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BRB: #Checking-In with eCUPID director J.C.
Back in May, eCupid screened at HRFF and won the Jack Law Award for its presentation of finding and losing love on-line. We caught up with director J.C. Calciano regarding his film’s IRL status on, where else, the computer.
Your film eCupid spends a lot of time tracking characters’ online activities. I want to know what your last Facebook status update was.
About the Honolulu screening! I don’t use Facebook, Twitter or any of those things for personal use. As far as I’m concerned, they’re great tools for promotion and publicity. Other than selling Is It Just Me?, eCupid or Steam Room Stories, I don’t use social media for anything other than promoting my projects. I’m strictly a “check my email only” guy when it comes to my personal life.
Since its World Premiere at the Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival, its screened at various other festivals. What’s the reaction been like? Great! People really love it. They’ve told me that it’s a great follow up film to Is It Just Me? (IIJM?) Some have said, “I love eCupid, but I like IIJM? better because it’s sweeter.” That’s something I knew before making it. IIJM? was written to be a love story and eCupid was written to be a romantic fantasy — inspired by films like Splash and Big — they aren’t necessarily love stories, but more romantic fantasy films. That’s what I designed it to be. My version of a perfect, fun date movie.
Where’d the initial idea for the film come about? Were you in a really bad relationship with your iPhone or something?
Arguing with my boyfriend to put the iPhone down and pay attention to me (I require a lot of attention). His iPad and iPhone had been commandeering the attention I need so I needed to put an end to it. I see young people sitting at restaurants together, texting and not talking. Everywhere you go you see people looking down at screens and more engaged in what’s happening in their hands rather than real life and relationships. That’s what inspired me to write eCupid. It’s a cautionary tale about letting technology distract you from what’s really important in life.
Given all these online dating sites and apps available for gay men today, do you think that’s made dating easier…or just way more complicated?
I think it’s made it both. On one hand you have tons of guys available to you now instantly, whereas 20 years ago, you had only the few guys who happened to be in the bar the same night you were available. Your choices were less and your decisions were made quite simply. Now you can instantly connect with thousands of guys as well as know everything you want about them, including if they are interested in you. Some could say the new way is much better and I could see why, but for me, I like the “meet someone out, go on a date and see how lucky you get” approach.
What’s something about Morgan Fairchild nobody else knows? Is she as much of a fairy godmother in real life as she is the film? Actually, yes she is. I don’t know if people know what a rabid GLBT rights supporter Morgan is. She has also done tireless work supporting the AIDS campaign and has been helping gay causes for many years. Having Morgan on set was not only a pleasure for me, but for the actors as well. She’s truly a fun, generous and encouraging actor to everyone on set. She’s the first to be ready and always has a smile on her face as well as eager to share her knowledge with all the younger filmmakers. Working with Morgan was a highlight of my career and I can’t imagine working with someone more wonderful and professional.
Tell us about what you’re working on these days.
Currently I’m writing and producing more Steam Room Stories — a silly, sexy webisode that features incredibly hot men wearing towels in the steam room. They are very fun to do and the audience seems to love them. I’m also writing the next script. It’s kind of the third film in my trilogy of finding love on-line. I’m not going to give any more details about it other than if it comes out the way I’d like it to, it will go full circle on online dating, missed opportunities and finding love on the computer. It’ll also have cameos from your favorite Is It Just Me? and eCupid guys.