OK, we were filming in an abandoned nursing home at night in a rough part of town. And that place was creepy…all the walls were this putrid bile-yellow color and were peeling. The ceilings had electrical wires dangling everywhere and what I’m sure was asbestos poking out of every opening. The crew were all commenting on how sad it made them feel…such bleak surroundings for the end of a person’s life. Not your feel-good night.
Anyway, we were filming a scene in one of the management offices and just outside the set was a small room formerly used for security. That’s where the director and I were housed with our monitor. I loved the room because it had a huge desk that I could lay my script book on (I’m easily pleased). In front of me on the desk were three still-working surveillance cameras, and on top of those the video playback guy placed our monitor.
Now, once I find my little out of the way place I generally like to hole up there until we start filming. So, to entertain myself while I was waiting during set up I began to watch the surveillance cameras. One was set for the front of the building, one for the back dock where the electric truck was, and one was on the parking lot, my car being center of frame.
I began to watch the eerily delayed surveillance monitors. It was like that creepy effect in horror movies where the person/ghost/kid-from-the-well moves all jerky and fast. I watched the electrics come in and out of the truck until we were ready to roll.
After finishing the master, we broke and started our turn around to do a close up on the main character. While the crew worked inside, something caught my eye in one of the surveillance cameras outside. Someone was creeping around the truck. He walked around our cars and was peeking in the windows (again, picture the creepy jerky movement).
I mentioned what I saw to the nearby camera guy and he just gave a camera guy grunt and ran off to do some camera guy thing. I began to get creeped out! Then I watched the mysterious guy proceed to pop around my car! He crouched along the side of the car and then peeked into the windows, looking from side to side to see if anyone was watching him. I thought to myself, “Well, really it’s a shitty car, and there is nothing in it that anyone would want,” But then I wondered about the truck, would he steal something from it? Are there more people with him? My mind began to race…and I realized… I am the only one seeing this going on! What if something bad happens, and I didn’t say anything! The mysterious guy crept around my car again and back to the truck…now I had to say something!
So I ran up to the A.D. and told him that there was someone creeping around the trucks on the dock, and he may want to send someone to check it out. As soon as I finished proclaiming my concern to the A.D. I could see a gleam in his eye. “Now what happened?” He prods. I began to look around…and as I look towards the dock entrance I see an electric coming toward me… and when he sees me he begins to laugh. I had been punk’d. But good! “It was YOU!” I scream! (Then quickly regained professional, unflappable, control of myself) Everyone started laughing. Camera, grip, and electric boys were all in on the joke. I just broke down laughing, and said, “Nicely done!”
Now, I’m sure grip, electric and other departments play practical jokes on each other all the time. Scripty’s are a lonely department of one…so having this joke played on me? Well, I’m part of the gang!
Have you ever gotten or been gotten?