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In my dream, i'm some independent live-action film director who's finally had a breakthru movie that's gotten me enough praise to fund a semi-big-budget film about a small midwestern town that gets flooded.
I'm sitting atop a large camera crane ready to direct a climactic tear-jerking scene where the endearing old man, who said he'd stay with his house til the bitter end, is lying on his back on the roof of his house delivering his final lines as the muddy floodwaters rise up over his quivering lips.
It's an expensive and dangerous shot so i want to get it right the first time. I've already rehearsed the scene extensively with the actor playing the old man. The actor is kind of a cross between M. Emmet Walsh and Sydney Greenstreet. There are divers and safety personnel in the water as we prepare to shoot the scene.
I call "ACTION" and the scene begins. The actor delivers a heart-wrenching performance that has the whole crew in tears as his face is submerged in the flood water, which is carefully controlled by the special effects team.
Just as I yell "CUT", there's a violent and enormous spray of bloody water where the actor's face had been blowing bubbles only moments before. This is not in the script. Some crew member yells "ALLIGATOR!!!" and my otherwise pleasant dream suddenly turns into a nightmare.
Remember: this is only a dream..my perch on the camera crane, I can barely make out the body of the actor in the splashing water, but where the actor's head should be is the mouth of a huge alligator. All I can do is watch as divers emerge from the water surrounding where the house and actor had been before we submerged them and the safety boats rush in, but the thrashing alligator keeps everyone at bay.
In a matter of seconds, the alligator swallows the actor and disappears beneath the muddy water. Everyone is shocked and bewildered, and for a moment, we all just stare at the ripples in the water where the actor and alligator had vanished. I break the silence by yelling "WTF was an alligator doing on my set?!?" No one answers.
As the crane lowers toward the ground, I turn to my cameraman and whisper, "We were rolling the whole time?" He answers "Yes." I smile and wake up.