Entertainment » Television

Is that A TV Series in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Wednesday Apr 19, 2017

On April 19, Dekkoo.com will launch "I'm Fine" the third original series from the global gay streaming service. In a candid discussion, the series' creator and director Brandon Kirby told EDGE about life after "Looking," meeting best friends on Tinder, and why he made "I'm Fine."

Dekkoo calls "I'm Fine" their first take-it-with-you "pocket series. Set in West Hollywood, "I'm Fine" tells the story of Nate, who just broke up with his boyfriend - but "is totally fine!" - and in doing so takes a fresh, honest, and humorous look at gay male relationships and friendship, and the often-blurry line between the two.

EDGE caught up with Kirby on the eve of the series' launch.

EDGE: "So, a digital "TV" series of 5 minute episodes? What's the big (or little) idea?

BRANDON KIRBY: I wanted to embrace the idea of this being a digital series, one that viewers would most likely be consuming on their smartphone in between doing other things. Embracing this approach also made the initial concept more feasible to shoot and get off the ground.?

EDGE: What was your motivation to make "I'm Fine"?

BRANDON KIRBY: My motivation to make "I'm Fine" was the end of "Looking," and how, though we have options in the digital space, there is not a single series on the air dedicated solely to the experience of the LGBT community where characters are experiencing friendships and relationships at the forefront of the narrative. And beyond what even "Looking" was able to achieve, I wanted to open up a conversation about gay male friendship in the way recent works such as "Frances Ha" and "Broad City" have explored the fluidity found within female friendship.?

EDGE: What are the stories you want to tell with "I'm Fine"? What is the story you tell or are beginning to tell in the first four episodes of the series-technically, in a total of about 20 minutes?

BRANDON KIRBY: My goal with "I'm Fine" is to explore a range of gay male friendship and relationship dynamics. Monogamy, open relationships, breaking up, unrequited love, ghosting, hooking up. More specifically, this is the story of one character, Nate. In the first four episodes, we open on him hooking up with a random in order to get over his ex-boyfriend, which then turns into him running into said ex. This one moment serves as the catalyst for everything that happens to Nate in season one, the launching pad of his insecurities, anxieties and neuroses.

EDGE: There is a joke out there that gay guys sleep together the way straight guys shake hands. There are many gay guys who've initially slept with (or wanted to sleep with) everyone in their circle of friends, before the relationships sorted themselves out into what they were meant to be-friends, boyfriends, "sisters," ... Have you found this to be true in your experience?

BRANDON KIRBY: This is absolutely something I've experienced -- especially in LA. So I don't know if it's a gay man thing, a Los Angeles thing or both. Some of my best friends here have come from Tinder, which is such an interesting thing. Because did either party go in with romantic expectation? Perhaps the decision to be just friends isn't always mutual right away. So there's always the possibility of lingering attraction. And I can't imagine this version of friend-making is as common in the straight community. A lot of this grey area between friendships and relationships was my inspiration in making "I'm Fine."??

EDGE: You cite Lena Dunham's "Girls," Adam Goldman's "The Outs" and Aziz Ansari's "Master of None" as influences. Where did you find the characters for "I'm Fine"? Various personalities of Brandon Kirby? Friends? Do they have backstories?

BRANDON KIRBY: I'd be lying if I said Nate wasn't at least partially based on myself; however, Perry Powell (the actor who plays Nate) has helped shape the character into something deeper and more unique than that. The rest of the friend group -Jeff, Andy, Brian, Nicole-are based on folks I've come across in my own life, but again it's the actors who breathe life into them and fully form them beyond my own real life reference points. My goal is that, even when the characters aren't being totally likable, viewers find them relatable and enjoy spending time with them, or at least in 5-10 minute increments. 

EDGE: The first four episodes are out via Dekkoo.com on April 19, with four more to follow in June and Season 2 already in pre-production. What's next for Nate?

BRANDON KIRBY: Let's just say Nate continues to keep getting in his own way.

Watch "I'm Fine" HERE

Dekkoo (pronounced "DECK-koo") is the premiere subscription-based streaming service dedicated to gay men. It provides the largest streaming collection of gay-centric entertainment available boasting a larger selection than Netflix or Amazon Video. Dekkoo is available internationally via iTunes, Google Play, AppleTV and Roku, and in the U.S. via the Amazon Dekkoo Channel. Dekkoo original series include "Feral," "Love is Blind" and "I'm Fine." www.dekkoo.com 


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