The editing process for Goodbye Gauley Mountain began when I returned from shooting the film in West Virginia in September 2010. I hired Julia Reardin part time to start making selects of the 50 plus hours of footage that Jordan Freeman and I had taken. The process of making selects took the entire school year.
When I returned to West Virginia again on August 15th, 2011. Jordan Freeman and I began editing a rough cut of the piece. We worked for 8-10 hours a day for fourteen days. During this period we only took one or two days off. Luckily my sister Anne took great care of both of us. She made us incredible food and lots of coffee.
August 15th, 2011
Facebook message- Hey J Just got in. Let’s start at 10. I’ll call or maybe walk by. whoo hoo He wrote back- woohoo! glad you made it! sounds good
We started that afternoon-Jordan and sat down with the film logs that Juila Reardin had made. Anne dedicated her basement to us to for editing. What a sweetheart. We started by playing a game-sort of like hanged man. First Jordan picked a section of footage-then I picked one. We edited out picks together all day long. A wonderful way to start the editing process, especially if there is no scripT.
August 16-19, 2011
We’re editing everyday. I usually have some coffee with Anne and then walk over to get Jordan at the old Dalporto house. We start in the late morning and work until evening. Jordan also has a few other irons in the fire but that’s ok, we’re getting a lot done. Anne is being a doll, either fixing us food or making sure that there is food in the fridge. She’s also taking care of Kelly who is about to have a baby at any minute. Exciting times. In the evening I take a walk with Anne when it works out that way. I like the slowness here.
August 20, 2011
Facebook message–Hey Jordan, Harley and I walked over this morning-but no one was up to answer the door. I peeked in a window and saw some feet sticking out from under the sheets-but wasn’t sure whose feet those were. So decided to come back to Anne’s. Come on over when your feet wake up. B
August 21st, 2011
Cindy came up tonight to see what we had done with the video. We weren’t very far along with the editing but we were making progress. This is a time consuming and detailed process. I wish I knew more about how to edit myself. But Jordan is really working hard and we are sorting footage out.
August 24th, 2011
Jordan and I went down to Kitty’s today to reshoot an interview with her. She was elequent and made us a wonderful meal. I apprecaite the ways that West Virginians always welcome and feed visitors-she made homemade bread and a wonderful chili. Really nice. We filmed her in her garden, which was a little past peak but still very beautiful She really expressed her love for her gardent and linked that to our grandmother who was also a great lover of gardening. We got really good footage and then had an excellent meal.
August 30, 2011
Jordan and I set out to get some more footage for the film today. We drove from Charlton Heights to Montgomery. After crossing the Kanawha River over the Montgomery Bridge we turned right and doubled back on the other side of the river on Route 61. A few miles east on 61 turned we turned right and headed up Armstrong Creek Road to go to Kimberly. I have probably not been up that hollow in at least 25 years. Everything looked the same and everything looked different. The company houses that Dad and Uncle Usher lived in looked bigger and more well kept than I remembered. But the distances between things seemed much shorter. The Kimberly warehouse was abandoned. Strange how I could remember the smells of the machine parts, coveyor belts and desiel fuel inside of that building. As we pulled into the parking lot to turn around-the memories came flooding back- Roger Baughan’s office, James Ford, hanging out there as a as a kid, my first job being chipping morter off bricks down by the creek in the hot humid West Virginia summer. Now the Kudzu was taking everything over. That invasive plant hadn’t been there when I was a kid. Jordan I filmed the little houses as we drove slowly out of the hollow and then headed up to Kinkaid via Mount Carbon, Deep Water, Robson, Page and finally our destination. While we were there I wanted to see if I could find Annie and Ed Martin’s graves. We drove up to the Kincaid cemetary and I looked all over the place. Eventually it dawned on me that they probably weren’t buried up here on this hill because they were black. The only people we talked to there didn’t know of any other cememtaries. That was probably becuase they were white. But then I didn’t know where it was either. From the cemetary we could see a naked knob sticking up into the sky. This was part of the Frasure Creek Mountain Top Removal site. It wasn’t until we went back down to 61 again and drove through the little half dead town of Kindaid that I realized what a large mining site it was. Again, I drove the car back and forth through the town a couple of times while Jordan shot footage. It was incredible how close the mine is to this town. Kincaid seems to be another LIndaytown just waiting for eviction. After we shot this depressing footage we drove into Oak Hill got on 19N and then drove into Fayetteville, where we got a lttle gas. We jumped back in the car got on the 16 towards Gauley Bridge and drove to the beautiful little Beckwith house to screen the film for Stephanie Tyree, Catherine Venerable-Moore. We received a lot of excellent feedback. Namely we needed t o provide more information for people who don’t know anything about MTR. I’ll take care of that when as as I can. Otherwise it seemed like our audience liked what we had done so far. ….said that we should do a reality t.v. show. Catherine was impressed that Jack Spadero hung out with the poet James Still. Surprises were revealed-like you think you know who a person is and they really have a whole other side that you knew nothing about. What a beautiful little spot at Beckwith with Laural Creek running so close by. I miss Patricia and Jennifer liviing up there-but I also know that they needed to move as it was too isolated to grow old on that mountain where there are so many ghosts.
September 2, 2011
Tonight I sent this email to show C and R the editing so far:
Here is the section of the video where R appears. I had a lot of good feedback last night that I’m going to take into consideration so this might change. We’re a ways off from the finished product. I think you both sound articulate, reasonable, funny as well as serious. R seemed to enjoy participating. This download is password protected. Please don’t share, only because it is so early in the editing process and I don’t like to show my work to many people before it is a little further down the line. much love, Beth
September 3, 2011
I got an email from C-telling me that R was very upset with the video. I was pretty much blindsided by that as I thought that he had really enjoyed himself. That is exactly what he said on camera. But that is not what this email indicated. Then later I got a call from R.
I had a feeling that RL might meet me at the airport demanding that I sign whatever agreement he had drafted up to cancel the release form he signed the summer before. I was nervous as I had had such a great, productive visit and I wanted to leave on a fairly good note. I don’t really understand why he had to wait until the very last moment to want to be taken out of the film. Especially since when I initially asked him if he wanted to be in the film and he declined and I was fine with that. Then he came back and requested to be in. This also was fine, because I needed someone to voice a pro MTR postiion and RL was the right man for that job. So here I was at the airport just hoping that he wouldn’t show up.
During this editing process we showed the film to various people from time to time. We had one screening at the Beckwith home of Stephanie Tyree and Catherine Moore. We got great feedback from them ranging from, “you should have a reality TV show to this film needs to have a lot more informational material.”
I also showed the film to David and Mona, Annie’s brother and sister-in-law who work in film. After all of this feedback we made a series of notes which are below. These are the notes that I’ve now given to Julia Reardin who will be doing this next phase of editing.