Why did I make The Specimen?

Invariably when people hear the premise of the The Specimen followed by its tagline, based on actual events,  I’ll get asked the question, “Did this really happen to you?”

Yes it did.  My wife and I had struggled to get pregnant trying everything from diets and acupuncture to the absurd and beyond.  My wife, Dara, even drank a disgusting tea for 6 months that looked and smelled like swamp water, affectionately know as “dirt tea” in our household.  During that time we had every test imaginable including the testing of my swimmers.

At the time we searched for testing lab locations in the area that our insurance would cover and found only a few, none of which were nearby our home in the Valley.  So I said, “There’s a place here in Beverly Hills. That should be nice.  I’ll go there.”  I went in the morning by myself, as our schedules were pretty hectic.   I was ready to be pampered in a cozy private room with– lets call them, “visual aids” when I was given a brown paper bag with a sterilized cup and a key.  I stared blankly at the nurse who then gave me the following instructions:

You’re going to go back outside and take a left.  Walk to the second building on the left.  At the back of the lobby is an elevator.  Take it to the second floor.  When you get off the elevator go left again to the end of the hall.  There’s a restroom there you can use with that key.  When you’re finished bring it straight back here.”

It’s moments like these in life where Jimmy Buffett’s lyric “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane,” ring true.  As I went to this restroom and was interrupted for the first time, I knew that this had to be in a movie someday.  Not simply for its inherent comic value, but for the catharsis that can be achieved for those who’ve gone to this bathroom before me (because I can’t have been the first), and all those who have yet to arrive (because I’m sure I’m not the last).

My wife and I were not able to conceive a child, but we’ll be damned if we’ll let these experiences just pass us by with no greater meaning.  This film is our way of turning lemons into lemonade.   I sincerely hope you get a good laugh at our pain.


Paul Cuoco


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