Interview - Show Creator Talks About Gay Life, Love and Legos - An Interview with Q. Allen Brocka
September 1, 2007
by J. W. Arnold
Gay life is portrayed with a new, irreverent twist on the latest show to join the Logo network lineup. In between reruns of Queer as Folk and the latest broadcast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Longtime Companion, Logo features a hilarious comedy told through the eyes of Legos.
Rick and Steve, the Happiest Gay Couple in the World is the creation of Q. Allan Brocka, a young gay filmmaker who is turning the industry upside down with his fresh approach to the issues of life and love that gay couples face. Camp caught up with Allan in between projects for a quick conversation about his work.
Camp: How did you get the idea for Rick and Steve?
Allan: It first started as a film school project in 1999, my first year ? we had to do a short video about relationships. I didn?t have any friends yet, so I made it using Legos. That was Rick and Steve. It started doing film festivals [on the gay film festival circuit">. I later pitched it as a series, and finally Logo picked it up. It took a long time.
Where did you find your inspiration for the characters?
It was inspired by everyone ? actual gay people I know, friends. Back when I made this, I really didn?t see a representation of gay people in a way I saw them around me. It was always about ?us? coming out to ?them?? about how straight people deal with us. I wanted my work to be about gay people first. All of the main characters have a lot of different aspects of me. I like writing lots of different types of jokes and use different personalities and relate to them all on different sort of levels.
Rick and Steve live in a very gay community called West Lahunga Beach. Is it based on a real gay ghetto, like West Hollywood?
I lived in Capitol Hill in Seattle, which is the gay ghetto there, and that was really my inspiration. I found that pretty much gay ghettos everywhere have a lot of similarities. Actually, the original Lego set had palm trees, so I made more palm trees. I guess it is sort of similar to West Hollywood now.
How is Rick and Steve different from your earlier projects?
It?s very different than working with actors. It?s actually more difficult. With the animation, we can?t really animate the face the way an actor does. It?s all done with the voice. Plus, there are several different people animating the puppets for any given scene. But it all comes together. It?s really complicated.
How would you describe the reaction to Rick and Steve?
It?s been fantastic. For the most part, people like it. It?s a lot of fun. I get complaints from both ends -- people who think it?s too crazy and others who think it?s too conservative. Couples comment on Rick and Steve?s relationship a lot, also.
And what do you have to say about their relationship?
It?s a fairly normal relationship in that they have problems and have to work them out, but their problems aren?t normal. I doubt what happens to them will ever happen to any human being, but their reactions will be real. While it would never really happen to have a cat talking to them, their reactions are the types that happen in a lot of relationships.
How long does it take to shoot an episode?
We shoot them all at one time. For six episodes, the shooting time is several months. One animator can do about eight seconds in one day. For a really complicated shot, we might take a day to set it up and then film a few seconds.
It?s not good work for someone with ADD, is it?
No, it takes a very specific type of person. We shoot in Toronto and the animators there are very talented, but they?re definitely characters. They?re in a room, moving a puppet a centimeter at a time.
What other projects do you have in the works?
Boy Culture came out Aug. 14, and I?m just now starting to write Eating Out 3, the completion of the trilogy. And then I have a number of other projects I?m also doing, like the Noah?s Arc movie.
The gay film and television industry has changed a lot since you came on the scene, isn?t it?
When I first started, there wasn?t much of a chance of making a living doing gay content. There were only 20 or 30 gay and lesbian film festivals. There are almost 200 now. Now there is a method to get your work to the audience. It still doesn?t pay well, but it?s there. Plus, the Internet has really exploded.
Well, the Logo network has certainly made an impact across the country. How can we support gay media?
It?s important to watch gay film and television programs. It?s important to show there?s demand. The more people watch, the better chances something you like will come around. It?s really hard to get gay characters on anything on the networks. But things are changing and that?s big.
For more information or to download episodes of ?Rick and Steve,? go to www.happiestgaycouple.com.