Saturday, May 28, 2011

Guerillas in Our Midst

Over the past few months, I've seen people filming action sequences (or pickup shots) in public places around San Francisco. I assume they have no permits since the cameras are small, handheld digital ones and there is no lighting or crew. Traditionally called guerilla filmmaking, this new breed is like everything else in the digital age - smaller and more compact. What I have seen are usually two people - cameraman and actor. Strangely, I encounter them mostly at BART. Maybe they've always been there and I haven't noticed. I doubt it though, I usually observant of such things.

I saw a man film the BART train as it pulled out of the station. I hope he wasn't a terrorist although I'm not sure what can be learned from that. Another time, I saw a guy inside the train filming out the window as the train was exiting the station. These may have been tourists or experimental filmmakers.

I was parked on the roof level of the Daly City BART garage and returned late on a foggy night a few weeks ago. As I walked to my car, I saw a several people standing in front of some cars with their headlights on. I thought they were attacking someone but as I approached I heard someone giving directions and saw the camera. The effect must have been dramatic with the headlights cutting through the fog and the overhead lighting provided by parking garage lights.

Finally, yesterday I exited Powell Street Station. As I crossed Cyril Magnin Lane, I noticed the woman crossing from the opposite direction was walking with her arm extended as if to indicate stay away from me. I wondered what that was about as she passed me going in the opposite direction. Then I saw a man following behind her with a digital camera. I am certain my face was captured in the scene so maybe I'll be appearing in an indie film soon.

Later during the same trip, I was walking down Cyril Magnin on the opposite side of the street from Parc 55 Hotel. I swear there were half a dozen paparazzi staked out there. They were focused on Parc 55 and saying things like "Who is that guy?" and "Where did she go?"

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