Play Date

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Comedy, Drama

Kate Schnepf

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $15,050 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

128 supporters | followers

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A dreamy short film about friendship, growing pains, and bittersweet childhood memories.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

As a child, even the smallest realization that the world is not as you thought feels seismic. Amidst the testosterone-fueled entertainment industry, PLAY DATE's women-led creative team aims to pause the action and shine a light on just one of these small yet powerful moments.

The Story

Nine year old Lana idolizes her cool older friend Naomi. And for good reason–what other 25 year old is down to play Barbies and make friendship bracelets with an elementary schooler? Naomi comes over just as Lana’s parents are leaving for a night out, which is perfect timing. After all, Lana doesn’t want or need them monitoring her all the time. She's basically a grown up already.

Later that night, Lana is awoken by her tipsy parents' noisy arrival back home. She gets up out of bed to investigate and overhears her dad and Naomi discussing payment. Lana can’t make sense of this. Payment for what? Lana finally intervenes and discovers the shocking truth–that Naomi is her babysitter. 


Nostalgia is an emotion I’ve been feeling a lot lately. It always feels achingly bittersweet to rewind and think back on fond childhood memories. I had super tight bonds with my babysitters (Kailey, Kristen, Annie, Miquel, Justine, and many more) and some of my favorite memories happened with them. They were caretakers and tastemakers, role models and fashion models (at least when my sister and I would make them play dress-up with us). They were the coolest, prettiest, nicest girls in the whole world and for some reason they were not only willing, but eager, to get down in the dirt and play with us. 

Kristen was the homecoming queen and we were in our faux-fur-coat-from-the-Burlington-Coat-Factory eras. (Age 9)

I was fully planning on getting a tattoo behind my ear, just like Miquel. (Age 10)

With PLAY DATE, I knew I wanted to tap into nostalgia, but I also wanted to acknolwedge that oftentimes even the sweetest memories have both light and dark sides. So rather than glossing over the shame, sadnesss, and hurt that can be intertwined with the warm and fuzzy feelings, we're digging right in.


In the first part our protagonist, Lana, is bathed in love and attention by Naomi. They play games nonstop and Naomi takes on the role of the perfect friend. In the second part, Lana’s dream world is destroyed by the discovery that Naomi is not just her friend, but also her babysitter. The feeling of betrayal upon finding out that the grownups are all in on some piece of adult wisdom that you’re not is something most of us could relate to as kids. The shame that Lana feels upon realizing that she misunderstood the entire nature of her relationship with Naomi is also an admission that she isn’t nearly as cool as she wanted Naomi to think. 


PLAY DATE ends on a positive note. We are not telling the story of Lana’s first traumatic experience. We are sharing a slice of the past in the hopes that audiences will recall how even the loveliest parts of childhood live in tandem with the awkward moments, misunderstandings, and instances of innocence lost. 



PLAY DATE is a lighthearted drama in the way that every embarassing moment of your childhood is The Worst Thing That Could Ever Happen To Anyone™. We are taking inspiration from films like Boyhood, Eighth Grade, and Mid90’s

Stylistically, we are approaching the first half of the film from a dreamy, impressionistic perspective, along the lines of We the Animals, The Virgin Suicides, and The Florida Project. When Lana discovers the truth about her relationship with Naomi, the film will shift to a more realistic style a la Lynne Ramsay.


Stretch Goals:

If we meet our production budget of $15k, we have the following stretch goals that would launch us into post production!

+ $2,000 pays for editing
+ $2,000 pays for color grading
+ $1,000 pays for sound mixing
+ $2,000 pays for festival submission fees


This short would not be possible without you–our audiences, communities, friends, and families.

In order to make this story a reality we need your support!

Here are a couple simple ways you can contribute:

  • Click the “Make a Pledge” button or click on one of our incentives to make a cash pledge 
  • Spread the word by sharing this campaign on your social media
  • Click the “Follow Project” button near the top of the page to help boost us in Seed & Spark's algorithm so we can hit the front page

Other ways to contribute:

  • Lending kids toys/decor for the shoot (we promise we’ll give them back <3)
  • Donating any extra PPE you have on hand (masks, rapid tests, gloves, hand sanitizer etc.)
  • Catering and craft services donations/discounts
  • Loaning grip and electric equipment 
  • Post production services

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Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Cast and Crew Fees

Costs $7,700

We believe artists deserve to be compensated for their work


Costs $3,900

You can't shoot a film without a camera, lenses, grip/electric, and sound equipment!

Catering & Craft Services

Costs $1,200

The people need to eat!


Costs $1,000

We aren't taking any risks here.

Production Design

Costs $600

The props, set decoration, and costumes will bring this story to life.

Production Supplies

Costs $600

PPE, walkie talkies and other supplies for our crew

About This Team

Kate Schnepf / Writer & Director:

Hometown: Saginaw, Michigan

Education: Boston University BS in Film and TV

Hobbies: Writing scripts, long walks, developing photos in my home darkroom, Googling every crew member from every show I watch

Most Embarrassing Childhood Memory: I hit a parked golf cart in front of a restaurant with my bike and flipped over the handlebars on impact. The workers came outside laughing and said I looked like a cartoon character when I hit the windshield.


Marta Roncada / Producer: 

Hometown: New York, New York

Education: BA from Swarthmore College

Hobbies: Reading, writing screenplays, video games, D&D, bugging my cat, rollerblading

Most Embarrassing Childhood Memory: My kindergarten teacher showed us a model of a human heart in class one day, and then he drew a heart symbol (❤️) on the whiteboard and asked, “who thinks the heart looks like this?” I was the only one who raised my hand. 


Kat McArdle / Producer:

Hometown: Reading, Massachusetts

Education: Suffolk University BS in Communications 

Hobbies: Roller blading, zen time meditating, planning my next travel adventures, journaling

Most Embarrassing Childhood Memory: I accidentally brought home a Christmas ornament from the store and no one noticed for a while, so we kept it. When my mom put it on the tree every year, I was convinced the cops were going to see it on the tree and come take me to jail.


Mélisse Riahi / Director of Photography:

Hometown: Encinitas, CA

Education: MFA from American Film Institute

Hobbies: Conjugating Italian and French verbs, watching every international film and writing about it afterwards

Most Embarrassing Childhood Memory: I used to carry around a fake rat that I bought in a cat store and pretend it was real to scare people. 


Shannon McDonough / Production Designer: 

Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland

Education: USC School of Cinematic Arts

Hobbies: Reading, keeping my houseplants alive, watching horror movies, thrifting useless home decor

Most Embarrassing Childhood Memory: I peed my pants in 1st grade math class and my teacher stopped the class to make me mop it up in front of everyone before sending me to the nurse’s office to change.


Olivia Berris / Role of ‘Naomi’:

Hometown: Boca born, Los Angeles raised

Education: Nancy Banks Studio

Hobbies: Singing and songwriting, resetting my gut, meditating, describing revelations from said meditation, park laying, coffee making 

Most Embarrassing Childhood Memory: Peeing my pants of nervousness backstage, while mouthing to my friend onstage that I am in fact peeing my pants, then proceeding to go on stage to perform my solo in Annie.


Current Team