Getting paid to lie

Aside from making movies, another long-time dream of mine has been to do something involving pranks and hidden cameras – especially if it involves scaring people.

Here are some of my favorite pranks. Be warned: language and content is questionable.

Scare Tactics – Repo Service: It’s the first 1:30 of the video, and the best prank ever. 
Scare Tactics – Rat Monster
Roy Wood Jr. – Auto Repair
Roy Wood Jr. – Marraige License

I have been known to make some prank phone calls, but I always stop myself short of the really confrontational stuff, which is the most funny. The reason Roy Wood Jr. and the Scare Tactics folks can get people so upset and not (always) get sued, is two-fold. First, they have the legitimate name to drop at the end:  ”Hey, sorry I got you so upset, you’re on the Buckwild Morning show!”, or “Hey, you’re going to be on TV, thanks for being a good sport!” And second, they have a friend to put the blame on: “Your cousin put me up to calling you,” or “Your boyfriend told me you hated snakes, so we filled your car with them.”

Which brings me to my latest business endeavor with R.V. Evans.

Alida did a lovely redesign of their logo to reflect their 75th year in business. While she was working with them, they mentioned wanting to do a funny video to play at their end-of-the-year meeting. So I met with them, and they told me what they wanted.

The idea was for me to interview employees, but switch out the questions, making their answers ridiculously out of context. Since we were filming less than a week before the big meeting, they didn’t want people to get suspicious, so they told a wonderful lie.

They sent out a company-wide email saying that a major magazine in the packaging industry was coming to do a big feature on the business being family owned for 3 generations. With that back story they made me a lovely press badge from the magazine and a nifty welcome sign in the lobby. (I’m leaving out the name of the magazine, just in case they don’t approve of me using them as a cover…)

I did a lot of acting in high school, and forgot how hard it is to keep a straight face when doing something funny. I was only able to hold it together for a couple silly questions before I had to straighten up and just get back to my script. You can hear me almost lose my cool when I’m asking one employee “how many packagings” he makes, and when I’m butchering the company slogan. I think it turned out really funny. I heard that the video went over very well with the employees and everybody got a lot of laughs. That’s very rewarding, and nice to know that nobody is holding a grudge for me messing with them. And now, here are some highlights!

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