The Giant Boombox


Directed by: Charlie Todd
Executive Producers: Justin Ayers, Andrew Soltys, and Charlie Todd
Producer: Aleks Arcabascio
Production Manager: Dave Szarejko
Production Coordinator: Liesl Lar
Post Game Producer: Katie Young

1st Assistant Director: Ben Samuels
Key 2nd Assistant Director: Jason Ortiz
2nd 2nd ADs: Adam Manison, Anthony Santos, Manon Courtine
Key PAs: Jonathan Portee, Rochelle Rose
Production Assistants: Anna Swando, Annie Tomkins, Arnold Fung, Brian Havens, Brook Schafer, Dan Schroeder, Dave Greenberg, David Hsu, Davis Woodall, Derriek Williams, Erin Fitzgerald, Gene Drikman, Gracia Imboden, Jamel Francis, KC Wenson, Kristin Kirkley, Nicole Payson, Sherin Shetty, Shilpa Ananth, Sofija Nikolic, Warren Chevalier

Director of Photography: Justin Ayers
Camera Operators: Andi Obarski, Anna O’Carroll, Chris O’Konski, Gabe Stanley, Marius Becker, Ryan Hamelin, Spencer Berge-Thielmann
1st Camera Assistants: Alex Huang, Brendan Swift, Erin Trout, Jeremy Musher, Kate Montgomery
2nd Camera Assistants: Diana Rodriguez, Goran Mrvic, Kelli Wilcoxen
Video Utilities: Percio Luciano, Reggie Louis-Jacques, Tom Foy
Wireless Video Tech: Persistent Systems
Drone Pilot: Dexter Kennedy
Drone Camera / Gimbal Operator: Jon Graham
Drone Tech / Visual Observer: Maxwell Tubman
Drone 1st AC: Dan Sheats
Still Photographers: Arin Sang-urai, Gabriel Montagnani, Griffin Shapiro
BTS Video: Justin Gonçalves
Time Lapse Video: Dom Miller

Key Grip: Cory Beisser
Best Boy Grip: Peter Sikkens
G&E Swing: Raphael Hernandez

Gaffer: Ted Maroney
Best Boy Electric: Mike Kim
Lamp Operator: Luke Becker-Lowe
Airstar Balloon Operator: Kevin Tobin

Sound Mixer: Alan Kudan
A2s: Artur Szerejko, Jordan Moser, Julian Cahill

Key Hair & Makeup Artist: Sarah Patch
HMU Assistants: Adriana Andaluz, Aina Lee, Norah Salazar, Sarah Francavilla

Wardrobe Supervisor: Gabby Moses
Wardrobe Assistants: Rose Bell, Travis Sproul
Wardrobe PAs: Hillary Sproul, Nina Macintosh, Ridhima Goyal

Production Designer: Monica Mayorga
Set Dressers: Allie Leone, Brendan Toner, Gilbert Salazar Bravo, Jamel Francis, Justin Majetich, Leo Swartz

Snow Machine Operator: Simon Cleavland of J&M Special Effects

Set Medics: Jessica Davilmar, George Masonave

EcoSet: Rayn Epremian, John Mancini, Supa Johnson

Editor: Whitney Houser
Assistant Editor: Michael Golofaro
Overnight Assistant Editor: Ryan Connors
Media Manager: Zach Kertesz
Colorist: Matt Greenberg

CAD Engineer: Patrick Cleary
Storyboard Artist: Ed Traquino

Special Thanks:
Wasserman Experience, South Street Seaport Museum, Susan Gavornik, Joy Kim, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Irving Harvey


Featured Dancers: Aiden Pressel, Alesha Forche, Angelica Kushi, Anthony Mitchell, Benjamin Shimkus, Bri Porter, Christopher Bousquet, Emma Thomas, Kayla Johnson, Kelsey Strauch, Kenneth Higginbotham, Luke Romanzi, Madeline Hoak, Matthew Deloch, Matthew Villanueva, Medea, Natalie Strasser, Samuel Stage, William M. Maldonado

Choreographer: Madeline Hoak

For our latest mission, we placed a 10-foot tall boombox on Pier 17 in Manhattan and waited for unsuspecting people to plug it in. Real New Yorkers worked together to carry the 160-foot long cord across the pier to an oversized outlet. Once the boombox was plugged in, everyone was surprised by a massive holiday dance party with 100 acrobatic dancers, thousands of Christmas lights placed on two historic ships, and 10 hidden snow machines. This project was made possible by Target, and it is our third holiday collaboration with them after 2015’s The Light Switch and 2014’s Epic Christmas Caroling.

Enjoy the video above and the read the behind-the-scenes below.

The boombox and outlet were both custom fabricated in Target’s shop in Minneapolis and then shipped to NYC.

The boombox arrives in three parts.

Producer and Director of Photography Justin Ayers works inside the boombox. The boombox has a sound system and LED screen built in.

We worked with performer/choreographer Madeline Hoak to put together a routine for the dancers. We previously worked with Madeline on the Groundskeeper Acrobats mission.

In order to maintain the surprise, we shot this on long lenses, with our operators placed far away from the boombox.

Some of our camera operators were placed on the ships.

We worked with a drone pilot to film from the sky as well.

Producer Andrew Soltys and me in the control room. We had 12 camera angles to look at.

As we did with our Epic Christmas Carol project, we worked with accomplices from the Improv Everywhere email list. One person from each friend or family group knew that a surprise was going to happen. They had no idea what has going to happen, but they knew something was up. Everyone else was totally in the dark. Working with our accomplices we were able to get our groups of friends and families to the pier at the exact right time, and we were able to sneak a microphone on them. It was so much fun to watch people discover the boombox and figure out that they needed to plug it in.

The custom built cord has LED lights inside that we could cue to light up as soon as it is plugged in. The boombox lights up as well, and the cassette actually spins.

Our crew of 100 dancers spilled out of three red school buses and entered the pier’s plaza doing flips and jumps.

The snow machines turned and blanketed the area with snow.

It was a thrill to watch a massive holiday dance party unfold over a matter of seconds. We had great reactions from everyone involved. It was a super fun Christmas surprise! Thanks to everyone who was a part of it.

Mission Accomplished.


To find out about future Improv Everywhere projects be sure to sign up for our Mailing List (select NYC events if you want to hear about participation opportunities in NYC).

Behind the scenes photos from photographer Arin Sang-urai.