It’s taken me a craaaazy long time to check out Tello Films, aka “the lesbian Netflix.” (The Chicago-based production company Tello launched in 2010 and merged with distributor One More Lesbian in 2013, so I blame my two-year hiatus from blogging!) Like Netflix, this premium video channel is subscription based, with subscription costs at a low $3.99 per month, which gives you access to several female-led, character-driven lesbian web series and new voices, to get that out of the way first.
Their latest series, #Hashtag, is a look at dating in the social media age, written by and starring Caitlin Bergh and Laura Zak, who play besties in this thoughtful, realistic comedy about insecurity in a self-absorbed world. To set this up, they open on a body-conscious sequence of Skylar, a stand-up comedienne played by the adorable Bergh, getting dressed, over-examining the image she projects in the mirror. She later totally flops in her stand up routine because her healthy relationship with her totally responsible, level-headed girlfriend has infringed upon her ability to over-share with deprecating jokes for the sake of comedy. Meanwhile, her friend Liv (Zak) is pre-occupied with her #1 Instagram commenter and whether or not she can translate that into an IRL relationship with her. These are two girls whom, at the moment, want to be liked more than loved, and that is the core of their generational problem. (Incidentally, Skylar and Liv’s ADD-laced, photo-sharing-fest of a Skype conversation in Episode 2 is spot-on and hilarious.)
The show is directed by Jessica King and Tello’s CEO Christin Mell, who capture the quiet and absurd desperation of this relatable circle of young women.
What I particularly liked about this show is that the desperate narcissism of these two characters does not make them unlikable, in contrast to what has happened with Girls. Skylar and Liv have authentic struggles in their real lives that make them question the authenticity of those whom seem to genuinely like them, which hits the nail on the head of the confusion of millennials.
The trailer is below.
In Uninspired, a hysterically half-asleep web series from creator and star Becky Yamamoto, a New Yorker attempts to find some inspiration after she gets laid off. It is a wakeup call of sorts, albeit an “uninspired” one amidst an aimless lifestyle surrounded by friends who are also half-asleep at life, including a boyfriend who is too stoned to hear anything she says (Paul Thureen), a pregnant best friend who is in a completely different stage of life (Megan Neuringer), and a 19 year old girl whom she helps score alcohol (Tanisha Long).
What I really dig about this show is that it is somewhat of a departure for Yamamoto, a talented NYC comedienne out of The Groundlings and UCB who has made many appearances in other NYC web comedies, including Jack in a Box, Mimi and Flo, and Two Jasperjohns, typically in character roles since her range is ridic. In Unspired, she shines in a more personal, authentic way, which is to me what indie web series are all about. While the show is a comedy, it taps into something quieter and sadder about middle class NYC life, with some really lovely, funny performances from guest stars you will recognize from other web series and smart, grown up writing.
The second episode is below. If you’ve ever attended a baby shower and noticed we regress twenty years when celebrating a birth, you will appreciate it. Also, Katina Corrao (in a guest appearance) is so crazy hysterical as that friend who is the best!… and the worst.
It’s Women’s History Month, and it seemed like the perfect time to bring back the blog! The very last post was July 15, 2012, yikes!
Back in 2012 when I took time off from Digital Chick TV to create digital content for media companies, we were struggling to get scripted web series to be taken seriously, and by “seriously,” we usually meant get a TV deal or some TV-like money and respect. 2 years later, this conflict still continues, but now “TV series” are being produced for distribution on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Of course, none of the shows on these platforms are created by web series creators. In fact, for the most part, web series creators are still kept in a separate category from TV creators, unless they choose to meet in the middle and collaborate. This got me thinking– after two years, is there REALLLLLYYY a difference between “web series” and “TV on the web?” And you know what? I would say yes!
If you thought Abby Lee Miller got herself in trouble with her dance moms, wait until you see what pageant coach Astrid (Shannon Conley) has to deal with in a financially strapped pageant dad (Kaipo Schwab). In this bonus episode of the Writers Guild Award nominated dramedy Downsized, Astrid’s headache is the least of her problems when Nate has some news about Poppy’s pageanting.
If you have been paying attention to your media updates, you may have noticed that there have been a lot of moves and grooves in online video over the past few months, as big media tries to figure out how to stop their frustratingly popular younger half-sibling “the web” from “disrupting” their business and instead start “co-existing” with them.
We first heard YouTube, which facilitated us watching intoxicated children after a dentist’s appointment and demonstrations of every DIY tip you’d ever need, would be rolling out “premium” channels last year. Now, pardon my acronym, but I will say what we have all been thinking — WTF does “premium” mean?