We’re working on the final sound mix of “Clerks II” (although, you’re never done-done until the flick comes out in theaters; and even then, there’s the DVD release you can tweak… or the ten year anniversary DVD release), and it’s going swimmingly. The flick sounds phenomenal.
The Skywalker Ranch, contrary to what you might imagine, is no sprawling shrine to the Lucas empire (or “Empire”). You’d be hard-pressed to find so much as an Ewok spear, in the way of props, laying around campus – unless you hit the archives building, where everything from a life-sized “Jedi” speeder-bike to the Ark of the Covenant from “Raiders” go to die.
But what rocks about this place is how quiet and woodsy it is. Nestled in the hills of Marin County, Lucas used his “Empire Strikes Back” bankroll to purchase 5000 acres that would make up the ranch, home to the best sound-mixing facilities on the planet. But if you didn’t know what went on inside most of the architecture that dots the landscape, you’d never imagine it was in any way tech-oriented: the buildings resemble large bed-and-breakfast Colonials, vineyard houses, and barns.
Roaming the hills and fields are all manner of livestock, from turkeys to steer. Every once in awhile, a ranch-hand vehicle rolls through, but other than that it’s so still, you can hear bees buzzing from ten feet away. It’s the kinda place you don’t want to fart in, for fear that EVERYONE will know it was you; not even the one-cheek-sneak is safe at Skywalker Ranch.
Seven years ago, during our first mix here on “Dogma”, this pastoral beauty and quiet so moved my then-seven-month-pregnant girlfriend, that it caused the avowed Atheist to remark “This is God’s country.”
“That it is,” I agreed.
“This is the kinda place it’d be great to get married at.”
“Yeah,” I offered, oblivious to where this was going.
“We should do it.”
“I’m all for it,” I said, getting up to pull my shorts off, completely missing her point.
“No – I meant we should get married here.”
“Oh. Sure. Yeah, one day we should.”
“Why not now?” she countered.
“Yeah. This weekend. We could just go for it – kinda like we eloped or something.”
“We could, yeah…”
After too long a pause, she nodded “You don’t wanna get married right now. I get it.”
“No – I do. I just hadn’t… I mean, we just started talking about it.”
“We’ve been talking about getting married since the second time we had sex.”
“I know. I meant we just started talking about getting married up here a few minutes ago, so…”
Life comes down to moments, and in those moments, all the big decisions are made. In that particular moment, I could’ve either deflected a bit, putting into perspective for her all the practical arguments against trying to pull together a wedding on such short notice, or opt out of unnerving an already emotional, hormonal pregnant chick and simply acquiesce.
But as I gazed at the woman in front of me, belly-chubby with my impending spin-off, my mind raced through the whirlwind romance we’d endured and enjoyed over the previous year and change: the instant, love-at-first-sight connection, the passion, the knock-down/drag-out fights, the growing pains and the uncanny comfort and familiarity. And suddenly, a third choice revealed itself.
And therein lies the story of why, on April 25th 1999, I married Jen.
To Be Continued…