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FilmOut: "The 10 Year Plan," a gay romantic comedy

(Editor's note: SDGLN is featuring Q&A interviews with leading filmmakers from around the world who are participating in FilmOut San Diego's 16th annual LGBT Film Festival, running May 30 to June 1 at the historic North Park Theatre. Follow SDGLN for all the news about one of the top LGBT film festivals in the U.S. “The 10 Year Plan” is the Boys Centerpiece and will be shown at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 31.)

SAN DIEGO, California – Filmmaker J.C. Calciano is becoming a beloved fixture at FilmOut San Diego’s annual LGBT Film Festival. He returns this month with his newest movie, “The 10 Year Plan.”

The Boys Centerpiece selection is the third film in a trilogy of gay romantic comedies, a genre that Calciano masters. The other two films, “Is It Just Me?” and “eCupid,m” were also showcased by FilmOut’s festival.

J.C. Calciano discusses the making of “The 10 Year Plan” and talks about “Steam Room Stories,” his hit web series.

Q: Welcome back to FilmOut San Diego! What makes “The 10 Year Plan” different from “Is It Just Me?” and “eCupid,” the first two movies in this trilogy of gay romantic comedies?

“Is It Just Me? and “eCupid” explore relationships from two different perspectives: One is about two people who find each other, the other is about two people who drift apart. “The 10 Year Plan” explores the question: “Where does friendship end and love begin?” It’s about two guys who have a great friendship. They obviously care for each other very much, but the question is does it have the potential to turn into something more?

Q: You certainly deserve the title of king of the gay romantic comedy. Why are you so attracted to this genre?

I make movies that I’d want to see. My goal is to tell positive stories about relationships and community, and romantic comedies are perfect for that. They touch your heart and make you smile - two things that make movies magical and fun.

Q: Where did you find your two handsome leads, Michael Adam Hamilton and Jack Turner?

Finding great looking men is easy in LA. Finding a great actor is more difficult and finding one that is both is even harder. I audition hundreds of actors, but once I find a few actors who I think would be great for the roles, then I bring them all in to audition with each other to make sure they have the right chemistry. I know the actors get a little frustrated with me calling them back in a few times, but ultimately it’s worth it. I get a great cast who really work well together and bring that special bond that brings the relationship to life.

Q: What is the buzz about the movie on the gay film festival circuit?

We just came from our premiere in Boston. The house was packed. We were overwhelmed by the positive audience reaction. People were telling us how much Myles and Brody reminded them of themselves or how it resembled relationships they’ve had in their own lives. To me, that’s the ultimate compliment - when someone can relate to the movie and see their own life reflected on the screen.

Q: Where did you shoot the movie, and why did you choose this location? Didn’t you also crowd-fund to finish the film?

I shot the movie in and around West Hollywood, California. The script was written so that it could be shot cost efficiently. With the kindness of a few friends and business owners, we were able to get beautiful locations for little to no money.

We ran a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and raised about $8,000. We did this while we were also in pre-production and really didn’t have time to dedicate as much time as it needed. The lesson learned is that crowdfunding is a full-time job that should be done well in advance of pre-production and principal photography!

Q: What do you want audiences to remember about the film after they leave the theater?

All of my films have positive themes about love, friendship, community and companionship. My hope is that these films have a positive impact in the world. More than one person has written me saying, “I was so much like that character and it wasn’t until I learned that lesson, I was able to find my partner.”

Q: Do you consider this an LGBT film or a mainstream movie, and why?

“The 10 Year Plan” is predominantly for LGBT audiences, but it does have universal appeal. Straight audiences have said they enjoyed the film and would recommend it to friends and family. It’s awesome we’ve created something that everyone can enjoy!

Q: How long can you sustain “Steam Room Stories,” your popular web series?

That’s a question I keep asking myself! With over 5 hours and 130 episodes of “Steam Room Stories,” you’d think I would have run out of things to write about! The Steam Room guys are so awesome and we have so much fun on set that I can’t stop doing it. We’ve become a family. Shooting new episodes is a great excuse for us to get together and have some fun. Plus, the fans are really into them and I don’t want to disappoint.

Q: Why is this form of storytelling becoming so popular?

Webisodes are like bite-sized dessert. Perfect for short bursts of fun and laughs. And they can be addictive.

Q: What’s next for you?

I’m excited to say that I’m writing my next film! My hope is this next one will have a slightly higher budget so we can do even better things.

Q: What is something your fans don’t know about you?

If they watch my movies, they know almost everything about me. All my characters are parts of me. I’m as insecure as Blaine from “Is It Just Me?” As awkward as Marshall from “eCupid” and as hopeless a romantic as Myles in “The 10 Year Plan.” What they don’t know is that my partner Matt is essentially a combination of Xander and Gabe (not so much Brody).

Q: If you were granted three wishes, what would you do with them?

I’m very fortunate to get to do what I love, but I’d wish for more resources to make my films. Maybe a little more money. Heck, a lot more money! And while I’m at it, how about a 6,000 screen worldwide, theatrical release of the film “The 10 Year Plan”?

About FilmOut San Diego

FilmOut San Diego affirms the ongoing integrity and boundless imagination of our community and the artists who tell our stories. We believe our work is an integral part of an ongoing effort to build a vibrant, affirming and sustainable LGBT community in San Diego County. We hope you will join us.

Financial support for FilmOut San Diego is provided in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture. While attending our festival, please spend time in America’s Finest City, support our neighboring restaurants, and enjoy the many museums, parks, beaches and other recreational facilities that out city has to offer.

Festival tickets are now on sale HERE.

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Ken Williams is Editor in Chief of SDGLN. He can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.