Writer-Actor Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera on How Niche Streamers Create Community

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Writer-Actor Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera on How Niche Streamers Create Community

Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera is an L.A.-based writer, performer and content creator. Her latest series, "Dating In Place," will be available on Revry, an L.A.-based, ad-supported, niche streaming service focused on the LGBTQ community.

Revry is one of many niche streaming services competing in an increasingly crowded market, where audience loyalty and good relationships with artists are key to success, as we probed in an earlier piece on what it takes for a niche streaming service to survive.

Revry is free and accessible to more than 250 million households and devices in over 130 countries. Its offerings are divided into several channels, such as "Revry News" and "Revry Live TV." "Dating In Place" will air on the channel " OML on Revry," which debuted earlier this month to focus on queer female programming.


It is a collaboration with OML, a boutique media company formerly called One More Lesbian, of which Abeydeera is also the director of content and partnerships.

dot.LA recently caught up with her about her new show, her thoughts on the value of queer spaces in the streaming world and how niche services can help build community around content.

OML on. Revry - Official Teaser

dot.LA: Do you consider yourself a queer-oriented artist?

Abeydeera: I consider myself to be a storyteller, first and foremost. But being queer is a very important part of of my storytelling journey, mainly because of the lack of representation that was available to me when I was younger. I wasn't seeing stories where I was represented on screen. And that's because of the fact that I am so unique, in being multi-ethnic, queer, very feminine-presenting, a lot of things that we just don't really on screen.

I was always really, really thirsty to see that kind of representation. I started creating queer storylines, and once it started being received by the queer community, I saw that there was such a need for it.

How does a platform like Revry allow you to get those kinds of representative stories out there?

I think it's huge, but there is definitely a struggle. Platforms like Revry obviously don't have the money behind them, the way that the mainstream streamers like your Hulus and your Amazons do. So it's harder for them to produce shows that are the kinds that bring in the audiences that become loyal.

What's really smart is that these guys are focusing a lot on short-form content, which is far more attainable for content-creators as well as for the platform. So, say for example, "Dating In Place": 10-minute episodes, 10 episodes of the series – that is far more affordable than 10 episodes of a half-hour series where you go from the show costing $20,000 to costing $150,000. It's easier for queer content-creators to fund short-form content.

In that sense, do you see Revry as a stepping stone to working with a different, perhaps larger distributor?

I would like to see the development of platforms like Revry. My hope is that these platforms develop and form the viewership they deserve, so that then they're able to become partners in creating more content. I'm not necessarily thirsty to go and work with a big machine, but I'm not totally against it either.

Are you worried about potentially pigeonholing your career by focusing on queer content or working with a queer-oriented distributor?

No, I don't really worry about pigeonholing my career, mainly because I think there are many different incarnations of queer stories that can be told. For a long time, queer people weren't able to tell their stories. I think we're going to start to see an expansion. So I'm looking forward to telling stories that just merely have queer characters in them. And where we're not necessarily calling it queer.

How do you see "Dating In Place" playing a role in that trajectory of telling broader queer stories?

One of the interesting things in "Dating In Place" is that we don't actually ever refer to any of the characters as being queer. We never talk about it. I think that's a big step. And there's never any reference to there being any issues with parents or families when it comes to these characters' sexual identity.

The issue was just that these two girls met, they were going to go on a date, and then the pandemic hit, and now they're in completely separate countries, and they're dating online and falling in love but they've never seen each other or touched each other.

If not for OML on Revry, what do you think would have happened with "Dating In Place"?

A lot of what happens to short-form content is it goes to festivals and then it goes to YouTube. And especially for queer content, that's kind of the death for the content creator, because queer content on YouTube is quite famously de-monetized. So the money that you're making on the clicks of queer content is, like, minus cents in comparison to other content that can maybe make like a dollar, or whatever. So I think without a platform like OML on Revry, a show like "Dating in Place" would have just gone on YouTube or Vimeo.

How else would you say having your show on OML on Revry is beneficial to you as a creator?

The thing that I will say about the queer community, especially – consumers of queer content – is that they're very loyal. Once they become interested in your content, they are then interested in you and invested in you. As an artist and as a creator, that's really all you can ask for: people that are going to be there to view the content that you've made, and people that are going to be there when you make more.

I'm really excited for this platform to exist for this audience. Before, a lot of this audience, the fandom audience, kind of would just be scrolling through YouTube, clicking on tiny thumbnails trying to figure out, is this a queer-inclusive show? And now, hopefully, they will migrate over to a platform where they know that all of the content is queer-inclusive and queer-positive, and has been made for them. Hopefully, now this audience will find a home.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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samblake@dot.la

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LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
LA Venture: Emilio Diez Barroso On Why Everyone Isn’t Cut Out To Be A Founder
Photo: provided by LAV

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Bold Capital Partner Emilio Diez Barroso talks about his entrepreneurial journey, what led him to become an investor and shares the qualities he looks for when investing in companies.

Bold Capital is a Series A fund that primarily focuses its investments in deep tech and biotech companies. But, like other funds, they make excuses to invest in other companies every now and then.

“We're always interested in things that have the potential to truly transform how things are done and uplift humanity,” he said.

In his experience with investing in early stage startups, Diez Barroso said “humility and vulnerability are assets and qualities in the journey, and you don’t feel like you have to have it all together with your investors.”

Which is why he looks for people who have “this capacity to take full responsibility for how they show up and they have a vision and they have the willingness to go and execute it.”

In addition to his work at Bold Capital, Diez Barroso also runs two family offices which provide him with a surplus of knowledge in the investment space.

“I wear two very different hats,” he said, “and I invest very differently when I'm investing for myself, when I'm investing for my family, and when I'm investing for LP’s.”

But before becoming an investor, Diez Barroso got his entrepreneurial start when he arrived in Los Angeles. He admits that he failed plenty of times because unlike in Mexico, where Diez Barroso grew up, he didn’t have the same access to the contacts or resources of his family business.

“I would say yes to every opportunity that came my way,” he said, “I had started or partnered with someone and co-founded and most of them I had no idea what I was doing, so most of them really failed and a few got lucky enough to succeed.”

After learning how these startups worked and investing his own capital into several companies, he soon realized he was a much better investor than an operator.

“I think we're not all cut out for the journey,” he said, “and I don't think we should all be cut out for that journey. I think that it takes a very different character to start something from scratch.”

Throughout his own journey, Diez Barroso acknowledged that he struggled with his own identity and need to feel like the smartest person in the room. Once he better understood his own motivations, Diez Barroso was able to see that he was chasing the next reward, the next carrot.

“It's fun to close the deal and it's fun to grow the business,” Diez Barroso said. “But what I hadn't been in contact with is how much of my fuel was derived from trying to outrun the idea of not feeling good enough.”

Of course, he’s not alone. “I see a lot of entrepreneurs, activists all across fields and I can tell the difference when they're running from this fuel that is sort of very quick burning because there is an anxiety that oftentimes makes us narrow minded,” Diez Barroso said. “We are so attached to what we think should happen that we leave very little space for the possibilities.”

dot.LA Reporter Decerry Donato contributed to this post.

Click the link above to hear the full episode, and subscribe to LA Venture on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

This podcast is produced by L.A. Venture. The views and opinions expressed in the show are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of dot.LA or its newsroom.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Xos Receives Multi-Million Dollar Order for Armored EVs
Xos/Loomis
The United States transportation sector is rapidly adopting electric vehicle technologies at every level. From aircrafts, to tractor trailers, to sedans and bicycles, no means of locomotion is off limits…even armored trucks.
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