Created by Trish Rainone and Katie Uhlmann, MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT is a hilarious examination of the dynamic between two distinctively opposite people whose only common trait is the place they live. In this case, though, it’s occupied by a straight-laced young woman named Heather (played by Rainone) who finds out that the obnoxious roommate she met online named Kesha (played by Uhlmann) just happens to be involved in a rather seamy profession.
Directed by Uhlmann, and produced in Toronto, MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT looks at how the lives of two completely different women are affected by all that defines them, and how their already fledgling relationship is threatened by everything that sets them apart. All 11 episodes of its first season can now be seen on its main web site and YouTube pages (see links below), and the series premiere can be viewed at the end of this article.
While both have encountered their fair share of different personalities in cyberspace and real life, Rainone and Uhlmann chose to structure MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT around the shared experiences and problems of the characters they portray. “When we started writing, we thought a story between two female roommates with polar opposite values would be interesting. We explore how their relationship deteriorates in a comedic way,” the show’s creators/co-stars say.
With years of acting and filmmaking experience, Rainone and Uhlmann took MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT from rough concept to completed series in twelve months. It’s a project that also demonstrates their commitment to equal opportunities for females and males in the entertainment industry, and to realistically represent women in today’s world on film; objectives that took shape from the start of their friendship.
“We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party, and bonded over a bottle of wine and our desire to create strong female-driven content,” recalls Rainone, who said that their career experiences also played a major role in getting MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT started.
“While we are grateful for all of the roles we are cast in, we wanted to play more than the typical ‘wife,’ ‘waitress,’ and ‘cashier’ roles, who normally don’t have much of a narrative. We wanted to create interesting and exciting characters for ourselves to play.”
Most of all, viewers of MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT will see a quirky and sometimes dark side of female friendships that is grounded in reality. “The series itself focuses on the relationship and conflict between two female roommates. The comedy is derived from Heather’s inability to confront issues combined with Kesha’s live-for-the-moment-don’t-care attitude. The issues just compound over time until the relationship implodes.”
Another key part of the show’s effectiveness is how viewers can relate to its characters. “I think most people have experienced this on some level at least once in their lives, whether it be with a significant other, a friend, a family member, or a roommate.” says Uhlmann, who goes on to describe how MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT explores the relationship between its two protagonists. “It was important for us to make the show about the dynamic between the two women as opposed to focussing on their respective relationships with men.”
As a series, MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT transcends varying styles of comedy, while telling great stories with dynamic characters. “Our goal for the show was to create a genuinely original project with a unique comedic tone,” Rainone and Uhlmann explain. “We really trusted our instincts while we were writing the show, and weren’t trying to cater to anyone else. If we found something funny, that’s what we wrote down.”
The different personalities that viewers will meet during its first season add to that humour. “The cast of characters in the show are bold, quirky, and off-kilter. Directing our cast was such a rewarding experience. It was also very special to see our talented actors bring the characters to life,” Uhlmann adds. “We think our show has a unique comedic tone, and we hope it resonates with Canadians as well as audiences around the world.”
Providing women and other underrepresented groups equal opportunities for success in film and TV has become a major goal of studios and production companies as of late. Despite the progress that the traditional entertainment industry has made, independent web series continue to surpass their big budgeted counterparts on the equality front. MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT’s cast and crew are evidence of how far ahead talents like Rainone and Uhlmann are when it comes to achieving equality in every facet of filmmaking.
“We purposely wrote and cast 50% male and 50% female actors, because we believe in equal opportunities for men and women in front of the camera, which isn’t always the case,” they say. Of further significance is how the series presents women in leadership positions. “We have three boss characters in the show, and they are all women.”
Although they made MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT with limited funds, Rainone and Uhlmann worked closely with their cast and crew to keep every part of the show’s production operating on all cylinders. “We spent hours in pre-production meetings ironing out all of the details,” they add. Although we have both produced films before, this was definitely an entirely different scale including: scheduling four locations, almost forty actors and crew members, obtaining permits and budgeting.”
Along with support and contributions from Toronto-based businesses, the cast and crew of MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT collaborated to achieve a successful shoot.
“We had a very strong production team that pulled this show together smoothly. We were able to work with some fantastic and inspiring behind-the-scenes individuals and learned a lot from them. We could not have done this without the incredible support of co-executive producer Joey Nixon at (Toronto tattoo parlor) Adrenaline Toronto, co-executive producer David Carruthers, co-producer/editor/composer Julian Adderley, and production manager Stephanie Baird,” the show’s creators add.
The show’s on-camera performers and crowd funding contributors did their part to enhance MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT’s production.
“We also got to see some incredible actors make the writing come to life,” Rainone and Uhlmann say. “We were blown away by the talent that worked on the show in front of and behind the camera. We (are) also very grateful to our Indiegogo contributors, especially (co-EP’s) Matthew Willson, Shunell Hillman, Terry Rainone, Bernie & Joanne Uhlmann, and Kalista Zackhariyas.”
The series’ comedic approach, and its relatable protagonists, have already helped Rainone and Uhlmann’s series grow a devoted following across various demographics.
“We are trying to reach as many people as we can with this series,” they reply. “It was expected to resonate most with women (20s-30s) who live in urban centres, and have roommates. However, we’re grateful that it has also been resonating with our dad’s friends, college kids, gamers and more. We hope that it can continue to make a variety of people from different backgrounds laugh.”
In addition, Rainone and Uhlmann hope that MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT will have an equally important impact on filmmakers and actors alike. “We hope that the show will motivate other artists to create their own work. There are a lot of inspiring female content creators right now, and we hope that we can be a part of that movement that continues to grow,” they respond. “We also hope that more men and women create equal opportunity projects for both sexes, and diverse groups as well.”
While Rainone and Uhlmann say MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT will give viewers plenty of laughs, they also hope to empower women through the series. “We genuinely want to entertain people, and we hope that viewers laugh. We hope to inspire people to take control of their careers, and to follow their dreams. In the words of the tattoo artist character Terry (played in the series by PJ Lazic): “Everybody has a story. And every story has a beginning, middle and an end. Like a book. And every book has a cover. So don’t judge it – ‘cause we all have covers.”
NOTE: Rainone and Uhlmann say that MY ROOMMATE’S AN ESCORT will be closed-captioned.
The show’s first episode can be seen here:
ON THE WEB: https://myroommatesanescort.com