‘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:

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:

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.”


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!’”


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.”


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.”

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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”

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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