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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old November 17th, 2003, 05:24 PM   #1
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Jack-Ass, et al, A Threat to Videographers?

I am not picking on JA specifically, but down here in New Orleans (well Chalmette...its close enough) a group of people (sort of) decided to imitate art by faking a kidnapping.

Alegededly a group of guys got one of their girlfriends to act like she was being abducted and forced into a car. Well the police were called in and search was underway when it was determined to be a hoax. The hoaxers were later arrested.

My worry is that the authorities may make much more difficult for all film and documentary makers to conduct their trade. IE it will be even more difficult to make cash.

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Old November 17th, 2003, 06:35 PM   #2
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These guys got in trouble because they created news, or an event, not because they taped it. It probably upset some people so they were probably arrested for the event, not taping it. I'll bet public disturbance, nuisance or something like that.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 09:03 PM   #3
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Jackass is certainly not original, a bunch of Canadians were doing that 10 years ago and it hasn't seemed to cause any problems to video crews. As Rob said they probably got in trouble for staging the hoax, not for shooting it.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 09:07 PM   #4
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Hoax or filmaking?

Nathan,

A hoax is defined as "an act intended to deceive or trick". Also, staging an abduction is not documentary filmaking.

I seriously doubt that they were arrested for staging and shooting an abduction scene.

Let's look at different scenarios:

1: Someone saw the action and called the police. The police respond and confront the shooter. Shooter explains that it is for their film. Police scold shooter for scaring the S**T out of the citizenry. End of story.

2: Same as above, except shooter "shoots" his mouth off about civil rights, free speech, artistic expression or something to that effect, when confronted by the police. Basically...POPO...Piss Off Police Officer. Possibly resulting in citations for no permit, etc. (If shooter really POPOed the authorities, possibly a disturbing the peace charge or something to that effect that can result in their taking the ride.)

3: Shooter actually tries to pass this off as a true abduction, constituting a hoax. Law enforcement has absolutely no sense of humor when it comes to this.

If you are going to shoot something of this nature in public, contact your local municipal PD and advise them that you are doing it, as well as the location where it is happening.

Also tell them that you will advise them as soon as you are finished, that way, if a citizen calls 911, they will have a heads up as to what is going on.

You also have to be careful with good samaritans that may just come to the aid of your fair maiden, possibly creating a situation that gets FUBAR in a real hurry.

As far as JA is concerened, I have never seen as many folks from the shallow end of the gene pool in one place in my life.

With regard to #s 2 & 3 and JA..."Life is tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid!"

Regards, RB
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Old November 17th, 2003, 10:27 PM   #5
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That is one dangerous game to play. This state is a "Shall Issue" state when it comes to concealed weapon permits. That means if you don't have a criminal record and are a citizen in good standing you may get a concealed weapon permit. Don't try a kidnapping fake or otherwise around here unless you want to get shot. Scare tactics wouldn't go over very well either.
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Old November 18th, 2003, 08:15 AM   #6
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They were charged with criminal mischief.

I have no problem when they inform the authorities of their actions prior to the shoot or performance. The problem here was there was a mobilization of people looking for the victim.

The problem I see is when camera power exceeds brain power. I believe such tactics only encourage lawmakers to enact unwise legislation. (Heck, I know lots about that I am bicyclist!)

John is also right, this is a state that issues concealed weapons permits for the citizenry (there are courses and certifications you must complete).
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Old November 19th, 2003, 09:57 AM   #7
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Nathan,
you should be happy that people actually mobilized to look for the girl. It means there's hope for us yet.

As for the abduction scenerio- not smart and not professional. Were they trying to get "realistic" reactions from the onlookers? I have a number of aquaintences that carry concealed weapons. Some are cops and some aren't. Thats not to mention my other friends, others, and I that train in self defense. Add 911 paranoia, and stir well.

Mixture for trouble.

Just my 2 cents.

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Old November 19th, 2003, 11:36 PM   #8
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Just when you thought is was safe to make a movie!

Jeff,

My mention of the Good Samaritans as well as your mention of law abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons basically boils down to one thing...Darwinism at work!

Talk about thinning out the herd!

The actions mentioned in this post are not only unprofessional and not very smart...they are downright irresponsible.

Hopefully, the powers that be would be able to differentiate between the professional filmaker and your "garden variety" Mullet-head that thinks he really is a professional.

Regards, RB.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 11:23 AM   #9
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Alway contact the Police

OK, I've followed this thread with some interest, not only as a videographer, but as a member (civilian) of a state police agency responsible for our media production, and a broadcast professional for 15 plus years.

Even the Highway Patrol plays by a fairly standard set of rules. Whenever we recreate, document or participate in a shoot we notify the local police, sheriff and occasionally fire departments. NOT just a public information officer, BUT the dispatch centers in the area. We also contact our own dispatch center to let them know where we are.

It's not just a courtesy, it is a absolute must. Agencies are spread so thin that officers often must come from some distance away to respond to a call. Anytime you get a lights/siren call, the danger to the public and the public safety personnel go up exponentially. The last thing I want to do is have the death or injury of an innocent bystander or officer on my conscience. The other benefit of notification, the POPO that Rick mentioned often becomes a non-issue since they'll be called off by a dispatcher. I can't count the times over the last 10 years we've been cruisers glide by with a curious officer, but no contact because we've made a phone call. We don't have concealed carry here in Kansas, but everyone has a cell phone and doesn't hesitate to use them to call 911. Anything you can do to forestall this is a help.

Everyone is scared in our society today. Sept. 11, homeland security concerns and armed civilians are issues a first responder and officer now have to consider. "Staging" or "hoaxing" only exacerbates the problem, and I agree will probably bring about legislative change if the event is egregious enough to bring in other news media and get people to looking for a "victim." I hope, as a pro, that the local authorities hammer the dipsticks that setup that "event." That's the only thing that will make some folks understand.

That being said, sometimes everything you do isn't enough. I was videotaping our governor's mansion from the helicopter last year, oddly enough for a security issue. Notification was made, flight plans were filed and off we went. Multiple passes and some great video later I waltzed into the office and was hammered by the boss. Turns out the public panicked, traffic along I-70 slowed to a crawl and the local dispatch center took 75+ calls from citizens thinking we were doing a SWAT rescue. The local stations and newspaper were calling wondering what was going on. And that's AFTER a proper notification process was followed.

I'm not a believer in big brother, and often I chafe under the reality that has become shooting video today. But using a little common sense will let us get on with shooting our documentaries, videos and events with a minimum of hassle for everyone involved.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

Will
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Old November 20th, 2003, 09:50 PM   #10
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Will,

Harumph!!!!

RB
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Old November 26th, 2003, 10:29 AM   #11
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I was very glad to see the tone of the comments so far. My worry is that JA and others may well require us all to be licensed one day.

To realize the threat one only has to look at proposed cellphone regs that may require camera equipped cells to emit a loud and obnoxious beep when the camera is activated.
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Old November 29th, 2003, 03:04 PM   #12
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A little while ago we were filming a fight scene in a field at our college which had a fairly busy road going by it. We thought, you know, we're out of the way. People won't see us from the road since they'll be busy driving and all that. But after a few takes, the head of security for the fields we were on comes by and tells us that there was a call into the police station that there was a man getting beat up on the field. After we told him who we were, he calmed down a bit, since our group has made friends around campus in some useful places.

Anyway, the whole thing could have been avoided had we just told the campus police where we were and what we were doing. So remember, if you're doing something that even LOOKS illegal, make sure someone knows about it or you'll have some pissed off cops coming your way.
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Old November 29th, 2003, 03:09 PM   #13
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On shoots like this we hire an off duty Chicago police officer, to which it is our advantage in that he protects us from others on the street and helps with traffic and if there are calls (Which there usually is not as the police are there) he helps communicate with them.

Cost $20 Hr. it's worth it.
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Old December 15th, 2003, 08:08 PM   #14
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OK, I live in a concealed carry state too (CT), moreover I live in a town with no police department and lots of armed citizens, so anyone pulling a stupid stunt migfht just find themselves on the business end of a revolver (maybe mine). I am personally acquainted with two neighbors who chased a suspect through the woods and held him at gunpoint until the State Troopers got there. So you don't want to rile the natives.

Then there's my second home, Vermont, where you don't even need a license to carry. Any law-abiding citizen (no felony convictions, etc.) can carry if he behaves himself. Whatever you do, you don't want to impersonate a deer! :-)
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