Angela Robinson was the creative mind behind D.E.B.S. and went onto write for television shows like The L Word, Hung and currently True Blood, but she’s no stranger to creating video for the web. Angela was also the writer and producer of Girltrash!, a 10-epsisode series that ran on the now defunct lesbian website OurChart in 2007.
So when Angela came to us and wanted to interview Amanda Overton, the creator of a new web series called Edge of Normal, we were thrilled. Edge of Normal follows six teenage girls that “posses extraordinary, mysterious and dangerous powers and struggle to grow up in a world where their mistakes have deadly repercussions.” One of them is possibly a traitor, which makes things even more interesting, as do the relationships they form with one another, which range from friendly to romantic.
Angela spoke with Amanda about how she came up with the series, her favorite scene to film and which couple she ships the most.
Angela Robinson: Amanda, I had a great time watching your new web series, Edge of Normal. It’s totally up my alley; teenage lesbians with superpowers! Done. I was sold.
Amanda Overton: Awesome, I’m so glad you dig it!
AR: Where can people watch it?
AO: We’re on Wonderly, a new YouTube channel dedicated to foregrounding female artists and creators. It’s a rad space for girls and I’m so happy that they have partnered with us on Edge of Normal.
AR: How’d you get the idea?
AO: I was watching The Dark Knight, not Rises, the older one, ages ago and I think I saw every single mega-budget superhero movie that summer and there just weren’t any woman in any them. I mean there were, but they were playing the girlfriend or the damsel in distress and were all sort of just periphery to the story and the male leads. I was like, “Where are all the women heroes? Why can’t we be heroes too?” So I decided I was going to make a superhero story, but I was going to make it all about girls, they would be the heroes, they would have the power and they would be the center of the story. And that’s how Edge of Normal was born.
AR: That’s why I loved it so much, because I have a four-year-old boy who loves super heroes and it’s really hard to find girls who are the heroes, or even any badass characters at all that are girls. I just keep buying him all this Wonder Woman stuff! But Edge of Normal is full of badass female heroes, it sounds like you felt some responsibility to make strong female content?
AO: I don’t know if it started with a responsibility, but I definitely felt the urge to tell a story I wish had existed when I was growing up as a confused, lesbian teenager. I loved the X-Men cartoons growing up because I really identified with this group of outcasts who were just trying to figure out there place in the world. I feel like that is what a lot of teenagers go through, the feeling of being different, whether they are gay or straight or even just have red hair, and it’s always made sense to me to explore the theme of normal or difference using superpowers. I mean, how fun is that?
AR: That’s one of the things I love about genre writing in general, you can have the freedom to explore these big ideas, but through vampires or superpowers and you can make them fun for people. I do get the feeling that you were trying to explore some big universal themes, but it also seems like you’ve got a lot of potential relationships blossoming between the girls. Did you make this show for a lesbian audience?
AO: You could say that! There is a hot mess of lady drama happening between these girls. And I do hope it doesn’t disappoint the lesbians out there. I definitely made the show with them in mind, cute girls with superpowers, having crushes and falling in love—I wouldn’t have it any other way!
AR: Do you have a favorite Edge of Normal ship?
AO: All of them! I’m a huge fan shipping and I am definitely guilty of doing it from back in the days of Mulder and Scully. I hope everybody ships everyone on the show, because that would mean the relationships and characters are different enough to appeal to diverse group of people!
AR: What about a favorite scene?
AO: Uhhhh, yeah I love the pool scene. That was my girl-crack scene. I protected that scene in scheduling and made sure we had the time to shoot it well and make it VERY PRETTY. With the pool and the lighting and everything. I really love the emotion that comes out of that scene, from the acting to the music. Everyone did such a great job bringing that scene to life. It still gets me every time!
AR: Is there a specific reason you decided to make Edge of Normal a webseries? I know when my partner Alex and I made Girltrash!, we did it because we wanted the creative freedom and immediacy that came with making something for the web.
AO: Yes, that is definitely part of it. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was inspired by the Girltrash! web series. I knew from the first time I saw it that I wanted to make my own webseries. That was what, six years ago? I could tell that was the future of story telling. Girltrash! used the web medium so well and is so iconic, not just as a lesbian web series, but a web series period. You were definitely exploring the possibilities of web storytelling before anyone else was and I could see a lot of potential there for a different kind of narrative.
AR: The Girltrash! Web-series was meant to be a part of Our Chart so our original idea was that you would click on each character in the web of the chart and learn more about them through video and text. It was conceived to be this layered, branching narrative, but the technology back then was still glitchy and people had no idea what a “webseries” even was. It was cool how you layered the content and created this really cohesive universe.
AO: Thank you—we did the six main episodes, but we also have video blogs and iPhone videos shot by the characters in the story. These extra videos link to the main episodes through this neat, interactive player so you can experience the story in this sort of branching way. This bonus content gives you more backstory and insight into the relationships between the girls. I think people on the web expect this kind of story, multiple narratives and being able to interact with this universe.
AR: Very cool! Good luck with the show. I’ll be watching!
Check out the first four episodes here and watch a new one every Tuesday on Wonderly.