Is there a DC company that I can pay to film a political stunt video?
June 2, 2016 5:29 PM   Subscribe

Is there a company that I can pay to film a video of someone walking behind Paul Ryan ringing a bell and yelling "Shame!"?

This is obviously, a reference to the Game of Thrones scene (NSFW - naked woman). This would need two people, an actor to be the bell ringer, and someone to record video. I don't want to just find some random people on taskrabbit, since they'll need to know where to find Paul Ryan, navigate the Capitol or his daily commute, get some footage before he runs away, etc.

Does anyone know of a company that I can hire to do this?

[If doing this is, for some reason, the worst idea imaginable, feel free to explain why that might be.]
posted by andoatnp to Law & Government (19 answers total)
IAMNAL, but I think at the very least this could be construed as criminal harassment. I would be careful moving forward with this plan.
posted by ananci at 5:44 PM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I really doubt this is a crime, but I'll ask a lawyer before I do it.
posted by andoatnp at 5:48 PM on June 2, 2016

I feel like there is a reason why this video does not exist and I think that reason is not because there is not an audience for it, though I cannot tell you what the reason is. I will say that, as second in line to the presidency, Ryan has Secret Service protection which might put a crimp in your plan.
posted by kat518 at 5:50 PM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]

Perhaps a little photoshop/rotoscope job would do the trick?

Secret Service are crazy, my partner was doing some filming around one candidate a few months back and it was madness. Even though he was there legitimately, they were kept at a distance and searched repeatedly, screamed at etc.
posted by Youremyworld at 5:58 PM on June 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

I work in this field and I can tell you that what you want is going to be very hard to do. Paul Ryan has staff and Secret Service protection. They are not going to let someone pull this kind of prank on him -- even if you knew where he was going to be at any given time to do it. I would highly recommend just finding footage of him walking and cutting it together with shots of your bell ringer. Faster, cheaper and less likely to end with your arrest.

Edited to add that this isn't necessarily a crime per se, but still not something that Ryan's staff or security detail would allow to happen.
posted by fancypants at 6:08 PM on June 2, 2016 [9 favorites]

Considering his current political status plus the currently-nuts political climate, I'd say the LEAST your bell ringer and camera person can expect is to be taken down, frisked and taken elsewhere for questioning, and any film confiscated. Possibilities range all the way from there to actual criminal convictions, although my bet would be that they'd be arrested/charged/tossed in jail for a day or three/charges dropped.

Is there a reason you don't want to do this yourself, at least the bell ringer part?
posted by easily confused at 6:12 PM on June 2, 2016

nthing that Secret Service will not allow this to happen. I have a friend who worked in the Secret Service and this will not fly - even if it ended up being something where charges would not stick, the actor and videographer might get arrested/tackled/worse anyway. You'd be better off with the solution fancypants proposed.
posted by bedhead at 6:14 PM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

For the sake of getting some answers, if I wanted to hire a company in DC to follow around someone who isn't Paul Ryan to ring a bell and say shame, in order to shoot a 20 second video, what company might do that?

posted by andoatnp at 6:30 PM on June 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

I might know a guy. Pro. MeMail me.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:32 PM on June 2, 2016

I also know some folks and will happily respond to MeMail, but they're likely going to tell you the same things you're hearing here.
posted by fancypants at 6:33 PM on June 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Chiming in again to stress that following someone with the intent to "alarm, annoy, frighten, or torment" is in fact an actual crime known as harassment.

It may be intended as a joke, but if Paul Ryan and / or his staff wanted to press charges, they would have a fairly easy task. Check out this article on stalking and harassment laws in DC.

Just sayin.
posted by ananci at 10:01 PM on June 2, 2016 [6 favorites]

And just to pile in, hiring someone (that actor to portray your bell ringer plus the camera crew) to do this to someone, whether to Paul Ryan or an average person on the street, is just as problematical as doing it yourself: one is harassment, and the other is SOLICITING harassment. Both are crimes.
posted by easily confused at 3:37 AM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think this is asking for so much trouble for a reference that's already dated. For enough money you'll be able to find someone to do this, but like others have said, that doesn't make it a good idea.
posted by GilvearSt at 4:13 AM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

I will say that in practical concerns, you will need to be willing to pay people essentially their risk factor. The people who are going to be capable of doing this are going to demand risk+profit - so the cost of their court/legal costs plus what makes it worth it to them. A company is likely not the answer, because of liability.

Look, I completely understand the impulse - I'm horrified and grieving at Ryan's bullshit too - but if you want to make him pay, there's a lot easier and better ways. You can seriously help his primary opponent for a lot less than it will cost to do this.
posted by corb at 5:00 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you decide to go with cutting film together, consider having the bell ringer be a cartoon character rather than a live person. In my imagination, it seems like it would have a more striking impact in the viral video world.
posted by CathyG at 8:46 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Might I suggest hiring a Paul Ryan impersonator?
posted by JJ86 at 9:19 AM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

The impersonator idea is brilliant because you can set up the scene exactly how you want it.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:31 AM on June 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

FWIW, the Speaker of the House is protected by the United States Capital Police, not the Secret Service.
posted by lstanley at 10:33 AM on June 3, 2016

Yeah, don't do this. I find the guy personally and professionally abhorrent, but...don't do this. Take a moment and think about the GoT character that ordered this to happen and see how much you'd like to have in common with them.
posted by softlord at 3:28 PM on June 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

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