Tello Films is bringing another western blockbuster of a webseries to our monitors soon. Filming began yesterday on the much-anticipated season 2 of “Cowgirl Up”. Last year, two teams of lovely Cowgirls headed out to the Double D ranch to compete against each other. There was much more than just bragging rights up for grabs last year! The women competed in shooting competitions, survival and yes, love.
Did we mention hot cowgirls, horses, guns, and prison bad girls? – Nancylee Myatt
Now the women are back for a reunion and facing off against each other again. This time there are three bunkhouses full of kick-ass women, so saddle up and get ready for the ride.
While on her way to Double D ranch for filming, Christin Mell made some time to chat with me about “Cowgirl Up 2”
IMP: Are you heading to the same location? Where the original “Cowgirl Up” was filmed?
CHRISTIN: it is yup. Same exact location which is so cool.
IMP: Is that place an actual guest ranch or is it something else?
CHRISTIN: It’s a working polo field. People there own polo ponies and compete and they have a practice field and all that stuff. It’s a working… I don’t know if they would call it a ranch, it’s probably, like, fancier than a ranch but it’s – the horses that we use are polo horses which are very different.
IMP: Talk to me a bit about how the production company started?
CHRISTIN: It’s a production and a distribution company. We produce our own original content and distribute it but we also distribute other peoples’ content.
IMP: Where did the idea come from?
CHRISTIN: Nicole Valentine and I were kind of sitting around talking about how we really hated the lack of lesbian content. This was like, five and a half six years ago. And it was right around the time that YouTube was starting to become a thing. They were finally gaining traction and we would Google lesbian content on YouTube and it was just chicks making out. It was before “Anyone But Me” came out. It was before a lot of the web series. Right around the time that “The L Word” came out.
So we thought, there really should be a place for online content. We were originally meant to be the “YouTube” for our community’s content. The site was all going to be free and anyone could upload their stuff. We were gonna make our money, we thought, fantastically so, that we were gonna get bought out. As everyone else did around that time.
Ad revenue was a way we thought we could get money. Have our own original content and then anyone else could upload their stuff. Two years of building up the site, no one was really uploading their stuff. Or they were still uploading it to YouTube and we would pull all the lesbian stuff onto Tello sort of like what “One More Lesbian” does right now. Our original content, our interviews was what was getting the biggest hits.
Then “One More Lesbian” comes along and they were doing it so much better than we were and we didn’t really want to be an aggregator of content we wanted to do original content. We used the last of our angel investment funds and did “Cowgirl Up”.
We decided to go to a pay model. We thought, we’re not gonna to get enough viewers. It’s so much more expensive to host videos than it is to host a blog. We thought, well, we really need to go to a pay model. This is actually before Hulu went to a pay model. They just did it faster than we did because they have millions of dollars.
We thought; let’s focus on high quality, lesbian content because we think people will pay to see this.
And so then, Nancylee had always wanted to do an all-female western series. We said, okay, let’s do it. This can be our first original content. We talked to Bridget McManus and said we’d love to do something with you and she came up with “McManusland” which is what you see now.
And as we were thinking about “Cowgirl Up”, Nancylee had “3 Way” but they hadn’t really made any money off it. We said, if you give us a couple of episodes and take it down – not all of it but from the free sites – we’ll give you – everyone gets money for content.
IMP: Do you think it’s still as relevant now? Do you think Society’s changed enough? Is there still a need for there to be dedicated programming?
CHRISTIN: Absolutely, I think there is. Not just the lesbian community but also to show some really strong women’s roles. We’re just now, after how many years in television starting to see wonderful shows that are female led. I still don’t feel like the lesbian community has the representation that it deserves. I still feel like we’re side characters for “we really only want a baby” – I still don’t feel like we’re where we could or should be.
IMP: “Cowgirl Up” has got a pretty big following. What’s the chemistry that makes it so popular?
CHRISTIN: The actresses, the ensemble. You can tell they all really got along and liked each other. That really reads. And so much of it is improv. They have a script and they have lines but so much of it is improv that you really get this sense of fun. I think you can see that and you can feel that and I think people really kind of like – girls really love horses. You know what I mean?
Nancylee is a great storyteller so she brings this wonderful sense of fun.
IMP: You’re headed there now. Do you have a schedule for filming?
CHRISTIN: We do, yeah. We’re filming Friday, Saturday and Sunday and next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
IMP: The Kickstarter campaign people can go to the website and donate. It looks like it’s pretty successful right now…
CHRISTIN: we’re very happy. We’re on track to hit out goal for the number of days we have. I really feel like once people start to see the girls in costume, their wardrobe, start reacquainting themselves with the images then people will get even more excited and wanna support it. I’m really excited that we’re able to show people what we’re doing.
IMP: You guys have been spending a lot of time on twitter with fans and there’s the competition between the bunkhouses which seems to have stirred up interest…
CHRISTIN: It’s just a fun way to engage people. I mean, as you’ve mentioned clearly, it gets people excited. I think the thing for me that’s really cool is there’s a really even distribution of fans. They’re really … it’s fantastically split. There’s not one bunkhouse that’s taking over compared to another one. It’s really fun.
IMP: A lot of the people who are involved have been in shows that already have fans – a lot of the actors bring a fanbase with them.
CHRISTIN: You’re absolutely right. It’s interesting. For season one someone wrote, we’d taken all the most popular women from web series and thrown them all in together as one. I don’t know if that’s exactly what we’ve done but we really tried to pull them for different areas and different areas and fanbases. And bring people together who people might have wanted to see.
I don’t know if you saw the pictures that Aasha Davis tweeted of Valery from wardrobe fitting. She looks badass! That’s actually my favorite jacket. In the vintage shot, that’s the one Maribeth Monroe was wearing. That is one of the most bad-ass jackets and Valery was rockin’ it. I was like, Holy Crap!
IMP: This is mostly Nancylee’s gear, right?
CHRISTIN: It’s ALL Nancylee’s! That’s what’s amazing. She has all this vintage western gear which is why I think she wanted to do a western. She loves good westerns, she loves women and I think she had collected all this stuff over the years and was like; oh I have to do something with this.
We, are of course, the beneficiaries.
IMP: Whatever she needs to create, I’m okay with that…
CHRISTIN: I know, right? Whatever you’re doin’, Nancylee – we’re in!
Stay tuned for more western adventures from set as filming continues! Do you have a favorite bunkhouse?
SILVERADO: (AKA The Unofficial South of Nowhere Reunion Team) Mandy Musgrave, Matt Cohen, Aasha Davis, Valery Ortiz & Hannah Madison Taylor
TOMBSTONE: Bridget McManus (tellofilms.com’s McManusland & The Throwaways), Maeve Quinlan (South of Nowhere), Brandy Howard & Nicole Travolta
DEADWOOD: Marnie Alton (Logo’s Exes & Ohs), Kodi Kitchen (General Hospital) & Shannan Leigh Reeve (tellofilms.com’s I Hate Tommy Finch)