Surprise Press Conference


Created and Directed by: Charlie Todd
Executive Producers: Charlie Todd, Andrew Soltys, Alan Aisenberg, Juan Cocuy, Justin Ayers
Produced by: Andrew Soltys, Aleks Arcabascio, Justin Ayers
Co-Producer: Isabel Lopez
Director of Photography: Justin Ayers
Camera Operators: Chloe Smolkin, Christian Mortensen, Jon Simmons, Spencer Thielmann
Hidden Camera Technician: Zach Rockenstyre
Camera Assistant: Kate Montgomery
Camera PA: Mark Satin
Still Photography: Andy Bisdale
Sound Mixer: Harris Karlin
A2: Nick Mastorakis
Wardrobe/Props: Zelda Vyssotsky
Production Assistant: Chris Kelly, Cameron Mitchell, Tyler Orr, Kenzie Woodrow, Nick Silva, Marquis Powell, Alex Tymchak, Jason Kasman
Editor: Matt Braunsdorf
DIT: Ryan Connors
Music: Tyler Walker


Spokesperson: Zach Linder Mario
Secret Service: Svirsky
Press Corps: Jeffrey Kornberg, Ryan Haney, Keisha Zollar, Jane Stolar, Kevin Hines, Johnathan Fernandez, Will Choy, Mark Levy, Candice Opperman, Tina Cheng, Sean Taylor, Christen Currie, Hal Phillips, David Neal, Alex Nagler, Zachary Kanfer, Ebony Hollingsworth, Briana Holtzman, Dave Eng, Laura Rucker

For our latest mission, we set up a fake press conference set on the steps of the New York Public Library. When random tourists approached it to pose for photos, a mob of reporters ran up and surprised them with an impromptu press conference.

Enjoy the video first and then go behind the scenes with our mission report and photos.

Now that everyone has a smart phone in their pocket, anything out of the ordinary in public space becomes an Instagram opportunity. With this project the goal was to bait people into posing for a photo and then surprise them with much more than they thought they signed up for. You can approach our microphones and pose for a photo, but if you do, you’re going to have to answer some questions.

Like many of our recent projects, this mission involved setting up a bit of bait and waiting for a random person to interact with it. We placed our press conference set on the steps of the New York Public Library, just a few steps off of 5th Avenue. We set up a microphone tree and two American flags and then walked away, waiting patiently for someone to approach. We figured it wouldn’t take long for someone’s desire for a photo to outweigh their fear of approaching our set. This marks the first mission we’ve staged on the library steps in over 14 years, although our Ghostbusters did run by in 2010.

Our “reporters” pretended to be standing in a nearby bus line, perfectly camouflaging themselves, and our camera crew filmed from a distance. It didn’t take long for someone to approach. Immediately the reporters peeled off of the bus line and rushed to the microphones.

Agent Mark Levy asking a hard hitting question.

A random person laughing after answering his last question. While the tone of the reporters was very serious, the questions were all ridiculously mundane.

A guy caught off guard by the stampede of press.

Agent Zach Linder played the role of the spokesperson for the random people, descending down the stairs when the surprise began to help facilitate the conference. He began every interaction by asking the random person, “Is it OK if you answer a few questions?” Everyone was game. Agent Mario Svirsky played a secret service agent who stood silent behind the random person.

While the questions and answers were always fun, the most exciting part of the day was watching that initial reaction from people when the press first surprised them.

Our press corps did a great job improvising back and forth with the random people. Everyone left smiling, if a little bewildered. Thanks to everyone who was a part of it!

Mission Accomplished


Production photos from photographer Andrew Bisdale: Mission Photos