How It All Began

Post by actor/screenwriter Mark Strano —

It was time. Time to make that low-budget indie feature as an acting vehicle for myself. Lena Dunham did it with Tiny Furniture. The Duplass Brothers did it several times over with The Puffy ChairBaghead, etc. Time to take the leap.

I’d written, directed and acted in a short film, House Guests, which also dealt with estranged brothers and I wanted to expand that story. But something was missing in the concept.

I’ve known a couple gay siblings over the years and thought the dynamic between them was fascinating. Sibling relationship movies always interested me (You Can Count on MeThe SavagesYour Sister’s Sister). They are wrought with inherit family tensions. But I had never seen one that explored the special bond gay siblings hold. What would it be like to have an ally growing up gay in an otherwise intolerant household? Or what if the reverse were true and their own internalized homophobia kept them from ever connecting?

Somehow those questions and this scenario led me to a story that not only addressed gay brotherhood both domestically and in a broader sense, but also gave insight into my own sibling relationships and feelings of being an outsider in my own family.

Tiger Orange poured out of me very quickly. Growing up in a small town myself, the setting and characters were familiar to me. With my own father passing away when I was a teenager before I could come out to him, the arrested development aspect of the story hits home as well. I see the brothers essentially as two sides of myself – one the reality of how my father never really knew who I was and the other the fantasy of having told him at a young age.

And so a story was born. A fictitious, but very personal story. An acting vehicle? Sure, sky’s the limit. Definitely much more fulfilling than going to an audition. Guess that’s what Dunham and Duplass understood all along.

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