A mysterious red light switch allows unsuspecting New Yorkers to turn on over 50,000 Christmas lights.
For our latest mission, we placed a 7-foot-tall light switch in New York City’s Father Demo Square. When a random New Yorker flipped the switch, the entire square lit up with Christmas lights. In addition to lights on the trees, benches, and fences around the park, a mob of performers wearing lights wrapped around their clothes lit up as well. The performers were instructed to turn on their lights and freeze in place when the switch was flipped on.
Once again this year our Christmas video was made possible by Target. Find out more about Wonderpacks here.
Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.
Created and Directed by: Charlie Todd
Executive Producers: Charlie Todd, Andrew Soltys, Justin Ayers, Juan Cocuy, Alan Aisenberg
Produced by: Andrew Soltys
Co-Producers: Aleks Arcabascio, Katie Young
Production Coordinator: Isabel Lopez
Production Manager: Dave Szarejko
Director of Photography Justin Ayers
Video Technical Director: Sarah Harrison
Camera Operators: Eric Laplante, Jon Simmons, Greg Harriott, Ben Carey, Mike Doyle, Chloe Smolkin, Spencer Thielmann
GoPro Technician: Kraig Adams
Assistant Camera: Amy Obarski, Christie Leitzell, Dan Rodenhizer
Still Photography: Arin Sang-urai
Gaffer: Ted Maroney
Best Boy Electric: Conor Murphy
Production Sound Mixer: Kyle Porter
Props Master: Zelda Vyssotsky
Props Assistant: Kat Kilcullen
Location Manager: Kristen Mink
Music: Tyler Walker
Edited by: Denis Cardineau
Assistant Editor: Ryan Connors
Post Sound Mixer: Harris Karlin
Production Assistants: Brian Bonacci, Daven Falconer, Chris Jobson, Alex Tymchak, Tom Fenaille, Rob Petrarca, Chris Kelly, Andrew Tyma, Alex Romanski, Rob Romanski, Lauren Renzulli, Carlos Morales
The Lighting Design Group: Billy Albertelli, Mike Grabowski, Aurora Warfield
Mr. Holiday Lighting: Brendan McCaffrey
Ready Set: Dan Haskett, Alex Bellerud
Special Thanks: David Gruber, Father Demo Square, Friends of Father Demo Square, Carmine Street Block Association, Our Lady of Pompeii Church, 3Phase, Anthony Henderson
We had an awesome partnership with Target last year with our Epic Christmas Caroling video. When they asked about supporting another Improv Everywhere Christmas video this year, we were on board immediately. With their support we were able to go all out, purchasing over a 3 miles of Christmas lights, permitting a public square, and commissioning the creation of a giant light switch from a professional prop house.
We had a ridiculous amount of Christmas lights for this project. The above photo shows about half of the participant lights we used.
Agent Cameron Sun is the first to try on the lights
We met in a church basement across the street from our location, Father Demo Square in West Village. Participants recruited from our New York City Email List were each given a 200-light strand of Christmas lights and instructed on the best way to wrap themselves.
Participants trying on the lights
Explaining the mission
Extremely detailed map
After our meeting in the church we headed across the street the square and participants blended in. Some sat on benches, some walked around naturally. Once everyone was in place, members of crew brought out the light switch. They placed it at the entrance to the park and walked away.
At first people looked at the switch cautiously.
Eventually someone was brave enough to turn it on.
Once the switch was flipped our lighting crew turned on every single light in the park. Over a mile of lights covering every surface: trees, benches, and fences. As soon as these lights came on, our performers turned on the lights they were wearing as well and froze in place.
Every 10 minutes or so, we would cover the switch up with a tarp and turn all the lights off. We’d then uncover it for new people to discover it having not yet seen what it does.
Agent Dave Eng covered his bike in Christmas lights as well.
This couple had a romantic moment in the middle of all of the lights and frozen performers.
In every single photo I found of the participant in the photo above he is frozen in place eating a Cheeto. Nice commitment!
A wide variety of people flipped the switch. Our favorites were the kids, most of whom were on eye level with the giant switch.
The girls in the photo above had a great time switching the lights on and off as quickly as possible, giving our light board operator and our participants quite a workout.
The square as viewed from the top of the church across the street.
Our participants ranged in age from 7 to 70. A great diverse group! Despite the chilly weather, everyone seemed to have a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out and helped make this an awesome night!
Music from our composer, Tyler Walker: