Correction House follows recently released convicts who are living in a halfway house, run by a man named Joey, played by Jonathan Sacramone. Joey has taken in the paroled convicts in order to receive money to pay for his house and son. He hopes to regain custody of his son from his uptight ex-wife, Robin, portrayed by Adrien Theuer. Robin doesn’t like the idea that Joey is running the halfway house, as it’s an unsafe environment for their child. Joey’s next door neighbors, Helen and Rachel Butler, played by Diane Tice and Athena Baumeister, respectively, are two more people who look down upon Joey’s choices.
Recently, Baumeister generously took the time to speak with us over the phone to discuss why she took on the role of Rachel Butler. The actress also discussed what motivated to begin directing short films, including her debut, Who’s Suffering More, which won her an award from the Providential Film Festival. Her follow-up short, Caroline’s Crush, was also honored, winning Best Film at the Kids and Teen Filmmakers Award, for her age group.
Be sure to watch Correction House‘s first five webisodes on Blip TV, and check out our interview below.
We Got This Covered: You’re currently starring as Rachel Butler in Blip TV’s hit web series, Correction House. What was it about the series that convinced you to take on the role?
Athena Baumeister: Oh, I think it was the really original idea about a halfway house. I thought it was a really cool project, and I’m definitely privileged to be a part of it.
WGTC: How did you get into the mindset of your character? Did you do any particular research?
AB: Well, she lives next door to the halfway house, which would definitely be a strange situation for a high school girl. But she’s a lot of fun. She’s closer to me than probably most of the characters that I do.
WGTC: Since Correction House is a web series, were there any restrictions or limitations on why you can shoot and include in the series?
AB: Well, it was a SAG production, so it was very similar to shooting to a television series or a movie.
WGTC: Besides Correction House, you have also appeared in short films and commercials. Do you have a preference of one medium over the other, or do you like acting overall?
AB: I really enjoy acting, in general. Acting is my greatest passion, and I don’t have a preference of any of the mediums that I’ve done over the years.
WGTC: What is it about Correction House that differentiates itself from other web series, and why should audiences who haven’t seen it go and watch it?
AB: I feel it’s an original idea, and it’s a medium that’s on the rise. It’s finally getting more and more respect from the Hollywood side of the business. I think Correction House is an excellent example of what a webisode can be.
WGTC: What has the public reaction to the series been like since it first premiered? Has it been well received by fans?
AB: Yes, as far as I know, it’s been generally well received. People seem to like it.
WGTC: Would you be interested in doing more web series in the future, or would you like to do television series as well?
AB: I would be interested in doing more things. I’m currently in an upcoming web series called Faculty Lounge, where I play a goth girl (laughs), which is a bit different than me. I had a lot of the crazy goth make-up on, and it was a lot of fun to shoot. That’s going to be coming out soon.
I recently booked a pilot. It’s been shopped around to different networks. I’m playing an alien girl, posing as a teenage girl from the 1950s.
WGTC: Can you give any details about those series, such as the plotlines, or who your co-stars are?
AB: Well, Faculty Lounge is currently in post-production, but hopefully it will be up soon. It’s a webisode.
The other one is called Alien Encounters. It’s currently shopping around to the networks, it hasn’t been sold yet. Hopefully it will be picked up soon. I don’t want to give away too much of it, because we just shot the pilot. But it’s a very cool story.
WGTC: Out of the three series, is there one particular role that you feel fits your personality more than the other two?
AB: I feel that every role that I play has to be a different facet. No matter how different the role may be for me, it’s a facet of my personality. With acting, you have to find how the character is similar to you, and how she”s different than you. You bring that out, and that’s what makes acting fun.
WGTC: Do you take a different approach when you’re preparing for web series, as opposed to television series and films, or do you generally take the same approach?
AB: Well, I give every role the same amount of respect. I feel that shooting a webisode isn’t much different than a short film. I give them all the same amount of effort, and give them all the same amount of work.
WGTC: Are there any actresses that you base your performances on, or look up to?
AB: Well, I don’t really like to base my performances on anyone, I like to do my own thing. But I respect Juliette Lewis and Uma Thurman, and people like that.
WGTC: You made your directorial debut at the age of 12, with the short film Who’s Suffering More. What was your motivation in becoming a filmmaker?
AB: Well, I’ve always been interested in the behind-the-scenes part of the film business. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great directors and cinematographers over the years. I feel they’ve all kind of inspired me to have the courage to do my own thing.
I’ve done two short films so far, prize-winning short films. The first one (Who’s Suffering More) is about girls who do a web series. The second one is about a girl who thinks she has superpowers. It’s called Caroline’s Crush.
WGTC: You wrote both of the scripts for your short films. Where did you come up the ideas for the scripts?
AB: Well, it’s usually things I’m interested in, or stuff that I know about. So I just start writing about what I know.
WGTC: Do you feel that writing the scripts helped in your directorial duties?
AB: Definitely. I feel that if I have written it, I understand it more. I’ve been with the project since it’s conception. I understand the script more than if I filmed a script I didn’t write.
WGTC: When you’re shooting a movie as a director, do you draw on your experiences as an actress to help guide you as a filmmaker?
AB: Definitely. I think that acting lends itself to directing, directing lends itself to writing, writing lends itself to acting. They’re all connected, and help each other out. The more you write, the better the actor you are; the more you act, the better the director you are. They all feed into each other really nicely.
WGTC: Are there any filmmakers you look up to for the directorial end?
AB: Definitely. I look up to Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcok and Tim Burton . I always enjoy their choices and their directing.
WGTC: Are there any upcoming films that you’re set to direct?
AB: Well, I have a few things that I’m writing. But they’re all sort of writing ideas at this point. But I’m planning on filming another short film this upcoming summer, or perhaps earlier.
WGTC: Can you give any details on that film?
AB: Well, at this point, nothing’s set in stone. I don’t want to give any details, but hopefully the script will be done soon, so we can start shooting.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Athena Baumeister for taking the time to talk to us. Make sure to watch Correction House, which is now streaming on Blip TV.