[Introducing a new series of interviews with creators of queer-friendly web series we recommend.]
After director Kieran Turner resurrected a largely-forgotten queer rock star with his fascinating documentary Jobriath A.D. (due in theaters this fall), he set out to lift the lid on the relentlessly cruel world of dating in the Big Apple. But don’t expect another rehash of Sex and the City. The group of Manhattanite singles depicted in the web series Wallflowers, while relatable, are also rather hope
fulless in the ways of romance. In fact, they rely on a support group led by a dating guru to help navigate love in the Big Apple. As the tagline for series informs, “They’re loose on the streets of New York and looking for love. You’ve been warned.”
Turner chats with Queerty about his inspiration for the comedy, its appeal for gay viewers and the benefits of creating a series for the internet.
What inspired you to create Wallflowers?
I became very excited by some of the newer web series I was seeing that were longer in format, were well-written, acted and directed and felt like actual TV shows. And any time I can find a forum to portray the kinds of characters I want to see that aren’t getting done elsewhere, I jump at it.
In the episode that premieres today, one of our main characters, Bryce, who is gay, is set up on the worst blind date ever. It’s funny, sexy and pretty realistic. In Wallflowers, there are or will be straight, gay, bi and transgender characters. But they’re characters first. I want to explore what all these different types of people go through in their search to find love, and do it in the most honest way possible. I really despise stereotypes of any kind. And I feel like sometimes our creative community relies on them way too heavily. I think we’ve moved passed that.
How did you find your cast?
I live in LA, but I really wanted to shoot the show in NYC. I felt like the characters had a real New York-vibe to them; that mix of romanticism and jadedness you can’t find anywhere but NYC. I also wanted to work with stage actors because I think they’re amazingly talented.
What are some of the challenges and rewards in creating a series specifically for the internet?
The biggest reward is you get to make something that can get seen. I get to work with a great group of people and I don’t have to worry that I won’t get distribution or get chosen for the right film festivals. The flip side of that is it’s very difficult to monetize. These things don’t happen for free. You have to put your money where your mouth is, believe in what you’re doing and have faith that it’s going to strike a chord in people and they’re going to become fans of what you’re doing.
We’re basically told that after 25, it’s downhill and by 30, it’s over. So many times you see 25 Most Successful People Under 25 lists, especially in the gay media. We’re living in a Logan’s Run society with everything but blinking palms and carousel. If we haven’t made it or if we’re still single or wherever we may be lacking, then society deems us defective. This show is for those people taking their time. I hope fellow wallflowers recognize that in themselves and the others will maybe be a little less quick to judge.
Oh, and it’s really funny.
Where can people find the show?
You can see us on Blip TV. And we have a website, which has information about the show. We have two more episodes to go for the first half of Season 1. Then we’ll have a summer full of mini-sodes. We’re planning on being back with new full episodes in late August.
What’s the response been so far?
It’s been great. I’m enjoying watching the numbers rise in the view counts. Every click inspires me to continue on, make more episodes and be better.