Interview: Maeve Forde

Today we’re joined by Maeve Forde. Maeve is a phenomenal actress and writer. Her main passion is acting and she acts in sketch comedy, plays, short films, and television. Recently she has written and acted in a webseries entitled, “Suddenly Super?” which is now available on YouTube. When she’s not acting, Maeve enjoys writing and currently has a novel in the works. It’s clear she’s a dedicated and passionate artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Forde Upper

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an actor and a writer. I list actor first, because that’s my primary job right now (even though I’m still starting out and I have other jobs to pay the bills) but I’m also a writer.  I’ll write just about anything – I’ve got a novel in the works, I’ve written a web series that is out now on YouTube, I’ve written fanfiction for years. I’ll act in just about anything too – so far I’ve done sketch comedy, plays, web series, short films, and television.

What inspires you?

A lot of times when I start to write, I have a specific scene, line, or emotion in mind that I’ll come up with that I really want to nail, so I’ll fill in everything else around that.  Ultimately, the scenes and lines come from an emotional basis anyway for the characters, so I’m inspired by the idea that I can make these characters feel something and make it honest and earned.  I know that art can have an impact so I use my writing a lot to explore different emotions and different power dynamics, but I always want to make sure that it all makes sense and doesn’t feel forced or like I’m trying to force an audience to feel something that’s not there.

I have a similar approach to acting.  I’m inspired by what’s in the script primarily, but while taking into account that emotional impact.  So, I guess I’m inspired by that impact; I’m inspired by the idea that when someone is taking in the art I’ve made, I’m trying to make sure they get something out of it, so my job is to ensure they do.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve been writing creatively for pretty much as long as I could write at all.  I remember being in grade school and having like special notebooks to write stories in when we had downtime in class. I always dreamed of being a published author.  I wrote a lot of original stuff until high school, when I wrote almost exclusively fanfiction.  I’m 22 now, and in the past three or four years or so I’ve been getting back into writing original stories in various forms.

I acted in school plays growing up, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do until high school.  High school was when I started getting really into fandom and writing fanfiction and I started getting connected to characters rather than to stories, because it was individual characters that brought me into fandom rather than overarching plots and mythologies.  And since I got so into characters and how they interacted, it got into my head that I could play characters one day, and that’s how I got serious about acting.  I didn’t really tell anyone for a while that I was interested in acting seriously but I’d act out the stories I wrote, and then once I got to college (to study History) I took acting more seriously and auditioned for student projects there.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I have a rule for myself now that I always include queer characters and that none of them die. It’s not really a signature and it’s not something I can really control when I’m acting in someone else’s piece, but for my own writing, it’s a definite rule.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is okay to take time to figure out what you want!  And it is okay to want multiple things!  I studied history in college and right out of school, I had a job in a history museum because that was a dream of mine, too.  There’s this myth that in order to be a ~real artist~ you have to go for it entirely. There’s this romanticized idea especially regarding actors but really in probably every facet of artistry, that says you shouldn’t have a safety net and that romanticizes the idea of being on your last few dollars but being so committed to ~the art~.  There is nothing wrong with doing it halfway until you can do it fully.  There’s nothing wrong with doing it halfway, or 70% of the way, or 12% of the way, or whatever if that’s what you want.  Whether you act professionally or you act once a year in your local community theater, you’re still an actor.

You can have a day job in an office or a restaurant or a library or whatever and still be an artist. Your level of commitment is up to you, and no part of it needs to be performative.  If you’re comfortable going all in, good for you!  Do it!  If you aren’t, you don’t have to!  You don’t have to be one thing, you don’t have to struggle and suffer for your art if it can be avoided, and you can change your mind about all of that at any time. Commitment is good, but it’s also flexible.  Let it bend so it doesn’t break.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as asexual panromantic.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

To be honest, I’m pretty closeted professionally, especially in acting circles.  I’ve yet to do anything that required any sex scenes or anything like that, though I am generally open to it.  Right now, I feel like as an actor starting out, it’s in my best interest to keep it quiet.  Even in roles that don’t include sex scenes, there is still a lot of expectation on female characters, and in turn their actors, to be seen as sexual beings.  We still see actors struggle to get work after coming out as gay, so there’s still an atmosphere, especially among actors starting out, to keep it quiet, because no matter how good our acting may be, there are still people who, when they know we are out and see our work, will still refuse to see our character as anything other than what we are out as. I’ve had conversations along those lines with people in and out of the industry, who just love to mention that when an actor is out, they “just can’t see their character as straight.”  Bonus points if the actor comes out while their tv show/movie series is still in progress, and the person just outright adds an “anymore” to the end.  There’s a definite, accepted attitude that queer actors don’t need to be believed when they play straight and that it’s a-okay to just admit that.  There are pretty famous actors who are out as ace like Janeane Garofalo and other famous people who are out and it doesn’t seem to have affected their work, but many came out after they were already solidly in their field.  So, I think I have a ways to go until I can be more comfortably openly out, though I am out with one actor I worked with on a play.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That something can ~turn~ us at some point.  I’m open about my asexuality with romantic partners pretty much from the start, especially on dating apps.  I’ve had quite a few encounters on apps along the lines of “well you haven’t found the right person.”

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I would tell that it whatever they are feeling is okay.  It’s tough to find a label that fits, it’s tough to accept that orientations are on a spectrum and they may move around on that spectrum or they may not, it’s tough to know that there are people who won’t understand and won’t bother to try. But the most important thing is that you feel what you feel. You can’t run from what you feel, and what you feel is okay.  It’s good. I live in the US, so I know the culture around sex here can be really, really tricky to navigate but it is easier when you know where you’re going.  There are a lot of great resources to make you feel more comfortable in the ace community; I know that when I first figured out I was ace I panicked but then I looked around on the internet and found a whole community of people like me.  It helped to see people of all ages, of all backgrounds so comfortable with who they were. So, if you’re struggling, reach out. You don’t even need to talk to anyone; just seeing someone be comfortable in their skin to can be enough to make everyone else a little more comfortable.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Instagram is at maeve.forde and my web series “Suddenly Super?” is on YouTube now at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL-prcEKVIVCY5Zoz3rXDCQ.

Thank you, Maeve, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: goatbunny

Today we’re joined by goatbunny. goatbunny is a phenomenal visual artist who works in a number of different mediums, both traditional and digital. goatbunny has done shows in the past and has a number of different projects they’re currently working on, including creating her own Tarot Deck. It’s clear she’s a passionate and driven artist, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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Hammer

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I paint and draw using both traditional (pencil, ink, watercolor and illustration marker are my main tools, but I also use gouache, acrylic, spray paint, crayons, and pretty much anything else I find) and digital media (I’ve recently gotten back into digital media so I’ve been exploring more of that). I dabble in almost everything else, I’ll try anything once. I’ve sculpted in the past, and I sew a lot when I don’t really feel like drawing or painting, by hand and with a machine. I am currently creating my own Tarot Deck and collaborating with a fellow artist on a card game, activity/coloring books and I have started to experiment more with non-traditional styles of animation with him using “2-D” type of puppets using cardboard and even felt. I have recently created my second short film.

What inspires you?

I try to gain inspiration from everything around me. I try not to focus too much on other visual artists like myself as I try to avoid the trap of having other drawing styles impacting my own too heavily. I am very inspired by music, films, books, etc. I just try to be as observant as possible. Meeting up with other creatives also helps a lot. I have a lot of musicians and artists, and a couple of writers in my friend circle so I like to think we inspire each other.

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Llamacorn

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve pretty much been drawing and creating since I was able to hold a pencil in my hand. I have always loved cartoons, comics, animated film and even videogames and had always wanted to be an animator, cartoonist, illustrator or character designer when I was younger. I HAVE always wanted to be in a creative field, even if I was steered in other directions. Even when I was studying the sciences in school or during my short career in the medical field, I never stopped drawing and now I can finally say that art is what I do full time.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I can’t say that I really have a unique signature, aside from signing “Goat” when I do remember to sign my pieces. Lately I have been watermarking any pieces I have posted publicly online, and have also been incorporating my Goatagram logo in digital work (It’s basically a pentagram with a goatbunny head – a bunny with goat horns).

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Retro Goatagram Nob

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Just keep creating. Even if you don’t end up being a full-time artist, always make time for art. It’s not the easiest career choice. I’m 35 and have only been a full-time artist for the past 3 years, so I can feel the difference, financially. I almost want to say my parents were right and that you should find a steady, well-paying job but to be honest, I traded said job for the sake of my mental health and I can say that, for the most part, it was worth it.

If you do choose art as a career, you may feel discouraged. You may feel like you want to quit. You may even become disgruntled about what you see in the art world. It’s important to remember why you create and why it’s important to YOU. It also helps to have a close, supportive network to help you through any of the rough patches you may hit.

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Vidscreen

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I feel like I discovered asexuality waaaaay late in the game (early-30s) so I found it really difficult to figure out where I fall in the spectrum. In retrospect, I feel like I could be a grey-ace but it’s hard to really tell what I really felt and what I thought I SHOULD feel. So I generally just use the more general asexual term because I am at least certain about that.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

It’s hard to say as I tend to keep my personal life out of my work for the most part. My city has a large LGBTQ+ community, and a large arts community and they both overlap. I have been invited to fairs run by queer artists through a mutual friend but I feel like ace representation wasn’t strong on there at all. The community feels very overtly sex favorable, and most art is very inundated with social commentary, especially about sexuality, gender and orientation. It even felt like there was even a certain “dress code”. Since my art doesn’t have any specific themes about gender or sexuality, didn’t “look” like them, and am cis in relationship with someone of the opposite sex, I didn’t feel very welcome. Not to say that I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel very included by some of the merchants/organizers. I’m not entirely sure if that counts, but it felt like if I didn’t openly express my sexuality or orientation, I don’t really count or am truly accepted. I tend to not let situations like that get to me since I want people to relate to and judge my art, not who I am.

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What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Of the few people I came out to and had to explain it, the main misconception was basically that I just don’t like sex. In the case of my husband before we were married, he thought it meant that I didn’t/couldn’t love him or didn’t want to have sex with him. After having explained it a few times, he finally understood that I am capable of love, but sexual attraction is something I don’t experience. I’ve come to realize that for a lot of people, it is very difficult to separate sexual attraction, romantic attraction, love and the act of sex itself.

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What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

That one’s tough, since I feel like I’m still learning a lot about my own every day. I guess: Keep reading up on it. Do some introspection. Be open to what you learn. Accept the fact that your orientation may change. Just learn to accept who you and what you’re going through at the moment. Finding community among others who accept and support who you are and what you are experiencing will also help, whether it’s in real life or online.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

My Tumblr is http://www.church-of-goatbunny.tumblr.com/
And Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/churchofgoatbunny/, but it’s mostly just posts shared from my Instagram: at winner.gets.a.rake.
I do have a Patreon which is a huge help for self-employed artists: https://www.patreon.com/goatbunny
Work can be purchased directly through me or my Big Cartel shop: https://churchofgoatbunny.bigcartel.com/

7. Tarot 17 Scholar
Tarot 17 Scholar

Thank you, goatbunny, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Audrey

Today we’re joined by Audrey. Audrey is a wonderful young filmmaker who is just starting out. She has just started posting her films on social media, including on YouTube. Audrey mostly makes films that fall into the comedy genre. It’s clear she’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of her, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an aspiring film maker I guess you could say. I’ve been making short films for a while, but I just started posting some on YouTube and social media. I like making comedy short films the most because they get a message across in an enjoyable way. I’m hoping to learn more about professional film in college next year where I’m majoring in Film Studies!

What inspires you?

Life itself really inspires me. It sounds weird but many of my film ideas come from my experiences in life. I like to put a funny spin on things because if you can’t laugh at life what’s the point! Pinterest also inspires me. I love that app.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I actually started high school thinking I was going to be either an Engineer or a Teacher! Needless to say, that changed. I didn’t really realize that I wanted to become serious about Film until last year. I had grown up around it, my dad taught a high school Film class, but I never seriously thought of it for me. It’s when I started making short films that I realized how much I loved it and would actually like to take it to the next level.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not currently, but if I start to make my YouTube channel more official, which I’d like to, then I’ll probably start to develop an intro/outro that puts my name on my work.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Art doesn’t have to just be a hobby. If you take what you do seriously, then you should focus on it. The world needs more art and what you do is important. If you’re nervous about your friends and family seeing your work, don’t be. They are almost always going to be the most supportive people in your life. Also, social media is an amazing platform for art. Use it to get your work out there. Even if you don’t think it’s good, someone else will. And who knows, maybe you’ll inspire an upcoming artist to focus on their own art!

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I currently identify as heteroromantic asexual. I say currently, because I’ve never felt a strong connection for a boyfriend so I haven’t ruled out Demisexual in my future. But for now, asexuality is the sexuality that I feel fits me.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not really because I embrace my sexuality so much. In fact, I’m even looking to do some skits about asexuality because it’s so underrepresented in our media today.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That it’s just a phase. I’ve been fortunate enough that no one has said it to my face, but it’s definitely been implied when I tell people. When I told my mom she was very supportive. She loves learning about sexuality and gender identity but I know she doesn’t fully understand it so I don’t blame her. Even she implied that my sexuality might change as I get older. Which could be true, but for the moment identifying as asexual has made me understand more about myself and has given me an identity and a group of people who I can relate to.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

If you think you might be asexual or somewhere on the ace scale, go with it. If you feel differently in the future there’s no problem with that. But for me, finding an identity has made me much happier and I feel like I belong. Many people don’t know what asexuality is and because of that, student can feel out of place and like there’s something wrong with them because they don’t feel sexual attraction. That’s why I really feel we need more representation in the media. The way I figured out I might be asexual was through a Cosmopolitan article interviewing a couple asexual women. Little things like that can do wonders for confused individuals like me who had never heard of asexuality. But if the media won’t represent us then it’s our job to spread the word.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

You can check out my YouTube channel here!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzHaJ97rA4U_tlVnXIEiC4A

(The channel name is audreylee but there are several people by that name on YouTube)

Also check out my Tumblr: audgelee. I’ll be posting a bunch of ace jokes and anecdotes that hopefully some of you guys can relate to!

Thank you, Audrey, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: M. Rubio

Today we’re joined by M. Rubio. M. is a wonderful student filmmaker who specializes in short films. His films fall into a variety of genres: comedy, horror, drama, and even surrealism. When he’s not working on films, M. is writing, mostly nonfiction essays. It’s clear he’s a passionate artist with an incredibly bright future ahead of him. My thanks him for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, I make short films and I write a lot. I guess category wise, I would be considered a student filmmaker. The stuff I publish are usually nonfiction essays about my life or thoughts. In terms of short films, I post occasionally, sometime random stuff, on my YouTube Channel. I intend to release a four-episode miniseries sometimes this summer though.

In terms of the art itself, the stuff leans towards awkward, dry, and self-aware comedy. Occasionally I lean to some drama or just pure surrealist comedy, it mostly depends on my mood or if I am assigned to make something that requires that tone.

My personal favorite work so far is this short where I put a voice over to a college horror film. This film is pretty much my style in a nutshell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ioj8HpSc6k&ab_channel=CannonBlasterakaM.Rubio

What inspires you?

Depends on what you mean specifically. In terms of the stuff I make, I am inspired by the things around me. I have a very Seinfeld mindset in that I write and film what I know.

In terms of inspiration in general. I admire people that have a strong moral ground or are amazingly creative. Bonus points if you are both. Examples include Jim Henson, Fred Rogers, Hayao Miyazaki, Fumito Ueda, and Lemony Snicket.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

The turning point was watching Roger Ebert’s commentary on Citizen Kane. Citizen Kane is great, but the commentary adds a whole new layer for me. It opened my eyes to a whole new world of storytelling. I watched it when I was a junior in high school, and I thought film was simply pointing a camera at something. The Roger Ebert commentary completely changed that.

I always wanted to be a story teller of some kind (I always had an active imagination), and that commentary convinced me that the film medium is the one I should pursue is film.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

Not really. I guess there was always a layer of self-awareness, awkwardness, or dryness to my work, but there was never a unique signature of some kind.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

It is okay if you don’t know everything or aren’t good at everything. No artist is an expert on their craft. You don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be good and strive to be better. That was a hurdle that I wished I learned early in my life. Art can be an intimidating field to get into.

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I identify as hetero demisexual.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

No prejudice, but tons of ignorance. Thankfully, it wasn’t the toxic ignorance. But almost everyone I talked to about my sexuality, I had to explain to them what asexuality/demisexuality was. This is not a problem for me, since I love explaining my asexuality. It never gets tedious. Mainly because, I love seeing the light bulbs light up when I do explain it.

That said, I am particular with who I come out to out of fear of prejudice. I live in the South, so certain people have a more hostile ignorance. You can usually tell which ones are which just by having a five minute conversation with them.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexuals are all frigid. One of common things I have to clear up are the fact that asexuals can be sex positive. I have to explain that there are a variety of spectrums with asexuality, and with sexuality in general. Not only is allosexual/asexual a spectrum, but how we view sex is also a spectrum.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Sexuality is an identity and identity is very fluid. That said, there are a lot of people, some of those people aggressive and toxic, that don’t know it or don’t believe it. There will be times where YOU have to clear up misconceptions. With that, you have to be an expert on sexuality.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

There is my YouTube channel, which I put all of my stuff on. Give it a look: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCha-tfYIjwdzylWfcz1BDGw?&ab_channel=CannonBlasterakaM.Rubio

I also blog on occasion. I usually put it on this site: https://themrubio.blogspot.com/

Thank you, M., for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Noreen Quadir

Today we’re joined by Noreen Quadir. Noreen is a phenomenal filmmaker, actress, and writer. She has acted in stage productions and short films. Noreen also writes screenplays and has written a feature length script about an asexual character. When she’s not working on film or stage, Noreen also writes in other forms too. She has written a children’s book, which she plans to self-publish soon. Noreen is an exciting artist and definitely someone to watch in the future. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

NoreenHeadshot

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m an actress, writer and filmmaker with a background in theater and media studies. Aside from having acted in stage productions, I have also acted in short films and did background work on TV. I have also written and produced my own projects. I wrote a feature length script which is still in works, but I’ve produced a short scene from the script. The film is about a high school girl who is discovering that she’s asexual. And as she is realizing this, she is struggling with feeling like an outsider, especially when no one around her believes that she is asexual or that asexuality is even real. In addition to screenplays, I write in other forms and have written a children’s book which I intend to self-publish soon.

What inspires you?

I get inspired by so many things. I certainly get inspired by bits and pieces of my own life, but I have never really written or produced anything that exactly mirrors my life and experiences. It’s a little too intimate for me and I value my privacy. The feature length screenplay I wrote has certainly been inspired by my experience as an asexual, but it is still a very different story. The character is a bit different and how she discovers, processes, and handles her self-discovery is extremely different than my own story. That of course made it more fun to write because I got to invent stuff and had to look for inspiration from other places. I do get inspired by other artistic works including music, books and other movies. Inspiration is something that just happens organically for me. I can’t force it, which can sometimes be frustrating because when I want to write something, I am out of ideas. But when I do get inspired, I am able to put the words down which is always a great feeling!

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I suppose it all started when I took dance classes around the age of 5. I loved performing and being up on stage. And then as I got a little older, I developed an interest in singing and music. I sang in my school’s choir and I also played the flute. Sadly, I cannot play the flute anymore. But, I remember it was a lot of fun. I also learned a little bit of piano. So, I had a huge appreciation for the arts at a very young age. And eventually, I got interested in acting and performed in plays in high school and then decided to study theatre in college. And then from there, I wanted to create my own projects. I was also a writer from a young age. I remember I used to write a lot of short stories and poems in elementary school and my teachers would compliment me on my works. I was not getting high marks in math, but I found my skill in writing. And in fifth grade, my teacher encouraged me to become a children’s author and that always stayed with me.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t think I have any special symbol, but I love the color pink. It’s my favorite color and it is what I wear in my headshot. My room back at my family’s home is also pink. And it is often that you will see me in that color. 🙂

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

I would say to really invest in yourself and in your dreams. Whatever it is that you want to do – be it writing, filmmaking, performing, drawing, singing, etc., make sure you’re really committed to it and spend time each day on your craft. If you want it to be more than a hobby, then you have to do more than just dabbling in it here and there. It’s good to invest in adequate training, be open to feedback and learning, and exercise your artistic muscles daily.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m an aromantic ace.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

A little bit, but not any more than I’ve encountered in other areas of life or in general. Since most of the people I meet in my field are professional contacts, my personal life isn’t much of a topic anyway. Occasionally, people have said ignorant things because sex is a big part of the film industry and it has been kind of implied that if you don’t fit in with that, you don’t fit within the industry. I suppose the only way I handle stuff like that is by calling people out on their ignorance and letting them know that despite the sexual liberation, there is still hypocritical close-mindedness when it comes to sex.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

It’s really hard to pinpoint one, because there have been many. I think probably one of the most common ones is that asexuality is impossible or that if you claim to be asexual, you either have experienced abuse or trauma, you have a medical disorder that is causing you to feel that way or you’re repressed. Some people think it’s just a phase and that you haven’t met the right person yet. I used to get a lot of comments like that when I was a teenager and when I was in college. There’s also this view that if you dress and act very feminine, wear makeup and perfume, etc., that you can’t be an asexual. I think some people equate asexuality with unattractiveness and a neutral gender expression.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

I would say to know that asexuality is not abnormal and that they are not the only ones in the world with this orientation. And even though it is still not widely acknowledged, it really will take people being confident with their orientation to make the difference and to change how people view asexuality. So I would say to embrace yourself and that your orientation is just one aspect of you. It doesn’t define your entire self and there are so many other interesting aspects of a person. I tend to define myself and other people by choices and how you treat and interact with others. That’s what really matters at the end of the day.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Here’s my YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/ZizzyNQ

And this is my actor’s website: https://www.noreen-quadir.com/

Thank you, Noreen, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Bri Castellini

Today we’re joined by Bri Castellini. Bri is a phenomenal filmmaker who specializes in short films and webseries. She’s the creator of Sam and Pat are Depressed, a series that follows depressed roommates Sam and Pat as they help each other navigate the inherent awkwardness of therapy through profanity, humor, and take out. Bri has gotten a lot of attention from the ace community for the short film Ace and Anxious. Bri is very dedicated to own voices and in both these works, there are explicitly ace characters. It’s clear she is a dedicated and passionate filmmaker, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

Bri

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

I’m a writer and filmmaker, based currently out of Brooklyn, New York. My first web series, Brains, has two seasons plus two extended universe projects (a miniseries and a short film), and is about a college student post-zombie apocalypse who’s obsessed with getting her 5 year plan back on track, starting with a boyfriend. I wrote, produced, and edited the series, as well as played the lead character Alison. You can find Brains at brainswebseries.com. My second web series, Sam and Pat are Depressed, is actually in the process of “airing” right now on SeekaTV (Seeka.TV/samandpat– free to view but you have to make an account). It’s about two roommates who deconstruct their therapy together in funny ways to find humor in their mental health journeys. I wrote, produced, and edited this series as well, and play the character Sam, a biromantic asexual woman. I also have a short film that’s made quite a few rounds on Tumblr- Ace and Anxious, about an asexual woman named Emma with generalized anxiety disorder who, in attempt to curb her anxiety without paying for medication, places a “free sex” ad on Craigslist, because she learned of the stress-relieving “powers” of sex and wanted to test that out. I wrote, produced, edited, and directed that film. You can watch the full film on the LGBT+ streaming service REVRY or for free on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/215587592. I’ve also produced half a dozen other web series and shorts for friends and fellow filmmakers.

What inspires you?

Tons of stuff! I’m a big fan of apocalypse fiction, people arguing, and characters put in situations at odds with their comfort zones. Sometimes a friend will make a joke and that’ll become a web series (as in the case of Sam and Pat, which is based on conversations I’ve had with my good friend Chris Cherry. He’s at truestoriesaboutme on Tumblr). In terms of people who I consider career inspirations, I really look up to multi-hyphenates like Mindy Kaling, Amy Sherman-Palladino, and the indie filmmaker Kate Hackett, all very funny women who do a little bit of everything.

Also, if I could ever direct something as snappy and stylized as Edgar Wright, I’d consider myself a success.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but up until my last year of college, I wanted to write prose. Novels, short stories, that sort of thing. It wasn’t until I listened to the podcast The Nerdist Writer’s Panel, a podcast of TV writers talking about making their shows, that I realized I wanted to get into screenwriting. I applied to exactly one grad school in New York (I was in college in Oregon at the time), got in, and moved across the country as soon as I graduated from undergrad. About eight months later we made the pilot episode for Brains for a class, and I loved independent producing so much we decided to keep going and make the whole first season. The rest is history. Indie filmmaking has made me very, very broke, but happier than ever before.

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I don’t know if I’d say I have a signature, but I like to think I have a very distinct writing voice. I’m a fan of when characters speak in really long, unnecessarily complicated sentences at very quick paces, and I love writing arguments, because I think they’re the most fun version of human conversation. So if you’re watching a Bri Castellini project, there’s likely at least two arguments and there’s definitely a long, anxiety-ridden rant by one character who speaks very quickly like they’re afraid they’ll burst otherwise.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Don’t wait for permission or wait for the perfect conditions- the conditions are never perfect and the only person you need permission from is yourself. Figure out what you enjoy doing, and then do that as often as possible, trying to improve a little each time. And even though doing everything yourself seems easiest and most impressive at first, asking for help is the mark of a true artist, especially in film.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m a heteroromantic ace, probably whatever the step right below gray ace is. There are a lot of differing opinions on what the spectrum is and what the different labels are, but in general my opinion on sex is between “shrug” and “oh, yeah, that’s a thing people do outside of movies.” I’m in a long term monogamous relationship with an allosexual man.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

My field is indie media right now, which is, as you can imagine, a much more progressive arena than mainstream Hollywood, so I’ve never experienced ignorance directly. I also didn’t realize I was asexual until about three years ago when I did some research and all the insecurities I had and confusion I was experiencing finally clicked. I’ve been remarkably lucky about the circles my work has ended up in, though, and I am aware of what a privilege that is.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

That asexual people don’t have sex. I’ve been with my partner for five years now, which is the first thing people know about me in regards to my romantic life, and when they find out I’m asexual afterwards there are a lot of very awkward, personal questions I get asked as they puzzle out how to categorize me in their minds.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Do your research! When I was figuring out my own sexuality, I read every article I could find and watched every video available on asexuality, and eventually, I had enough information to confirm what I probably always knew, somehow. Research also helps when coming out to people closest to you, especially if you’re in a relationship (as I was when I came out). I’m a very pragmatic, analytical person though, so the takeaway for someone who doesn’t want to write themselves a sexuality dissertation (I wish this was a joke, but, well, here we are), labels aren’t written in stone. Just communicate with yourself and with your partner (if you have one) about how you’re feeling at different moments, and let the label evolve until you feel it expresses what you need it to.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

Following me on Twitter and Tumblr (BrisOwnWorld on both) is a great place to start, because I’m very active on those sites, but you can get a complete look at what I’ve created on my website, BriCastellini.com. I’m always available if you need advice on a filmmaking or writing problem!

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Thank you, Bri, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.

Interview: Dominique Rea Parent

Today we’re joined by Dominique Rea Parent. Dominique is a phenomenal filmmaker who edits shorts. She has had two short films screened at the Digi60 Film Festival in Ottawa, Ontario: Follow That Melody and Something Beautiful. Both are available to watch online. Dominique is an incredibly passionate artist who loves film, as you’ll soon read. My thanks to her for taking the time to participate in this interview.

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WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

Well, cinema is a very collaborative art in which I participate as an editor. It’s a lot like cooking, nothing comes together until you add 3 spoonfuls of garlic or you know, a star wipe here and there. In all seriousness though, I really like making people cry and laugh and shiver with fear.

I have participated in the Ottawa Digi60 Film Festival twice. The Digi60 gives you 12 days to create a 3 minute short film based on a theme. It’s a really fun process and a very satisfying goal to achieve.

Our 2016 short Something Beautiful was shot in one night and I edited it in 4 days. I had fun playing around with masking and pacing. Delivering an emotionally complex story in 3 minutes was very tasking as well as the night shoot. Thank the film gods for the pizzeria that was open at 2am when we were wrapping production. For this year’s short Follow that Melody my co-filmmaker and I decided that we wanted to centre the plot around happy lesbians and that we wanted it to be visually sound and easy to understand without any dialogue. This short pushed me further into colour coding and 3 dimensional tracking. Not gonna lie, I awed a little while editing.

What inspires you?

Cult films about a team of ragtags coming together as a family, but honestly so many things. Comic Books for when I am storyboarding, music and musical theatre for pacing and delivery, other movies and series for when I am looking for new ways to tell stories. LGBT stories and documentaries are always inspiring. The mixed tracks and moodboards that my co-filmmaker makes for me are super inspiring when I edit. Also baths . . . whenever I am feeling unproductive and need inspiration 1 hour luxurious baths do the trick, shout out to Lush.

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

So there are three movies I can thank for getting me into cinema™ and those are Alien, School of Rock and Back to the Future. But really what got me into making movies is kind of ridiculous. I was about 10 and obsessed with Nightmare on Elm Street and I had just been introduced by my brother to Windows Movie Maker. Tiny me decided that my hyperfixation could not be satiated with the existing fan content for Nightmare on Elm Street in early YouTube, specially not after Dream Warriors. With that mindset I decided that I would rewatch every movie, mark down the usable clips and make a music video of Nightmare on Elm Street to the beat of Wake Me Up Before you GoGo. The moment I finished I knew this was my true calling.

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Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in your work that you’d be willing to reveal?

It’s all pretty gay for the most part. Very non-sexualized relationships and horror are big parts of it. Heavy colour coding because messing around with colours is fun.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

Other artists are your friends and you should always try to connect with them and treat them with respect. Much like business networking and community are very important to success. Don’t undermine your own work, exposure doesn’t pay rent so don’t work for free, especially because this also undermines the work of your peers. Volunteer opportunities and internships very rarely pay off and unless you are in a position where living expenses are paid for you I would strongly advice against them. Be presentable when meeting clients. Have a contract ready, even if you are working with friends, this protects the both of you. Practice every day, eat your veggies.

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ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I am asexual and bi

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

Not really, in my experience the few people who know I am ace were just curious and asked pretty general non-intrusive questions. My co-filmmaker is also ace so I am lucky in that way that we are always in tune.

If I did come across prejudice I would try to work it out with that person, most likely they are oblivious as to how they are being offensive or rude. If they were being malicious in any way I would bring it up to a superior or refuse to work with that person. If you are an artist in any workplace you are protected by worker rights and harassment laws protect you from prejudice.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

I haven’t really gotten all that many misconceptions to be honest. I feel like mostly people are confused as to whether I actually want a relationship or not or if I like people romantically or not. How does it work? or How does it feel? is the most common question I get.

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Nothing is set in stone. Labels are here to help you and if they fit that’s great you have a community here for you. If they don’t fit then that’s okay too, you really don’t have to explain anything to anyone about yourself. If you’ve perceived yourself as someone different your whole life, but this new identity seems to suit you, well there’s no one here to tell you who you are but yourself.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a Vimeo www.vimeo.com/domreapar a Twitter at DomReaPar and also an Instagram at domoonyque.

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Thank you, Dominique, for participating in this interview and this project. It’s very much appreciated.