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GT chats to the cast and crew of Paper Boys

The awesome new gay web series

You might remember the brilliant new gay web series we posted about a few weeks ago.

Paper Boys is only two episodes in and already it’s a a stunning looking, sounding and feeling show. But to make more they need your help! Paper Boys is running a Kickstarter to raise funds to produce episodes three and four in the series.

So GT caught up with the cast and crew to talk about love, future episodes and that almost naked bathroom scene…

If you had a magic sketchbook and only one page left to draw what would it be?

Henry (Max): I’d draw a brand new magical sketchbook with hundreds of blank pages. Duh!
Kai (Rebecca): I’m buried under a grumble of pug puppies.
Sarah (Charlie): My happy ending, of course 🙂
Curtis (Exec Producer): I wouldn’t draw anything on it. I’d leave it with the last page blank.
Kyle (Cole): Well, assuming that I’ve already used all the other pages effectively and attained or achieved everything else that I wanted – like have lots of money, giving myself a super power, or drawing Hogwarts into reality–, I’d probably keep it simple and try to draw something that ensures the happiness of all the people I love and care about.
Nathan (Darren): It would depend on what I’d already drawn prior.

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Any sneaky hints about what’s going to happen in Cole’s love life?

Kyle: Cole will have some moments of steamy romance and awkward sexual tension, but somewhere along the way, he’ll find love where he least expects it, despite all of his attempts to control it with the sketchbook.

What made you want to get together and make a gay web series?

Curtis: Kyle and I are gay and we’re filmmakers. We’d wanted to work on a project together for a long time. We were really dissatisfied with the gay media out there when we started writing because it was usually pretty bad, with a couple of exceptions. My closest friends are people of color, Kyle is Filipino, and all the shows we saw were very white. So we thought it was really backwards that these shows that are about gay millennials – shows about people who are underrepresented in the media – would just perpetuate that underrepresentation when it came to people of colour.

KyIe: I think what spurred Curtis and me to create this is that we didn’t see many gay stories out there that represent our own lives and experiences as gay men, or even the experiences of our gay friends. I look around and I see all these gay narratives focused on sex, drugs, and parties and that are not incredibly diverse or inclusive; they’re mostly white. We just wanted to make something that was different from everything else we’ve been seeing. Something more grounded in the struggles of the everyday lives of people our age, but with a twist of magical realism to make it larger than life. Something that represents the diversity of people we find in our own lives.

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We’re sure you get a lot of people dismissing the relationship between Cole and Daren as just ‘the gay guy lusting after his straight friend’, but you’re actually trying to explore their relationship as friends aren’t you?

Henry: In my experience, it is very common for straight men to be apprehensive about having a close friendship with a gay man; whether it’s about their own insecurities or the fear of being teased by their “bros”. Are there gay men who fall for their straight friends? Absolutely. That being said, any emotionally stable gay man eventually learns that that type of hoping never leads to anything good. That’s a big reason this project is important. It’s attempting to shine a light on a dynamic that, as you said, has not been represented in mainstream media. If done correctly, it will help break down some long-standing stereotypes and assumptions.

Nathan: Absolutely. For me, that’s my favorite part of the show, because it isn’t explored a lot and there are a lot of people that are writing it off as that. Their friendship is super sweet, if I do say so myself. Daren loves Cole, I mean, he’s the only person in the world he could tell his secret to, but that’s a kind of love that is found between best friends. I’ve got that with my best friend and it’s one of the greatest things to know that I can always come to him with anything. I think the assumption that just because Cole is gay he must be into his straight friend, could be offensive and yet it’s what we see a majority of. I’m not saying that scenario can’t happen, but I think this friendship is more interesting than a potential storyline where there’s one-sided lust.

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The first two episodes looked like a movie! It must have taken quite a bit of time and effort to film?

Kai: Haha, yes.

Curtis: It took a lot of time, but part of that was because we ran into issues with sound when we were filming – it was windy when we filmed the final scene of the 2nd episode, so we couldn’t use any of that sound. We knew that for the first episode, we had to get everything as near perfect as we could. Our cinematographer, Dan Chen, was amazing, and really brought a beautiful aesthetic to the project. And we worked with incredibly talented composers and sound mixers, too.

Kyle: It took a lot of effort and planning, for sure! As Curtis said, Dan Chen is such a talented photographer, visual storyteller, and just an ace at his job, so achieving the look was probably the part that came most natural. In general, we’re both such perfectionists for production value and imagery, so it was really just the sound that proved to be a bit more of a challenge, to be sure.

When you’re making the episodes does everyone pitch in and trek around San Francisco? Or is it just little bits of filming when you guys have time? 

Curtis: Everyone pitches in when we film. We rent a fair bit of equipment, plus our cast is incredibly busy with lots of projects and plays that they’re working on, so we schedule our shoot dates pretty far in advance. We shoot on weekends and pull 12-hour days, so it’s pretty intense.

Sarah: It’s always wonderful when we do get together because it truly feels like family! I feel like I’ve known the cast for years already!

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Obviously the bathroom scene was a great way to hook audiences in, but has it ever happened to any of you in real life?

Henry: Absolutely! As an actor, I’ve changed my clothes – and have been walked in on – in tons of weird and awkward places.

Kai: Yes. Actors tend to need a lot of outfits and there isn’t always a designated dressing room.

Sarah: I’ve had some close calls, but I think the two funniest moments are when I was trying to do my Christopher Walken impression and narrating me washing my hands and not realizing someone was in a stall. They walked out and just looked at me.

Curtis: I used to live in South Africa, and when I flew back and forth between there and the U.S., I would get off the plane and change clothes because I felt gross after 10-12 hours of flying. One time, the people in the stalls were taking forever and I had to run to the next flight, so I just started changing by the sink. I felt so awkward. Moreso than I do in my everyday life. When we were figuring out a way to make the beginning a bit more of a hook, I thought of that moment, and we ran with it.

It feels like the series is going to have some laughs as well as some really emotional moments is it going to be tough to get all of that in to just 12 minutes? 

Henry: That’s what I love about this project. Curtis and Kyle are tackling some very serious subjects, but have found ways to interject levity, without diluting the overall message. I think we’ve already proven that it can be done in 12-minute increments. It all relies on Kyle and Curtis’ strong writing.

Nathan: Hopefully not. We want to successfully ride that line between funny and sad. That’s where the deepest emotions lie, I think.

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Finally, what would you say makes the star wars of gay web series?

Henry: Sorry, I’m a Trekkie…
Kai: Nathan Brown.
Sarah: Charlie’s Chewbacca impression. Hands down.
Curtis: We’re going to shoot the next episode entirely in front of a green screen.

Kyle: An epic journey of self-discovery filled with colorful and diverse characters, with very complicated relationships and ties to one another, and who are all at the mercy of a supernatural force that is manipulated to control all of their fates.

Nathan: The Wookie. No, who am I kidding? It’s the Millennium Falcon. The sketchbook. This is a show that could happen without it, I think, but the way the sketchbook influences reality is really cool. You guys will get to see more as the show goes on, but it’s a fantastically well thought out embellishment on a good story. Hopefully, people will agree.

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