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.

img-the-outs_144428604539

(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.

The Straight Years — A New Website and a Look Back at How it Used to Be

Got this tweet this past weekend from LogoTV —

syp

Of course, I had to check it out.

The premise is people who are out now showing old pictures of themselves when they were pretending to be straight — or simply hadn’t figured out how to come out of the closet.

Back when I was a pre-teen/teenager, there were three people on television that I knew were gay: Paul Lynde on The Hollywood Squares, Charles Nelson Reilly on Match Game, and Billy Crystal’s character, Jodie Dallas, on Soap. And that was it! At least that was it in my little insulated corner of the planet. No one talked about gay and straight. Were these my role models? No, thanks. That’s not it. I’m not like ANY of these men. (Although, I LOVED Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly — they were the epitome of hilarious to me in the 70s — I did not connect the dots.)

CNR

Charles Nelson Reilly made the 70s a little bit funnier on Match Game. A gifted actor, teacher and director, the Tony-winning Reilly filmed his autobiographical stage show, The Life of Reilly, shortly before his death. |Image: nndb.com

Paul-Lynde

TV’s center square, Paul Lynde, was bitchy and campy and threw out one double entendre after another on The Hollywood Squares for years. Also known for stage and TV work, including memorable turns as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched, Lynde died of a heart attack in 1982 at age 55. |Image: crewmagazine.

17129cap239

Billy Crystal as Jodie Dallas in Soap. Allegedly gay throughout the series’ 1977-81 run, Jodie had several relationships with women. Granted the show was an over-the-top spoof on soap operas, but commercial director Jodie was nobody’s idea of a role model.

Things weren’t that much better in the 80s, when Steven Carrington on Dynasty was television’s gay standard bearer. Carrington — played by Al Corley and then recast with Jack Coleman — like Jodie Dallas before him, had far more romantic entanglements with women than any gay man I’ve ever met. Then again, “conversion therapy” and attempts to go straight were seen as serious back then, as ridiculous as it sounds now. There was no touching, no actual affection shown between two men on TV then; not in those days when, after his 1985 death, the world was shocked to learn that Rock Hudson was gay.

Looking back on those “straight years,” I think that simply because they were there and we could have a conversation about them, Jodie Dallas and Steven Carrington began to pave the way for networks like HERE and LOGO and superstars like Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O’Donnell and Zachary Quinto and George Takei and Anderson Cooper and Neil Patrick Harris and shows like Glee and The New Normal and Will & Grace and Brothers & Sisters and The L Word and Queer as Folk on cable and the networks and Husbands and The Outs and Eastsiders and Submissions Only and Hunting Season online and iconic couples like Kevin and Scotty,  Luke and Noah,  Lindsey and Melanie,  Will and Sonny and, hell, Jack and Doug on Dawson’s friggin’ Creek just to scratch the very tip of the iceberg.

I finally figured it all out in my mid-20s and came out publicly after attending the 1993 gay march on Washington. Being surrounded by the largest crowd I’ve ever seen on the National Mall, I decided that I wasn’t alone. I had back up in case coming out was a terrible idea.

It wasn’t. It NEVER is. I just wish my “straight years” hadn’t lasted quite so long. Maybe they wouldn’t have if I could have seen more of myself on television, in the movies or in literature back then.

corner3_18_510_6-11122012-20002170A

The Corner Bar was a 1972 summer replacement series on ABC that is credited with the first recurring gay character on American television. Played by Vincent Schiavelli, “Peter Panama” was reviled by gay activists at the time for playing up all of the worst gay stereotypes. Schiavelli, far right, is pictured with cast members Gabriel Dell, J.J. Barry, Shimen Ruskin, Bill Fiore and Joe Keyes. |Image via sticomsonline.com, watermarked argentaimages.

The New Normal — Done With TV

Last week, leading up to the upfronts — that’s the time when the networks pat themselves on their backs and announce their new series — news about television was all about what shows had gotten the axe.

Last season I watched a half dozen or so shows on the networks. Here’s what I enjoyed, in rank order:

the-new-normal-utah-new-home__oPt1. The New Normal
Ryan Murphy’s smartly written comedy about a gay couple who want to start a family. This show got some unfavorable reviews from gay outlets, but I found it simply lovely. Truth be told, this surprised me because I find Murphy’s Glee the most inconsistent show on TV. However, this one was a love note to the celebration of difference. Andrew Rannells and Justin Bartha were wonderful. NeNe Leakes was hilarious and I found the whole thing refreshing. I particularly liked the way Ellen Barkin’s strident conservative grandmother was allowed to change and still hold to her own truth. It was smart. Very smart. No, it was not everyone’s gay experience — we’re not all wealthy Californians with a perfect house and perfect teeth — and maybe you couldn’t quite relate to it, but hey, at least it WAS a gay experience on network television.

DAMON WAYANS JR., ELIZA COUPE, ADAM PALLY, CASEY WILSON, ELISHA CUTHBERT, ZACHARY KNIGHTON2. Happy Endings
The quirky, oddball non-linear new take on Friends full of fast dialogue and underplayed pop culture references to keep you on your toes. The show grew over its time on the air, but it never gelled the way I think it should have. I think Adam Pally was poised on the brink of being a breakout star, but no one seemed to know how to write for his character, which is a shame because I think there was a lot there to be mined. There’s talk that this may end up on some cable network or another. I hope so. It deserves a second time around. Zero bad apples in this gang of six.

New-Girl-Jess3. New Girl
Three guys and a girl share a loft apartment. Zany antics, deftly drawn characters and a healthy dose of heart. And this is on Fox? Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson have really shined this season. Max Greenfield is insanely funny and a fearless performer. The show is smart, has grounded itself in a unique worldview and is starting to emerge as more than “just a sitcom.” It’s a delight AND one of the few sitcoms that understands how to maximize its (terrific) guest stars. Two words: Julius Pepperwood.

Smash season 24. Smash
NBC’s paean to Broadway. Shot in New York and chock-a-block with actual theatre performers. Theresa Rebeck created the show, adapting Garson Kanin’s novel. A writer, Rebeck was also the showrunner and by all accounts the first season was a train wreck backstage and the novel show became nearly unwatchable at the end of season one. Brought back for a second season with a seasoned showrunner who severely retooled it, the storylines got tighter and more interesting to watch, but the network buried it and ratings fell through the floor. A shame, really, because there was some great stuff going on here. Andy Mientus, Jeremy Jordan and Megan Hilty showed great range, Christian Borle made the jump from stage acting to screen acting look utterly effortless and Debra Messing showed a fantastic grounded, dramatic side that we never got to see on Will & Grace.

images5. Whitney
An odd little nut of a show featuring interesting comedic performances from some not-so-stereotypical performers. Comedienne Whitney Cummings had her hand in two shows that debuted in 2011: her self-titled one and the CBS diner sitcom 2 Broke Girls. Whitney was a lovely little show with interesting performers while 2 Broke Girls was one extended dick joke. Guess which one is still on the air? Chris D’Elia and Rhea Seehorn were refreshing additions to the landscape.

AUBREY ANDERSON-EMMONS, RICO RODRIGUEZ, ED O'NEILL, SOFIA VERGARA, NOLAN GOULD, TY BURRELL, JULIE BOWEN, SARAH HYLAND, ARIEL WINTER, ERIC STONESTREET, JESSE TYLER FERGUSON6. Modern Family
Because it’s consistently funny when you least expect it to be. There’s a lot of talk about the over-the-top performers on this show — like Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell — but the real heart of this show is Ed O’Neill who delivers a consistent, grounded, underplayed performance week after week. He’s not recognized for this anti-Al Bundy turn, but he should. Critics who know better should realize that he’s the glue that’s holding the whole damn thing together. Every time I think that MF is close to jumping the shark, it pulls itself back from the edge. Also, as the children have grown, all of them have gotten better and better, particularly Nolan Gould, who plays Luke Dunphy.

Cougar TownAnd not on the network any longer:
Cougar Town
Courteney Cox leads Bill Lawrence’s band of wine-swilling crazies through an odd Florida town. Axed as an underperformer after two seasons on ABC, it’s found new life on TBS with two 13-episode seasons — one just concluded and one upcoming. If you understand Penny Can, Dime Eyes and Big Carl, you’re onto the shenanigans in the cul de sac. It’s devilishly clever in a truly oddball sort of way. It’s to group-of-friends comedies what Scrubs was to hospital comedies. Makes sense, because they were created by the same warped mind.

Last week, the networks axed numbers 1, 2, 4 and 5. So, I’m done with TV now. The cable company gets a call on Monday and the hundreds of channels with nothing on them but five-year-old reruns of Paula Deen deep-frying bacon-wrapped lard balls in butter and Housewives of (fill in a place) and Kardashians and hoarders and Honey Boo Boo and rednecks in swamps can all go away and I’ll save thousands of dollars over the next year and it will make me ecstatic not to have to pay that money to hellish Comcast!

Besides, most of the stuff that I watch comes from abroad. I watch A LOT of stuff from the U.K. on the computer. I watch a number of excellent independent Web series and even the back-from-the-dead All My Children. With the possible exception of losing out on new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and NCIS (because sometimes you just don’t want to have to think), why do I need cable if I have Hulu and Netflix and Amazon and YouTube and enough minor technical knowledge to sneak behind the occasional poorly built firewall?

And that’s my new normal.

Besides, NBC, any network that pays Matt Lauer millions of dollars to stay ON television certainly does not want me watching.

Soap Resurrections Online Excite AMC’s Cady McClain

Tad_and_Dixie_-_Michael_E._Knight_Cady_McClain_AMC

Michael E. Knight and Cady McClain as Tad and Dixie on ABC’s “All My Children.” The show returns online next month as one of two former network serials getting another life online. McClain returns to her Emmy Award-winning role as Dixie in the reboot. No word yet on Knight’s participation. Image: originally SoapNet, via Wikimedia Commons. No copyright claimed.

If you know the actress Cady McClain, you are likely a viewer of serial drama. She rocketed to the top of the daytime drama Hot Character Hall of Fame for her portrayal of Dixie Cooney Martin on All My Children on and off from 1988 to the end of the ABC series in 2011. She is also known as the second Rosanna Cabot on As The World Turns in multiple stints for the last eight years that soap was on the air.

McClain returns to Pine Valley as, in classic soap fashion, it rises from the dead for an Internet reboot from the production company Prospect Park and their Online Network. The show will also be available on Hulu and iTunes in 30-minute episodes.

It’s a brave new world for what we used to call “daytime drama,” but dramatic programming on the networks during the day is flagging as the core audience — stay-at-home moms and other women who do not work outside the home — continues to dwindle.

I’ve written any number of times about my feelings about serial drama and how important it can be as a catalyst for societal change. I hope that by making the once venerable and still much-loved serials All My Children and One Life to Live available online, we are seeing the beginnings of a more mainstream acceptance of Web-based entertainment.

Read Cady’s cut below and feel free to click around to stories that I’ve written (or reblogged) about soaps and Web series over the last year or so.
A New Dawn for Daytime | Cady McClain.

Do you remember when your aunt or grandma or mom called you into the living room to look at her soap opera on the TV, screaming, “OH MY GOD YOU’VE GOT TO SEE THIS” and that moment when you frantically queried, “What’s happening? Who is that? TELL ME EVERYTHING!” Well the same thing is going to happen, only now it might be in reverse. Your niece or daughter, or grand daughter might now be the one hollering, “OMG! You’ve got to see this!” while pulling out  her laptop, tablet, or smart phone. It’s not so different: it’s still a generational connection that is going to occur, it’s just coming to you via a different mechanism.

SOAPS AND SERIAL DRAMA

WEB-BASED ENTERTAINMENT

PS — There’s likely some overlap in these two categories.

In with The Outs

It’s no wonder, then, that the most accurate and essentially human portrayal of young gay men today can be found on the Net, not the networks. Since premiering in spring 2012, a web series called The Outs has taken the gay community by storm. It’s been praised by The Huffington Post, Out, Paper, and more for its heartfelt and realistic portrayals of a group of 20somethings as they struggle with life and love in the city.

via Adam Goldman, on The Outs – Page – Interview Magazine.

Good interview with Adam Goldman by Benjamin Lindsay in Interview, which, I suppose, is a bit redundant. I mean, you don’t expect bad interviews from a publication called Interview, now do you.

Anyhow, I’m not a Brooklyn hipster, I’m definitely not a 20-something, so I’m not sure I’m remotely in The Outs demographic, but I really do LOVE this web series. It’s witty, it’s well-crafted, well-produced and well acted. Smart, sparkling dialogue that exudes a fantastic reality. Refreshing, really. What’s not to love. The exceptional eye candy as witnessed below (along with the adorable Tommy Heleringer, who deserves a shout-out) make it a treat to watch.

img-the-outs_144428604539

(l-r) Hunter Canning, Sasha Winters and Adam Goldman star in the exceptional Web series, The Outs. Photo: Interview/Unusually Fine Photography

Along with The Outs, I’ve been captivated by additional Web series, such as Husbands and recently L.A.-based Eastsiders, which I’ve written about here as well as on my Marketing blog. I’ve watched a lot of others, but these are the best of the lot — well at least in the “I’m hunting for high quality content with a gay bent” aisle that I’m shopping in. And that aisle is damn near bare in the network big box supermarkets.

(Aren’t you impressed that I segued so easily from Marketing into marketing? It’s okay, often I’m the only one who thinks I’m funny.)