Oof. Now we’re into the big three VATAS episodes, starting with the one that brings to the light one of the biggest ordeals I’ve had to go through: My school shutting down and everyone leaving me. This time was stressful, no one really knew what was going to happen or what they were going to do, and everything seemed completely hopeless. So I did what anyone who had an unsuccessful video-blog would do; I made an entry all about the death of CSF:
I’m still dealing with the aftermath of this, and I realize that in the grand scheme of all of the world a school shutting down is small, but this was the destruction of a place I had finally grown to call home, it was a crumbling of not only everything I had believed in in terms of education (which, in turn, was everything I believed about life at that point) but also everything I thought I knew about friendship and acceptance and home. It was hell. And I think this episode is a fantastic visual artifact to help people understand exactly what this moment felt like for me.
I chose to film this episode in one of the strangest parts on campus, which was right next to the library and even before the school shut down it was a little pocket of the apocalypse. The concrete was peeling everywhere in pools, all of the plants were dead in few lonely bench-planters, and there was a constant metallic drone of the generator/monolith. The place has an unmistakable feeling of being a nice hangout place years before, but decay and time took its toll, and now it is nothing but death.
The editing and color correction also help place the feeling of this episode. The yellow wash over the entire episode gives it a distinct sense of decay, and almost all color except for the grating, jaundice yellow has all but disappeared. The Vocal track is nearly inaudible, drowned out by the incessant drone of the Monolith. Instead, all we have are unhelpful subtitles and a growing sense of unease. This unease is made all the worse with the constant jarring cuts to the Monolith, to me all alone in this dead landscape, and to one of the most straight-forward and saddening Tracy McKnightly Hours ever (“There is nothing”). This is an episode about failure, the only VATAS to be defined by what doesn’t happen, and the most atmospheric and sad episode to date (Save for the last, but we’ll cover that one in due time).
Episode 8 is also one of the more watched VATAS episodes. I’m not sure why this is, but I’d like to think it’s because of the sense it conveys. The creeping hopelessness and doom of the situation of CSF is communicated rather well visually, and the story of how the school’s administration kept on shooting itself in the foot is certainly an interesting one. Also, it even garnered mention on Andrew’s much more successful EXG Blog. Things got very heavy here, and this was an undercurrent for a lot of the work I produced at the time. But, never fear. Things will get much more lighter in Westisode 9. Or they can get much lighter now, if you want to jump to another VATAS episode. Either way, stay tuned for next time.