Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Posts Tagged ‘poults’

Skywalker Ranch

August 1, 2011

Poults

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Early this morning I went out and walked the twenty-minute road from the guest quarters up to the Tech Building here at Skywalker Ranch. The fog hung over the surrounding hilltops and shrouded the redwood trees. Ravens squawked and robins twittered; myriad other birds tweeted, chirped and buzzed. Without binoculars I could not identify the species I was seeing.

Last night Betty and I saw flocks of turkeys. In one flock six poults no bigger than my fist scurried around with the hens and the toms as they foraged their way through the puffed white remnants of dandelion blooms and other various plants that have turned brown and stiff in the summer’s weal. As I watched them I thought how vulnerable they were to skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes and the various large raptors that inhabit these coastal redwood ecoregions.

That vulnerability reminded me of what we came here for. To sound mix our film. And the subject matter—the Siege of Khe Sanh—and how we were so like these poults, we young Marines as we hunkered down in our holes and trenches and waited out the constant battering of artillery and mortar and rocket and sniper fire. How we waited to become unlike the poults, these foragers and defenders, to become more like the raptors, these hunters and killers, raiders, shock troops. Move to contact. Search and destroy. How we waited. How we waited, until we could join with the enemy and then the cataclysm, the personal cataclysm, like living the most frightening Old Testament war scenes, Joshua fit the battle of Jericho…stuff like that.

After breakfast Betty and I moved up to the Tech Building and sat in a modern, high tech sound theater and watched Mark Berger and John Nutt work their craft. Patience and skill…each moment had to be perfect. The sound not too loud, but loud enough so that the viewer knows viscerally how savagery feels. Sometimes they skirmished, more often they agreed, about how one thread of sound needed to work with other sounds. The result coaxes and coerces, seduces, cajoles and scares. Betty and I and our daughter Sarah and our son-in-law Baruch sat in leather chairs and couches, as we watched Mark and John work through scene after scene. Later we went up to the main house and after a tour of the library, dined on gourmet chow.

When we left the sound theater this evening, I felt as if I had been assaulted. My stomach hurt and my nerves were shot, frayed like the ends of a nylon parachute rope. The war crouched in the back of my throat, big and blustery, sneering and dangerous.

Soon we will be finished.