As some of my readers would know, I’m a fan of things that are green. And with the current reefer madness being brought down on states now legalizing medicinal marijuana (courtesy of one Sessions the Keebler Elf), I was thrilled to interview director Anna Mehle and actor Mackenzie Horras, both of whom are creators of the new web series BAKED GOODS, which is currently streaming on Youtube.
Arthur Glover – So, initially when you guys wanted to start a web series, what were the seeds (no pun intended) planted, that led to the birth of Baked Goodes, your web-series.
Anna Mehle – Well, it really all started with one of the producers/writers/actresses of the show, Molly Reynolds. She made a Facebook post, in a Women In Comedy-type group, and reaching out to see if anybody wanted to discover and make stuff. And at that point it was super big, and we were thinking about more of a fresh style, instead of a web-series. And as we got to the first meeting, it very quickly developed into No, let’s do a web-series. And yeah, it kinda unfolded from there.
Mackenzie Horras – Yeah, I mean, I don’t really have anything to add to that. I guess what I’ll say is that as we progressed from a smaller-scale project into a larger-scale project, that we all brainstormed ideas, and we all talked about what we wanted to work on.
AG – When you were making this, was this something you wanted to release exclusively for Youtube? Or were you just using it as a platform to pitch the show to somebody else?
MH – Yes, the goal has always been to find a home for the web-series. And we would like to have the show occupy certain niches, whether that be for women’s interest sites, or cannabis interest sites, or some other platform entirely that could really launch us and get our name out. But in the meantime, youtube is a really good resource for people like us, who are just trying to make our own projects, and get them seen.
AG – What was the prep work for this show exactly? I don’t know if cannabis is something you guys enjoy or not, but did you spend time reading magazines like High Times, or did you want to go at this show with a different angle?
AM – I think we definitely wanted to go at it with a bit of a different angle, than you normally see in the cannabis world. But that’s kind of what we liked about it, in that, we wanted to get the perspective of all types of people, whether they’re really into the cannabis industry, or whether they’ve never smoke in their life. That’s what we aimed to do in the show, and you’ll see that in the characters. Our main character Julie has never smoked, she’s very against it. But her failing business now gets an uptick now that it’s including it, versus her cousin Angela (who Mackenzie plays), who is sort of in the middle ground, she’s kinda into it, but she’s not like a huge stoner. And then their neighbor John, who is the catalyst in all of this moving forward for them.
AG – The episodes in your series go between 4 to 6 minutes. As writers and creators, what do you think the most important thing is to get across, in such a small window of time each episode.
AM – Well, most of our episodes, they tend to stand alone, in a lot of ways. There are a very few of them that rely on a previous episode. We felt like that was an important type of writing to accomplish. Like, whenever you tuned in, you kind of got the jist, even if you haven’t been watching since episode one. You kinda got the gist of who these people were, and how they were reacting to what was going on with them. And we focused on very simple, effective storylines, and again, that stood alone. That really helped us, as when writing characters, and writing a solid plot. There is some character development throughout, however if you watch the first episode, of episode ten or eleven, or something like that, you don’t necessarily have to of seen the character before, to understand the development that is happening.
MH – Yeah, absolutely. that’s one of the fun challenges in making this series now. I think now that Youtube has been around for a while, and people have been making web-series for a while, when you look at what’s doing well, most web-series have episodes that stand-alone really well on their own. So as a writing challenge, just create a conflict resolution in each episode, so that way it heightens episode arc.
AG – What are your plans if the show were to get picked up? Are there plans already for a second season?
AM – I think that we’re definitely open to doing a season two. After having the budget we had for our first season, I think we would definitely need someone to pick us up, in order to do a season two, because we’ve already established such a large, and complex world, for these characters. But I definitely think we would like to explore that a little bit more. And I know when we were initially in the writing process, there were so many episode ideas, that to come up with more for another season, we would almost in a weird way be ready for it.
AG – How much did you spend altogether on this show?
MH – Our production budget was approximately $8,500 for the first season. We did not or crowdsource funds for the project, production expenses were split between our five executive producers. We consider our budget a shoestring budget and we called in many favors to get everything done as cheaply and efficiently as possible.
AG – So you both as creators and women in the industry, what is it that you feel that you can bring to the table, that perhaps other people cannot?
AM – That’s a good question. I think that particularly through this experience, because it was such an intense production, like we essentially shot a feature in six days. I think that all of the content we’re able to capture, and the amazing acting that happened, I think that we all learned a lot through this process, that would make it extremely valuable on any set, as a creator of any type of show. Now seeing what is possible, and finesse an idea, and make sure it’s suitable, is a skill that can only be down with practice, as opposed to writing at home, and writing spec-scripts, and that type of thing. I think that having that real-world experience has been really beneficial for us, and really sets us apart with other people who are at our level of being a creator.
MH – Yeah, I agree, and for our group in particular, everyone has their own history of working in the entertainment industry, and for a long time doing various behind-the- scenes jobs, and some of us have learned to speak in front of the camera as well. But Anna has been a writer’s assistant for a very long time, and Aaron been a producer for a long time, and I have real experience as well in comedy-writing. So we’ve all been trying to get really good at what we do, so that we’ll be ready when the moment comes. And I think that if you want to add a gender quality to it, I do think that as women, we are all apathetic, and sensitive to the tone of the room, and I think that really helps us in a leadership role, and I absolutely think it’s enabled us to work well together, and along with our casting crew.
You can now stream all of the episodes for BAKED GOODES at – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzW3bfAirCXBXYRchNwzbzQ