Lauren Augarten, the creator of Scissr: A Lesbian Web Series, is paving the way for creatives in the digital age by bringing a diverse point of view to an otherwise mono-perspective media landscape. That is both intentional and personal for Augarten.
A native of Australia, Augarten arrived in New York City in 2007 ready to carve out an acting career. But she quickly became disillusioned by how the industry was portraying female sexuality on screen.
“I came out a bit later in life, in my early/mid-twenties. I had no idea how to meet women and had no way of knowing where to go,” Augarten told Rise News. “I was kind of walking around trying to find places to go and trying to find things to watch just to understand what I was going through. I couldn’t really find anything.”
And so the Scissr pilot was born. Augarten, alongside the Australian director/producer duo Stephanie Begg and Josh Mawer tell a story of three twenty-something lesbians trying to figure out life in New York City.
The main characters Aviva, Emily and Corey connect through an iPhone app- Same Same and hang out at a bar called Scissr.
Each character is thoughtfully introduced as a millennial-aged person attempting to navigate relationships, friendships and life issues. At the end of the 10 minute pilot episode, they meet up at Scissrs, and the viewer is left wanting to know how each character’s story will develop.
Like the viewer, Augarten wasn’t satisfied with just a pilot. She showed Scissr to people in Hollywood and got some on board. But leaving Scissr up to Hollywood meant she would have to compromise too much in order to have the project made.
“There are all of these different elements of the story that I want to show the world before I sign my rights away and sign my life away,” Augarten said. “I want it to be done with integrity. That’s when I decided I wanted to do a whole season so I would have that out there instead of just 10 minutes of the beginning of the story.”
She created a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to make Scissr: Season 1 possible since she found it challenging to find an individual to fund a new project about a specific sexuality and about a specific gender. The goal is to raise $30,000 by mid November.
The crowdfunding campaign has given Augarten the confidence to move forward.
“By crowdfunding, I feel like now I have to do it, and I have to do it really well.”
In addition to being the creator and the main promoter, Augarten also plays Aviva, one of the main characters.
“She is confident and a bit cocky, but that’s a front. Deep down, she’s soft.”
Like Augarten, Aviva has come out later than the other characters. Aviva also fumbles with the same questions Augarten started asking when she came out, “What is a lesbian? How do I navigate this new identity?”
“It’s thrilling and amazing, but it is totally scary. What is so scary to me in coming out a bit later is you wake up and you’re a virgin,” Augarten said. “It’s a whole other world. You’re discovering parts of yourself, and you’re trying to figure out how to interact with other girls when they already know. They’ve had this experience earlier on. That is definitely something Aviva is going to have to deal with the same as I did.”
WATCH: Pilot Episode of Scissr
The other two main characters, Corey and Emily are dealing with slightly different, but no less frustrating and confusing identity and life issues.
When we meet Corey, played by Paulina Singer (‘South of Hell,’ WeTV; ‘The Affair,’ Showtime) , we discover the she is fresh from a break-up. Singer describes Corey as having a little tiger underneath her quiet exterior. According to Singer, Corey is an artist and a skater, which garners some pretty innovative ideas on how to change how basic the world seems to be.
“I don’t think she’s found her voice yet. I hope her break up forces her energy into activist mode, and her anger turns into motivation to stop the idiots in power,” Singer told Rise News.
Emily, played by Kelly Sebastian (Pull Away and Forever Into Space), is a NYC transplant that’s trying to make it as a musician.
“She is confident and a bit cocky, but that’s a front. Deep down, she’s soft. She wants a girlfriend, but has no clue what she wants in a girlfriend, hence the wide range of conquests,” Sebastian said.
“If I have the opportunity to diversify my team, I’m going to take it.”
The depth and diversity in the female characters are what attracted Sebastian to this project in the first place.
“When Lauren [Augarten] approached me with the project she explained that she wanted to make a show that showed all types – queers and straights – and the depths of those growing up experiences, struggles, successes and the human experience of young people,” Sebastian said.
It’s Augarten’s hope that the depth and diversity can extend to the other side of the camera as well.
“My goal now with the next six episodes is to expand my community with people who are not represented in the industry to work with me. It is important to me to find people who can tell a story that is not my story,” Augarten said. “I have a lot to say, but I find that my voice alone bores me. I want to be a part of a community. That to me is what is really exciting about being a creator, you have the power to make changes. If I have the opportunity to diversify my team, I’m going to take it.”
Augarten has 21 days left in her crowdfunding campaign to start making that happen and she is determined to get it fully funded.
She has already taken some of her own advice that she would give to fellow millennial creators: “Find the people who can do the things you can’t do and whose work you admire and like. Find out what is going to be helpful to them too.” Augarten said.
To Learn more about Scissr, you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook. You can donate to their Indiegogo campaign here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/scissr-season-one#/
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