Cost-conscious millennials who aren’t yet ready to spend big on their first home have continuously gravitated towards the convenience of house sharing services like Airbnb, Zillow and others. Sometimes, though, the people who are willing to open up their homes to total strangers can experience a lot of headaches. In the new comedy series HOUSE POOR, one recently divorced woman discovers that such frustrating moments can often be filled with humor.
Created and written by Diane Sherry Case (who also guest stars in the show’s second episode), co-directed by Case and Rene Villar-Rios, and streaming its first season of 3 episodes on Amazon Prime and LGBTQ subscription streaming service Revry.TV (see additional links below), HOUSE POOR stars Susan Traylor as Stefani, whose otherwise quiet post-divorce existence soon becomes exciting when she decides to make her palatial domicile part of the booming house rental market.
Unfortunately for Stefani, home sweet home is turned upside down when two millennials – former occupant Raven (Augie Duke) and newcomer Sammy (played by popular Youtuber/comic/LGBTQ influencer Miles Jai, in his acting debut) – decide to wreak havoc. Yet, thanks to their good natured personalities and care for each other, Stefani soon finds that life as a house renter can be both fun and worthwhile.
An accomplished, award-winning author, screenwriter, director and actress (having played Lana Lang in the 1978 blockbuster SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE, among many roles), Case witnessed the ups and downs of house sharing as she opened up her Santa Monica home to various unfamiliar faces.
Along with her own first-hand knowledge of the subject, Case’s memories of the guests she hosted, and the comical moments that occasionally arose, proved to be rich source material as she worked on plotting out HOUSE POOR’s first season.
“I had a few funny experiences, like when the house got fleas, and a tenant insisted I get rid of them organically, which was next to impossible to accomplish! Although my experiences were, by and large, tame, I recognized the possibility of humor when you put (together) a houseful of people from all different walks of life who otherwise would have never had much to do with each other,” Case says. “So, I had a lot of fun creating the characters and tossing them all together.”
With female filmmakers still struggling to land big time projects in the male-dominated Hollywood system, it’s become more important than ever for talent on both sides of the lens to create the big breaks that traditional studios are either unwilling – or unable – to give them. Through web series like HOUSE POOR, talents such as Case now have that opportunity.
“I’m primarily a writer, (having written) two novels, dozens of short stories, (and) one non-fiction book. I’ve written and directed several shorts and was the recipient of a grant from the American Film Institute’s Directors Workshop for Women,” she explains. “As a former actor, I love, love, love directing – but opportunities for women are still rather rare, so I’ve made my own.”
The combined efforts of Case’s cast and crew made HOUSE POOR’s production a successful team effort. Among that collective was Jai, who made an instant impression on the show’s creator. “I saw Miles on YouTube and approached him, and we were both excited to work together from the start,” she recalls. “I saw his potential as an actor, and he didn’t disappoint! It was his first professional acting role, so he recognized it as a cool opportunity. Because we were pretty low-budget, it was a fast and furious shoot and he was just terrific to work with.”
Over the course of its first 3 episodes, each of HOUSE POOR’s characters undergo transformations of their own. So too does the overall tone of the series, where every story element is linked by the common thread of strangers being suddenly united under one roof thanks to the modern day miracle of house sharing. Combined with great comedy, the series demonstrates that home is truly where the heart is – no matter where you are.
“While the first two episodes are a lot of fun, I feel like the series is really getting its sea legs and moving in the direction I’d like to see it go by the third episode – poignant relationships between people who, were for it not for a rental website, would have never encountered one another,” says Case of HOUSE POOR. “It’s about how all kinds of people can become family – with all the love, frustration, and humor that go along with the concept of home.”
(Note: The series is currently closed-captioned on Amazon Video.)
AMAZON VIDEO: https://www.amazon.com/House-Poor/dp/B01LXG4WGT