If you’ve spent any time on the internet recently, you’ve likely seen at least ten GIF sets or meme recreations of the groundbreaking web series The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo. Created by and starring Tennessee native Brian Jordan Alvarez, the five episode series seems unstoppable in its ability to penetrate internet culture. If Alvarez, who plays the titular Caleb Gallo, looks familiar, it might be because of his appearances on such shows as CW’s Jane The Virgin and the viral CollegeHumor sketch Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends.
Photo by Garrett Wedel
No matter where you know him from, though, the fact remains: Brian Jordan Alvarez is definitely trying to take over the world, and the internet is ready. We spoke to Brian about his start in the industry, his experience making Caleb Gallo, and, most excitedly, what the future holds for him.
Stareable: When did you know you wanted to work in the entertainment industry?
Brian Jordan Alvarez: My sister wanted to be an actress and I copied her. Then it stuck. I originally wanted to be an astronaut. I’d still like to go to space.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give younger Brian as he began his performing/entertainment career?
You’re right about everything. It’s going to work. But I think I was hearing that advice from inside myself anyway. And listening to it has paid off!
Where did the idea for Caleb Gallo come from, and why did you decide to produce it yourself?
I wanted to make a show that was deeply me, but was also sort of my take on what could be called a traditional sitcom. I thought of all the people I was hanging out with, imagined them having entangled love lives (some of them actually did, some didn’t) and voila, a show was born. My motto was always “it’s about relationships”.
The cast of Caleb Gallo
What were the challenges of making your series, and why did you choose to make the episodes 15-20 minutes long instead of the more common 5-7 minute episodes?
I wanted something that could translate to television. The goal for each one was 22 minutes but I edit stuff so quickly that a lot of them ended up a lot shorter. There were few challenges honestly. More and more people came on board to help me as our production got more involved (episodes 4 and 5 specifically). For the first three it was really just Matt Lynn (my brilliant DP) and I doing most of the heavy lifting, along with a great sound guy named Scott Neff. I would recommend either of them highly because they know how to make a micro budget look like a 3 million dollar set.
What’s next for Caleb Gallo?
I have a deal at Lionsgate to make the show there. They have been fantastic; this great guy Jordan Gilbert found us with the help of fabulous agents I had at Paradigm at the time (Brad Pankosky and John Domingos), and now I’m with a wonderful development exec at Lionsgate named A.J. Morewitz. We’re in the process of fleshing out the show for a full TV season, and we will soon take it out to networks and premium streaming services to pitch. Netflix is the dream. If they’d like to call me directly, I’m open…
What is the best lesson you’ve learned while self-producing projects like Caleb Gallo, and what is your favorite thing about doing them?
I like total control so that my vision can move freely. The only thing I’ve learned is: make things, and then finish and release them. And do your work every day.
Any advice for other creators in the web series world who want to learn from your success?
Use your friends. Don’t try to find actors to play roles that are written for your friends. Use your friends, and make them talk like themselves.