Entries Tagged 'so i made a movie' ↓

so i made a movie: LIP STICK, part two

Wanna read part one of the making of Lip Stick? Then do it and quitcher whining!

SHANNON LARK: If I was shooting with anyone else but Stacie, filming this movie would have been a bit uncomfortable. Not only is this woman obsessed with her vagina, but she's like...really, really depressed.

STACIE PONDER: As someone who's been depressed AND who owns a vagina, I was clearly made to be a part of this film! But really, the stuff Shannon did in this movie was, at times...interesting, so it's understandable that she wanted to be completely comfortable during the shoot. If she wasn't able to go completely balls out with it (metaphorical balls, I mean), then there's no way Lip Stick would have or could have been successful.

SHANNON LARK: There isn't a lot of dialogue in the film, except for a voice over, so the emotions had to be shown in the body. Stacie would have to direct me on moving my shoulders or doing small things, afterward we would crack up laughing and say something to the effect of "wow, that's really fucked up." I slowly began to realize what sort of position I had put Stacie in, and I silently hoped that it wasn't an uncomfortable one.

STACIE PONDER: Yeah, it was...hmm. Trying to figure out different ways for Shannon to cram crap up her cram hole while not actually showing anything at all was...interesting. And really, really hilarious. Oddly enough, none of it ever felt odd. I think we were each concerned with how the other person was handling all the...fake cramming. The outtakes must be quite a larf.

SHANNON LARK: This time around, we actually had like...time. This was a 3 page script, and we shot for 12 hours straight. After a while I thought the neighbors were going to think we were shooting a porno, but they were all European, so they probably understood.:)

STACIE PONDER: I can only imagine what they were thinking. I remember once I stayed at a motel somewhere and a couple in the room next door had the most comically ridiculously loud sex almost immediately after they arrived. The novelty for me wore off after about 30 seconds, so I do feel for our tourist neighbors who had to listen to fake sexytime noises AND yelling and screaming horror movie noises well into the night. At least they were all too polite to complain.

SHANNON LARK: Not having a crew to utilize, we did everything ourselves: the cleaning, and organizing, making coffee, and peeling avocados. The blood scene took some preparation. We had to purchase sheets and put down plastic, hook up a blood pump and somehow secure a giant latex application quickly. Stacie proved once again that she was a bad ass, and helped me immensely with making sure we did an efficient job, very very quickly.

There was an immense amount of blood we used, which created a cesspool on the bed. After we shot the fx, Stacie went outside to see a meteor shower crossing over us (and Death Valley). I cleaned up and got ready for the next shot. I was determined. Although I do wish I had broken away to see they sky.

STACIE PONDER: When we finally took a break and went outside of the room for some fresh air and chips and salsa, I was immediately blown away by our surroundings. I'd been to Death Valley before, but never at night, and MY GOD it was beautiful. Pitch pitch pitch black- so dark you can't see your hand in front of your face- and the biggest sky full of stars I've ever seen. There was a meteor shower and a heat lightning storm towards the horizon, and you can see the fucking Milky Way out there. The Milky Way! You can see it! The Milky Way! In your eyeballs! I tried to get Shannon out there with some "Dude, just take a break for a few minutes and COME SEE THE FUCKING UNIVERSE" but to no avail. Her brain was buried in the script too much to look up for a bit. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere. Or maybe not, since we had a movie to shoot and it was really late. I don't know.

SHANNON LARK: It was about 11:30 when we were done with the fx, and we had to get the last few important aspects of the film. By the time it was 3am, we were both exhausted. The film is depressing and weird and moody, and it certainly affected me, especially since I had already been on the road for almost a month. I had experienced a maze of weird and uncomfortable situations since I left home, so shooting Lip Stick was just the icing on the cake.

This shoot kind of took more out of me than any other we've done for some reason. Maybe my blood sugar got too low, or the heat of the day caught up to me, or...who knows. Whatever the cause, I know things got a little weird because I was exhausted- Shannon must have been doubly quadruply so. We had some different ideas on how to approach some things in the script, I think, so it took a while longer to figure out which paths to take and how to get there, which sucks when you're that tired. We'd gotten the FX out of the way, which was great, but saved the most difficult stuff for last.

SHANNON LARK: We decided immediately to have a drink and celebrate, since we never have with any other shoot before. We got fucking trashed and passed out at 5am. All the while I'm trying to get Stacie to eat these nasty complimentary donuts I found in the lobby. I just couldn't understand why she wouldn't eat them if she didn't have a gluten intolerance like I do. How odd!

The next morning, Stacie found a black vinegaroon in her hair, which had actually made an appearance in the film! I tried not to laugh, but it was really funny!! SHE WAS SO FREAKED OUT! It reminded me of this time a few months ago where I found one of those suckers in my pants, after I put them on. It was near my crotch, and it was terrifying. I've never taken off my pants so quickly.

After an omelet, we headed towards Death Valley, which you'll be able to read all about in the Ludlow series...
STACIE PONDER: Shannon disappeared right after we cleaned up without telling me what was going on, so I figured she needed to go decompress from the damn movie. Then she came back with some orange juice (to go with our gin: nice-n-classy, we are) and it was just perfect. We got energized enough to get drunk- finally managing to toast ourselves for once after all the work. The next morning, I felt like there was something in my hair, but chalked it up to...I don't know, scabies or something. Then it felt weird again, so I really started fucking with my hair and a GD vinegaroon came plopping out onto the floor and I FLIPPED. Who knows how long it was up there? Did it build a nest and have babies? Did it invite friends over? What the fuck else was going to come crawling out of my hair later on? It was SO NOT COOL. It was just like that urban legend about the girl who gets a cactus and there are spiders in the cactus but she doesn't know it, and they crawl up her vagina and lay eggs. It was JUST like that, except there was no cactus and nothing crawled up my vagina and laid eggs (to the best of my knowledge) and it wasn't a spider. But otherwise? Totally the same.

so i made a movie: LIP STICK, part one

No, Shannon Lark and I aren't done making stuff yet. Yes, I'm still working on Ludlow. Being a one-woman band can be taxing, but it's neat to wear cymbals between one's knees.

Sorry, I need more coffee.

SHANNON LARK: With all the ballyhoo over Ludlow, Voyeur, and the 100 million other things that Stacie Ponder and I collectively have going on (ahh, the life of an artist), I suddenly realized while eating chocolate chip ice cream last night that we haven't even begun the wonderful journey of reporting on our first co-directorial feat: Lip Stick....

This wonderful little film came about when Stacie was developing the script for Ludlow. Never having worked together before, we felt (at least I did) that throwing out ideas into the open will help the creative errr...juices get flowing.

That's right- that's how SHE felt. Here she was, this girl I barely knew- some actor for crying out loud- flapping her gums and throwing around all these "ideas".

Okay, fine...so I invited her ideas and I threw mine her way before I'd written anything. It was a strange way for me to put together a script, this "collaboration", but I loved having someone to really bounce ideas off of, even if mine often made no sense. And look! We got a whole 'nother script out of it.

SHANNON LARK: I had this idea that maybe the main character should be a chronic masturbator. I emailed Stacie in a flurry, all flushed in the face with excitement. From there I launched into an entire story about a woman who can't stop masturbating, with a serious case of vagina dentata on the brain.

I know, I know. This sounds like a porn. Actually, it sounds like a great porn, but the script actually is really, really fucked up- ie: my kinda horror movie.

Stacie humored me for a while, but I soon realized that this is a story I should take and run with, and might not be suitable for Ludlow.

STACIE PONDER: I am not one to question the whimsies of Shannon Lark (if chronic masturbation can truly be called a "whimsy")- it just...yeah, it wasn't the right...err, track to explore with the way Ludlow was coming together. If your main character is a CHRONIC masturbator, then that really needs to be addressed in the script, in my opinion. It's not quite like making your character chew gum all the time, which may only prompt a "Oh, I guess she really enjoys gum!" from the audience; if the lead is masturbating almost all the time, you should probably mention why she's constantly gettin' her diddle on,you know?

That said, I could see that Shannon was enthusiastic about this character tic, so I suggested she take it and run with it (boy, did she)...but that if she really wanted her character to masturbate in Ludlow, I'd work it in somehow.

Yes, this is the way we operate.

So I wrote it up as a script, investigating how the story of vagina dentata is just about as old as jesus. It's been told throughout every culture, in some form or another, to keep boys away from strange women who might trap them with their feminine devices. It's classic. It's timeless. It's VAGINA DENTATA!!

STACIE PONDER: It's fun for the whole family!

Sorry, that's...really wrong.

SHANNON LARK: After a failed shoot in Oklahoma City due to finances, in early July I still had no idea how the hell I was going to get this film shot. I considered using the film crew around where I live, but then I realized how much masturbating I was going to be doing, and I decided against it. The neighborhood kid down the street doesn't need to be on a set like that, you know?

STACIE PONDER: Or does he?

SHANNON LARK: Ludlow came and went, and Stacie and I were forever changed and bound in sinners blood (and tuna juice).

Okay, stop. Just to clear the air, she really means tuna juice. Like, juice from a tuna. A tuna fish. Juice. She spilled tuna juice all over one of the beds in our little room at the Ludlow Motel, and it stank up the place. Then later I spilled peperoncini juice all over the crotch of my pants, and that stank up the place even more. Sometimes having a cast of, at most, three and a crew of one is a good thing.

SHANNON LARK: We shot Voyeur in San Francisco, and throughout all the ridiculous amount of technical difficulties and rampantly loose car brakes, we came out OKAY. It dawned on me right before I went on a trip to LA that Stacie and I could do this movie together. We practically made a feature in 2 days, so what could possibly stop us from making Lip Stick with absolutely no money? I milled it over with Stacie and we agreed to co-direct the film.

STACIE PONDER: It's never stopped me before, that's for sure. I've never had a budget over a whopping low-4 figures, and before Ludlow, I kept things within the $50 range. SHOCKING, I know.

I've never "co-directed" anything before, but Shannon and I had already established a very collaborative working style, so I figured it would be more of the same- I'd just end up with a fancy credit. But of course I was flattered she wanted to make this movie with me, so I was all, "Yes, please."

Then I did an interview with the Last Blog on the Left, where I acted like a complete nutcase. I was so excited that I was shaking and sweating by the end of the interview. I reached for more coffee and hauled ass on getting the props together. I wanted to bring as much as I could to the table.

After being on the road for about 3 weeks I flew to Burbank and Stacie picked me up at the airport. We were so excited for what was in store: shooting the remainder of Ludlow, Lip Stick, and then off to Death Valley to roast our hair off. I won't go into detail about Ludlow, or Death Valley, because I'm sure we will cover in that in the "So I Made a Movie: Ludlow" series, but know this: IT WAS AWESOME.

STACIE PONDER: Yeah, hmm. I should update people on the happenings Ludlow at some point, I suppose. Until then, yes, I wholeheartedly agree: we ended up having an incredible week of making movies and roasting in the sun and freezing under the moon. I LOVE DEATH VALLEY.

SHANNON LARK: Stacie had recommended we shoot at the Amargosa Opera House, which has a motel connected to it, right outside of Death Valley. Marta Becket owns the Opera House and paints all over the walls: the headboards, bathrooms, ceiling borders, everything! I researched the website and decided on the perfect room. When we arrived to the motel it was f-ing hot, but nothing like what we were going to experience in Death Valley. Stacie had mentioned it was out in the middle of nowhere, but I didn't think there would actually be NOTHING out there. Luckily, the motel had a restaurant attached with a really, really nice waitress who gave us grapes they grew out there. How the hell they were able to grow grapes out there is beyond me. It must have been in a special greenhouse...or something.

STACIE PONDER: Some time ago a friend tipped me off about the Amargosa, how it was this amazing, kind of magical place out by Death Valley, and I'd originally intended to go there to shoot Ludlow. Once that script was finished, though, it was patently obvious that it wouldn't suit my needs- it's a weird place, but not creepy enough...certainly not fleabag-y enough. Though it's in the middle of nowhere (like Shannon said, there's NOTHING around), the building itself doesn't feel isolated, if that makes sense. On top of all that, it's a good 4+ hours away from Los Angeles, and I certainly couldn't ask the other actors to drive out there to shoot for a couple of hours. The Amargosa never left my mind, though, so when Shannon and I started talking about Lip Stick, I threw it out there. I'm just glad she found it as intriguing as I did.

SHANNON LARK: After eating and unpacking the car into the incredibly small room we were shooting in, we immediately set up and got down to business. Our neighbors were definitely in for a treat.:)

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!

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.

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.


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

so i made a movie: VOYEUR, part four

Finally! I know you've been holding your breath with anticipation, but it's finally here: another installment of So I Made A Movie. Voyeur is a short film written by, directed by, and starring Shannon Lark. I acted as cinematographer.

We just know how much you dug our silly write-ups for Ludlow, so we decided to continue the series. See what you've wrought? This is what happens when you pay attention to us. Part One can be read here, part two here, and part three here.

SHANNON LARK: Once Stacie and I met the camera guy (no quotations this time guys, it’s my birthday today and I feel like doing whatever the hell I like) in the kitchen to get the footage transferred. Oh boy…to make a long story short that would drag on indefinitely, we hooked up the S x S adapter to my hard drive and imported the footage onto my laptop. However, I did not have the proper software (nor did I know I was supposed to have this software) that would convert the now imported the BPAV files to quicktime, nor did we have internet so I could attempt to download the software from Sony’s website.

So we imported it into the camera guy’s laptop, where he converted the files. We transferred the converted Quicktime files to my computer and it was a no-go. I couldn’t see them, nor could I see them in my editing program. I use Windows still (I know, I know, I suck) and my editing software is Adobe Premiere, while the camera guy uses a Mac and Final Cut Pro. After much ballyhoo and all three of us trying to figure out what we are going to do with these stupid files, we decided that the camera guy will keep a copy of the footage, I would keep a copy of the footage, and Stacie and I would go back down to LA and use her Mac which conveniently has Final Cut Express.

STACIE PONDER: This is a prime example of why I love using tapes. Yes, a large part of bias is due to the fact that I'm old and I mistrust all technology (and these kids today, with their low-slung pants), but mostly it's just that…well, I guess it's because I mistrust technology. Sure, things can go wrong with footage on tapes, but for the most part you don't have to worry about corrupted files and incompatible systems. What really sucked was that once Camera Guy split, Shannon and I wouldn't have instant access to the footage. I was a bit worried that we'd encounter problems back in Los Angeles and all of our hard work would disappear into the ether.

SHANNON LARK: The camera guy left as I woke up the sleeping Pippi and we put the apartment back together. Pippi had taken pictures of Harry’s apartment before we moved everything aside, so we got the pics and she arranged everything back to where it was. Stacie and I walked down to the parking garage and got her car after I ran up to the pay window and saw my favorite attendant, Wen, behind the glass. He practically jumped out of his seat when he saw me. At first I thought it was because he hadn’t seen me for 6 months, but then I realized I was still covered in fake blood. I bumbled through explaining that even though it was daylight outside and I was covered in blood, it was just “what I do…you know...movie stuff.”

I jumped in the car with Stacie and we motored back to Harry’s, moving all of our crap out of the apt and into the car. I left a thank you note for Harry and all three of us left the apartment, shutting the door. It was 7:30am.

STACIE PONDER: I was so exhausted that it seemed as though the ground was undulating beneath my feet. I felt like my eyes were going to fall out of my eye holes- I can only imagine how wiped Shannon must have been, considering all she'd been through during the shoot- but then I got a second or third or eighth wind…at least enough to get us home.

SHANNON LARK: We dropped off Pippi at her car and drove back to Darren’s. Stacie was still, somehow, a badass driver after being up for 24 hours. Honestly I think she might be an alien.

We dragged more crap up to Darren’s so I could reorganize and burst in the door, laughing hysterically. I still had my sunglasses on and if one didn’t know it, they might think I was drunk, or maybe still tripping on LSD I took the night before. That’s one of the many things I love about filmmaking: it truly gets you high. Higher than any drug you’ve ever taken before (except ecstasy). The feelings you derive from finishing a shoot is truly astounding. Filmmaking isn’t easy, and Stacie and I rocked its rapey-ass!

STACIE PONDER: Poor Darren wasn't quite sure what to think, no doubt. I felt- and probably looked- as if I'd just completed a tour of 'Nam, and we were barely coherent as we lugged all the bags into his apartment. I'm not sure if this cracked-out euphoria is due to the filming itself, or to the fact that we film intense stuff for far too many hours in a row and by the time we're finished our brains are leaking. Either way, it's pretty fucking awesome, if irritating to everyone else we encounter.

SHANNON LARK: After much needed showers, we hit the sack, and we hit it hard. I awoke a couple hours later and started repacking and organizing. Stacie woke up shortly after and we had chicory coffee and attempted to download the appropriate software to convert the footage to QuickTime files. Hmmm….yeah. Darren even jumped in to help us until we realized that the software is actually not compatible with windows. The prospect of not being able to access this footage hit me, and it was terrifying.

STACIE PONDER: See? Technology. You just can't trust it. Alright, so maybe it's not the technology's fault per se. It is, however, as the old saying goes: "If Camera Guy had given us all of the correct information beforehand, chances are we would have avoided most of the fucking problems with the footage transfer because we would have known what the fuck we were doing."

SHANNON LARK: So we packed up, drug all of our crap back down to the street, got in the car, and drove to Stockton to meet Pippi at a hotel she reserved for us to share. The ride out there was fucking HOT, and we were drenched in sweat by the time we made it to beautiful Stockton. Stacie and I like to be hardcore, and we like the idea that we like to be hardcore, and can sleep ANYWHERE. But it was truly wonderful to get into a nice hotel room with beds. I took another shower and got ready for the Viscera screening that Pippi organized at the Plea for Peace Center.

STACIE PONDER: The ride was ridiculously hot, which didn't do much to perk me up. Apparently the highway between San Francisco and Stockton runs directly through the bowels of Hell. The hotel room was totally worth it, though, as it was much nicer than what I'm accustomed to when I'm on the road (ahem, Ludlow Motel)…big ups to Pippi for scoring it! Wait…does "big ups" actually mean anything? Is that what the kids are saying nowadays?

SHANNON LARK: Stacie and I met her down there about an hour later, and we met her awesome friend Cherry and saw Reyna Young and Co. I bought Stacie an ice pop for being my pal and we watched the Viscera films and did a Q & A afterwards, where Stacie even like…spoke! It was nice just to sit down in a chair. I was exhausted and bruised on my ribs, arms, legs, really all over my body. I guess that what happens when someone beats the shit out of you repeatedly. :)

STACIE PONDER: It was my first ice pop in years. YEARS I SAY, and it will probably be my last. Nothing against ice pops, really, it's just that we don't tend to run in the same circles anymore. I just…I think I'm in a different place now than I was when I was having ice pops all the time- and I'm not saying it's any better, nor any worse…it's only that we've grown apart. Err…anyway. It's always a treat to revisit the first round of Viscera films. What was really interesting to me was watching Shannon's early films- after watching her work in Ludlow and Voyeur, it's obviously how much she's grown as an actress and filmmaker in a short time. Watching "It's My Birthday", for example, I couldn't help but think, "Aww, it's Baby Shannon." Oh, and I did speak at the Q & A, although I'm not exactly sure why.

SHANNON LARK: We hit the local Stockton bar afterward, which was an interesting social experiment of lonely, desperate, drunk men in America. It really felt like home to me and provided deep nostalgia I found humor in.

The next morning I made a visit to the hot tub at the hotel and we got an amazing breakfast at a local Mexican restaurant (oh my lord shrimp tacos!). Stacie and I said goodbye to Pippi and hit the road to Sasquatch Mountain to see some big ass trees.

STACIE PONDER: I was SO EXCITED to see the big ass trees. I couldn't get wait to get there. At some point before we left Stockton, Shannon said to me something like, "It's too bad we can't go camping…" to which I naturally replied "Well, why CAN'T we go camping?" Before you could say FUCK YEAH, we hit a Target and picked up a little tent, 2 flashlights, 2 coffee cups, and an aluminum percolator. What else could we POSSIBLY need for 2 nights on Sasquatch Mountain?

it’s the final countdown!

do do do doooo
do do do do doooo
do do do doooo
do do do do do do doooo
do do doooo
do do doooo
do do do do do do doooo
do dooooooooooooooooo

Umm. What I mean is, I'm fixin' ta head back out to Ludlow in five mere days! Five! Mere! Days!

The scenes to be added have been written, and I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that the footage WILL MAKE THE MOVIE LONGER.

As this was my intent, I am quite pleased.

The motel room has been reserved...sorta. I drove on out to Good Ol' Luddie a couple of days ago and requested a stay in Room 8 (where we'd originally filmed) next week, only to be told that Room 8 is not being rented at the moment. There's a broken air conditioner and "other problems". I certainly shouldn't be surprised that I've already encountered some sort of difficulty out in that hellish wasteland- really, duh. Doy doy, even. But still, man- fuckin' Ludlow!

I have no idea what's going on in Room 8, but I feel fairly certain that it was built over an Indian burial ground and the dum dum developers only moved the headstones.

Anyway, Shannon and I will soldier on as we do and Ludlow will be in the can in a week's time. That said, this is my final fundraising push! Seriously, you guys have been amazing with the donating. A. Maze. Ing. I'm ever so thankful, and with your help we're going to shoot the most EXTREME MOUNTAIN DEW STYLE scenes yet. I can't wait.

If you haven't given yet and you'd like to, click here to find out how- or just click the Paypal button on yonder right. Please, spread the word in these scintillating final hours!

To further tempt you, don't forget the goodies: the person who donates the most will receive a painting- this you already knew. However, there are now BONUS INCENTIVES! 2- yes, TWO- lucky folks will be chosen at random to receive a special Ludlow-related prize. A prize. Related to Ludlow. Ludlow the town. Prizes from the infamous Chevron station. Prizes that are, in the truest sense of the word, PRIZES. A $10 donation gets your name into the Super Ludlow Prize Raffle AND into the film's credits. That's a win-win if I've ever heard of one, and believe me- I have.

Besides, how can you resist helping out a girl who so clearly enjoys being doused with blood?

so i made a movie: VOYEUR, part three

Yes, another installment of So I Made A Movie. Voyeur is a short film written by, directed by, and starring Shannon Lark. I acted as cinematographer.

We just know how much you dug our silly write-ups for Ludlow, so we decided to continue the series. See what you've wrought? This is what happens when you pay attention to us. Part One can be read here, part two here.
SHANNON LARK: Stacie and I hit the fucking streets like crazy wide-eyed hippies, fighting traffic with one fist between the two of us, and landed across the street from Harry’s apartment. Slowly we moved everything out of the car, again fighting traffic with one single fist, and started the ridiculous process of moving everything up to Harry’s apartment at a snail's pace. Stacie drove all the way down the street to park at the garage (F-YOU San Francisco parking!) and the “camera guy” arrived and started to unload the equipment I rented.

STACIE PONDER: First of all, I think San Francisco learned its lesson right quick: the power of our combined fist is not to be trifled with- The One Fist is strong, particularly when we shake it in a menacing fashion. Which we did.

Yes, Shannon sent me off to a garage to park the car while she waited with our piles and piles of crap; mind you, I had no idea where I was or really where I was going. I exited the garage…err, really not close to where I entered. Nothing was familiar (totally shocking, as I'd never been there before) and I had to wander the harsh afternoon streets of San Fran, stranger in a strange land…for ten minutes. Then I remembered I'd left a trail of Reese's Pieces to follow back to Shannon and our crap. The trail was helpful AND delicious!

SHANNON LARK: We met Harry in the lobby and followed him into the elevator, up to his pad. He showed me the ropes of the antique building, informed me of all their rules, and also made sure to let me know there was vodka in his cabinet before he took off at lightning speed into the wilderness.

STACIE PONDER: Harry's apartment is madness, like I've never seen. If Liberace was a living space and not a human being, he would be this apartment. The amount of stuff crammed in there was overwhelming! It all had this rococo, scallop-edged, ambrosia salad and gold leaf feel to it, which I found fascinating. It was immediately clear why Shannon chose this as her location- it was fashionably insane.

SHANNON LARK: Stacie and I slowly got everything into the service elevator (the other elevator was broken), up 6 flights, down the hall, and into Harry’s apartment. The crew began to show up and I gave out directions like a madwoman while Stacie sat down with the “camera guy” to figure out the camera and lenses she’s never worked with before in her life.

STACIE PONDER: Yeesh. YEESH I SAY. This is where my true anxiety came in: it's one thing to shoot someone's movie. It's something else entirely- something way more flop-sweat inducing- to shoot someone's movie with someone's zillion-dollar, super-fancy ass camera. I realize I'm ghetto, but…my camera has one button. This camera had buttons with…other buttons, and secretaries to make appointments to see the buttons, and it takes, like, three months to get in to see the buttons because they're so important and busy.

Okay, that doesn't make sense. The point is, though, this was a super sweet professional piece of equipment and I'd been freaking out for days and days over using it. But then, as I watched "camera guy" sort of bumble his way through putting an adapter on his own camera, as I told him what certain functions were all about and how to use them, as I got the gist of what was going on in a theoretical manner of speaking, I felt better. I was not going to be intimidated by some extra stinking BUTTONS, no- I was to become the Button Master. I relaxed, hefted that 30-odd pound bad boy up onto a tripod, and I was finally ready to roll.

SHANNON LARK: The other Stacy (whom we call Pippi) showed up and I appointed her Production Manager. After about 2 hours of Stacie (not Pippi, Ponder) learning the equipment we shot our first scene in the elevator. Oh boy. To those of you who have never worked with a Letus 35mm lens and adapter before, we have some information for you: move 6 inches and you're screwed. Stacie struggled to keep pulling focus but if I moved at all within the frame, I would go fuzzy. So we took the camera back upstairs and talked to the “camera guy” about our situation. Supposedly when working with the Letus, you will need someone to pull focus the ENTIRE TIME. We were informed that the Letus was really used for scenes where “people sit down and have a conversation.”

Fuckin' Letus. It makes a beautiful picture, sure, but oh, the focus. Without the focus contraption thingy- yes, that's the technical term- and a Focus Puller, it quickly proved impossible for me to shoot. Actually the shooting was fine- it was…you know, the blurriness that was a problem. Although maybe we could have done the whole film out of focus and claimed it was some sort of artistic statement, and that if the audience went home with a headache, well, that was intentional.

SHANNON LARK: After disagreeing with the “camera guy” that we should just use the Letus “sometimes,” I informed everyone in the general vicinity that we are shooting a horror film and we do not have someone to pull focus nor do we have the time. The Letus was taken off and Stacie, Audrey (the wonderful sound girl), and I dashed into the elevator once again. We quickly moved on to the next scene and Stacie had me look through the viewfinder after we set the lights up. I knew from that very moment that Stacie was doing such a phenomenal job, and she had a secure idea of how I wanted the image to look: I wanted it to be pretty, dammit.

STACIE PONDER: Ugh, it was taking me for-fucking-ever to set up. The equipment was unfamiliar, I wanted everything to be as perfect as I could make it, and everyone was LOOKING at me whilst I was doing all this. Once we got that first REAL shot done and in the bag and everyone thought it was swell, I breathed a sigh of relief and settled in a bit. But just a bit…we'd only shot about five minutes of footage at this point, and we were so far behind our already-tight schedule…

SHANNON LARK: From that moment we were moving so fast that I couldn’t actually tell if I was doing a good job acting or not. I just had to trust Stacie to let me know if I wasn’t doing an action as well as I could be. We had to push for time since the camera fiasco put us back by about 2-3 hours, and we were supposed to be done no later than 2am. I cut shots to make it easier and Pippi kept me going by shoving coffee and avocado in my mouth.

STACIE PONDER: It became a mildly-controlled frenzy. One of the very first scenes we shot after the hours-long Letus fiasco was little more than an insert; I could read a sort of…I don't know, a mildly disappointed resignation on Shannon's face that things got off to a rocky start. I didn't blame her, as we'd been prepared to hit the ground running only to have, like, our shoes explode when the starting gun went off. I knew she'd bounce back quickly, but I wanted to make sure we didn't end up sacrificing quality or getting things exactly how she wanted them because of the time crunch. In other words, I didn't want Voyeur to become "Eh, that's good enough" when we both wanted it to be…well, fucking pretty.

SHANNON LARK: That’s exactly what Stacie did. Through the frenzy of needing to get the shots done, she refused to let me sacrifice the prettiness of the project. The crew was absolutely excellent, which is something I wanted Stacie to experience: like…where people help out and stuff. They were patient when they needed to be and they moved quickly when the crunch came. It was all women, which made it A-MAZING. The set was absolutely luxurious, and everyone seemed to understand stylistically what we were going for.

Around 11:30pm I was in the middle of doing the rape scene on Harry’s bed and had Bodhi, the Stylist, call Harry to let him know we might need more time (heh). He then said the glorious words, “I’m getting a hotel room, so take your time, and lock up when you are finished.” From that point, my brain just…relaxed. We were not going to get kicked out and be denied the final shots. We were golden!!

STACIE PONDER: Once we got the okay from Harry that we could stay, the room got a bit more energized. I don't care, I'll shoot all night long. It was good to know, however, that at the stroke of two we wouldn't turn back into pumpkins or whatevs.

The crew was indeed fantastic, but in a way they stressed me out- not because of anything anyone did, but because I loathe making people wait. I realize that movie-making is, in large part, people standing around waiting for things to happen, but I can't stand that feeling of not getting a piece of equipment to work, or needing to spend lots of time getting the lights just so, or dealing with the other irritating minutiae in every set-up…especially when everyone's standing around gawking at me. I suppose that's something I'll just have to get used to, especially if I intend to continue to make films with so-called "actual crews".

SHANNON LARK: I think one of the most annoying things that happened during the shoot was the camera, and feeling the pain of Stacie trying to make the stupid thing work. This was a 20 thousand dollar piece of plastic and lens, but it refused to white balance and would actually turn from a red to a blue hue WHILE WE WERE SHOOTING! This took Stacie a long time to get lighting right, because it was a tricky bastard. We began to believe that the camera and the “camera guy” was actually cursed.

We continued shooting and after a couple hours let the crew go; after going through what we did for Ludlow, Stacie and I knew we could do the rest ourselves. Pippi fell asleep on the couch while Stacie and I fought the camera’s evil white balance issues and continued to shoot. We wrapped up at about 3am and hugged.

STACIE PONDER: Another one down. It was such a huuuuuuge fucking relief when Shannon said something to the effect of, "I think that's it." I knew we'd get it done, but my brain was quickly slipping into the notorious Jello Zone. My contact lenses felt like salt and vinegar Pringles stuck on my eyes, and my arms were tired from holding that camera all night.

It's strange, these movies we do together (all two of them…so far) always end so quietly. Not that I expect confetti and balloons- if anything, I'd want a laser light show- but we seem to wrap in the quietest part of the day, when the sun is just starting to make itself known. It's generally just the two of us, and it's a little eerie-feeling to me…then there's that last shot and someone says "I think that's it."- then we start cleaning up. Well, we hug and then we clean up. One of these days we'll wrap early enough to actually give ourselves a toast with the friggin' bottle of tequila we always bring but never drink.

SHANNON LARK: It’s true. I think these last two films we’ve done together have been such a whirlwind of insanity that by the time we get to the last shot, we don’t know if it really IS the last shot. It creates that silent pondering on everything we’ve done: our minds trying to conceive of the idea that we were able to create that much in such little time. It’s like the light of heaven opens up, and everyone is speechless. I think it’s pretty fucking beautiful.

While we silently speculated I got my sweats on and joined the “camera guy” in the kitchen at 3:30am to extract the footage from the camera. Oh, how positively naive it was of me to believe I could just…I don’t know…get the footage from the camera onto my computer?

This is when the freakin’ universe stuck out its large middle finger and said “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

STACIE PONDER: The universe is such a jerk sometimes.

so i made a movie: VOYEUR, part two

Yes, So I Made A Movie: Voyeur, which is a short film written by, directed by, and starring Shannon Lark, which we shot whilst I was away. We just know how much you dug our silly write-ups for Ludlow, so we decided to continue the series. See what you've wrought? This is what happens when you pay attention to us. Part One can be read here.

SHANNON LARK: I woke up the next day (I think it was Thursday) with a massive hangover. It was baaaad, and Stacie greeted me with the best cup of coffee I had ever had in my life! I asked her what she put in it, and she looked at me oddly, “uhhhh….coffee?” I agreed with myself to agree, although I still believe that she put some sort of magical-ness into it then I can only hope to harness one day.

STACIE PONDER: Dammit, that hangover was supposed to be mine! We'd agreed before Shannon even left New Mexico that she'd be the one giving ME water and nursing my drunkenness after the party and during the long drive to San Fran. It just goes to show, something something something.

In related news, that coffee was pretty fine. You MIGHT say that the secret magical ingredient is unicorn milk, or as it's more commonly referred to, "soy creamer"…which sounds vaguely like a porn star name. Roy Creamer, maybe…hmm. Anyway.

SHANNON LARK: I sat on the couch and we talked while the pain from my noggin’ was slowly lifted. We decided to hit the road and we had breakfast in an ultra-70’s style coffee shop that Stacie was in love with and made a visit to the grocery store, where we bought one can of almonds for our trip.

STACIE PONDER: Oh my God, I do so love the Lamplighter- born in 1977 and it hasn't seemed to have been altered since. It's totally full of grey-haired folk all the time; it's the only place I've ever been where all the handicapped parking spots are ALWAYS full. And I dig that it's half diner, half cocktail lounge. I LURVE the cocktail lounge with its cranky old bartender and the chairs that roll. They roll because they have WHEELS on them! Whenever I have to "take a meeting" (which has happened…err, once, I think) I do it at the Lamplighter cocktail lounge so I can feel as if I'm at the Cattleman's Club on Dallas.

And yes, we pushed a cart around the grocery store for 15 minutes only to emerge with a single can of almonds. I can't decide if that's pathetic or awesome.

SHANNON LARK: It was totally awesome! Stacie drove like a maniac out of LA, onto I-5, where we got to see the sights and smell the smells of California’s dustbowl. Mmmm….

I sang and danced and looked at people through my binoculars as we neared San Francisco. All the old feelings of seeing SF came back to me, and I was perfectly happy I didn’t live there anymore. I love the place, but it was just time to leave, you know?

Stacie is an expert driver, so we parked at the downtown garage and hit Union Square to work with Jane, the other actress, through some blocking. There was a peace rally for Iran happening and people kept coming up to us because they thought we had the petition due to my trusty production folder. Little did they know it had images of rape all over it. Heh.

We could only do so much out in the open air (although in SF you can get away with a lot), and Jane parted ways with us shortly after the meeting. Stacie and I headed off to stay at a residence of an old friend of mine, Darren, and found rock star parking. WOO! Seriously though, Stacie had never been to SF before and she took on those hills like they were nothing. I was amazed and somewhat hypnotized.

STACIE PONDER: I was totally channeling the late, great Karl Malden in The Streets of San Francisco! But really, Shannon had warned me that people freak out driving around SF for the first time, intimidated by all the hills. Meh. I'm definitely not a driver who gets intimidated by much…after living in and tooling around New York and Boston, what else is there? Besides, the hills are meant to be conquered…and they're rather fun, if I do say so myself.

I will admit, though, that we found kick ass parking the whole time we were there. My Parking Fu was quite strong.

SHANNON LARK: We lugged our baggage up to Darren’s, hit the Starlight Room for some wonderful hospitality, and then passed out like two peas in a pod. We awoke after a good sleep and went to breakfast with Darren at a local café. Stacie and I jumped in the car and checked out the local Video rental house on the search for a monitor to hook up to an HD camera. Oh boy…they had the worst monitors, with missing knobs and screws. It was pretty terrible and overpriced (ahhh…San Francisco). We decided that going with a computer monitor would be even better than renting the ones available. We got everything packed up and played the waiting game until 2:30pm. The waiting is truly the worst thing about filmmaking. Neither of us are very patient (except with each other, I’ve noticed), so it was difficult to wait around: rechecking my notes and storyboards for the 16th time.

STACIE PONDER: The very idea of getting a monitor for this shoot let me know that it would be quite…well, different than what I was used to on my own films. A monitor and a crew? These are things that are entirely foreign to me. Shannon doesn't fuck around, and while it's awesome, it was honestly only adding to my secret anxiety about shooting her film. There would be people watching shit on a monitor, JUDGING ME. What if it stunk? What if these people were laughing at my work, or even worse, at my hair? Shannon's biggest requirement for Voyeur was that I "make it pretty", and it was getting to be time to see if I was up to it.

file photo of Final Girl

SHANNON LARK: I had no doubts that everyone was going to love Stacie's hair. 2:15 hit the clock and we were off to Harry’s place, which was conveniently 2 blocks away. We were ready to rock!


Alright, people, this is it. As you may well be aware because I won't shut up about it, Ludlow is finished. It's been slapped on a DVD and screened for some friends. In fact, I thought I'd reached a time when it would no longer rule my days and haunt my nights...and I'm sure you all thought you could just watch the fucking thing and be done with it, right? That's nice, in theory, but...

See, the final cut of the film turned out to be a whopping 63 minutes. 63 MINUTES, a result that was rather unexpected, to say the least. After all, the script was only 20 pages.

Now, as you may notice, 63 minutes is quite close to the running time of a feature film, yes? And a wee too long a run time for a comfortable short, yes? Yes. Obviously, this only means one thing: I need to write some more, shoot some more, and make Ludlow longer. I need to expand the elastic waistband on the comfortable short(s) and make this into a feature, which will be easier to get into the grubby mitts of audiences. Stronger, faster, better!

Shannon Lark (ze star) will be back here in Los Angeles in early August. Once more, we're going to truck out into the Mojave Desert and, barring any typical Ludlow-related shananigans, we're gonna finish this puppy.

Here's where you come in, o dear reader. We need to raise funds to complete our arduous task. Travel, lodging, FX, these all need to be covered, so we're asking for donations.

Donate $10 and your name gets in the credits of the film. The person who donates the most by Friday, August 7th will also receive a 16" x 20" painting by me, subject matter of the donor's choosing.

Yes, I feel a bit presumptuous offering up a painting by me as a "prize", but I have no idea what else to offer. Check out my work here to see if that's something you'd be into.

We don't need much money, but we do need some. All proceeds will go towards the making of Ludlow- however, should we receive money over the amount we need to finish the film, it'll go towards whatever's next on our slate- and Shannon and I have a good four projects lined up to make together.

Any amount will help. Alright, frankly a penny won't help that much, but I'll still take it and give you my eternal gratitude in return.

Now, if you're saying "That's all fine and good, but you haven't shown us crap beyond that teaser trailer. What am I getting myself into? I don't even know what this movie is about!" Well, here's what the skinny be, as best as I can tell ya...or Heidi at Pretty/Scary can tell ya, 'cause she told it just right:
Shot in the California desert in just a few days under grueling circumstances, Ludlow's plot involves a woman (Shannon Lark) stalked by her abusive ex boyfriend and aided by a well-meaning sister (Elissa Dowling) which quickly turns deadly.
There you go. And here's a little clip. Oh, this shit is NSFW, but then so is Final Girl, so...

So. Give if you can, or if you want to, even if it's only well-wishes. Repost this or link to it on your own website and spread the indie horror love. The movie-making flame BURNS!

so i made a movie: VOYEUR, part one

Dear y'alls,

I bet you've been worried about me, right? Wondering where I was and if I'd ever come back from my vacation...why, I'm sure you weren't even able to celebrate July 4th to the fullest because of all the concern. "No, friend, despite the fact that I love American independence and the thought of powdered wigs, I cannot even fathom a hot dog right now for I am concerned about Final Girl. What if she never comes back? What if she's taken to the woods like Nell and she's off doing nudie midnight swims and tayyynnnn innna wiinnnn-ing ? Which useless website will I read then, friend? WHICH I SAY."

Well, don' worr', chickbayyyyy, I'm back...although the prospect of fleeing to the woods and finding a lake for my nudie midnight swims was indeed tempting. Tomorrow, as you may recall, is Film Club Day, so go get yer Italian zombie action on!

But first, behold, Part One of So I Made A Movie: Voyeur, which is a short film written by, directed by, and starring Shannon Lark, which we shot whilst I was away. We just know how much you dug our silly write-ups for Ludlow, so we decided to continue the series. See what you've wrought? This is what happens when you pay attention to us.


SHANNON LARK: It seems as though the filmmaking process of Ludlow went so well between Stacie Ponder and I, that I decided to call upon her to film a short script I wrote titled Voyeur.

It was a perfect situation: I had just enough money to film this small beast, and Stacie had an itching to get the hell out of LA for a couple days. We made a deal for the exchange of services: she does the cinematography for my short and I see some big ass trees with her.

Fuck yeah.

STACIE PONDER: I learned two things (and two things ONLY) whilst making Ludlow: 1) Peperoncinis and peanut butter is a fucking delicious combo, and 2) Shannon and I mesh together creatively, like, super duper wicked awesomely. I’ll jump at any chance to work with her, and the fact that Voyeur came along so soon after Ludlow wrapped had me psyched. I was duly honored that she asked me to DP for her, but after saying yes I have to admit to a little panic. I’d never shot anything for anyone else before. I was going to be essentially responsible for her film (particularly since she’s also the star and wouldn’t be behind the camera with me), and for a while I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task. If I shoot my own movie and it sucks, I can just bury the tapes out in the New Mexico desert next to all those Atari E.T. game cartridges and no one ever has to find out. If I shoot someone else’s movie and it sucks, I’ve ruined her movie and I’m a big jerk. It’s a lot of pressure especially since, as I mentioned, it was my first time. I could only hope that Voyeur would be gentle and would still love and respect me in the morning.

Besides, the idea of seeing the big ass trees in Sequoia National Park after the shoot was too delicious to pass up, so it was on.

SHANNON LARK: I had written the script last November while I was still living in San Francisco (more like surfing on friend’s couches) and I was working at the Starlight Room in downtown SF. My boss, Harry Denton, who is like…famous and stuff, has an amazing apartment in a 40’s motif that I had read about in the papers. I wanted to write a story about a woman who is raped, and it’s really fucked up. I’ve always felt there weren’t enough rape films, especially male on male sodomy scenes. There aren’t any male on male sodomy scenes in the movie, but Harry Denton had the perfect apartment to match, so I was sold on the idea of shooting in the city.

I left San Francisco on January 1st, and drove like a madman straight to New Mexico to live, and like…have a home and a shower and stuff.

STACIE PONDER: Fucking diva.

SHANNON LARK: Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors hit and the shooting date fell though on two separate occasions for different reasons. Ugh. It’s a short film for Christ’s sake! And dammit, Christ wanted me to make this movie!!

STACIE PONDER: It’s true, Christ wanted her to make this movie. I read about it in the Bible.

Okay, not in the BIBLE Bible, but I read about it on a website about the Bible. It said something like “And lo, Shannon Lark shall maketh a film about a woman who is raped, and lo, it shall be good. And fucked up.”

SHANNON LARK: I got the crew together (which is all female, so it kinda rocks) and cashed in a free flight from Southwest, due to my nifty little rewards card. Stacie picked me up from the airport in Burbank and we hit the grocery store. I don’t eat gluten anymore and I had a great time telling Stacie allllll about it.

STACIE PONDER: Holy crap, if I hear about gluten one more time I’m gonna puke my pants. Shannon is worse than a born again! Actually, it’s kind of amazing how she managed to work it into virtually EVERY conversation:

“Shannon, what time is it?”

“Umm, it’s 5:30. That’s so weird, because I stopped eating gluten at 10:30 three weeks ago!”

“How is that weird?”

“I don’t know, it just is. By the way, I don’t eat gluten anymore.”

SHANNON LARK: She had arranged a screening for Ludlow and the Ghostella films that evening so we grilled up veggie shishkabobs and I drank wayyyy too much wine. I don’t drink that often and since I don’t eat gluten anymore (hehe), I can’t drink beer. C’mon! I grew up on beer!!

Stacie just drank herself sober…on beer.

STACIE PONDER: My goal for the evening was basically to get drunk. This would serve two purposes: one, the booze would soothe my jangled nerves and I’d be able to watch Ludlow and all my other crap in front of people. Two, I was looking to relax after countless hours and long nights editing that fucking movie, and three, it was also a sort of birthday party and to celebrate my FINALLY turning 21, I thought it would be neat to get drunk legally for a change.

Yes, I realize that’s three purposes but I’m a girl so math is hard.

My plan worked for a while, and I was indeed drunk. In fact, I was going around letting people know as much: “Look, I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m a little bit drunk.” The next thing I knew, however, I was unexpectedly and disappointingly sober. The sudden transformation truly counts as one of life’s mysteries.

SHANNON LARK: Everyone loved Ludlow, I think. Except maybe that one guy who wandered off into the night when it started to play.

STACIE PONDER: No one knows who that guy was! No one claimed the random drunk guy. Maybe he was a mass hallucination, or a ghost. That’s probably it. He did talk about peoples’ auras an awful lot.

SHANNON LARK: The crowd went crazy over Stacie’s short films and I ended up passing out on her bedroom floor directly after Ludlow screened. I spilled wine on her favorite blanket and water on her bed before falling asleep under a curtain that I pulled from my suitcase.

STACIE PONDER: Yeah, I think people had a good time. It’s an amazing feeling to have people react positively to something I made- it kinda makes me feel like a three-year-old who busted out some glitter-covered macaroni art and mom loves it- or claims to- and hangs it on the fridge.

After the movies were over, people wanted to tell Shannon that she was fantastic in Ludlow (because…you know…she IS), but she’d disappeared. I found her drunk on my bedroom floor, managed to get her outside to greet (read: slur at) her public, then tucked her in for the night under her beloved curtain. The wine spillage wasn’t discovered until a week later, after we’d returned from our Voyeur adventure. It really doesn’t matter to me- it’s just a fucking blanket- but what I find most amusing is that Shannon tried to convince me that the blanket wasn’t even mine and that she’d brought it with her.

SHANNON LARK: It looks just like the blanket I was supposed to bring! Honest!!

And so the adventures of Voyeur began, just like Christ said on that one website about the bible.

this is hardcore

Dear My Bitches,

First of all, this post is not hardcore in the least. Actually, it's rather lame. See, I'm knee-deep -- scratch that, I'm fucking xyphoid process-deep in editing Ludlow and I haven't much time to do much of anything except stare at the computer, wondering if what I'm doing is any good. I'll be finished with it early next week, and then... MUA HA HA.

Speak of mua ha ha, here's another screen cap. Oh how provocative.

My point is, I'm totally super big-time sorry that things have been quiet and lame around here, but before you know it I'll be back to watching movies and trying to think of pithy comments just for you. Things won't really heat up- if they ever...you know, actually "heat up"- until it's time for the next Film Club installment, when Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror ushers in AN ENTIRE WEEK of foreign zombie action. Well, foreign to me and my fellow Americans, anyway.

Speaking of zombies and me actually writing stuff, my AMC column this week is all about the many zombie flavors there are available- enough to fetidly fill a Baskin-Robbins.

I'm not sure that entirely makes sense, but anyway.

You can always be my fake cyber-pal if I don't blog enough here to keep up with your absolutely maddening demands. I mean, how would you know that I wanted some pickles today unless you follow me on Twitter? These are the issues that impact my life.

Viscera Film Festival wants YOU!

Hey! You! Hey, you know what paradise is?
It's a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we'd like them to be
But you know what truth is?
It's that little baby you're holding, it's that man you fought with this morning
The same one you're going to make love with tonight
That's truth, that's love......


"I will eat your soul!"

What I meant to say is, hey you! Have you been sitting here reading about Ludlow and thinking to yourself, "Pfft...whatevs. I could make a movie that's so much better than that!"? Okay, first I have to ask why you've got such an attitude about it. I mean, it's great to have self-confidence and all, but you haven't even seen my movie yet, so what's with all the preemptive "Meh"s? I thought we were friends here. Can't you be supportive JUST THIS ONCE?

Anyway, I'll address our beef later.

Wow, that sounds hot.

Are you a filmmaker? Do you want to make a movie? Do you have a vagina? Do you have a vagina that's ATTACHED TO YOUR OWN BODY? If you answered "Holy crap YES!" to one or more of those questions, then take note! The Viscera Film Festival has just launched its third year and they're actively seeking submissions.


The VISCERA Film Festival, an online short horror film festival that promotes progressive female filmmakers in the horror genre, has just opened its doors for new submissions.

VISCERA is a Festival created by The Chainsaw Mafia, a horror website/production company geared towards Artists of the genre coming together to create. The Chainsaw Mafia works with Sponsors of the Festival; film critics, horror websites, festivals, and magazines to create maximum promotion for the selected filmmakers and their work. Viscera films have been screened all over the world through the sponsoring film festivals, garnishing awards for the filmmakers and promoting their work to completely new geographical areas.

This year the awards include sculptures from Lipstick Teeth’s Brian S. Allen, which will be presented at the very first VISCERA Premiere in 2010. Each filmmaker is interviewed and promoted by The Chainsaw Mafia, placed in the Viscera Women archive, and each film is placed on a DVD and distributed to the public through thechainsawmafia.com. Filmmakers’ bios and information regarding their work is available on the DVD, which goes out to the Festival’s Sponsors shortly after duplication.

VISCERA accepts films in two categories: women directed/produced films (half of the crew/cast needs to be female, men are completely welcome on set), and women-only productions, which are sets geared towards facilitating more women working together in the genre. The VISCERA Award (a monetary award of $200) has been created for the latter category.

The officially selected films for 2008 will be released on DVD this summer, which will include the work of Devi Snively, Stacie Ponder, Izabel Grondin, Belinda Green-Smith, Faye Hoerauf, Jessica Baxter, Ebony Winston, Chandeline Nicole, and Shannon Lark. The VISCERA Award 2008 winners are Jennifer Gigantino and Natasia Schibinger for their film, “The Date.”

For submissions, VISCERA’s Director Shannon Lark suggests that “beginning filmmakers should focus timing their submissions around 30 seconds to one minute. VISCERA is about quality, not quantity.” For those ladies who are interested in submitting but don’t know where to start, The Chainsaw Mafia deeply encourages them to contact Shannon Lark with any questions they have.
So, ladies and men who know ladies,what are you waiting for? Pick up a camera and go. If I can do it, you can do it. I'm thrilled to be a part of Viscera. Shannon Lark is the hardest working woman I know and she's put together something truly special here, so get with it.

Later on, I plan to put together something truly special myself- I'm going to call it "a sandwich".

There's exciting Ludlow news coming down the pike- well, it's exciting to me, anyway, and as this is my own website of which I am the boss, I'll be posting about it when the time is right. Right now, I'm still editing away...here's another still for you to look at through your eye holes. It doesn't really tell you much about anything going on in the film, but I think it's awful purdy. So there.

LUDLOW something something

I made this while I was dumping footage onto my computer. Working on a painting of the same image for...whatever reason.

It's so Dawn of the Dead-y, although that wasn't my intention going in. I don't even know if I had any intentions going in- it was just for fun. As was this painting, which is now sitting over in the corner:

So...I don't know. If anyone out there wants to buy a Gill-Man (The Creature Waves Hello!) or commission something else entirely, hit me up with an email. You can check out more over at the gallery on my website. Paintings make great gifts!

I assume. I mean, no one's ever bought me one, so I wouldn't really know.


Go see Drag Me To Hell this weekend!!

so i made a movie, part six

I'm, like, totally in "post-production" on Ludlow. Since I went way overboard with the info sharing regarding the shoot, I figured, you know, why not indulge myself and share way too much info during the entire process of putting this movie together? It's what The Internet is for. Well, it's for sharing too much information and it's for LOLcats.

So, WARNING: this is all about me and my big ideas for Ludlow and seriously, it’s so boring, I’m falling asleep whilst typing ittttttttttwiooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Oh, if you have no idea what the fuck a "Ludlow" is, click here and catch up. Or don't and remain clueless. Whatever, man, that's totes your beeswax.

During filming, Shannon Lark looked far into the future and yawned upon reading this boring post.

If you’ve watched any of my previous…uh, let’s call them “films” for lack of a better term, shall we?…then you may or may not be surprised to find out that they’re all edited on l’il ol’ iMovie5. See, I’m always about 6 or 8 steps behind the curve when it comes to computers due to the fact that I’m not a millionaire. It’s true! Though I exude exquisite class and glamour all over The Internet, I am little more than a humble pauper.

Another example of exquisite class and glamour.

As such, I plod along all humble pauper-style working with programs from 5 years ago and everything’s generally cool; I’m a big proponent of the idea that your equipment doesn’t entirely matter, but rather it’s all about what you can do with it. *sexual innuendo, wakka wakka* The point is, geez… the first three episodes of Ghostella’s Haunted Tomb were shot on VHS, and they’re…largely coherent, at least.
SHANNON LARK: Stacie never gives herself enough credit. "Lack of a better term?" Her movies are wonderful! And they actually make sense. Especially her latest with that wedding dress-thing.
In related news, did you know that NOBODY uses VHS anymore? Weird, right? I just don’t understand this modern world! VHS is so cool. Why I remember the day I stepped up to VHS from using this thing. Oh, what a day that was. Electric Youth!

I’ll readily admit that top of the line equipment would be swell to own- after all, there’s no arguing that stuff shot on the Red One (fancy, expensive) looks better than stuff shot on VHS (not fancy, obsolete). But again, I’m not a millionaire and thus I make do. Sometimes, though, you just gotta bite the bullet and upgrade your crap to crap plus.

Sorry, VHS. I mean, you don't look THAT bad and I still love you and all...

Sometimes, upgrading is all about ease. After those first three episodes of Ghostella, I dumped my VHS camera for a cheap (but kick ASS) mini-DV camera. In addition to superior picture quality, this meant I could simply import footage directly from the camera into iMovie rather than burning a DVD from the VHS tapes, extracting the footage from the DVDs, converting the file types, and THEN importing to iMovie. I still make out with my little camera every night as my perverted way of thanking it for saving me so much time and hassle. The making out is also my way of letting it know that I think it’s pretty.

...but this is a little sharper...and widescreenier...and insanier.
SHANNON LARK: I agree that you should make out with your equipment. It makes it function better (as long as no saliva hits the mother board) as the good vibes permeate its mechanical consciousness.
I’m trying to make a…well, a GOOD MOVIE here with Ludlow. Relatively speaking, natch. I want it to look beautiful, and I want as much as possible to avoid the deadliest of pitfalls that frequently lay waste to no-budget movies: shitty audio. Whether or not I’ll achieve these goals remains to be seen, but to give myself a leg up I used Shannon’s fancy-pants camera to shoot the film (although not wanting to neglect my own beloved camera, I brought it with me to capture behind the scenes shenanigans and, you know, to make out with). The second part of this mathemagical equation involves post-production and my decision to…dun dun dunnnnn…upgrade from iMovie 5 to Final Cut Express 4. This is roughly the equivalent of upgrading from sitting on your ass all day to going all nutcake and doing the Ironman Triathlon in under an hour.

I don’t know if that makes any sense, or whether doing the Triathlon in under an hour would indeed indicate a level of nutcakedness, but perhaps you get the point.

What? No, I’ve never done the Ironman Triathlon. BIG DEAL. It’s not like I’ve never done ANYTHING. I mean, this one time I stayed up for two days straight and lemme tell ya, it broke my fucking brain! It was during a road trip with my friend Jim, and the highlight of the trip was probably the moment when my mind completely melted and I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant where we’d had breakfast. The restaurant was called Country Pride (gross, awesome), but the closest I could get to calling it that was to blurt out “Purity Face”.
SHANNON LARK: Hahaha! I went to a place like that recently. It had a giant pig in front of it, which I rode.
"Purity Face" is clearly not even close.


Look, I’m not trying to knock iMovie Version From 5 Years Ago, believe me. I’ve done some cool stuff with it, if I do say so myself (and clearly I do say so myself). However, the program is largely aimed at people who want to make a “movie” of their kids pooping at the beach and Ken Burns-style photo montages set to the tune of Jim Croce’s “Time In A Bottle” to give as a gift to Nana and Pap Pap for their 60th wedding anniversary- and that’s…you know, mega-cool. But for Ludlow, I want more control than iMovie can provide; I want to filter audio and correct colors and all that deluxe good-time jazz. Lo, I say unto thee, this is a story about control. Control of what I say, control of what I do- and this time, I’m gonna do it MY way. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Are we ready? I am- ‘cause it’s all about control…and I’ve got lots of it.


"I will fuck up your dreams!"

Sorry, wait…mmm. Err, where the fuck am I going with this?

Oh yeah- so I upgraded my computer and now my stupid big fat scanner is no longer compatible with my system (it sits, useless and mocking) which means I can no longer scan in…you know…STUFF FOR MY LIFE which includes COMICS and I’ve got Final Cut Express but it’s super complicated and I don’t know what I’m doing and I hate not knowing what I’m doing and I feel my self-imposed deadline looming and I’m totally freaking out.

SHANNON LARK: Girl, you are gonna get the freakin' stupid editing system BLAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Just keep working at it. You are super smart and you do things and you have the BESTEST blog on the intarweb where people send you fanmail and some of them even try to look up pictures of me naked just because you have let me go blablabla on your blog about masturbation and Ludlow. This is just Ludlow trying to bring you down, man. Fuck Ludlow. Fuck it with an iron fist and conquer this program till you hit yourself in the face cause your fist goes right through it, all transparency-like.
SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP did I really write all this just to bitch about how my new editing program is OH SO HARD and WAH WAH WAHH and IT’S GOING TO TAKE ME SO LONG TO LEARRRRRRRRNNNN? Hmm. I guess I did.

Well, I SAID it was boring…and YOU read it anyway! SUCKER!

Sorry, that’s not very nice at all. I’m going to go make an iMovie video featuring a Ken Burns-style montage of all our favorite Final Girl pictures from over the years, and I’ll set it to the tune of Icy Spicy Leoncie’s “Man! Let’s Have Fun” as my way of apologizing.

Actually, that video sounds pretty cool. Wow, I should be a jerk more often!

And please don’t remind me that I’m bitching about editing movies on my computer while the world is riddled with people who have no homes or clothes or perhaps not even eyes, because I feel guilty enough about my meager entitlements already. I BID YOU GOOD DAY.

If you thrilled to the exploits…

...of Ghostella's Haunted Tomb, then perhaps you'll enjoy this new trailer for Deadly Dress 4: Never A Bride. Surely you recognize the title from my list of 50 Horror Films I'd Like to See. Surely you'll recognize some familiar faces: there are Ghostella alums Heidi Martinuzzi, Elissa Dowling, and Bridget McManus; there's Bobbi Sue Luther of Laid To Rest; there's Shannon Lark of Ludlow; and there's Lena Headey of...well, enough stuff to make you wonder what she's doing in the trailer for Deadly Dress 4: Never A Bride.

If you like what you see, head over to Funny or Die and vote 'funny'. Frankly, I'm no longer sure if it's actually funny or not, but if it's not...I swear I can do better! Just please don't make me DIE because of it. I mean...it DOES feature a crazy townsperson, without which no horror movie is complete!

Also, you know, if there's enough public interest I'll TOTALLY make the prequel film, The Whiskeytown Dress Murders. Which...is something.

DEADLY DRESS 4: NEVER A BRIDE trailer - watch more funny videos