March 17, 2021

Season 2, Episode 7 (Rob Williams)

Season 2, Episode 7 (Rob Williams)

We were so honored to have Gay Film movie director Rob Williams of Guesthouse Films stop by and discuss his movies and Gay Cinema.  Rob is the director of such films as Make The Yuletide Gay, Shared Rooms, Role/Play, Long-Term Relationship and more.


We were so honored to have Gay Film movie director Rob Williams of Guesthouse Films stop by and discuss his movies and Gay Cinema.  Rob is the director of such films as Make The Yuletide Gay, Shared Rooms, Role/Play, Long-Term Relationship and more.


Transcript

Hello, and welcome to The Q Lounge Podcast. I'm Eric and I'm Gil. Join us as we discuss news stories and life situations. As they relate to the LGBTQIAPK+ experience, please visit us at theQloungepodcast.com and hit that subscribe button or listen wherever you get your podcasts while you're there. Please leave us a five star review and don't forget to tell your friends.

Eric:

Hello and welcome to The Q Lounge. I'm Eric and I'm Gil. And today we are honored to be joined by movie director, Rob Williams. the director of such fame movies as Shared Rooms. Happiness Adjacent, Make The Yuletide Gay, Long-term Relationship. So thank you so much for joining us. How are you today?

Rob:

I am great. Thank you for having me.

Eric:

Absolutely. So how is life treating you right now in this COVID kind of world?

Rob:

Oh, I think I'm just like everyone else. Just trying to get by ready for this to all be over with, even though that's probably not going to happen for awhile, but you just put your head down and go from day to day and forget what day it is and then just keep

going.

Eric:

Yeah. I still feel like we're in 2020, everything just blurs in together.

Rob:

Yeah. It feels like it's, it should be like August or something. I'm not sure. Yeah, definitely.

Eric:

How was it for you to, when you coming out, how was that process for you when you were younger?

Rob:

It w I didn't really come out until, till later, maybe 23, 24. It was a very slow realization and I th I think a lot of that has to do with, the time of when I was growing up. Cause I'm 53, I hatred that, but I'm 53 and so w when I was growing up there, You didn't see any kind of positive portrayals of gays in the media or kind of in, in real life either frankly, or I grew up. And so it was never put out there as, this is something that exists. This is there, there may be a reason why you feel different from everyone else. That wasn't even an option for me. I never even comprehended, what being gay was until, I was high school probably. Just because there wasn't anyone in my very small town who was openly gay. Certainly I didn't see anything in the media. That's Oh, that's me. I should look into that. And, I think maybe that's one of the reasons I wanted to make movies with positive portrayals of gay people because I know growing up, I didn't have that. And I think nowadays people can look to TV and movies and see these portrayals of people who reflect who they are, and that helps them realize who they are. And I think that's a very good thing. I think that's wonderful.

Eric:

That makes sense. Totally. Thank you very much. So I'm assuming, so a lot of that is trying to show positive portrayals is what helps to inspire your movies. Is there anything else that you find where you find inspiration? Does art imitate life or.

Rob:

No, I get that. I get that question a lot. Feels is this movie based on you or is this character based on you and no, I think the movies I've made the characters sometimes are inspired by friends of mine or situations that people have been in. The only thing I think from my life is that I pulled in is in my first movie Long-term Relationship. The two main characters meet. Through a personal ad in the, like the local weekly, and that's how my husband and I met through the LA weekly way back when I think, I don't even know if that's even still published, but they had the ads in the back and that's how we met. Oh, that's awesome.

Eric:

And now we have Grindr and Scruff and all of that

Gil:

delivery system.

Rob:

Yeah. If you try to explain that to the younger people, it's no. There's ads in the paper that you called and you left a message and then you would meet up and then it's like, how does that work? That's so weird. Things change. Yeah. The characters in my movies, I think are based more on just someone, people. I know, people I've met, things you hear about or idealized situations of, this is how I, this is the person I would like to meet, or this is how I wish my parents had been. And all these things. Yeah. Yeah. So I think that's really about it. I wish I had a really good juicy story of Oh no, this movie is totally based on my life, but no, not really. I

Eric:

think that's great though. You said you've taken it from friends and just things you've seen and witness, and that's still life imitating our art imitating life. For you personally, was there any did you have any challenges with coming to terms with your sexuality, any societal or cultural disparities?

Rob:

Yeah. Definitely. I think, and again, going back to my age, I think, a lot of people my age of that generation struggle a lot with it because you're constantly. Being told in society that this is wrong. And like I said, no, it was never presented to me as, this is an option and this is something, Hey, this is you should look into this. So I think for me, it was just a lot of trying to overcome what I had been. Told and taught through society through the town. I lived in school, church, all of that, where you're just told, it's it's not just this, but it's if you're different from anyone that's bad, you should try to be the same. You should try to be like everyone else. You should try to blend in and be, Be exactly like everyone else. And like where I grew up that was like, you should play football and that's all you should care about. And you go to church and you do this and that. And, it's that was just not me. And so it was trying to overcome and deal with a lot of issues that were ingrained in me through church and through society. And then, and even if it wasn't a lot of Directly saying being gay is bad. It was just all these things, movies and TV shows. If you saw a gay person and they were the butt of the joke and it was something saying, Oh, this is bad. And if someone says, Oh, that person's gay, it was a bad thing. Or if it was a Detective show mystery show. It's the gay person was the killer and they killed someone because they didn't want anyone to find out that it was gay because that's bad. It's just a lot of very general things, not anything real specific, but definitely. All those things that were told to me directly and indirectly growing up, make more this is bad. If you go, if you do this, you're a bad person. And just you have to get on your own and go to college. And for me, it was going to college, meeting other people and learning other things and realizing it's Oh no, there are other things out there and you can be different and that's okay. Yeah,

Eric:

you mentioning as far as like people saying Oh, that's bad and gay being used as Oh, that's bad. Or that person's evil or whatever. It reminds me of that Hilary Duff commercial. I don't know if you guys remember it. It's probably dating me a little bit to where she's at a store and everyone's saying, Oh, the shirt's gay. And so they put it back up and she's quit using that word. And she's basically saying we need to relearn how to speak. And so I don't know it's from my high, 10 years ago or something

Rob:

I don't know if I've seen that. That's great. It's true.

Eric:

Yeah. Yeah. It, she goes into this whole long thing and I'm like, Oh wow. Like she's with speaking up then.

Gil:

And then how was your time, especially, you were right. A teenager going to your college years during the AIDS crisis in the eighties. So how was your time period with that? Because like I grew up here in the Bay area and, but it felt like through the dental records, there's a whole generation of gay men lost, completely gone. No one really talks about it or if it does, it's a very. Interesting subject. It's very hard to find people from that generation here. So how was your experience during

Rob:

that? My experience would be, because I didn't really come out until after college. And then there was during that whole time when I was coming out to myself or realizing this about myself was also when not only I was coming up with just society and church and everything saying this is bad. And then you have the AIDS crisis in which. Society is saying in a completely different way, this is bad and you're being punished and it's which is of course not true. And at the time it was very much, it was very scary and that probably, probably contributed to the delay in me accepting who I was, because when you would see. What was going on in the world. It's if you are gay, you're dying. And that was what the message was. It's if you're, if you are gay, you're going to die, period. And it took a long time to come to terms with, that's not true and, we need to. Stop saying that we need to take responsibility for our actions and educate people about, the truth about the AIDS epidemic, which, people today still don't realize. I don't think. And And yeah it's interesting. Cause now there's like a I haven't seen it yet, but there's a British miniseries called It's a Sin. It's out now about the AIDS epidemic in the eighties in London. And I find people commenting on that. It's Oh, I had no idea what happened. It's Oh, honey. I'm sure that I will watch it at some point, but it will be very hard to watch, but it's also, people need to realize it's whatever they show you, it was. So much worse. Yeah. It was the picture that, that they portrayed not only of the AIDS pandemic, but the the gay community at the time was horrific to see, to come. To terms with who I was during that time was hard. And I'm glad there are still some projects and movies that are educating people, but it's also shocking to me. It's absolutely shocking that people don't know. Yeah. Yeah.

Eric:

Yeah. People aren't taught history and people are definitely not taught LGBTQ history.

Gil:

Yeah. Because for us, it was like, I didn't know about until it was the gay men's chorus out here did an anniversary about it, about when the crisis pretty much kicked in here in the city. And then it was just this, They did the full photo of how many people originally were in it versus how many actually lived through it actually survived it. And it was just, I was overwhelmed and they're showing the documents of all the bodies that are coming right through the, a nurse kept a documentary of how many people she interacted with and how many people died in her care. And it was just her log. It was just astounding. And I'm like, how is this not known?

Rob:

Yeah. And it also makes me think like how quickly they were able to get a COVID vaccine put together yet. There's still nothing for HIV. A question to put out there for the scientists.

Eric:

And that's the question we all have.

Gil:

So what was your break into getting to the movie industry and becoming. The dope, a director and someone, like your films. We absolutely love,

Rob:

Thank you for that. First of all. Yeah, we'll

Gil:

get into that.

Rob:

After I got out of college, I moved out to Los Angeles. And when you moved to Los Angeles, I think it's just a rule. You start working on a screenplay, you have to it's the rule. And so I started doing that. I went to a writing group and started developing a lot of different screenplays of different things. And then at a certain point, I started going to the gay film festival and seeing more gay films. And I had the script for Long-term Relationship, which ended up being my first film. And at some point it's why don't we just make this talking to my husband? And it's or at the time he was just my partner. And you'll go to the film festivals and hearing people talk about doing this. And this was backing. Our first film was shot on standard definition, video, and it was just a tiny budget. And, was just inspired by. The films that I was seeing, but I was also inspired by the fact that so many of the films we were seeing at the time were really depressing and they were about the AIDS crisis, but they were also about suicide and bullying and job discrimination and just all of these things that, again, we're saying how bad it is to be gay. And you go to, I'd go to Outfest the LA gay film festival and you see these films. It's I'm so excited to see gay people in films. And it's and they just got bashed and they just lost their job and they died. So one of the things that when I was writing Long-term Relationship, like I just want to write a romantic comedy and they're gay. And there's no issue. And that's what I did. And so at some point after I'd been writing films and seeing films, it's like, why don't we just try doing this? And actually at first we were talking to a friend of ours who had directed a film about him directing it because I have no background at all in film, production or directing. I didn't go to school for that. And. And the, and just scheduling didn't work out and he couldn't do it. And it was like yeah, why don't I just do it? And, I bought directing for dummies, which is a real book. And actually I highly recommend. And I just realized that my love of film, which, I'm a huge movie buff. And I watched as a kid, I would watch movies all the time and you learn watching movies. If you really love them. How to frame the shot and how to, tell a story. And that went into my, the writing part of it. And then we just made it. And the first one went over really well and people were very excited to see a film that was just a standard romantic comedy that, it was structured exactly. You've got mail or any of the, mainstream Hollywood, romantic comedies. And that was the point. And of course, a lot of people were like, how dare you make a gay film? It's just like this. It's no, that's the point. That's the point. It's just like that. And there was no question about the characters being gay and, having any problem with it. And, it had a romance, it had the happily ever after it ends with a wedding. And this was before you could actually legally get married and. We put that in there specifically. It's I want someday, I thought this was just a dream. I want, someday people have watched this movie and to be like, Oh, they're getting married. And that was to not be a big deal, but at the time it was like, this is not legal. We know this is not, people talked about commitment, ceremonies not weddings. And now it's like it's out there and people aren't watching goat. It's a wedding and it's no big deal, but that's how it happened. It just like I saw what was out there and it's I've got an idea. I want to do this. And I was crazy enough to just do it and then keep going.

Gil:

It's beautiful. My favorite of yours is to Make the Yuletide Gay and it's, what am I, I'm sure there's a whole fan base with that, but, I watch it every holiday, since it came out, bought the soundtrack, ready to go waiting for a second sequel. And that film has given me. Inspiration. It was lovely. And at the time, met the same year I met my now husband it was just so cute. It was like, Oh my God, an actual story, no one died. This is lovely. Going through the same emotions of a normal, or I guess not normal, but a relationship. Cause not every day you're getting bashed or you're not, everyone's going to go through that same experience. So if you could tell us a little bit about that movie also, and where that drew out,

Rob:

That was great. That was that was my fourth film after Long-term Relationship, I did Back Soon, which was a kind of a drama with a little bit of a supernatural twist. And then there was Three-day Weekend, which was an ensemble. Drama. And I was always just trying to challenge myself and do something new and different. And I'm also a sucker for Christmas movies. I'm the kind of person who now will watch hallmark channel Christmas movies. And I love that they're doing gay Christmas movies now, too. Yeah,

Eric:

this is actually the first year I watched a lot of Christmas movies because they were doing gay Christmas movies.

Rob:

Yes. Finally. And it's great. I love that during though. It's I'm a sucker for all that. And just in general, growing up, I've always loved Christmas movies, so I thought let's try to do Christmas movie and just, I think the title came before anything else Make The Yuletide Gay of course, write the script from that. And, just the script came pretty easily and it was, just again, I wanted it to do the same kind of Christmas film that you would see anywhere else where, you've got the relationship and there's, they're trying to hide it. And then there's, coming together at the end, they fight and then come back together and all that, just all that stuff. And just, Christmasy Christmasy at Christmasy and And it really at the time also I think I might've seen one other gay Christmas film, a small one, a little indie one. I was like, there isn't this let's make something that people can watch. And just really had no idea that people would embrace it so much and that people would be watching it every year. And every December we get. Emails and messages from people saying, we watch this again with my family and people, especially when it first came out, what really got to me. And I had no idea this was happened. People wrote me and said, I showed this movie to my parents and that's how I came out to them. And it was like, Oh my God, it just, I got that. I just got chills. And it's that actually happened. And it's such a great feeling to know that people could do that. But it's also part of what I want to do with the family is make something that you could watch with your family. It's a gay film, but there's not. Sex. And there's not, there's a lot of double entendres and innuendo, but you could actually watch that with your family and they wouldn't get it. But you can watch it and enjoy it. So it's a family film. And I think that was something that was also very different. I was going to say groundbreaking, but I don't think it's groundbreaking. It was just, it's just different because. When you watch as many gay films as I do. And I have, I wouldn't do something that was different and that would again, show the gay characters in a positive light, and as just real normal people and people that the viewers can relate to. And it was so much fun to make. And you mentioned the sequel and there actually is a sequel in the form of a book. There's The Yuletide Gay Two the novel. Yes, available on Amazon. And yeah, we wanted to make a sequel to that. From the very beginning and just couldn't raise the money for it. And now I think it's just too late to do it, but the book I'm very proud of the book and it told beyond the story that I was going to tell in the movie that we were going to make, just because in a book, Hey, the budget goes out the window. You can do it. Okay. I had so much fun writing that and I'm very proud of it. And I hope people who liked the movie and want to see more, we'll track down the book and read it. But yeah, it means a lot that people have embraced that movie and do watch it every year. So thank you all for

Gil:

it. No. Thank you. Thank you so much for that. Do you have any upcoming projects? Granted we're in COVID, but do you have any upcoming projects so far that you're on the horizon or pondering?

Rob:

I wish I could say yes, but I don't. Okay. And couple of reasons for that one is, COVID has stripped all of the creativity out of my brain as it has for a lot of people. I am so jealous of anyone who has started things during COVID, people are like, I learned a new language. I learned to bake bread. I remodeled my house, all of this stuff. I'm like, I'm just dead, I'm, and I had COVID, I was in the hospital for it. I almost died. I went two months recovering a month. So that was after I got out of the hospital. I was in my bedroom and isolated until I tested negative twice. Okay. And this was early April of last year, so it was very early in the pandemic. And my husband would like. ve plates of food at the door of the bedroom, and then I would take it. And then, so I spent a month doing that and then a few more weeks recuperating. After that I kept thinking, Oh, I should spend this time writing or planning or whatever, and I just can't do it. And I hear that from a lot of people and I don't know how you guys feel, but it's I'm just. Every day. Especially before January, when I new administration took yes everyday before, that was just the most depressing thing every day. You're like, what's going to go wrong today. Yeah. And so you're looking at just everything they're all in, just stripped creativity away from my brain. I've tried to start writing things and it just has not worked. So that's one, one reason that I don't have anything on the horizon. The second reason is that I just, I honestly don't see that I'm going to make any more movies. And the reason for that is that while I have a lot of ideas, a lot of stories I like to tell it is no longer financially feasible. To make an independent movie much less than independent gay movie and get it out there and make money. And, if you, I feel bad cause it's I don't want to discourage filmmakers or new filmmakers. Cause if you have a story that you're dying to tell and you need to get out there, make that movie, get it out there, but just know that. When the DVD market collapsed, the independent film market pretty much collapsed. You can't make money on streaming. I don't think people realize that, we have our movies streaming and you just don't make nearly as much money as he did on the DVD market. So if you're looking to get into this and make this a career, which we did, we tried to, we made nine films over 15 years. We distributed other people's films. We did short film collections. We did soundtracks and we got into the books. And for awhile it's it was a business. And then. Really when the DVD market collapsed, it just it took away all of the financial incentive to do anything and I feel bad. So I really do want to make some stuff and you can do it cheaply. Our last film was shot on an iPhone. You can do that. It can be done. Cheaply Happiness Adjacent was all shot on an iPhone but then you still have to edit it. You still do music, you still have to market it, graphic design, all of that stuff. So for me, it's just very hard to look at it objectively and say, yes, I have stories. I want to tell let's make it happen. Because I've been there and it's really hard. It's really hard to break through the clutter right now. There are a lot of avenues for gay movies. When I started we started my husband, who's produced all the films with me and the other half of Guesthouse Films, our production company when we started the. You would only really see gay movies at gay film festivals. And now there's gay characters on television. There's gay characters in TV movies in mainstream movies. You don't necessarily have to go to a gay film festival to see gay stories for better or worse. I think that what at a gay film festival is usually from gay filmmakers. So it's always a little, I think, a little more authentic. A little more real then what you would get from a Hollywood film that was written by a straight man who, it was just trying to do something different or something and it stars straight people and all this stuff. But yeah, so I honestly, I don't anything in the midst of all of this COVID, it was the thought of trying to do another movie and having to deal with. All of the requirements that you really would have to do to make a movie during COVID, which is, the testing and the cleaning and all of that stuff. And I, kudos again to people who did it. I don't know how they did it. So yeah, I would love to be making more movies. I honestly just don't see it happening. I would love to write more books because I have the two books that we've written and put out, Make The Yuletide Gay, the novelization of the movie and then Make The Yuletide gay two. I've got a lot of things. I think that is something that I could do more easily and I'd like to get more stories. Okay. Okay, perfect.

Gil:

How did you feel about. Especially with like actors where they do cast them, like a straight actor acting as a gay one or transgender to stuff like that. As a director, do you look specifically for a gay character or an openly gay actor to play the role? Or is it just as you feel, or?

Rob:

I think bottom line, it's always who's best for the part, but. I did look for gay actors. When you're doing indie films, tiny, low budget things like we were doing I think it helped to have gay actors who understood the characters. They understood the situations, they were comfortable in kissing scenes and sex scenes. And, That is something to take into consideration. I think the bigger story that right now is should straight actors play gay characters and, as much as I would love for all gay characters to be played by gay actors, I also can set aside, my brain could sense that side, just like I can watch. The Devil Wears Prada. And I know that Meryl Streep, isn't actually a magazine editor, it's just, it's acting. And frankly, Meryl Streep could play both leads in Brokeback Mountain that would still buy the movie. Cause he's, that'd be a great movie, then let's do that. And it's also a matter of the box office. You've yeah. If you're making a Hollywood film, I never had the luxury of, here's. $20 million go make a film, but Oh, you also need to make a film that is going to make its money back international. So it's all those issues of, who's the draw. Who's going to get people in seats. Who's going to sell overseas, all that stuff. And. I think you also look at the sort of how many openly gay actors are there. There are a lot, but if you look at who can open a movie who can open up in like a tent pole, movie for Disney or someone, that list is really small. And if you really want to get into, the box office of it, That's another issue and you can't have, Patrick Harris and Matt Bomer and every single movie that's made about gay people. You can, that's true. And they're trying, but yeah, and good for them for being willing to play gay characters. That's another issue that, that I found even on my really tiny level is As much as we tried to cast gay actors, if they were right. We also had a lot of gay actors who didn't want to play gay. And so you had to deal with that. And or they, we had some actors in our films who were gay playing gay, but when it came time to market the movie, they didn't want to be out as a professional actor, even though they were out in their personal life. So interesting. Yeah. So we had, we would go to film festivals and it's Hey, by the way, can we tell the press here that you're gay? And they're like, yeah, I'd really rather not. It's okay, thanks a lot. There's a lot of issues there with that, but, I'm very proud of the gay actors we were able to use in our films. And I know that. When it comes to the sex scenes, the gay actors get it. Sometimes you have the straight actors and it's yeah, let me explain what we're doing here. Yeah. So that was always fun. Did

Gil:

that answer your question? It did, because that is something that's come up and I've, I had debates with friends and stuff like that, where I'm just to me, it's about a qualifications. If they could do it, they could do it. It doesn't have to be the correct. If you're having a bunch of sales colleagues, you don't like in a movie, you don't have to hire all these people from Macy's or something to play that character. So but like it's all in perspective and representation does matter though. And it does,

Rob:

You want that and you want to see that. Sometimes, I think we need to just take a step back and go what's better for representation is it to have a gay or a trans actor in that role, or is it more important to have that story told. There was some movie that, that Scarlett Johannson was going to be playing a trans character. And there was just all the proof around that. And, that went for, I think it's still being made, but it went from a big budget movie to a, I think it's going to be a TV series, something with, and they're going to get trans actors, actresses in there, which is great. But it's, the story is going to be. Probably seen by a lot fewer people. I don't know is, which one is better? Are we demanding that Hilary Swank give back her Oscar for Boys Don't Cry? No. No, because it was a great movie and a great performance. But if that movie was made today, would she get the role? Probably not. Yeah. For better or worse, because she was great in it.

Gil:

And looking back, do you have any like learnings now that, 15 plus year career, it's okay, maybe I could have done this a little bit differently now that you have the wisdom, and experienced stuff like that for your career.

Rob:

If you think I have wisdom. Yeah. Let me know where it is. Oh yeah. There are so many things that I would do differently. I'm not going to name them. I'm not going to be specific. Of course. But of course you learn and thing is with every movie I learned something. About filmmaking. I learned something about dealing with actors, other stuff about film festivals, about distributors, about the, the international film market. You learn something with everyone. And, I can look at that and say as much as I love, Make The Yuletide Gay, I think Shared Rooms, which is our. Eight film, which is also a holiday movie. It's like Christmas to new years. I think it's a better holiday film. I think it's a better made film then Make The Yuletide Gay because I learned a lot between Yuletide and Shared Rooms, and I'm really happy with the way that movies script came out, the performances, the lighting, the way we shot it. It was like the most fun to shoot. ever. And I've made friends from that where I'm still friends with today. And, I just think that I would I wish the people who loved Yuletide would go and look at Shared Rooms because I think it's. You can see there, aren't the same vein of they're from the same filmmaker, but they're different. And yeah, I really enjoyed

Gil:

that. I did too. I just the nostalgia your part for Yuletide, especially like that's the first one. I was like, Oh my God. No, but I, yeah, I will openly admit it hot here, but.

Rob:

No, it's, and it's, and plus shared rooms was also much gayer. There's a lot of movie, there's a lot of nudity and it was, it didn't have the parents, it didn't have the straight friends and all that stuff. So it was just all about gay characters. Again, gay characters, nothing, but no one has a problem with hat and it's just their lives. And. To me that is much more reflective of my life and the lives of the gay people that I know, which is, now at my age and everything, it's like the people I know who are gay. It's it's not a big deal. I now live in Palm Springs. It's really not a big deal to be gay out here. It's just it's a fact of life. again. I feel like I, I meander when you ask me a question, it's I'm hoping I'm getting to the point, but yeah. Oh, do I have anything I regret? Yeah, there's a lot. I would someday when I'm an old bitter old man write my memoirs and people would be like, I don't remember any of these movies, but interesting.

Eric:

How well, how important do you think gay cinema is for the gay community?

Rob:

I think it's important. I honestly don't think it's as important as it used to be, because for what I said earlier about people being able to see gay stories and gay characters on TV, on mainstream movies. When I was growing up, I didn't have that. When I was started making movies. You didn't see that if you wanted to find a gay film, you really had to search it out. So I think it is important, I think, and again, I'm repeating myself here, but the stories that are made in the world of gay cinema are generally from gay writers, gay directors, a lot of gay actors. They're more true to real-world experiences. They're more authentic. Unfortunately, they're also because of the financial situation they're done very cheaply, and I hate, that's always been one of my pet peeves is when people would review one of my movies and be like, Oh, this was so cheap. It's it has to be, that's how it's done. There isn't any money to be made in this. You have to make it cheap. And people are like, Oh, look at that. It's so cheap. Yes, but you can now watch. Modern family. And there's we, you can't anymore. It's not on, but there's TV show. There's Schitt's Creek. Oh my God. Schitt's Creek. And that show and the fact that, that show exists, people watch that, and it's so wonderful. But you don't have to find a gay film festival to watch that show. And I guess in the best possible world, gay film festivals in gay cinema will become obsolete because we don't need it anymore. I hope not because I think there's always a place for us to get together and tell our stories. In a way. It always frustrated me when, like a gay film festival would have a segment devoted to Queer as Folk or something where it's that's a big budget network thing. And people can watch that in their homes. And it used to be, you needed to come to the film festival to see the gay film, gay movies. And you don't have to do that anymore. And it would be great if these film festivals became more of a supportive environment for indie filmmakers and for young filmmakers and first time filmmakers and, specifically gay filmmakers telling great stories, but I'm encouraged by what you can see in regular, in quotes, regular movies and mainstream movies. And again, I didn't have that growing up. And if some of the first times that I saw gay characters in movies just shocked me. And, a good way and people don't have that anymore and they don't need that. It's not a shocking thing to have a gay character on a TV show or in a movie. And really isn't that great. Yeah. I think progress. Yeah.

Eric:

Do you have any other projects in the works, like even non movie related? Anything that you're doing too?

Rob:

I'd like to get some more books going. I've had several people recently tell me it's whether they've read the books I've written or not, that there's this whole world of gay. Books romance books, or just all the thing, but, there's so many out there and there's such a big audience, a lot of audiences, straight women. A lot of these books are written by straight women which is interesting. I would love to get more books. I've got a lot of ideas for books and, obviously that's something that I could do. And just, it's a lot easier to get out there, then making a movie. So I'm hoping to get into that fingers crossed, like I said, I've got a lot of ideas. I've been reading a lot of books from other people in that genre and, it's very inspiring. It's and it's really shocking to me. How many. Books, there are how big that genre is. So we'll see.

Eric:

That's great. I look forward

Rob:

to it.

Gil:

Yes. So once COVID is officially done, are you planning any trips or where would you and your husband like to travel to next?

Rob:

Yeah, like everyone else. I'm just like tired of being here. Yeah, right now I'm working. My day job is, are driving for a ride share company. Like so many people there. So I get out of the house. I get to see people, it's like the conversation is generally, so COVID. Huh. And it's there's no conversation. I would just like to get back to to go anywhere when this is done, I just. I would love to just take a vacation and go anywhere. I have always enjoyed going on cruises. That's where that's always been my writing retreat or go on a cruise and take my laptop and write. And our last film in case you haven't seen it, Happiness Adjacent, we stopped on a cruise ship and I shot it on the iPhone, took three actors on the ship and just shot. The film guerrilla style and it was so much fun. And it's I haven't got that idea while I was on a cruise writing another film. It's Hey, you can actually do this. So I would love to do that again. Maybe that would get my creative juices going. I was always at dork on a cruise sitting by the pool with my laptop writing and everyone's I have people stop me with don't do work. You're on a cruise. It's yeah, it's work, but it's not it's fun. But no anywhere I, I we don't travel a lot, but it's after all of this, it's just I just want to go somewhere anywhere. Yes,

Gil:

and I totally

Eric:

get the being creative for, I used to be a dancer and anytime I would go on vacation, somewhere in the airplane is where I came up with 90% of my choreography. And I would be sitting there, like in my seat, like and like counting everything out and keep rewind the song. So yeah, I can see where that would spark a lot of creative juices flowing. Yeah.

Rob:

It's, and I'm, I admire people who can just, have like a office in their home and they can be creative there, but it's like when I'm home, I, and it's I sit down and try to write. It's Oh, I need to put in some laundry, I need to do this. I need to run to the store. And it's I've always found my best inspirations of writer when I get away from home and going on a cruise I wrote one of the scripts The Men Next Door, we filmed that after the. We filmed one fo one movie here in Palm Springs called Role/Play. And after that I came back out to Palm Springs spent like five days and wrote the next one. And just, you just get out of your house and you get to someplace different. And I think it just sparks your brain does mine. Maybe when I start traveling again, when this is all over it, I'll get more creative.

Eric:

when you were talking earlier about some actors not being out, but not really being out reminded me of Role/Play. I was like, Oh, that was like in that.

Rob:

Yeah. That I think a lot of that came from dealing with some actors on our earlier films, because we did have, film, I always found it very interesting that, that. Actors for a really low budget K film who don't really have a lot of credits. We're still deciding by themselves or being told by their agents or managers. It's don't play gay or don't tell people you're gay. And it's just, it was really frustrating. And we had a lot of people over the years in all of our projects. The actors would pull out of the movie. After we offered them the role and they accepted and then it's like, Oh, my, my agent or my manager said, I shouldn't play any more gay roles. Okay. Oh honey. You're playing gay roles. So yeah, we had a lot of interesting experiences of that, where it's just and now you just go on Facebook and you can. Look up any actor you want, it's yep. gay, gay, gay. That's interesting. Yeah, but when we started, there wasn't a Facebook, so it's interesting. You can hide it a little bit more and now you can't so for better or worse, but yeah, there was always, yeah, Role/Play was I think born out of that, a lot of that frustration

Eric:

I enjoyed that one a lot as well.

Gil:

Did you have a favorite of your films that you made where this was my signature film or does somebody wear like, this is my absolute favorite. May not be a fan favorite, but

Rob:

Shared Rooms. Okay. Yeah. I think for fans, they're going to say Make The Yuletide Gay, I think Shared Rooms is. For me, it's my favorite script. It was, it's probably my favorite directing experience. And a lot of that was because we shot that in our house. When we still lived in Los Angeles and the other two house, there's three houses in the movie. The other two houses were my neighbors. So our house was the home base. We never had to get up and go anywhere to shoot that movie. It was literally going across the street or down the street. And so it was a really wonderful shooting experience. And some of those actors have become dear friends to me, and it was such a great fun time. But I also think it's a good movie. So if I'd say watch one, there's that Happiness Adjacent which is our last one, which was, I said that what we shot on the iPhone on a cruise ship, if we continue to make movies. And if we had, after that, I think that's the direction. We would go in and that's what I would encourage other filmmakers, even if you really have to make a movie, look at shooting on your phone because you can do it cheaply, you can do it easily. And it's a really good quality. And you can, it just gives you the flexibility to do things that you can't to do when you have to have a big crew with you. I'm really happy and proud of what we did with Happiness Adjacent considering it was. Not even considering it was done an iPhone, but the fact that it was on my phone, very proud of it, but I'm very proud of it. Overall,

Eric:

I had no idea it was on an iPhone. I think that was the first movie of yours that I watched. And,

Rob:

wow, that's great. It was fun. Those three, the Adam Ian and Rachel we went on a ship and shot that and they were game for anything. They were so prepared and they would have to exclude like, okay, we're going to go shoot this day of filming. So let's go. And we go around the ship and find someplace where we could do it. or we'd go into Mexico and it's we're going to be shooting in. Puerto Vallartatoday and just going around and finding these places to shoot and they were so down for it. And that was a lot of fun too. Oh, that's

Eric:

awesome. Yeah, I'm sure that makes it a lot easier when for you, when your actors are willing to go there and embrace it and just go all in. Yeah. And when

Rob:

we were casting that, it was definitely like, here's what we're going to do. You've got to understand what we're doing and be down with that. And they're all like, Oh my God, that sounds like so much fun. And they were. They were so down for and so prepared, Adam and Ian who played the leads in that so much, that movie is the two of them talking, on the ship in Mexico. And they just, were so prepared. They knew all their lines, they were willing to try anything that I said. And, it was so much fun and it, that gave me a lot of freedom because when it's the crew was literally me with an iPhone. Oh there was no sound guy. There was no whining guy. There was, no makeup person, they did all their own makeup. It was, and it was like, so freeing, just to be able to go, let's do this and let's try this. And so I think it's unlike anything else we did, but I'm very proud of it. I'm very. Happy with how it turned out. And I would love to make another movie that way. And I think if we made it another movie, that's how it would have to be. We'll see things for us. Knock on

Eric:

wood, even though that's my head and hoping that you do make another one.

Gil:

Yes. And there was a little question before we go, is I always like to ask this is, do you have a music diva? Music diva, somebody, mine, for instance, I'm a huge Annie Lennox fan Eric, anyone who knows Eric has obviously Janet, he loves the Janet Jackson and it seems like there are, stereotypical of gay men always has their diva. Do you have one?

Rob:

I don't. I'm sorry. I have to turn to my gay card. I

Eric:

turned in mine at least twice in an episode.

Rob:

Annie Lennox? I saw the earth mixing concert.

Gil:

Oh. In college

Rob:

so much. And she's amazing. Yeah. I like early Madonna. But I'm not a Madonna disciple. Yeah, I don't sorry. That's totally

Gil:

fine. No, because it was like, my husband doesn't have one either. He's he loves his trance progressive. So he's there's no diva here.

Rob:

It's like when I really got into music Oh. I like the eighties music when I was like in high school. So it was like, Eurythmics, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran all of that. And then in my twenties, I really enjoy grunge. So it's Eddie Veder, Pearl Jam was my thing. So it's I'm not going to call it even better, my diva. But so yeah.

Gil:

Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Rob:

Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed this. It's been a while since I got to talk about any of my movies. So this was a lot of fun. I appreciate you thinking of me and I hope your listeners can enjoy this and go and find the films and enjoy them,

Eric:

right? Yeah. That's what we're hoping too. Thank you so much for being a part of so much.

Rob:

Thank you. Thank you.

Gil:

thank you for listening to us. We hope you enjoyed your time in The Q Lounge. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions on topics, or if you would like to be a guest or contributor, please email us info.TheQlounge@gmail.Com or through our contact page at theqloungepodcast.com. Don't forget to subscribe to continue listening wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to be our sugar, daddy hit that donation button.

Eric:

Until next time live in your authenticity.