Interview – Matthew Lynn, Creator of ‘The Third’
The 32-year-old was born in Augusta, Georgia. He grew up in the church. He moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, when he was 13. At age 16, he became a Southern Baptist music minister. He facilitated anything musical-related or connected to the church, including leading the choir. He attended the University of Mobile, Alabama, which is dubbed a Christ-centered academic community. He majored in vocal performance. After graduating, he worked in insurance for a year. When Lynn was 23, he came out as gay to his family and they told him, “Leave and never come back.” In 2012, he went to film school in Florida where he started his company, Bridge the Divide Media. In 2014, he came to Los Angeles. In 2015, he received his MFA and continued working in film and TV production on projects big and small.
Through his family kicking him out for “coming out,” a gay couple took him in and became a surrogate family for him. He eventually entered into a triad relationship with them. Lynn says they taught him how to be a gay man and live in this new world (that of polyamory) he had discovered. He would then enter into a second triad relationship, but all of these experiences got him to writing about it in the summer of 2016. He always intended to create a series based on his polyamorous relationships. He had worked with Brian J. Alvarez on his YouTube series, The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo (2016), which had gone online earlier that year.
In May 2017, Lynn shot a pilot episode over the course of three days. He paid for it himself and then shopped it around to various platforms to get money to finance the rest of the episodes. Lynn says that of the whole process, finding the financing was the hardest part. Writing it, casting it and filming it weren’t as difficult as getting the money to do it. However, Dekkoo is a streaming platform that caters to gay male audiences and gay male content, and Dekkoo was the company that picked up the tab and agreed to distribute Lynn’s series.
Lynn didn’t disclose what his budget was. He basically said he made the show “on a dime,” but the rest of the series was then shot in 10 days, which Lynn and company did in March of this year. He wore a lot of hats when putting it together. The main house used in the series was Lynn’s actual house. He had wanted each episode to be 30 minutes in length but had to cut them to half that time. This gives some idea of the limited funds. When asked what he regretted having to remove because of his limitations, Lynn says nothing, believing the show is better for the cuts. He says it’s tighter, leaner and a better show as a result.
A test screening in Palm Springs with 300 people in attendance caused Lynn to cut even more, in fact. Yet, he says he loved the audience reactions and getting feedback from them. His goal is to reach people and expand the average person’s mind about the issues and topics that he raises in The Third. He wants to stress the idea of surrogate families, recognizing the many “non-traditional” relationships that people have nowadays.
As a gay creator, Lynn says he wants to portray same-sex relationships without any sensationalism or exoticism. At the same time, he doesn’t want to shy away from or be ashamed of what it means to be gay in today’s world. This show is his love letter to his community and to Palm Springs, a gay mecca.
To give you even more of an idea of Lynn’s sensibilities, he says he really enjoyed the recent, Emmy-winning Fleabag, about the life and loves of a woman in London. Lynn says he was impressed with The Boys, another series on Amazon Prime about flawed super-heroes. He also says he liked the recent, Brad Pitt, science-fiction, art film, Ad Astra.
The Third premieres on Oct. 24 on Dekkoo.