Script File

Baby Steps

When a traditional Jewish Chinese-American matriarch gets arrested, the entire family’s repressed conflicts boil to the surface, and each of them struggle to become who they want to be while taking baby steps to restore order in a chaotically divided and ethnically diverse America.

  • Barney Cheng
    Baby Steps, The Red Dress,
  • Project Type:
    Television Script
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
    Chinese, English
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Tribeca Film Institute
    New York
    May 9, 2014
    Tribeca All Access Fellowship
  • Outflix Film Festival
    Memphis, TN
    September 11, 2015
    Jury Award Best Foreign Language Film
  • Out@the Movie Fest
    Winston-Salem, NC
    November 7, 2015
    Audience Choice Award Best Film
  • Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition
    Los Angeles
    August 18, 2011
  • Beverly Hills Short Film Festival
    Beverly Hills
    August 19, 2010
    Best Drama and Best Film
  • KAN Film Festival
    Wroclaw, Poland
    March 18, 2010
    Best Foreign Film
  • Golden Knight Malta International Film Festival
    October 15, 2009
    Best Film
  • International Rights Film Festival
    December 24, 2009
    Honorary and Special Mention
Writer Biography - Barney Cheng

Barney Cheng landed on the Hollywood map as an actor with his acclaimed performance in Woody Allen's Hollywood Ending. The New York Times described Cheng's comedic timing as "surgically precise." The Orange County Register raved that Cheng "steals every scene he's in." Cheng accompanied Allen to promote the film and to open the 55th Cannes Film Festival.

In addition to acting, Cheng is an award-winning writer-director. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and his Chinese-English language script Baby Steps received Tribeca Film Institute’s All-Access Award in 2014.

Cheng is a Writer/Director Film Independent Fellow and a Finalist for the NBCUniversal Directing Fellowship. Cheng brings a unique global, diverse point of view to his writing and filmmaking. His scripts Stolen Wines and A Doorknob Away, a Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition winner, are currently in development for US-China co-productions.

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Writer Statement

I’m Chinese-American and gay. I wrote a feature film script Baby Steps about a Taiwanese mother taking steps to embrace a non-traditional family that her Taiwanese-American gay son is creating. The story is rooted in my personal relationship with my mother, who lives in Taiwan.

I’ve always thought that the mother-and-son relationship would be great material for an original series. When Trump got elected, I knew that this would be a perfect opportunity to adapt the story into a TV show. We now live in an increasingly divided world where people from all spectrum of political and cultural backgrounds are more passionate and mobilized than ever. It’s perfect timing for storytellers to make bold choices and come up with creative ways to entertain audiences hungry for content that resonates with them.

The tone of the "Baby Steps" series is quirky, whimsical, irreverent. Most importantly, it’s real, nuanced and authentic. All episodes will reflect, literally and figuratively, the theme of baby steps. We live in an increasingly segmented world in which people prefer to associate with like-minded friends who share the same values and beliefs. I want to explore how different voices can coexist in this world, how different characters and communities take baby steps to understand their differences.