Christina and I were invited to be a part of a panel tour on web series a couple of months ago. Kieran Turner, who writes and produces Wallflowers, had reached out to Christina because he had watched our show and thought we’d be a great addition to his panel.
We thought it was a great opportunity for us to expand our audience and meet other filmmakers.
Christina and I are planning on attending as many panels together as possible. This one, however, was scheduled on our original shooting dates for ‘Not Our Living Room’ and ‘We Had Plans’, so Christina encouraged me to go on my own to represent. And who would say no to that? That = Christina. No one says ‘no’ to Christina. Just kidding. I was thrilled to be able to go.
Cinema Q is a Denver based film festival in its sixth year. It is sponsored by The Center and Out Front Colorado, and the panel took place in the beautiful Denver Film Society building. Ernie Quiroz is the programming manager and he coordinated most, if not all, of our travel.
I flew in to Colorado on Friday, July 25th. I’d been patiently awaiting this day, because a) I’m always excited to meet other filmmakers, b) I love anything LGBTQ and c) I’d never been to Denver and I’d heard lovely things about it; I couldn’t wait to explore.
I was the first of my panel to get to Denver. The Film Festival organizers had a volunteer pick me up at the airport. His name was Matt and he was wonderful. I ended up taking the ride with two other filmmakers, Dan and Antonio, who shot Mala Mala, which opened at TriBeCa Film Festival and celebrates the trans community in Puerto Rico.
During the ride Matt gave us a bit of background information on all of the myths surrounding the Denver airport, which made the ride go by quickly.
After settling in at the hotel, two of the four other panelists arrived at the hotel.
Kieran, the organizer or our panel and creator of “Wallflowers” and Jason Cicci, who is the creator/writer/actor of “He’s with Me” arrived at the same time. I had watched both of their shows and was a fan. Both are relatable, down-to-earth comedies about life, love and daily tribulations with LGBT elements.
We all hit it off immediately. I wasn’t expecting such genuinely sweet and hilarious individuals (because Hollywood…), but we could not have had a better time. Kieran, Jason and I got a bite to eat and had a couple of drinks, shared filming stories and personal anecdotes.
Later, we all got a ride to the Film Society. At the building we met up with the final panelist Rick Copp, the writer/producer/actor of “Where the Bears Are”. He was the perfect addition to our team. He’s a super entertaining individual and he has a lovely loud laughter that fills a room.
The panel began on time at 7pm. There were between 20 and 35 people there. I forgot to count. Personally, I thought it was closer to 35, the others thought it was closer to 20… so I’m giving you the range.
I got very nervous as ‘Kelsey’ was about to go on. It was weird, because I only get that way when I have to speak in front of strangers, and that wasn’t the case. It is a very nerve wracking, but also humbling experience to see your work on the big screen. Luckily, Rick was sitting right next to me and was laughing throughout the screening, so that boosted my confidence enough to feel comfortable speaking about our show on the panel.
I did miss Christina, though. A lot.
The questions individuals asked were great. They really seemed interested in the medium and what the mechanics behind the scenes were. It did appear that all of us had self funded the first season, and every season the learning curve improved.
As for what the future of web TV is, I don’t think we came to a clear conclusion. More data is needed, more success stories and more outlets. We all had the consensus we’d stay with web, since it’s affordable and we can tell our stories the way we want to, but as far as how to fund projects, there are many ways to do it, but none of them are easy or consistent.
After the panel the four of us went out to drinks to the ‘Shag Lounge’. It was great. I was exhausted (jet lag from the 2 hour difference). We had a couple of good laughs and parted ways.
I can’t wait for the group to meet Christina and to do more panels. I’m also addicted to all the shows now (yay binge watching!). I will say Rick had the best tagline for his show: “Where the Bears Are, it’s like Golden Girls meets Murder She Wrote with big hairy gay men.” Who doesn’t want to watch that?
All in all, it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had career-wise. And I can’t wait to do it all again. Next time with my partner in crime, Christina Raia.