FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Sep 1, 2009

so i made a movie: VOYEUR, part five

...or, Let Me Tell You About My Grandchildren Camping Trip.

Yes, friends, it's time for the long-awaited* final installment of the saga of the making of Voyeur, a short film by Shannon Lark. I held the camera.

Part one of the making of Voyeur can be read here, part two here, part three here, and part four here.
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STACIE PONDER: If the road from San Francisco to Stockton does, in fact, run through the bowels of Hell (as I surmised in our last installment), then the road from Stockton to Sasquatch Mountain runs through the bowels of said bowels. The drive was so incredibly hot, my sweat turned to steam and my face exploded in flames. LITERALLY. I’m fine now, but boy was I miserable THEN.

SHANNON LARK: It was so hot I thought I peed all over Stacie's seat, but then I realized that I was just sitting in my own sweat. Phew!

STACIE PONDER: Things cooled off and got better as we busted a move into the Sasquatch Mountain region…or, as our government insists on calling it, “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.” If you ask me, they would see a revenue rise of AT LEAST 1% if they changed the name, but whatevs. Anyway, I was all agog at the sights and yes, the big ass trees when suddenly a ranger pulled me over. Yes, I got pulled over in a National Park by a ranger…for having a dead taillight. I’m sure the sordid details of my life on the wrong side of the tracks come as some sort of shock to you, but please- don’t judge. Or if you must, then judge my parents, Mad Magazine, and Elvira’s Movie Macabre- it’s because of those things that I am the way I am. Ranger Trotter was very nice and let me go with a…well, a warning, I guess. Despite the fact that she was very nice, however, Shannon and I nicknamed her “Hot to Trotter” and speculated about her promiscuous ways for the remainder of our time in the park.

SHANNON LARK: I think she bursts out of a cake and does a nightly striptease.

STACIE PONDER: We reached the top of the mountain (about 8000 feet) and began down the other side, heading towards the Visitor’s Center, where we figured we’d get all our campsite info, blah blah blah. After 20 minutes of steep descent and insane switchback driving, I thought I felt my brakes getting…mushy. And I could smell ‘em getting…stinky. I commented as much to Shannon, but what could we do? Within minutes, though, my brake pedal went all the way to the fucking floor- which was the moment I decided to, you know, pull over.

SHANNON LARK: I got the feeling we were gonna go over the hill at Sasquatch Mountain, never to be found again, not even by Trotter. Besides, all the sweating made me have to pee.

STACIE PONDER: So there we were, stuck halfway down the mountain with virtually no brakes. Shannon called the ranger station and we sat…and sat…and sat waiting for them to arrive. The sun sank below the horizon, Shannon peed in the woods, and I fretted the fact that whatever the problem with my car was, it was going to cost some money. I also took pictures of the sunset, which was all, like, beautiful and whatever.

Finally the rangers arrived, assessed the situation, and made two suggestions: we could either continue down the mountain, or they could call a tow, which would take several MORE hours to arrive. After a moment’s thought, I figured eh, let’s keep going. My car has a standard transmission; heading down a mountain with virtually no brakes is but ALMOST completely terrifying if you do it in first gear. Since I’m typing this, I think it’s safe for you to assume that we made it.

We got to a campsite after dark, which made for an interesting setup…not to mention that we had no wood, no lighter fluid, no pillows, and no blankets. But we persevered! As Shannon set up the tent, I went and nicely asked our neighbor if we could borrow some lighter fluid. She wasn’t thrilled with the notion, even telling me not to use it all- but she obliged. We pilfered firewood, started a fire, and busted out our warm beers. We didn’t have a bottle opener either, but I managed to open them on a big rock, all cave lady style.

The next day we set about getting my brakes fixed: there was a random garage plopped in the middle of an orange grove that was maybe a half hour away. They fixed my brakes up REAL GOOD friends, and it was cheap. So, if you ever experience car trouble on Sasquatch Mountain, I recommend that guy in the orange grove. I think his name is Robert something…unless the scorching sun that beat on my face during the drive melted my brain and I imagined the whole thing. It’s possible.

SHANNON LARK: I think we felt pretty cool: run-in with the law, brakes go out, no fire, warm beer with no bottle opener, not even a fucking blanket (we used curtains) and we made it. Not only that, we had fun! Robert was awesome.

STACIE PONDER: Shannon and I spent two days on Sasquatch Mountain, doing a bit of hiking and a whole lot of pants peeing when a bear walked by our campsite twice. We paid a visit to good ol’ General Sherman- or, as you might know him, the largest tree in the whole fucking world. Good times…but we had to head back to Los Angeles to tackle the issues with the Voyeur footage. Crap times.

SHANNON LARK: Ugh.

STACIE PONDER: We THOUGHT it would be a breeze, that we could dump the footage onto my computer, convert it, and transfer it to Shannon’s laptop…but nothing computer-related is EVER as easy as you think it’s going to be. Finally, we discovered that we needed Final Cut Pro, and I’m running Final Cut Express. I called my friend Brian, who brought his FCP-flavored laptop over…still no joy. Eventually Brian left, but Shannon and I stayed up until 5:30am trying to get it to work. Nothing.

SHANNON LARK: We tried every conceivable possibility, and it was like a bitch slap in the face. By the end, Stacie and I agreed that if she could get the files, she would transfer them onto tape so I can hopefully see them one day.

STACIE PONDER: Shannon had to fly home later that morning, and she had to do so empty-handed. Well, with regards to footage, anyway- she did bring all the rest of her crap back to New Mexico. She left behind her hard drive, however, so I could continue working on the problem. At that point, we hadn’t even SEEN the Voyeur footage. What if it was corrupted? What if it stunk? What if we’d wasted all that time and effort? Fucking memory card compatibility bullshit. TAPES, my friends, are the way to go.

I worked for the next several days, rendering, re-rendering, importing, exporting, cursing, threatening…and finally, somehow I transferred the footage from their raw, unusable format into .mov file, which Shannon could use in Premiere. I have no idea what voodoo combination finally worked, and I’m sure I could never do it again…which is fine, because I won’t need to. I USE TAPES. I sent everything to Shannon and washed my hands of Voyeur; now I’m just anxiously awaiting the finished product along with the rest of you.

SHANNON LARK: I received the tapes a few days later, in a big happy birthday package with a big ol' birthday note that said blablabla love, Stacie Ponder. It was brilliant. The tapes worked and I could see stuff! YAY!! Voyeur should be released soon, with Ponder and Lark smeared all over it, like sticky sweat that makes you need to pee.





*your interest may vary

3 comments:

Arbogast said...

Hey, I've been there! I think I threw up at the base of that tree.

JA said...

That tree really doesn't look that big in that picture. They shouldn't make the sign so big if they want us to think the tree is big. A tiny little sign would do the trick. Then we, the viewers, would know what we were getting. But here I'm looking at that picture and I'm all, but that sign can't be that big, so the tree must not be that big either, so I have severely lowered expectations for what the supposed biggest tree in the universe will be. So then I'll get in my Winnebago and head out there, thinking I can be all, nyah tree, you ain't such hot shit, and I drive across the country and then the tree is the biggest fucking thing I've ever seen and my entire trip has been for naught, except the very valuable lesson I learned, which is to wear a diaper on road trips, the end.

Stacie Ponder said...

I'm glad you'd be getting SOMETHING out of the trip, at least. You make better time when you wear a diaper, that's for sure.

Not that I know first hand or anything...

Yeah, it's a big fucking tree. A few years ago, a branch fell off- it was 6 feet in diameter in about 100 feet long. You can pretend you're a teeny tiny person as you hang out in Sequoia National Forest.

Not that I know first hand or anything...