Names and Narrow-minded Productions

October 1 marks the anniversary of the official release of my Independent film, Babysitting Without a Net, back in 2005. I thought this would be an appropriate time to write something about names. About how I came up with the name for my company, and why I chose the title for the film. Both are connected when viewed from the historical context of the genre.

It started with a series of delightful Internet stories known as Ann the Hapless Babysitter. They had a passionate following, and the character of Ann was suggested to be preparing for a career as a teacher. The stories evolved, and eventually there was a continuation of the storyline as Ann the Hapless Teacher. Thus, the legend of Ann Berrybush was growing. At this time, one fellow writer and devoted fan of the series proposed making an actual film about Ann in her teacher incarnation. For those of us in the ASN community, this had long been a dream, to see our favorite fiction visualized and realized on screen. There was much excitement about this project.

Soon it was revealed that the producer had cast two young ladies for the mischievous antagonists, and a charming young woman to play the title character. Unfortunately, in order to bring on the talent of actresses required, while there was the promise of many underwear scenes, the film would not have any nudity. This made me very upset.

I was a long time fan of the character and the series, which was part of a genre that involved women losing all their clothes. This specific title was part of the ASN, or academy of stripping naked community. While to this day, I am very supportive of the producer’s intentions, back in 2004, I saw this as undermining the opportunity to film the adventures of Ann Berrybush without showing her naked, and not even losing her clothes for implied nudity.

Naturally, I voiced my opinion on various forums, and stated how I was strongly disappointed. Because I could not bring myself to cheer on the project, I was called narrow-minded, since I did not accept the producer’s vision. So I did the only thing I could think of. I announced that I would make my own damn movie. And it would include artistic, but full, nudity.

I have already chronicled how I went about forming my own production company in January of 2005, but this is why I selected the name for Narrow-minded Productions. To me, the term will forever be associated with principles that are uncompromising, unyielding and standing up for what I believe in. Babysitting Without a Net was my defiant response, that a film about a character from the famous stripping naked stories, ought to have the character stripping naked!

So how did I come up with the title Babysitting Without a Net? Well, for starters, due to the other movie in the works about Ann as a teacher, I decided to go back to the roots of the character and cast her as a babysitter. And yet the whole context of the film was about her aspiring to be a teacher, culminating in the final scene, thus staying faithful to the source material.

The phrase “without a net” is meant to suggest risk. I am familiar with it being derived from circus tight-wire or high-wire walkers, who would perform without the aid of a safety net. It made their act much more dangerous, but all the more thrilling. Thus, to do something “without a net” is to take on an endeavor fraught with peril, heedless of the consequences. There was also a Van Halen with Sammy Hagar concert from 1986, which was titled “Live Without a Net”, and that was pretty cool.

Thus I went with the screenplay title from the beginning, reaffirming the character as a babysitter, but would also be taking on responsibility despite with risk of Amy and Louise as her incorrigible charges. There are undertones in the title of this film relating to my starting up a business and the financial risks I took, which makes it work all the more on a personal level.

I am often asked how well Babysitting Without a Net did, and if it was worth it. I can absolutely say yes it was, as I would not be doing my videos today if I never had this experience. And I would not have developed relationships with the wonderful people I have known throughout the years if not for this project. It pleases me to no end that eight long years later, folks are still enjoying the film.

teacherenf

4 responses to “Names and Narrow-minded Productions

    • Hi John,

      I think when I started to do my own video projects, one of the things I wanted to emulate was the cinematogrophy style of Jordan Valenti. Of course, I don’t have the same equipment or background/training, but I always liked how he framed various scenes, or set up shots.

      I think some of the more scripted productions I have put together, like Nice Girls Finish Last, take their cues from Babysitting Without a Net, in terms of delivery and characterizations. Also, watching the director helped me feel comfortable around the actors and positioning them for takes. Although a lof of that comes with experience.

      Those are some of the things that come to mind. I do like having even more creative control over the process with my smaller productions. On the other hand, the way we did musical interludes in the film has been a big inspiration for maintaining that feel in other projects.

      Thanks!

  1. Obvious question if money was not object (because of a huge lottery win or similar) would you do another film like Babysitting?

    • Yes, in a heartbeat. I have sketched out ideas for continuing along a teacher storyline, with the teacher following in Miss Berrybush’s footsteps. But I would like to do something more elaborate, a larger cast for the classroom.

      Another thing that would differentiate such a film project from videos with models is that I would want to do a full casting and rehearsals before production. Probably what stands out the most about Babysitting Without a Net is the quality of acting.

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