Behind The Scenes

Hugh Fisher

"Wil, eyes on John!"

Wil Wheaton swung uncomfortably in the wire harness. He knew the script called for him to be intent on spearing John Scalzi's orc, but he found it hard not to stare at what was being pointed at him.

"Is that a fire hose?"

Felicia Day looked away from the camera once more.

"Yes Wil, it's a fire hose. The CGI guys want something as a base for the dragon breath. Just a light spray, nothing more. We won't really be spraying you with burning napalm, ha ha."

"More's the pity," mumbled a stage hand in a faded Captain Kirk T-shirt.

"Can we get on with it?" asked the green-skinned John Scalzi. "This make up is really hot."

"Physical effects are always the best, John," replied Felicia.

"So how come Wil isn't in costume?"

"Because we haven't decided on his final look yet. The concept artist is still working on his steed. It's got to be magnificent. And cute, to attract the female audience."

"Well I'm supposed to appear at another book signing this evening," grumbled John. "Yesterday I didn't have time to clean all this gunk off and had to turn up looking like this. It was ridiculous."

Felicia replied sweetly, "Oh, about that, Kristine called. She said yesterday's crowd was the biggest you've ever had, so you're to keep the make up on. And bring the axe."

John had more on his mind.

"Felicia, we agreed you could use the crew to do a promo for The Guild, not the whole damn season. When do we start on Old Man's War?"

Felicia sighed with exasperation.

"We are filming Old Man's War, John. It says so on the script. Didn't you read it?"

It is difficult to express outrage through a thick layer of latex, but John managed.

"What?! There are no orcs in my books. Or flying steeds, or sheep," he shouted, pointing at a small huddle of green painted sheep carefully decorated with white dots.

"Wolves," interjected Wil. "They're stand-ins for wolves. One of us read the script."

"I don't care!" was the reply.

"Now, John," said Felicia in a soothing voice. "You know there are always differences between print and screen. You gave me creative control for a reason, John. Trust me on this."

"But Old Man's War is science fiction, not fantasy," pleaded John. "What about the script treatment I gave you?"

"I read it," said Felicia. "But it didn't..." she searched for the right word, "resonate with me. So I've re-imagined Old Man's War for the 21st century and a new audience."

"But-" began John.

Felicia's patience had run out.

"Look, I gave up the lead role in Disney's Kim Possible movie for this! I'm the director, and we're going to shoot this scene and discuss any creative differences later!"

"Yes please," added Wil, who was losing circulation in his legs.

"Ready to film" announced Felicia, "and...action!"

Everyone was impressed by Wil's screams of anguish as he tried to avoid the icy jet of water. John, though, was lightly trampled by the sheep and Felicia judged his performance to be lacking in energy.