Sunday, April 23rd, 2017, I had this exciting opportunity to chat with series creator/actor, Dorell Anthony, and castmate Clayton Berger from PRIDE: The Series. The interview was mindblowing! Pride Buzz sincerely appreciates PRIDE: The Series for allowing us to feature their show on our platform. – CJ ( Pride Buzz Blog)
CJ: To start, congrats on the nominations! Melissa, Whitney, Tony, Scott, Lauren and the other Scott were nominated for Indie Series Awards! So, a total of 6 nominations for PRIDE: The Series.
Dorell: It was great to be nominated this time around. This wasn’t the first time the series had been nominated for something, but it was great for Tony, Whitney, Melissa, Scott Schofield, Lauren and Scott Salame. That was very exciting!
CJ: The show just won ‘BEST WEB SERIES’ at the Ahora Festival in New Zealand. That sounds awesome! Can you tell us a little more about that experience?
Dorell: Absolutely! It was a great morning to wake up to that news. We’ve been working hard, so it definitely was a good feeling. Certainly grateful. We’d like to visit New Zealand to show the series. So that’s something we want to keep in mind.
CJ: That’s awesome to know the series reached that far and was recognized.
Dorell: It surely is. It was a proud moment and I’m thankful for the cast and crew for making it all come together.
CJ: Amen! Can you tell us a little about your background? Where you’re from and how you uncovered the passion for filmmaking?
Dorell: Well, I’m from a small town in East Texas. I’ve always had a love for TV and film. As a child, I remember watching soaps and loving the stories. So, I moved to New York and it all came together from there.
CJ: Sounds awesome! Now let’s dive straight into the juicy stuff! Episode 2! (laughs) This question is mostly for Clayton Berger.
Dorell: (laughs) Alright.
Clayton: (laughs) Sure!
CJ: So, in episode 2 of season 1, there is a sex scene in the kitchen on the countertop. Before that, Chad, played by Clayton, mentions his girlfriend. But the sex happened anyway. How uncomfortable were you during that shoot?
Clayton: It wasn’t uncomfortable at all. The entire crew was respectful and professional. I pretty much had the mindset to play the character as he was. That was the goal.
Dorell: Yes. It was very professional. Speaking of that scene, Clayton and I have been friends for a while. I couldn’t imagine doing that scene with anyone else but him. So it all worked out.
CJ: Well it was a phenomenal scene and it’ looked very professional. Clayton, just briefly, can you tell us a little more about who you are?
Clayton: Sure! I’m from Texas as well. I’ve always had a thing for television and film. I enjoy my character on PRIDE and I’m really looking forward to doing more.
CJ: Awesome! Thanks, Clayton. We really appreciate having you join us today.
Clayton: Sure thing!
CJ: Emmy-nominated, Ilene Kristen plays Professor Eleanor in your series. For those who don’t know, Ilene has longevity in the TV and film industry. She’s done Ryan’s Hope, Another World and One Life to Live. How’d you and Ilene come together for this vision and was her character inspired by someone you’ve crossed paths with?
Dorell: Ilene Kristen is amazing! Yes, she has been doing TV and film for a long time. I was able to get her on board and she was totally in. She helped me during one of our scenes. Our first scene from season one. I was having some issues connecting to the character, Kai. The scene had some dialogue between her character and mine. Ilene told me, “Look into my eyes”. Her saying that made it easier for me to connect and finish the scene. She’s just a great person. Her character was inspired by one of my teachers from high school. So, as the show progresses you’ll see where her character, Eleanor, goes.
CJ: That was the scene where your character gets fired as a TA. Right?
Dorell: Yes! That was the scene.
CJ: Oh yes. I could tell because there was direct eye contact. The scene was awesome. Keep in mind I’ve seen episodes 1 through 3 of season 2. So it’s exciting to see exactly where her character is headed.
Dorell: Look out for that!
CJ: There is a character named Lana in PRIDE. She’s played by Whitney Hoy. I’m curious about what’s next for her character. Can you tell us what to look for without giving the full plot away?
Dorell: Whitney is a fantastic actress and I am so blessed to have her as Lana. The character is so “Sami Brady” from Days of our Lives to me! That was the driving force behind creating Lana – and Whitney does it so well! We will see more of her character coming up. There is a feud with her mother, Eleanor. So we’ll see what drives that.
Season 2 – Trailer
CJ: Speaking of additional characters, you have two others I am curious about. One who’s an addiction therapy counselor. The other who is a cancer survivor. How’d that happen?
Dorell: Well, we wanted something realistic. So it was needed in the series. I personally know someone who has battled with cancer. That part was personal. Lauren Martin is a phenomenal actress. Also, Terissa Kelton who plays Riley, the addiction therapy counselor, she’s great at what she does as a producer and actress. She’s definitely one of the most underrated actresses I know. Her work speaks for itself.
CJ: Absolutely. It really does.
CJ: And as for Trina, she’s Kai’s sister. Played by Ashley Mitchell. Will we learn more about her in Season 2? She’s just amazing!
Dorell: Absolutely! To start, Ashley is one of the most caring and compassionate individuals I know. She just cares so much about her people and she has a heart of gold! She’s also one of the producers. As for her character, Trina, she’s figuring it out. You’ll see as the story unfolds. Mostly how the character deals with certain struggles.
CJ: Yes. I kind of see where Trina is headed just from watching episode 1 of season 2.
CJ: So, it is said in a scene that Kai and Chad were together for 7 months. Though Chad had a girlfriend at the same time! Then there is a scene where Kai gets aggravated and loudly asked a room full of people if any of them had slept with Chad, too. (laughs). My mouth dropped! Then a guy named Garrett admitted he had been with Chad for 4 months as well. How did you tap into those emotions to react the way you did?
Dorell: (laughs) We always laugh when we talk about this part. On the set, Chad, played by Clayton and Garrett, played by Aaron Mathias, were having a conversation. So when I walked over and they said, “We’re having a conversation and Dorell, ‘Kai’ shouldn’t be a part of it”. (laughs) I said, “OK”. They were really in character. As great actors should be.
Clayton: (laughs) Yes! We were.
Dorell: So it was kind of like getting tossed back and forth. It was interesting for my character. The emotion. That day on set everything that could have possibly went wrong, went wrong while filming. But we made it work for the scene.
CJ: Well it surely was a great moment to watch.
Dorell: Thank you.
CJ: Travis has a colorful moment. Literally, paint on the walls and himself while in his apartment. As a writer, I know how it is to write something and visualize as you put it on paper. I wanted to say it was a deep scene. Kind of dark and vulnerable. The moment said a lot without any words. Did the character Travis, played by Braden Bradley, make that vision come to life for you? With the colors and the emotion?
Dorell: First, let me say that Braden is an amazing actor and an amazing person. That scene was conveyed exactly how it was written. Braden is the type of person who believes in doing good and honest work. As you know, his character has some issues regarding family and sexuality. So it will be interesting to see where his character goes. You see, it started off with my character, Kai, being the one who had it all together. So now things have changed. We’ll see what happens with Travis.
CJ: I hope so. I loved that scene!
CJ: Adam Rios. The guy who plays the character of the same name, Adam. He seems to enjoy his double roles as Adam and Sheeneda. Sheeneda is FABULOUS! How important was it for you to include that alter ego in the series?
Dorell: It was wonderful featuring a drag queen character in PRIDE. Adam does an excellent job portraying both Adam and Sheeneda. In one of the episodes from season one, you can see Adam in drag. So in that moment, it’s Sheeneda you’re talking to. She refuses to respond to the name Adam. So you’ll see us explore more topics like that moving forward.
CJ: Will we see more of Adam/Sheeneda? How far do their stories go?
Dorell: Yes! Of course. If you noticed from the final episode of season one, there were a lot of dramatic things happening! It all just flows with the story for season 2.
CJ: Yes. I saw that. I’m excited about more episodes! But I don’t want to give too much of the details away. How many seasons do you want to create and are there any other projects from you in development?
Dorell: Actually, I’d like to pull a Shonda Rhimes and do multiples. (laughs) But seriously, I’d like to work on some other stuff. Maybe in our off-season. But right now, PRIDE is the main focus. I have a thing for horror, so maybe I’ll do something else pertaining to that. Also, I’ll be doing some more work on General Hospital here soon. So that’s exciting as well.
CJ: Oh! That’s pretty cool. If you do anything horror, send me the links so I can tune in!
Dorell: (laughs) I will be sure to do that.
CJ: Before we wrap things up, how can people follow the show on social media? Instagram, Facebook, the website?
Dorell: We are online with the same handle name on multiple platforms. Instagram @Pride The Series. Twitter, Facebook, and the website, www.pridetheseries.com. Make sure you all tweet us and give us your comments about the show.
CJ: Sounds good! So again, where can folks see PRIDE: The Series?
Dorell: PRIDE: The Series is available on Amazon. Season one will be joining season two very soon.
CJ: Are there any other individuals from the production who’ve contributed to making that possible?
Dorell: Absolutely! I would like to thank all of my producers from EPs to APs to Consulting Producers. Our wonderful director, Michael Pomarico, and his visions are amazing! He took PRIDE from where it was in season 1 and greatly elevated it. I also especially want to thank John Hyde of Rehab Entertainment. Without him, this would not have been possible. John saw something in the show and I am so glad he did. His knowledge of the business definitely helped us make this a success.
CJ: Awesomeness! Well, I have to say thank you again Dorell and Clayton for allowing Pride Buzz to chat with you. We really appreciate the opportunity to connect. I’ll be waiting for more episodes as I follow the series.
Clayton: No problem! Thank you.
Dorell: Absolutely! Thank you as well. We’ll speak with you again soon.
Recently some of the cast attended The Daytime Emmy® Awards!
Click on PRIDE: The Series’ poster below to watch on Amazon!