Check out the awesomeness, folks! David-Matthew Barnes dropped in to tell us about his latest project, Bloom.
How the Seeds for BLOOM Were Planted
A Guest Blog by David-Matthew Barnes
After two years of being in development, a web series I created for and about teens is finally coming to fruition. The show is called BLOOM. The cast is comprised of two dozen young people, mostly local actors from Denver. Some are my students.
The characters on the show are diverse. In creating them, my goal was to provide each young viewer a person on the show who they could connect with on a personal level. I want our viewers to feel as if we are speaking their truth, that we are representing what it feels like to be a teenager in this crazy world with some authenticity and respect.
Stop for a moment and imagine being thirteen years old in today’s society. Terrifying, isn’t it? That is exactly why I created BLOOM. Today’s young generation is a fascinating, complex one, being forced to grow up at the speed of light, instead of being allowed to enjoy their journey.
On the show, we will depict the lives of young people who are uncomfortable in their own skin, who are struggling with questions of identity and sexuality and faith, who just want to find a tiny spot in the world where they belong. Many of our characters feel as if they don’t fit in, that being different in an affluent suburb of Denver has made them a misfit because it has. Yet, even our so-called popular characters are starting to crack from the pressure of their perfect personas.
Being a gay writer who grew up with two moms, I was committed to building this element into the show. Our male lead, a character named Johnny Ramirez played by actor Santiago Charboneau, falls in love for the first time. The object of his affections is Alex Wilde, a classmate Johnny has been hired to tutor in math. Sofia, a popular girl at Tanglewood High and Johnny’s younger sister, is outed after confessing to her best friend that she thinks she’s a lesbian. The repercussions Sofia faces and endures are heartbreaking, to say the least. Two of our characters claim they are bisexual. To reflect the casual attitude of today’s youth, their heterosexual counterparts could care less. I parallel the gay/lesbian/bi story lines with similar ones experienced by their straight classmates as a mirror device. The objective? To show our viewers that love really is love. It’s fun. It’s tough. It’s messy. It hurts. And it feels the same for all of us. In the universe we are creating on the show, gender is an afterthought. The primary focus – as it is in most high schools today – is the emotion itself.
I’ve been very fortunate to write for young people for the last five years. As an author, my young adult novels generate more reader feedback than anything else I write. The online messages I receive from young readers is a constant reminder of the impact of what I do. Because of this, I knew BLOOM was a necessity. I know firsthand that young people are looking for a true depiction of themselves because they tell me they are. They just want someone to tell their stories. How fortunate I am to be able to do just that.
For more information about BLOOM, please visit http://bloomtv.blogspot.com