Stephanie Baird chatted about writing and directing her new short film, Baby Making 101. It’s available to watch on PopternativeTV.
Starring Tamara Almeida, PopternativeTV released Baby Making 101 on October 1, 2021. The short film follows a young couple, Rachel and Rob, who are attempting to conceive a child.
In addition to writing and directing the film, Stephanie has also worked as an actress, line producer and production manager on other projects.
Read on below for Stephanie’s full interview with Courageous Nerd.
Welcome Stephanie and thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
Stephanie Baird (SB): Yeah, thanks so much Conor, happy to be here.
Did you always want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry or did you ever see yourself doing anything else?
SB: I think I’ve always known that I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I’ve kind of flip-flopped around in different roles to see exactly where I fit. I’ve always had a passion for it, I’ve had a passion for storytelling and a passion for connecting with other people. I think that the entertainment industry really gives the opportunity to do that.
You wrote and directed Baby Making 101, which is available to watch on PopternativeTV. How would you describe the premise, for anyone who is unfamiliar?
SB: It is a story about a young couple named Rachel and Rob, who are actively trying to make a baby via intercourse. As the story progresses, the idea of motherhood becomes a lot more real to the Rachel character, played by Tamara [Almeida]. I think she has to come to some real truths there about what she actually wants to do with her life. Is following the traditional woman role something that she’s interested in, or not? I will not give the answer to that…
PopternativeTV is of course a component of Popternative, operated by past Courageous Nerd interview guest Peter Roumeliotis. Could you discuss your collaboration with Peter? How did Baby Making 101 find its way to Popternative TV?
SB: Yeah, Petey and I have known each other for a number of years. We connected through… kind of like what I was saying before, playing my strengths. A big part of my strengths is social media marketing and the digital world. I was working on a web series that kind of blew up. Petey and I met through that and have been chatting ever since, meeting for coffees and that sort of thing.
We both have that strength in digital marketing and we both have the desire for creative media. So, it was one of those matches. Finally, we clicked on this film.
On many other projects, the writer and director are often two different people. How much of a balancing act was having to fill both roles on Baby Making 101?
SB: It’s interesting because the writing and directing happen at different times in the production process. The writing… I kind of had in my head how I wanted it to play out when I directed. Then, when I got to directing it, we could play a little bit with the written part of it on the fly. I don’t know if I would call it a balancing act. I would say that it definitely gave me a lot more flexibility in creative. That’s what I love doing, creating with other people.
If a spark of inspiration comes up in the moment and I have the authority to be like, “You know what? Let’s try that, let’s explore that”, it’s really cool.
Tamara Almeida and Fuad Ahmed play the leads in the short. Could you describe how these two ended up on your radar and why you thought they were right for the characters?
SB: I’ve worked with both of them in the past. They’re both very fun energy, both pretty easygoing. They also know what they’re doing, which is really great when you’re working with actors. Instinctually, they just get it. They asked all these great questions. We all come from very different backgrounds, the 3 of us. Slightly different age demographics. So, a big part of working on this film was me talking to them about their experiences.
Where you come from in your family; what does it mean to be a father? We could actually pull in those experiences that I don’t have into their performances. Again, we can really tell the whole story. I don’t know what it’s like for Tamara to experience the pressures of wanting to be a mother in however she was raised. It’s very different for me, however I was raised.
I think that’s just a really beautiful part of the short. We had those conversations; what does marriage look like for you? What does motherhood and fatherhood look like for you? What are the pressures from your families, in your lives? I think that was a semi-eloquent way of saying what I was trying to say.
What do you hope people take away from watching Baby Making 101?
SB: For me, it was finding that light. The short starts off very light and fluffy. I kind of wanted to bring that light and fluffiness into a very difficult conversation. Really, that’s what my hope is, to start a conversation about it. The piece doesn’t say one way or the other is right. The piece says that you have a choice, whatever you decide is valid. People might not always be on board with whatever choices you make but if you know in your heart that this is the right choice for you, it’s the right choice for you.
There is no answer, the answer is not 42. It’s all subjective and all depends on personal experience. We get put into this little box; these are the checkboxes you’re supposed to make throughout your life. This is the timeline you’re supposed to do it in. Then, you feel like maybe you’re… I think failure’s a bit of an extreme word, but you feel a bit like a failure when you don’t check those boxes on the timeline.
To wrap this up, what do you hope to achieve or accomplish in the coming months as we head into 2022?
SB: I’m doing a lot of work right now. I work in Film and Television as my day job which I’m very fortunate for. I have some ideas in the burner. It’s just a matter of finding the time to sit down and work them. I know that this isn’t my last project, I do have a couple in development. We’ll see what the timeline is.
Thanks again for taking the time, Stephanie. Take care and stay safe!
SB: Thanks so much Conor, really nice talking to you.