A while back, a friend recommended a certain documentary to me. "Whenever I start feeling like I'm hopelessly geeky for being in the SCA," he said, "I just pop Trekkies in the VCR and it makes me feel so much more normal." I didn't watch it, because I'm not much on documentaries — but even if I was, there are still a whole bunch of movies I'd rather watch than one about people who like a TV show.
Recently, I learned about a video produced by SCAdians, about the SCA. I was gripped by the fear that it would be something that Trekkies watched whenever they started feeling insecure about their own hobby, so I sat down and watched the two videos back-to-back.
I was immediately filled with relief at how much less frequently I cringed during the SCA video. The representatives of our hobby, with a couple of exceptions, came across as far more rational and stable than the Trekkies. Sadly, though, upon reflection, I realized that it was because the SCA video wasn't telling the whole story. Because, while they weren't shown, we do have the SCA equivalent of the people who wear prosthetic latex foreheads several shades darker than their actual skin, or who wear their Starfleet uniforms while serving on a jury ("just like anyone else in the military").
So here's my script for the trailer of a documentary which explores a slightly more representative view of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Fade up on a brief shot of banners waving in silhouette; wind whistling.
Cut to: the "fog of war", through which we can barely see something which might be a battle. Faint battle noises seem to bear out this interpretation.
Cut to: closeup on some kingdom banners waving in the wind. We can start to hear faint drumming sounds.
Cut to: a wall of shields, out of focus, being hit with silver-gray things which might be swords. Louder battle noises.
Cut to: wider shot of the banners, which we can now see include a smiley face and a pennon bearing Elvish writing. Louder drums; somebody obviously is afflicted with IRDS (Innate Rhythmic Deficiency Syndrome).
Cut to: A crystal-clear view of an SCA battle, showing the sneakers, plastic armor, duct tape, and stolen street signs used for shields. Fade to black.
Fade in on a period painting or woodcut.
Nerdy Guy (V.O.): The SCA is a group where we re-create history. Except for the inconvenient parts. Or the parts we don't want to re-create, like religion.
Cross-fade to a woodcut of a campsite with Coleman stove, cooler, beer keg, slacker chairs, etc.
Nerdy Guy (cont.): And we don't have to give up any modern conveniences. And just about everybody's a noble, or at least of noble descent. And our rank structure is a little different from the way the titles were in period. But apart from that, I think we do a pretty good job of re-creating history.
Cross-fade to pan over a series of Renaissance paintings.
Smug woman (V.O.): I have a master's degree in Medieval Art. Well, I almost have a degree. I took a couple of classes where we looked at some medieval paintings. But I'm a Laurel, so that makes me an expert.
Cross-fade to an illuminated manuscript showing a battle scene. Faint battle noises in the background.
Belligerent Man (V.O.): I've been King seventeen times! You wanna make something of it? Huh? You wanna piece o' me? Come on! Right now! (fade out on similar adlibs)
Fade to black. Fade in on HIPPIE FREAK, who sounds suspiciously like Cheech Marin.
Hippie Freak: Oh, um... I had this friend, right? He said he knew some guys in this club who would, like, dress up in old clothes and, like, hit each other with sticks, you know? I said that wasn't my scene, but he was like, "No, man, you got it all wrong! Afterwards, they, like, tune out and turn on, you know?" So I was like, "Whoa," and I've been here ever since. Vivat the Dream, man.
Cross-fade to a "FUBBA WUBBA", who's dressed in late-period clothes but wearing sunglasses and a straw hat, upon which perches a coronet. To the left is someone fanning her; at right is someone groveling at her feet and holding up a goblet.
Fubba Wubba: I'm very important.
Cross-fade to a tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed guy in SAMURAI clothing, standing next to a CAVALIER. Hanging onto the Cavalier's arm is a PURPLE-HAIRED CHICK dressed in a chainmail bikini. Behind them is a golf cart.
Samurai: In the SCA, we re-create pre-1600s Western Europe.
Purple-Haired Chick: Ooooh! (giggle)
Cross-fade to a series of minstrel woodcut images. Harp music begins to play.
Nerdy Minstrel (V.O., singing): Gil-galad was an Elven King, of him the harpers sadly sing... (continues softly under next clip)
Cross-fade to a STRIDENT WOMAN standing at a blackboard, upon which is written: "Famous Pagans in History — St. Jerome, Joan of Arc, Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Pope Pius IV"
Strident Woman: What makes it worthwhile to me is the chance to learn and teach about the Middle Ages As They Should Have Been. (As she says the latter phrase, a small caption appears: "The Middle Ages As They Should Have Been™ is a trademark of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.")
Cross-fade to a BURLY GUY in armor.
Burly Guy: War!!!
Belligerent Man (O.S.): You wanna piece o' me?
The Burly Guy looks offscreen with a worried expression.
Burly Guy: No thank you, Your Archgrace.
Belligerent Man (O.S.): Damn.
Cross-fade to a GUY sitting down, with a ridiculously large drinking horn in front of him.
Guy: The thing I like most about the SCA is the fact that you really can be whatever you want to be. I mean, you could have no job and sleep on other people's couches, but you can still be King.
Fade to black.
Title card: Do you have what it takes to be King?
Title card: Vivat the Dream.
Title card: (Hey, at least we're not Trekkies.)