My senior year of high school, MTV produced a documentary called Once Upon a Prom that followed two students at my high school. I had started to dabble in media arts and was offered to work on the project and earn my very first industry-related resume line item as an intern for MTV Docs. This opportunity ultimately jumpstarted my professional career by leading me to studying journalism and mass comm in college, gain professional work experience after school, and, eventually, earn a professorship at OU, where I now teach.
Currently, if you want to watch it, it’s nearly impossible to find. The actual work doesn’t appear to exist in its entirety anywhere online. Interestingly, if you Google the title, the only versions you will find are the sequels of the show. MTV decided that they would continue the concept, but, rather than follow your every day high school student, they would follow teenage celebrities. One year they did Rihanna and then, most famously, the 2008 edition featured a young up-and-coming artist named Taylor Swift. As one would imagine, that version is much easier to find.
Anyways, I only have a copy of copy of the documentary. Years ago, my dad borrowed a VHS recording of it and had it converted to DVD. At the time, the tape was already going bad and the audio was nearly unbearable, but it was nice to have any copy of it. When I pulled it out of storage a couple weeks ago, the DVD was scratched and unreadable, but I was able to locate a solution on Amazon that allowed me to remove some of the scratches and get it to run in a DVD drive. I spent some time this weekend converting it into a digital file so that I could preserve it. It’s now been fully converted, and I’m going to spend some time cleaning up the audio though I’m pretty convinced that the quality is a bit too far gone for full restoration.
To help with the audio cleaning process, I’ve been using a new AI-based audio tool called Clear by Supertone. It can separate voice and what it calls “ambience.” This is nice, but in order to remove the hum, it also removes most of the good ambience: background noise, music, etc.
So, yes, for all the former Yukon High School students who were featured in the doc, a copy of it DOES exist. And I will accept bribes to not post it publicly. 😉 Here are a couple of screen caps that only incriminate me.
If anyone has a copy of it, I’d love to digitize that one too in order to preserve a better version of it. Whatever format you have, contact me as I’m happy to take it and convert it!