Plus One is a Web series filmed in Chicago that delves into the lives of a group of friendsboth lesbian and straightwho fall in and out of love. The show was written by and stars two lesbian womencomic Mo Welch and Dannielle Owens-Reid an author and co-founder of the Everyone Is Gay organization. Windy City Times talked to the L.A.-based women on the eve of the series' debut.
Windy City Times: How did you come together to collaborate on Plus One?
Dannielle Owens-Reid: Mo already had a version of the script and we became fast friends when I moved to L.A. [after long-standing Instagram comedy-crushin' on each other, and we kind of immediately started writing together. We looked at her pilot and rewrote it for a Web series and finished a five episode season, wrote a separate series about moving to L.A., and began work on a kids showall within about a month.
Mo Welch: Yeah, it's came from a pilot I wrote but evolved into something completely different when we started writing it. We just felt like we had similar sensibilities when it comes to humor and luckily we did.
WCT: Much like the two of you, some of your co-starslike Daniela Colucci, Nnambi Ngwe and Alana Johnston [who play, respectively, Holly, Ben and Barb]have done improv. Is any of the dialogue improvised?
DO-R: It would be about 60-pervcent more cheesy if we had stayed on script. We wrote it as a kind of satire of the lesbian world, and quickly realized we weren't filming a satire, so we were, like, "Okay, if we're getting real we have to cut the romantic line about farts" or whatever. So, we were pretty grateful everyone had the ability to make up some of their own lines. [Laughs]
WCT: Did you base the series on any of your real-life relationships?
MW: The relationship of Alex and Holly was loosely based on a relationship I had with a bisexual woman, but it turned out way differently. The real Holly jumped on a dick after me and the real Alex moved to L.A.
WCT: You both star and co-wrote the series. Was the collaborative process an easy one?
DO-R: We wrote the script together so easily. It took a week because we just loved working on a thing together. We also LOVED working on a thing together while we were supposed to be doing other work. So, that was dope. When it came to the actual filming process, I think you can tell the Alex and Kate scenes were the most fun. We know each other super well and also admire one another in a comedy/acting way, which, just makes doing scenes together so easy because our goal is to have a blast.
MW: It honestly was one of the easiest things I've written while collaborating. We assigned each other episodes and then edited each others. We were on the same page( s ) the entire time. Filming anything is always stressful and a whirlwind, but Dannielle and I always seemed to be in the moment and feed off of each other for our scenes.
WCT: Why was Chicago the right place to shoot the series?
DO-R: It was originally meant to take place in Los Angeles, but when we signed on with Tello they asked if we'd be willing to move to Chicago. We are both from here [sort of] so it seemed chill. Plus, Tello has a strong network of talented people and give jobs to queer filmmakersa bunch of people that we were excited to work withso it was an easy change to make!
MW: I'm from Chicago and Dannielle spent a good chunk of her 20s there, so it was exciting for us to film in Chicago. And easier for production as well. Plus, The L Word already took L.A., so Chicago seemed to be the better choice. We should have named it The C Word! and asked Laura Linney to star.
WCT: Mo, your character Alex has been called a walking lesbian stereotype. Why is that?
MW: The girl who starts drama without caring to notice. She's a photographer. She wears a lot of leather and flannel. She speaks at one volume and she loves pussy.
WCT: Dannielle, what does your character, Kate, want out of a relationship and does she have a fear of falling in love with Barb?
DO-R: I think she wants a princess and she's always wanted a princess and she's freaked the "f" out that she's completely falling for someone who doesn't match the "princess" stereotype. It's a pretty common struggle that people have. I've totally been in the situation where I'm like "but I thought I had a type so this won't work."
WCT: What do you want viewers to get out of the show?
DO-R: At the very least, I want them to walk away with some LOLs and a couple of "OMG, that's me" moments.
MW: We just want to entertain the troopsand lesbians.
Plus One premieres Sunday, Aug. 2, on Tello. For more info, visit TelloFilms.com .