Sunday, June 4, 2017

Go Ask Alice

Moviemaker Myron Smith, who with his brother, Mat, co-produced and directed the indie films Young Blood and Invasion of the Killer Cicadas (both of which I took part in), has in recent days gone out on his own to make "Sweded" versions of well-known movies, such as Night of the Living Dead, Return to Oz, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Sweded films are the ultimate in amateur moviemaking, generally very short, oftentimes hilarious, and always made on a less-than-shoestring budget. Myron has now turned his directorial efforts to his own version of Alice in Wonderland, and yesterday I had a blast taking part as one of the playing card soldiers in several scenes, including Alice's outrageous trial, which was filmed at the old courthouse in my old hometown of Martinsville, VA. Due to schedule conflicts, I'd had to turn down the more substantial role of the King of Hearts, but I did enjoy being able to slap around a few peasants and lead them off to have their heads removed by an irate Queen of Hearts.
Director Myron Smith goes over the script, the
the White Rabbit takes a smoke break, and the
rest of the cast prepares for the day's shoot.

Alas, yesterday proved to be a regular pain—literally—before things settled onto something resembling an even keel. First thing in the morning, I woke up to a call from Wells Fargo and discovered that my bank card had been compromised for the second time in just a few months. Fortunately, the bank caught what was going on and all the bogus charges were declined, but still, having to deal with the aftermath of this kind of thing is a bitch in heat. Would that such thieves—not to mention the endless stream of scam artists who have devoted themselves to defrauding my less-than-healthy mother—could be transported to a real-world counterpart of yesterday's movie set, so that I might joyously lead them to their royally deserved headless futures.

Okay, so at last I'm on set and outfitted in my costume, but before shooting can begin, one of my glasses lenses makes a distinctive popping sound and, zoom, there it goes, flying through the air like a Frisbee. Yes, the screw holding the frames together had pulled loose, but again happily, the lens wasn't damaged, and I was able to put things back to right once I got home. Lord, but I do hope these glasses will hold together for the foreseeable future, as they're not that old, and I sure don't need to be replacing them just about the time their warranty expires.

Then comes Strike Three for the day: late in the afternoon, near the end of the shoot, that accursed prismatic pattern appears in my field of vision, the undeniable proof of a migraine setting in. Damnation, I had only just suffered a migraine two days earlier, though fortunately a very mild one. The light show for this one was particularly spectacular, but once again—I say with a big sigh of relief—the accompanying headache was relatively mild and proved to be more an inconvenience than a debilitating condition, which is too often not the case. Still, it was most frustrating, as I had committed to going with Ms. Brugger to a friend's birthday bash last night, and I can assure you, handling a sizable, noisy party with a migraine, however mild, is not a welcome prospect. However, around 9:30 PM, after resting a bit, particularly my eyes, I had begun to feel more or less human again, and, serendipitously, Ms. B. texted me to see if I might feel up to joining the group for a while. So I did, and though a bit weak and washed out, I managed to hold up without causing myself—and hopefully anyone else—any undue agony.

So I guess one could say that, despite being a somewhat dicier Saturday than I would generally wish on anyone—except perhaps scammers—it proved far better than a total bust. At least I didn't lose my head.
When her wicket collapses during the croquet game, Alice becomes irate, though perhaps a bit less so
than the Queen of Hearts, who orders the wicket's head removed.
In the courtroom, the White Rabbit reads charges against Alice, while director/cameraman
Myron Smith films the scene.
Pick a card. Any card.
The jury is in. Or out. Or something.
Catching some shade and refreshment between takes. The sun about blistered my poor bald head.

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