Interview with Screenwriter Michael Bauer & Director Kathryn Schott (FAREWELL MR. BAKER)

FAREWELL MR. BAKER was the winner of FUNNIEST FILM at the June 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

So this film was made entirely by the graduating class of UCLA MFA Acting program 2020, Cohort 5. It was our last day of grad school, two days before the pandemic hit. Campus was still open. The four of us were just coming out of our thesis presentations and I had this idea for a bunch of short skits that would be funny. Just something for us to do as a fun way to spend the day. Then the pandemic hit and no one was hiring actors for awhile so we took the footage we had, and our director, Kate shot the rest of what we needed to turn it into a short film and submit it to festivals. So I guess at first we were motivated by the sprit of “lets just do something fun today,” and that was replaced by the thought “this is actually kinda good, lets see if we can win some festival with it.”

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

This took no time for us to shoot. We shot it in one day, about four hours. Then it took three days to edit.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Academic Slapstick.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Lighting. Our film’s joke builds in three sections but there was originally a fourth. (Its in the outtakes.) However we couldn’t use it because the background was so blown out and we couldn’t see the action well. We ended up using another section which was just as good.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was really amazing to hear what audiences thought of what we did. Not gonna lie, its been a long pandemic. My personal mindset during this time was to produce as many things as possible but when you produce in a vacuum its hard to tell if what you are doing is landing. To hear people applaud your stuff makes me think I’ve got something valuable here. And that’s a great feeling.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I realize I wanted to make films once the pandemic hit and live theater ended. I was a theater actor with a clowning physical comedy background for most of my career. The pandemic made me realize the impermanence of live performance and so I turned to film for something more lasting, easily desalinated to wider audiences.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Pirates of Penzance operetta by Gilbert and Sullivan starting Kevin Kline and Angela Lansburry. The “capitano” character that Kevin Kline plays in his role of the Pirate King has all the trademarks of traditional commedia archetypes and that really inspired my humor.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is a really easy tool to submit to multiple festivals. I couldn’t imagine having to seek out all the festivals myself.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Sushi. Specifically spider rolls, deep fried soft shell crab.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Most of the cast of “Farewell Mr. Baker” just filmed our next project called “Whip Lord,” a post-apocalyptic comedy. We live in LA which is close to the Mojave desert. I realize that most film makers would kill to be able to shoot for free on a desert set so I wrote this short that would allow us to take advantage of our location. Wish us luck!

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