One of the most wonderful things about The Story of Eric is that it was a completely volunteer effort.
An asset of being in Los Angeles is that it is the film capital of the world. I had many movie people in
my classes and was always lamenting that we didn't have an up-to-date film. (We were showing a French film,
with Dr. Pierre Vellay and Mme. Blanche Cohen, which was wonderful and very charming
but the plant in the delivery room was a big subject of discussion! It truly
was a French film.)
The New York City Chapter of ASPO had been collecting money and trying to get a
film project going for quite a long time, but nothing seemed to actually be happening. Then one day, we received
an anonymous donation (I believe it was for $5,000) with a note saying, "Do something about 'the
film'." A young producer, David Seltzer, and his wife, Alice, were in my class at that time and we became
friends. As we discussed the dilemma of 'the film' - rather, the lack thereof - David said, "I'm between projects
right now. I'll call in all the favors I'm owed in the business and I'll do it." It was an incredibly generous
offer and did he come through!
It was a huge job and he produced, wrote, and directed it all - and he did call
in all the favors he was owed! I am still awed and profoundly grateful to all the L.A. Lamaze Chapter members
who worked and raised money for direct expenses (such as film); to David; to all the cameramen and sound technicians;
and to Harry Nilsson, composer, musician, and Lamaze parent, who wrote the music for the film. No
one was paid! The spirit, excitement, and generosity were not something usually associated with Hollywood.
The New York City Chapter was not so happy however, for they wanted control over the film, the script - all of
the project. We had quite a row over it; however, as time was of the essence due to David's schedule, we went
ahead with the film. I think the result speaks for itself.
There were other challenges as well. For example,
there was the question of the featured couple for the
film. Since it was a "right now" project, I approached
the people in my current class. After it was all discussed,
Wendy and Rich Johnson were most willing and seemed
as if they would make good subjects. They were the last
in the class to give birth and we had no backup. It was
obviously a "meant-to-be!" One of the cameramen later
said that he had agreed to do the film, believing he would
never marry and have children and, therefore, wanted
to be present at a birth. He was so overwhelmed by
the experience that, after the birth, he kept following
Wendy's gurney down the hall, kissing her and telling
her, "I love you, I love you!"
After the film was "in the can," we had no editor. The
project came to a stop. Several months later, I happened
to ask the husband of one of my students what he did
for a living. He replied, "I'm a film editor." His fate was
sealed! John Farrell spent six weeks in the editing room,
creating the finished The Story of Eric.
For me, the best thing about the film was that every part
of it was a gift, given from love, from appreciation for
Lamaze childbirth, from a sense of community, and from
the fun of working together to make it happen. I am
forever grateful to all who made it happen!
-- Ferris Urbanowski quoted in The Journal of Perinatal Education Vol. 10, No. 2, 2001