Writer and Director Maggie Carey Talks Comedy Sounding Boards and Scheduling Obstacles in 'The To Do List'

"If you love the movie or hate the movie, it’s all on me," jokes writer and first time director Maggie Carey. "The only constraints I really did have were time and money. Time is expensive." Carey's debut film, The To Do List features a long list of comedians and improv ready players. Leading the pack in her first starring role is Aubrey Plaza (TV's Parks and Recs), who has been friends with Carey since meeting at Upright Citizens Brigade, with the movie written with the actress in mind. "Aubrey is still very much the Aubrey I've known for years. When she was at UCB you'd see her do 6 or 7 characters in a night, so I always knew she had a wide range."

And range is what the director indeed gave her star. The To Do List follows the sexcapades of Brandy Klark (Plaza), a type-A perfectionist trying to lose her virginity before moving to college. Armed with sassy best friends (Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele), a slutty sister (Rachel Bilson), a sweet study buddy (Johnny Simmons) and a progressive mother (Connie Britton), Brandy stops at nothing to mark activities off her list, and sex with local hunk Rusty Waters (Scott Porter) sitting at the very top.

"There are certain times you know the joke is funny. But there are other times when you're nervous and it's fingers crossed that the actors bring something to it that I know is missing," says Carey. "So that's why you cast really funny people." Of those funny people in the film is her husband and SNL alum, Bill Hader, who plays Brandy's boss Willy. "I definitely wrote the part with him in mind," she admits. "Bill is part of my circle of friends that I use as a sounding board. But for comedy, it's really only funny the first time you read it. So you can't overuse anyone too much."

As with most first time directors, Carey faced more than her fair share of obstacles, but none more so than the scheduling of her extremely busy cast. "We had to start shooting July 1st because we had a tax credit and we had to be done by the 3rd week because everyone was going to go back to their TV jobs," she explains. "Parks were very kind and let us keep Aubrey. The strength of the movie was the cast, so there was no way we were going to lose someone."

"Yes it was intense and there was a lot to do, so you just don't have time to worry if people will like it. That's the good thing about being a first time director," admits Carey. "You're naive and you don't know some of the things that you should probably be worried about."

The To Do List is out Friday, July 26th.