Creating the web series Baked Goodes was one of the most fun and exciting times of my life. It was one of those things that when it started, there was no way anyone could have predicted where it would lead - and that has everything to do with the unique way it all came together.
It all started with a post in a Facebook group for female comedians in Los Angeles in the summer of 2015. The post said something to the effect of: “my job just ended and I have some free time. Who wants to make something?”
I and about 25 other women responded. A meeting was set at the Inner Sanctum at UCB in Hollywood. From the jump, it was a 100% democratic, collaborative process. From “what should we make?” to “what should we write about?” and “who are the characters in this world?” Everyone pitched ideas then we voted for our favorites. As a collective, we decided to make a web series that revolved around how hard it is to be “successful” as women – and what that even means – as well as sexism, ageism, religion, and marijuana (at the time) being illegal. You know, all non-controversial topics. We decided early on that we wanted it to be inclusive and progressive, but not preachy.
We went in with no predetermined expectations or agenda. It was a group of women, after all.
A month or so after our weekly meetings started, the attendance started to fall, and we were left with 5 women. Molly, the original “poster,” Mack – who knew Molly through improv, Anna and me who randomly saw the Facebook post and thought it looked fun, and Erin who was brand new to LA and introduced to me by a mutual friend from Chicago the week before. As luck would have it, it was the perfect group of five, all of our individual skillsets complimented each other perfectly! We became the creators, producers, casting directors, actors, director, art department, and crafty (more on all that later).
Just like in a “real” writer’s room, as a group we broke down the characters and backstory, and pitched storylines and episodes. Then, not at all like a typical writer’s room - we created doodle polls to vote on our favorites, and the episodes with the most votes became the ones we wrote. Everything was democratic. Everything was fair. The group talked about our process on an episode of the Podcast “The Other 50%” (sadly I was out of town and had to miss the recording, but it’s a great conversation!)
Once we all agreed on the number of episodes we would make (a “Baker’s Dozen!” haha) we assigned episodes (evenly, of course), and set out to write them.
At our weekly meeting at Anna’s house, we would write and review the episodes, provide feedback, and sometimes even group write while Anna typed the script on her television screen. It felt like a writer’s room and I loved it. Anna’s boyfriend Brandon was often there, and often that came in handy when we had a question about a male character or if we weren’t sure about our biases (we were 5 white women, and very aware of our potential for implicit bias and were grateful for his honest opinion as a black man).
Once we were happy with the scripts we started production, and as a group, of course, decided on the roles. As luck would have it, we had ended up creating 3 distinct main characters that Molly, Mack and I each really related to. I can’t remember if Mack was first in saying she would like to play Angela or if I pitched myself as Jan (pronounced JOHN, because it was silly and funny), but everyone agreed on that casting. Then, we actually had to convince Molly to play Julie! We all knew she was perfect for the role, with her background and comedy chops, but she said she didn’t want to assume – so we voted on it. All in favor! Then it came to directing, and when Anna sheepishly threw her hat in the ring, we all enthusiastically said YES!!! Erin was happy to “just” produce because that was her wheelhouse and what she wanted to do. Bless her for handling all the SAG paperwork and insurance matters!
It all was coming together perfectly!! Everyone pitched in on different production tasks – from securing locations and casting, to hiring crew and creating props. We did it all and split it all up. Of course, I was the one who got the GIANT BAG OF WEED “prop” you see in the pilot. (I actually got a dispensary to loan it to me - as long as it weighed the same when I returned it. You better believe I was OBSESSED with making sure nobody opened the bag! haha).
It was so much fun, there is nothing like having a group all committed to the same goal!
As we got more into pre-production, Brandon got more involved and became one of our amazing PAs and a part of the crafty department. He and Anna cooked up a STORM!
What a whirlwind! We block shot all 13 episodes over the course of two long weekends, which looking back, seems kinda crazy. We shot in 10 different locations - many with multiple set changes - and had over 70 actors in total come through in just 6 days!!! We were committed to hiring as many women as possible, and did our best to hire WOC both in front of and behind the camera. I’m happy to report we had an almost entirely female crew!
After production, we (as a group, obviously!) went through post, created a series bible, and attended pitch meetings. It was a labor of love, and we were thrilled to see the fruits of our labor. We were featured in Newsweek, Decider, Reel Chicago, as well as several other blogs and podcasts.
Soon, we were approached by the community manager of Hempire (the game app) to sponsor us with branding for two episodes! By this point, Erin had decided to move on to different projects and we asked Brandon if he wanted to step in and be an “official” member of the group (even though he was already practically a member). Of course, he said yes! We were so excited, and quickly got to work pitching ideas – like we always had, by consensus. Only this time we also had a sponsor with final approval over our episode ideas, scripts and final edit (kinda like a studio or network would ;-) ). Thankfully, they were super cool and loved our ideas, so there was very little they asked us to change. Plus, they sent us cool swag for the episode (see if you can find the Hempire sock haha).
When it was time to shoot, sadly, some of our season one crew were already working on other projects (but hooray for them working!) so we had to hire a different group. However, again we managed to have an almost entirely female crew!
When the episodes were released, Hempire featured us on an in-game billboard! Rad!
After that, we all went back to working on our own projects that had been put to the side during this amazing adventure as well as our (industry) day jobs and such. But every so often, an opportunity comes up either to submit Baked Goodes or pitch a new show, and we get back together and collaborate.
Follow Baked Goodes:
Caryn Ruby —
Caryn Ruby’s work has been featured on “Good Morning America” “The Wendy Williams Show,” and at Chicago’s famed Second City. “Baked Goodes,” the15-episode web series she co-created, & co-starred in, was listed in Newsweek as “what to watch on marijuana’s biggest holiday” - right between Comedy Central’s “The Time Traveling Bong” and Snoop Dogg’s “Grow House.”
In 2020, her screenplay “Daphne’s Revolt” was awarded semifinalist in Women In Media’s Cameraderie Act 1 competition, her pilot “The Selfless Activist,” semifinalist in the Filmmatic Comedy Screenplay competition, and the comedy sketch she co-wrote and stars in, “Poverty Tourism” premiered at the Houston Comedy Film Festival as a finalist for Best Dark Comedy Micro Film.
Caryn discovered her passion for socially-conscious comedy in her home town of Chicago. She’s performed at Snubfest, Chicago Sketchfest, Gilda’s Laugh Fest, Zanie’s, and Jokes and Notes, and shared the stage with Tiffany Haddish, Donnell Rawlings, and Iliza Schlessinger among others.
Active both in front of and behind the camera, Caryn is also an accomplished Script Supervisor. She’s worked alongside Oscar and Emmy award-winning crew on award-winning projects, including the Women In Media Camaraderie initiative GRAND PRIZE WINNING FILM “Blood and Glory” which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, and “Growth,” a short film written, directed by, and starring Allison Miller (“A Million Little Things”).
An advocate for Women’s empowerment, she is proud that 90% of all projects she has worked on have been directed by women, with virtually 50% being women of color.
Before comedy, Caryn earned degrees in Psychology (B.S.), Exercise Science (B.S.) and Kinesiology (M.S., University of Michigan), became a nationally-qualified bodybuilder (!) and moved to Los Angeles to become a chiropractor. However, once she realized her knack for cracking jokes was way more fulfilling than cracking joints, she quickly switched gears and began studying and performing at The Second City, The Groundlings and comedy clubs across the country and twice in Singapore.
The multitalented, multifaceted comedienne is currently polishing a television pilot and preparing to launch her new podcast, “Script Supervisors: Unsung Heroes of Film & TV”