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Interview: Kristen V. Carter Talks About Her Dramatic Short Film “First Date” and Gives Encouraging Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers


Interview: Kristen V. Carter Talks About Her Dramatic Short Film “First Date” and Gives Encouraging Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers

Jasmine Edwards


Kristen V. Carter is an award-winning filmmaker, television producer, and educator. The passion she holds for her industry is evident in the quality of work she produces.

Kristen took the time to interview with Our Womanhood about her first major project “First Date,” her experience in the film industry, and advice for those aspiring to be filmmakers, producers, and screenwriters.

We hope she inspires you as much as she inspired us.

Interview: Kristen V. Carter Talks About Her Dramatic Short Film “First Date” and Gives Encouraging Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers


Jasmine: Hi Kristen, thanks for taking time out to do an interview! Before we talk about your projects, can you tell the readers about yourself and your accomplishments?

Kristen: Hi Readers! :)

My name is Kristen V. Carter and I am a screenwriter, television producer, and educator. I'm originally from Newark, New Jersey but I currently live in Los Angeles, CA. I am a segment producer for NBC's The Voice (Season 6) and have written and produced for several non-scripted shows including Lifetime's Project Runway, MTV's America's Best Dance Crew, and TV One's R&B Divas Los Angeles. 

This year I've split my time between working as a freelance producer and promoting my narrative short film First Date that's been on the film festival circuit this year.  

Jasmine: Your project “First Date,” tell the readers all about it. What was your purpose behind it?

Kristen: First Date is a dramatic short film that I wrote and directed about a woman's emotional encounter with a familiar stranger. As you witness their outing, you come to understand who the person is to the lead character, Lia. The story is semi-autobiographical and is about re-connecting with loved ones. 

Jasmine: How does it feel to release your own film?

Kristen: It's been really exciting to share First Date with audiences and to travel with the work. My goal has been to spread the message of reconciliation and I have been elated to hear people's emotional responses.

Jasmine: I was given the privilege of previewing “First Date,” and thought it was a powerful and phenomenal story line. How did you come up with the concept? Did any of it come from personal experiences?

Kristen: I wrote First Date as an exercise during Summer 2012. My two friends - Brandon Deese and Jamila Jordan - and I came together because we knew we wanted to create a short film before the year ended. At the time, I wrote two shorts and gave them to Brandon and Jamila. I originally thought they'd choose the comedy short I wrote but they knew how close I am to the story and encouraged me to direct First Date. 

Jasmine: The actors in the short film are a very talented group, where did you find them? Are they all based locally?

Kristen: I held three rounds of casting calls. All of the adult actors are professionals, and I found the two child actors through referrals from my production team. From the moment Stephanie Parrott auditioned, I knew she was the lead character Lia. She brought so much emotion to the role and I built the rest of the cast around her. Lauren Elliott, who plays Lia's roommate Brenda, is equally as captivating. You will see more of her in the upcoming short film entitled Fixed. Byron Marc Newsome, who plays Rich, is currently being featured in a national Honda commercial. Maya Washington, who plays Miss Trish, is the writer and director of the award-winning short film White Space that literally swept the festival circuit in 2012. 

Jasmine: It takes a lot of planning, a lot of hard work, and a lot of sleepless nights to accomplish a project on this scale. But, in the end you know that somewhere down the line it will pay off. What hurdles did you have to overcome during this process?

Kristen: I had a very limited budget and had to work around that. I had a little bit of money saved up and then I also set aside a portion of my summer paychecks to First Date. 

Also, we lost one scene while we were transferring footage so we had to reshoot that scene a month later. In the end, it all worked out and I couldn't be more proud of the collaborative efforts behind First Date! 

Jasmine: No one reaches the top without help from others. What people in your life would you contribute your successes to?

Kristen: My mom is amazing. To this day, she encourages anything I am interested in. She placed me in dance classes at a very young age which then turned into swim lessons, piano lessons, vocal lessons, you name mom always found a way to keep me occupied and stimulated. When I look back and think about all of our financial struggles, I wonder how she did it. Words cannot describe how grateful I am because she stopped at nothing to establish my spiritual and creative foundations. Those foundations mean everything and she is the reason why I am so passionate in my life in general.

Jasmine: Being a woman of color, tell us about your experience in the film and entertainment industry. How was your journey?

Kristen: My journey is still going; I've been in the industry professionally for 7 years and definitely still consider myself a newbie. When I was around 11, I told my two best friends that I wanted to write a television show about our lives. At the time, I wanted to be a doctor and they were interested in law and chemistry. I thought it would be interesting to show the lives of teenagers in the inner-city who had goals and dreams focused on careers that weren't necessarily around us at the time. 

As we got older, we drifted apart but I always had the story idea and my interest in writing continued to blossom through the years. I interned at BET after my senior year of high school and from then on I knew I wanted to be in television and film. From there, I stayed connected with my internship supervisor and when I graduated college, I landed my first position as a show writer for an entertainment news show on BET. And the rest is history.

Jasmine: What bits of wisdom would you give to women interested in becoming filmmakers, screen writers, and producers?

Kristen: I believe it's important to research your area(s) of interest and professionals who have come before you, gather information, and just get to work. Once I started working and writing music specials, I asked for informational interviews from pretty much every executive I encountered. As I continued writing, I realized I wanted to write narrative scripts and then enrolled in Writers Boot Camp. During a trip to LA, I discovered the Cosby Screenwriting Fellowship while walking the campus of University of Southern California where the program was housed. I read a brochure and discovered that I needed to complete a feature script to apply and that's what I did. So I've continued to research and listen but also follow the cues. I think our individual journeys bring us right where we need to be. Just keep walking, do the work in front of you, ask questions, and embark on something new. I think most people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do instead of plotting out the plan and making it happen. Allow yourself the freedom to try new things, mess up, try again, and keep going until it feels right. 

Jasmine: What’s one word you would use to describe your journey thus far?

Kristen: Blessed.

Jasmine: On what stations will “First Date” premiere? Specific Times (PST EST CST)

Kristen: First Date airs on Monday, November 25th at 8pm and 11pm – which is actually my birthday! - on the cable network ASPiRE TV. It will re-air on Saturday, November 30th at 2pm, 8pm, and 11pm.

Jasmine: Where can we find you on the web?

Kristen: My website is To watch the film's trailer or find out more about First Date, go directly to: 

Jasmine: Thanks, Kristen!

(Interview originally published November 20, 2013)