‘Goodbye Baby’ plays Vail Film Festival Saturday | VailDaily.com

‘Goodbye Baby’ plays Vail Film Festival Saturday

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyWriter and director Daniel Schechter created the feature film "Goodbye Baby" which will be screened tonight at the Vail Film Festival. The film features a plot which revolves around stand-up comedy, something that Schecter said he always wanted to try himself but was too scared.

VAIL, Colorado ” Say hello to “Goodbye Baby” which makes its Vail Film Festival premier. In her feature film debut, 21 year old Christine Evangelista plays Melissa Brooks, a young girl who moves to New York City to figure some things out and moves in with her brother and his boyfriend in their tiny apartment.

After getting a job as a waitress in a comedy club, Brooks decides to try her hand at a little stand-up.

She takes her lumps and eventually starts drawing a crowd, finding success on her own terms. Of course, no indie movie would be complete without a love triangle, which Brooks promptly finds herself involved in.

Daniel Schechter, writer and director of “Goodbye Baby,” spins the funny and heartbreaking tale of a girl trying to figure out her dreams so that she can follow them. Evangelista and Schechter both took some time to answer questions about the film, which has been well received on the film-festival circuit.

1. Vail Daily: How did you come to get the starring role in “Goodbye Baby?”

Christine Evangelista: Acting’s just always been part of my life, fortunately. As for “Goodbye Baby” I was just too lucky. I went on a casting for it that I’d gotten through my manager and they offered me the part, which was a really rare occurrence I believe. This is my first film ever.

2. VD: How did it feel to be offered the lead role with no prior film experience?

CE: Really wonderful. I mean at the time I was more shocked. It wasn’t anything I ever expected, and I was a little nervous but I mean as soon as (we) started working on it and started production, it just all went away because of the people that were involved on set. They were just all so accommodating and collaborating and it was just a great experience.

3. VD: How was shooting an independent film like this different than your previous work on television shows?

CE: Working on an independent film is so much better I think. You get more input and you don’t have huge studios to deal with. You know, there are pros and cons that come with it, but making an independent film is definitely more unique and personal.

4. VD: How much of your own life experiences mirror those of the character you play in the film?

CE: I’m so glad you asked me that because at that point in my life I was 19 when I filmed … we shot it over the summer. And at that point I was moving out of my house and I moved into Manhattan at the same time we’re filming and you know, (I had) relationships that completely mirrored what Melissa’s going through … It’s about that point in everyone’s life that you stop hanging out with people you grew up with your whole life and you start choosing your friends and you start creating yourself and that’s what I was doing then too.

5. VD: In the movie you play an aspiring stand-up comic. Would you ever consider changing careers and doing comedy full-time?

CE: No, unh-uh. I don’t feel like … I mean I’d do it if somebody wrote the material but then I’d just be acting so I don’t. Writing the material is so difficult man. It is so hard, I mean, Christ. There’ll be moments throughout my day that I’ll be like ‘this could make for a really good bit,’ you know, but I don’t think I have those kind of guts to like, sit down and write them. I mean I’d just be too conscious of what everyone might think.

6. VD: How did it feel to be the female lead in a movie with a mostly male supporting cast?

CE: People really like Melissa Brooks … Seeing this girl come from this Long Island small-town type of thing to (becoming) this big-city independent girl and most people could relate to that or like it. You know, that means a lot.

1. Vail Daily: How does putting “Goodbye Baby” on the film-festival circuit benefit you and the movie?

Daniel Schechter: A lot of people now look at the festivals as sort of your theatrical distribution.

2. VD: How did you come up with the plot and characters of the movie?

DS: Firstly and foremost, I sort of always wanted to see if I could be a stand-up comedian but I don’t necessarily have the courage, so it was an opportunity to vicariously experience some comedy to see if you’d get laughs without having to take any of the risks yourself. So that was largely appealing. Then I sort of wanted to see about, you know, teenage conformity and I think it seemed stronger from a female point of view and kind of have a coming-of-age movie right when people get out of high school and I think they really start to change or figure out who they are when they get away from their high school friends, when they sort of figure out what kind of food they like or music they’re into or clothes they want to wear. So that seamed like a really significant time in somebody’s life, so I wanted to kind of get them right there.

3. VD: When you were writing the script did you find yourself wrapping the rest of the characters around Melissa’s or did you write Melissa’s character to fit in with the rest of the supporting roles?

DS: This film it really appealed to me to have one main protagonist that we follow from beginning to end. And then I really wanted to go for like a really good unknown (star) and the way you can do that is by getting as many strong supporting roles as possible to get recognizable names and faces to surround her, so that sort of was purposely done. But I really just wanted one strong protagonist all the way through to follow.

4. VD: Is there an over-all theme written into this movie that you want audiences to pick up on?

DS: You know, you kind of find that stuff almost after you’re done writing or even more so when you’re doing conversations like you and I are having when you’re trying to explain the movie. But for me and conversations we had with the actors it seems to me that everything that that character was embarrassed about at the beginning of the film is what, by the end of the film …, made her more interesting. The fact that she didn’t have money, that she had this sort of past, that she had an interest in doing something artistic that her friends didn’t. All the things that she wanted to keep private that she was embarrassed about are by the end of the film (what) we find most interesting about her or has most shaped her.

5. VD: How close did the final product come to your original vision of the film?

DS: It’s amazingly close. The story itself never changed drastically from the first draft. Her love interest was always her love interest, we always had the stuff with her dad, we always had her starting in Long Island going to New York and getting better in the club, so, yeah, it’s remarkably similar.

6. VD: You had some pretty big names like Alan Ruck (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) and Jerry Adler (“My Fair Lady”) sign onto this movie. Is it difficult to get well-known stars to do an independent movie like this?

DS: Yeah, it is hard, to answer your question. It’s definitely hard and there were people who definitely said no to us. But a lot of those people you’re talking about we made what’s called an offer. We basically sent a contract to the agent and they decide yes or no … It’s like a hail Mary, you just send off and offer and you hope they say yes and we got plenty of no’s, but the people who said yes, the people in that film, are shocking to me.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

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