• Kieran Burt

Oh, Baby! - An Interview with Director Brooke Trantor and Actress Kate Morgan Chadwick

Writer Kieran Burt chats to Brooke Trantor, the director and writer of Oh, Baby!, and Kate Morgan Chadwick, the actress who plays Jane, to discuss their short film Oh Baby.

What inspired you to make the short?

Brooke: Our idea was to celebrate and embrace the power of all the aspects of sexuality in a woman’s life. Especially pregnancy. That’s something that is tossed aside in film.

Kate: When I was pregnant there’s an expectation on women, no matter what field they are in, to go and focus on being pregnant. In the film industry, the idea is that you’ll take three or six weeks off to have time with the baby and then work again. I didn’t want to follow that structure.

So what better time to put a pregnant woman on screen? That was the impetus for the film - sex, the biology of life.

Brooke: We wanted to explore the fact that women still have needs and desires even in that stage of their life. That was our inspiration and goal.

"It’s great to be back. The best part of the festival circuit is meeting other filmmakers."

What is it like to have your film shown and nominated at Dances with Films?

Brooke: It’s such an honour to be part of Dances with Films. It's been an esteemed festival in Los Angeles for years. I've attended several times and seen several films so it is so cool to be a part of. Our film will screen at the Chinese Theatre which is quite exciting.

It’s also great to be back. We had to go on hold with our festivals for a while because of the pandemic. The greatest part of the festival circuit is meeting other filmmakers. Now that things are opening up we can ramp up the second half of our festival circuit.

Kate: I’m really looking forward to it!

Brooke has seen it on the big screen at a few festivals that we have played in New York and Arizona. I’ve only been able to see it once in Los Angeles, and due to the pandemic we had to put it on hold.

Thankfully we don’t have to wait much longer. It’s really exciting to have it back out there.

What was it like to represent a pregnant woman on screen?

Kate: It was exciting, but I was nervous too.You’re vulnerable as an actor, so it’s a mixture of excitement and fear. There was added pressure as I co-wrote it with Brooke and I was the executive producer.

I felt duty bound to give Jane, the main character, a chance to shine. It was hard, but so rewarding. It’s such a specific time in a woman’s life if they choose to have a baby. I’ve heard from a lot of mums who have said that it has struck a chord with them, and I love that.

My job was to tunnel through all these different feelings, and Brooke’s job was to capture them in the perfect way that she did.

"I can sit down and write. That’s what I have control over. So I’m doing more of that."

How would you extend the short?

Brooke: We have met several times to discuss this and what shape it would take. There is more to explore, for example what is it like for a woman to have a baby alone. We want to see the different chapters of pregnancy and after. We’ve talked about making a feature or spinning it off into a series, and are in the developmental stages of that.

Most people are wanting more, and that’s a sign that these characters are fun. So I would like to continue to expand the world and Jane’s story.

Are any of you working on any other projects?

Brooke: I’ve been working on a pilot called Wild Woman. I want to start writing television, especially in a comedic fashion. Kate and I want to keep writing and creating together.

It still feels like the beginning of the journey. I’m trying to take control of the things that I can. When you are an artist it is hard, and then throw a pandemic on top of that - wow. Or a child in Kate’s case. There are all of these spinning elements around us that feel uncontrollable. I can sit down and write. That’s what I have control over. So I’m doing more of that.

Kate: The more I realise how special this film is, especially when we hear feedback, Brooke and I need to keep working on this. We had started pre-pandemic to work on a series that was going to be a spin off of Oh, Baby!. We’re also still on the festival circuit, and we have some other festivals that we have gotten into. So we are waiting to finish this. We’re both auditioning too.

It’s such a balance. Brooke is writing a series so she will need to finish that, and I’m raising a child I have to consider for the next 16 years. But I can’t wait that long to create things! We have a lot of irons in the fire so we will see what pops.

Oh, Baby! is featuring in the Dances with Films Festival.