Hello, Birth 101 class staff —
My wife and I attended your screening of Birthing Video last night, and I have some notes.
I hate to say it, but your female lead just isn’t likable. For the film to work, we have to want to root for the main character, but I couldn’t empathize with her at all. Does she really have to be shouting obscenities the whole time?
I know she’s in pain from the contractions and the vaginal tearing, but you should consider giving her an underlying core wound that the audience can find more relatable. Maybe she’s so hot that other women instinctively hate her, like Erin Brokovich. Or she could be super worried about how fat she’s gotten, like Bridget Jones. Or maybe her boobs are too big for regular bras, and she’s forced to shop at a special store? You could add a flashback scene of her trying to find the right bra while a store manager yells, “Don’t stretch out my merchandise with those bowling balls!” That sounds devastating.
I gather you intended the husband to be the antagonist, but the conflict between your leads was incredibly one-sided. He brought her ice chips and stood by, smiling gently while she called him “a mouth-breathing idiot.” If you intend him to be the villain, we need some intrigue, some betrayal, maybe even an attempted homicide. Or perhaps, and I’m just spitballing here, he could be your protagonist and she could be the villain? She can even leave the poor guy for the doctor at the end, like the hollering banshee she is.
Remember, film is a visual medium. The white-walled hospital room leaves a lot to be desired. The lighting was particularly harsh and did your actress no favors.
You lean a little too hard on the trope of the dutiful nurse. The specific is universal, so make her stand out with some quirky backstory. Perhaps she has a side gig at the bra store, and she was the one who insulted our protagonist’s giant knockers. That would really ratchet up the drama.
Audiences love to catch glimpses of character through clothing, but your poor lead is stuck in a hospital gown for the entire film. A pair of cherry red thigh-high boots could really add some visual interest to the scenes where she’s in stirrups.
I applaud the visceral, practical effects you deployed to show a human head emerging from your main character’s impossibly stretched-out vagina. But I think it might be just a little too gory for a PG-13 audience. Perhaps your postproduction team could use CGI to downsize the baby. While they’re at it, they might as well clean up the unrealistically shaggy carpet too, if you catch my drift.
You can’t market a film with a title like Birthing Video. Consider shortening it to something catchier like Birth or EpisiotoME. Or if you want to run with the horror vibes, The Crowning.
Getting a movie made is a minor miracle, so I sincerely applaud your team’s efforts. With some tweaks, I think this little indie could be a big hit on the festival circuit.
Richard Johnson Jr.