One Step Ahead
A title card flashes, bearing the name of the show in highly stylized font: "Finding Sasquatch."
Coming up on "Finding Sasquatch":
A man speaks over first-person camera footage, walking up a trail through a forested area.
"This is where the trail starts to get difficult to traverse."
The scene cuts to night vision footage of a different area.
"I don't know what that sound was, but it weren't no deer, that's for sure."
Another cut, to later in the same footage. Two men are standing together in the woods. A brief rustling sound is heard.
"Holy shit!" (the "shit" is bleeped out.)
The title card flashes for an instant again before being reduced to a ribbon at the bottom of the screen bearing the show's web address, as the last note of the energetic electric guitar music fades out and establishing shots of the Oregon countryside play. The man from the teaser clips begins to monologue.
"The funny thing about my first...and to this day only...encounter with a sasquatch, is that at the time I had never heard of a bigfoot or a sasquatch."
The man is shown in an interview setting facing the camera. The ribbon below him identifies him as "Chuck McGavin: Naturalist and Cryptologist."
"I was just an eleven year old boy" (a childhood photo is shown) "growing up in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho. I had run away from home, you could say, and was lost in the woods, for, oh probably two, three hours, when I saw a peculiar little figure out in the field ahead of me."
Shots of the area where this sighting presumably happened are shown.
"At first I thought it was another lost boy. But he was dark, like a black three dimensional shadow. I got close enough to look in its eyes. He had an apelike face, but there was a distinct familiarity, a kind of strong human resemblance."
Hypothetical images of young sasquatches are shown.
"We stared at each other for a good few moments, and it looked like he, or she I guess, was going through the same thought process I was in that moment. To this one, I was the strange creature. Then it turned around and ran away into the treeline."
For Chuck McGavin, this singular experience came to define his outlook on the paranormal world.
"I know for a fact that it was not an escaped, or an abandoned ape or monkey, because it was bipedal. This was a bigfoot, or sasquatch, although I wouldn't learn the term itself until years later. This young one walked, and then ran, jogging almost, into the woods, and that is the signature charactaristic of the sasquatch, it walks on two legs."
McGavin is now driving down a country road.
"People don't believe me but it wasn't until I was in high school that I learned there was a thing called Bigfoot. And of course you can't talk about Bigfoot, and what we think we know about it, without talking about the Patterson-Gimlin film..."
This film, recorded by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin in 1967 (shown in slow-motion) depicts what is alleged to be an adult sasquatch. Many believe the film to be a hoax, however Chuck thinks differently.
"The creature in that tape is, as far as I'm concerned, Bigfoot. I can't give you a logical or scientific reason to convince you, but it's an adult version of what I saw as a kid, and like I said back then I didn't know about Bigfoot."
Chuck has spent most of his adult life searching for this elusive cryptid.
"People laughed, when I was studying to be a biologist and I told them I believed in Bigfoot. And of course there's not much money to be made in cryptozoology which, let's be frank isn't even widely recognized as a valid life sciences field. I can't say if other creatures, fairies, Mothman, werewolves exist, but I can say from my own experience that Bigfoot does."
McGavin pulls his car up to a farmhouse and meets a man, whom the ribbon identifies as "Scott Miles: Rancher."
Scott's family has lived in this area for generations. He knows the land like the back of his hand, and is familiar with all kinds of local wildlife. Today he seeks Chuck's help with something he can't explain.
"Well I've lived on this land since I was a kid. I've seen and heard all kinds of animals out here, animals in pain, animals in heat, and I didn't think anything out here could scare me...
"Then one night I heard what sounded like a Banshee. That's the best way I can describe it, and I know it's already been said a million times, but it was like nothing I've ever heard in my entire time out here...
"So I went out to my chicken pen and found all of the chickens had had their heads bitten off. I didn't know what to do..."
After some more of this story, McGavin is shown walking through a wooded area, the same path that was shown in the first promo clip.
Chuck is determined to get to the bottom of this. He is scouting out good spots to set up trail cameras.
The footage alternates between the crew camera following chuck and his own personal camera facing him as he walks and monologues.
"Two decades ago, almost, I produced and directed a Bigfoot documentary called In Search of the Sasquatch. It was very low-budget, and not very good. I didn't have any filmmaking or documentary experience and I didn't really know what I was doing."
Chuck stops at an overlook as the crew records him. Then the personal camera footage resumes.
"Then one day out of the blue, this cable producer calls me and says he wants me to make a bigfoot show. Actually the idea was for me to be hunting different kinds of cryptids, but it was all because he saw my documentary from 20 years ago. I was flattered, and stunned, and...well I couldn't say no to that. So they greenlit the show, gave it the moon in funding, and now here I am..."
Chuck stops to survey another area before continuing.
"One of the things people don't appreciate about Sasquatch, is that they are very likely another species of human. We're so used to thinking of them as these primitive troll-like creatures, savagely prowling around, you know, like upright gorillas. The most popular theory right now for Bigfoot being real is that it's just a type of undiscovered temperate ape. I'm with the other view, the one that says they are a fellow hominid, another humanoid, more primitive the homo sapien, yes, but human nontheless. I wouldn't be surprised if they know how to use some tools, like how chimpanzees use rocks, but they could be more advanced than that, they could have sharpened sticks to use as spears for all we know.
"And people always say 'Well how come we don't have more video evidence of Bigfoot, how come they don't stumble into our camps and towns in front of lots of people like bears do?' And I think that's because they recongize us, and not just us but our technology. They see a trail camera for instance, and while they might not be able to know what a camera is, they can at least tell it's something manmade, not part of nature. So they stay away. When our ancestors first discovered fire, that was enough to keep lions and such away at night, and I think the same thing happens with bigfoots when they see something we've made. They instinctively know it's made by us and they know we're a threat so they walk the other way every time."
More illustrations of Bigfoot start rolling.
"The Native Americans have known about these creatures for centuries. Go to any reservation and it's basically an accepted fact that these things are real. Maybe it was the European man's advanced machinery that scared them all off to begin with."
McGavin is shown setting up a trail camera at an advantageous spot. Next, establishing shots of Scott's ranch at night play.
Back at the ranch, Scott and Chuck are staked out in separate blinds on opposite ends of the acreage, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever harmed Scott's chickens.
Chuck is shown in his blind, in black-and-white night vision.
"One of the ironic things about being a bigfoot hunter who actually believes in Bigfoot is that I am actually more skeptical of claimed sasquatch sightings than most. There have been sightings I think were credible, at least, there have been times I've been out in the woods and I heard or caught a glimpse of something... but I've never had a certain encounter with one except for that one cub, child, that I saw all those years ago when I was eleven. That was enough to convince me that they are real, but every other sighting I've investigated has been inconclusive at best.
"I've had times where I know for a fact someone was trying to hoax me. In fact, I'll be the first to admit that a large percentage of sightings, perhaps even the majority of the ones that get attention, are probably hoaxes.
"There's another bigfoot show that ran on another network, a few years back, I won't name names, but it was another guy going around looking into bigfoot sightings. But the whole point of that show was that he was trying to debunk bigfoot and other monsters like that. And yet he always acts like he believes the sighting when he's there, he doesn't even ask the questions I would ask to make sure the claim passes the barest standards of credibility.
"I guess, since I know Bigfoot is real, since I've met one, as it were, I take this more seriously and I'm not going to be easily swayed by any random sighting. Bottom line is, I'm not going to report a confirmed sasquatch sighting unless I've seen it myself with my own two eyes.
"In most cases, what people think is a sasquatch will turn out to be something mundane, if you find a cause for it at all. Lots of sightings are in areas with strong bear populations, and there's a reason for that. I've had people show me recordings of what they thought was a monster howling, but I knew right away it as an elk or an owl. It is objectively unlikely that we will find anything out of the ordinary out here tonight."
McGavin stops, and looks around the blind, before picking back up, his tone a little more hushed.
"...The thing that's bugging me about this whole thing, about what Scott and I are doing right now, is the chickens. Now, there are a lot of different points of view about the nature of Bigfoot, but one thing that seems to be almost a consensus is that he isn't a vicious killer. He doesn't go around attacking people and killing their animals for no reason. Scott never even showed us pictures of his dead chickens, yet he expects me to believe...and he called me down here to look at it. That just doesn't make the most sense."
Chuck peers through his binoculars.
"One thing's for sure: they are always one step ahead of us when we go looking for them. In many ways I really hope we don't ever find one. Proving they are real would be bad for them and for us."
Coming up next:
Scott is in the field, yelling at Chuck to come over. "I saw something over there!"
Another clip plays of the two running into the woods, followed by the "holy shit" clip from the beginning promo.
The producer turned the television off. So far the Episode One rough cut was looking good, but he needed a break to process this first segment.
The part where McGavin all but said he didn't believe the rancher's story would have to be removed, as would the denigrating references to that other cable show (which, incidentally, he had also helped fund). The host showing a healthy level of skepticism would be good for ratings, but no one wanted to listen to him explain how the show would almost certainly never prove anything.
And it wouldn't. He would see to that. He'd been sponsoring and producing bigfoot media for decades, all with the same end: to point people in any direction but the one in which they would find something. It was a shame to have to mislead this particular gentleman, as he clearly had no ill intentions toward the producer's extended family, but his firsthand knowledge made him dangerous, so it had to be misdirected.
The producer typed some notes into his word processor before turning the TV back on and watching the following segments. After that he'd make some calls about a new movie idea. It was all part of the neverending bid to stay one step ahead.
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You caught me in time because tomorrow I go out of state on family business. I like the idea of a story based on those cryptid shows. I like the main character and the examination of his history & philosophy (such as him being more skeptical because he does believe in the creatures). I feel the twist ending was well-done. Some would have had a cliched graphic ending, but yours was more subtle.
It's very well-written, but there are a few things you might want to change.
- "I know for a fact that it was not an escaped, or an abandoned ape or monkey, because it was bipedal. This was a bigfoot, or sasquatch, although I wouldn't learn the term itself until years later. This young one walked, and then ran, jogging almost, into the woods, and that is the signature charactaristic of the sasquatch, it walks on two legs."- "I know for a fact that it was not an escaped, or an abandoned, ape or monkey, because it was bipedal. This was a bigfoot, or sasquatch, although I wouldn't learn the term itself until years later. This young one walked, and then ran, jogging almost, into the woods, and that is the signature characteristic of the sasquatch- it walks on two legs."
- Many believe the film to be a hoax, however Chuck thinks differently.- Many believe the film to be a hoax; however, Chuck thinks differently.
- And of course there's not much money to be made in cryptozoology which, let's be frank isn't even widely recognized as a valid life sciences field.- And of course there's not much money to be made in cryptozoology which, let's be frank, isn't even widely recognized as a valid life sciences field.
- I'm with the other view, the one that says they are a fellow hominid, another humanoid, more primitive the homo sapien, yes, but human nontheless.- I'm with the other view, the one that says they are a fellow hominid, another humanoid, more primitive the homo sapien, yes, but human nonetheless.
- And I think that's because they recongize us, and not just us but our technology.- And I think that's because they recognize us, and not just us but our technology.