The student-produced web series “One of the Guys,” Temple’s first LGBT-focused series, was recently nominated for a 2013 Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for College/University — Long Form: Fiction for its third episode in the series.
“One of the Guys” tells the story of three gay roommates — Madison (Stephen Fala), Alex (Matt McWilliams) and Jonathan (Aaron Palmer) — and their new, straight roommate Ethan (Jeff Familetti), as they together explore their similarities and differences.
Busza, 22, the program’s writer, director and co-producer, said this was the type of storyline he needed when he came out.
“I was tired of seeing stereotypes of gay people on TV and gay friendships and relationships. I just kind of set out to share that and to put something out there that a closeted 13-year-old version of myself could watch.”
Busza, a senior communication and English major, had a hard time finding an outlet for his project at the school, which he said is dominated by news and sports broadcasting.
Instead, he brought the idea to fruition in his junior year during a television-production class.
The pilot episode was filmed in one of Temple’s dorms, and Busza and his cast and crew went on to fund five additional episodes themselves.
“We literally spent the beer money out of our pockets, money donated by parents. We ran on willpower and beer money.”
Busza said he is lucky to work with such a patient and talented cast and crew, whose dedication that have kept the series going.
“When I realized I wanted to make a series out of this and I told my cast and crew this, they all looked at me and said, ‘We’re in.’ Everyone was on the same page, we wanted to get this out there,” he said. “The actors and crew are not getting paid and are all volunteer. The people that were there believe in it. I am so proud of my whole team and have gotten so much support from the Temple community as a whole.”
Taking “One of the Guys” to the web last September was both a daunting and rewarding task, Busza said.
“To put it out there is terrifying. But the response has just been rewarding. We have gotten emails from people whose family members haven’t been supportive and have seen the show and changed their opinion. We’ve received emails from students who are not out yet. We’ve also received tweets and Facebook comments that the show sucks, but at the end of the day, even if we reach one person, that is one person whose life we changed. It has been wonderful.”
Busza said the Emmy nomination has been overwhelming for the whole “One of the Guys” team.
“I mean, I was 21 [when the show started] and my project was nominated for a regional Emmy,” he said. “I was shocked, but I am just lucky and just so proud with what we have produced and the fact that it is out there and that we put in so much time has made it all worth it. It is exciting and we are over the moon about it.”
The nomination can further enhance visibility for LGBT characters, he added, noting that the show seeks to portray LGBT characters without stereotypes.
“How many real, committed, nonstereotypical gay characters are there? Not a lot,” Busza said. “We exist and this show is empowering and says, ‘We’re here, we’re queer, watch us.’ It is a small step and we hope there is a day where there are more LGBT characters on TV.”
“One of the Guys” is currently in post-production for episodes five and six, which will come out in September.
Busza said he is waiting to gauge response before the team gets working on more of the series.
“It is a producible series and it hits a great demographic,” he said. “It is acceptance through comedy. We all relate to comedy; whether gay or straight, comedy connects us. This show works for LGBT acceptance and rights and bridges the gap of gay and straight culture in a non-intimidating way.”
The Mid-Atlantic Emmy winner will be announced Sept. 7.
For more information on “One of the Guys,” visit http://oneoftheguystv.com.