SLIDESHOW: The 30 Most Eligible Gay TV Characters
Hi Ben! Let's pretend we're on a date. Where did you grow up?
I'm originally from Oregon. I moved down to Los Angeles, and I was here for maybe six years. After that I moved to New York, where I had the lazy beat out of me. That's something about living in Los Angeles, you have a tendency of getting complacent and lazy, because the quality of living is so easy here. But that laziness, it just doesn't survive in New York. So after a few years there, I was super excited to come back and try my hand at L.A. again, and make some shit happen.
What happened to you since Hunting Season?
It's been amazing. The first season was very well received. We have some amazing, incredible fans who have been so supportive of the whole thing. We wouldn't have been able to make season two without them, because we actually raised $150,000 via Kickstarter to make it. So it was really a show that we made for the fans.
Why do you think Hunting Season was such a hit with the gay community?
The thing that was so important about the show for us was just the fact that it's not a story that's really out there, as far our community is concerned. Most gay characters on TV at the time when the first season came out are kind of sterile and sexless, and that's not who we are. We're a messy, sexual bunch of people, just like anybody else on TV. Just like the girls on Sex and the City.
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How does it make you feel to know that our readers chose your character, Alex, as the most dateable gay TV character?
I think that's insane! I'm so thankful about that. I think more than anything that just attests to our fans. Our fans are so loyal and so gung-ho about our show. It really means so much to me to have that much support. My character from our little dog and pony show beat out the four studs from Looking, and I can't even believe that. It's really remarkable that our show came out in May, and our fans are still talking about it, tweeting us about it, and still being just as supportive as they were from day one, and it's really really incredible. I'm so lucky.
Talking about your character, are there any similarities between you and Alex?
Yeah, of course. Something that I love about Alex, and something that I strive to be in my day-to-day life, is how authentic he is. One of the things that really drew me to the story is: Here's this guy that wants more than anything to tell the truth and be authentically himself, but we live in this world that looks down on him. But he's still going to live his life, he's still going to be who he is, and that's something that I definitely try and do. As an actor, that's hard to do, especially in this business. But it's something that playing this character has given me insight into: a little bit of bravery when it comes to issues like that.
You started filming and producing the new webseries, #Adulting. How's that going?
#Adulting is my baby. I wrote it with one of my very best girl friends. We've been friends for ten years. I remember she and I sat down, it was on my birthday and we went out to dinner and we had a few too many drinks. The conversation kind of devolved into the conversation that I'm sure all actors have of like "Why don't we have a show? We're funny!" So then the next day, under the cruel harsh light of a hangover, I called her and I was like "Why don't we have a show? Why don't we just write one?" And so we did. Most of what we have written so far are just stories that have happened to us, taken directly out of our lives for the most part. We've only shot one episode so far, but we're shooting another one in a couple of weeks, and we have six written, so we're hoping we can get them all made before my next birthday. That is the goal.
How is #Adulting different from Hunting Season?
Hunting Season was a full production. There was a big crew, a lot of equipment, and just a lot of stuff. It was the most legit set I had been on until that point. #Adulting is different in scope because we are trying to shoot this with no money. We are shooting it with friends, who are all our crew members. We are calling in a lot of favors, heavily borrowing people that we know who have equipment. We had one of our friends as the makeup girl, as the assistant director, and the script director... We just want to tell a fun story, quickly and cheaply. The thing I love about webseries is that you're not doing it for money, you're not doing it for notoriety, you're doing it because you have a story you want to tell -- and the story that we're telling is really fun for us.
Is Hunting Season likely to come back?
I would love to make more Hunting Season. I would love to see #Adulting move from a short format, 5 minute show to a full 20-minute, 13 episode series. There's really nothing that should stop me from making that happen. That's where my goals have been at, just putting the nose to the grindstone and doing the work, and telling people about it, and being passionate, and hoping that they'll tell other people -- eventually all of these dreams will come true. But I mean honestly my goal for this year is to just do as much good work as I possibly can. These two shows, I know that I can do good work doing, so I would love to make more.
Is there something that people don't know about you that you'd like to talk about?
I hold back very little. So if anyone follows me on social media, I don't think that there is much that people don't know. I try and lay it all out there as much as I possibly can. I think one thing that maybe people don't know is the fact I've found this new place inside of me that's very driven and very goal-oriented, and very all about making shit happen. So I would like people to know that I'm going to be making some shit happen and I hope that they're excited!
So, I think our readers would like to know: What's your relationship status?
I have a fantastic boyfriend. It's hard though because we're doing the long-distance thing. He's still in New York, I'm in Los Angeles. We've been together for four and a half years, five in July. He's absolutely the best. He would have to be in order to put up with the mounds of crazy that I throw at him on a daily basis. Being an actor, I definitely have all the feelings. He's pretty good at juggling those. I wouldn't change that at all.
What's your spirit animal?
This is going to sound really stupid, but just thinking about it right now, I'm making one up: It's a rainbow colored beaver with a unicorn horn. I chose a beaver because a beaver is hardworking and determined, and is also the state animal of Oregon, which is where I'm from. And then rainbow-colored and the unicorn horn for obvious reasons.
Watch the first episode of Ben Baur's new show, #Adulting, below: