Our millennial generation has infinite sources of media at our fingertips. From on-demand movies and TV shows on Netflix, to podcasts, to YouTube, to all things Spotify, we are the native generation for many types of media.
We are also among the first to experience a web series — which is exactly as it sounds. A series with episodes, like a sitcom or even a drama, often broken up into episodes over YouTube or a similar video sharing type site.
There are many websites floating around cyberspace — but what constitutes a great website? What makes millennials come back for more laughs and more relatable moments?
We all remember what college was like — in fact, some of us are still there and can relate to having a roommate first hand. But Katie Uhlmann, co-creator and costar of the web series My Roommate’s an Escort, took it to a different level.
Uhlmann’s story is inspirational — after years of touting her comedic skills and timing from audition to audition, she wanted to find a forum in which her talents would be appreciated. At the very beginning of 2016, she met her now co-creator and costar Trish Rainone at a party where the two aspiring comic actresses compared notes on auditions and developing. The rest, as they say, is history.
“Trish and I met at a coffee shop two days later,” Uhlmann said. “We wrote a script over seven months and then started a crowd funding campaign. We had some help from friends and family and from the public as well. But we wanted to do something relatable about two women living in a big city.”
At the beginning of April 2017 and after over a year of planning and funding, both from door-to-door and through an Indegogo campaign, My Roommate’s an Escort’s first episode went live on YouTube. The series tells the story of two “big city women,” Heather and Kesha, who become roommates in Toronto — but Heather is left wondering just what Kesha’s profession is.
In addition to the production side of things, Uhlmann and Rainone brought on multiple publicists including Peter Roumeliotis, host of Popternative podcast.
“The girls saw that I was well-connected in the blog and podcast sphere and in the digital media side of things — not just print media,” Roumeliotis said. “I work to get the show multi-dimensional coverage.”
While Uhlmann, Rainone and Roumeliotis are intent on reaching and targeting millennials with the show, they are finding that they reach beyond just our demographic.
“We have viewers ranging in age from their twenties to their fifties,” Uhlmann said. The show is earning viewers in its native Canada, but is also reaching the likes of the United Kingdom and Jamaica.
So, why do we love the show? And, why should other millennials love it too?
Of course, the characters of Heather and Kesha are relatable to “big city women…” or really, anyone — both men and women alike — who went to college and had to deal with those awkward encounters of meeting your roommate for the first time.
But it’s more than just the content of the show that inspires us. It’s unique just by virtue of its web series format. It’s well-acted and directed. And, it’s built from a goal born from two kindred spirits who were ready to share what they could create with the world — even when the audition room door slammed in their respective faces time and time again. They were both in the right place at the right time when they met.
The story of My Roommate’s an Escort is beyond the plot — it shows how hard work, creativity, quick thinking, a little business sense, perseverance and meeting the right people can go a long way.
Sure, we love the show for the laughs — and other millennials will too. But you’ll love it even more knowing the backstory of how it came to be.
“Our dream is to develop it into a half-hour comedy,” Uhlmann said. “We are meeting with production companies and networks, but we are proceeding with guarded optimism, as it is a great time for digital content. We also want to expand on the situations these characters get themselves into.”