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Emily and her Mums: Children’s Book for Same-Sex Families

Emily and her Mums: Children’s Book for Same-Sex Families

I regularly list books suitable for same-sex families, but I usually do this in Dutch. This time, I found an English (and Welsh) book, so I thought I would share that with you as well. In the first book of the ‘Emily and her Mums’ series, ‘Emily’s First Pet’ is about Emily’s imagination running wild as she chooses which pet to have. Below, I will give you more information and describe why I like it.

‘Emily and her Mums: Children’s Book for Same-Sex Families’ I regularly list books suitable for same-sex families, but I usually do this in Dutch. This time, I found an English book, so I thought I would share that with you as well. In the first book of the ‘Emily and her Mums’ series, ‘Emily's First Pet’ is about Emily's imagination running wild as she chooses which pet to have. In this blog post, I will give you more information and describe why I like it: http://bit.ly/EmilyAndHerMums

Emily and her Mums book 1: Emily’s first pet

It seems as if this will be a series and that only the first book called Emily’s First Pet has come out. Emily has to decide which animal she would like for a pet. We follow her decision-making process. On the first page, you will meet Emily, who is “an energetic girl, whose imagination is only limited by the hours in a day,” and her family. She lives with her two moms (a biracial couple), her grandma, and her teddy bear Henry.

What I like about Emily and her Mums: it does not focus on the same-sex aspect

The introduction page is actually the only page that mentions her living situation. The story is not about the fact that Emily has two moms. Instead, the story is about the fact that Emily has been promised a pet and she now has to make a big decision: which one? We see various options, their pros and cons, and the final decision.

What I like about this book: you can download the pages as coloring pages

The book contains a secret website address that allows you to download the uncolored pages. As this book does not have that many pages, it is pleasant that you can continue the book experience with your kid by coloring the storyline as well.

The author and illustrator have added another layer to the book by adding hidden creatures, such as bees, butterflies, ladybirds, snails, and spiders. That means your kid can also play with the book.

What I like about Emily and her Mums: the dyslexic fonts

As the website says, “children with dyslexia tend to add, rotate, transpose, reverse, swap, and confuse symbols within words. This book uses a specially designed dyslexia-friendly font specifically created to enhance legibility and reading comprehension.” I like this inclusivity!

Where can you order the book?

There are an English version and a Welsh version that you can order on Amazon. I hope you like this tip!

Passage the Series: A New Lesbian Show with Paranormal Activities

Passage the Series: A New Lesbian Show with Paranormal Activities

About 1.5 years ago, I was at the table reading of Passage at ClexaCon. I loved witnessing a table reading, and I am excited that this web series will finally premiere this Sunday (Oct. 6th) on Tello Films. Passage the Series is an episodic paranormal thriller centered around paranormal operative and queer mom Ali Prader as she balances her personal and professional life during a crucial shift in power. I have watched the five episodes of this new show before the premiere date, so I can tell you why you should watch it. In this blog post, I will describe three things that I like about this series. In the video included, you will find me reacting to what I see as I watch Passage.

‘Passage the Series: A New Lesbian Show with Paranormal Activities’ Passage is a paranormal webseries centered around paranormal operative/queer mom Ali Prader as she balances her personal and professional life during a crucial shift in power. I have watched the 5 episodes of this new show before the premiere date, so I can tell you why you should watch it: http://bit.ly/PassageSeries

The story of Passage

Passage the Series is an episodic paranormal thriller centered around Janus Agent Ali Prader. This queer mom is a top paranormal operative within the government for a secret division called Caelus. Caelus relies on her special capabilities to handle the different situations that can arise from interacting with paranormal entities. Ali can balance her professional and personal life only until she starts to discover things that can open the door to a new crucial shift in power.

Watch me watch Passage!

What I love about Passage: the paranormal aspect

The first thing that intrigued me about Passage the Series was the paranormal aspect of the show. Usually, web series have a small budget and frequently, that small budget limits even the basic plans of content creators. I expect that adding sci-fi to a story, and all the special effects that come hand-in-hand with it, requires a big chunk of the project’s budget.

I can imagine that it is quite tricky. You do not want to cut corners with special effects either as it will diminish the quality of your show, no matter how good the storyline is. I have to admit I was a little worried because there is enough proof on YouTube where shows have not handled that aspect well.  

A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to watch the first episode when it was ready, and I was relieved to see it was done well. I guess big TV shows have tons of extra tricks (and money) to make it look even smoother, but this web series makes the special effects look great.  

Watch me discover Passage. And please subscribe to my channel!

What I love about Passage: the queer mom life

Hillary Esquina, who wrote Passage, and I agree on at least one thing: there should be more stories about queer moms. Passage is just that. That’s one point for the Passage team already.

I am a queer mom. I do not know if you remember me talking about it earlier, such as when discussing Different for Girls, but it always seems as if marriage and having a kid is the end game. That is all we strive for in life, and then after that, we have no more stories to tell. I mean, if you believe most current films and series.

So yes, with Passage, there is finally another story that we are in, and it does not just focus on our motherhood. It is a part of the story but not the center.  

Watch me talk about lesbian mom life some more!

What I love about Passage: the cast

Passage stars Shannan Leigh Reeve, whom I loved in I Hate Tommy Finch. I am excited to see her on screen again. Also, Nicole Pacent is in it, and they were both in I Hate Tommy Finch! It is good to watch them together again on screen. Mandahla Rose is in it as well, so you have at least three cool people in one show. Oh, Mandahla will make you laugh…

Where can you find Passage?

You will be able to find Passage on Tello Films as of October 6th. You will have to subscribe, but there is a free trial, so you can test whether you like the website. You can find queer movies and series on it, and at the end of the year, they will also have Season of Love, which many Earpers probably cannot wait to watch.

You can also find Passage on Twitter and Instagram.

Interested in other queer content? Here are some reviews and interviews of

Liked this blog post? Please consider buying me a virtual coffee!

Victoria Broom Interview [Different for Girls]

Victoria Broom Talks Different for Girls

You probably didn’t expect more footage from ClexaCon London, did you? Well, I saved something special for you. In October last year, I reviewed Different for Girls. Then at ClexaCon London, I interviewed Jacquie and Fizz, who created the show, about how DFG came into existence. What I didn’t tell you, was that Victoria Broom stopped by too. She plays Fran on DFG, one of the lead characters, and Sascha on Marcella. We dove into some of the more intense scenes she had to play.

Below, you can read the interview but I recommend watching it on YouTube. You can find the video here in the interview.

You can now watch Different for Girls on Diva Box Office.

‘Victoria Broom Talks Different for Girls’ Earlier, I reviewed Different for Girls and interviewed Jacquie and Fizz, who created the show. Well, Victoria Broom stopped by too, who plays Fran on DFG. We dove into some of the more intense scenes she had to play: http://bit.ly/VictoriaBroom

Victoria Broom discovered DFG through social media

Me: “Thanks for coming. I really loved watching you in Different for Girls. It was so lovely. Can you tell me how you got involved in the project?”

Victoria Broom: “I heard about Different for Girls, I think, through social media. And I reached out to Jacquie and said: ‘I want to know a bit more about this show.’ She sent me a couple of scenes for two different roles. It was actually for Belle and for Fran. Instantly, I was drawn to Fran because for an actor to read the character Fran and the way that Jacquie excellently wrote her, it was just… Oh, she goes on this complete journey of self-destruct. She’s fabulous to play. That’s how I got involved.

Vitamin B

Me: “What was the substance that you take if you snort drugs? Because you have to do it a lot.”

Victoria: “Yes, I did. It’s vitamin B powder, so it’s very harmless, very safe. Yeah, it was a big pouch of vitamin B powder.”

Me: “Does it feel weird?”

Victoria: “It was a weird sensation, but not really. It kind of gives you the ‘Oh, I’ve just put something up my nose, but no, not really. That’s kind of the trick for the industry.”

What shocked and didn’t shock Victoria Broom regarding the script

Me: “What was your response when you read the script of that bar scene with Dascha, where you rudely leave, let’s just put it like that?”

Victoria: “Where I take her… Oh, we’ve all been there. [laughs] That wasn’t the scene that shocked me the most, believe it or not. No, I thought that was just, you know, a normal day at the Candy Bar back in the day. But no, the storyline that shocked me the most and that I really had to speak to director Campbell and Jacquie about to understand Fran’s reasoning was the scene where she takes Cam back after what has just happened. I mean, how do you take somebody back who not only slept with your twin brother but also decided to keep the child. How can you reason that?”

Discussions

Me: “That was precisely my response when I was watching that. Would I? I don’t think I would, but would I?”

Victoria: “I was talking to my partner at the time and a few other people. I was like: ‘Right, let’s talk about this. What would you do if this happened?’ I couldn’t do it.”

Me: “No.”

Victoria: “I think because you will always look at that child and know that that child was created from an affair that broke your heart. Anyway, that was the storyline, so the Dascha one was absolutely fine.”

Some punching

Me: “For me, what was also shocking was the scene with the twin brother and his response.”

Victoria: “Didn’t you just want to punch him in the face?”

Me: “Yes. My wife and I were like what?!”

Victoria: “Yeah. That moment in the kitchen where I confront my brother? For both Craig, who plays Tom, and me, that was a really intense moment. I had to just kind of go away and be by myself for a bit before and after. Because at one point, I actually punched… There’s a metal frame on the camera that kind of comes out. I punched the metal and I carried on. I just saw the whole crew going ‘Ah,’ and I was just carrying on because I really wanted to punch him at that moment.”

For him

Me: “What was the scene like for him?”

Victoria: “So, he just let me be and just didn’t kind of interrupt that process that is happening before and after. Because I had to hate him. I really liked Craig, the actor, not Tom, the character. So, I had to say to him: ‘Look, you just need to leave me alone for a bit because I have to hate you.’ And I think that came across.”

Victoria Broom talks queer representation in media

Me: “Definitely. One last question. What do you think is the one thing that content creators in the entertainment industry should do to improve queer representation in media?”

Victoria: “Oh, that’s quite an interesting one. I’m probably going to get asked something like that on the panel today. My feeling about queer representation in the media is that it has to be created by… People involved in the team have to be queer. Because otherwise, how can they represent the true story? How can they create a true story? I think it’s better.”

More visible

I think it’s becoming more and more visible. And what I love… So, I did Marcella, another series that was on ITV that is coming back to Netflix in March. And what I really liked about that was that ITV, in a prime-time show that won an Emmy last year, was creating gay roles, but they weren’t making a big deal about them being gay. They just happened to be gay. It wasn’t the main focus, and I think that is becoming more and more visible, which is the way it should.

And more queer people behind the scenes and writers are writing those roles, and that is more important to me. That there are queer people behind the scenes creating queer content.”

More ClexaCon London fun

Want to revisit ClexaCon London? Here are my interviews with Kat BarrellJamie Clayton, the team behind I Can’t Think Straight, Nicole Pacent, Mandahla Rose, and the directors of ClexaCon. Also, I have had so much fun at ClexaCon 2019, which you can see here.

Conspiracy of the Dark Giveaway!

Conspiracy of the Dark Giveaway!

Want to own a copy of the Conspiracy of the Dark, a new queer fantasy book? Karen Frost, whom I met at ClexaCon, and I are hosting an Instagram giveaway. To enter, please follow me on Instagram and answer the following question with a tag in a comment: what friend would love this book too? You can find the Instagram post and rules below.

Update 20/09/2019: The giveaway is closed and the winner has been announced.

‘Conspiracy of the Dark Giveaway!’Want to own a copy of the Conspiracy of the Dark, a new queer fantasy book? Karen Frost and I are hosting an Instagram giveaway. To enter, please follow me on Instagram and answer the following question with a tag in a comment: what friend would love this book too? You can find the Instagram post and rules here: http://bit.ly/ConspiracyDark

Conspiracy of the Dark: story

For Aeryn, a girl born to the remote, wintry Ice Crown region of Ilirya, the outside world is a fantasy: a series of wonderful stories told by occasional passing travelers. She never imagines anything for her life beyond following in her parents’ footsteps.

But the discovery that she has the rare gift of magic shatters her isolated world. Aeryn can create and tame fire. It’s an intoxicating, raw, and thrilling power, but it also sets her apart. And her gift attracts attention.

She is whisked from her home in the wilds to train at Windhall University and master her magic. There, Aeryn slowly learns the truth about the real world, with its strange mix of people and powers, and so many intertwining threads of shadows and light. She’s drawn to unattainable Lyse, a beautiful healer in training who makes Aeryn’s heart soar. But she also senses a creeping darkness all around that could threaten the future of the kingdom itself.

Conspiracy of the Dark giveaway: rules

  • To win, you should follow Meemoeder.com on Instagram (www.instagram.com/meemoeder). In addition, you need to have tagged one person in a comment under the giveaway announcement, who would love this book as well. This will be checked if you have been picked as the winner.
  • You can enter the giveaway until Friday, September 20, 2019, 2 pm Amsterdam time. Entries after 2 pm on this day will not be included in the random selection of the winner. The winner will be announced Friday, September 20, 2019.
  • Do not tag anybody in the image of this giveaway announcement. You may only tag a person (or more) in a comment.
  • You can only enter once per Instagram handle (so if you have more Instagram accounts, you can enter multiple times).
  • All entries will be given a number in the order of entry. With Google’s random number generator, a number will be picked. The associated entry is the winner. 
  • If you have been selected as the winner, you agree to your Instagram handle publicly being announced as the winner on the social media channels of Meemoeder.com and Karen Frost. 
  • If you have been selected as the winner, you agree to send your name, shipping address, e-mail address to Karen Frost, so she can properly send you the book. Karen Frost will not use your information for other purposes. Also, make sure to tell her in what format you would like to receive the book. The e-book is available instantly (epub, mobi, and pdf) but the release date of the hardcopy is October 2.
  • This prize is personal and is in the name of the winner. The prize is not transferable, exchangeable or redeemable for money or for other products or services.
  • This giveaway is available to entrants from every country, but Karen Frost and Meemoeder.com are not responsible for any customs to be paid.
  • This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
View this post on Instagram

GIVEAWAY! Conspiracy of the Dark [LGBT+ YA novel] I’m excited to be able to give away one free copy of Conspiracy of the Dark, which is the first novel of the new Destiny and Darkness series by Karen Frost. Karen has written a queer fantasy novel for young and old, which was released yesterday. She has promised to send one copy to a lucky Instagram follower, and you can choose what works best for you: e-book (epub, mobi, and pdf) or hardcopy (worldwide shipping!). All you have to do, is follow my Instagram account and answer the following question with a tag in the comment section: what friend would love this book? This giveaway ends this Friday at 2 pm (Amsterdam time zone), which is in 24 hours. So, be quick! I will announce the winner on Friday. Please note that if you live outside of the USA, you may have to pay for customs to receive the hardcopy (and we don’t know in advance how much that will be). You can find all the rules and info on my website, just follow the link in my bio! Here’s what the novel is about: For Aeryn, a girl born to the remote, wintry Ice Crown region of Ilirya, the outside world is a fantasy. She never imagines anything for her life beyond following in her parents’ footsteps. But the discovery that she can create and tame fire shatters her isolated world. Her gift attracts attention. She is whisked from her home in the wilds to train at Windhall University and master her magic. There, Aeryn is drawn to unattainable Lyse. But she also senses a creeping darkness all around that could threaten the future of the kingdom itself. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. = #lesfic #fantasybooks #lesbianfiction #yanovel #yanovels #yabook #yabooks #yabookstagram #queerbooks #queerbook #RepresentationMatters #LGBT #LGBTQ #LGBTQIA #LoveWins #LoveIsLove #GiveAway #lgbtbooks #lgbtbook #lgbtauthor #lesbianbooks #meemoeder #amreading #amreadingromance #amreadingfantasy #ireadya #iread #ireadfantasy #ylvabooks #ylvapublishing

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Want to know more? Email me: info@meemoeder.com.

Good Kisser Cast: Interview at ClexaCon 2019

The Good Kisser Cast: Interview at ClexaCon 2019

A few months ago, you were able to read my review of Good Kisser. At ClexaCon in April, I was able to interview the cast. I had not watched the movie yet, but I did have some questions for Rachel Paulson, Kari Alison Hodge, and Julia Eringer. You can read my interview with the Good Kisser cast below this image or watch the video.

‘The Good Kisser Cast: Interview at ClexaCon 2019’ A few months ago, you were able to read my review of Good Kisser. At ClexaCon in April, I was able to interview the cast. I had not watched the movie yet, but I did have some questions for Rachel Paulson, Kari Alison Hodge, and Julia Eringer. You can read my interview here: http://bit.ly/GoodKisserInterview

The Good Kisser cast is preparing for the premiere

Me: “Am I correct that you had your premiere last night?”

Kari: “It was a sneak preview.”

Julie: “No, we’re having our official premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, which we’re really excited about.”

Rachel: “That SIFF life!”

Response

Me: “How was the response yesterday?”

Kari: “It was great. People were laughing, like so, so much.”

Rachel: “I keep saying, I didn’t realize how funny the movie was until I watched it, and I was in a room of people that were laughing hysterically.”

Julia: “It was really funny, and I think not just to us, who… Obviously, we find each other and the situations we’ve been in funny. The jokes were landing, and it was great.”

Me: “Were people also laughing at things you didn’t expect?”

Julia: “Definitely. I didn’t expect half of those laughs.

Rachel: “Same. I was literally like oh, well, that was funny. But when I was laughing, the room was laughing with me as well.”

The Good Kisser cast may have been nervous

Me: “Were you nervous?”

Rachel: “Yeah.”

Julia: “Yeah, we were very nervous.”

Rachel: “I was like two drinks in. You know what I mean?”

Julia: “Rachel was the most nervous.”

Rachel: “I was the most nervous. Definitely.”

Julia asks Kari: “Were you nervous?”

Kari: “I wasn’t nervous to see it. I was just nervous about the Q&A afterward.”

The Good Kisser cast was present for a Q&A after the sneak preview

Me: “What did they ask you during the Q&A?”

Julia: “They asked us what it was like to watch it. And yeah, we said the same thing about the comedy and also when the sex scenes were coming up. I was going to Rachel: round one! Okay, round one done, now round two, what’s that going to be. You know, because there are three rounds.”

Rachel: “Yeah, we were sitting together like: here we go! We were all holding hands.”

Julia: “Yeah, it was fun, though, because I don’t know about you guys, but I relaxed pretty soon. As soon as I saw that beautiful drone aerial shot, right at the beginning, I was like: this is beautiful.”

Rachel: “I was like oh, we’re okay.”

Julia: “We’re okay, and it’s always nerve-racking because if you haven’t seen the film and you’re watching with a bunch of other people, you just don’t know how it’s going to go.

Besides sex scenes, what more can we expect from the storyline?

Me: “Can you tell us what the movie is about, for those who don’t know? We now know there are sex scenes in it.”

Rachel: “Many, many sex scenes.”

Julia: “Spoiler alert. It’s about three people. These two gorgeous ladies play a couple, and I play a very independent woman. We have one night, a date night, the three of us, where we’ve arranged to spend the evening together and just see what happens.”

Rachel: “That is the best interpretation of the movie. I really like that. It was so cute. I was so much harsher than you guys. It takes place in one night. Essentially, we decided to spice up our relationship to bring in a woman, and there are some secrets unraveled.”

Julia: “There are a lot of secrets, for sure. Everybody’s keeping secrets.”

Rachel: “That’s what makes it interesting.  Every character has at least one thing they’re hiding from the other two characters.”

The Good Kisser cast discusses power levels

Me: “What drew you in? Was it the comedy or something else?”

Kari: “I was drawn in more from the emotional side, not from the comedic side. From the different levels of power between each couple, and the self-esteem issues, and all the idiosyncrasies of each character and how they interact.”

Julia: “Yeah, it’s funny. I think any time you have three characters in… It takes place in one location one night. That’s very, very intimate, you know. If you don’t like the three of us, you probably don’t like the film because it’s us. It’s us the whole time. Because of that, you really get into these three characters, and you see the dynamics at play, and the politics between all of them in the different relationships that are there. I love movies like that.”

Relationships

Rachel: “For me, it was something I had never seen before. There are so many movies about, you know, different types of relationships. But I had never really seen a script that was literally just the story of three people’s relationships and how amazing it can be but at the same time how crazy that can make everyone feel. And all these secrets and all that stuff. I think the threesome situation was really an interesting concept for me in the script.”

Masks

Me: “Is there anything that stood out to you while filming? Maybe a scene?”

Julia: “The mask scene.”

Rachel: “Yeah, I think the mask scene. When we all saw that, we were kind of like: oh, that’s what they were doing.”

Julia: “When we were shooting it, it was incredibly awkward at first. Incredibly awkward. And we were just relying on each other and feeling out the moments. Because we were doing some very, very intimate things, and there was a crew of people watching us like a theater show. But we were just kind of winging it. We were just like: what’s happening?”

Rachel: “Let’s do this, I guess.”

Kari: “Yeah. And oftentimes when you watch a movie and characters are dancing, they don’t get music when they’re acting. Right? So, we’re just dancing to no music for most of the takes. It feels…”

Julia: “With people watching these incredibly intimate moments that you know… If you’re having those moments with people in real life, there are no people watching you.”

For the Good Kisser cast, it sometimes felt like a play

Rachel: “Right. And if you’re dancing with someone in real life, there’s probably music playing. And when you’re making out, and it’s getting to this place where you’re starting to become attracted to each other, there’s not a room full of people watching you. And, like you were saying, it was a lot like a play. We were playing out this entire scene, a long scene, and it was really blocked out. We had to hit all of these different areas, and we were walking through this whole scene. And we were like: how are they even going to edit this? I didn’t understand, and then we saw it, and we were like, oh, I get it.”

Diving into their characters

Me: “Are the characters close to you in real life, or did you really have to dive into them?”

Kari: “For every character that I do, I completely create their own history and their own memories. So, I’m never mixing my personal history with the character. That’s just how I work.”

Rachel: “I’m the opposite, which is interesting. I always try to pull pieces of the character from my own… I also do the background thing, but I try to pull pieces of whoever I’m playing from my actual experiences. Because I feel like that helps to ground it for me. I think that’s cool that you do that and I do this, and it’s a completely different thing. I definitely think Kate has some things that are mine. She also has some things that aren’t mine.”

Combination

Julia: “I guess I do a combination. I’m playing her so there’s a lot of me in her but… And again, as Rachel said, I will try to use things. You know, I’ll try to use things that turn me on, when Mia is going to be turned on rather than fabricating things that would turn Mia on and try to get turned on by those, for example. But yeah, she’s very different from me. Probably it was the biggest jump for someone, me from Julia to Mia. I don’t know; for me, it seemed quite a big jump. She’s just very free, very experimental. She marches to the beat of her own drum. It was a challenge for sure. She’s fun.”

When and where can you watch the Good Kisser cast and movie?

Good Kisser is currently doing a film festival round. On the website, you can find a list of all screening dates and places. If you follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can see when some of the cast is present at screenings.

More ClexaCon 2019 fun stuff

Want to read more about ClexaCon 2019? I’ve got you covered!

Twenty a Webseries: Interview with Lily Richards and Caitlin Combe

Twenty a Webseries: Interview with Lily Richards and Caitlin Combe

At ClexaCon 2019, I met Lily Richards and Caitlin Combe of Twenty a Webseries. Twenty is one of the few good LGBT+ webseries currently available, and so I was really happy when they agreed to do an interview with me. We met Friday night at the Filmmakers Mixer and were doing the interview Saturday morning before the event officially started. That’s dedication! In this blog post, you will find the interview written down, but if you can, watch the video. These women are a blast to listen to and they have incredible stories to share.  

‘Twenty a Webseries: Interview with Lily Richards and Caitlin Combe’ At ClexaCon 2019, Lily Richards and Caitlin Combe discussed Twenty a Webseries. We talked about flipping the trope, dad fans, and Avocado interruptus. Read it here: http://bit.ly/TwentyWebseries

ClexaCon 2019 for Twenty a Webseries

Me: “Thank you for coming. I love Twenty a Webseries, so I was really happy to bump into you last night. You were here last year. How is ClexaCon for you this year?”

Lily Richards: “It’s really exciting being here again. When we came last year, we just finished up season one. So, we hadn’t even started releasing season two. It’s really cool to see how the following has grown from last year to this year, to come and to meet a whole wave of new fans of the show, and be able to be involved in another capacity than last year. I feel we’re even more part of the community now and it’s awesome.”

Dad fans

Me: “What do people tell you when they talk to you?”

Lily: “I guess it varies. A lot of people said they really liked the show. They enjoy the humor of it. They enjoy the relatability of it. Some of our favorite comments that we’ve gotten have been when people said like ‘the shows helped me become comfortable with who I am and things like that.’”

Me: “That’s amazing!”

Caitlin Combe: “Like, ‘it helped me connect with my parents or show friends and family what I want my life to be in regards to the normality of being queer in a non-queer space.’ That has been really heartwarming to watch. It helped mend relationships as well, which we had no idea would happen.”

Lily: “We got a lot of dad fans, which is awesome. A lot of dads who are like watching Twenty with their kids.”

Responsibility for Twenty a Webseries

Me: “Do you feel a certain responsibility all of a sudden?”

Lily: “To a degree, I also feel like, by virtue of the lack of queer content, every time you make anything that is representing the queer community, there is already that built-in responsibility to show your community correctly and to not buy into stereotypes and to not, you know, kill off your queer character, obviously, right? I think there already was that sense of responsibility in making this. There is a huge community that’s underrepresented in media, and it was our job to make sure that we were getting the right image out.”

Trying not to be super offensive

Me: “Where did you get the idea for this show?”

Lily: “I graduated from Emerson College in 2016, and upon graduating, I was going to come back to LA and predominantly pursue acting. Then I started going in on a lot of auditions for gay female characters that were just super offensive. They were like, ‘Oh, she’s like stealing this boyfriend’s girlfriend, she’s a horrible person, she’s also a murderer…’ There was just never anyone who had a storyline other than being gay and I was just very fed up with that.

So, I wanted to create a show that had queer characters and was the starring queer women but wasn’t focused on their sexuality. That was kind of just how Twenty started. I was really lucky; we have a lot of incredible friends who are very talented at improv. We were able to get them in, and just kind of have fun with them and create the show together and see what happened.”

Threesome?

Me: “So, I think it’s pretty radical to open your webseries with like the ‘we want to have a threesome with you’ conversation and how to navigate that conversation. How did you come up with that?”

Lily: “I found myself in that situation a few times, where I was like ‘Oh, I thought we were friends. Oh, you want to, oh ok…’ So that was sort of the impetus for that, and I know that we’ve experienced that a lot.”

Caitlin: “As a gay couple, or even just like going to a bar with friends and there are straight guys, and they’re all like…. ‘I’m sorry. I’m not interested. I’m dating her. Not into men…’ And then, all of a sudden, they’re like ‘oh well, we can tag-team it…’”

Lily: “That’s my favorite expression because it sounds like we’re all going to do a marathon. We can pass the torch!”

Caitlin: “It’s definitely something that we’ve never gotten as close as Maya does in Twenty to that situation as a couple, but… Especially when we first started dating, even friends did it, and it was like ‘Oh, okay…’ So we’ve experienced that a lot. I think we just go to less straight places now. That’s why we don’t experience it as much anymore.”

Lily: “We’ve been together long enough that people are like ‘maybe not a good idea…’”

Twenty a Webseries aims to flip the trope

Me: “I wanted to talk a bit about the characters on the show. Because they are precious, but they can also be a lot to handle sometimes. Where did you get the idea for them?”

Lily: “I kind of wanted to flip the trope on its head. You know, how you watch most comedic TV shows and you’ll have the straight character, and then you have the wild, quirky gay best friend. So, I wanted to flip that a little bit, and that’s why we have Maya, who is the more grounded of the bunch. And then we have Tina, who is just off her rocker. An absolute blast but someone help her. So, I wanted to have the straight character being the one that was kind of just absolutely wild. Because, yeah, I mean, we have straight friends who we’re like ‘yo, calm down!’”

Dynamic

Lily: “Kathy Dorn, who plays Tina, is just a phenomenal actress and Kathy is the sweetest, most pulled-together person you’ll ever meet. But it’s funny because she is so good at playing those roles. I’ve been in a play with her in college where we had a similar dynamic, where I was the more stoic one, and she was just out there. I really enjoyed working with her, and I had so much fun with her in that show. And so, I really wanted to bring back that dynamic, but put our own twist on it.

I left a lot of Tina up to her because I knew she could handle it. Sometimes, we would start filming a scene, and if she wanted to improvise and go off-script, I was like ‘go for it! Let’s see where it goes.’ And it was all so funny. So, with Tina specifically, that was the concept behind it. Thankfully, we had such fantastic actors who were able to take the part and roll with it and bring it to life.”

Laughing

Me: “The humor of the show is so good. I was wondering if there was ever a scene that you just couldn’t get through because it was so hard not to laugh?”

Lily: “Yeah, there were a lot.”

Caitlin: “So many. The first one that comes to mind was actually not an episode of the seasons, but we did these…. Between season one and season two, we wanted to give our audience some more of the characters while they missed them while we were doing season two. We did a few ‘how-to’ videos with the characters, and I think the one that we really struggled to get through was how to taste wine.

I posted a photo on the Twenty a Webseries Instagram of Lily, and she looked as if someone just told her a loved one passed away. The tears from laughing were so intense. It’s funny because Reyn and Sarah, who play the characters, were totally cool and stayed in character. It got to the point where our sound guy just couldn’t stop laughing. He said: ‘I’m sorry, we have to pause because I can hear myself laughing. We have to stop.’ That was something that was a mess.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfEuAa8lfM4/?igshid=oscmjczmddlt

Straight man fashion

Lily: “It got me.”

Caitlin: “You were so tired that day from laughing.”

Lily: “I told Reyn and Sarah ‘Well, this is a funny thing. Let’s have a Victoria and Charles try wine tasting. Obviously, Charles will have no idea what he’s doing, but he’ll be really confident about it.’ Classic straight man fashion. I just had them go with it and my God. Reyn is such a funny guy, such a good actor, and both of them were incredible. They just improvised the whole thing. They improvised for like twelve or fifteen minutes. We just edited it, but it was a blast. We had so much fun with that.”

Avocado interruptus

Lily: “And then the other one… I think it is episode six of season two where Tina comes to stay on Maya’s couch for a few days while Hector is away. She keeps interrupting Maya and Catalina every time they try to have sex. That was such a blast.”

Caitlin: “She came up with a lot of the different weird things she would do.”

Lily: “When I had her come in for the scene where she interrupts us in the bedroom and is about to go to the bathroom. For that scene, I said ‘Kathy, when you’re leaving, I want you to improvise a weird story from today. Tell us something random that happened to you. And she went on this whole thing about avocados, never having an avocado before. A different one every time and they were all so good. So, we definitely had trouble getting through that as well.”

Caitlin: “Yeah. Those were definitely the fun parts.”

Twenty a Webseries season two

Me: “I bet the experience on set can be quite different, so that’s special to have. I was wondering: going into season one, did you already have an idea for season two or that you were going to make a season two?”

Lily: “Definitely, that was the goal. I really, really wanted to do a season two. At the end of season one, we just decided. When we did the show, we had no expectations. We were like ‘this is going to be a really fun thing we do. Hopefully people find it. Hopefully people watch it.’ We were really grateful and lucky that people did find it and that people did watch it.”

Algorithm

Me: “It is so hard to get the first traction, right?”

Lily: “Exactly. I think that’s the hardest step, gathering that first fan base, getting those people who are passionate enough about it to tell their friends.”

Me: “I think I found it after about three episodes.”

Lily: “That’s what we’re hearing from a lot of people!”

Me: “It was in my suggestions, and I was like ‘let’s check this out.’

Lily: “We got on the good side of the algorithm, I guess. But yeah, that’s when we noticed it too. I mean, the first two episodes did really well; they both hit like 5,000 views when we first released them, which is good, you know.

Caitlin: “Really big for people who had no idea anyone would watch them. We hit the first hundred views on episode one, and we were like ‘Yeah!’ We were sitting there, and we’re like ‘Oh my God, we got a hundred views; we’re on top of the world!’”

Me: “I know that feeling.”

Caitlin: “And the first hundred subscribers. And then now those things are so tiny compared to what we’ve got, but I think it’s really cool to remember how excited you were for those first views.”

Milestones

Lily: “The first milestones, totally. So, after season one, we kind of took a look at it. We ended season one with almost 20,000 subscribers, and we were like ‘It would be dumb of us to end this now. People seem to really like it. People are asking us about a season two.’ Caitlin and I funded season one with our own money that we had in savings, so we knew we couldn’t do that again. We decided we were going to do an Indiegogo. We figured ‘if we really try hard, we can make the show for $20,000. And we thought twenty for Twenty would be funny.”

Caitlin: “Easy to remember.”

Indiegogo campaign for Twenty a Webseries season two

Lily: “We did an Indiegogo campaign and attempted to raise $20,000. We ended up raising $22,000, which was awesome. It was very validating to exceed the goal. And we just went right into it.”

Me: “Were you able to do something special with that extra $2,000?”

Caitlin: “So, Indiegogo does take a portion of the money out, but that extra money definitely helped pay off that charge. But honestly, I think it went more into submitting Twenty into the larger film festivals. For example, we submitted to the Streamy Awards, and that’s like the Oscars for web content. We had no idea if we were going to get in, but there’s like lots of little charges for film festivals like that, where that extra two thousand really helped.”

Locations

Caitlin: “And then once we had that, we were able to pay… We were really lucky; we got a lot of free locations, but we were able to pick a few that we had to pay for. It just boosts the production value. There’s a lot of scenes done in this one bar over several episodes, but it’s this crazy bar that has seven bars in it. And we managed to use that money to pay for that, and it helped with a lot of locations for this season.”

Lily: “So yeah, we were very grateful for that extra money. It’s funny; you think like ‘Okay, this is the goal. But obviously, if we make more than that, we can make the show even better.’ So, for me, I was so grateful that people kept donating after we hit twenty because it did make a huge, huge difference.”

Twenty a Webseries merch

Caitlin: “Also, we were selling the Twenty pins, so people were able to buy merch, which helped.”

Lily: “You can still buy them on our Indiegogo campaign.”

Me: “Yeah, I heard, when an Indiegogo campaign is successful, the link stays live. That’s awesome.”

Lily: “And we did get the Streamy nomination.”

Caitlin: Yes, we did get the Streamy nomination after all that.”

Lily: “Thank God we submitted the series.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BoKLHdQhc97/

Next step for Twenty a Webseries

Me: “I don’t know if you can talk about it but is something new coming for Twenty a Webseries?”

Lily: “It’s so hard because right now, everything is very up in the air. We’re kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.  We can’t make any official announcements, but also…”

Caitlin: “Your goal was always to make queer content mainstream. So, after season one, we did season two. We kind of wrapped up season two in a way that closes the webseries and we could open it up for sure. There’s so much more we could do, and that idea is still there, and we play with it and see what happens. But definitely bring it somewhere bigger, maybe off of YouTube, would be ideal. It takes a long time to get there, but we’re having a lot of meetings, and we’re working with people. So, we’ll see. Hopefully in the next few months, we’ll have some sort of update.”

Lily: “We’re hoping to bring it to a network ideally, or you know, to make a feature film based on the web series. Or to make a season three. It’s definitely not over. We’re just unsure of where we want to take it next.”

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