Writing and Developing for the Expanding LGBTQ Film, TV & New Media Market

Hosted by Devon Byers

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Devon Byers

Webinar hosted by: Devon Byers

Lit Manager/Producer at Heroes & Villains

Devon Byers is the Manager and Producer at First Friday Entertainment, the industry's top literary management and production company dedicated to finding unique voices focusing on diversity and inclusion. Devon's clients are on a roll. Recently Issa Rae's ColorCreative is set to produce a dramedy TOOTHBRUSH written by his client Brittani Nichols, which was announced in Variety. His client Tamika Miller was recently picked up for directing mentorship by Shonda Rhimes' company Shondaland in conjunction with SeriesFest. Client Richard Lowe is a writer on GOD FRIENDED ME on CBS and Mia Katherine Iverson got picked up as a writer on the CW's KATY KEENE TONIGHT. His client, Victoria Rose, just had Jaeden Martell of IT join Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon on his script TUNNELS, which is Directed by John Krokidas (KILL YOUR DARLINGS) and will be produced by Highland Film Group. Before starting First Friday, Devon was the Development Coordinator at Ideate Media, the film and TV production company behind the BBC America adaptation of Douglas Adams' "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" starring Elijah Wood, the international TOMBIRUO, the series MANDATORI, and the upcoming ROGUE STAR.  Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

The LGBTQ+ market is expanding and it's high time fresh voices are heard. The popularity of recent titles like Netflix’s THE BOYS IN THE BAND, Hulu’s LOVE, VICTOR, and FX’s POSE point to the truth that stories and perspectives from the LGBTQ+ community are finally welcomed and in demand. This in turn is encouraging more buyers to gravitate towards content from queer voices and with queer themes. It’s been a long time coming, and now that we’re here, it’s important to take a look at what exactly is selling and what makes LGBTQ+ content authentic, responsible, and popular.

As more voices and stories from the LGBTQ+ community are coming forward, audiences are clearly becoming more open and interested in exploring these themes and characters, but they’re also more discerning about the authenticity and respect queer characters are given. The romantic lead’s sassy and platonic gay best friend doesn’t fly the way it might have in the ‘90s. So what do authentic queer characters actually look like today? How can you avoid clichés and stereotypes and instead craft something complex and responsible? Whether you are queer, straight, or anything else, how can you positively contribute to the LGBTQ+ film and TV market?

Devon Byers is a manager, producer, and co-founder of First Friday Entertainment, the industry's top literary management and production company dedicated to finding unique voices focused on diversity and inclusion. His clients are currently working with companies like Issa Rae’s ColorCreative and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, and are staffed on shows such as CBS’s GOD FRIENDED ME and CW’s KATY KEENE. Devon has based his career on championing diverse voices and bringing forward inclusive stories, and he’s bringing his perspective to the Stage 32 community.

Devon will lay out what the LGBTQ+ film and TV market looks like today and how best to create your own stories and characters with these themes. He will begin by exploring what LGBTQ+ stories have been done and what you can do to make your own story unique. He’ll then delve into writing LGBTQ+ characters, including how to write them authentically and avoid clichés. He’ll outline the common traps LGBTQ+ characters often fall into and show you how to make sure your unique voice is evident in the writing. He’ll talk about themes that should be explored in this market as well as themes to avoid. Devon will also talk about if it’s okay to rewrite your straight characters for the LGBTQ+ market and whether there are any topics considered too insensitive or taboo. He’ll also discuss whether the market accepts straight people telling LGBTQ+ stories. He will then walk you through what platforms and formats are looking for this material and the most popular genres that are selling. Finally, Devon will dive into specific examples of successful LGBTQ+ projects in film, TV, podcasts and web series, and what makes them stand out.

 

It’s an exciting time as Hollywood continues to become more diverse and inclusive. Let Devon give you the tools and confidence to responsibly contribute to this trend and even elevate it further.

What You'll Learn

  • How to Identify LGBTQ+ Stories that Need to be Told
    • What’s been done?
    • How can your story be unique?
  • How to Write LGBTQ+ Characters
    • Is your story primarily LGBTQ+ characters?
    • Is your story limited LGBTQ+ characters(s) navigating a straight world?
    • How to write authentic characters
    • How do you avoid cliche?
    • Common traps LGBTQ+ characters fall into (stereotypes)
    • How to make sure your voice is evident in the writing
    • Themes to be explored vs. themes to avoid
    • Should you take a story with straight characters and rewrite them for the LGBTQ+ market?
    • Are there any topics that are considered insensitive or taboo?
    • Does the market accept straight people telling LGBTQ+ stories?
    • Understanding what platforms, what formats are looking for this material
    • What are the most popular genres that are selling?
  • Examples of Successful LGBTQ+ Projects and What Makes them Stand Out
    • Films
    • TV Shows
    • Podcasts and Web Series
  • Q&A with Devon

About Your Instructor

Devon Byers is the Manager and Producer at First Friday Entertainment, the industry's top literary management and production company dedicated to finding unique voices focusing on diversity and inclusion.

Devon's clients are on a roll. Recently Issa Rae's ColorCreative is set to produce a dramedy TOOTHBRUSH written by his client Brittani Nichols, which was announced in Variety. His client Tamika Miller was recently picked up for directing mentorship by Shonda Rhimes' company Shondaland in conjunction with SeriesFest. Client Richard Lowe is a writer on GOD FRIENDED ME on CBS and Mia Katherine Iverson got picked up as a writer on the CW's KATY KEENE TONIGHT. His client, Victoria Rose, just had Jaeden Martell of IT join Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon on his script TUNNELS, which is Directed by John Krokidas (KILL YOUR DARLINGS) and will be produced by Highland Film Group.

Before starting First Friday, Devon was the Development Coordinator at Ideate Media, the film and TV production company behind the BBC America adaptation of Douglas Adams' "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" starring Elijah Wood, the international TOMBIRUO, the series MANDATORI, and the upcoming ROGUE STAR

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