyler Hanes! $750! Trust me, if you’ve ever seen him dance, that’s the bargain of the century.

They have just under $10,000 left to raise of a VERY MODEST goal. Just take that $10 you were going to spend on that venti four-shot no whip cinnamon dolce soy latte and give it to these guys. You’re awake enough; you don’t need any more coffee.

Have a lovely Independence Day. I have to go catch a damn airplane so I can go home for the weekend. (See above re: hilariously bitter life experience.)

A Grand Time for Singing

Steve Grand makes Top 10 list of most-funded Kickstarter projects.

When out singer-songwriter Steve Grand announced his Kickstarter a little less than a month ago, I contributed on the first day. I thought to myself, I think this is a good kid; I sure hope he makes it.

I needn’t have worried: he reached his $81,000 goal in 17 hours. As I write this, he has 8 days left on his Kickstarter and he’s at $237,000 and change.

Grand says he’s determined to stay independent and to use the money he raises over and above the costs of production to make sure the need for an openly gay singer, that has been embraced by his fans over the last year or so, feeds into the needs of the mainstream music community as well.

I like him. I like his work. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s cute as hell. If you can, send him a buck or two and let’s see how far he can go.

Interview: Filmmaker Adam Goldman on “Whatever This Is,” “The Outs,” and Crowd-Funding

Interview: Filmmaker Adam Goldman on “Whatever This Is,” “The Outs,” and Making Crowd-Funded Series | Tribeca.

AG: And that allowed us to finish up the show. But with Whatever This Is, you know I talk about this a lot. We don’t purport to take any responsibility for this but if you look for the release schedule for The Outs, it turns pretty clearly with the way that people have evolved the way that they watch television online. And when we started The Outs the first episode is 12 minutes and people said “fuck you, nobody is going to want to watch something that is 12 minutes long online.” And I had to sort of say you know I bet they will if it’s good. And then by our last episode they sort of grew and grew and the last one is 43 minutes and by the time out last episode was out, House of Cards was out and Netflix has been so huge in that arena.

This is a great interview with Adam Goldman and, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, it’s well worth the read.


(l-r) Hunter Canning, Sasha Winters and Adam Goldman star in the exceptional Web series, The Outs. Winters and Canning are back in front of the camera in the latest Goldman-penned series, Whatever This Is. Photo: Interview/Unusually Fine Photography

What he says above is not sui generis, people absolutely will watch something long online AS LONG AS IT’S GOOD. This nonsense about not watching anything longer than a 2 or 3 minute YouTube video online is lunacy. It flies in the face of all conventional wisdom we know about motion pictures and television viewing. Now, with online viewing patterns changing, we know that not only will someone watch an hour of House of Cards on their laptop, they’ll watch a whole damn season in one sitting!

Anyhow, Goldman and his Rascal Department are possessed of significant talent. I am so looking forward to the next episode(s) of Whatever This Is and am ecstatic that I was able to contribute to this project and help it get off the ground.

Kickstarter Responds to Zach Braff Critics

Kickstarter Responds to Critics of Zach Braffs Campaign.| Mashable

Kickstarter has been criticized on and off in recent months for allowing celebrities to use the crowdfunding service to raise money — most recently Zach Braff, who raised more than $2 million on Kickstarter for a follow-up to his movie Garden State. Now, Kickstarter has decided to break its silence and address the issue.

This crap annoys me. It’s a kind of reverse snobbery that gets right up under my fingernails. Why should Zach Braff be barred from crowdfunding projects on Kickstarter? Because he’s well-known? Because he was once on a quirky TV comedy? Because he may have contacts that may get him access to other funds?

I’m calling bullshit on it all.


Behind the camera, filmmaker and actor Zach Braff. Image: Kickstarter and Zach Braff via Mashable.

Look, who’s going to be the arbiter of who is too famous or too wealthy or too connected to participate on your crowdfunding site? The arguments don’t hold water. If the idea is for the artist to have more control, how does the notoriety (or lack thereof) of the artist in question matter? If Zach Braff doesn’t want to make a movie with studio funds — and studio strings — why is he any damn different from Joe Smith from Flushing, Queens?

One of the Kickstarter guys said earlier that he hoped that [insert name of someone famous here that I’ve forgotten already] wouldn’t run their crowdfunding project on Kickstarter because it might scare off the person looking for $500 to fund her lithography project.

Guess what? That’s Kickstarter’s problem. It’s called marketing. You have to tell people how to raise $500 and tell people how to raise $50 million. OR cap the amount of money you’re going to allow people to solicit. Other than that, shut up already about your enterprise being TOO successful.

PS – The link above also contains a jump to an excellent video with Braff explaining his take on crowdsourcing, social media and interacting with fans.

Congratulations to EastSiders

kickHere’s a screenshot of the EastSiders Kickstarter page. They raised more than $10,000 more than their target. That’s excellent for them — and excellent for those of us who enjoy this type of entertainment. You know, authentic, not co-opted by the studios, thus, well, better.

I’m proud to have been a supporter of this venture. I can’t wait to see the result either.

I tracked and wrote about this Kickstarter campaign HERE. Read it, please. I think it’s an excellent model to use when thinking about funding in this manner.