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What do you get when you combine a group of hot bears of all shapes and sizes, a murder mystery and comedy galore all jam packed in one hole, I mean season?  You get the wildly popular online series “Where The Bears Are” of course!  The hit show, which has developed quite the following over three years, is back for season four and the creators need your help!  They are doing a huge Kickstarter campaign to ensure that season four can happen and that you can continue to enjoy the ups and downs of this wild and crazy group.  Fellow MD writer and “Where The Bears Are” star George Unda touched upon this in a recent interview I did with him.  Now, with three days left for the Kickstarter campaign, every dollar counts as they are about 15 percent away from goal!

I sat down today with co-creator Ben Zook about the campaign itself as well as some juicy hints for season 4.  Take a look!

Ben Zook, Manhattan Digest, George Unda, Where The Bears Are
Credit to: Ben Zook

So Ben, this must be super exciting that Where The Bears Are is entering in its fourth season.  Did you ever expect it to make this is far when you first developed the show?

I don’t think so. We never anticipated how successful the show would become and getting to Season 4 is really amazing. We are really grateful and overwhelmed by the support we have gotten from people who watch the show. It’s wonderful!

Something that was recently brought up was how amazing it was to see a character like Daniel Franzese’s Eddie on “Looking” in such a spotlight, whereas gay roles on mainstream TV tend to only skew towards skinny/muscle.  Do you think we have come a long way in the bear community in terms of depictions outside of our own repertoire?

I love that “Looking” has the character of Eddie! Both the character and Daniel’s performance is terrific. I hope more mainstream TV shows follow suit. We need more big, hairy, sexy bears represented on television. I feel we do a nice job of it in our show. I love that we have men of all shapes and sizes being unapologetically sexual and confident. People need to see that.

One item that I have written about before that I have definitely noticed about Where The Bears Are is the diversity in the men you cast.  From color to size to age, you have a lot of it covered and it is done beautifully.  Do you think it is important to show bears in that particular kind of light?

Yes. We really try to be as diverse as possible in casting, size, age etc. We’ve done a pretty good job of it, but we are always striving to do better. It’s tough sometimes though because we have a smaller pool of actors to cast from because we are a low-budget web show. A lot of actors agents won’t submit them because it’s not huge TV money. But, we do the best we can. It’s Important that all colors, sizes, ages are represented because that is the reality of the world.

So let’s discuss the Kickstarter campaign that you are doing for Where The Bears Are.  You currently sit at about 85 percent, which is very exciting!  What can you tell my readers, in hopes they will donate, that will give them some bonus incentives in doing so?

I hope your readers will donate because raising the money is the only way a Season 4 will happen! We have to fundraise because a network would never put a show like ours on the air. We have to do it. And, that takes a lot of money. Our show ends up being a 2 /2 hour movie each season. Plus we shoot a 22 minute bonus holiday episode each year. So we really rely on our fans to fund each season. People love our show and if you haven’t seen it I would encourage everyone to check it out at wherethebearsare.tv Watch a few episodes and see what you think. Then throw us a little money for our season 4 on Kickstarter. The world is a better place with our show on the web!

Once the Kickstarter campaign is done and you have reached goal, what will be the next steps in terms of getting S4 started?  Do you have locations outside of LA that you want to film (Manhattan please!)?

If we reach our goal we will plunge right into pre-production and start shooting around the 1st of May! Season 4 takes place in lots of locations all over L.A and also Palm Springs. I WISH we could shoot in Manhattan but I don’t think that’s going to happen this year at least:)

Ben Zook, Manhattan Digest, George Unda, Where The Bears Are
Credit to: Ben Zook

Give us some hints on the upcoming season.  Anything you can divulge to our readers that will leave them wanting more, more more?

The season centers around the wedding of Todd and Nelson! Of course there is a murder once again that the bears have to solve. At the same time Reggie’s true crime TV pilot gets picked up by a network. And, Wood decides to start his own clothing line called, “Sporting Wood.” So he spends much of the season working with scantily clad bear swimwear models. Some drama happens between the detectives this season and you get to meet Nelson’s parents, which is going to be fun! Honey Garrett, Dickie Calloway and Hairy Potter are all coming back. We think this season will be our most romantic and suspenseful one yet!

Will there be any new characters added this season?  There is a really cute cub that would love to participate, that cub being me.  :).

Actually there will be several new characters! There’s a lot happening this season with the wedding etc. and a lot of people/suspects wandering around! If you are in L.A. during shooting let us know, maybe we can throw you in somewhere?

Of course, as is with anything in this community, you have dealt with naysayers with the common phrase “I don’t like this because I don’t see myself portrayed by anyone in the cast”.  I’ve seen this happen with bear events and just an overall feeling by some people in the community.  How do you counteract that with your show?

Once again, we try and represent all shapes, sizes, colors and ages. Tim Hooper and I are over 280 lbs and we do sex scenes. We also have “muscle bears”, thin guys, guys with and without fur etc. George Ridgemont is in his 60’s and we have cast members right out of college. We try to be ethnically diverse as well. Some characters are more masculine than others and so on. So, that is really all we can do. We try and have characters that people can look at and identify with. But the thing we also keep in mind with our show is that it is a campy comedy murder-mystery! So, the characters aren’t completely realistic at all. They are heightened exaggerations. That’s the way we make it funny in the end.

Now that 2015 is well under way, what are your ultimate hopes for Where The Bears Are and yourself this year?

I’ve always said that we will keep doing the show as long as people want to see it and are willing to help us fund it. So, hopefully we will get to do a Season 4, 5, 6, 7 and beyond!

Where The Bears Are, George Unda, Manhattan Digest, Ben Zook
Credit to: Ben Zook

Anything else you want to add?

Just thank you for writing about our show and campaign! I hope your readers will help us out and support our show: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wherethebearsare/where-the-bears-are-season-4-the-gay-comedy-myster