Jack Canning, the Outs, Gay and Lesbian, web series
Remember the episode of Modern Family when Mitchell gets into hot water because a cock shot pops up on his iPhone with the text message “I’m ur human dildo now” attached to it? Of course not, because that doesn’t happen on network TV, where gay sexuality is neutered by studio execs. But it does happen to the character Mitchell on The Outs, a new Web series about a breakup that is as addictive a 2012 pop culture phenomenon as “Call Me Maybe.”
The Outs (as in a relationship that is on the outs) centers around a recent breakup between semi-hapless but endearing Mitchell (show creator Adam Goldman who says he cast himself because “there’s not a lot of actors in Brooklyn who show up on time”), his aspiring-writer best friend Oona (real-life writing partner and roommate Sasha Winters) and the man with whom they both maintain a contentious relationship, Mitchell’s ex-boyfriend-turned-slut Jack (Hunter Canning). The core of the show centers around the way Mitchell, Jack and Oona deal with the aftermath of the breakup.
When I speak to Goldman via phone, he’s gearing up for the shoot of episode five which premieres September 25. He explains the show’s genesis. “I could ask you what your favorite show about gay people on TV is and you probably wouldn’t have an answer,” he says. “We made this show because it’s the show that we wanted to watch and it doesn’t exist.”
Goldman, 27, is a Massachusetts native. He went to Bard College in upstate New York where he studied acting and directing for the theater. He’s worked in casting, producing and advertising in New York and then one day “…sort of stopped running away from what I wanted to do a little bit and started doing this.”
After putting up $500 for an initial 13-minute episode (a hefty running time for a Web show), which he aired through vimeo at theouts.tv., he appealed to friends and family via a successful Kickstarter campaign and collected enough dough to fund episodes two and three out of an intended six episode season.
Then a funny thing happened; the show started getting “sticky.” After positive mentions on out.com, Towleroad, The Huffington Post and so forth, a third Kickstarter appeal for $8,000 garnered $22,000, enough to fund episodes four through six (plus a bonus seventh).
For a Web series, The Outs looks great. The camera work and direction are akin to the shine of network TV and the actors are competent (especially Canning) and easy on the eyes (again, we’re looking at you, Canning). Most importantly, the storytelling is totally grounded and showcases the real emotions that live beneath a veneer of late-night parties and hookups. “I feel like the iconic moment of the show for a lot of people is at the end of the second episode when Jack and the scruffy character are in bed together,” says Goldman. “That sort of made people realize we were serious about telling this story and we were capable of making people feel something.”
When December hits, the only things fans will be feeling is loss. A second season is in limbo until additional funding comes either via another Kickstarter campaign or if a Web outlet (like Hulu) fronts the cost. “The goal from the beginning has been to get through these six episodes and if that’s all that we make of the show then I’ll be completely satisfied,” says Goldman before cryptically adding, “but obviously there’s a few different ways we could go in the future and I’m excited about all of them.”
Watch The Outs online at theouts.tv. Episode five lands September 25.