*We caught up with filmmaker, producer and publicist Breanna Hogan to dish about her new dramedy series “À La Carte,” which is centered around the Black millennial dating experience and one girl’s journey to the place she never thought she’d end up – on the side.
As we previously reported, per press release, the series is directed and executive produced by Dijon Talton and The Talton Company. Hogan also serves as executive producer, alongside Meagan Good and Katrina Y. Nelson (ALLBLK’s Lace) for The Talton Company, and Christopher O’Conner in association with Prodigi Arts Entertainment. Angela White serves as producer with Brett Dismuke and Nikki Love as executive producers for ALLBLK.
Check out the trailer for “À La Carte” below.
The series is inspired by Hogan’s own dating experience — when she found herself settling for a man who treated her like a side-piece. Hogan channeled the valuable lessons she learned from her own personal entanglement into her debut series for the ALLBLK streaming platform. Check out our exclusive conversation with the publicist-turned filmmaker below.
Talk about the inspiration behind À La Carte.
Breanna Hogan: The series is very dear to my heart. It’s loosely based on a personal experience and story of mine. Looking at the dating landscape now, it’s very interesting. It’s an interesting place to be in, especially when it seems like people with looser morals or lower standards seem to be getting ahead. Someone who grew up in a two-parent household with a certain idea of what romance is supposed to look like, after so many years of that, it essentially started to get into my head that maybe I should try something different. Maybe I should try what everyone else is doing to practice lower standards or all that stuff. I essentially end up getting into a situation that I never thought I would be in, which is dealing with a guy who had a girlfriend and things just kind of went downhill from there.
I got progressively more entangled in the situation until at some point I didn’t even recognize myself. I had basically completely abandoned everything I knew, everything I thought I knew about myself and what I wanted and hit rock bottom. Learned a lot about myself. Once I was coming out of it, I realized that it’s something that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I didn’t want other girls to be going through and experiencing the same situation. When I moved to LA after I graduated from college, I had a friend who was in a similar situation, but for me at that time, I was on the other end. I was coming out of it and she was just getting into it. I was trying to give her advice and I’m like, “This isn’t going to go well. Trust me, I’ve been there before. It only ends one way.” And I had heartbreak for her just knowing where she was headed and where this journey was going to take her.
I’m putting it all together and I’m like, well, I have a story. I would love to share the story. If I can prevent just one girl from being in this situation ever again, then that would make me happy. I have always love writing. Let me put pen to paper, put the story down, and see what comes from there. It really was inspired by a personal situation and me not wanting to see other girls be in a situation where they’re compromising their morals and they’re doubting themselves and just in a bad situation where they don’t recognize themselves.
Did you go to film school?
Breanna Hogan: I did not. I went to Howard University. I studied communications and PR, so I’m a self-taught screenwriter.
How did you get hooked up with ALLBLK?
Breanna Hogan: It really was a whirlwind. I wrote all six episodes back … I started in 2016. I finished around mid-2017. I did a table read full of actors and actresses that I knew in the city and just wanted to hear how it sounded. I got such great feedback that I started to be encouraged to make this. People started coming up to me and saying, “You have to make this.” I started to put together a team of people that I knew from school that did study film and TV in school and started to put together a team to independently produce the pilot. We’re producing a pilot in 2017/2018. During the process, I got connected with so many people. Dijon Talton who ended up directing it. That’s how I met Megan Good, Eric Ballinger and Lamaya, Megan’s sister Lamaya who was in the original pilot. Just started connecting with people that way.
After we had produced a pilot, we did a whole screening and my PR branding experience kicked in that way. Coming out of the screening, we got such great feedback. We had invited different network execs and spent the next year and a half having different conversations, pitching the series to different networks. Ultimately, through a relationship that Dijon had with ALLBLK, is how it landed there.
Did you have any involvement with the casting of the series?
Breanna Hogan: I had involvement in early casting, and then at some point, I stepped away because I have a wedding happening in two months and have two other shows in development right now. I was involved in early casting and Kendall Kyndall, actually, he was cast in the original, so remember I told you we independently shot and produced a pilot a couple years ago. Kendall was in that original pilot and the character Rain, I really wrote it with Kendall Kyndall in mine, like his picture and everything was in my original pitch deck. I’m so elated that Kendall just took so much to the material and he stuck with it this entire time. So early stages of the casting I was there for. I saw a lot of the auditions and some of the cast I wasn’t there for, but I’ve met after the fact and have come to know them. I love them so much. I think they did a phenomenal job. They look beautiful. They all have just connected to their characters in different ways. They’re just so excited.
There are three female characters on this show, which one of them speaks to your personal experience and journey so far?
Breanna Hogan: That would be Mahogany, the main lead, the one I think we follow her journey the most. They’re all based off of bits and pieces of friends and family in my life. The one that I most identify and most mirror would be Mahogany.
— ALLBLK (@WatchALLBLK) June 1, 2022
The throughline of this series seems to be: Are you down with being the side piece?
Breanna Hogan: You’re absolutely right. That was kind of the central question and the center of even my own situation and where I was in life. I would 100% agree. I remember just looking at the landscape and the original pilot that we had shot, the title was Hoes Are Winning. It just seemed like people who just didn’t care to be the main or be number one, or be the girlfriend were okay with other things going on or being the side or being one in many, it just seemed like they were getting ahead. They weren’t heartbroken. They weren’t sad. They were totally okay. After so much of that, you start to wonder, is that the way to go? Is the grass greener? I think definitely this generation has glamorized that in so many ways.
Ultimately, after going through it, personally, that situation, especially if you really want to be in a relationship, some people generally just don’t care and I think that’s fine for them. If you’re someone who really wants to find love and a genuine connection, and you’re doing the side thing as a means to an end, that doesn’t usually work out in your favor. It always gets messy. Someone gets too deep into their feelings and at the end of the day, someone’s feelings get hurt. It might start off nice and it’s just casual and, oh, I’m okay with it. The deeper you get into it at some point, it does not work out and it does erupt. That was pretty much the point that I wanted to explore and for girls not to fall into that way of thinking and just wait on yourself, you’re worth the wait. Don’t go into that if you really want something real and different. But I will say 100% that this day and age does seem to glamorize the side piece.
With that, what are you hoping audiences take away from this show?
Breanna Hogan: I really just want the audience to take away that, especially the women, is that you deserve better, you’re worth more, you deserve to be number one, you deserve to be the priority, you deserve better. I wrote an entire creative statement that was in the original pitch deck and it’s for the girls who have been heartbroken. The girls who’ve given up on love. The girls who have tried and failed at love. I really want them to take away like, “Oh, I don’t want to go down that path. I don’t want to get into this situation that’s ultimately going to take me away from who I really am and leave me high and dry. Leave me questioning my morals, my sanity, my worth, my looks.”
At the end of the day, this kind of situation sends you into a spiral where you’re just wondering, is it me? What am I doing wrong? Why aren’t I the main? Why can’t I be the main? Why not me? I want the men, especially men who have mothers and sisters and daughters to not be the cause of a woman to cry herself to sleep at night. I want them to see this and be like, that’s not how you should treat women. That’s not how I want to be seen or portrayed as a man. I would never want my sister or my mom or my daughter to cry themselves to sleep at night over a man and how he’s treating her. Let me not be that way. I just want us as a society, as people, especially as people of color, to treat each other better, to love each other better, to love ourselves, if not anything, and just know that wait on yourself and love yourself. That’s what matters at the end of the day.
Because I am now, as a cautionary tale, it does get better. It does happen. I am now happily engaged. I’m getting married in two months. Having come out of the situation, learning a lot, and being better because of it, and I’m now in a happy, beautiful, committed relationship and about to get married. So it’s worth waiting on yourself and loving yourself and not going down that path and loosening your morals and abandoning your standards for a temporary fix.
Full episodes of ALLBLK’s “À La Carte” is now available on the streaming service.