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Telling your family that you're gay can be a big deal

Tellin' Dad. A short film set in Liverpool

Telling your family that you're gay can be a big deal
Tellin' Dad – a short film from Carl Loughlin. Image courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures.

Filmmaker Carl Loughlin has created a short film that explores the highs and lows of one man’s decision to tell his family that he’s gay.

We spoke with Loughlin for a behind-the-scenes look at the film:

What was your inspiration for this story?

My own father didn’t really accept my sexuality very well, and I wanted to produce a film that explored the ‘telling Dad’ issue and the different reactions to coming out within a family.

I also wanted to film something that was set in my hometown of Liverpool.

Is Dan a character that you identify with at all?

I think all gay men can identify with Dan, as everyone who has come out has had to deal with the same issues.

Everyone that comes out worries about how their Dad will react, but I think it’s easy to build your fear up about someone’s reaction until it becomes the scariest thing, and sometimes it’s just not as bad as you’ve imagined.

I was dreading telling my 98-year-old grandmother, I actually thought the shock might have killed her, but out of everyone she was the most surprisingly accepting. She said: “I’ve been around for 98 years, I’ve seen a lot.”

What was the production process like?

It took a day to write, but the organising of extras, locations, and making sure the crew and actors were all available was stressful.

We managed to film it over four Sundays. Altogether it took about five months to complete.

Did you write the piece with the intention of playing Dan?

I wrote it with the intention of creating a project for actors and crew who I knew in Liverpool. I know a lot of talented people, and I thought it would be great to showcase all their talents in one project.

Sometimes as an actor, work comes and goes and I decided instead of sitting down and waiting for my agent to ring, that I’d go out and create something not only for me but for other actors and crew.

What was the casting process like for the other roles?

I had actors in mind that I had met at local acting classes, or had been on my Facebook, and I thought that they would fit the part.

I really wanted Ricky Tomlinson to play the part, as he’s an acting legend from Liverpool and was who I imaged playing my Dad. I was thrilled when he agreed.

Why is coming out still such a big deal for gay men?

I think it’s big issue as although you’re the same person after you’ve come out, you’re worried that people might look or treat you differently, and you worry about other people’s reactions.

In 2017 everyone shouldn’t be worried about being themselves but it’s a tough thing and hopefully the film might give someone a little comfort that things aren’t always as bad as you think they might be.

Coming out shouldn’t be an issue – people that love and like you before should love and like you after.

Have you ever been in a relationship with a closeted guy that you’ve pushed to come out to his family?

I was in a relationship with someone for 10 years who, when we met, was closeted and he eventually came out to his family.

I’d never pressure someone to come out, it’s up to them when they feel ready.

What has the response to the film been like so far?

The film has been shown at Liverpool, Manchester, and Bolton Pride. The response has been fantastic, it makes the whole stress of organising filming worth it. I can’t wait for a whole new audience to watch it when it’s released.

What do you hope that audiences feel when watching this film?

I hope it makes them laugh, cry, and just reflect. I hope it helps someone who wants to come out, but the main thing is I hope it’s entertaining and enjoyable to watch.

Tellin’ Dad is distributed by Peccadillo Pictures as part of its compilation Boys On Film 17: Love Is The Drug.

Read more from Gareth Johnson

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