By Kevin Zimmerman
Jacklyn Collier and Russell Daniels met the day they became roommates.
The two Astoria-based actors had been accepted into the University of Houston’s graduate theater program, but had communicated only by e-mail before that face-to-face meeting five years ago.
Quickly, however, the duo realized this would be one of those fast friendships that rivals those decades-long ones.
“We really support each other and have fun,” Daniels said. “We find joy in a lot of things.”
It is the kind of joy they hope to share with others with the launch of their web series, “This Is My Roommate,” Feb. 1.
The pilot, currently available at www.thisi
“We are tapping into the honest things we experience as New Yorkers,” Daniels said.
And as young 30-something city dwellers there is plenty to dig into.
In the first scene the two are seated at a neighborhood bar and appear not to know each other.
Daniels strikes up a conversation and asks if Collier has been to this particular establishment before. He then tells her she has the wrapper from a feminine hygiene product stuck to her shoe. She does not, but the mood is shattered and Collier berates Daniels for not being a gentleman.
Clearly these two know each other — very well — and really like one another.
“Our relationship seemed like something interesting to explore,” Collier said. “We are two friends, who are more than friends, but not really more than friends.”
Their friendship is not easy to define to others.
They are not romantically involved. But they are much more than just two people sharing the same living space.
That is one of the reasons they started to introduce each with the phrase, “this is my roommate.”
And because actors have to act, the idea of a show based on their relationship began to form.
After creating an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign — which raised an amount well above their initial goal — the two hired a director and sat down to write the first season’s eight scripts.
“A lot of it is based on truth,” Daniels said. “And a lot of it is a version of the truth.”
Most of the action in the pilot revolves around the two finding a third roommate.
They agree this new person must be an alpha dog, who will come in, take charge and get things done. Mostly because, as Collier quips, “we’re not going to do it.”
Any potential roommate must also love Louie the cat. Simply tolerating the apartment feline is not an option.
Daniels also insists they not allow anyone with a record player to move in.
“People with record players, or vinyl if you will, have a standard of living that we are going to constantly disappoint them,” he said.
So with their wish list set, they begin the interviewing process.
The parade of potential roomies is filled with plenty of definite nos, including the guy who “can’t talk about eggs without crying,” the girl with the uncomfortable nervous laugh and the guy who says nothing after introducing himself.
Salvation appears in the form of Chantel Maurice, a young lawyer looking to save on rent in order to pay back a mountain of student loan debt.
Collier is quick to point out that Maurice will be more than the show’s straight man.
“It is not just going to be Chantel reacting to us,” Collier said. “She is going to have her own story line, which is quirky and charming in its own way.”
The pair have also sketched out what they would like to see happen to the show after the first season wraps up in late March. They envision a four-season series that is funded through a production company, and not another fund-raising campaign.
“We want to hire a director and an executive producer who see the show and want to be a part of it,” Collier said.
But they are both clear that cynics need not apply.
“There is enough cynicism in the world,” Daniels said. “I’d rather explore two people who care about each other. I want to try to present that truth, which is close to us.”
“This Is My Roommate” is not, however, a documentary, and dramatic license will clearly be taken. Case in point, these two now maintain separate addresses.
“We’re not roommates anymore,” Collier said, “but we share custody of the cat.”
You can watch the pilot for “This Is My Roommate” at www.thisi
Reach News Editor Kevin Zimmerman by e-mail at kzimm