'Oh, Baby!' creates lovely afterglow at Dances with Films
September 20, 2021
As Los Angeles Dances with Films' epic line-up of three solid weeks of programming has now ended, many films will continue to linger in the consciousness. Audience Award Winner for Best Short Film in competition Oh, Baby! is one such film. It’s a feminist manifesto for going after what you want. It’s also funny, delightful and surprising.
The film, directed by Brooke Trantor who co-wrote it with star Kate Morgan Chadwick, tracks one night for a woman looking to do something for herself for once before she faces down a life that will likely often be lived for more than just one. But honestly, isn’t that too often most women’s lives?
That said, this is not a sad story of a transitional time. The film is a very hopeful and delightful ride full of Mexican food, a thimble full of rum, and plenty of salsa.
Trantor elaborates in the afterglow of her Dances with Films screening on the film's original inspiration.
"We had been brainstorming for a while as we knew we wanted to create something together," she says. "We wanted to create a film together that was empowering to women in a way that was not common. When Kate got pregnant, we decided that was the perfect story — embracing a woman's sexuality while pregnant is something we really never see. And a nine-month timeline was a perfect kick in the ass to get it done!"
Trantor and Chadwick achieved some magic on that tight timeline that translated into incredible chemistry between the actors on the screen.
"Honestly, we wrote the parts of Jane and Ben specifically for Kate & TJ [Linnard]. They had come up in the theatre scene together in NYC, and when we were trying to find the arc of Ben, Kate mentioned she thought he would be perfect. I guess it's a pretty wonderful thing to work with someone you have before — there is a trust to the process when you can trust your partner like that. And then we were incredibly grateful that our second AD, Morgan Lester, encouraged Samson Moeakiola to audition for Dan. He was perfect, exactly what we were looking for; the perfect combination of hilarious and heartfelt."
Once the writing and casting were done, it came to shooting the film, including an impressive intimate scene. Trantor says that all came down to intentional improvisation.
"Most of that particular scene was improvised. And that was intentional, how I wrote it in the script. I spoke to the actors about what my vision was, and I specified with my DP that I would be guiding her through each shot. We didn't really have it in our storyboard packet, but I knew that with trust, safety and improv, we could get the exact awkward and incredibly sensual moments that I envisioned. I am grateful everyone allowed the trust to do so."
And audiences are responding well to what Trantor, Chadwick and the rest of the Oh, Baby! cast and crew achieved.
"[Response] has been incredibly positive. We had a feeling women would appreciate the story," says Trantor. "But it is wonderful to hear from so many men that find it appealing, as well. Our first few screenings were private with people we knew, and I was nervous about screening with strangers. But after a friggin' pandemic, nothing sounds sweeter than laughter in a theatre with people you don't know. I think that is the beauty of the movie theatre experience, and it has been a joy to have our work bring people together through laughter again (masked, of course!)."
So what's next for Oh, Baby!?
"We have a handful of very exciting film festivals coming up — an absolute delight after sitting on this film through a year of quarantine. We are so grateful to be sharing it with audiences, finally!" exclaims Trantor. "Kate and I are working on a treatment for a series, and also a feature film. We think Jane can live in this world we created for quite a while — but also adore the thought of a succinct story of Jane and Ben and what could be next for them. So, we shall see which one takes off first!"
Written by: Lindsay StidhamLindsay holds an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. She has overseen two scripts from script to screen as a writer/ producer. SPOONER, starring Matthew Lillard (SLAMDANCE), and DOUCHEBAG (SUNDANCE) both released theatrically. Most recently Lindsay sold PLAY NICE starring Mary Lynn Rajskub. The series was distributed on Hulu. Recent directing endeavors include the Walla Walla premiering (and best screenplay nominated) TIL DEATH DO US PART, and the music video for Bible Belt’s Tomorrow All Today. Lindsay is currently working on an interactive romcom for the production company Effin' Funny, and a feature film script for Smarty Pants Pictures. Lindsay also currently works as an Adjunct Screenwriting Faculty member at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. You can follow her work here: https://lindsaystidham.onfabrik.com/