REVIEW: Trans Men Pilot “Eden’s Garden” + How To Make Black Gay Film Better

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Sep 23 2015 | 10 Comments  

Eden's Garden - Episode 1 Eden's Garden Spark-4

I won’t say that my expectations were extremely high when I first discussed the trailers for the new web series “Eden’s Garden” starring Masculine Black Trans Men. However, I expected much more than what we got in the much anticipated first episode.

Before I go on, let me say that, here on Cypher Avenue, I don’t instinctively hate everything that black gay content creators produce. I just don’t care for saying something is well made when it really isn’t.

Just yesterday I had a discussion on this subject with a black gay filmmaker in the comments section on the trailer for the feature film, “H.E. (Handsome Enigma).”

Regarding our criticism of gay content creators, the director said: “The expectations are set so high that 90% of black gay indie films on here get bad feedback and lack of support but then we gripe at the fact there is not a lot of Black Gay Films in Theaters or Television. The support starts with the community itself.”

This is a valid point. However, as we’ve been saying for years, the best “support” we can give black gay content creators is to be honest in our criticism so that they can improve the work. There seems to be a “race to the bottom” mentality when it comes to black gay film and web series creators.

I’m old enough to remember a program called “Showtime at the Apollo” that featured singers and entertainers performing in front of an honest predominantly black audience. If the performance was mediocre, you got booed and shooed off the stage by the Sandman. If the performance was great, you were applauded and rewarded.

This is what Cypher Avenue does for the LGBT community. If you click through our 4 year history of actually reviewing (not just sharing the links to) Black Gay content, about 70% of the creative work we share we actually enjoy and we enthusiastically encourage others to check it out.

For example: we’ve raved about the web series “No Shade”, the music of Lasto, Fly Young Red and Earthtone, and gushed over the short films “Slow” and “The D.L. Chronicles: Episode Thomas.” All of the above examples were produced with very little money, yet the work was creative and professionally made.

On the flip side, not only have we been honest when we didn’t like the work produced, we’ve stated specifically why we felt it was lacking including ways it could be fixed.

This is no different than what you see on mainstream media websites that cover the work of heterosexuals. But for some reason, gays only want the pats on the head, not the revealing of flaws.


This (finally) brings me back to Eden’s Garden.

The 15-minute long episode features 5 boring scenes of characters just sitting around talking. If you’re making a dialogue heavy film, you have to at least make the dialogue interesting.

There is a basic rule in film: Each scene should serve one of 2 purposes…It either reveals something about your characters or it moves the narrative/story forward. I would argue that if you’re making a dialogue heavy film, each line must do one of those two things.

Otherwise, its boring and repetitive and pointless.

Not convinced?

Okay, since we’re talking about pilot episodes…let’s look at a simple dialogue heavy scene from the pilot episode of “EMPIRE.” Observe how each line of dialogue either reveals something about the characters or it moves the story/narrative forward:

Black Gay content creators would likely throw up excuses and say, “We’re still learning,” “We don’t have the experience that the Empire writers have,” or “We’re just trying to tell a LGBT story, not win an Emmy.”

All excuses.

I never start anything that takes that much time and effort to produce without trying to do it in the best way possible. For example, even this review of “Eden’s Garden” could have been one paragraph of me saying, “It’s wack.” But I chose to instead use it as a teaching moment.

Speaking of teaching, if you’re going to create a dialogue heavy film, make use of blocking your actors and moving your camera.

Here’s another scene from the pilot of Empire. Notice in this scene that the characters MOVE around the room, sometimes for no reason at all. It doesn’t need to make sense why they’re walking around, it just looks good and keeps the scene interesting by offering the audience new angles and points of view.

Did you catch the other thing too? Notice that Rule #1 applied here as well: Each line of dialogue either revealed something about the characters or moved the narrative/story forward.

These are essential elements to FILMMAKING.

If you want people (especially non-LGBT people) to take your work seriously, show that you’re at least applying the basics.

Otherwise, you’ll continue to get booed off the stage by the Sandman.

So props to the cast and crew for stepping out to make “Eden’s Garden,” but now let’s put in the effort to make it GOOD.

Eden's Garden - Episode 1 Eden's Garden Spark

Eden's Garden - Episode 1 Eden's Garden Spark-1

Eden's Garden - Episode 1 Eden's Garden Spark-2

Eden's Garden - Episode 1 Eden's Garden Spark-3

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

   
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Cypher Avenue TVSlider

10 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Dante D. Kelly
    Dante D. Kelly | September 23rd, 2015
    0

    Though I don’t care for this web series, I love the TRUE point of what you are saying regarding QUALITY IN THE ART!

  2. Dante D. Kelly
    Dante D. Kelly | September 23rd, 2015
    0

    After even skimming through it, I’d rather watch Love and Hip Hop (Atlanta, NY, and Hollywood). We have to DO BETTER!

  3. hannibal
    Hannibal | September 23rd, 2015
    0

    I cant. I'm going to check out Cheetah in August though

  4. Beerock | September 23rd, 2015
    +1

    I haven’t seen this series but I think the creators of these shows think all you need are pretty faces and that will make up for lack of anything else. I don’t have a problem with good look people on film but it’s futile if you’re not using them to tell a good story.

  5. Lamont Scales
    Lamont Scales | September 24th, 2015
    +1

    Love it!

  6. Sage
    Sage | September 24th, 2015
    +2

    This series has promise. Exploration of some of the challenges (e.g., coming out, relationships with cisgender men and women, claiming space in the larger LGB community) that Black Transmen have to negotiate and overcome is interesting. The slice of life perspective is missing in the wider world. It would be a bit helpful to get a bit more background on some of the issues so we as viewers are not always playing "catch up".

  7. Royal Ebony
    Royal Ebony | September 25th, 2015
    0

    Just finished episode 1 & episode 2 and although I enjoyed some parts, I do have to agree with Nick! The series has potential however they have to work on a few key parts to really flesh out the story so viewers won't be bored.

  8. Royal Ebony
    Royal Ebony | September 25th, 2015
    0

    P.S. the cast of Eden's Garden are all really attractive especially D'Jamel and Seven King both handsome black men

  9. Ceeroc | October 20th, 2015
    +1

    I hear you but this is a very low budget production and they tryna pull it off for all you Gay ass complaining ass niggas who probably didn't donate a dime when they asked for help. This is also somethin that hasn't been done before. A web series about trans men bringing awareness to ignorant ass muhfuckas in the world. Yes. We need this.

  10. @yahoo.com
    @yahoo.com | October 20th, 2015
    0

    I hope its gets better. my expectations for this series were high… I will watch one more episode. if that does not get better then I'm giving it the ax.




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