Thinking of Brothers S02E01 when Max finds himself in a tough dating situation with a cisgender woman, and S01E08 when Davyn sees his newly dubbed fiancé kissing a woman, there are a lot of scenes that were extremely personal. Were any of them based off of your own experiences?
EL: Yeah, it started for me selfishly because I wanted to see my own experience reflected, but it kind of transformed into something else which is pretty amazing. A lot of it was taken from things that happened to me, but there are other parts that were just people that I knew who had that experience. We still feel like the truest representations of this community are going to come from the community itself. If someone else produces the show, and they’re not the community, it could have had the potential to be interesting and engaging, but I think coming from the community and knowing and feeling these things personally has a big effect on the show.
SG: Part of the goal was to show as many storylines and aspects as possible without diluting the show too much. But there were some that were really important to us to try and cover.
Why is it so important to show these scenes so intimately?
EL: I have come to learn a lot about my storytelling voice through Brothers; it is about showing the most authentic and intimate version of the story that I’m telling. I love to be up close with the characters, which means a lot of up close shots and not necessarily showing these huge wide shots that encompass everything that’s in the scene. It’s really about these characters and how they’re relating to each other. That’s just kind of how I see stories, and how I see the world.
How has the feedback been for Brothers so far?
EL: Mostly positive. We have a lot of people that reach out to us and are thankful that they can see themselves in a show and how it makes them feel less alone. It’s an amazing thing to hear. The only issue that we have–which we discuss openly and we love to have dialogue about–is that the main cast are mostly white. It wasn’t a conscious choice, but it was basically who we had at our casting that was willing to be out and on-screen for whoever to see.
SG: Something we have also learned doing the show is that no matter what you do, some people will find issues with it and some people will not find representation with it. There’s no way to show every single slice of life but we try really hard to show as many as we can.
What are the short/long term goals for Brothers?
EL: To continue to tell the narrative of trans masculine people in an intimate and pure way is definitely the main goal. However, in a perfect world, being able to pitch it to a network or one of the digital platforms (Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon) and having them even wanting to produce a pilot would be ideal.
SG: To get the stories out there. We are always surprised that many people haven’t heard of it because our community often seems so small, but we really want expand our reach as far and wide as possible.
What would it mean if Brothers were to be produced at a higher level?
EL: Once we get a deal for this show on a bigger platform, it won’t be our show. And even though we are the showrunners, it’s going to be something else. There will be a lot more sets of eyes that need to see it before it reaches our audience whereas, with web content, you can be like “I wanna make this thing, I’m going to make it and then I put it out and it’s automatically in front of everyone who I want it to be in front of.”
SG: In that respect, we’ve had a lot of freedom because we’ve gotten to do it the way we wanted to from the get go and retained complete creative control. That might not happen when studios sign on.
What can viewers expect to see in season 2?
EL: Season two is definitely going to have a lot more content; there’s a lot more density to what we’re seeing. Each episode is focused on one of the characters. There are new characters, there may even me some cameos but I’m not going to say who it might be [laughs], but they are from the community. It’s a lot of good stuff.
Stream episode 1 of season 2, “Max,” below: