I first saw Trona driving towards Bakersfield from Death Valley. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a burned down house and decided to pull over to investigate. Swinging around the block, there were another few burned down houses, and even more that were clearly abandoned. The inhabited ones were few and far between. It seemed to be well on it’s way to becoming a ghost town, but there were still people hanging on.
I came back through a few months later with a camera.
I think the cemetery says a lot about what kind of people live here. There aren’t any traditional graves, and only a few proper headstones. Everything else is improvised, mostly from the hardware store. It’s sort of like a Shaggs record in that spirited and ramshackle way. (And just so there’s no misunderstanding, I LOVE The Shaggs).
In working on the score for this, I wanted to do things differently. To that end, I cut the music to the film instead of the other way around. I also didn’t want some minor key dirge. There are no people in this film because it isn’t about them, so it’s really not about the human troubles of this fading town.