Making and Marketing Queer Films

In this episode of For Love & Money Rae D Magdon talks to the creators of Seasons of Love about Making and Marketing Queer Films
We discuss
  • TelloFilms upcoming Holiday movie, Seasons of Love!
  • How a screenplay turns into a film
  • Fundraising
  • Pitching
  • Online marketing
  • The importance of queer storytelling
Guests in this episode are
  • Christin Baker – Director
  • Danielle Jablonski – Producer
  • Ashley Arnold – Producer
  • Kat Trammel – Writer
Listen to this episode here

Seasons of Love Online

Transcript

please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

[Music] hello everyone and welcome to the lesbian talk shows for love and money I’m your host rady Magda and today we’re doing a little bit of a departure from our usual content normally my advice and my interviews are aimed at authors who are looking to make wider audiences for their books today we’re branching out into new territory we’re gonna talk about how to find wider audiences for films and other LGBT storytelling methods and in that vein we have some incredible guests today to talk about their projects seasons of love we have Kristin Baker who’s the director of seasons of love we have danielle Jablonski and ashley arnold who are both producers we have Kat Trammell who is the writer of this amazing project and I’m so excited to talk to them about it and to tell you guys about it because I’m definitely excited to see the fruition of this project thank you guys so much for joining me today happy to be here thank you alright so can you guys just tell me what seasons of love is where did the concept come from what is it yeah so season of love came about originally Kristen Ashley and I were talking about what kind of movies we want to see out there they’re opting represented for women and one of our favorite types of movies is holiday movies it was around Christmas I think in the lead-up to Christmas we were lamenting the fact that once again there would be a holiday season without a holiday movie for us and we were talking about what we can do about that and the answer is let’s do it ourselves so we we wanted to make great holiday movies we put out a call for pitches and did a competition and we’re overwhelmed with their submissions from people had amazing ideas for holiday movies centering queer women and we ended up picking three pitches one of which was cats so now I’ll turn it over to Kat tell us about the story three stories that kind of go along and each of them had their own inspiration but I essentially just wanted to touch on you know specific themes and then from those themes develop stories that correlated to those themes like the theme of found families and and chosen families which is something that I think a lot of queer people are very familiar with it’s a shared experience and then I also thought about you know the theme of communication a lot of times when communication is presented in queer films it’s a lack of communication between a couple essentially you know the whole lead-up to when are they going to find out that I have a crush on them you know these these unrequited feelings of love that largely are in part due to the fact that queer people can’t really their some of them are afraid to to come out and to you know admit that they have feelings for the people they’re attracted to so I wanted to instead write the Deaf character and and and then a woman who can’t speak ASL so I wanted it to be more of a fun representation of communication barriers not something that is almost a trope when it comes to queer movies but yeah they each of the three stories kind of had their own inspiration that’s incredible I think those are themes that will really resonate with queer viewers a lot found family is one of my favorites to be honest so uh what made telefilms believe seasons of love would be such a successful project what about it stood out to you guys um I was the first one to read it so I think and I immediately I even think in the middle of it I wrote to Kat and I was like oh my god I am in love with this I haven’t even finished it this is fantastic and there was you know it has a bit of a Love Actually vibe to it because there’s three very distinct couples but they all intersect in kind of three different spots in the movie and the characters were all very different they had their own voice and they were very rich and it’s mentioned there were these three amazing themes that all kind of came together and I thought there is something in this for everyone like anyone who watches this will love all the couples but one I know well for whatever reason will particularly speak to two different people because of their own life you know history and it just it’s also just really cute like you just read it and you just absolutely fall in love with all of these all of these characters and they’re just it’s just fun cute everything that you want in a holiday movie that just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside that’s fantastic I mean that’s what we look to movies for is to see something of ourselves reflected in their journeys so in what format will seasons of love be released then and when are you hoping to have the project available for people to see well so it’s gonna be a movie and we are looking to go into production in late May into early June and then we wanted out this holiday season you know we are hoping that you know we can go into post and do all the needed things and so we’re you know we are looking potential you’re doing a theatrical release or doing at least screenings in different cities across the country and having some of the actors and the producers and myself to be there and then it will probably go and live somewhere like on Vimeo where you can download it or rent it and then it eventually will live and sort of rest for a very very long time on telo films.com so that’s kind of the plan right now but we definitely wanted up this Christmas season that is the goal we are committed to having our Christmas stories being told this season even if it’s just one I mean I’m we’re you know you always want there to be more out there right like it’s nice to be the one but at the same time it’s sort of sad so for one else who’s making a Christmas movie please let’s have like at least maybe two this year but if not you will have season of love I’m so excited I was I was so hoping you’re gonna say this year and I’m even more excited to hear that you’re gonna do some screenings that’s incredible I if there’s anyone anyone that’s anywhere close to me I’m definitely gonna go so what fundraising platforms are you using to raise money for their production costs we are using indiegogo.com it’s one that we’ve Tellez done a couple of fundraising campaigns and we really like indiegogo probably because we know it better than the then any of them but but we also just think it’s a really solid platform so we are you can find season of love on IndieGoGo so what’s your goal for fundraising how much money do you need to bring this story to life well we we need more than our goal but like I say in the video we were we’re really lucky we’ve had some amazing supporters and who want to invest in the project and they you know said like listen we really want the community behind this so why don’t you crowd fund and we’ll match you know dollar for dollar what you what you crowd fund so our goal is thirty thousand and you know we’re we’re we’re looking good we’re not quite 50% there yet but but we’re really really close I think we’re at 43% right now and you know we’re we’ve been able to announce already an additional cast member with Jessica Clark hopefully where we’re waiting on a few more that are out there who we’re seeing tapes for that we have asked for so we’re hoping to announce a few more before the end of the campaign just to get people super excited about it that’s incredible I really hope that all of you listeners will check out the campaign and see if this this is something you’d like to donate your resources to because honestly it’s something that I think is needed it’s a it’s a space in our culture that hasn’t really been filled very much and it’s a it’s a story that needs to be told so you kind of touched on this a little bit but let’s hear from our two producers how are you planning to let people know about seasons of love how are you going to introduce to a wider audience aside from screenings how you gonna let people know that this project exists a lot of our community is online so social media is a big way to get out the word in terms of the fundraising aspect of it and also getting people to show up at the screenings and to check it out online as well we use Twitter Facebook and Instagram so we’re on all of those you can find us at teller films on each of those platforms and you can see all the updates we’re posting about season of loved every day yeah we also have a small presence on tumblr so we we do try we know there’s a lot of fans on tumblr as well but yeah I mean social media is incredibly important for getting the word out great I will absolutely add links to all of your social media as well how has the response been on social media what have people been saying about this project once you let them in on it but people I think everybody who is about a project like this is just excited that somebody’s doing it because it’s one of those things that every year a lot of people like why hasn’t this happened why doesn’t whole mob make a movie like this like where is our career of holiday romance so when you tell people that you’re actually doing it there’s a lot of excitement so we’re getting very good response in that sense yeah i you know i think the other thing and I’ve been tweeting about this personally but I think you know it’s interesting that we’re running this campaign right around the same time that you know one day at a time it was cancelled on Netflix and that you know Wynonna app isn’t happening and it’s like every time we find these great shows that we really love that great representation and speak to our community you know it’s kind of like a white dude who’s either messing it up or saying no or cancelling it and so I you know we’re really trying to let people know that by supporting this project and supporting telo you know you have female queer filmmakers who are doing our best to make content for the community and the more that you know we can get that out in the more that it’s supported the more content that we’re able to make and you know we won’t be shutting something down because it just does speak to us for whatever reason yeah the great thing about crowdfunding and I think why it’s so important right now is that it allows more queer filmmakers and people like us who want to make this content for our community it gives us a ability to do that without having to go through the gatekeepers of mainstream media so it really gives our community a chance to get our voices out there it’s so important and as someone who is devastated when one-day-at-a-time got cancelled like it’s more important than ever because when we do get the representation we don’t know how long it’s gonna last yeah and also having it from the source from queer filmmakers and content creators is so it makes it so much more authentic and real and it’s just needed it’s needed you’re listening to the lesbian talk-show the lesbian talk-show con you have of podcast information do you have any advice for authors and potential film makers and creators of all kinds who want to expand their audience specifically queer women creators and sapphic creators so for me I’m I have a background I was an English teacher for five six years seven years and I you know learned from from my wife thankfully that uh that yours yourself were yourself worth your measure of success should be about what makes you happy and while teaching made me happy it wasn’t something that I really felt fulfilled in so the first thing you have to do is you have to agree with yourself that that writing is it’s absolutely 100% what you what you want to do is it’s what makes you happy not successful it’s what makes you happy and then after that you just have to you have to write you have to sit down and write you have to not clean your house and and you know worry about all the little things and all the things that make you procrastinate you just have to write and then once you get a project that you you are happy to share you you start pitching and you go through the process of pitching and then you listen to the critiques and and you you have to believe that the people who do give you could treat critiques want to see you succeed so you take them and then you make your story better and then you you keep at it and you keep at it and then you get to the point where you you have something special and hopefully someone else sees it it’s special to that I mean that’s but that’s speaking from my own experience I I think I got extremely lucky this is my my first feature film script that I have ever written and and yeah I think it was just the right time yeah I just got lucky so but but cat also had a talent and she had a script so it’s one thing to be lucky but it’s like you have to also be prepared that when it’s time when you have the opportunity you’re ready to go and you have something that’s good just gonna say the other thing is to just get out there Network as much as you possibly can to because we had met had before we even started working with Chad and then we before we even done our previous project that I was involved with so we I think we first met her three years ago now at the Calexico nuevon so getting out there going to events where there are people who are interested in the same things as you or people where there are gonna be people who are gonna be singing the things we want them to produce and just making those connections is it was a really important thing thing to do from the get-go yeah and and I will also give cat a lot of credit because she won’t say this but the thing and I also sort of I’m calling me a bit of an a-hole but when I so I had met Kat at Alexa Con in 2018 because she had done a pitch a pitch to production with me and then when I when she was involved in the project passage we got to spend a lot more time together she or her wife rather said you know was she pitched to you at CLECs icon and I felt really bad cuz I did not remember but when it was ready for when when I said to Kat like listen we’re doing another one and I think you should submit she had a script that was amazing and this opportunity that she had so you know just because I didn’t choose or teller didn’t pick her first pitch she didn’t just stop she didn’t give up she kept going out she kept networking she kept meeting and as someone who reads a lot of scripts goes to a lot of network networking events you hear scripts and stories and ideas all the time it’s it’s the currency of this industry and so you’re literally like barged with it on a daily basis so it’s the more you can get out and network and make connections and build relationships with people just like Danielle was saying and klutz akan is a great place for that there’s some queer YouTube events that are a great place for that so anytime you can get out get in front of producers and and network and get to know them there’s one more likelihood that when it’s time for you to send something in they’re gonna be paying more attention I could not agree more and I’m so grateful that you shared that that advice with all of us because I think it’s so incredibly relevant and that was that was the other thing I was gonna bring that around to if people have a story that they want to submit to tell oh when are you guys open for pitches what are the opportunities where people could pitch to you yep well we always have a picture production at collects icon so if anyone’s gonna be there you’re welcome to join the pitch to production at collects icon we also open up usually sometime in the summer our pitch to production contest that’s that’s a non holiday pitch to production and the second time is I think I’m looking at Danielle and Ashley because to see if this is right but I think we might continue to do the holiday pitch to production because we just really want to continue to put out holiday movies for the queer community so we we have two different times of the year that you can send it and you don’t have to have a full script we if we like your pitch we like your idea the two projects who that are in development right now Christmas at the ranch and Marian gay that one pitch to production did not have us have anything written they just had a really good idea that we ended up really liking and so now we’re working with them to develop their screenplays so there’s two times during the year one is holiday specific and one is non holiday specific that’s awesome I will be sure to include links to some of that information especially clicks Lathon is a great way to network I’m gonna be there at my own table I’m hopefully gonna go to some of the production panels I’m really excited and so my final question how can my listeners help you guys make this a reality please tell us what we can do to make sure that seasons of love becomes available this Christmas season so we all can enjoy it but please go to our IndieGoGo page and support us at whatever level you can and also please spread the word post about it on your social medias tell your friends anybody might be interested in supporting the film and direct them all to the IndieGoGo campaign so that we can get it me okay so I will say this about the subject of money you might feel like a couple bucks won’t make a difference but honestly being able to support these kinds of queer independent projects honestly it is a values system it is a way to put something into the world that you believe in and that will benefit your community so whenever I see projects like this I always want to give what I can and even if I can’t give money to give my time and attention and viewership and to let other people know who might be able to chip in a few bucks I mean that is so helpful to making these projects into a reality and it’s so valuable to all of the viewers who are starved for content like this it’s important so I would highly encourage you to share this around to throw in a few bucks when you can to talk about it to go check it out just it’s it’s a great opportunity to make something awesome and you can be a part of it and that’s honestly an exciting gift when you get to be a part of making something like that so thank you guys so much for being on the show for talking about seasons love do you have any final comments no we just want to thank you so much for having us on and for giving us a part of your platform and your audience and and putting this in a time frame that is gonna be the most helpful for us so we just absolutely thank you for your help and support in this honestly it’s my pleasure it’s something I really believe in and something I as a viewer want to see so part of the motivation is selfish I want to watch this thing so that’s the other thing I will say Kat has written such such a great script as soon as any of the actors have read it they’re like I’m in I’m in I’m in I’m in I love it it’s great and so when you have that kind of response from actors it’s just so fantastic so we know that you all will like it too I am absolutely sure that all of my listeners will love this and will be eager to support it so thank you so much for being on the lesbian talk show it was such a pleasure to talk with all of you about seasons of love and about producing in a slightly different medium than I usually discuss on this podcast if you want to hear more please go to the lesbian talk shows patreon page where you can hear exclusive content unavailable anywhere else and if you want to continue the conversation about seasons of love or the podcast or anything else queer then please go to the lesbian talk shows Facebook group where you can join in the conversation thank you and have a wonderful two weeks [Music]