I have a bad attitude. Seriously.
When I was in the seventh grade, my teacher Mrs. Montgomery was all about the good attitude. She made us memorize the poems, “The Man Who Thinks He Can” and “Don’t Quit.” Lately I’ve wanted to go into the way-back machine and punch Mrs. M right in her dirty mouth.
I know that’s not really in line with the sunshiny, rainbow sprinkly Merce brand, but although Merce and I look a lot alike, we are not the same person. I kinda want to punch him, too. (But not in the kisser–wouldn’t want to mar that fabulous face!)
It’s not that I feel the glass is half-empty, it’s more that I’m pissed at the glass itself, unsatisfied with it’s size and shape.
Here’s what’s up: Before Merce came out, I thought I was prepared for anything, for any reaction or result of the show. A very smart friend reminded me before we started releasing the episodes, that none of it is going to happen the way I imagine it, good or bad, and that totally made sense to me.
The show itself, I’m thrilled with. I think we’ve created what we set out to: a funny, smart, original show with a heck of a lot of pizzaz, that actually has something to say. The entire team went above and beyond, and Merce is sensational.
It just hasn’t created the sensation I’d hoped.
“Whats your damage, Heather?” you may ask. “Merce was written about by major publications. You’ve gained audience three-fold over the first show you put out, Manhattan Man-Travels. And personally, people are respecting the hell out of you, as a writer and creator, and even as an activist! That’s amazing, Charles!”
I’m disappointed, and here’s why: even though I thought I was prepared for anything, (and this is humiliating to admit) I still, in the dreamy MGM part of my brain, thought that everything in my life was going to be fixed once Merce came out. Cray cray! I know! But somewhere in my wee head, I really thought that I’d have, for example, agents calling, that some network or company would want to hire our team to do Merce on a bigger scale or create something new (and they’d pay for it!), I imagined offers for other creative projects, that someone would ask me to act in something that I didn’t have to write, that I’d get to write something that I didn’t act in, that money would start pouring in, that I’d get to quit my survival job, all this would happen in a matter of weeks, and that I’d be well on the way to being ….(oh no! Did I really believe this??? Yes, somewhere in my sick, childish brain, I really did)…A Big BROADWAY STAR! Turns out, there’s still a part of me that’s 15.
And people are asking me about a season 2! Holy fuckballs, are you kidding me?! Tyne and I just barely survived getting these eight episodes out, and you want us to dive in again??? Are you mad???
But if I take a moment, and take a breath, and maybe look at the world through Merce-colored glasses, I can get some perspective.
Because here’s the absolute truth: OMG, Merce was written about in extraordinarily favorable ways by every major HIV publication in the country, including POZ (several times!), HIVPlus, A&U, and TheBody.com, and a few around the world: PositiveLite.com in Canada and EstoyBailando.com in Spain! And we were also written about in Broadway World, The Big Gay Picture Show, Frontiers Media and much more! (To see all our fabulous write ups, visit the media page on our website.) We have over 1,000 views on the first episode alone on Vimeo, not to even count YouTube, and Merce has been viewed as far away as Thailand and Columbia! I was a guest on the Invitation to Love podcast recently, where hosts Alicia Camden and Nate Waggoner plugged the hell out of Merce. And most excitingly, Merce is an official selection to the inaugeral Brooklyn Web Fest next month, and Tyne and I have been asked to speak as part of the panel on Emerging Voices. (For details, visit the BKWF website.)
Also (and this is a biggie), we’ve been approached by a gay European channel that wants to broadcast Merce across all their platforms including their website and app. OMG! That’s a possibility of our show being seen in a much bigger way around the world! Amazing. (Stay tuned for an official announcement when we have more details.)
Oh, and along the way, I had an article published in the Huffington Post! “Remember that, Charles??”
And all of this is just SO FAR, because we have other stuff coming up! Co-producer and Mama Tyne Firmin and I were interviewed by HIVHero.org‘s Michael Cavnaugh last week, and that should be coming out soon. Also CJ Stryker of MNN’s StrykeZone show is a big fan, and plans on doing an entire episode about Merce in January! (He also plugs the show on his Episode 35, and I have a cameo promo in the episode as well.) Plus Tyne and I are looking into other festivals to enter and other ways to get the show seen.
Since I’ve been looking through these Merce-colored glasses and trying to wear my gratitude hat (tiara?), things are feeling pretty freaking great.
Yesterday, at the gym, I had a spark of an idea of how the first episode of Merce, Season 2 might start. and I’m starting to get more ideas for season 2: What happens between Merce and Remington? Do Corvette and Jo stay together, or does she go back to seeing Joes? And of course, what the hell kind of shenanigans could Mama be up to?
Damn. Maybe Mrs. Montgomery was right: a good attitude makes all the difference. Maybe it doesn’t matter if the glass is half-empty or half-full. I need to remember to be grateful that I have a glass at all.