TNG Interview: Q: THE SERIES — The New Generation Speaks
Q: The Series, “A comedic miniseries, which is to be aired online, about a queer group of friends in college and the antics they get into,” is coming soon! They promise to change our perspective of queer community from the internet. The producer, Julia Horowitz, chatted with The New Gay about this new series made mostly by undergrad students of Columbia University, who think – and they are so right –that they have something to say about sexuality, sexual identity and gender. The series debuts January 2011 and I think I will be looking forward to watch it, especially after talking to Julia. The new generation has something to say and I think that, at 40, they are quite cooler than me.
The New Gay: How Q: The Series was born? How the idea took form?
Julia Horowitz: There were two events that really inspired the series. One was an on-campus discussion I went to called “Where’s the BTQ in LGBTQ?” where we were going to discuss some of the prejudices that this portion of the acronym suffers because of the big LG. And I was shocked to see how few people who identified as gay and lesbian came to this discussion. It ended up being more of an informational session where we discussed what different terms meant such as queer, transexual, pansexual, which ended up being a pretty interesting discussion. However, I couldn’t help feeling that a potentially great conversation was lost and it made me realize that the BTQ community doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves.
The second was when I started watching Queer as Folk (yes, I realize I’m a bit on the “late bus”). And, although I did enjoy the show, I couldn’t help but notice that every gay character with a speaking role was white and middle/upper-middle class. I began to realize that this is how the LGBTQ community is portrayed in more mainstream media as well: Modern Family, Will and Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Sex and the City–all white, upper-middle class males. And we all know (or at least should know) that the LGBTQ community is far more diverse than this. So I began to imagine what kind of a TV show would combat the issues I came across in these two events. And, before I knew it, I began writing down this story in my head. Thus, the birth of Q.
TNG: How do you create the scripts and how is the creative process in general?
JH: The first question one asks themselves is “what if (blank)?” and from there, you begin developing the story. However, to know where your story is going, it’s important to know who your characters are since they will be the ones shaping the direction of the story. So, I began making character profiles for each person in the series, which marked down their hobbies, likes, dislikes, interests, major (since all the characters are college students) as well as their relationships with other characters in the series. And from there, you continue to develop the story as well as personal obstacles for the characters to overcome and learn from.
TNG: How many people are involved in Q: The Series?
JH: There are currently 15 people working as crew and six people that make up the main cast. The majority of the cast and crew are made up of undergrad students, all of whom are very dedicated to this project.
TNG: What is queer identity for you? How, for you, different is it from the gay or bisexual identities?
JH: I think this is a great question. To me, “queer” represents a more sexually ambiguous category where one is “not quite gay”, but “not quite straight” either (nor bisexual). However, I also feel that the term “queer” carries a cultural identity as well. When I think of lesbian culture, for example, I think of The L Word, women’s rugby teams (I played rugby at Columbia for a year and a half), basically, very homogenous social groups. Whereas with queer culture, I think of social groups that are composed of people with totally different background from each other such as different genders, different sexualities, different ethnicities. But, again, this is only how I personally view the term.
TNG: How is the Q: The Series received in the CU community?
JH: We’re just starting to go public in the Columbia community and are going to be featured in the school newspaper and blog sometime this week. However, we have already received a lot of support from some Columbia organizations such as Columbia University Film Productions (CUFP), Columbia Queer Alliance (CQA) and the Gatsby Foundation, all of whom seem very excited about the project.
TNG: Did you find any obstacles in doing this project?
JH: No, nothing too crazy. But, again, we are just starting to go public so that may change.
TNG: Do you feel like stars?
JH: Haha! Not quite. I think we feel more like students working on a film project, but that’s a pretty great feeling too.
TNG: Did your families have something to say about this? If so, what did they say? Do you have any stories of support or rejection from them?
JH: My family is proud, but fairly indifferent about the project (they’re more focused on me going to grad school). But I do know that there are some crew members who don’t want their names to be associated with the project because they’re afraid of their family’s reactions to their participation on the project.
TNG: How do you think people will react to Q: The Series?
JH: This is the big mystery. All in all, I hope people like it. And if it helps just one person broaden their idea on sexuality and the LGBTQ community, then I will be more than happy with that.
TNG: How did Q: The Series change the way you relate to yourselves and to each other as a group?
JH: I know that a lot of people on the crew have received a new perspective on the LGBTQ community, especially those that didn’t know much about it until joining this production. Since, writing the series, in my personal life, I just try and remain as open minded as I can about sexuality. I haven’t had an in-depth discussion with anyone on the crew about how the series has affected them, but, based on some of the blurbs I’ve seen some of the crew members have written about the show, I can tell that they know what the project represents.
TNG: What are your majors and how are they related to this production? Are there students of cinema, journalism, literature in the team?
JH: I am a Spanish and Linguistics major, but I had studied film at an arts high school. The director (Isaiah Everin) is a Film Studies major at Columbia. The production designer (Justine Hope) was studying Film Studies and Anthropology at Columbia, but I believe that she’s going to just stick with Anthropology. The cinematographer (Yesul Park) is a Photography major at SVA.
TNG: How old are you?
JH: I´m 21. The director, Isaiah, is 20. The production designer, Justine, is 19 (I think) and the cinematographer, Yesul, is 22. And everyone else on the crew is within this age range (although I think we have some 18-year-olds as well)
From the teaser I can know that these guys are having fun, so if we want to have fun too I strongly recommend everybody to watch Q: The Series. It is very probable that these young women and men would also teach us something about the queer identity, sexuality and gender in their funny style that seems to be going straight to the top… “straight as a rainbow”
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