Daniel AM Rosenberg On Producing, Directing ‘Cam_Girlfriend’

LOS ANGELES—Daniel AM Rosenberg sharpened his directing skills shooting music videos and commercials with the plan to work his way up to longer-form, scripted projects. “And I love comedy,” Rosenberg says. “I think even the dramatic stuff I’ve done has comedic elements.” The seasoned director from Toronto captured plenty of both in Cam_Girlfriend, the new episodic series that stars exclusive Chaturbate broadcaster and adult performer, Lily LaBeau, opposite TV personality Dave Keystone in a lighthearted story set in the live-cam world. Episode 4 of the 10-part digital series—titled “The Feud”—debuts today on The Camming Life YouTube channel. “The best dramas have comedy and the best comedies have drama,” Rosenberg reasons. “I think you can’t have a good one without the other.” It’s that approach that defines the dynamic of Cam_Girlfriend, an ambitious production three years in the making that follows the unusual relationship between up-and-coming cam girl Chloe Cables (LaBeau) and her live-in boyfriend Mike (Keystone), who bob and weave their way through outlandish situations as Chloe’s job intersects with their romance. Today’s episode examines what happens when Chloe realizes a rival model is copying her and she decides to do something about it. How will Chloe respond and what will become of their beef?    Produced by CAMGF1 Productions and made possible by the Independent Production Fund (IPF), Rosenberg & Co. shot every episode of Cam_Girlfriend during a 12-day span in February 2018 on location in Toronto. “We shot a lot over a short amount of time and with the amount of material that we needed to cover we knew going in that it would be a challenge—and I think we rose to it,” Rosenberg says. “The only way you can do that is with an incredible team.” The creative force behind the project—which LaBeau refers to as “the dream team”—includes a group of accomplished pros with a track record of making thought-provoking scripted and non-scripted TV, film, music and documentary works. Creator/writer Ethan Cole, producer/writer Michael Goldlist and producer Jason Kennedy collaborated with Rosenberg—who also produced Cam_Girlfriend—to give the series about unconventional work/life balance in a billion-dollar industry a cinematic feel. LaBeau and Keystone, meanwhile, demonstrated the potential of improv. “As a director, I’m only as good as the people around me and my job is to inspire them and aid them in doing the best work that they can,” Rosenberg says. “We were so fortunate to have so many talented people on our cast and crew that we were able to move very quickly and also take the time when we needed it. “We never wanted to be in a situation where it was just good enough, they didn’t really find it, but who cares because we’re running out of time, let’s keep going. “We didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of the show. We had to make sure the actors had the time to find it. When it was really cooking we didn’t want to stop it before it was fully baked.” There was nothing half-baked about the way the cast and crew approached the subject matter, placing the highest priority on representing the camming community in an accurate—and positive way. Rosenberg points to casting the Seattle native LaBeau as Chloe as central to giving the show credibility. An established adult performer with more than 520 adult outings since 2009 who also has been camming off and on since 2013, LaBeau had originally signed on as a story consultant.    But as Rosenberg and the creative team got deeper into the casting process they realized—along with LaBeau—that she was their Chloe all along, especially given the improvisational nature of the script. “We kept coming back to Lily,” Rosenberg says. “I think the fact that she’s a real broadcaster as well as an adult performer the authenticity she brought to the role was so important and unique. That put her at a different level. She’s funny and she’s personable and she’s great on camera. I was confident she was able to do it.” Rosenberg adds, “We often see with TV shows they will bring out an expert. Like on a medical TV show they’ll have a real doctor or surgeon on the set; or for a cop show they’ll have someone there to make sure the actors aren’t butchering police procedure. “We had a camming expert on set with us every day in the form of Lily. There was always an immediate gut check in everything we were doing. So as a director and a producer that was amazing. It meant we could really push the comedy but always make sure it was grounded and that it was coming from the right perspective.” The premiere episode, “The Registry,” saw Chloe and Mike in a predicament after she started using her camming registry to acquire wedding gifts for their friends; the second episode, “The Hit,” looked at what happens when Chloe discovers her orgasm was sampled without her permission by a famous DJ, whose song is topping the charts; and last week’s installment, “The Doppelganger,” entailed the couple scrambling to find an anatomical double for Chloe after her bikini wax goes off the rails. Rosenberg admits his learning curve was steep when it came to the business of live camming. He had never logged onto a cam site before agreeing to direct Cam_Girlfriend. “I got a crash course at first and there was quite a bit of time between when we did the pilot episode and did the actual series,” Rosenberg says. He recalls hearing about Cam_Girlfriend from Ethan Cole, the creator of the show who is also from Toronto. “He came to me with the concept and described what he was thinking and it seemed like it was a great idea,” Rosenberg says. “We’re both big fans of Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. It was a great concept and an interesting opportunity that I was very keen on directing. “I was actually really unfamiliar with camming, so it was also extremely interesting for me to learn about it and it’s also why it was helpful coming on at the very start. If I had just come on as a director a couple weeks before that would’ve been different from being there from the very get-go. “So I learned a ton beforehand. I went from not knowing anything to knowing a lot.” A graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, where he studied communications and film, the 36-year-old Rosenberg has directed and produced programming that has aired on A&E, FYI, HGTV, MTV, Much Music, BET, and CBC Gem. He and Goldlist co-created—and Rosenberg produced and directed—the CBC digital series, The Ninth, about The Boxsprings—“a dysfunctional, hard-partying baseball team and the nine losers who party, screw and fight their way through the season.” Rosenberg and Goldlist won the Best Writing-Comedy Series award for The Ninth at the Indie Series Awards last month in Los Angeles, accepting the honor via a Zoom call. Rosenberg is also an experienced commercial director and acted as creative director on multiple projects including the “Kensington Market” Heritage Minute and The Strumbellas Live at the JUNO Awards. He notes that his experience on commercial shoots has been invaluable because of the intensity and talent level. “It is a great opportunity to be around some of the best crews and equipment, and since they often just shoot for a day or two, especially the big-budget ones, it is amazing to see all of that come together so quickly,” Rosenberg says. “Obviously, from a storytelling perspective in terms of scripts and acting they are completely different, but as a young man out of school it was an incredible experience. “Then when I got to work as a digital technician on Union productions—working on big-budget television shows and films—that was a whole other experience. Seeing how different directors work with great talent—and watching how scripts come to life—that was awesome, too.” In 2016, Rosenberg won an iHeartRadio MuchMusic Video Award for Best Rock/Alternative Video for “Spirits” by The Strumbellas. That video, which was produced by Michael Goldlist and executive produced by Jason Kennedy, Briin Bernstein and Rosenberg, at press time had more than 66 million views on YouTube. Rosenberg says that all of his background—he made a film while still in high school and then produced a documentary right out of Concordia about hip-hop producers in Montreal—prepared him for the challenges that arose during Cam_Girlfriend, which marked his first time directing improv. “With improv you have to be ready for anything, but you still want to have the production quality and cinematic feel that modern TV and films and digital TV series have,” Rosenberg says. “So all those things combined made me a good fit for the project as a director. “You want to be able to capture the moment and the magic that comes from an improv exchange, but also you don’t want to sacrifice the look or the aesthetic of the show. It’s all about setting up the right environments on set to allow that to happen.” He lauded Chris Matthews, the director of photography on Cam_Girlfriend, editor Micah Rix-Hayes, B-camera operator Brian Allan Stewart, line producer Tom Shinn, first assistant director Kik Di Nina and costume designer Madi Styles—among many others—for their attention to detail throughout the production. “We tried to not do too much rehearsal,” Rosenberg says. “We didn’t want to lose that lightning in a bottle when something awesome happens.” To view Episode 4, click here. Lead photo: Daniel AM Rosenberg and Lily LaBeau between takes of “The Telethon” episode.

written by: Dan Miller

source: Daniel AM Rosenberg On Producing, Directing ‘Cam_Girlfriend’ | AVN