Sharkaconda!! Will RISE!

August 15, 2014: Simon WilliamsBiff Hardrock is starring in another movie, and Amy Kingsley is an extra

Aqueduct Racetrack - Brooklyn - New York City

The Aqueduct Racetrack is a thoroughbred horse racing track and 'racino' on the site of a former conduit for the Brooklyn Waterworks in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York. The race meets are generally from October to April. Over the years there have been several proposals to shut the track down or repurpose the facility, but none so far have been successful.



  • Sharkaconda! (a robotic shark puppet used in filming)
  • The part of the Director is played by Alan Smithee

Mood Music:
SHARKNADO because too cheap to buy new music

The thing about Aqueduct is that it only runs part of the year. The rest of the time it's kind of just there being useless. But that makes it PERFECT for other uses, and today it's being used for something entirely stupid: making a summer SyPhy Channel movie. This one's about a giant snake/shark hybrid (don't ask, the science will make your brain implode) that eats horses in the race track, because it can. It's got several stars, including (unfortunately) Simon Williams, who is credited under the pseudonym "Biff Hardrock" playing a sort of antagonist-type to the hero, played by Sly Laborf, a young once-up-and-coming now downward-tracking star. It's the last thing that Simon was contracted to do by his former agent.

There were flyers all over the various colleges in town asking for people to come in as extras, crowd scene etc. The lucky ones get to be eaten by Sharkaconda!


Amy doesn't really go to class, so she does show up. Some people she's met are going and whatever, maybe she'll get to mooch onto some alcohol or whatever after. She's kind of gotten into the habit of silly parties lately, even though Raven has since taken away her PTSD that was driving that habit to begin with. She's dressed casually as she waits in line, messing with her phone. Which is handy when she sees 'Biff,' because she stares right at him, without pointing him out to everyone, but snaps a picture for herself.


'Biff' (Simon) is in a New York City race track, playing the owner of a successful New York stable, and for some reason known only to the brilliant minds of SyPhy Scripts Limited, he's been costumed in a lime-green cowboy hat and a matching polyester jacket that last saw fashion in the 1970s, very very tight jeans and a skin-tight western shirt entirely wasted under that lime-green jacket. He sees the girl with the phone-camera and gives her a 250-watt smile. Really, it's too bad they've made his hair into a mullet. Under that cowboy hat.

He waves, and is led to the track.

"SCENE FIVE TAKE ONE IN THREE MINUTES!" the assistant director yells on a bullhorn. There's a pond in the middle of the track — two of them actually, but this scene is set up next to the nearer one to the paddock. A number of robotic-looking horses - actually front-halves of horses on posts - are in the starting gates. 'Biff' is moved down to the gates, and the buzzer goes off.

"QUIET ON SET! OK, we need you to all scream AFTER the sharkaconda! comes out of the pond, OK?"

The assitant director yells "SCENE FIVE TAKE ONE … ACTION!"

'Biff' is on camera one, standing near the paddock, and a look of horror crosses his face. A robot head and body (clearly fake) of a giant shark and a green-screen colored tube leap out of the water in slow motion, and lunges at the horse-bots, which are moving almost as if they were puppets. Then, it stops.



Amy does her very best not to giggle. In fact, with her hand over her mouth, you can't even see the smirk. So when she's supposed to scream, she can scream. She tries to remember what it was like being toyed with by Joker and Harley, but really, this movie is so ridiculous. So she'd look like she was laughing if not for the hand over her mouth while she screams. The whole time though she's watching the star. Mullet and all.


This is the ugly, boring part of movie making. All the non-effects shots need to be taken. There aren't even any real horses on the set today, they'll be added in CGI like the snake part of the sharkaconda… the Assistant Director seems to love using that word, too. Shark! a CON Da! With one of those the movie simply HAS to be a guaranteed hit!

After about an hour and a half of different shots of the creature, with one of Biff being "eaten" — it only gets close to him, doesn't even bite — and then everyone is sent off to Craft Services. The extras who don't want to stay longer get paid, and sent off without being fed. See how that works?

The 'stars' all eat at one table, but Biff Hardrock seems to be fine with talking to other people who aren't going to have a name by their name on the credits. Mr. Sly, a bit less so. He's apparently about to have a melt-down over not having a private trailer.

Amy grabs some juice, and a sandwich. But she's not sure if she wants the sandwich, she's checking what's on it while she goes for a place to sit. She takes a seat as close too Biff as she can, and leans over to giggle "I don't care what anyone says, Dreamsphere was good."


Oh yeah. Dreamsphere. The movie that almost killed Sly's fledgling career and somehow didn't hurt Simon Williams' at all. It came out the same year as "The Cube" — that vague space-like deathtraps-for-everybody movie - and it was clearly a take off one of the earlier scripts. Similar names, similar theme. MANY more explosions, most of which Simon was in as a stunt-man, one in which he was the named character he portrayed.

"It was an awesome movie," Sly says, warming up to the co-ed. "The critics just hated that …"

"That it had more explosions than a Fourth of July fireworks show," Simon, er, 'Biff', says, cutting off Sly's imminent whine about their hating his acting. They did. There were reasons.

"It actually had decent dialogue, though. I liked Sly's performance, mine sucked, and the story was pretty stupid. Good popcorn movie, though. Seems to be making steady return in the DVD/Downloads."


Amy laughs a little, nodding at Sly, as she begins to drink her juice at least. The sandwich she's decided looks a more than bit drier than she cares to put into her mouth. They're not giving the extras the same food, quite. But she turns her body a bit, and her attention closer toward 'Biff.'

"It was funny, it looked pretty, and it was entertaining. Not all movies have to be full of psychobabble pseudo depth."


Strangely, the main difference between the food given to the extras and the principals is that there are vegetables in vegetable-trays with dips. Apparently there were some fits thrown (Sly is good at that) when his agent(s) saw the contract to the craft services people. The big guy doesn't really care about whether or not the food he eats is dry, but Sly takes a bite, chokes, and starts demanding mayo and some goddamn lettuce.

SyPhy appears to be trying to run this one on a half-shoestring budget.


Amy giggles at that reaction, and shakes her head at her own.

"Oh you guys didn't get ones much better huh? Wow I thought they'd actually give you something edible." Then finishing her juice, she laughs.

"I wonder if I could order a pizza before they need us again. Or me at least," she grins at Simon.


"Probably not, the Craft Service guys would make a big fuss. They have an exclusive contract," Biff answers. The Director (same table) has been going over his notes, and he looks up.

"Sounds good to me, twenty hawaiian, ten pepperoni, ten cheese, fifteen veggie."

The Assistant Director shrugs, and places the order with a local pizza place. It won't be wonderful but it will be more edible than the sandwiches made two days ago. And it will arrive in twenty minutes.


Amy laughs a little. "Thanks" she smiles at the director, before then looking up at Biff. "So hey yeah, I'm gonna go get another juice, do you want anything while I'm up?" she asks with another little laugh before finishing the rest of her juice, sighing after drinking it. It is awfully humid on this Au gust day, even if it's not especially hot.


"I'll take a water, if you don't mind?" Biff says.

"Hey, get me a Mike's Lemonade," Sly says, and the Assistant Director pinches the bridge of his nose. Not again. The jerkstar has a problem with drinking. Starts with hard lemonade, ends the day with everclear.

Amy stops, and laughs "Well if they'll give me one." She then goes over to where everything is, grabbing herself a bottle of the apple juice, and Biff a bottle of the water. Stuffing those under her arm, she leans over and says something quietly, gesturing back to the table. And well, a third bottle comes out. then a fourth. The apple juice goes back, and she returns, giving Sly his lemonade, Biff his water… and Amy her own lemonade. "Hey don't tell," she winks opening it up to take her first sip. Which makes her frown but she then takes a second to try to get used to it.


"That's all you get today," the Director says to Sly. "We don't have insurance for you to fall off the wagon this time. We have one week to finish this turkey and get it into post."

Sly nods, slightly sullen, and nurses the cold alcohol-flavored fruit drink very slowly. Pizza arrives. LOTS of pizza. Most of the craft dried-sandwich extravaganza has been dumped in garbage as not even safe for homeless or animal food. Pizza is very welcome.

Biff takes the water with a 'thanks' before he's dragged off to Makeup again - his hair is starting to come out of the product-enforced Mullet again.


Amy isn't all that hungry, but she does take a few slices of pizza. One is offered up to Biff when she wanders over to where his hair is getting fixed up, while she wraps her lips around the bottle tip to slurp down a little more. She's slow with it too, but for a different reason. She might be half the other guy's size. "You hate this hair don't you?" she grins at Biff.


The hairstylist laughs. 'Biff' can't move his head, but he says, "It sucks. I'm going to be seen in public with this… my shame will never end. What would Mother say? The servants will laugh and laugh."


Amy takes her own slice and sets the rest down so he can grab them if he wants. She nibbles on it, one hand full of food, the other holding the cold bottle. "Hey, I mean, it's not like you look stupid or antyhing. Did you know President Polk won a war in one of those?"


"In a mullet, or in a makeup bib?" Biff jokes. He now has a person fixing the greasepaint. But he can take a few moments to eat the pizza. That's … so much better than the sandwich was.

"So, you're not the usual desperate-for-SAG-card actress wannabe. What's your story?"


Amy laughs. "No, I'm just bored because I don't need to go to classes much, and everyone else was going, so I came along," she explains, grabbing a stool to sit on before taking another sip. "I'm Amy. And well, I came along for whatever, maybe there'd be a party after but then I recognized you. You… well it's good you're making movies again."


"Oh? Well, thanks. I've been making them all summer, but yeah, this might be the last one for a while. I had to fire my lousy cheating no-good thief of an agent, so I'm still looking," Simon, er, BIFF, answers. "And I've been doing some work for a Mysterious Government Agency lately, which is interesting."


Amy nods and smiles "I guess they haven't come out yet? I don't know, I know there seemed to be a lull there or something." She then sighs, and takes another drink. "And well," she smiles at the government part. "If that's true I probably shouldn't ask anything more, unless who I'm working for ends up working with whoever you're working for."


"Yeah, I took six months off starting in January, had to do the whole 'court' thing to clear up some stuff from when I … yeah. Before. But then Mickey Baye came by and reminded me that I needed to pay some bills and he had a contract, so I did a couple knock-offs. One coming out next month, "Thor-Minator Two The Lightening-ing" or something like that. It had some really bad costumes," Biff says. "Even worse than the real Asgardians, and I got that from the Horse's Mouth."

The Horse in question being Loki, the mother of Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse. Don't ask.


Amy laughs a little. "Well you know, I'm pretty sure the pilgrims didn't dress the same as they do in the movies either, so hopefully they don't feel bad about that." Then another sip, and a few more bites of pizza, which is nice because it's now at the points he can turn it sideways and next time she'll finish it that way. "I think most people would be happy to make movies for a job, even bad ones."


"Well, don't make excuses for it before you see the full stupidity. It's '80s bad."

But before he can describe it further, Biff is called back to the set, and Amy is told, "If you want to be in the crowd scene coming up, you need to change to a different dress, and get your hair into a different style. It's on a different date."

The hairdresser/makeup artist says, "Like the Continuity people would even notice that?"

Amy waves to Biff as he heads off to do his thing, and rolls her eyes. "I don't have another dress." She sighs, looking around. She look to the hairdresser, and smiles "Think I could sneak in?" Being told yes, once the filming actually starts nobody's actually going to be checking that, she brings her lemonade with her, uses the trick of walking like she's supposed to be there, and just blends back into the crowd.


"Here, just put your hair up a little different," the hairdresser says, and then sends her inside. If she stays back, there won't be a problem. And there isn't. The giant snake/shark is not used in these scenes, instead, a single shark-head is lowered down on top of Simon's character six times, as he dodges and rolls ineffectively. It's all done in kind of slow-motion. Then a couple of the crowd-members, including an adorably noxious little girl with pigtails, are eaten at different angles, but only two shots are done of each. Fortunately nobody actually dies.

Amy really isn't bucking for a union membership or anything. It's a day off for her, a day out seeing a part of New York City she hasn't before. She finishes her bottles lowly, the liquor strong enough though to turn her cheeks a nice shade of pink by the time she's done, even if she has spread it out a bit. The pizza gets finished too, and she goes into her purse to get a little wet napkin to clean up. The great thing about this is she can do anything she wants as long as it's not stupid or looking at the camera, so she takes full advantage.

The assistant director taps Amy on the shoulder. "Would you like to be devoured on film?"


Amy whirls around, downs the last bits of her alcohol, and giggles. It's a high, slightly loud giggle, as she's buzzed enough. "Oh sure. Sounds like fun." she laughs. "Do I have to scream or?"


"Of course. If your scream isn't good we'll just replace it with Wilhelm, don't worry," the A.D. says. He hands Amy a fresh bottle of lemonade — not alcoholic, but the label is for the booze version — and says, "We need you to play a drunk woman, convincingly. Stagger a little, shake your head and then drink out of your bottle, like this," and he mimes the drunk. "Don't worry about over-acting. It's not going to be showing for very long, just enough to make the audience know what's coming."

The mouth of the sharkaconda(!) is filled with hard foam rubber teeth, that couldn't actually hurt. There's plenty of room in the top of it. They go through a single 'this is what it will look like' so she'll know what to do, and mark the place she needs to stand with a red "x" of gaffer tape.

"OK, action!"


Amy does her best. She's been drunk a few times lately. The girl squints a bit, she keeps on sucking on that bottle, She doesn't drink much of it, in case this goes on a while, but she does keep her glossed lips wrapped around it a fair amount of the time. She leans a lot, she tries to lean on whatever she has to. And finally, when the moment comes, she grips the bottle tight, gasps "Oh my god!" and then lets out a loud, scream when the moment hits. She takes advantage of the fact that she's slipping and staggering in her sandals, or at least pretending to, to keep an eye down and makes sure she stands where she's supposed ot.


Two takes, "Great scream! Hope we can keep it!" and Amy is guided to the Craft Services tent again, where they hand out the pay and there are more bottles of water — no more pizza — but a bunch of boxes of frozen ice cream treats. "Biff Hardrock" is there, having the makeup lady wash the goop out of his hair. It looks MUCH better as a loose shoulder-length cut. He's also gotten rid of the stupid costume and is in a black tee-shirt and jeans.


Amy is still blushing, as that was relatively strong alcohol for her, and all she had was the one piece of pizza. Walking toward the actor, she staggers a little, and that's not acting. Finally grabbing a stool, she leans on it and grins. "Well apparently I might be in the movie now."


"Yep," Biff answers. "You need to sign the paperwork, though. Talk to the paymaster there, you might get a surprise."

The Paymaster is a woman who looks something like that REALLY creepy smoking lady in the Afterlife in the movie Beetlejuice, except she isn't smoking. She has a revised contract with a permission sheet and a SAG voucher. "Get three of these and you can apply to the guild," the woman says in a voice like gravel grinding together. "Here's your pay."

The pay is better than the twenty bucks they were offered as extras for two hours. It's a hundred-fifty. Woo!


Amy goes ahead and does the paperwork. She feels like it would be some how rude to say it's not worth the effort. Which frankly it isn't for her. But she takes the money, and the voucher, and puts them into her purse. She doesn't mention that with her trust fund this is coffee money for her. And if she can she'll then try to go back to Biff and show him. "I'd better not tell the others I got more than they did, I think some of them are scholarship kids and they'll get jealous."


Yeah, the Screen Actors Guild is a bit of a racket, one of the worst unions for business, because it's had so much time to become weirdly rule-bound and out-dated. One reason why movies cost so much to make, but in the overall costs, usually it vanishes.

"So, you need a ride home?" Biff/Simon asks. "You didn't drive here yourself, I hope?"


Amy shakes her head. "No I mean… all the people I came here with, they just got the 20 bucks or whatever," she laughs, her voice still missing a bit of that modulation the alcohol has robbed of her, carefully sipping her purse back up. "Well I didn't drive here, and I'd happily take the offer. I was just planning to Uber it back or whatever but.. you know… I won't say no." She blinks and laughs.

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