November 16, 2016

Director's Diary: Getting By with a Little Help from Your Friends

Jackie and River shake hands.
"The people around us can help us create the art we are compelled to make. How cool is that?"

[Editor's Note: In this new series, Seed&Spark will interview creators of upcoming S&S releases about steps they took on their paths to distribution.]

When Alicia J. Rose decided to make her first original series, she chose to plunder her personal life for inspiration. Like Rose, the main character of The Benefits of Gusbandry, Jackie Rosenbaum, is single, forty-something, and thinking outside of the box, romantically. And like Rose, Rosenbaum found herself with a gusband, or 'gay husband.' 

"Making Gusbandry allowed me to get honest about my life as a single 40-something, post-genX woman in a way I hadn't seen done before," says Rose. "I could make a twisted dark and vulnerable comedy about love without heteronormative ideals driving it. I could show a 'career woman' in possession of a toxic romantic streak, who didn't have 'Prince Charming' fantasies. I could explore feminist/queer advocacy and gender politics while making people laugh so hard they pee a little."

Grab 'em if you need 'em. (We're talking about Depends.)

Making a funny, authentic series was one thing; paying for it was another.

Rose crowdfunded the first $13,000 for Gusbandry via Seed&Spark, and a 'gusband' contributed funds to keep production going after the first pot of money ran out. "Because of that, we were able to finish production, share the season with our friends and backers for a year for free, build our community using social media and on the film festival circuit, and gather an arsenal of press quotes." The plan paid off: Gusbandry was subsequently reviewed and covered by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Advocate, and many more. Of the experience, Rose marvels, "The people around us can help us create the art we are compelled to make. How cool is that?"

Season one of Gusbandry is now available to stream on Seed&Spark, and Rose thinks it couldn't be happening at a better time. In addition to getting a chance to actually make money with season one to help fund season two, traveling across the country, particularly in the South, with Gusbandry this year gave her a peek into why an unorthodox series like this is needed. "So much of the country suffers from discrimination that, I fear, is going to have a much bigger presence in the next four years. With laughter, we will fight and show that love, advocacy, and alliance in the modern world is essential, not anathema, to the American way of life."

Now that the series has wrapped up its film festival screenings, most recently at the prestigious Austin Film Festival, Rose is raring to get season two into production, but it's time to call on fans of season two for support. She just launched a crowdfunding campaign for season two on Seed&Spark.

How will the second season be different from Gusbandry's first? Rose says season one was 'a little political' and 'a lot personal.' "Expect season two to be more like 50/50."     

You can watch the first season of The Benefits of Gusbandry today, then support season twoInterested in seeing more original series like Gusbandry? Subscribe to Seed&Spark for unlimited streaming while funding the exciting films and series you want to watch next, for only $10/month. First month free.

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Been reading nofilmschool for years (it's my homepage), and just attended a workshop this past weekend taught by Alicia. Huge inspiration in getting my ass in gear. Awesome to see her highlighted her. Making Portland proud...

November 17, 2016 at 8:32PM

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Will Cuddy
Filmmaker / Actor
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