WE LOVE SOAPS TV: How did the idea for ADULTS ONLY come about for you?
Jason M. Burns: I was starting a digital production company for web-based projects called Plymouth Rock Creative. We were originally interested in doing feature-based stuff. My background is in comic books and I.P. creation and the graphic novel book space. Although they have a three act structure, they're in smaller increments so we figured why not tap into that audience with webisodes, create something we can shoot ourselves relatively quickly, and try to move forward with that.
So once we had the idea of what we wanted to do with the business plan, we built a project that was manageable. ADULTS ONLY was something we knew wasn't going to cost a lot of money, wasn't going to have a lot of different set locations, and it allowed us to tap into a pretty edgy up-to-date web market for humor. So we were able to do that without going so far in pushing the envelope that we alienated people. I also, in high school fifteen years ago, happened to work in a video store that had an adult section. A lot of it came out of that.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: The cast has a lot of well known actors. How did you assemble this group?
Jason M. Burns: A lot of it was trial and error. We had a very short window of what we wanted to do production wise. We shot for six days last July. We knew it was going to be very similar to a soap production where we had one or two takes on a lot of this stuff. I reached out to Ronnie Marmo, who is a good friend of mine and is on GENERAL HOSPITAL, and asked if he would take a look at the script to see if any parts interested him. He was interested in the role of 'Crotch' who is the wacky guy who works at the store. He brought in Brianna Brown, who was also on GENERAL HOSPITAL. Vincent Pastore from THE SOPRANOS also worked on soaps. We knew we wanted a group of people that understood we might only get one take and be cool with it so we built a core group of people who had worked on soaps.
A lot of them were just friends of friends we just sort of took a stab in the dark with or like Sebastian Bach of Skid Row. We just reached out to his management company and we got lucky and landed him. The role of 'Shifty' ultimately culminates in the season finale and I always knew I wanted a rock star in that role. He fit it perfectly.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: That takes me back to the rock bands I remember in college.
Jason M. Burns: The first thing I told my wife when he signed on to the project, and it was only two weeks before our shoot date, was that 12-year-old me just high-fived current me.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: So you shot this in six days. That is pretty typical of a lot of these shows. Have you worked on a web series before?
Jason M. Burns: This is the first web series I've ever been involved with. We shot in Massachusetts, and built the set. The biggest part of our budget was travel and lodging so we just needed to hit the ground running and get it done.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: We recently held our Indie Soap Awards and it's always amazing to me how much people can do for pretty much nothing.
Jason M. Burns: For us as a company I'm going to colleges that have Film & TV courses and telling people the only thing that stands in your way is yourself and your desire to get things done. You can shoot a project with no 'name' actors and make it look better than you can see on TV with virtually no money. At the end of the day the only thing standing in people's way is themselves.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What is the biggest thing you learned from this experience?
Jason M. Burns: I've always been a proponent of 'the best way to learn how to do things is to just do them.' I'll be the first to admit we made mistakes, but I don't think I would have learned those in a classroom. The biggest lesson I took out of it was you don't have to do everything yourself. It's okay to rely on other people to get things done. Sometimes it's a budgetary thing, but every group that gets together for a project like this has a good core. Delegation is key. You can focus on certain things and not have to focus on everything. I also have a very OCD personality so while I'm trying to direct an episode I'm also trying to ensure craft services is there [laughs].
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: What has been the response to the show?
Jason M. Burns: It's been really great. The amount of quality comments on YouTube and the feedback in general has been awesome. We've got great play in radio and newspapers here in Boston. We feel good.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Would you compare ADULTS ONLY to any old show or movie from the past?
Jason M. Burns: I think modern audiences will recognize it in the IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA vein in terms of the characters. But at the same time there's an underlying love story like ED. It has that coming-back-to-your-roots and trying to reinvent yourself feel. One of my favorite shows growing up was THREE'S COMPANY, and we certainly have some THREE'S COMPANY moments in the later episodes, too.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: Where do you want this to go? Would you ultimately like this to be on TV? Or are you enjoying creating content for the web and hope to get sponsors and monetize it?
Jason M. Burns: We just want to be able to continue it. My wife definitely wants that happen because we have an adult video store in my basement [laughs]. I would love to do it on the web. I love telling stories in those short little increments. It's like telling and eight-minute joke. We live in a quick-consumption society. I'm not sure something like this could work has a half-hour sitcom to a wider audience. On the web you can reach one hundred million people, while on a network you might have fourteen million viewers. I love the web space. If we continue to do it there, I'd been one hundred percent happy.
WE LOVE SOAPS TV: The web series world is such a writer's medium today. I want the shows to be able to monetize but worry about sponsors and networks dictating content like they do on a lot of TV these days.
Jason M. Burns: It's always a nervous thought of mine. Eight years ago I got involved in comic books. It was still very much a writer's space. And then this sort of Hollywood boom started where everyone wanted to option a movie based on a comic book. Everyone who was anybody got involved in comic books and it quickly became over-saturated and the original writers got sort of booted out the door. My hope is there's enough of a sandbox online where everybody can play.
ABOUT ADULTS ONLY
After winning a pair of gold medals at the 1988 Olympics, gymnast Chance Rioux became America’s Sweetheart, but times change and even the shiniest of medals eventually give way to rust. Now America’s Forgotten, Chance must accept a job managing his brother-in-law’s adult video/novelty store in order to make ends meet, all while trying to conceal his identity from the public, particularly a new love interest who serves as the trigger in his reinvention of self.
Starring: Vincent Pastore (THE SOPRANOS), Danny Nucci (Titanic, The Rock), Brian Austin Green (BEVERLY HILLS 90210, KNOTS LANDING), Sebastian Bach (lead singer Skid Row), Brianna Brown (GENERAL HOSPITAL, HOMELAND), Ronnie Marmo (GENERAL HOSPITAL, West of Brooklyn), Adrienne LaValley (best known for being the National Floors Direct spokesperson), and Todd Poudrier.
Where to find the show:
- YouTube (Watch the first six episodes)
- Plymouth Rock Creative
Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps and is currently a producer on THE BAY and executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals.