Brad Bell (producer)
Bell in 2012
|Born||Bradley C. Bell
October 4, 1985
Dallas, Texas, United States
|Occupation||Producer, writer, actor, musician|
Bradley C. "Brad" Bell (born October 4, 1985) is an American television producer and screenwriter, actor, musician, and comic book author. He is best known as co-creator and showrunner of the acclaimed web series Husbands, in which he also stars. He has also released three electronic EPs, and penned the comic book series Husbands: The Comic, based on his web series.
Brad Bell was born in Dallas, Texas. Early on, Bell identified as an artist, spending his childhood convinced that the road to success would start in Los Angeles. Upon moving to Hollywood, Bell studied film at Los Angeles City College and later became a graduate of The Second City Training Center.
In 2008, he started his own YouTube channel, on behalf of which Bell created the "sugar coated satirical persona" named 'Cheeks'. As Cheeks, Bell wrote and performed critical commentary on celebrities, pop culture and politics. A fanbase was rapidly growing and Bell's reputation began to take form. As a satirist, Bell follows a philosophy described by organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize, "first make people laugh, and then make them think".
One journalist writes of Bell's persona, "under all the glitter and glitz, Cheeks is an incisive, intelligent talent who couches his social criticism in showbiz flair, because he knows what works". Though Cheeks' signature style of exuberance led some to deride it as a stereotype, Bell counters, "[If] you're not going to watch me long enough to figure out that there's more to me than my fabulousness, you're of the exact same mentality as the people you're worried are going to judge you based on my behavior".
Bell caught the attention of television writer Jane Espenson when she discovered his pointed dissection of Carrie Prejean's public response to a question of marriage equality, during the 2009 Miss USA pageant. Speaking to Out in August 2012, Espenson said, "I was curious – who was this person who had at his age accumulated writing skills that had taken me 20 years?" The two developed a friendship that eventually resulted in creating the newlywed sitcom Husbands. The first season of Husbands was shot in August 2011, and premiered to critical praise, including The New Yorker's first ever review of an online series, in which Bell was hailed as "the standout, a confident flibbertigibbet who regards himself as a modern Blanche DuBois".
The "crackling cultural commentary" of Bell's early YouTube work echoed in Husbands, lauded by Time magazine as a "much more complex and interesting story about changing mores and the conflict between individuals and social causes than, say, the pilot of NBC's The New Normal".
Espenson–a frequent collaborator of Joss Whedon–noted, "Brad has the showrunner gene", and said that Bell's work as an executive producer on Husbands reminded her of the famed Avengers director, adding, "If there is a Joss Whedon among us, it's Brad Bell". Whedon himself has been a "fan of [Brad]", since Bell's performance in The Golden Guys, an adaptation of The Golden Girls with young men in the leads, hosted at Whedon's residence during a private party.
The series was expanded in the form of a six-issue digital comic book series called Husbands: The Comic, published by Dark Horse Comics. Bell's work on Husbands inspired Jane Espenson to include the Buffyverse's first gay male slayer in season nine of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Bell wrote an article in The Huffington Post about unoriginal aspects of storytelling, saying "Maybe instead of avoiding the cliché, we can somehow reinvent the wheel", to which he concludes, "Husbands, both as a sitcom and as a comic book, embraces clichés, stereotypes and tropes to make a point: Most old ideas are only as meaningless or as negative as their context. Few of these notions are intrinsically detrimental, as the judgements we attach to them exist only in our minds".
Bell originated the concept that the word "television" is better suited for the Internet than traditional broadcast media, and was invited to speak at Google on August 17, 2012, to elaborate on his observation:
Television is a hybrid word, Greek and Latin. 'Tele' meaning far and then 'vision' meaning, well obviously, vision...So, when you think of NBC, the 'far vision' is L.A. to New York...On the other hand, you upload something to YouTube and within minutes... Tokyo.
In addition to this linguistic examination, Bell pointed out that television is defined as a telecommunication medium. He goes on to say, "As anyone who's ever been in a relationship knows, communication is a two-way street". Because communication requires both parties to interact with each other, Bell reasons that the Internet better fulfills the criteria for television than a broadcast platform. He sums this idea up by concluding, "the Internet is more television than television".
Bell elaborated more on the issue:
Oddly though, the standards by which people define television isn't the platform. They just think it is. For example, Orange Is the New Black is a television show, right? I would say yes. But, by platform specifications, it's a web series. Why? Because it's delivered via the Internet, either on your computer, tablet or set-top boxes and smart TVs. Cable and broadcast (which have actually both been the same platform for years, digital) is a different platform than the one delivering Netflix or YouTube. [...] The term web-series is irrelevant, because the platforms are irrelevant. It's all television now. It's just a matter of professional television versus amateur hour. The Internet is not "the future of television." Neither are the two slowly merging. That's already happened. It's only the perception of the public that lags behind.
Bell's work in music started in 2008, co-writing and performing the title track for horror short film Side Effect. This success was followed by the release of three EPs; The Boy From Venus (2008), Glambition (2009) and T.C.M.C. (2010), along with a collection of ringtones, 2009's Put a Ringtone on It. Bell has also worked as consulting producer for VH1's Pop-Up Video.
|Series||Episode number||Title||Credit||Original air date|
|Husbands||1.1||"Waking Up in Vegas"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 13, 2011|
|1.2||"We Can't Be Married"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 15, 2011|
|1.3||"Being Britney!"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 20, 2011|
|1.4||"A Decent Proposal"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 22, 2011|
|1.5||"IDEHTW"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 27, 2011|
|1.6||"Haley, The Life Coach"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 29, 2011|
|1.7||"Normal People"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||October 4, 2011|
|1.8||"This Together Thing"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||October 6, 2011|
|1.9||"Instant Love"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||October 11, 2011|
|1.10||"Return of the Zebra"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||October 13, 2011|
|1.11||"Winky Face"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||October 18, 2011|
|2.1||"Appropriate Is Not the Word"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||August 15, 2012|
|2.2||"The Straightening"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||August 29, 2012|
|2.3||"A Better Movie of What We're Like"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 12, 2012|
|3.1||"I Do Over – Part 1"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||August 15, 2013|
|3.2||"I Do Over – Part 2"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||August 22, 2013|
|3.3||"I Do Over – Part 3"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||August 29, 2013|
|3.4||"I Dream of Cleaning – Part 1"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 19, 2013|
|3.5||"I Dream of Cleaning – Part 2"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||September 26, 2013|
|3.6||"I Dream of Cleaning – Part 3"||Writer (with Jane Espenson)||October 3, 2013|
|2006||Why Can't I Be You?||No||No||Yes||Himself||Episode: "#1.6"|
|2008||Side Effect||Yes||No||No||N/A||Associate producer|
|2010||Front Men||Yes||No||Yes||Cheeks||Executive producer|
|2011||Torchwood: Miracle Day||No||No||Yes||Nurse Chris||Episode: "The Categories of Life"|
|2011–2013||Husbands||Yes||Yes||Yes||Cheeks||Co-creator, 20 episodes as writer and executive producer|
|2012||Pop-Up Video||Yes||No||No||N/A||Consulting producer|
|2014||Spring Cleaning||No||Yes||No||N/A||Short film|
|Year||Award||Award category||Title of work||Result||Ref.|
|2012||Indie Soap Awards||Best Actor (Comedy)||Husbands||Nominated|||
|Best Writing (Comedy)||Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson)||Nominated|
|Webby Awards||Best Writing||Nominated|||
|2013||International Academy of Web Television||Best Writing (Comedy)||Nominated|||
|Streamy Awards||Best Male Performance: Comedy||Husbands||Nominated|||
|Personality of the Year||Nominated|
|Indie Soap Awards||Best Actor (Comedy)||Husbands||Won|||
|Best Writing (Comedy)||Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson)||Won|
|2014||Writers Guild of America Awards||Short Form New Media – Original||Husbands episodes "I Do Over Part 1–2" (shared with Jane Espenson)||Nominated|||
|International Academy of Web Television||Best Male Performance in a Comedy||Husbands||Won|||
|Best Writing (Comedy)||Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson)||Won|
|Best Ensemble Performance||Husbands (shared with Sean Hemeon)||Won|
|Indie Series Awards||Best Writing – Comedy||Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson)||Nominated|||
|Best Lead Actor – Comedy||Husbands||Won|
|Streamy Awards||Writing||Husbands (shared with Jane Espenson)||Nominated|||
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- Glambition (CD), Tower.com, retrieved October 25, 2012
- T.C.M.C. (CD), Tower.com, retrieved October 25, 2012
- T.C.M.C. (EP), Rhapsody.com, retrieved October 25, 2012
- Put a Ringtone on It, Rhapsody.com, retrieved October 25, 2012
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- "NOMINATIONS: 3rd Annual Indie Soap Awards". WeLoveSoaps.net. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
- "16th Annual Webby Awards Nominees". WebbyAwards.com. Archived from the original on April 12, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
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- "3rd Annual Nominees". Streamys.org. Retrieved December 17, 2012.
- Ng, Philiana. "Streamy Awards Unveils Audience Choice Nominees and Presenters". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- "WINNERS: 4th Annual Indie Soap Awards". WeLoveSoaps.net. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (December 5, 2013). "Writers Guild Awards: 'Breaking Bad,' 'Orange is the New Black' Among TV Nominations". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- "IAWTV ANNOUNCES 2014 AWARDS NOMINATIONS". iawtv.org. December 13, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
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