Los Angeles, CA – 5.5.2014 – Four lesbians. Twelve relationships. One iPhone app. The pilot episode of Lauren Augarten’s new web series Scissr explores the romantic challenges of a group of lesbians living in Brooklyn, NY.
Aviva, Corey, Emily and Niamh are four twenty-something lesbians from very different backgrounds. Aviva (Lauren Augarten) has just come out and is hoping to connect with the other lesbians online, while Corey (Paulina Singer) has just gone through a traumatic breakup and is ready to swear off women altogether and Emily (Kelly Sebastian) is constantly looking for the next best thing. Navigating life and love in Brooklyn is easy for none of them, but when they meet through an iPhone app, the girls realize they have much more in common than they originally thought.
Trans actress Jamie Clayton stars as Niamh, a cisgendered lesbian woman and the gatekeeper of Scissr, the neighborhood gay bar. Clayton previously played the role of Michelle in the Emmy Award winning series Dirty Work and Kyla on HBO’s Hung in addition to co-hosting VH1’s groundbreaking show TRANSform Me with Laverne Cox. The series also stars Paulina Singer (Nilda on How to Make it in America) and out actresses Kelly Sebastian (Host of Tastemakers on MuchMusic), Alisha B. Woods and series creator Lauren Augarten (Maybe Someday).
“When I realized I was a lesbian at 24 I soaked up all the lesbian shows I could find, but there weren’t many available and I didn’t feel like they really reflected the community I was discovering. With Scissr I set out to create something that I could relate to as a 20-something lesbian in the beautiful cesspool of struggle that is Brooklyn, NY.” – Lauren Augarten.
Flurt’s Hayley Gordon recently interviewed series creator Lauren Augarten about Scissr, lesbian relationships and their presence on film:
Hayley: Tell us a little more about the inspiration for this series. How did you come up with the name? What main message do you hope to convey to viewers?
Lauren: When I was coming out, I looked to film and TV to give me an insight into the lesbian community. I wanted to know what to expect, even if only through the filter of entertainment. I wanted to find stories to connect with. There really wasn’t much. So I set about creating a series that looked and felt like the world I saw around me. The show is about four girls who meet on an iPhone app, and so the name Scissr grew from that as a play on the app Grindr.
As far as messages go, it’s more about wanting to entertain than educate! I want to create the things I don’t see on TV. The spectrum of female sexuality is not explored as much as I think it should be.
Hayley: There has been a lot of controversy over casting cisgender actors in transgender roles (for example, Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer’s Club). You’ve taken a different approach and cast a transgender actress in a cisgender role. What prompted this casting choice?
Lauren: As a general rule, (although I completely understand the controversy over Jared Leto’s performance) I don’t believe that every role has to be played by someone of that exact type. That’s the point of acting. What I believe in, is responsible representation, accurate, truthful portrayals. And that’s on the writer, the producer, director. I think it’s important, at the very least, to have a consultant or two on the show, who understands the world you’re depicting (if it’s not something that you are a part of directly) so that the people you’re representing feel like it’s truthful and accurate.
I didn’t have that issue with Scissr, I wasn’t creating a world too far outside of my own. I definitely wanted to cast lesbian women, where possible, so that there were other lesbian voices and perspectives coming through, and it wasn’t just the ‘Lauren’ show. However, it was more important to me to cast great actors first and foremost. When it came to Jamie, I didn’t make a specific choice to cast a transgender actress. I just made the choice to cast her, because she’s great at what she does. She’s incredibly passionate, she knows her stuff, she makes smart and interesting choices, on and off camera. Every take of Jamie’s is usable, and that’s a special thing.
Hayley: What is it like working with a predominantly female cast versus a predominantly male cast? What is the dynamic like?
Lauren: Although it was a predominantly female cast, I was mostly only in scenes with Taylor Blakin, and the co-directors were a guy and a girl, the DP was a guy, so the room was pretty mixed in that respect. In other roles, I’ve been directed by men, and by women, I’ve played opposite men, and opposite women. So far, I think my favorite sets are ones where men and women are in equal numbers, I haven’t felt much of a difference in dynamics at this point. That said, I’m getting more and more excited by the amount of female writers and directors I see creating their own work. I hope it continues, and proliferates. I totally agree with my fellow Aussie, Cate Blanchett. Stories with women at the center are not niche. I’m so ready for more. I think we all are.
Hayley: We know you drew inspiration for the series from your own life. Are any of your own experiences explored in the show?
Lauren: Oh, yes. No one character is specifically me, but there are definitely elements of my own stories in all of them.
Hayley: A lot of people seem to be under the impression that lesbian relationships are somehow “easier” than heterosexual relationships. Do you hope to dispel this myth with Scissr?
Lauren: I’ve never actually heard that one!
Scissr recently won the LGBT Category at the LA New Media Film Festival and have released their pilot (shown above). For more information on their progress, you can like them on Facebook or follow Lauren Augarten on Twitter @laurenaugarten.