The cast, writer, and director. Left to right: Brian Greer (Miles), Shaun Baer (Tyler), Andrew Pemberton-Fowler (Executive Producer & Writer), Brett Emanuel (Director), and Ben Burke (David).
How does one keep track of all that is gay on TV? Answer: One does not, because the place to find the best in gay progamming could possibly be the internet. Case in point is the new gay web series called "Dudes." Yes, "dudes" is us, as they say, and it is a "dramedy" set in the Windy City, about three gay guys who are, ahem…."trying to navigate life, love, and sex on the wrong side of thirty...and they know it." Uh, excuse me, but shouldn't that be the RIGHT side of thirty? But I digress. If you are a fan of the HBO series "Looking," you will surely enjoy this one. The writer-creator of "Dudes"is Andrew Pemberton-Fowler. I never heard of him, either, so I got in touch with him and asked him some probing questions about himself and the series. He didn't know me better, so he replied.
M: First of all, what do mean "the wrong side of thirty?" I've been on that side for...well, never mind how many years, and I find it just fine.
A: By “the wrong side of thirty”, I meant it can be daunting looking to the future as a “real adult” and not having your life in order…or where you thought it would be by thirty. For Miles, David, and Tyler, a lot of their friends are married, partnered, and/or have great careers. They’re still trying to figure it out and they’re not the fresh new guys on the block anymore. I think they’ve been replaced twice over by now! For them, the “good side” of thirty was carefree and youthful, while this side of thirty is facing life as you never thought it would be and trying to figure it out before it’s too late (in their minds, anyway!).
M: Tell our readers a little about yourself, since you are chief cook and bottle washer on this project.
A: Ah! Well, I was born and raised in Princeton, NJ and have always had a love for media. I went to university in London, but while I was there, I interned on The Young and the Restless, which cemented my love for creating content. Dudes came about in 2013 because I wanted to create a web series and the idea of three gay guys trying to figure out life, love, and sex in a fresh new way appealed to me. Some of Dudes is based on my seven years in London with my two roommates at the time. We had all sorts of adventures that have found their way into Dudes, but they are cleverly disguised to protect the guilty. I’ve lived in Chicago for four years now and the Chicago gay scene has influenced the show as well. Some of my Chicago friends will notice snippets of conversations we’ve had flowing from the mouths of the characters in Dudes. For example, there’s one exchange that happened between a good friend and me over drinks one night this year and it was so poignant, yet hilarious, it found its way into Episode 102!
M: The first episode of "Dudes" opens with an erotic scene that you might expect from one of the gay porn studios. Well done. Did you plan it that way to grab everyone's attention right off?
A: Actually, the first scene of the first episode is a little snippet of Miles and David on the street which led into the scene of Miles and Ray about to have sex, but it was cut in the final edit. Our director, Brett Emanuel, thought going in strong with Miles and Ray was the best choice, and he was right! It surely has grabbed everyone’s attention. I can always tell when people turn it off after that scene because the question I always get is, “Is this porn?!” My reply is generally, “No! It’s not porn… Now watch the other thirteen minutes.”
M: You use the word "randy" to describe the series? Does that mean it's British? I love the Brits.
A: “Randy” is the best word to describe the series and the guys’ stories. They aren’t totally dirty, but they are quite randy in nature. You can watch randy things with your grandmother…if she’s cool! I am quite guilty of peppering my speech with British phrases, but that comes after seven years in London. Needless to say, I love the Brits, too!
M: The tagline for the series is "...and you thought "Girls" were dirty. Was that series an inspiration for "Dudes?"
A: Girls is not the inspiration for Dudes. I’ve only seen the first fifteen minutes of Girls’ pilot, so I really can’t speak to that series. The reason I chose the tag line (“…and you thought girls were dirty…”) was to show the side of guys that had been relegated to women on HBO. The women of Sex and the City showed their bits and did things guys rarely ever do on TV. I wanted to change that and up the ante.
Furthermore, I didn’t want to write a show about issues or feature simpering stereotypes. I wanted to show Miles, David, and Tyler being guys who date guys. They’re not pining over men and begging them to stay or wanting to get married. They date, they have sex, and they drink whiskey. One article that helped jumpstart my take on Dudes during the creation process was the Slate article, “Meet the Gaybros.” That coupled with my various inspirations for the series and the characters provided the foundation for Dudes.
M: I watched the first episode a couple of times. It reminded me a lot of the HBO series "Looking," only without the big-name appeal of Jonathan Groff and Russell Covey (I guess it's obvious who I like on that show...but I digress) and with better acting.
A: Thanks! That’s a big compliment!
Here’s a little known fact: While I was a talent agency assistant in LA, our New York office repped Jonathan Groff while he was in Spring Awakening. In fact, he called into the LA office during Tony season and spoke with the owner of the company. I can’t recall if I spoke with him, but we were excited for his Tony nomination. However, I haven’t seen Looking (for obvious reason!).
M: Tell us about the actors. Where did you find them, or have I been living in a cave?
A: We went through a month long casting process for Dudes. I wanted a certain type, Brett wanted a certain type, and we had to marry the two. Our casting director, Kelly Parker, was instrumental in getting the casting breakdown out around Chicago and into the hands of actors who wanted to do the project.
Our lead actors, Shaun Baer (Tyler), Ben Burke (David), and Brian Greer (Miles), are all Chicago actors. We saw Ben and Brian on the first day of casting; Shaun was the last actor we saw on the very last day of casting a month later!
I remember seeing Brian’s headshot and thinking from the get-go, “That’s Miles.” He initially read for “David”, but we asked him to read for “Miles” and he nailed it. I believe he came back for a callback, but I was swayed from the beginning. He has the right amount of swagger, self-confidence, no-nonsense, worldly-wise Ivy League educated escort for the role. (On Dudes’ YouTube page, you can see Brian talk about his audition and why he didn’t initially read for Miles!)
Ben came in the same day as Brian and only read for “David.” He sparkled on his audition tape. Ben had all of the qualities I was looking for in “David.” We needed someone who was at ease with his untold wealth, yet warm and open to Miles and Tyler without being cold and distant. Ben provided that in spades during his audition and won us over.
Shaun was the last actor we saw for the toughest role to cast. We had a few actors on our short list and they all did a great job, but there was something missing. Shaun read for the role flawlessly. He was what I had in mind when I wrote the role of “Tyler.” I think “Tyler” may be the hardest role to play because he is the romantic, but during the course of the pilot and the first season, we see him go through so many changes in his own life and the many relationships he has in the show.
M: So Tyler finds his two-year relationship ended and moves in with an ex and his escort roommate. I can't imagine where that relationship is headed. Any spoilers?
A: Ah! We don’t supply spoilers! I will say that you haven’t seen the last of Jonathan (Nick Freed). I can say that there are a lot of surprises in store for Miles, David, and Tyler. For Miles, he gets an offer that may be too good to be true, while David realizes that life is passing him by, and Tyler tries (with mixed results) to get back on the dating scene for the first time since his early-20s. I can only imagine how Tyler will handle that world!
We have a lot of great guest stars in Season One who mix it up with the Tyler, Miles, and David, so keep an eye out for them.
M: Before the emails start pouring in, are we going to see any females in this, or is this a strictly gay-male look at over-thirty?
A: Originally, David’s sister, Lolly, was in the second episode of Season One. Due to re-writes, that character was cut from the season, but another female character was written into Episode 104. Amy Rapp, who plays Katherine, is the only female character in Season One. Will we have more in Season Two? I know the answer, but you’ll have to stay tuned.
For the most part, Dudes will feature mostly men in their twenties, thirties, and forties by virtue of the stories we’re telling. If one of the guys were bisexual, we’d have a lot more women on screen! However, we deal almost exclusively with their sex, dating, and love lives, which – by default – is exclusively male.
Here’s another little fact: On the pilot of Dudes, all of the cast and crew on set were male! The only woman who worked on the pilot was our casting director, Kelly, but she wasn’t on set. It wasn’t intentional; it’s just how it ended up. However, when we reconvened in June to shoot the remainder of Season One, we had more women on set.
M: How many episodes are you planning? Would you be interested if a broadcast network expressed interest in picking it up? And is there a small but pivotal cameo in this for me?
A: This past June, we shot the remainder of Season One, which consisted of four episodes. If all goes to plan, we will shoot five episodes for Season Two and seven episodes for Season Three. In total, Dudes will be a seventeen episode series over three seasons.
Season One is currently in post-production, which is really exciting. Episode 102 should debut by the end of August with the others following over the next three weeks.
We haven’t had any broadcast or cable interest, but if anyone’s interested they can contact us at . The response we’ve had from the show has been great and very enthusiastic. It’s been great building this show from the ground up over the past year. We want to reach as many people as possible, so a TV deal or Netflix deal would be wonderful!
You can have a cameo in Season Two! That season has been scripted, but I’m sure we can work out something!
I have reason to live. The great thing about submitting questions to a writer is, you don't have to make corrections. The first episode of "Dudes," titled, "Have We Come to This?," launched on April 11 and it's currently live on dudestheshow.com. You may also choose to watch a 90 second preview of the show on Youtube, or visit the show's official website for updates and notifications when the new episodes are released.
Watch the 90 second video of Dudes for free right now on YouTube!
Visit the show’s official website for updates and notifications as content becomes available.