Friends with Benefits

in Multimedia

There was a time when relationships between gay men were more that a simple “swipe left” of pure eros. In the past, gay men bonded over a shared sense of discrimination, inequality, and sometimes danger. Recent advances in LGBTQ equality around gay men see themselves; a new generation of men can now add “husband” to their vocabulary, and the proverbial white picket fence can be had.
Although it is not a relationship often shown in the media or reflected in books and movies, gay men do not always seek camaraderia in night clubs, bitch at Sunday brunch, or shop foe expensive Italian loafers while bemoaning their single lifestyle. It is possible for two men to bond over common interests without their sexuality being factored into their relationship.
Fellow filmakers Tobias Daniels and Robert Hensley met fifteen years ago, as most fledgling artists in Hollywood often do, on a film set; Daniels, an actor, and Hensley, a makeup artist on an AFI thesis film. In a time when smart phones didn’t exist dial-up moderns were all the rage, the two artists forged a friendship based on mutual interests and a desire to create. At the time, Daniels was still living securely in the closet, so their shared sexuality had little to do with their relationship.
As the two followed their dreams, they moved to opposite ends of the country, and back again; their work has taken them around the world, and there have been times in which they haven’t been in regular contact. The emergence of social media, first MySpace, then Facebook, helped the friends keep track of each other. However, when they find them selves in the same city, as they do now, they still mostly communicate in person; their friendship is stronger than ever.
Both based in Los Angeles, Daniels and Hensley are modern bards, storytellers. Daniels, a production professional, created the successful entertainment chat show, Tobias on the Hill, and directed the documentary Black Velvet, which follows the artistic journey of one of New Work’s, a celebrity makeup artist, has published several plays, a young adult novella, and has written and directed numerous short films, incluiding the fortheoming LGBT romantic comedy A. Moment.
Together, they have collaborated on a new project, Lost Springs, a sitcom based loosely on Daniel’s journey in Hollywood. Written by Hensleys’ and Daniels, this new series promises to sparkles with as it depicts a young artist’s struggles to make it in Hollywood. The pilot acript is a beautiful belnding of their voices and experiences.
As colleagues and confidents, Daniels and Hensley provide each other with support, artistically and personally; from the usual friendly gab session to mental “bitchs fest”, to acting as a sounding board for new ideas, the two complement, each other in their varied experience and artistic journeys. Their collaboration on Lost Springs has them ones again following the same path, and is a shining example of what friends can accomplish together.
As the LGBTQ culture shifts and the world continues to envolve, the detraction of hiding in the closet, the lies told to protect ones interests, will fall away and gay men may learn to bond, over more than sex, sexuality, and the lastest hook up act. Men will again remember there is a deeper love, one supported by a common passion. Gay men will look again at building lasting friendships.

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