The Stairway To Hell

2004

Starring:
Mark Mushakian,
Katie

Genre:
Action

Version:
Complete edit.

Format:
Mini-DV

Story Synopsis:
A mysterious man (Mark) enters a home, with nefarious intent – and a gun!  After a vicious guard dog (Katie) foils his plan for a silent entry, the mysterious man must move quickly to enact his plan.  Sounds pretty deep, don’t it?

Commentary:
This was actually a “preparation” project.  I was gearing up for my first feature-length movie, and I wanted to loosen myself up by editing together a quick little project.  This was shot on a cheap, small DV camera my parents have, so the quality wasn’t amazing, but the point was that I just wanted to play around and practice.

This isn’t as old as most of my “growing up” movies, but the first thing I noticed while watching it again defines it as a Classic – I shot it by myself.  So, there’s the REAL reason why it’s all very still.  The second thing I notice is my cute little face.  That is not the slim/slender Mark most of you know and love.  That’s a little baby-fat face :).  The whole time-frame is hazy, but this would have been AFTER I hurt my wrist and stopped lifting weights, but BEFORE I stopped eating dairy – hence the pinch-tastic cheeks.  I actually still had about another year before that full face gave way to a much more gaunt one, and another two before that beard would come in all the way.

Nick Reiber had mentioned this Led Zeppelin song, in an off-hand comment one day, as something that would be really fun to use in a hitman movie I was basing around the band’s songs, so I decided to edit this short around it.  That’s where the slow-motion, quick cuts, and everything came from.  I was editing to the mood and tempo of the song, which was very much on purpose, because the movie I was planning on doing next (which I didn’t do at all) was filled with musical moments.

My favorite shot in the whole thing is the multi-mirror reflection as the guy walks toward the stairs.  Also, the musical cues that come with his walking up the stairs and the discovery of the dog are, to me, the best executed.  I absolutely love the line “…make ya feel bad” in the song syncing up with the vicious dog charging the camera.

Haha, and ah yes, the vicious dog.

My favorite co-star, my dog Katie, gets her part, as usual.  Since I didn’t use the audio I recorded while shooting the movie, what you WOULD’VE heard during her lunge at me and during the attack was a whole ton of excited and happy “Come on!  What’re you doing?  What are you…!  I’m gonna get ya!”  That is, of course, how one properly motivates a canine actor.  Trust me, I know what I’m doing.  I mean, the proof is in how SCARY she looks in that scene, right?  Right ;).

For the gunfire, as you MIGHT be able to tell, I didn’t actually fire a gun.  I didn’t even use a real light to create the muzzle-flash.  I used Photoshop… really CRAPPY Photoshop.  Though I was always happy with how the hand-drawn blood looked on the window, the muzzle-flashes are really bad.  Haha, you should also note, during the moments when I’m in the dark room and you can see down the hallway, that the “dead” dog is actually just a pile of random crap made up to look like her body.  The camera I was using only had a very small screen to watch, so I couldn’t tell how bad her body-double/pile-of-clothes looked.

Idiot :).

As I walk down the stairs to leave, we’re treated to the only moving shot in the movie, provided by the help of my sister.  I took the shot of me through the window all by myself, though, so I had to hit record, run downstairs and outside as fast as I could, walk by the window, run back inside and upstairs, and stop the camera.  I think I had to do it a couple of times, too, to get the angle right.  That’s the fun of making things by yourself ;).  Also, before “The End” pops up, that wasn’t me walking down a set of outdoor stairs, as I’d hoped it would appear.  It was me slowly crouching down… as it DOES appear.

This whole thing is pretty lousy, but it’s very indicative of a “Mark” movie: edited to and inspired by music, and very still.

4 Responses to The Stairway To Hell

  1. Bree says:

    It's private 😦

    Like

  2. Nick says:

    Yup. Can't watch it. Unless that was the point haha

    Like

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