Recently, tellofilms.com debuted its newest web series, The Throwaways, which focuses on a group of homeless lesbian teens and young adults trying to survive in Chicago. The 10-episode series centers on 17-year-old Olivia, whorather than attend a de-gaying school in Utahruns away from home and finds herself taken in by sisters Dorsey and Fiona (the latter played by out comedienne and actress Bridget McManus). Caught up in their survival lifestyle, Olivia finds a bit of solace in her new group of "friends;" at the same time, she faces the challenges and dangers of street life, with its complex alliances and power structure.
The project, as well as Meet the Throwaways, is the newest addition to the growing lesbian-focused subscription web-series service. Christin Mell, Julie Keck and Jessica King created it.
Windy City Times spoke by phone with Mellco-founder, executive producer and CEO of tello Filmsabout the project.
Windy City Times: What can you tell me about The Throwaways?
Christin Mell: It's about a teenage girl who runs away after getting caught kissing a girl in the basement and her mom threatens to send her away to a de-gaying school. Instead of doing that, she decides to run away.
WCT: She runs away to Chicago, and it seems like she's kind of a deer in the headlights when she first gets there. What's her experience going to be like throughout the series as she comes to terms with her situation?
Christin Mell: It's a roller-coaster ride. You know when you're younger there's an amazing sense of freedom when you can make your own choices, but at the same time there's also this big sense of loss and trying to find this support system. She's 17, so she's a minor and she's only kind of known a seemingly supportive home. It's really difficult to navigate. So we have her going through all these different phases, this sense of freedom and then at the same time this sense of fear and being lost. So it's really this amazing roller-coaster ride that she goes on.
WCT: What characters do you expect viewers will especially relate to?
Christin Mell: We have a separate series that is a more character response called Meet the Throwaways. It gives you a deeper understanding of the history of some of the side characters. What we tried to do is make the side characters relatable to people who have different experiences. So we have the small-town girl who is very wide-eyed, named Amy, who is similar to Olivia, but in probably even a more repressive household, who is in the same situation.
Then we have characters who are really tough, who have kind of lived a tougher life, who've had a different set of circumstances and who've had to leave home. So I don't know that there is one particular character that people will be able to relate to, but I think what we tried to do was make it so that they have these options of someone they might gravitate toward.
WCT: Could you talk about the relationship between Olivia and Jazzlyn? They seem to be particularly drawn to each other.
Christin Mell: I think the Jazzlyn character was written as that character that anyone will kind of want to save. You look at her and she's sort of in this situation where she feels trapped and she feels helpless, and I think a lot of viewers will watch and want to do exactly what Olivia does, which is try and figure out how to help her. Because here she isshe comes off as this badass character, but really she is very sensitive and sort of helpless teen, though she has this tough exterior. Jazzlyn just has a very complicated relationship with life, and is the only person whose home life you get to see, besides Olivia's. You get this very interesting glimpse into her.
WCT: How does this series compare to some of the other ones you've worked on?
Christin Mell: Well we have a web series called Cowgirl Up. ... It has a western theme so there are horses and they are in a desert and you are dealing with cow girl gear, so it is much different than the story of The Throwaways. We did a project called I Hate Tommy Finch, which is different than anything that is up on the web page. It was a play that we shot as a web series.
We really like to have very different projects up. I think the one thing you can say about tello and what we have on our site is that they're unique and different and a creative way of storytelling. There's nowhere else that you can go to one website and find a comedy, western and a story about homeless youth, and storytelling using a play as a web series. They've all been very different and challenging and wonderful.
WCT: To watch the content on the page, people purchase a subscription, right?
Christin Mell: It is a little bit like a Hulu or a Netflix. There's a good number of projects on the website that are totally free that you can watch. In fact, Meet the Throwaways, which we are also launching, is going to be totally free. We have three episodes of a project called McManus Land. We have the first episode of Cowgirl Up on there. And we have a lot of interviews and concerts that are also on the website that people can watch absolutely free. Then the series are $3.99 a month and it's a subscription; you can watch it as many times as you want, and [see] as many things as you want.
See www.tellofilms.com .