Interview with Writer Emily Baker (THE FIRST)

THE FIRST, 14min., USA, Crime/Thriller
Directed by Emily McDougall
When her teenage sister starts showing interest in a much older, more dangerous man, Rowan must decide between getting involved, or keeping her sisters secret.

Get to know Writer Emily Baker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film was the product of an all female crew of senior filmmakers from Central Washington University. Since I wrote the script, my main motivation was to see my words brought to life on screen. I was super fortunate to be working alongside extremely talented filmmakers Emily McDougall, Diana Jacobsen, Phoebe Mcgarry, and Alyssa Morris-Hatch. They are the reason I was so excited to make this film, and the reason why it turned out beyond my wildest dreams.

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

Pre-production and story conception was done in three months, production and post took another three. With additional photography and editing done after the CWU end of year showcase, the finished product took around seven months to be completed.

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

I would say tense & shocking.

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

The biggest obstacle that was faced during production was the very strict schedule that we had to stick to. It took our entire team and senior advisor Justin Daering hours to account for all the variables we needed to juggle. We became nocturnal for a week, sleeping during the day while filming night scenes at the house location, then went through several company moves to distant locations, all while trying to accommodate our crew and out of state talent with a limited budget. It took a lot of hardwork from the team, and faith in our story to make this short happen.

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

Hearing genuine audience reactions to this film was an incredible moment for me. I had gotten used to hearing feedback from people who already knew me, or knew of the story, so hearing people that I have never met describe how much they enjoyed my work, is an unreal feeling.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Around middle school is when I realized that people get paid to work in the film industry, and that I could be a part of it. From a very young age, I would always have a camera in my hands, making videos or taking photos with my friends and family, and directing them like the absolute tyrant I was at age ten. I would later realize that this passion could be translated into filmmaking, and haven’t considered another career path since. I’ve also always been fond of writing, but could never find a format that stuck until I finally tried screenwriting.

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

The film I have seen most in my life is probably either Superbad or Fargo.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I feel that festivals being active on social media, or posting and tagging short film accounts is a huge way to further support filmmakers. Not all festivals have social media accounts, which is an important place up and coming filmmakers heavily utilize to network and represent themselves.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

I’ve spent the last five months of my life on FilmFreeway, and have had a great time submitting:)

10. What is your favorite meal?

I would have to say a classic burger and fries:)

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

Along with working on a feature version of The First, I have also been outlining a handful of new ideas with a CWU graduate and talented writer, Isaac Cushman. There are several that I am extremely excited about, and hope to start writing within the next few months. Besides screenwriting, I am continuing to work as a production assistant in the Seattle area to build experience on my resume, and keeping my eyes open for any new opportunity!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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