AE: So, what’s the plan for the show?
NM: We are having what we’re calling our "pilot presentation short roll-out," because we didn’t have a lot of money and time to do more than the amount of material that you’ll see, probably four or five weeks of content.
Then, when that’s done, we are going to put together a package for advertisers and some networks as well. And, if we can get this thing sold — or paid for, I should say — then we’ll make some more episodes. And then we’ve actually proven that it works. If we can’t prove that it works this way, then I’m not sure what the formula is.
AE: So you’ll eventually try to sell it to a network?
NM: Actually, we’re not trying to sell it to a network first, we’re really truly just trying to get advertisers to pay for the series and be our own network, if you will.
We’re taking the mindset too, that the BBC has it right in a lot of ways. A series should only run as long as a series should run — which is, hey if you’ve only got 13 episodes in you, and you’re done telling the story and we’ve seen it all, that’s great … or if you have 11 years in you, then go for it.
I’m not sure content you’re creating for the internet is going to be one of those shows that’s going to run forever, but what would be really awesome is to create a great team and ensemble of actors and production crew that’s willing to come back every once in a while and create some really fun stuff. … Do what Christopher Guest does and take your amazingly funny cast from one project to the next … try to hit a demographic and try to tell a story and see what happens.
So that’s our goal: to try to see if we can just produce a web series and cut out the middle man and go straight to the advertisers and bring the audiences what they want. We’ll see.
But hey, listen, if a network came up to us and said, "We love this," this would be a great companion piece to, let’s say Exes & Ohs on Logo, or if NBC says, "We’ve been looking for a comedy to replace Will & Grace and let’s do our version of 3Way" — absolutely!
AE: You wouldn’t turn ‘em down.
NM: You bet. You have to remember, too, that sounds like an easy jump considering we will have done all the legwork, but I’m not so sure. Now I sort of go back to, now let’s look at the machine again. So, we do everything that a pilot does, essentially, by doing this, and we test it, which is what the networks would do before they put it on the air anyway. So we’ve done all of that stuff. It will be really interesting to see if the networks can get up to speed with new media.
3Way cast members (left to right) Maile Flanagan,
Maeve Quinlan, Cathy Shim and Jill Bennett
I’ll be watching Quarterlife very closely, because that’s exactly what happened to them. They pitched it to NBC, NBC passed … they went off and made the show by themselves, and NBC came back and said, "We’d like to put it on the network." … I’ll be curious to see how fast it actually gets on the air. In other words, can you actually skip the development process because you just did it.
AE: What about appealing to niche audiences like the lesbian/gay community?
NM: When people come up to me and said, "You’re so far ahead of the curve," I said, "No, I’m not, look at YouTube." Everybody is out there trying it out and doing something. I’m just trying to take the experience that we’ve had in the past and try to go back to the beginning of television and now see what fits, but you have to be very specific. When a writer comes up to me and says, "Hey I want to do this thing," I say, "Choose your audience, get really narrow on it."
AE: Did the lesbian fan reaction to South of Nowhere influence you?
NM: South of Nowhere did teach me about this fan base. I had only done a couple things because I wasn’t always getting to write the voice that is my experience. You get hired to write, and you do it. My first paid writing job was the last two seasons of Night Court, which was a long-running, traditional workplace comedy on NBC that had run forever, and that was really great experience for me, but I wasn’t an attorney; I wasn’t a cop.
AE: And you weren’t a "perp"?
NM: I won’t say that I’ve never been arrested, but …
AE: We won’t go there …
NM: Yeah really, thank you. … I have family still alive [laughs]. … So you end up putting on a coat, whatever the conceit is for that show, just like we know that people who write shows about aliens aren’t aliens. … It isn’t until you develop and people start to ask you what do you want to write that you actually get to explore something else that’s in your head.
It’s funny to me — the stuff now that I’m getting a lot of attention over is truly because, I think, there is just not a lot of content for gays and lesbians out there.