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!