Avocado Toast series

Two millennial women eat avocado toast against a white backdrop.

The Avocado Toast series is an intergenerational sex-comedy.  Have you ever wondered about your parents’ sex life?

Neither did Molly and Elle until coming out and divorce forced them to learn about their parents’ new sexcapades. Now, these 30-something best friends cling to each other as they navigate their parents’ sex lives alongside their own. 

Border2Border Entertainment is producing the Avocado Toast series and producer Charlie David recently sat down with co-creators Heidi Lynch and Perrie Voss to discover how they came to create this new show.


Were there any personal experiences that inspired the characters or storylines in the Avocado Toast series?

Heidi:  YES! Originally the show was based on the tumultuous time in our lives when we met. I had just ended things with first female partner.

Perrie: And I had received a sudden phone call that my parents were breaking up after over 30 years of marriage. Sadly it wasn’t an amicable split, which made it even harder. 

Heidi:  We both felt totally discombobulated and leaned on each other – hard.

Perrie: Heidi and I had a bond before those things in our lives escalated, but that bond really deepened through these experiences. There were a ton of tears, a ton of laughter and a ton of wine hahaha. That experience really informed the base of our protagonists.  

Heidi: Through drafts, the show has now morphed into an amalgamation of truth, imagination and research.

What hole does this fill in the current TV/web landscape?  

Heidi: MEN & WOMEN AGE 23-69 😋 If you type “avocado toast, millennials” into google you will find a litany of articles written on how millennials are ruining their lives and the world that baby boomers created. This way of thinking is toxic and divides the two generations.

The Avocado Toast series aims to bridge the gap between millennials and baby boomers by talking about something both groups will always have in common… sex! We explore the intricacies of platonic female relationships, which is rarely truthfully depicted. ALSO… Bisexual representation needs to happen! It has started happening slowly with recent stars coming out as bi. So if there is anything we can do to help that and to create bisexual representation by telling our story we will! 

The Avocado Toast series explores sex and all the awkward interactions that can happen in a conversation about sex between a millennial and a baby boomer parent.  It’s weird for parents to think about their kids having sex and it’s weird for kids to think their parents have a sex life.  How can we get over this cultural minefield and have meaningful conversations about relationships between the generations?

Heidi: This is such a great question and hard to answer because the entire thing is awkward. I want for everyone to have full rich sex lives and to never feel embarrassed about them.

I don’t think any parent or child needs to “get over” that awkward feeling. BUT I do think a parent and a child need to respect each other and support each other’s happiness. EVERYONE DOES IT. hahaha. We want to explore society’s desexualization of women over 40.

Perrie: And along that line – why we as a society tend to have double standards for men dating younger women (which, let’s be honest, you can’t swing a cat without running into hahaha), but we can be flabbergasted at a middle aged woman dating a man 30 years her junior. There can be more judgment. But obviously women have vibrant sex drives throughout their lives, and there’s still this left-over stigma pre-sexual revolution that they need to be prim and proper and not publicly show desire. I mean – go get it girl! I personally want to explore this and I think we will both learn a lot from this exploration. We don’t necessarily have the answers, but we have a viewpoint on it and we’re excited to learn as the show develops. Sex is so subjective. So let’s start that conversation!

Heidi: We also want to question why SOME parents of LGBTQ people take issue with who their children choose to be with romantically.  It really should never matter who your parent/child is having sex with as long as they are happy and feel safe. But some really funny and awkward conversations might need to happen en route to getting there. 

The Avocado Toast series is written, starring, directed, and created by women.  That’s kick-ass!  

Heidi: It is really fun and incredible to get to work on a set that is female heavy. I feel that way especially because I have created a character that is exploring her sexuality. Molly is bisexual so that means some girl on girl action will be required. With Sam Coyle directing I have full confidence that any scene we shoot will be shot with a female eye. The set will feel professional and I will be taken care of. That is not to say that couldn’t happen with a male director but as an actress I have a laundry list of moments where that wasn’t  the case, even on “closed” sets. That being said, we absolutely have some incredible men behind the scenes on Avocado Toast which make it clear that gender shouldn’t be the determining factor in why you work with someone. The best human for the job is what we want and is what creates harmony and a cohesive vision. 
 

Perrie: I could talk about this for days, but that’s exactly it. I was a little baby feminist as a little girl even before I knew what that meant. I didn’t comprehend or see that there was an integrated division until I hit puberty. I used to win track races and swimming races over the boys and not even bat an eye about it. So I think I carried this “I can kick your butt in anything” aka “we’re equal” mindset with me and had a hard time adjusting to the idea that women can be considered “less-than” (and I think sadly all women have endless histories of these micro and macro moments that we’ve had to deal with). 

Although I didn’t set out to systematically create a woman-heavy project, Heidi and I found these powerhouse humans (who also happened to be women) who fit our project perfectly. Then it got exciting – this industry can be tough for women, and there is something SO empowering about giving other women job opportunities when they perhaps were overlooked in previous years and projects. Women are amazing! Heidi and I have set up collaborative environments and it is super inspiring to be around that energy. And like Heidi said – I LOVE the men that are a part of our project. They have each been handpicked as well. Each of them are hugely kind, understanding, and massively talented humans. They trust us and believe in the project. There’s no tolerance for “mansplaining” on our sets! hahahaha. 

Thanks so much Heidi and Perrie! To follow the adventures of the Avocado Toast series and follow along with production, join us on our Facebook page.

For a deeper dive into gender, try the Border2Border Entertainment documentary, Dude for a Day.

Drag Heals – documentary miniseries

Beardoncé, a drag queen who has a beard and furry chest is wearing a pink and black dress, large gold hoop earrings and looks sickening.
Beardoncé, one of the participants of Drag Heals. 

Drag Heals is a documentary series that follows men who have never worn heels or make-up but have always dreamed of letting their inner drag queen out!   Drag Heals is a 10 week inner and outer personal journey coached by Tracey Erin Smith and Vicki Lix that culminates in a public show. 

Drag Heals will premiere on OUTtv Canada on Tuesday November 27 at 8pm.

My gift to you – get a month free of OUTtvGo.com You can watch our new documentary series Drag Heals and catch up on our other shows. Promocode: DRAGHEALS

Outside Canada? Watch on Vimeo

RuPaul brought Drag Raceinto the homes of millions and made the once taboo art form mainstream. This newfound renaissance has inspired a new generation to explore the art of drag and challenge the constructs of gender.

While RuPaul’s Drag Raceis a competition, Drag Heals is a documentary journey that follows men who have never worn heels or make-up but have always dreamed of letting their inner drag queen out!   

These men (and aspiring queens!) enter Canada’s first ever drag class to explore how to create a compelling drag persona based on personal experience.  For most, this is akin to a second coming out process.  The culmination of the Drag Heals workshops will be a public performance where they will face down their fears of stepping into the limelight. 

Drag is typically viewed from a distance; Drag Healsgives unparalleled access to the creation of a performance that is more than just your average lip synch.  The classes are structured so the men must reveal their true selves in preparation of their public performance.  In order to do it, they must be brave and vulnerable. 

As performance time draws near, the urgency to create a compelling piece forces our Queens to face down their nerves and personal demons in order to deliver a quality performance for people who have shelled out money to see just that.  

Deeply personal and raw, the Queens in Drag Heals tackle prickly issues like gender identity, mental illness, heartbreak and feminism to better understand themselves and their queer experience in an otherwise straight world.

Welcome to the new generation of drag.

Charlie David director of Shadowlands

on set of Shadowlands with Director Charlie David

Charlie David is the director, writer and producer of the Shadowlands series.  Shadowlands was his first time directing a scripted show so we sat down to discover the highs and lows of the process.

Shadowlands is available on OUTtv and OUTtvGO in Canada and on Vimeo for our friends around the world.

What was your inspiration for these three stories?

Charlie David: I’ve always loved Greek and Roman mythology and really used that passion as a springboard to write my book of short stories, also titled Shadowlands.  

And in terms of cinema I appreciate a well crafted anthology film. I saw Wild Tales by director Damián Szifron and it was so incredibly well done. It inspired me to revisit my stories in Shadowlands and re-imagine them for the screen.

Why did you opt for this triptych style of presentation?

Charlie David:  I’m sure the rule and magic of the number three has been ingrained in many of us from a religious standpoint – every major religion has numerological references and ‘3’ being ever present among them.  

I think it’s also inherent to human psychology to understand that there is a natural order to the number three.  Our modern and ancient story structure is most often presented in a three act structure – whether that’s television, film, books or other media.  

There’s something innately satisfying when that triptych structure works – it leaves us feeling a sense of completion.  And when it’s not followed, that’s often when we walk out of a film or set down a book once finished reading and feeling complacent, unmoved or unchanged.  

The playwrights in Ancient Greece wrote for their audience to experience catharsis, they wanted to invoke an emotional response in the people watching because that’s how to incite change.  An emotional response will provoke conversation after you leave the movie theatre, turn off the TV or put down a book.  

To me that is our goal as creators – to leave our audience moved, educated, and emotionally open.  In ancient Greece they held a large festival called the Dionysia and three full days were devoted to the performances of three playwrights – each presenting a set of three tragedies.  

My inspiration for many of the Shadowlands stories both in the book and the TV miniseries were these ancient myths.  Though I’ve told them in modern settings, I still wanted to honor as many details as I could from their story roots and that included their presentation in a tragic trilogy.

What’s the connection between the three stories that form Shadowlands?

Charlie David: Shadowlands is an anthology style series that explores love in three separate stories – a couple renegotiating a relationship, a narcissist grasping to comprehend it, and star-crossed lovers mourning its loss.

The series begins in 1928 with Alex, a plastic surgeon hell-bent on perfection, hosting a house party with an assortment of colorful guests.  Amid romantic misfires it becomes apparent that the only person Alex is interested in is himself.

Fast forward to 1951 and a gay military couple exploring the idea of opening their relationship while on a remote camping trip when they encounter a mysterious stranger.

The stories conclude in 2018 with a painter who in mourning the loss of his lover, becomes obsessed with creating a realistic painting of him.  The resulting piece is so beautiful and life like that he is drawn under its spell.

What does Shadowlands tell us about love?

Charlie David: Love to me is like the face of God or of the unknown.  It’s a multi-faceted diamond and each way you turn it in the light you will see something different.

In Shadowlands I’ve explored three stories of characters gazing into different sides of this multi-faceted diamond.  Each of them is seeing and experiencing love, the loss or expansion of love in a different way.  Just as I hope each person who watches the show will see aspects known and unknown to them reflected back.

The first story, Narcissus is really about someone who has not exercised his emotional toolbox enough to comprehend empathy and love – like many of us in our youth.

The second story, Mating Season is about a couple negotiating the often prickly subject of non-monogamy or polyamory.  Is it possible to fully love another but also have room in your heart to expand beyond the traditional norms of our society?  Does the addition of new experiences diminish the already present love in a relationship or can it multiply it?

The final story, Pygmalion Revisited is about the tragic loss of love – something that all of us will face in life whether it be a family member, friend or lover.

What was the production process? How long to write? How long to film? Was it difficult to find the locations you needed?

Charlie David:  I wrote the Shadowlands book over the course of a year.  The adaptations for screen took another year in writing amid doing several other projects.  Pre-production including financing, development, casting, and all the other myriad jobs that go into prepping a show took another 6 months.  We filmed a total of 20 days. Editing and post production was 6 months.  

The locations were challenging to find.  I had a vision in mind and if you have a massive budget that’s one thing – you can just go into studio and build sets until you get it right.  But that wasn’t the case here.  

I had restrictions based on my funding that required I shoot outside of the Toronto studio zone, in fact at least an hour’s drive outside Toronto in any direction so my scouting consisted of a lot of road trips to various other cities and towns in Ontario to try find what I was hoping for.  

In the end I’m super happy with our locations and there really are so many inspiring places.  More often than not, even when I didn’t find the perfect match for Shadowlands, I’d find myself feeling the inspiration for other stories in these smaller cities and beautiful landscapes.

What was the casting process?

Charlie David:  I worked with Jason Stroud from Fade to Black casting and we saw a lot of actors based in Toronto.  That’s one of my favorite parts of the film making process.  As an actor myself, working as a producer and director has given me so much insight into production.  

I can’t tell you how many times you have really equally talented people as options for the same role and it comes down to the most inane things – a comment on hairstyle from a network exec, height matching with another actor, the list goes on.  

If you’re an actor reading this, please just keep bringing your authentic self to the work and when you’re done the audition leave it at the door. There are so many factors that come into casting that are absolutely subjective.  The toughest lesson an actor has to learn is to not take the rejection personally, to disintegrate the ego – there’s going to be a lot of rejection no matter who you are – most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with you.  

That’s why I think actors are some of the craziest people on the planet and why I love them so much. They pay for ongoing classes, they spend hours memorizing and living other people’s words in preparation for auditions, they drive all over town repeatedly to go to job interview after job interview, they are constantly physically and emotionally scrutinized.  Most have multiple jobs to simply juggle the demands of living in a major city in order to pursue their passion and the lucky few actually get to work from time to time.

It’s also why I think it’s incredibly important to continue creating scripted content with an LGBTQ+ focus.  Most of us within this space are still learning the ropes, we’re still figuring it out because we’re finally getting the green lights and more importantly finally giving ourselves the green lights to actually go out and make the stories we want to make – the ones where we see ourselves and our lives reflected on the screen.

What do you hope that people feel when watching Shadowlands?

Charlie David:  Something.  Just something!  Seriously, I never want to inform or telegraph to an audience what they should feel.  My goal when creating is to make you think outside of your comfort zone.  I want to push the envelope and as Rumi so perfectly stated, to go ‘Out beyond the ideas of right and wrong, there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.’

Who are some of your film heroes or inspirations?

Charlie David:  Xavier Dolan.  Absolutely.  He’s my fellow Canadian director of course and the guy is brilliant.  He knows fashion, pop culture, has so much emotional depth and just understands what makes us tick.

I’ve watched and re-watched all his films many times and they never stop teaching me about the art of film-making.  When he was making his latest film, The Life and Death of John F. Donovan I was asked to come photo double and stand-in for Kit Harington. I jumped at the opportunity because even though I wouldn’t be acting in the film myself, it was an incredible learning opportunity.  I got to be in the room during the rehearsals and blocking with the director, cinematographer and actors.  

And since Kit was the lead, his scenes were with Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon, Michael Gambon, and Jessica Chastain to name a few of the star-studded cast.  The film was also shot on film so that was an exciting process to witness.  

To see how many hours would go into lighting a shot, the decisions to have a star like Jessica Chastain film all these scenes and then ultimately be edited out of the film, to really know what your vision is so completely and instinctively that you won’t proceed until it’s right.  

That’s how Xavier Dolan works and it’s humbling, provocative and just really fucking cool to watch. Obviously I don’t compare the level I’m working at with Xavier’s  – they are apples and oranges in terms of budget, scope and talent.  I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to witness and work in that arena once in a while as it’s incredibly inspiring.


What next for Charlie David?

Charlie David:  A camping trip with friends. I love the great outdoors.  😉 In my work life – there’s always lots of projects on the go.  Right now I’m producing a dating show, a cooking show, 2 documentaries and writing my next scripted show.  You can stay up to date with me on my social and website.

Website: https://border2border.ca
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/border2border/vod_pages
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrCharlieDavid
Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliedavid
FB: https://facebook.com/charliedavid
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mrcharliedavid