so i made a movie: LUDLOW, part seven

Catch up on all the previous installments of So I Made A Movie: LUDLOW right here…presented to you in GLORIOUS DETAIL!

Can I get a WOW up in here? I realize that the cliffhanger ending of the last So I Made A Movie: LUDLOW installment has left you in such a worried state that you’ve been clutching your bosoms for months now, wondering if I ever tackled my computer issues and got Ludlow finished, right?

SHANNON LARK: I even know what happened, and I’m still clutching my bosom.

Well, I did. Pretty much. No longer intimidated by the massive, complex interface, I enlisted the help of things known as “books” and an editor friend known as “Brian” (actually that’s his real name, so ignore the quotation marks), and I quickly tackled the fuck out of Final Cut Express. Once I really got the gist of the way it works I started cruising along- then I discovered what the program can REALLY do and I started all over. As I mentioned, I’d only worked with iMovie in the past, and my options with that were extremely limited- basically, the footage you put in is what you’re stuck with, save a few crappy filters. If your footage stinks, your footage stinks and that’s that.

SHANNON LARK: Brian really is his name. I’m not so sure about this “book” thing she keeps referring to.

Knowing that, I shoot WITHOUT a “Well, I’ll just fix it in post…” mentality. I frame scenes the way I want them to look, I do the best I can with lighting, and so on. But given the possibilities with Final Cut, I can think about style in ways I’d never really considered. At the risk of sounding like Princess Jasmine, it’s a whole new fucking world. I mean, this raw footage…

…becomes something else entirely- something I never thought of while we were filming, because I didn’t know I could do stuff like this.

It all plays into the weird, dreamy aspects of Ludlow. It’s a small, silly, obvious thing, perhaps, but to me it’s quite righteous.

That said, it was a slow process. I worked each scene individually, concentrating solely on the visuals and matching cuts. With no color correction, no audio correction, no music, and nothing close to a complete film, I began to worry a bit about the finished product- especially since I was planning a screening of Ludlow in just a few weeks’ time. It was hard to get a feel of what the movie was going to be like; on June 5, less than three weeks until people were going to come to my house to watch the movie, I wrote: “Stricken with another onset of, ‘Oh my gahd, this totally fucking sucks.’ The comedy-horror comes so easily, but this is tough. Totally feeling discouraged, mostly because the first…oh, seven scenes are so friggin’ quiet. With no music and just a rough cut, it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’ll be…you know, boring. I’m starting to get to the action, though, and I’m feeling better. Still nervous.”

SHANNON LARK: She would call me up and tell me her woes, but I would always reply with “but you’re a badass Stacie, this movie is going to kick serious butt. Look at all we were able to accomplish in 2 days, Final Cut’s got nothin’ on you!” Etc. etc.

All I could do was plug away at it and talk to Shannon for encouragement. I’d send her screen caps or let her know what scene I was working on…Ludlow was filling up my brain, as it had for months. I love editing, so sitting in my little cave ‘round the clock working on the movie was a joy, although I was still unsure if it was any good, or whether I’d be able to finish it in time.

The Final Cut, she is complex. Clicken ze big big.

Though I try to do as much as I possibly can on my own in my movies, one thing I’m not capable of is creating music…despite the fact that I played a mean recorder in 7th grade. Since I cannot use the only songs I remember- the theme from M.A.S.H. and the Oscar Meyer Hot Dog Song- I need to turn to someone else who knows what he or she is doing. I had someone lined up to provide Ludlow with a soundtrack, but that someone…well, flaked out. No music, unreturned phone calls…my deadline was a little over a week away, and I had no fucking music.

I was seriously starting to freak out about that, when all of a sudden I received a magical email; basically, it said, “Hi, I like reading Final Girl and I’m a composer. If you ever need music for one of your films, I’d be happy to help.” That, my friends, is fucking kismet…and to my great relief, I discovered upon listening to his samples that this dude knows what the eff he’s doing. I took Mr. James Barry up on his offer faster than you can say “I took Mr. James Barry up on his offer”; as he’s a local, he came by one night and I showed him a rougher-than-rough cut of Ludlow. He took a copy with him on a DVD, and a few days later he had a score for me. A score. A SCORRRRRRE. He came over again and we dropped in some tracks and…mah lord, kids. It was amazing, and it made Ludlow feel like a real fucking movie. It was 100% fitting that it would all come together in this bizarre fashion- it simply wouldn’t be Ludlow if things weren’t effed up and weird, now, would it?

SHANNON LARK: I couldn’t believe that James pulled all that together in like…2 days. He must be made of superhuman stuff, with a big C on his chest. By the way, C is for Composer, get your mind out of the gutter. Sheesh!

I met my deadline. I had my screening (Shannon and I talked about that a bit in So I Made A Movie: VOYEUR), and Ludlow was pretty well-received. The comment I heard over and over again is that Shannon is terrific- yes folks, lo and behold, she can act! She’s really fucking good in this movie. I’m proud of her performance- she makes the movie, as far as I’m concerned- and I can’t wait for everyone in the whole wide world to see it. It’s amazing what’s possible when two girls who just met get drunk together and sign a napkin contract, yeah?

SHANNON LARK: Yeah!! They all said it was good, except for that main actress who can’t really act. But I was too wasted to hear any of that; I had a date with a curtain.

NEXT TIME: The end…and beyond!

like, stuff and stuff

Hmm. You know, I created this website in a futuristic blog-style format so I could keep it updated every minute with every detail of my scintillating and glamourous life, but now I see I haven’t updated it in over a month! This most likely means one of two things: 1) I’m a big lame, or 2) there’s nothing much to update.

Actually, there are some updates, but I don’t know…I feel all weird blah blah blahing about everything all over The Internet, and frankly being all me me me makes me feel even weirder. But, the site is here, so why not blah blah blah about me me me?

  • Final Girl continues on and on. You probably already know that, because I can’t imagine many people visit me here but not there.
  • I’ve been writing for Rue Morgue magazine…oh, for the last few issues now. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. No really, I can’t. It’s in my contract.
  • I’ve been making some movies! Ludlow is almost finished; the fundraising drive was a huge success, and I’ll be sure to chronicle the end of Ludlow: Stage One in another installment of So I Made A Movie soon. Stage Two, I suppose, is getting the film into the hands and eyeballs and earholes of viewers.
  • In addition to Ludlow, I’ve been acting as DP for Shannon Lark on a few of her movies. We blathered on about the making of one of them, Voyeur, at our websites already. Click to read!

One of the best things about making these movie with Shannon- aside from , you know, making the movies- is that we usually manage to sneak in some little getaway trip after the shoot. When Voyeur wrapped, we camped for two days at Sasquatch Mountain, aka Sequoia National Park. A couple of weeks ago, after finishing up Ludlow and Lipstick, we went to Death muthafucking Valley for a few days…camping and exploring and alternating between freezing cold and unbearable heat. It was amazing.

So, I don’t know. I’m working on movies, writing as much as I can, and trying to finish inking a damn comic book I’m months behind on. In between all that, I eat pizza and watch the occasional movie. Things could be worse.