Video of Frozen Grand Central: SVU

Here is the clip of last night’s Law & Order: SVU scene that fictionalized our Frozen Grand Central mission.

I don’t know why we went to all the trouble to synchronize our watches when we did the original. It’s so much easier to just have Mo Rocca stand on a stepladder and yell, “No sheep!” If you watch this video closely, you’ll notice they actually replicated several shots from our video: the woman eating yogurt, the guy tying his shoe, a man pre-freeze who is holding a train schedule exactly like Rob! is in our video.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes video we found on YouTube:

To reiterate, we had no idea this was happening and the show never contacted us. I guess it’s flattering to see our work fictionalized, even if we’re portrayed as murderers who yell, “Sheep!” at everyone. Too funny!


  1. that’s so f****d up. I can’t believe they just ripped that off.

    Reminds me of an email on PostSecret this week:

    —–Email Message—–
    Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 7:49 PM
    Subject: Book of Secrets

    Hey Frank,

    Ever notices how the (corporate owned) media reports on big companies that prosecute people for “stealing” music and other creative content from the web. But you never read any stories about the corporations like 3M and NBC that pirate from PostSecret and other websites.

  2. You guys are being way too humble and nice about this. I mean, yeay, that your idea was on TV and that people thought it was you, but I personally would be calling NBC for some money and an apology. Or at least my damn name on the credits and website. That’s wrong! They should know better than that. I know that the writers haven’t been writing very many episodes about Law and Order lately, but COME ON- have they not learned anything? You can’t steal other people’s work.

    Take their advice. Don’t be sheep! Get your check. They can afford you.

  3. The Post Secret Message! YES!!!! I thought the EXACT SAME THING but forgot that I’d seen it at Post Secret. For some reason I thought I’d seen it here!

  4. Charlie, IE should get some sort of credit out of this. “Hi Law & Order SVU. Noticed you used one of our missions in an episode. How about a shout out for us in the credits.”

    Also, what time did they shoot that in Grand Central? 3 am?

    Living/working/visiting NYC I wonder how many movies, tv shows, etc we’ve all been in by just merely walking in camera while going on about our day.

  5. If they would have asked, I’m sure they could have gotten at least half of the original participants to reprise their roles. Rob would have done it for a sandwich.

  6. I agree with everyone else here. You should give them a call and say “Hey, can we get a mention in the credits?” Well maybe they figured that since the original mission is so well known by now, they felt that they didn’t need to say where it came from.

  7. I can’t get your comments to load in IE browser.

    simple 2 step solution:

    1) stop using IE
    2) start using another browser

    ps – i thought the way that TV show did it was lame compared to the original!

  8. Hm, I was the shoe tying guy. Feels kinda weird to see someone act out such a stellar role on a major network television program.

  9. Royalties is going a bit far… Shows like this often use events in the popular media as springboards for their stories. Nearly every episode of SouthPark for example is a spin off of some popular event, movie, etc. Besides, they might not have wanted to put an “inspired by Improv Everywhere” anywhere in the credits since that would seemingly imply Charlie to be a perverted, homicidal knife-wielding maniac; he seems like an all around nice, down to earth guy to me. *shrug* Then again I don’t know him that well, so just to be on the safe side don’t make any sudden movements around him!

  10. There are many more “IE” hints/things, they have addapted to this episode og SVU. But sadly there is also another “prank”, wich is not based on “IE”‘s work, and haas a very sad story behind it, I hope that doesn’t get acredited to “IE”.

    BTW i love your work, but i can’t really do anything like that in my small town :(

  11. The one thing that really bums me out about this is from now on, whenever someone does a freeze, Average Joe will see it and just think “meh, they’re copying that TV show” and move on. A great, simple, wonderful stunt has been co-opted and crapped up by pop culture.

    On the bright side, it’s all the more reason to think up something even better for next time.

  12. You might want to talk to a copyright attorney – I believe this would be considered a “derivative work”, which makes royalties much less of a stretch. NY has a lot of good copyright attorneys.

  13. I’m the “woman eating yogurt” from the ORIGINAL Frozen Grand Central. How dare they copy me!?!?!?!? Come up with your own poses, people! This may sound corny but I felt jipped when I watched that other woman eating her yogurt! Eh… I’m sure I’ll be over it in about two minutes. Mimicry is the highest form of flattery(?).

  14. The people in it weren’t even doing it right!

    NO SHEEP!! what? I’m confused.
    And the guy broke character!

  15. How funny, several weeks ago we were discussing you almost being sued and now we are discussing you suing someone. I think suing would be going to far. But definitely getting some credit or a maybe a part with a few lines for Charlie in a future episode.

    A friendly letter writing campaign anyone?

  16. If they didn’t get any permission for it I think they can indeed have a lawsuit to deal with.

  17. Am I the only one dumb enough to not understand at all? What was with the “No Sheep” thing? And if they were looking for a murderer or something, why would he have ffrozen like that? God, I’m so confused.

    Whatever, I like you guys better anyway. I thought they had actually used shots of you guys doing it, the used almost all the same poses!

  18. I agree, I would ask for at least them to ask permission next time they do this.

    I mean, what will happen the next time you guys do a stunt, and they make it out to even more creepy standards? You guys get hassled enough from people thinking you’re protesting, or going to do something destructive. You don’t need people taking their ideas about you from shows that are known to bend reality to fit killers into them.

    I have “furry” friends online that got pretty much verbally and emotionally attacked in real life after that one episode, just because they decided to show the worst of the “furry” community.

    It may start off simple like this, but if they don’t get your permission, they might think it’s okay to push the limits even farther next time.

  19. You’ve got to be kidding me. Are you just going to let them get away with that? They’ve got some nerve.

  20. As with most things in life, I really can’t tell if that sucks or is awesome. improveverywhere is genius none-the-less.

  21. just a head’s up, but the episode re-airs tonight, in case anyone missed it. it’s L&O SVU: Authority, in case you want to find it online.

  22. I don’t really see a problem with them using this. SVU takes a lot of their material from current events/real court cases and nobody else makes a big deal out of it. I think it’s awesome and you guys should be flattered!

  23. I am not a lawyer and I don’t play on on TV but:
    There’s no copyright on ideas but you do possess the copyright when it comes to the exact images shown in your video. As SVU have copied the “characters” (e.g. woman eating yoghurt) and shots of your film, they should have asked permission or given credit or something so I think you would have a case against them. It doesn’t matter that you video was available for free via Youtube and the web, it’s still your intellectual property.

  24. If you copy a group’s idea, even going so far as to duplicate their idea right down to specific acts by real people, such as Staci’s “woman eating yoghurt”, but then portray the group as anarchists and the leader of the group as a psychotic killer…isn’t that slander? Or libel? (I can never remember which is which). Regardless, I would argue that there is definitely defamation of character occurring here.

    Forget doing the Freeze and having people think “Meh. They’re just copying the TV show”. I’d be more concerned about conducting future Missions and having people harangue you and accuse you of being anarchists (i.e. ‘terrorists’), or psychotic killers.

    Remember, this is the general US public we’re talking about. They really do believe everything they see on TV regardless of how ridiculous it might be, because “if it’s on TV it must be true.”

    Surely one or more of IE’s Agents is an Attorney and can provide some legally-sound advice with regards to slander, libel, and/or defamation of character. It’s not about the money, I’d insist on a public apology.

  25. I don’t think the general US public is that stupid but most New Yorkers do take things with a grain of salt unlike the rest of the country. Most of us look, get over it, and move on.

    It would be great to hear from an attorney what is possible but I doubt one would get anything from the Universal/NBC conglomerate and their thousand of lawyers.

  26. Anyone know if there’s a mirror of the videos? It looks like Youtube doesn’t like me watching it.

    I would really love to see this, even though it may not have been as good as the original. ;)

  27. Axiluvia makes a good point about furries. I am one, and guarenteeed whenever I mention it to a “normal” person, they sneer and say “like on CSI?” and I have to say “No, not like on CSI and do you seriously believe everything on tv you ditz.”

    A person’s first introduction to a subject stays strongly in their mind. If people associate “people freezing in place” with “murderers!!!”… I’d be kind of worried about audience reaction to future IE projects.

  28. On the plus side at least Radioman was in the scene. Anyone who is in the film and television scene in NYC will know who he is.

  29. This is what some ‘BJ Wanlund’ fool posted on an NBC blog-LMAO.****** “Its a peaceful protest and a peaceful way to send a message! Its not something one organization has made up. *I think the writers could come up with that idea without stealing it fro improveverywhere* . And to have a demonstration like that at the *grand central station* – its not like that idea has only been in groups mind. *Other people can have come up with the same idea!”*____laughable