tello films is a subscription video network offering original programming for the lesbian market. It recently merged with OneMoreLesbian, adding free and pay-per-view video options to its offerings. This essay is part of Televisual’s “Indie TV Innovation” series.
As I write this I just finished shooting tello’s newest project called Roomies, starring Julie Goldman and Brandy Howard. It was one of those magical shoots that had the combination of an amazing crew that worked like a beautiful machine and actors who were pitching jokes and making the written words funnier. After the shoot was done I had creative withdraw, I was exhausted but also missing the process and collaboration.
It is in times like these that I realize how lucky I am to have a platform where I can bring talented people together to make content for the lesbian community. I am also so lucky to be able to tell stories that are important to our community and stories that make us laugh. This is what tello means to me. I am able to support lesbian content for creatives and for viewers. I have had so many amazing e-mails from people who view our content as a way to connect to who they are or to escape an unsupportive community. For our content providers it is a way for them to make a little money for the creative work they put into their projects. It is very difficult for niche programming to make any money via free video platforms because you need so many views. With tello we have projects making, for thousands of views, what it would take them to make with half-a-million views on free platforms.
How we do this is a revenue share. Our content sits behind a pay wall. We have Premium Content subscribers who pay $3.99 a month for our content. We have anywhere from 800-1,200 subscribers a month. We distribute 80% of the net subscription funds back to the content providers based on their percentage of views. So if we have $1,000 in net subscription fees $800 of that is distributed among the content providers. If a project receives 20% of the views they will receive a check for $160 for that month. We have a passionate and active base of subscribers and that will only grow as we have merged with OneMoreLesbian.com which is the premier site for lesbian video content. Together we bring our resources that make our ability to make content for the community even greater.
We work to support the community on all levels- and that is what tello, LLC means to me. One project I’d like to highlight, one I think is the future of the web, is our most recent project The N&N Files. This web series is a reboot of the unaired, yet widely seen, network pilot Nikki & Nora. This pilot has a lesbian fan fiction following, and now we are able to take this story to the web. Because of the size of the project and the level of talent we are engaging, we are crowdfunding for $50,000 using Indiegogo. Here is the link should folks want to know more and/or donate: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-n-n-files.
As a side note:
I often read about how women are underrepresented in front of and behind the camera — that does not happen on a tello project. Our cast and crew are primarily female, and our stories always have a female lead and are mostly female cast. I love being able to support women and lesbian stories.
Christin Mell is co-founder, executive producer and chief executive officer of tello, LLC. With 7 original tello produced projects under her belt and as many in pre-production, Mell provides the lesbian community with the quality entertainment they deserve and the stories they crave, including the Western comedy, Cowgirl Up, teen homelessness drama, The Throwaways, and young adult love story, I Hate Tommy Finch. You can follow Mell on Twitter @christintello and tello on Facebook.