A couple of years ago, we were shooting a short video for a competition, and we needed an unusual vehicle. Since it was going to be Satan’s car (and I don’t think the devil drives a hybrid), it had to be unusual. We ended up borrowing an old hearse from one of our buddies.
We spent the better part of a Saturday shooting the video. Because we shoot like Ninja filmmakers—we sneak around, shoot our footage and then disappear—we had an unmarked set. Although we were using a small back road, there was still a fair amount of traffic passing by. When you’re making movies, there isn’t much concern for how things look from the outside world because you’re usually focused on the task at hand.
With that in mind, this is what drivers, aka "rubberneckers," saw as they drove past the shoot: our hearse idling on the roadside; a rather large gentleman dressed as a priest; a convict dressed in the classic striped prison garb; an argument that escalated into a shooting; and a whole lot of screaming. I can understand why people who lived on that road and the folks driving past us would find the scenario odd.
A short time after the completion of the video, our buddy sold the hearse, and a few months went by when we saw a picture of it on the evening news. "Do you recognize this vehicle?" the report asked. "Police are looking for suspects in a murder investigation, and they are asking for anyone with information about this vehicle [our movie prop] to call the County Sheriff’s office."
I don’t know how actual criminals feel upon learning that they’re being sought by the police, but we got paranoid very quickly. It might have been a little overly dramatic to start looking out the blinds trying to spot the cops, but I know that a bunch of people saw that "vehicle" driving around on a little country road. There was an argument, screaming and gunshots. They saw it speed off down the road and circle back 15 or 20 times. I’m really glad that the fiery flames were added in post.
Well, apparently, our buddy sold the hearse to a murderer. Thank goodness, the police made an arrest before any of our "rubberneckers" contacted them about the strange scene down Reed Road.
Frank Moody and Stephen Bennett are based in Georgia working in the real world and sharing a lifelong dream to make movies.
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Everyone who has spent time in video and film production has a funny tale or two about this life. Odd and quirky things happen to us and our colleagues that we all like to talk about after the shoot.
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