Logline: A man reveals his testicular cancer diagnosis to his quirky friends and family.
Length: 13 minutes
Director: Byron Lane
Producer: Byron Lane
Writer: Byron Lane
About the writer, director and producer:
Byron Lane is an actor, writer, and comedian. His award-winning webseries LAST WILL & TESTICLE is currently screening at film festivals all over the world. Previously, he wrote and starred in the feature film comedy HERPES BOY alongside Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, which won multiple awards including Best Comedy at Comic Con and an Audience Award from the Austin Film Festival. He lives in Los Angeles with his one-eyed dog Tildaswinton and his boyfriend, author Steven Rowley.
Key cast: Byron Lane (HERPES BOY), Beth Grant (THE MINDY PROJECT), Michael Chieffo (ARGO), Drew Droege (DRUNK HISTORY), Jonathan Van Ness (GAY OF THRONES), Sam Pancake (ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT), Mark Jude Sullivan (SING IT!), Tara Karsian (Comedy Central’s REVIEW), Percy Rusty, Rachel Sciacca, Tim McKernan, Sam Soto, Brian Larson, Steven Rowley, Sandi McCree, Peter Porte (BABY DADDY).
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Sales agents, distributors, film festival directors, and network executives who can buy this as a series for god’s sake!
Release date: January 12, 2016
Congratulations! Why did you make your webseries?
The most important thing to me was to be honest and real. Some of the scenes in the series actually happened to me when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. The best medicine, for me, was to turn shocking and potentially devastating situations into something worthy of a bit of laughter.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this webseries?
I hope people find it entertaining! We’ve got an incredible cast of top notch actors who’ve been in everything from Academy Award winning films to viral videos. The writing is described as “hilarious” and “hysterical.” Our cinematographer captured some beautiful scenes. Hopefully, it’s an all-around, laugh-out-loud, binge-worthy comedy.
How do personal and universal themes work in your webseries?
Getting a cancer diagnosis was eye-opening. It’s a cliché but it’s true that you look at life a bit differently after cancer. I know I’m lucky that I had testicular cancer, which is one of the easiest cancers to treat and cure. I often wonder what would have happened if the cancer was brain or some other more invasive form. I think our own mortality is a universal theme that can be, and should be, present in our daily lives and in our art.
How have the script and webseries evolved over the course of their development and production?
I shot all of this in the time after they removed the testicle, but before I knew whether the cancer was the kind that required chemo. So when I shot it, I was expecting to have to do chemo. That’s part of the reason I rushed to shoot it—I wanted to have it done before I lost my hair.
Then after it was all in the can I found out the cancer was not aggressive and I could skip the harmful effects of chemo and just begin surveillance. I go in for tests every couple months. There’s a low chance the cancer will return. That’s the subject of Season Two of LAST WILL & TESTICLE—the cancer isn’t gone, but threatens to come back and Will has to cope with that undesirable possibility.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
I’ve gotten emails from people all over the world who have had experiences with friends and family with cancer and the responses to my series has been so shockingly positive! I was really touched to hear from a lady who said she was going to send the series to a teenager she knows who’s battling testicular cancer. Or a lady whose brother died too young and was an artist and she donated in his name to my Kickstarter. Nothing but sunshine has come from this experience. For real!
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback has made me steadfast in making sure all of my art is brutally honest. I realize when I’m real and true and exposed—that’s where you find the interesting stuff. I’m so glad I took the risk in sharing this—and it does feel like I took a risk. So many people don’t talk about this cancer and others. I was a little nervous. But the positive response affirms that it was worth it and I’d do it again.
What are you looking to achieve by having your webseries more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I just hope more people see it and maybe relate and feel better about their own situations. I know going through the thick of an illness it can be hard to find humor but maybe having a laugh at my situation can offer some light on the other side.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this webseries’s message?
I’d love to connect with distributors and film festival directors. Let’s get this out there!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this webseries to have?
I hope it makes people smile. I hope people feel more open about sharing their own stories. If we all knew more about what each of us was going through, we’d live in a world with so much more (much-needed) love and empathy.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this webseries?
Is cancer funny?
Would you like to add anything else?
LAST WILL & TESTICLE screens on Friday January 10 at 2:15 pm at the Dances With Films festival in Hollywood. Details at www.Last Will And Testicle.com or on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And we are screening at Melbourne WebFest in July.
What are you developing or working on now?
Byron Lane is currently editing Season Two of LAST WILL & TESTICLE which will be released soon.