The Callback

Syracuse, New York | Film Short


Kara Herold

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Coming Soon

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The Callback is a 20-minute comedy about a struggling artist in an out-of-touch film industry. The film blends fiction, animation, humor, and poetry to call out an industry where women are underrepresented onscreen and off.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The Callback calls out a film industry that continues to misrepresent women who simply want their chance to succeed. The film remarks on how women struggle to be seen and heard in front of and behind the screen; Hollywood seems poised to change, but it hasn’t.  #TimesUP!

The Story



The story!

Maggie pursues her dream of landing a callback within a film industry that offers limited roles for women. She applies her artistry to landing a part, however clichéd: supportive wife, silent girlfriend, the “other woman,” and never gives up on her dream to succeed. Whether she’s imagining the scientific aspirations of a Midwestern housewife or studying French for the part of  “soccer mom,” Maggie will not be deterred. Unfortunately, Casting directors remain unimpressed with her creative interpretations of one-dimensional roles. With no callback and unpaid bills, Maggie faces the reality of limited opportunities. She is on the brink of despair when her electricity is cut off during her home audition of “Secretary Number 3.” But then her phone pings–she finally has her callback. Will Maggie change the film industry? Watch The Callback to find out!



Where you can see The Callback?

We will be sending the film to film festivals worldwide (and to a theater near you!). Click on any of my social media links at the bottom of this page to follow our festival progress! You can also follow us here on this Seed & Spark page for updates.

The Callback

The Crew

My films employ wit, subversive storytelling, and dynamic visual assemblages that comment upon the uneasy intersections between feminist perspectives and dominant cultural expectations and institutions. I'm particularly interested in creating strong female protagonists to show how they navigate through sexist and patriarchal structures. 

I am making this film with my students in a class called On Set production! All of the students have major roles on set and are mentored by professionals and professors. The goal of the class is to give the students experience working on a large set, and more importantly, to model a good set. In my class I want to create a set environment where everyone feels safe to ask questions and to learn. We will make sure that the crew is diverse and that no one falls into stereotypical set roles based upon gender. 

I co-wrote this film with Lisa McElroy, who also illustrated Maggie's doodles and writings in the film. We went to film school together in the 1990s and have worked together on and off throughout the years. I love to collaborate, as what surfaces is a story that neither one of us would have written ourselves, but a true merging of minds. For me, that is fascinating and exciting. 

I am also the director, producer, animator, and editor. The Director of Photography is Alex Mendez Giner, a colleague of mine at Syracuse University.  His cinematography elevates this film to the next level. 

This film is a true labor of love because Maggie's struggles are my own and it makes me feel great when everyone cheers her on!


Why this story?

While there may be many stories where creatives struggle, our protagonist is 100% unique.  She is creative, smart, and funny!  While she doesn’t get the role with depth, she does find a creative soulmate in a completely original and surprising ending. 

The Callback critiques the film industry but also celebrates how we remain creative and find like-minded people even within oppressive systems.

Why now?

I was thrilled when #TimesUp made headlines, and I was hopeful that the inequities that women experience in the industry were finally recognized. However, statistics remain grim. According to the 2020 Hollywood Diversity report, only 15% of Hollywood directors are women. Women writers make up 17% of the industry. In top movies, women hold less than 35% of speaking roles (USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative).  

Hollywood seems poised to change, but it hasn’t.  

While the film-industry statistics are slow to change, I do think the movie-going public is aware of the problem and wants women’s standing in the industry to improve. Because The Callback uses humor to address timely issues of gender-equity in the film world, I believe Maggie's voice will be heard. 

The time is now. 

Our dream for the film:

My previous films have screened at major film festivals, including Sundance, International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, MoMA, NYC and hundreds of other festivals worldwide. Our goal is to submit The Callback to film festivals worldwide!  



How you can help:

We shot some of the film in March, 2022, in the context of the class (much of it on my credit card).  We still have a little bit more of shooting to do.  We  need your help for the additional shooting,  sound design and sound mix, color correction and distribution (film festival submission fees!). 

I am a certified Covid Compliance officer as are two of my students who also took the class and were certified.  We will be complying will all Covid Compliance rules for union sets, such as daily health checks, temperture checks and required Covid tests. 


Follow this page to get the up to date news on The Callback.  It is 100% free to follow.  The more followers we get, the more we unlock products, services, and most importantly festival fee waivers courtesy of Seed&Spark!

Contribue and Pledge:

We have to make at least 80% of our goal to get any of the money.  So please pledge on any of the incentives or wish list items.  We appreciate a pledge of any amount and understand that people have different financial circumstances! No amount is too small. 

Spread the Word:

The only way to truly make our crowdfunding goal is if we are able to reach people beyond our own networks who want to support indie film.  If you want to be a part of supporting a film that calls for more roles for women (with depth) please share our campaign via your social media, email, word-of-mouth, however you want!  We can't do this withouth you.  

You will also be supporting a diverse class of emerging filmmakers, a female director and two female writers. 

Here are some examples.  Feel free to copy and paste!

Help filmmaker @karaherold by supporting her film, The Callback,  a comedy about an artist struggling to “make it” within a backwards Hollywood dream machine. Join them on @seedandspark: The Callback


I just watched the THE CALLBACK crowdsourcing video directed by filmmaker @karaherold and WOW, you've got to support this feminist comed!  Join them on @seedandspark: The Callback


I'm so excited to see the short film  THE CALLBACK, by director/writer @karaheroldmedia, be made in Syracuse New York with her students in the On-Set Class. Support them on @seedandspark: The Callback



Stretch goals:

I am raising $15,000 but would like to raise another $5000 as a strech goal.   The extra $5000 would pay for publicity materials, a website and a fine-cut editor!  I am editing the film myself, but it would be a dream to hire a fine-cut editor who can make the film super tight. Because I wrote and directed the film, I may be too attached!  SNIP SNIP SNIP










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

Sound Design

Costs $2,800

Sound is 50% of the audio-visual experience and can really transform the cinematic experience.

Post production

Costs $3,000

Color correction and visual effects.


Costs $2,198

It costs $ to submit your film to film festivals. Help us get the film to a film festival near you!

Publicity Materals

Costs $1

Publicity materials to get the word out! Amazing! I will add this as a stretch goal. $3000

Fine Cut Editor

Costs $1

I would love to hire an editor for the final cut. STRETCH GOAL. $2000

Director of Photography

Costs $3,500

Alex Mendez is an amazing cinematographer and mentored all the students on set!

On-Set Sound Mixer

Costs $3,500

We hired professional sound legend Roger Phenix to record sound on set AND instruct the students.

About This Team

The Callback’s production is unique in that its crew was partially filled by Syracuse students for the On-

Set Production class, where students learn from professional crew members. The goal with this

mentorship program is to create future alliances between professionals and students, building bridges

so that students can graduate from the classroom to a professional set.

Current Team