This story is a fiction piece, and it was created from my imagination.
Last weekend, a news crew filming in SoMA got robbed by people who may or may not have had a weapon. The robbers stole the crew’s cameras worth tens of thousands of dollars and left in a Lexus. This part of the story is true (except the dollar amount, we guessed that), but the rest, who knows?
NBC’s crew was filming two things: the decay of the Salesforce tower downtown, and the migration of the golden-crowned kinglet, a small redheaded songbird.
There is nothing else of note happening in the City.
But then, without warning other than someone shouting “Warning, you’re about to be robbed!” from a loudspeaker, a car pulled up to the camera crew.
Two individuals, who identified themselves as Dick and Rorty, took the crew’s cameras and fled the scene, heading straight for Fishermen’s Wharf, which means they’re probably tourists.
The crew had to carry on filming with their iPhones, and nobody could tell the difference.
Locals who witnessed the crime said NBC employees didn’t seem very distressed, “as though it happens all the time to them here in San Francisco,” said one observer.
While NBC wasn’t distressed about the robbery, they were very distressed to find out what the criminals did with their camera equipment.
YouTube Goes Criminal
With the stolen equipment, these Rick and Morty fellas—we mean Dick and Rorty—did more than just pawn it for student loan money.
They started their own YouTube channel.
In fact, Dick and Rorty were not just tourists or criminals, they were film students at USC. That is, before COVID-19 hit.
We had a brief interview with the criminals via their live YouTube Q&A with the Filmmakers.
“Before COVID-19, we were on the top of the world. We had access to the best film equipment and we could make movies and shorts and TV pilots with wild abandon. Then, it all ended,” said Dick, who is very tall with undiscernible features.
“We still had to pay tuition, which at USC is literally your nextborn child and $100,000 a year,” said Rorty, who looks to be about twelve years old. How these two intimidated anyone into handing over their equipment is beyond this fake local news reporter.
“We were in a hard place, but we found a way to pull through. You—this community we’ve found here on YouTube. You keep us going.”
According to YouTube, Dick and Rorty’s channel, Criminal Filmmakers, earns $10,000 in ad revenue per month, a very high amount for folks just starting out.
“What can we say? We’re blessed,” said Rorty.
Their videos range from how-to shorts of them doing things like driving fast downtown, pushing people into trashcans, boiling eggs, and putting gel in their hair.
They also feature videos on how to effectively interview, how to get a job at Salesforce or Tesla, and how to game the stock market.
While they offer a wide range of videos, most viewers are drawn to their first-person crime videos, like a “Cops” in San Francisco.
“We just go around filming crimes or instigating crimes and filming them. It’s really fun.”
The Moral and Legal Issue
If Dick and Rorty were to be convicted of crimes, they would be convicted of at least ten.
1. Impersonating real criminals
4. Using stolen goods for profit
5. Inspiring children into a life of crime
6. Rigging a loudspeaker to project audio above 80 db.
7. Not calling their dates back
8. Pretending they know how to do the things they talk about in their how-to videos
10. NBC endangerment
However, there are two issues at play.
One, law enforcement officers are some of Criminal Filmmakers’ biggest fans.
Two, Dick and Rorty don’t seem very apologetic about what they did.
In fact, they seem to not see anything wrong with their illegal actions in San Francisco. They are so convinced of their moral neutrality, in fact, that others are becoming convinced as well.
With cult-leader-like conviction, Dick and Rorty are convincing masses of San Franciscans and other folks living in the Bay Area that what they did was, in fact, simply due justice.
“Hey, I don’t advocate scaring strangers unless it’s funny,” said Dick. “But it’s not like those employees owned that equipment themselves, you know? It was owned by a giant corporation.”
“Go on,” we said to Dick as we sipped apple juice on the roof of the Salesforce tower with him and Rorty. There on the roof, you are so high up you can actually see the earth’s atmosphere and the pitch blackness of space just beyond it. It’s very scary and very elite.
“We’re just sticking it to The Man!” said Rorty. “We’re doing what the Bay Area is known for. We’re getting something and giving it to the people!”
These modern-day Robin Hoods are considered notorious by film cameras around the Bay. Let’s see how they’re responding to this crime/justice spree.
NBC Fictionally Responds
“We want our cameras back, yes,” said an NBC robot. “We want them back because they’re precious, they’re our preciouses, and we wants them.”
“How do you expect to continue filming things with Criminal Filmmakers getting so popular? Do you worry about the future of the company?”
“Cameras is powerful, they is precious, they is important. We wants them, we wants them,” the NBC robot began repeating “Gollum, Gollum!” to itself while hitting itself on the head.
If this is the best local news stations can do, it might as well be up to the people.
A human finally stepped in to provide us with a sound bite. “We want the equipment back, but of course we’ll just buy new equipment because we’re a huge company owned by aliens. So keep expecting top notch local news to hit the airwaves that are hitting your brain.” He said.
It appears newsmaking is the subject of a war between ordinary people with phones and stolen camera equipment and the big guys. Who will win? We can’t wait to find out.