As we’ve seen recently, many television and movie productions have been on an indefinite pause due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has this affected films and shows that were already in production, but many that were to begin filming in March and April have also been indefinitely postponed.
This can be very difficult, especially for a new production. The cast and crew of the new LGBTQ show Almost… Not Quite has found a clever way to begin building an audience, despite these hardships by continuing to shoot little scenes while separated in what they call Almost… Not Quite: Together Apart.
I had a chance to speak with creator and writer Jonathan Shuffield about how he came up with the idea for the show and what his plans are going forward.
Kyle Jackson: Can you tell us a little about your background? Where are you from, what do you do, etc.
Jonathan Shuffield: I have been in entertainment since I was 17( Let’s not talk about how long ago that was. lol). I started as a singer/songwriter and recorded an independent album at that age and spent the next few years performing around the U.S.
I had the honor of singing in front of audiences of 30 to 12,000 people. I was approached to be in a local production at a theatre in town which led me down the road of acting. I spent years taking on different roles and eventually going through the Director apprenticeship program and then directing my own shows.
I grew up the son of a Baptist Minister, so it was not easy being gay and coming out. I learned to deal with it through my art, whether it be writing, singing or acting. I would consider home to be the Northwest, Washington state to be exact, but my Dad moved us around a lot.
He would start a church, get it up and going, and then we would move and start another one. So, all throughout my childhood, we were in different little towns from Colorado to Oregon to Washington.
It’s probably why I have been such a nomad my entire life, but I spent a lot of my adult life in Washington and that is where my family is, so that’s the closest thing to “where I’m from”.
KJ: Wow! That’s some story. How did the idea for the show come about?
JS: Well, I was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I moved there to be with my then partner. We had all the things we were “supposed” to have to consider ourselves successful adults; a great big house, two dogs, good careers……and I was miserable.
One day I just decided I couldn’t do it anymore — I felt stifled and stuck. I uprooted my life and went from a 4,000 square foot home to an 800 square foot shack of a place infested with field mice and cave crickets (they still creep me out).
I was lost, but my best friends gathered around me and somehow I found my way through that dark time. I have always processed my feelings and pain through art, and I remember sitting down one day and trying to think of a place I could channel my situation and do something with it.
It just hit me, I have always loved ensemble shows — I love the camaraderie of it, the support of it. I love the joy and the reality of life. I knew I owed so much of my sanity to my friends. I thought, now this could be a show! So I started writing.
KJ: What is the premise of the show?
JS: Almost….Not Quite follows the crazy antics of Jonny and his friends. It’s an unspoken rule — a measuring stick if you will — that by the time you are in your 30s you will be happily married with 2.5 kids, a house, and a successful career, and your 40s will be those greener pastures you have always dreamed of until you ride off into the sunset.
In the matter of weeks, J finds himself with none of these. He’s now a single chubby gay man in his early 40’s trying to start all over again. With the help of his three best friends, they approach life with the realization that everything they thought they knew is all a sham.
While waiting to feel “grown-up” they discover that it is a never ending process in which we are never quite there. In a city with a perpetual identity crisis, surrounded by people struggling to be someone else, we are all almost what we think we should be………..almost…..NOT quite!
Effie Cacarnakis as Luke Adamos Puppett as Sam Reid Schmidt as Mark Sergey Grankin as Todd
KJ: Nice! Where can we watch the show?
JS: The best place to find our show currently is on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/almostnotquite, but you can also find us on YouTube!