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Exclusive Interview with Sarah Rotella and Adrianna DiLonardo

 

Sarah Rotella and Adrianna DiLonardo are the power duo behind The Gay Women Channel on Youtube. With over 250,000 subscribers on Youtube, these ladies are on the fast track. You may know their YouTube hit video Gay Women Will Marry Your Boyfriends, First Gay Hug, or you may know of their videos Pillow Talk Monday’s and Gay Women Wednesday’s.  If not you should check out their channel: UnsolicitedProject

Sarah and Adrianna have something amazing in the works: their very own feature-length film. Almost Adults was funded through a Kickstarter campaign that exploded within the first twelve hours of Sarah and Adrianna launching the campaign. Almost Adults stars Elise Bauman, Natasha Negovanlis, Justin Gerhard, and Winny Clarke. Almost Adults is a comedy feature that follows two best friends in their final year of college while they transition into adulthood. One embraces her sexuality and tries to catch up on everything she has missed during her teenage years, while the other ends a long-term relationship with her boyfriend and discovers her life isn’t going as planed. Both struggle to keep their friendship together as they begin growing apart. You can learn more about Almost Adults at their official webpage.

TNWU got a chance to interview Sarah and Adrianna about their channel, their Kickstarter campaign, and their first feature film Almost Adults.

What inspired The Gay Women Channel to be created?

We did a video called “Gay Women Will Marry Your Boyfriends” that went viral, which we never expected, and got a bunch of subscribers from that. Both of us are filmmakers, so we thought this was a great way to start creating content that we were interested in. It really grew from there.

Any challenges with working together? Biggest reward?

Adrianna: Sarah will probably disagree with me, but we’ve been working together since high school and we make ONE KICKASS team. We work really well together and I don’t think I could ever write anything ever again without having Sarah’s help or two cents.

Sarah: The biggest reward is definitely all the amazing scripts I get to shoot. For challenges, Adrianna makes people laugh, which makes our AD yell “quiet on set!” a heck of a lot.  

When you first started making videos on YouTube, did you ever imagine you would make it this far as a duo?

S: Adrianna and I work so well together, that I don’t think we ever thought we would be making content without even a little bit of help from each other. 

What has been your favorite project other than Almost Adults to create and work on?

A: Our very first web series called The Unsolicited Project. I personally (somewhat bias) think its hilarious. It was also so much fun to work on as most of our crew was made of up of friends. I want to do another season.

S: A short stop motion film I made called Bramula.

Where do you see each others endeavors taking them?

A: Sarah is either going to be the next David Fincher, or the future Mrs. Lawless.

S: Adrianna will have her own TV show, fact. She’s too talented not to.  

What was your inspiration for Almost Adults?

A: The story is loosely based off a pilot I wrote about 4 gay characters living together in Chicago. When Sarah and I decided we wanted to shoot a movie, we thought that the idea from that pilot could work if we re-worked it a little. We decided to make it about two best friends because you don’t see a lot of films about best friends, never mind one being gay, and there is no romantic attraction between the two of them. I based the humour of the main characters (Cassie and Mackenzie) off myself and my sister.

S: Getting to make a film about best friends, with my best friend was pretty inspiring. 
What has been the difference between writing/directing from web series, viral videos, and a feature film?

A: For me, mainly it was just more re-writes and took more time. Writing for web series and YouTube videos I’ll do one pass, two max at the script because we are shooting them so quickly. Almost Adults I had time to actually rewrite scenes and get input from a lot of people to make it as best as I could.

S: A web series or viral video you can shoot in a day and sometimes even edit in a day, so you don’t get too invested in it. The best way to describe it, is as if shorts are a one-night stand, you don’t have high expectation, it’s fun, you can move on easily but features are a marriage, for better or worse! 
Sarah, what is your biggest challenge when directing?

S: Making sure I’m accurately expressing what’s inside my head. 

Adrianna, which character was the hardest to write? Easiest? Can you give a hint about your favorite scene for Almost Adults so we can geek out harder over it when it is released?

A: The easiest character to write was Levi. I based him off of two different friends that I know. I barely had to change any of his dialogue during re-writes, my internal gay-man really helped with him. The hardest character to write was Cassie. She has a very sarcastic and dry sense of humour, and she’s grown up with two parents who are really tough on her. I wanted to make sure that she didn’t seem like she was just a bitch, but just this really strong, sarcastic girl that doesn’t take shit from anyone. My favourite scene, is the entire party scene, it’s the only part of the movie that is actually based off my real life experiences. The rest I just made up.

From both a writer and director standpoint, which character in Almost Adults is your favorite?

A: There’s a character named Aimee, who works with Cassie at an internship that she has. I love her she’s awful and hilarious.

S: Parents have favourites even though they’ll never admit it. 

What has it been like creating your first feature film? What has been the biggest challenge and surprises you’ve encountered so far going from shorter videos to a full length feature film?

S: We recently compiled all the credits and when I saw the list I thought “did that many people really work on this movie?” It’s been an amazing experience.

Almost Adults has been the first feature film for not only you but some of your cast as well. What has the experience been like?

A: This was honestly the most fun I’ve ever had on set. Of course I can say this because I was the writer and came to set and did nothing but make life harder for Sarah and everyone else. But actually the cast and crew were so awesome, and hard-working and dedicated that we just had a blast. It’s also nice to make your first feature film with friends and people you know. 

S: I can’t speak for the cast, but I think it was a great learning experience for everyone. I’m so glad I got to make my first feature film with Adrianna. We’ve been making films together since high school and I couldn’t have done it without her. 
Were you surprised with how quickly you were funded, and the outpour of support, for your Kickstarter campaign for Almost Adults?
A: Yes. I am still shocked. I honestly didn’t even think we were going to reach our initial goal of 40k.
S: I’m still waiting for Kickstarter to call us and tell us they made a mistake.
What have been the pros and cons of using Kickstarter? Would you ever use it again for future projects?
A: Well since we had a great outcome using Kickstarter, I wouldn’t be against using it again. But hopefully we can get our own funding and work with other collaborators and producers to make projects in the future instead of having to rely on our subscribers, because I’d rather have them spend their money on better things, like flannel shirts and extra guac on burritos.
What was it like on set, especially with certain perks promised to backers from your Kickstarter campaign? Do you wish you had done some things differently with your Kickstarter campaign? 
A: One of our perks allowed a backer to come on set and be an extra for a day and get to hang out with the cast and crew and get the best behind the scenes scoop of the movie. I was a little worried when we first put that perk up, but the backer that came on set was a girl who came all the way from San Francisco and she was really awesome. She was nice, respectful and excited to be there. I was really happy with how the Kickstarter campaign went. We were working on it for about 6 months before we actually launched it, so doing all of that work beforehand really helped. The only thing I would do differently is launch the Kickstarter sooner before shooting the film, because we only had like 6 weeks of turn around time, which was nuts.
S: Ditto to launching it sooner because Adrianna and I have been doing all the perks ourselves. It’s been difficult delivering them in a timely manner, while making the film and we really appreciate all our backers patience! Trust us, the perks are worth the wait.
Is there a projected date, or target month, for the release of Almost Adults?
A: Not yet, we are doing film festivals in 2016 and planning for digital distribution after that.
If you were to start a trending hashtag for Almost Adults, what would it be?
A: #DontShipMackassie

Written by Meagan Spears

Has recently spent the last year traveling across the East coast of the United States, Korea, and Canada. Was published back in 2008 for Short Stories and Poetry. Currently a full time student at Athens State University in Alabama where she is studying Instructional Design with Educational Technology. Bragging rights include swimming with the sharks in Hawaii and has a hallway lined with lightsabers in her home.

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