Home / Music / Artist Interviews / Conversations in LA About Going Home For the Holidays With This Year’s Daytime Emmy Award-Nominated Break-Out Star, Anne Marie Cummings

Conversations in LA About Going Home For the Holidays With This Year’s Daytime Emmy Award-Nominated Break-Out Star, Anne Marie Cummings

VENTS: Black Tar offers a preview of what many can expect going home for the holidays. Is this episode a warning or a last chance to turn around before driving over a hypothetical cliff?

AMC: BLACK TAR marks the last episode of Season Two – the end of a long chapter for Gus and Michelle. When I wrote it, I wasn’t thinking about the holidays, but since couples often get together with their families during the holidays, I’m sure they’ll relate to Episode 8. In the case of Gus and Michelle, it’s a fascinating scene because it’s the first time that Michelle’s brother and his wife meet Gus. Here we get to see their reaction to his age and his young perspective on life, and what the glue in the relationship between Gus and Michelle really is.

We also see in BLACK TAR how other people judge relationships and for some reason family members often feel a sense of ownership or entitlement when it comes to knowing what’s best for members of their family. Michelle has clearly chosen Gus as her partner, yet her brother, Steve (played by Stephen Rockwell) and his wife (played by Melanie Rockwell) immediately go for the jugular – comparison. They compare Gus’ life and his education and his experiences with their own. As soon as that happens, it’s the root killer of all relationships because no two relationships are the same.

When I wrote BLACK TAR, I had in the back of my mind a “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” kind of ending. I didn’t know how I was going to get there, initially, but I will say that the hook for me as the writer was the whisky. Once I decided that everyone was drinking Steve’s favorite single malt Scotch whisky, Bruichladdich, that was the key that got me going because I knew the characters were going to slowly shed the masks they were all wearing and many truths were going to reveal themselves by the end. So I guess you could say I worked backwards – – if I knew the end would be tragic, the beginning had to be the opposite of that.

But overall, BLACK TAR was a painful scene for me to write because all that’s joyous on the surface is colored by judgment underneath. As the director, that’s what I focused Stephen Rockwell on, and he did a fabulous job running with that note!

VENTS: Michelle’s brother has issues and strong opinions — but are they hiding jealousy he actually has of her free spirited ways?

AMC: No, not jealousy. More of what I discussed above – a sense of entitlement. We can see this more with specific cultures. I think the Hispanic community, the Indian community, the Italians, they are all very family oriented. In other words, relationships can be determined by the family. I’ve always been fascinated by this and it appears in my writing sometimes. I wrote a play called “India Awaiting” that was Off-Broadway which dealt specifically with the subject of a man from India living in America (New York City) who meets an American woman. They fall in love, but his culture determines the outcome of that relationship. I think it’s clear where I personally stand on this subject – I feel people should be free to choose who they love, no matter what culture they come from. To focus on our times, older women and younger men in relationships are much more accepted, and the same applies with cross cultures. I love that Prince Harry is marrying Meghan Markle. The cultural differences aren’t as great with Brits and Americans, but it’s still a mix of cultures and it’s wonderful. I often wonder why we – as humans – feel this need to keep things within the family, within the same culture all the time. It feels so closed.

VENTS: How are Gus and Michelle spending the holidays this year?

AMC: Ha ha! I have no idea. Right now I’m writing Season Three. I like to do what I call immersives – as a writer. I get to a place where I can dive into the work for about six weeks. I have a process where I start with research, move into a short outline to a more expansive outline to a beat-by-beat outline, to then writing the episodes themselves. My goal is to do all the heavy lifting first so that by the time I write the episodes, I already know the path I’m taking and it somewhat flows out of me. Does this mean that I can stray from the path? Yes – absolutely – and often times I do. I like to surprise myself. The main thing is that I go into my writing of the episodes with a sense of confidence in terms of direction – that I’ve put the pieces of the puzzle together in such a way that I’m comfortable with the arcs for my characters.

VENTS: What will 2018 have in store for the unconventional couple?

AMC: Season Three is the deepening of their relationship and the two of them facing more obstacles. The subheading is: “a passionate discourse.” Viewers learn at the end of Season Two that Gus and Michelle are getting married. The question will be  – do they actually get married? And if they do, how’s that going for them? Without giving too much away, Season Three does begin one year later.

VENTS: What will you be taking home for the holidays this year?

AMC: Personally, a lot of gratitude for all the amazing people I’m working with on this project. It’s extremely challenging in every way, but I’ve got people working with me who support me, understand and believe in my vision, and work hard to make sure we get better and better at what we’re doing. It’s humbling and requires a lot of growth from everyone. So in short – I’m grateful to have the opportunity to grow in a setting that feels like home, like something I’m meant to be a part of.

Seasons 1 and 2 of Conversations in LA — including the BLACK TAR episode — are streaming now via

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/tv-season/conversations-in-l-a-season-2/id1271881682

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Conversations-in-L-A-Season-2/dp/B075JTXGN8

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

Check Also

INTERVIEW: Sal The Musician

Hi Sal, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? Hey RJ! Not bad at all, …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.