How HLA's Justin Stokes Got Real New Mums to 'Push It' for Pampers
The idea was simple. Mum’s encouraged by their midwives to push through the tough job of delivering a baby, cut to Salt-N-Pepa’s 'Push It'. The execution had to look unquestionably real so the intention was to film in a working hospital with a small unit and pick off moments with mums in labour. I found out pretty quickly that this would be completely impossible and we ruled out filming real births; too many unknowns and mum would be in no fit state to give consent.
The idea was hatched to film a handful of mum’s, some in late stage pregnancy, and some who had given birth just days earlier. We couldn’t do a formal casting session for a variety of reasons, and mum’s were applying to be part of the shoot right up until the last minute. So I arrived on the first shoot day with a cast I hadn’t met. Rule one in creating a film is always to leave nothing to chance, but this approach felt like a great opportunity to create something completely genuine.
We surrounded each mum with reality, a real hospital, a real delivery room or waterbath, real functioning equipment, and crucially, real midwives. Simply asking the midwife to take us step-by-step through all the moments of labour; the breathing techniques, using the gas, contractions, and the big exhaustive pushes. I found each mum would not only go along with the role, they’d really go for it with all the moans, yells, and contorted faces that I knew we needed. I was then free to dial in other ideas; a grimace from dad, a splash of frustration in the water bath from mum (unfortunately didn’t make the cut), mum wondering how to use the gas, an exhausted roll of the eyes, and natural moments of congratulations and surprise as baby is ‘born’ and placed on mum’s chest. With only the occasional mishap with babies weeing everywhere just as we’re getting a great shot, forcing the DOP to run for cover.
The production team at HLA deserve huge credit for the tough job of finding mum’s, midwives and a hospital willing to take part in this. It was a thoroughly enjoyable shoot, and we all gained incredible insight into the moment new life is brought into this world
Justin Stokes is a director at HLA
Category: Nappies , Pharmacy