Note from Les Branson (Writer, Producer, and Director)
Having My Baby is a truly independent movie shot almost entirely within Dallas or a 70-mile radius of Dallas from 2006 to 2009 using local actors and crew. It was shot with the Canon XL-1, a digital video camera not much different than what one would use to shoot a home movie, wedding, graduation ceremony or family reunion. Most of it was shot using natural lighting or non-professional industrial lights, and using little or no makeup for the actors. Having My Baby is, in essence, a larger than life "homemade movie."
Most of the production team had 40-hour per week jobs in the so-called "real world" to contend with, in addition to the inordinate time required to make a feature-length movie. No one on the production team had the luxury of working in the film industry exclusively. Because of this, most of the scenes in the movie were shot on weekends and holidays. Having My Baby is an independent film in the truest sense, having been created entirely outside the studio system.
With a running time of just under two hours, and completed for approximately $80,000, Having My Baby is a wonderful example of "no-budget" independent filmmaking accomplishing very much with very little. Many independent movie companies spend $80,000 a day, or spend $80,000 making a 3-minute trailer. Shine Box Productions made a complete movie for that amount. Having My Baby is hopefully destined to take its place among the greatest Texas independent films of all time.
Note from David Dixon (Producer, Cinematographer, and Editor)
Having My Baby was shot on digital video (DV) utilizing two Canon XL-1 video cameras for a third of the shoot, then limited to one DV camera for the rest of the production to completion. At $80,000, our budget was small and our story epic and sprawling. Utilizing the flexibility and budget friendly DV format allowed us to shoot Having My Baby under extremely challenging circumstances in many locations. The camera was steadied on consumer grade tripods and in many cases held by the operator without any fancy equipment to lean on. In other words, our camera equipment was the same the average person might use to videotape his or her child's birthday party, only we were seriously putting together an epic, feature length film.
The DV format has been, for the most part, replaced by high definition (HD) video. When we began shooting Having My Baby 3 years ago, there were no readily available consumer or "prosumer" HD cameras. When viewed on a DVD or Blu-ray disc, Having My Baby looks crystal clear. When projected onto the big screen, the grain and video look is intensified. What you see on the screen may be grainy and at times has a video look, but I am proud that we approached the shooting process with complete seriousness despite our lack of "professional" equipment, and I think the compositions and our resourceful use of the format combined to give our movie a look that I am ultimately proud of.