Sidney Stokes: Hey WERRRKer’s I’m sitting here with a name that if you don’t already know, you’re gonna know now, Dan Hass. Dan, first things first, who the hell are you and how did you get into my house?
Dan Hass: Oh, your dad invited me over! He said it was cool. Your gay dad said it was cool.
SS: Ugh, she so would let you right in!
DH: Anywayyyyyy, Hey! I’m Dan Hass. Development Exec at AwesomenessTV, winner of the Tri-Cheese Whizzard Tournament (is that pun funny? I can’t tell), and writer / director of the upcoming, super gay short film: Magic H8 Ball. Which just launched a campaign on Kickstarter!
SS: Oh Tri-Cheese Whizzard, if there’s anything we love here at WERRRK.com it’s cheese and puns!
SS: Dan with such an impressive resume so far, what got you to this point?
DH: Chlamydia twice, but we’ll get into that in a bit. But yea, been trying to cover a lot of ground! I spent a couple years writing ads for brands like Kia Motors, Jack in the Box, Harley-Davidson, and Universal Studios, pitching on Super Bowl commercials, writing pilots, shorts, and sketches on the side, and have a comedy musical running in Chicago called “Musical Therapy”.
SS: A musical?! Wow! What has that experience been like for you?
DH: Un. REAL. It’s been a dream since I was a wee queerling jumping off the roof with an umbrella like Mary Poppins. Seeing an actual show I wrote (with music and lyrics by the studly Joey Katsiroubas) was the most amazing experience of my life so far.
SS: How did that project come about and how has the reception been thus far?
DH: Joey (the other writer) and I used to date eonssss ago. He came up with this hilarious idea about a couples therapist gone rogue and asked me if I’d be on board to write it, so of course I said yes. It was actually the perfect way to get through our breakup – highly recommend writing a musical with your ex. It was our little breakup baby. Reception has been amazing so far. My mom still doesn’t understand why there has to be so many dick jokes, but it’s ART.
SS: Congrats so much on that success! You actually changed my life, the issue with my ex was I suggested writing the musical while together. Thank you for the advice.
SS: So Dan, our readers are (probably) dying to know, when you’re home alone, what musical are you singing all the parts of throughout the house!
DH: Right now, it’s a lot of Last Five Years since my boyfriend told me it makes him uncomfortable when I rap about the founding fathers. But I’m feeling some Tangled on the drive home tonight. When will my life begin, Sidney?!?!?!
SS: According to WERRRK.com lawyers I’m not allowed to offer life advice after the whole “Lohan incident”. So with the success of your musical you have a project already waiting in the wings, Magic H8 Ball!
DH: Seeing a pattern with the puns yet?
SS: Without puns WERRRK.com is just a bunch of bitchy queens taking out our frustration with each other in a bunch of drag related content..so keep em coming.
SS: Tell us about Magic H8 Ball!
DH: Magic H8 Ball is this heartfelt, hopefully hilarious, super queer short film that just launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. It’s about an insecure people pleaser named Adam who finds out his boyfriend is cheating on him when he gets diagnosed with chlamydia. Which suckkkkkks. He finds this weird, magical, kinda shady Magic 8 Ball in the clinic waiting room which seems to have all the answers—and it starts leading him down a dark path as Adam’s hurt turns to hate.
SS: What inspired the story?
DH: Honestly, I remember the first time I got diagnosed with an STD. There’s this weird mix of hurt, shame, and betrayal you’re forced to deal with on the spot. Especially when it’s someone you trusted who gave it to you. It’s kind of a wake up call that maybe you’re not in the relationship you thought you were. And you start asking yourself this long list of masochistic, unanswerable questions. What did I do wrong? Why does this hurt so much? Why did I change so much of myself for this guy? So a Magic H8 Ball that answers these questions for you, lets you feel what you want to feel, and try to be yourself again is one hell of a temptation.
SS: Part of this story deal with the stigma around STDs/STIs, why do you feel that’s an important thing to address?
DH: We put so much pressure on being DDF or clean or whatever. It’s ridiculous how quickly we judge each other, when we’ve all been stuck in the same clinic waiting room—legs shaking nervously, spamming the antibacterial soap dispenser next to the super cute guy. Magic H8 Ball puts that mentality in its place—a judgement free flick. The infection isn’t the problem. So many STDs are an easy fix anyway, or at least manageable. And we can’t let our feelings of personal hurt and embarrassment bleed into these stigmas.
SS: Brilliantly said!
DH: Haha thanks! Spent a lot of time mulling it over in clinic waiting rooms. Come say hi!
SS: As you said, we’ve all been there to some extent, and it’s great to see more and more projects tackling stigma. In terms of the rest of the film what else do you think will bring the audience in to the world you are creating with Magic H8 Ball?
DH: Well we’ve got a top notch, super cute, predominantly queer cast and crew—which we’re really #proud of. We’re dealing with gay relationships and breakups here, so we want to make sure we’re maxing out on authenticity. As for pulling people in? Well, we’ve all been Adam, right? Confused, lost, diseased, heartbroken. Wishing for an easy answer to our problems. Looking for an outlet for the emotions storming inside of us. Even letting our hate get the better of us. But it’s a story we all share—as heartfelt as it is humorous as it is real. And I’m excited that, through crowdfunding, we have the chance to tell it together.
SS: Incredible true. We all have been. Having a story like this out there coming from a place of genuine queer authenticity, I think will resonate with a lot of people out there. Speaking of your cast and crew you have a lot of talent in front of and behind the camera (present company included). Now your casting director has had experience with other heavy hitters like yourself.
DH: Yeaaaa boiiiii!! Jason Stamey is incredible. His day job is casting for Marvel movies like Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the upcoming Avengers flick. By night, he’s my casting director hero
SS: Soooooooooo at what price level on your Kickstarter does someone get Chris Evans phone number…Asking…..for literally everyone ever.
DH: I’ll check with Jason. But if you give me 10 bucks right now, you can Skype with my cousin, Chris!
SS: While we are waiting to see the price point for Chris Evans’ phone number, what other options are there for people to get involved on Kickstarter?
DH: Why, I’m glad you askedddddd. To make this short film happen, we’re counting on every friend, favor, and fagella to step up, chip in, and help us make the kind of queer art the world really needs right now! We’ve got a whole buffet of rewards for people who back the project like digital downloads of the film, personalized thank you videos (most of which involve me in a tank top that’s so tight it should be a cardinal sin), your name in the film’s credits, invites to private, VIP screenings, set visits, and even producer credits on the film and IMDb. So definitely check out the page and join #TeamH8! We want to show you the love.
SS: It really is tight y’all, like, I’m grateful, but also worried about your flow of oxygen. But if you wanna see it for yourself the link is right here!
SS: Your writing contains many different characters and stories, what would you say is a constant that connects your writing
DH: I love gay stuff, I love a good, messy, irreverent dramatic comedy, and I loveeeeee throwing it all to hell by mashing it up with some supernatural force. With Magic H8 Ball, you get all three.
SS: That the most magical description I’ve ever heard and it gets me even more amped to see the project come to vivid life.
SS: Dan, as people have no doubt already guessed, you have a sense of humor, and if you haven’t guessed it then you’re probably one of Chiffon’s friends, but Dan what do you think has shaped your sense of humor most?
DH: I think from my dad, honestly! He wasn’t like a comedian or anything – didn’t shoot off a lot of jokes or zingers – but he just laughed so damn much. So I made it my mission to get him to laugh as much as possible.
SS: NO, I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!!!! So I want you to join me on a journey if you will. Here, grab my dog’s paw, and close your eyes.
DH: And here I thought I missed the Burning Man bandwagon.
SS: Ok good, so you already ate the brownie. Now picture you’re sitting in the first screening of Magic H8 Ball, the film ends, the lights come up, and the audience is in that magical moment where they are processing the film, what do you hope they take away from the film?
DH: I hope they’ve got tears on their face and their pants are wet from laughing. Like a giggly baby with poor bladder control. But honestly, I hope they feel more understood at the end of this. Maybe even get some sense of closure they’ve been missing. Magic H8 Ball is a TRIP—all about self-expression and freedom and finding yourself. I hope they laugh. Dad? DAD, WAS IT FUNNY, DAD?
*Sidney slides away slowly*
SS: ….I’m sure they’ll feel that and then some
DH: I mean, it’s only my entire sense self-worth at stake.
SS: That’s nice dear.
SS: Dan, you have a successful musical running in the best city in the world, a short film about to make people feel all the feels, you have a lot going for you but are you ready for…..
DH: Omgomgomgomgomg! Ready, spaghetti!
SS: *covers mic*….why would you say that, we’re in SoCal and you know we can’t have pasta till at least November?
DH: Ughhhhh all I do is eat, eat, eat no matta what, Sidney.
SS: *glares in jealousy*
DH: *stares back overweightedly*
SS: the way this works is that I ask you a question and you give me a quick response no longer than a sentence. Ready?
SS: Who is your gay icon?
SS: What is your favorite Song From the 90s?
DH: “I Touch Myself” by Divinyls!
SS: What is your favorite drink?
DH: Chocolate malts fo dayzzzzz
SS: If someone sees you out in WeHo what is the one thing that they should absolutely NOT do to you?
DH: Dance to my direct left or right – I point a lot when I get my groove on.
SS: Where is your favorite place?
DH: Pizza Planet.
SS: What is your favorite piece of advice?
DH: Be who you needed when you were a kid.
SS: Well Dan you survived the lighting and you win the prize….the very last question of the interview. At WERRRK.com we believe anything worth plugging is worth plugging as cheaply as possible, so tell us, just what are you gonna plug and how shamelessly can you do it
DH: Yas yas yas!! Magic H8 Ball is the real deal, fam. Honest, heartfelt, hilarious. But it’s gonna take a metaphorical pride parade of pledges to make it happen. We have awesome (and sexy) rewards for backers at every level. So if you vibe with the film, PLEASE donate, share, support gay films and filmmakers, and help us make this a reality. Checkout the Kickstarter here! I’ll be sending out updates on Insta and Twitter from @NotHassAvocados. And show our studly star some love at Nathan Mohebbi on Instagram!
SS: Well Dan this has been so much fun but you’re technically breaking and entering, so you might need to go before the cops show up. But best of luck with the project! I know it’ll hit its goal and start racking awards left and right!
DH: Well FINE! But seriously, thanks so much to you and WERRRK! This was a lotta fun – and I’m glad you’re excited about the film! Kiss your dad bye for me!
*leaves in a huff*