The quick release of back-to-back seasons followed by the current third season, she has broken the mole of making a successful lesbian web series. Exceptional quality in production, writing and acting, SFN has quickly ascended to to be whispered in the same light as some of best lesbian web dramas ever.
The chemistry between the characters has pitted viewer against viewer, who have in turn created fandom forums with the usual divisional teams. Which team are you on? Darcy/Steph? Steph/Emily? Kristen/Emily? Kristen/Darcy? I'm partial to Emily/Kristen myself.
The following are a few questions I had the privilege of asking Julie Kalceff, who is also the writer/director and producer of the series. Included in the interview were two of its stars Rosie Lourde (Darcy) and Sarah de Possesse (Steph).
Tee Spicer: Congratulations on the mega success of the show, do you think your recent success at home is a direct result of your international success or vice versa?
Julie Kalceff: Thanks, Tee, and thanks to PNT Tv for your ongoing support of the series. I’d have to say that the recent success we’ve experienced at home is a result of our international success. Audiences outside
TS: Your production team have churned out three seasons in a very short space of time, do you think you will be able to keep this pace up for Season 4, 5 etc?
JK: I’m not sure if we can keep up that pace but we’re mindful of not leaving it too long between seasons. While we don’t have specific dates as yet, we’re aiming to shoot and release Seasons 4 and 5 in 2015.
TS: Speaking of which, are there plans for further seasons and if so how many (in a perfect world and/or realistically) would you like to do?
JK: We don’t have any concrete plans beyond Seasons 4 and 5 at this stage. We certainly haven’t discounted doing further seasons but we need to take into account financing and cast and crew availability. Our goal with each new season is to improve on the last. Without financing, this is very difficult to achieve. In a perfect world cast and crew would be paid and we could keep making the series for as long as we were inspired to do so.
TS: You have managed to do what many a successful series haven't been able to, which is maintain the original cast. If there are other seasons have any or all your main actors made positive commitments to continue with the production?
JK: We have been very lucky with the cast. I sincerely believe that one of the major strengths of Starting From … Now!is the quality of the acting. We have also been extremely lucky in that all four members of our key cast are lovely and generous people. They’ve given so much to this production since its inception. During that time I also think the four of them have developed a strong friendship and enjoy not only working with each other, but spending time together. I think this has helped in terms of being able to maintain the original cast. I’ve spoken to them about Seasons 4 and 5 and each of them has agreed to those seasons. Having said that, however, you never know when something might crop up. Whatever happens we’ll do what we can to work around their availability as it’s very important to me to keep that core cast for every season of SFN.
TS: Besides SFN are there any productions in the works for Common Language Films or is the series too much of a time consuming vehicle to focus on anything else at the moment?
JK: The series is very time consuming and hasn’t left a lot of time to develop other projects. Having said that, though, my goal is to work on longer form projects, be that longer form series and/or feature films and will be developing a slate of projects over the next few months with this goal in mind.
TS: Can you give the fans a tidbit from season 3?
JK: Season 3 is tough on all of the characters. There are some lighter moments in there but, overall, it’s a period of readjustment and not all of them adjust well. You would have seen this in Episode 1 with Kristen in particular. She has quite a turbulent journey in Season 3. There’s some hope in there for Emily, and Steph and Darcy share some beautiful moments but it’s not all smooth sailing.
Fan Question: Which character is your favorite?
I know this sounds like I’m dodging the question but I really don’t have a favourite. There’s a little bit of me in each of the characters. Even though their actions and choices may sometimes appear to be questionable, I understand why they do what they do and, ultimately, I want them all to be happy.
Rosie Lourde: How would I describe Darcy? Wow that’s a hard question! To me, Darcy is incredibly complex while being so seemingly simple. Julie has created her with such a rich subtext, which is an absolute gift. I guess the best way I can describe Darcy is through a personal experience I had. A few years ago I hurt my back very badly and needed to retrain how to walk. It was a very slow and confronting process full of physical and psychological pain which took me on a 2 year emotional roller-coaster. During that time I came face to face with the part of me which was paralyzed, literally paralyzed. And I didn't know what to do. I’d always prided myself on being a do-er, a go-getter, someone who could accomplish anything given the drive and the time, but all of a sudden I couldn't. Standing was exhausting, sitting was excruciating, walking was impossible and I couldn't hold a coherent thought. Lying on my back was the best place to be but the idea of getting up was terrifying. What if I slipped? Twisted the wrong way? Fell? What would I do if the pain got worse? Who was I if this was how I was going to live? Thankfully, I had loving and compassionate people supporting me, and after a lot of perseverance (from everyone involved) I eventually got through it. I see Darcy as being stuck in a similar cycle of paralyzing doubt but without people to turn to for help. She’s trying her best to understand her situation and the options she has but is only now experiencing genuine support and (like when I was first relearning to walk) doesn't yet trust. So, she’s searching for the courage to believe in herself but doesn't quite know where to look and is stumbling at every turn.
I think what would bring Darcy happiness is being loved for who she is but for that to happen she needs to discover who she is first.
TS: Darcy has gone through a major change since we last saw her in season two, do you think she is happy with the decision she made or is she having second doubts?
RL: Yes! I think Darcy is happy with her decision to be with Steph. While she will always love Kristen, she knows that to stay would have been made things worse. Throughout Season 3 there are inevitable complications as both Darcy and Steph work in new jobs while building their relationship, but Sarah de Possesse brought Steph’s emotions to life so beautifully Darcy couldn't help but fall for her.
TS: What would you like Darcy's future to hold?
RL: Fun! I want Darcy to have fun!!!
Fan Question: Who kisses better? Steph or Kristen?
Where Steph’s kisses are gentler and more loving, Kristen’s are rough and ready and unpredictable. I think I’ll have to keep practicing before answering fairly…
Sarah de Possesse: I feel that I owe it to Steph to try to understand where she is coming from, so in the spirit of not placing too much judgement on one's character, I feel a lot of empathy for her. She's not inherently a bad person, but her actions certainly cause a lot of pain for the two people who have provided her with the most support and goodwill since her arrival in Sydney. I understand the anger that many viewers express towards her; Steph acts against her better judgement from the moment she meets Darcy. Her plans and ideals are thrown out the window, and I think it's all part of her misguided effort to be true to her heart, and follow her dreams. For Steph and Darcy it's not so much a question of lust or desire, but rather a meeting of two people who are instantaneously and inextricably drawn to each other. I'd like to think that if I were placed in the same situation, I wouldn't make the same choices that Steph does, and that I'd act in a far more responsible, caring manner, but the heart is a mysterious thing.
TS: Season 3 sees Steph basically having what she has wanted since Season 1, is she happy?
SdP: Steph is happy in a sense, but things aren't as rosy as she had imagined they would be. With her working night shifts and Darcy working days, both in low-wage jobs, they hardly get a chance to see each other. But I think that as far as Steph is concerned, she's with the woman of her dreams, and people can be extremely resilient and optimistic when it comes to love.
TS: Steph is now the main breadwinner of the relationship, do you think this will become a problem and who do you think will actually have more of a problem with it?
SdP: Steph would bend over backwards for Darcy. I think if anything, she'd have a problem with not being able to provide as much as Kristen did. Darcy on the other hand has just come out of a long-term relationship in which she was financially dependent, so she would probably have more issues with the idea of being supported in the long run.
Fan Question: If the choice was your's (Sarah) who would you choose Darcy or Emily?
SdP: That's easy – I'd choose Emily in a heartbeat! She's sassy, the same height as me, doesn't have a chronic drinking problem, has an open heart, and speaks her mind. And if we were together I'd have access to her amazing wardrobe! A match made in heaven.
If you are among the few who hasn't seen it yet, I enthusiastically recommend doing so now. SFN is refreshing, young, unpredictable and sexy. You can even binge watch Season 3 on Vimeo on Demand or on its page on PNT Tv here!
For more info: Vimeo On Demand (Season 3: Completed)