According to GLAAD’s annual ‘Where We Are On TV’ report for 2014, just 32 out of 813 primetime broadcast scripted series regulars will be LGBT (3.9%). Even if you agree with the low ball statistic that 1 in 10 people are queer, that number doesn’t cut it and most definitely doesn’t reflect the queer faces who are watching these TV shows and trying to relate to the characters’ stories. Over half of these characters on primetime television are also queer men and the few queer women who we get to see are often subject to uncomfortable and familiar tropes such as Pretty Little Liars’ Emily who cheated on her girlfriend and kissed a guy, or the many queer female characters who are killed off.
At times it can be impossible to enjoy television, when you’re well aware that your favourite TV lesbian is playing second fiddle to a mundane heterosexual love triangle and it can leave you with nothing to watch on the telly. But while TV fails, the Internet can help pick up the slack and as one of the most popular portals for queer web series, tellofilms should be your number one destination for fictional queer ladies.
tellofilms’ co-creator Christin Baker explains:
“I realised that the web was becoming an interesting space for non-traditional entertainment, and wanted to explore it. Our focus has always been to make series distributed over the web, specifically for a lesbian audience.
I did it because it’s stuff that I like to watch. I’ve put my own money into the company – it had to be something I wanted to watch. Because, at the end of the day, if you’re putting your free time, money, blood, sweat and tears into something, you’d better be passionate about it.”
Saying that The Fosters, Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black and new Amazon web series Transparent are “shows that are trying”, Baker also states that “those shows will eventually get canceled like The L Word. On the other hand, [tellofilms has] new content all the time.”
Also: Why Rent Controlled Is The Funniest Web Series You’ll Watch
That list of shows Baker mentions could see them each go on for five seasons or so, proud of the fact that they feature queer female leads but once they end due to the natural closure of the plot or diminished viewership, we’d be lucky to see them replaced with something just as queer friendly. They are the exceptions not the rule. And with tello’s 15 or so web series (a roster constantly being added to) all featuring lesbians both in front of and behind the camera (such as the hilarious #Hashtag and Rent Controlled) viewers will constantly have queer media to enjoy – even when other inclusive shows or cancelled or are on hiatus.
As tellofilms continues to do well and strives to deliver more great content to its 3500~ subscribers, Baker says that “We’re interested in honouring our audience and subscribers outside of just letting them watch content. We’ve started to create this great community and now we’re really excited to figure out what that looks like and what that is.”
One exciting project that subscribers should look forward to later this year is a yet-untitled project about a ballerina who has to “slum it” at a queer, modern dance company after she suffers an injury.
But as for those who aren’t subscribed to tello, as a small business owner Baker offers sage wisdom, “It’s important to support indie artists. If you notice something missing – it’s probably out there, being made by someone in the indie community.”