With ClexaCon less than a month away, it’s time to start planning how you’ll spend this glorious three-day media and entertainment convention devoted entirely to LGBTQ women.
In addition to exhibitors, workshops, and photo-ops, there will be plenty of panels to choose from, covering comics, television, representation and diversity, and more. If you’re having trouble deciding which panels to attend, you might want to check out panels with Christin Baker, who will share her expertise on LGBTQ business and filmmaking on multiple panels.
Baker is the founder and CEO of Tello Films, a streaming website that produces and distributes web series with a lesbian focus, including shows like Skirtchasers, Maybelle, and Nikki and Nora. Baker is determined to provide LGBTQ women with the entertainment and representation they crave.
We had a chance to chat with Baker about Clexacon, Tello Films, and representation.
What excites you most about ClexaCon? Why is a convention like this important?
I was a fan of The 100 and was crushed along with the fans with what happened [when queer character Lexa was killed off] and how we were manipulated. What I think is also amazing was the fan base and how they supported positive representation and how the fans rebelled against the manipulation.
A convention like this is important because it brings together people who make content and people who enjoy the content. It’s a way for us to support one another as a niche community. I think it will also be a lot of fun.
With sites like Netflix creating content with queer female characters, how can independent creators and streaming sites like Tello best leverage the LGBTQ stories they have to tell?
I hope that it will show that this is an audience who will support this content so that we can make even more. It’s always best when there is more and more content for our community. When we have people making it with larger budgets and they find support, then it should support and help grow the indie community. I also hope that it will help people feel less marginalized in coming out, so there is less homelessness and suicide and fewer hate crimes.
Is the representation of LGBTQ women on “traditional” TV changing in response to successful online content with queer female leads? What other lessons can cable and broadcast networks learn from creators distributing content online?
I am hoping that the backlash from the killing of lesbian characters helps create more characters with positive and happy endings. I think we’ve seen more lesbian characters on “traditional” TV, but the next step is for [the shows] to stop killing us. [However,] I think they have learned that there isn’t anything that special for a character to be lesbian—[characters] don’t have to “come out” or explain why they are a lesbian. It’s just part of who they are instead of it being the “thing” about them.
What tips do you have for LGBTQ storytellers who want to make and promote their own web series?
Get out there and make content! Make as much as you can. Don’t be afraid—start with what you have, learn and grow, and the next time, make it better. I’ve made a lot of not-great things in my long career, but I’ve learned from each one, so you have to get out and create.
Tello Films turns 10 this year. Looking back on everything you and Tello have accomplished over a decade, what things make you the proudest?
What! Are we 10 years old? Oh man… Well, I’m so proud that we are still around, first of all. We are a niche subscription-based site, and we are still here and making content! I’m proud that we continue to support our stories and that we pay creators who make it and support them for their art. I’m proud that we’ve been able to support amazing events like ClexaCon as a sponsor.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m so excited about Riley Parra! We shot it in January and it has some people you might knows: Marem Hassler (as Riley Parra), Liz Vassey, Whitney Mixer, and Maever Quinlan. This is Tello’s first sci-fi project: Riley Parra is a good cop in a corrupt department who discovers a that war between angels and demons is being waged in her city. We did a crowdfunding campaign and raised $14K to help us cover the additional cost of the project.
I’ve been working on a Civil War project for about 18 years now, and it has been a passion project. I believe I have finally found a writing/producing partner who will help get the script to a place that we can start looking at going into production.
ClexaCon happens March 3-5 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Be sure to check out Christin Baker at the following panels: