It’s no secret that I am addicted to Webisodes. The horrible filming, poor quality and missing sound gives me lifeeeeeeeeee. Babeeeeeeeeeee, when I find me a horrible series I live for the bad acting and hopeless dreams. LoL!
Oddly Oden is a series that shocked the heck out of me. Great Quality, Superb Sound, and a Storyline that keeps me in Tears. Hunni, when I tell you Joshua Gilyard make him a show…. #HeDidThat
Oddly Oden, an electrifying mockumentary that shows family values with a twist. Expect to fall in love with the flawed, captivating and honest characters of this show. Oddly Oden offers a new conception on the idea of family and what it really means to be there for a person. Siblings, Elaine and Demetrius Oden try to maintain their careers, love lives and finances in Atlanta, Ga. The only problem is that they are two immature adults trying to raise two rambunctious children. Be prepared to laugh at Demetrius, and Elaine’s crazy shenanigans. Audiences will be left wondering who the adults are and who the kids are in this situational comedy. Oddly Oden will have audiences embark on a brother/sister bond that will change the idea on what it means to be a family.
Being that I fell in love with this show it was only right that I bought it to you all past just the great episodes.
DiamondKesawn: For the RA Maggers, let’s get this together. So Joshua, you created the show. It’s your idea, right?
Joshua: Yeah. I created it and I wrote the show, yup.
DiamondKesawn: Okay. And Jeph, you direct it?
Jeph: Yeah, I provided with the visuals basically.
DiamondKesawn: Okay, so now, outside of those hats, you all both also play in the actual series, correct?
Joshua and Jeph: Yeah, correct. And we also produce. So we do it all, we have a lot of hands going on. A lot of hats.
Joshua: Well, I moved to Atlanta about three years ago and I started writing another show and that show was basically about a gay guy and a straight guy living in a house together, and I worked with a writer named Mike Ben at the time. I started talking to my sister about our lives in Atlanta because I felt my sister, Rae, her two kids, my niece and nephew, Jaden and Iris, who actually play in the show. And I was thinking, “Well, this would be interesting to do as like a sitcom, if I could just write it down.” She said, “Why don’t you write it?” So I wrote a couple of episodes and Jeph and I happened to be working together at the time and we’re both actors. And I kept telling him, “You know, you need to read my script.” And we got together. And originally, I had someone else film it for me and I paid like $300 for it and they did a very sucky job, and it was horrible.
Jeph: We’re not going to name names, okay?
Joshua: We’re not going to name names. Alright, no shade, but basically I wouldn’t get my $300 back. And I was like I can’t really put this online because it’s crap, it’s not what I envisioned. And Jeph was like, “You know, I’ll fix this for you.” And yeah, he was basically a godsend. I told him what I was going for and at the time, I had him wrote confessionals in the show and I was like, “You know, Jeph, I think I wanna do this.” And Jeph was like, “You know, I think that’s the best way to go about it.” And Jeph convinced me to put the confessionals that you see in the show into it. So then we started working together and we filmed the first episode and put it out in April. And then this summer, we filmed the second season and the third season which you’re seeing right now.
DiamondKesawn: So Jeph plays Harlen which is the FINE stepfather to the two children, is that right?
Joshua: Well, he is the actual father to the little girl and he’s the stepfather to the little boy. The little boy’s father is nonexistent in his life. So Harlen kinda plays his dad too because he’s never really actually been around his dad, so he calls Harlen “dad” too.
DiamondKesawn: So as you play this character, Harlen, how much of Harlen is actually who you are in real life?
Jeph: What? You know what’s funny, like I felt like you were just waiting to ask me that question. I mean, I think all of us have, we have to find a way to relate to these characters. And as trained actors, there’s elements of our life. I felt like the basis of every emotion is either love and fear. And we draw from those ideas and it doesn’t necessarily have to be like the impetus that leads us to that, but for me, I don’t know, there’s elements in life. There’s things I dislike. There’s ideas I have about things and I kind of like segue and use those elements as a means to convey what the character really feels. Like I think the result is the same. We all feel the same thing. It’s just, there’s a different impetus I guess is what I’m trying to say so. I’m a human being, I relate to Harlen, there’s things we hate. I’m sure there are things you hate and are things you dislike. You have your opinions about things and, yeah, that’s kind of like what it is for me.
DiamondKesawn: Now, for you as the director of this project, what was it for you that drew you to the project?
Jeph: Uhm, I’ll be honest for you, so. The story goes Jeph tells me to read the script. I read the script. He said, “So you read me script?” “Yeah, I read the script.” He’s very persistent. He kept asking. And after about a month of asking, I finally sat down with him with the intention of getting my friend to edit the project for him. So he showed us the project and I was like, “Wow.” I’m like, “That’s horrible. You can’t do this. There’s just no reason. You cannot put this out.” And at the time, I was going through something very difficult in my personal life and it was an opportunity for me to stop being selfish and extend myself and help somebody out, and put all my efforts into something else. And it seems like I always felt that and I think Oddly Oden saved myself, so it means so much to me as it is for him. It’s like, I’m very appreciative about the products and I found out I have skills I didn’t know that I had. And, yeah, it’s just been a beautiful thing in that way for me, so it was sort of like natural. I want to figure this out, not knowing how I’m going to do it. Yeah, I’m going to do this for you and we’ll just, this is where we are after that.
DiamondKesawn: So this is very deep. This has got a family chemistry here.
Jeph and Joshua: Yeah.
Joshua: And even the actors seen that, the first time we actually shot the show with Jeph, with the kids on there, because the kids had grown so much while doing the show, we shot it the first time and we were like, “You know what, we’re going to shoot it again because we know we could it better.” And it’s just been a project that’s just growing and growing, and growing each time we shoot it. And it’s just made everybody, Jessica, Tywayne, Iris and Jaden, and even my sister who the character based on are very close to this project, because there’s just a deeper message with it. I think everybody just got very attached to it.
DiamondKesawn: So for you both, what has the fan feedback been with regard to this series so far?
Joshua: Do you know what’s interesting about this is that there’s no middle ground, either you love it or you hate it.
Jeph: Yeah, there’s no in-between that the people that love it is they’re really just like cultish. They really are in love with it. Because like I said, I’ve never seen a black show shot that way. I’ve never seen a black show portrayed in that way. So there’s something very unique sort of viewers and I just think like once you kind of get it and you’re open to it, and it is a reality because it’s based on somebody’s real life, it’s not like you’re using it all. You know what I mean? So to me it’s just sort of like it’s shot in that way on purpose, sort of like the cameras peering into somebody’s life and observing their life, like this is really interesting, how these people live. Like this is a family unit, so yeah, it’s been you love it or you hate it. And from what I’ve seen, like most people are really attracted to the show and feel connected to it.
DiamondKesawn: So Joshua, did you really mess around with your nephew’s teacher?
Joshua: Well, yes. I did. And this is the thing, like as a writer, and I’ve grown so much with working with Jeph. I have to give him some much credit. He’s like pushing me as a writer and pushing me as an artist. 70% of this story is true. Like I did actually have a relationship with one of my nephew’s teacher. But what happened was he didn’t actually walk in on us having sex. That’s just something that was added to the story. And then, also, the character that Jeph plays doesn’t actually live in Atlanta but as a writer I was like, “How do I make it so—I can make Jeph like a main character in this show?” I moved that character to Atlanta. But like a lot of this is true. You know, my sister is actually a publicist. You know the first episode with the whole slapping bit has gone on my niece and nephew. That did happen. And it’s stuff that has gone on and how we have grown as a family and stuff, and I add layers to it to make it more interesting for the viewers.
DiamondKesawn: Was there any negative feedback from the episode when it was you messing with the teacher, but not for that element but for the element of the teacher being Caucasian?
Joshua: Ah, that essentially came up. I don’t know. I think that, you know what, I’m going to say this time and there’s been negative feedback especially with the second season with a lot of it being that Demetrius is a lot of the main focus. And I haven’t seen a show where the gay character is the main focus, so there has to be negative feedback in the sense where there’s a lot of gay activity going on.
DiamondKesawn: So they’re mad?
Joshua: Yeah. I mean, they get a little, like mad. It kinda turns some people off.
Jeph: So let me ask you, Diamond, how did feel about the character being white, the teacher?
DiamondKesawn: I personally, I didn’t get mad but I got agitated and here’s why, I got agitated because we—and I’m going to say we, as a race, I’m not speaking for the entire race, I’m speaking for a certain few, for people who feel like-minded with what I’m about to say—we get mad at mainstream media because we feel like the good black man always ends up with a person of a different race. So we tend to look to web series and your Hulu series, your Netflix series, these alternative forms of television to kind of give us what we want that we cannot get from television. So with Oddly Oden being a show that pushes the limits, I personally was expecting it to continue to push the limit. So for me, I was like, “Okay.” I wasn’t mad because I expected it. It’s actually coming from the character that Joshua plays. I can see him being with a person of a different race, but I was almost like I think it would have been more of a shocker had it been a hood-boy drug-dealer kind of thing.
Joshua: I see, and the thing is with Demetrius’ character specifically, because this is when I first had moved to Atlanta, this is like three or four years ago, and the next episode, and it’s interesting you could speak of that, the next episode Demetrius is, the person that he dates, is black. So it’s like, especially that character I play, it adds a point to his life where he’s just indecisive and he just goes back and forth and back and forth. But I think that what we were trying to do with the show specifically is I don’t want it to be put in a box where we label it as “a black sitcom.” Even though when I write today, and especially when I talk to Jeph, I wanted to make sure that majority of the people that were cast are the main characters were black or African-American, whatever you wanna say. But I know when I’m talking to Jeph, I was like, “You know, let’s make this a universal show so anybody that watches this can relate to it.”
DiamondKesawn: What is the typical role or what is the typical thought that comes with something being labeled a “black sitcom” or “black production?”
Joshua: That’s interesting. I don’t like the term “Black sitcom” or “Black production,” but sometimes I think we, as black people, and also black people give that option of saying, “Okay, this is a Black show.” This is only for Black people, or this is a gay show. And another thing that we’ve gotten is because the main character is gay is this is a gay show. And what I tell people it’s a show. It’s a sitcom. To me, it’s not “Black” or “gay,” it’s just a sitcom.
Jeph: Okay, so here’s what it is for me. The bottom line is I think like we just wanted the most amount of viewership as possible. I think—yeah, right. And the most amount of viewership possible by still pushing the envelope which is very difficult, because you’re pushing the envelope, but at the same time, by pushing the envelope, you’re eliminating certain people also. So there’s a difficulty in there, like you’re writing that fine line. So by labeling it as like it’s not a gay show, it’s not a Black show, no matter what the f**k you see, it’s a show. We’re trying to do, I think the idea was to make it universal, so everybody sees it. But to be quite honest with you, I don’t know if there’s necessarily a way around that. People are going to have their opinions and ideas based on what they see and it is what it is.
DiamondKesawn: Now, I have to ask you, Josh, as the writer/creator. As you create these episodes for us, are you even starting to learn more about yourself that you possibly didn’t even know going into the project?
Joshua: Learning more about myself as a person? Yeah, especially when I write and I see how flawed and how crazy I am and the things that I wish I could change and the things that—like that character, a lot of people like to say that character is over the top, but those were points in my life where I was like, “Wow, I was really like this,” and those fun things, I was like, “Man, I need to make changes.” Even with the fact that I didn’t get along with Harlen’s character much. And in the next episode, we get to see my other side of how I feel about Harlen because I don’t think the person who he plays, who this character’s based off is a bad person. It’s just a lot of this is my take on my perspective and me trying to understand my relationship with my sister, my niece and nephew, and myself, to help me.
DiamondKesawn: Now in this web series, Harlen is real f**king sexy. So is he sexy in real life?
Joshua: I’m not sure how to take that.
Jeph: You know he’s asking that
Joshua: Well, the reason why I wanted Jeph to play this character is because, again, yeah, he is. What you see on camera and how he is very comfortable and how Harlen’s really comfortable with who he is. He’s very comfortable with who he really is as a person, and yes, he is. And the thing is like Jeph as a person and as an actor, he’s just so—he’s like a chameleon. He’s amazing the way he does it. And when he does walk in a room, you do wanna look at him. He has a vibe that he gives off.
Babeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. can I just tell you that answer gave me a MOMENT??? Chileeeee, let him walk on my set…. #Oop
DiamondKesawn: As the creators, what is it that you all want the viewer to take away from “Oddly Oden?”
Joshua: For me, I know that me and Jeph are both actors and we’re just not waiting for people to put us on. And for us, this is our livelihood. This is us saying, “You know, this is what we can do and this is what we can bring to the table.” And we fund this project ourselves. All the money that you see is us funding it, and when we don’t have enough hands, it’s us holding things when we’re not on set. And I think what I want them to take away from it is if we can do this with three people: a camera guy, and two actors, the writers/director, then you could do this too. We’re just kind of pushing our name out there. That’s what I’m thinking, but Jeph?
Jeph: Yeah, for me, I think it’s a special commentary. In the sense like we all have ideas about what a family unit is and there is no right or wrong, it’s just different. And to me, “Look, people, look at what’s going on in modern times.” Like this is real. This is how people live and this is our life. Another thing is it’s not like it’s just like a different type of show. I’ve never seen something where there was a main focus put on—usually the gay character is like the character that comes in and then you’ve never seen a mockumentary with predominantly an African-American cast. So it’s its own thing.
DiamondKesawn: Tell them how they can follow it, see it, all of that, put it all out there.
Joshua: If you just google “Oddly Oden” on Google, it will come up. You can follow us on Instagram @OddlyOden, You can also like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OddlyOden. And right now, we’re in the process of turning my YouTube page into a production channel, but right now you can search the page at www.youtube.com/JoshuaGilyard.
Jeph: And for me, I’m just on Instagram, @JephCange, That’s it. I have Facebook, but I’m mostly on Instagram, to be honest. From Instagram, you’ll find everything else.
Joshua: Just follow me on “Joshua Gilyard” on everything, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube.
After it’s all said and done, “Oddly Oden” is a show that takes us into our own world and forces us to look at our family dynamics and see what character is who from the family reunion. Tune in and Subscribe to the greatness that “Oddly Oden” brings.
A new report commissioned by UltraViolet, GLAAD, Kairos, and Women’s March shows that women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people experience higher levels of harassment and threats of violence...