Going Beyond Stereotypes: Interviewing The Ladies Behind ‘Soiled Doves’

I had the pleasure of speaking with the ladies behind Soiled Doves, an upcoming supernatural western series. Written by women and starring women, I think I just found my next favourite show.

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I realized from a young age that I never wanted to be just a princess. Sure, I loved the gorgeous dresses (and still do), but I was always more intrigued by the characters who could hold their own in a fight. I didn’t have too many to look up when I was little. But things are slowly changing. We are beginning to see a change in your standard hero archetype. It’s time to see some heroines. And the ladies behind Soiled Doves couldn’t agree more.

TeamRAD is a trio of ladies dedicating to sharing and creating stories about women. Consisting of Verity Butler, Rebecca Holopter, and Darby Kennerly, these women have been working on Soiled Doves, a western/supernatural series, for six years! Their dedication to the project is inspiring, and to be completely honest, I don’t think they’re overselling when they say that Soiled Doves will be our next favourite show.

Seriously, are you geeking out as hard as I am!?
As soon as I began the trailer, I knew this was a story I simply had to cover. And the more I talked to the women behind it? Well, the more excited I became. There are still quite a few mysteries – they don’t want to give everything away, after all! But here’s what they can tell you about the plot:
“Soiled Doves is a Western set in 1887 told from the perspective of 3 women who live in a ghost town located in Death Valley, California. A supernatural presence is infiltrating Barlowe Springs, and the three women must come together to save their town and the ones they love. It’s Twin Peaks meets Deadwood meets three complex female characters.”
In both their description and the trailer, I couldn’t help but notice certain similarities shared with HBO’s new series Westworld, which only made me more excited. And they weren’t that surprised.
[It’s] similar to Westworld in that it’s a mixture of another genre with the Western genre. Where Westworld is more a sci-fi western, with the incorporation of robots into the west, our show incorporates the power of nature inspired by the lore of the Shoshone tribe that is indigenous to Death Valley. We’ve focused on grounding the supernatural elements in nature so that it’s more subtle and could possibly have a logical explanation….We didn’t want it to be a “freak of the week” type situation. We wanted the supernatural elements to be connected to the dangers of the time and place.
As a fantasy nerd, I’m really excited about this. While we certainly have seen improvements over the last decade, both the western and fantasy genre are dominated by men. The western genre, in all honesty, has always been kind of inaccessible to me. I just can’t relate. When my gender does appear on screen, it’s almost always as a secondary character, and they’re more often than not portrayed as weak. Something to move the male hero’s story along. But the women of Soiled Doves overcome these stereotypes.
“In westerns,  generally female characters fall into several archetypes; the prostitute, the damsel in distress (who needs to be rescued by a man), and the woman who wants to be a man — dresses like a man and shoots like a man. Maybe at first glance our characters are that way: Annette is a witty prostitute, Rosemary is a newcomer to town who is more fragile and feminine, and Dee runs the saloon, which is typically a man’s position. But our show goes beyond those stereotypes, and you really get to see who these women are, why they are the way they are, and how they fight to defend their town and the ones they love. So we are going below the surface of the stereotypes.”
I think this is something that will really shine through. After all, these three ladies are the heart and soul of both this series and the characters. They have created and written the series themselves, and they will be starring in it as well. This was something they knew had to happen right from the project’s birth.
“Writing a role you feel so connected to allows for more individuality and nuance. We brought pieces of ourselves to these roles.”
And of course, they knew they needed the right team to tell the stories of these characters. And that’s why the pilot will both be produced and directed by women.
“We came to recognize that our story is about three women and it should be directed by a woman! There is a unique perspective that can only be understood if you are a woman living in this world. We had a reading of our pilot, and we invited female directors. Then we interviewed many of them, and WOW! They were all so unique and inspiring. We narrowed it down to Lauren Tracy, who was really in tune with our script, had wonderful ideas to bring to the table, and was all about female empowerment. She is co-founder/creator of Blue Fever, an online streaming platform for the best female content — basically a Netflix for women. She also is a part of an amazing network of female artists, which is very much in tune with our line of thinking — providing opportunities to the many talented ladies out there!”
This actually brings up a really fantastic point. The ratio for male-female directors is actually quite frightening. There should not be such a huge gap, and a lot of people try to pass it off on the idea that there simply aren’t as many female directors, or not as many talented ones. As TeamRAD demonstrates, this is simply not the case. I’m really excited to see what Tracy will bring to the story. After all, it isn’t every day that we get a story about women, written by women, and directed by a woman. Definitely cause for celebration!
The trailer had me hooked from the first second. And the more I heard about both the story and characters, the more intrigued I became. But what I found most incredible was the sheer passion and dedication of the ladies involved. For six years, these women have worked to keep this project going, and to ensure it will be the best it can be.
“We’ve had literary managers and producers interested in selling the show,” said TeamRAD, “but they wanted star actors in the three leading roles, which is understandable. It is a business. However, our show is very much an ensemble piece. There are a ton of characters. So if a production company or manager require star names to be attached,  there are plenty of excellent roles for them to fill. We have other scripts we have written together that we would be happy to sell and let go of any creative involvement. But Soiled Doves is our mothership, our passion project. We are dedicated to it and will stay attached as the actors, and that is something that is non-negotiable.”
I love that dedication. The best shows are those that are made with this amount of passion. So, I had to ask the team. What advice do they have, particularly for young women, hoping to write and create their own westerns or supernatural stories? They have three big tips.

“1. Work really hard. Since we funded our previous shoots from our own pockets, we didn’t always have the money to pay for every position we needed. So we had to DIY a ton. From location scouting, to sewing our costumes, to craft services, to licensing and permits–there’s always a way to make it happen.

2. Build a tribe around you that is passionate about the project. We are super lucky to have met incredible artists who have helped us flesh out the world of Soiled Doves, and given us new perspectives on the characters.

3. Give yourself a pat on the back! Creating a project alone is a tremendous feat and takes more time than all the tangible results. If someone tells you “You’ve been working on that a really long time,” accompanied by a Stank Face, just say “Thank you”!”

So, there you have it! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling pretty inspired! And extremely excited for this show! They actually have two weeks left in their campaign over on Seed&Spark, so you can check out their page here! And remember, there are many ways you can support. Whether you want to help by contributing cash, or by sharing their amazing project on social media, literally every share helps. You never know who might see it!
This series is one that I will personally be counting down the days for. I’d like to say a special thanks to TeamRAD for reaching out to me. It has been a pleasure to share this incredible project.

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