Baby Making


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Ceci N’est Pas Un Enfant

Now lets not get ahead of ourselves here: this isn’t going to be a dirty post.

I was preparing to shoot my very first film project for USC: a short film with no dialogue about a new dad trying to avoid waking up his brand new baby who has finally fallen asleep. it would only require one or two actors and I planned to shoot it in my living room over the course of a few hours with a minimum of fuss.

The only problem was the baby.

Now, the rules about working with underage actors- including babies- are very rigorous. And since the University is a giant lightning rod for lawsuits they are very rigorous indeed about making sure we directors know and follow all these rules. The parents need to be there. AND a nurse. And the baby is only allowed under the lights for X amount of time per shot, and Y amount of time total, etc. And frankly I needed a newborn who would actually sleep for the six hours of the shoot and that wasn’t likely to happen.

So I figured I would just use a baby doll. It seems to be good enough for commercial films and television, but it fools nobody. Baby dolls are rigid little objects that get handled like props. But I thought it would be good enough, as they say, for government work.

The problem turned out to be that I couldn’t find any baby dolls. At least, I couldn’t find any cheap baby dolls- I wasn’t about to spend $30 to buy a new one. (My budget for the film was $100). So I did the next best thing: I made one.

I named it WUB: the Worlds Ugliest Baby after a similar baby prop I remembered from my undergrad days in theatre. WUB’s head is made out of a grapefruit taped to a toilet paper tube and covered in pantyhose. WUB’s body is a beanbag filled with flax seed and WUB’s arms and legs are tube socks filled with lentils and taped up with gaffers tape. Oh, and the feet- which are really what sells it in my opinion, are actual baby socks that came with little plastic shapers inside to show how cute they would look on little baby feet. I just left the shapers in.

The advantage to using WUB was that the beanbags gave the body a realistic weight and floppiness for a sleeping baby and darnit if WUB wasn’t a great sleeper. The disadvantage, of course, was that WUB’s head was made out of a grapefruit which necessitated keeping a very life-like baby prop in the refrigerator. And of course there’s the fact that the grapefruit would eventually begin to go soft and WUB would need to eventually be dispatched to Neverland.

So really today is baby un-making day, but I thought WUB deserved to be immortalized first.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on October 15, 2013.

One Response to “Baby Making”

  1. I needed a diaper for that post! You had me in stitches & tears – I fell in love with WUB!!

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