FALL/WINTER EDITION 2021
By: Isaac Davis, JR, MBA, MA
Representation matters and the critical thing to remember is that everyone deserves to see themselves in media. With so many wrong things in the world, this following interview is not one of them. I had the pleasure to speak to Writer, Director, Filmmaker, JC Calciano who took time from his busy schedule to talk to us about his current and past projects. One of those recent projects, Steam Room Stories, is a popular Internet YouTube Series that features funny skits between some of the most beautiful men on the planet. We had a fantastic time speaking with Calciano about why his series is so popular and what is in store for him soon.
Isaac: Thank you for taking the time to complete this new interview with our publication. We all had changed over the years since we last spoke when this publication was known as Junior’s Cave Online Magazine. Like everything else, people change, projects mature, and we move into newer directions. We are now IDJ Online Magazine. We thought no better way to start our new era than to revisit some of our favorite entertainers, musicians, online/social creators, media, producers, actors, models, and professionals we interviewed in the past.
Isaac: How have you been holding up during these troublesome times during this global pandemic?
JC: Hello! We (my husband and I) have been well. Fortunately, we’ve stayed healthy and haven’t lost any loved ones in the last year. We continue to wear masks and attend responsible social events. All in all, we’ve managed to stay productive and positive during this difficulty.
Isaac: For those new to your projects, when did you decide that you want to entertain others?
JC: I’ve always found my greatest pleasure was putting a smile on people’s faces and providing a happy distraction from the frustrations of life. As a child, I would put on shows for the neighbors, and as a teen, I started making movies and videos. My career hasn’t changed since I was an adolescent, and neither has my sense of humor.
Isaac: What attracted you most about your storytelling for Steam Room Stories?
JC: “Steam Room Stories” came about after having the privilege of making my first movie. IS IT JUST ME? – it was a gay love story, and it garnered a huge following and a dozen awards. “Steam Room Stories” was an attempt to make short-form YouTube content that would serve a similar audience to the movie. Since IS IT JUST ME? I made three other films, eCUPID, THE 10 YEAR PLAN, and STEAM ROOM STORIES: THE MOVIE.
Isaac: What do you like most about creating your different projects?
JC: I enjoy the fan’s comments. Almost daily, I receive lovely emails and letters about what these films and shows mean to them. It’s been very gratifying to hear how much people identify and appreciate these programs.
Isaac: When did you start producing your films? What got you started?
JC: I had been a producer since I graduated from film school, but when I turned 45, I decided that I had a story to tell. I wanted to share sweet, fun, love stories with the LGBTQ audience. Stories not about prejudice, family drama, or societal exclusion. I wanted to write romance stories that let people know that love is love, no matter who you are. The first film, IS IT JUST ME?, was produced in 2009, and STEAM ROOM STORIES, the series launched on YouTube in 2010.
Isaac: Can you introduce yourself to our audience?
JC: Sure. I’m JC Calciano, and I created the STEAM ROOM STORIES franchise, as well as the movies, IS IT JUST ME?, eCUPID, THE 10 YEAR PLAN. I’ve also written the novel REVENGE OF THE BROBOT. Currently, I write and produce a podcast called STEAMY STORIES – available on Apple Podcasts.
Isaac: Who are your inspirations?
JC: John Waters and Roger Corman were my first inspirations. They made fun, campy movies with small budgets and did it with a “family of friends.” They were self-reliant and unapologetic with what they created. I admire their ability to make the movies they wanted to make without needing anyone’s permission to do so.
Isaac: What is more important for a person, inner beauty or an external one?
JC: Ironically, my actors are all ridiculously hot men, so “internal beauty is more important” seems strange for me to answer. But the truth of the matter is that unless you have internal beauty, you could have a gorgeous exterior, and it still won’t make you attractive.
Isaac: What message would you want to give to your fans?
JC: Most creators make films, TV series, podcasts, art, music, etc., for their fan’s enjoyment. That’s what motivates them to do it — most of us aren’t getting rich from what we do. You should feel free to let them know how much you enjoy their work. A few kind words or a compliment go a long way in encouraging people like me to keep making enjoyable programs.
Isaac: Tell us about the most challenging part of your work? And why do you think it is tough for you?
JC: Personally, marketing and publicity are the most challenging aspect of being a creator. I’d love to spend my all-time writing and filming fun stories for the fans, but without publicity and promotion, a show can’t grow. I’d say the most important thing people should know is that if you love a movie, book, or podcast – share it with your friends. We all need to work together to keep making content! Creating is a group effort.
Isaac: How do you find the group of handsome and talented guys who work in Steam Room Stories?
JC: At first, we would put casting notices out on the industry bulletins and hire casting directors, but once the show became popular, guys would come to us. Now casting is mainly done through friends of friends or fans. Occasionally we’ll put out a breakdown, but mostly we are a group of friends who enjoy working & creating together.
Isaac: Every industry, including the entertainment industry, is full of competition; what do you do to stand out amidst competition?
JC: LGBTQ romance and comedy is such a small niche. I believe there are not enough people creating fun, friendly, positive messaging content. I wish more people were doing it. Most of my friends are content creators and filmmakers who do precisely what I do. We all work together to help and support one another.
Isaac: The entertainment industry is said to be full of stress and pressure; what do you do to tackle the anxiety of your work?
JC: I just stopped caring what others thought about my films and gave up on the notion of getting rich from them. I make the kind of programs that I want to see and feel people would enjoy. I keep my budgets small and just do what I love to do. Work is truly fun for me. If people don’t like it, that’s fine. Everyone’s got their tastes and likes.
Isaac: I enjoy how you guys push the envelope when it comes to various subject matter? How do you handle haters who are jealous of what you are doing?
JC: I didn’t realize people are jealous of what I’m doing. What a compliment! Hater’s hate everything anyway. Negative people are governed by their problems, and sadly I can’t put smiles on their faces or open their hearts no matter what I do. You just need to let go of some people – I focus on those who enjoy what I’m doing.
Isaac: What’s challenging about bringing a script to life?
JC: Budget. It seems you never have enough money to do what you want to do. Sadly, budgetary restrictions affect a lot of your decisions on a movie or show. As a writer, I often start by thinking, “What can I afford to do, and let me write that.”
Isaac: Besides Steam Room Stories, what are some of the other passions that you love to do?
JC: I love writing, whether it’s “Steam Room Stories episodes, my podcast, STEAMY STORIES, or books like REVENGE OF THE BROBOT. I enjoy creating fun, silly stories for people to enjoy. My other pleasure is learning how to play the guitar. I’ve been at it for several years now, and I still feel like a beginner. Some have natural talents for music. I don’t – but that’s not going to prevent me from attempting to play, learn, and enjoying myself.
Isaac: How can fans connect with you online?
JC: I can always be reached at either www.Cinema175.com (for my films) or www.SteamRoomStories.com for, obviously, “Steam Room Stories.” All roads lead to my inbox. My social media links are the same as above. Since I’m a one-person band, I receive all the correspondence. Oh yeah, and my site, www.jccalciano.com as well!
Isaac: What are you looking forward to most in 2022?
JC: This pandemic being over! Since covid started, I’ve just been writing and producing books and podcasts. Shooting movies and Steam Room Stories episodes have been postponed until everyone is safe and comfortable getting together in a studio once again.
I’m looking forward to seeing my cast and crew again!
Isaac: Finish this sentence; 2021 has been the year of …
JC: … Learning patience and appreciation. 2021 was a test of how I could remain chill while things around me were less than optimal—appreciation for health, friends, and the ability to create while isolated. I certainly now have learned how wonderful it is to see your friends, fans, and co-workers in person. I’m excited to once again get back out in the world!