Right Now (GBR) follows Rob, a young British man, who after breaking up with his boyfriend, enters the world of gay online hookups for the first time.

The 2020 International Spotlight series explores, without filter, the different encounters one might come across when using dating apps. Robert Cawsey, the creator, writer and main actor of Right Now, told Melbourne Webfest about the stylistic choices he made, the taboo around gay sex and his acting experience.

Why did you choose this specific format to convey your story?

Well, the show is about Grindr hookups. Most of the time you turn up to a stranger’s house have sex, then leave, often to never see that person again. I thought a web series was the perfect way to explore that as most of the encounters are brief. You get a glimpse into someone else’s world and often have an intense and intimate experience. Sometimes 5 minutes and sometimes 20. But that format felt ideal to start exploring these personal experiences that I’d had.

How important would you say the use of music and sounds is in your storytelling?

Very much so. I’ve always felt that music and sound play a key role in creating the mood and tone of what you’re doing. Emotionally as well. If you want help making an audience feel what you’re feeling, music is part of that. I’m so lucky to know the brilliantly talented Tommy Antonio. He wrote most of the music helping me create the world.

How did you come to decide on your subject matter?

Ever since I broke up with my boyfriend I got forced back into the world of gay online dating. I’ve always wanted to see a show about the detail of gay sex. Where gay men are not just side characters to the lead. With gay men with normal bodies, not gym fit stereotypes. Also, many of the hookups I’ve been on have had so much comedy about them. There is so much shame in gay sex still I feel that by looking at it with humour we can universally relate to it more and help brake that. 

Right Now Trailer

If they only took one thing, one message, what would you like the audience to take away from the series?

That gay sex doesn’t still need to be hidden away.

Robert, you are one of the writer and producer of the show, as well as the main actor. Did you have any acting experience before that? How did you deal with the sexual/naked scenes in the series?

I moved to London and trained to be an actor before I went into writing, so that’s where I started. As every episode is basically a sex scene, and I’d never really done one before I was a bit nervous. You quickly learn that shooting a sex scene is the most unsexy thing ever. Stopping and starting, camera in your face, having to do the tiniest section over and over again. We had a fantastic professional cast but my main advice is before you leave for set always check you don’t have embarrassing underwear on!

Has the end product strayed far from your initial vision?

Weirdly I always think most artists succeed with having a clear vision of what they want from the start. With this I made the first episode with the director Andy Hui as an experiment. Then it led me to think I wanted to say more, and look closer into this world. As a writer/creator it opened up so much I wanted to explore about gay hook up culture and gay mental health. So basically my vision of the show grew with the project.