Kiley Parker
Kiley Parker

Kiley Parker has a serious side. It’s the side with which Insider readers are more familiar.

We’ve covered Parker’s documentary “Raising Ms. President,” which explores the topic of female politicians and how to encourage young girls to develop an interest in politics.

But Parker isn’t all politics all the time.

“I’ve lived two lives,” she tells Insider. “I have a very serious side, where I want to make a positive difference in people’s lives, and I’m very thoughtful about how I view the world, and I want to inspire young women … And then I make poop videos.”

(Warning: The following link is not safe for work.)

Though she was born in Kentucky, Parker’s life has led her all over the world. She learned her craft producing reality TV in Colorado and making documentaries for KET. She traveled across America to film “Raising Ms. President.”

Love and marriage have finally given Parker a reason to put down some roots in Louisville, but she sure isn’t putting down her camera.

“I said, ‘OK, if I’m gonna live and work in Louisville, what can I do that is lasting and is something I really enjoy?,'” she says. “I think a series. Because I’m really interested in technology and the way we view things today, I think a web series.”

Kiley Parker, far right, directs a scene for "The Baby Shower." | Photo by Eli Keel
Kiley Parker, far right, directs a scene for “The Baby Shower.” | Photo by Eli Keel

Before she was ready to work on a series, Parker’s first experiment with narrative film was “The Bathroom,” aka the poop video above.

“The Bathroom” was inspired by Parker’s former roommates.

“I lived with two guys who thought girls didn’t poop. I promise you, they poop,” says Parker. “It’s, like, ‘Haha, I’m going to show you and make a film about it.’ It’s disgusting. I recommend a disclaimer for your article.”

“The Bathroom” has gotten 327,141 views. In the YouTube world, that’s just a good start. Parker says it has only netted her a couple of hundred dollars in ad revenue.

Her current project is “The Baby Shower.” Like “The Bathroom,” it tackles the interactions between women and pulls humor from their reality, challenging the sanitized conventional image.

“Everyone has their own opinions of baby showers — some people love them and some people hate them,” she says. “Nobody talks about it because you’re supposed to love them, because it’s a baby, it’s new life. But some people aren’t there yet. Those are the two worlds I’m bringing together.”

Sarah East and head production assistant William Huston | Photo by Eli Keel
Actress Sarah East and head production assistant William Huston | Photo by Eli Keel

“The Baby Shower” follows a group of friends as they gather to celebrate the pregnancy of their friend Elisabeth (Mera Corlett). As the titular baby shower progresses, tension rises and the women consider the different paths they have taken.

While a web series is Parker’s goal, “The Baby Shower” isn’t a pilot per se. It’s more like a proof of concept. She wants to be able to show the quality of acting and production talent in our local scene to producers and money people.

“There is so much amazing local talent. That’s what I want to tap into: local talent, local crew, build a team and a network,” she says.

Parker filmed “The Baby Shower” a few weeks ago on a beautiful spring morning. A lush layer of trees were the backdrop for an exquisitely set party scene, complete with a table full of gorgeous snacks including cucumber water, tiny cupcakes, fresh fruit and other hors d’oeuvres. The focal point of the table was a huge wedding-style cake made of intricately folded, white cloth diapers.

In the words of character Melissa Austin (played by local actress Natalie Fields), “It looks ahmaaaaaazing!”

During her interview with Insider, Parker was chatty and silly. She was intelligent, of course, but she made constant jokes and strayed off topic.

On set, that zany, smiling Parker was nowhere to be seen. Instead she was precise, calling out orders with confidence — a woman on a mission. The camera crew, sound people and actors all stood silently waiting for their moments, and then moved like clockwork when their time came.

The set of "The Baby Shower" | Photo by Eli Keel
The set of “The Baby Shower” | Photo by Eli Keel

Don’t think Parker is a tyrant, though. During the breaks and a few times when the crew was shooting visuals only, everyone was smiling and laughing. In those moments, I got a few chances to talk to the cast and crew, all of whom were thrilled to work with Parker.

Actor Sarah East said, “It’s great to be in a production that is full of strong women. This is the first thing I’ve done with Kiley, and I’m just so impressed with her writing and her direction and her vision. It’s great Louisville has projects like this to work on.”

While the two sides of Kiley Parker might seem incongruous at first, her seriousness and silliness both seek to open avenues that have traditionally been closed to girls and women, whether it’s in the Oval Office, the porcelain shrine, or the director’s chair.

For updates on the progress of “The Baby Shower,” be sure to follow it on Facebook.

Eli Keel is “pretty much” a Louisville native. You may have seen him around town reading poetry, short stories, dancing or acting. He’s a passionate locavore, so you may have also seen him stuffing his face at one of Louisville’s amazing restaurants. When he isn’t too busy writing short stories, he blogs at amanwalksintoablog.wordpress.com.


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