Tired of always seeing monogamous people on TV? Unicornland is an upcoming series that navigates uncharted territory in New York City’s dating scene: Couples. Creator/producer Lucy Gillespie answers some questions about the series. To learn more and support Unicornland, visit their Kickstarter Campaign page.
1. What is the series is about?
The series is about Annie, a woman in her thirties who explores her sexuality by dating couples after her divorce. Her husband was insecure in his masculinity, saw her needs as a threat, she passively retreated, and they never developed a channel of communication about sex. Now that she’s single, she’s curious about what else is out there. She’s horny and craves intimacy, but without the pressure to date. She wants to learn from these couples; to be taken care of, and folded in their love. It’s sort of a re-parenting.
2. How did you come up with the idea for the series?
I was married and divorced early. Single again at 27, I was determined to challenge the latent expectations that had rushed me into a doomed commitment. Through the venn diagram of New York scenes (fetish, poly, bdsm, burner), I met many people who’d custom-built relationships based on love and optimism, rather than fear of loneliness. I wanted to write a love letter to the scene, to honestly portray these people and relationship models as accessible, wholesome and revolutionary.
3. Is it based on real experiences?
Some concepts were loosely inspired by reality. The end product, episodes and characters are pure fiction.
4. Are you polyamorous yourself?
Currently I’m in a monogamous relationship. I was previously in an open relationship for two years as well as solo poly.
5. There is still a lot of misconceptions and judgments regarding polyamory. How do you think the series addresses those misconceptions?
Actually, Annie is pretty vanilla. She’s hungry, and she shows up, but she’s not an instigator. In that way, she embodies an audience unfamiliar with this world and it’s practices. The couples represent a range of backgrounds – lifestyle poly, kinky, queer, hetero-vanilla – and by showing a wide variety, the series dispels misconceptions of a non-monogamous “type”. My goal is to show how flexible and supple is love, that it can contain so many multitudes.
6. There is a perception in the poly community that unicorn hunting is hurtful towards the unicorn and rife with couple privilege. How do you see Annie’s experiences as empowering rather than reinforcing that perception?
First, it’s important to note that Annie is not being “hunted”. Out of sheer curiosity, she actively pursues couples without really considering the ethics involved. She’s empowered by getting off.
Each episode features a different couple. Some are unattached to the scene, making up their own rules; others are involved and practice recognizable etiquette. Annie eagerly gathers new experiences, guided by desire and steered self respect.
As in life, things don’t always go according to plan. Without giving away the ending, the final two episodes take a darker turn that leads Annie to call into question her attitude. My goal for the series is to empower audiences – poly and muggle alike – to examine their own terms for what makes a relationship healthy.
7. Do you think polyamory is the future of relationships? Will it become widely accepted or widely practiced?
Though I don’t think it’s the future of all relationships, polyamory is an evolved, appealing option in our blessed, post-need society. It’s a lot of work, though, when done right. I mostly hope that the principles of dating with integrity, honesty and intention are absorbed into the mainstream. And also, that the concept of “cheating” is retired or rebranded. Also that people can be more honest, when in relationships, about feelings that relate to extracurricular desires.
8. What do you hope to accomplish with the series?
I hope that Unicornland will start conversations about how we relate, how it’s serving us, and what else is possible.
9. What kind of reception have you had to this project? Is there a lot of interest? What do your parents think about it?
We’ve had a wonderful reception so far. With only 5 days left in our Kickstarter Campaign
(for post production) we are 100% funded (although people can still contribute)! Throughout pre prod and shooting, I’ve been inundated with personal messages from friends, well-wishers, even strangers cheering us along. Many artists came on board – against the advisement of their calendars and management – specifically because they wanted to help tell this story. We were very fortunate to have interest from several distribution platforms, and are currently in talks regarding distribution.
My parents are ecstatic that I’m not writing about them.
10. When does the series air?