Yet again, a TV crew finds out the hard way that their cameras are not safe on the streets of Oakland.
A four-person crew shooting a reality TV series for teens was robbed Monday night in Oakland, leading the show's producers to say they don't want to film in the East Bay city anymore. As the East Bay Times reports, the incident happened outside Mountain Mike's Pizza at 1830 Webster Street at 10:15 p.m. when the crew had just finished shooting some footage for the show "This Is Summer" for AwesomenessTV.
The show, which near as I can tell just airs on YouTube, follows the lives of seven 17-year-olds in the Bay Area during their last summer of high school in Episode 1, which you can see below, they're sitting in Dolores Park talking about their proms and saying things like "You need to do you" and "I want to see more concerts."
Director of photography Chris Burns, 37, tells the East Bay Times that the gunpoint robbery was " really, really scary," and "It’s the most terrifying robbery I’ve ever been a part of."
Burns and three women who also work on the show had just loaded their equipment into their truck when they were confronted by two suspects who forced them all to the ground and threatened them with violence/death. As they lay on the pavement, the suspects made off with multiple Canon video cameras and lenses, monitors, chargers, and batteries as well as a laptop and a cellphone, all of it worth about $50,000.
Burns tells the East Bay Times that he was aware of earlier incidents in which TV news crews had been robbed of equipment in Oakland, but that previous shoots on this show (all in the daytime) had all been done without incident.
"They were very systematic. I think they had been watching us," Burns said of the suspects. He says the crew will only return to Oakland if they have armed security.
There was a spate of these camera robberies a couple years back, with a KPIX/CBS 5 crew robbed in Oakland in 2012, another crew almost robbed in the Bayview in 2013, and a KTVU reporter and her cameraman robbed in Hayward in early 2015. The earlier incidents led to this 2013 piece about the crime trend in the New York Times.
As CBS 5 notes, AwesomenessTV is a subsidiary of Dreamworks Animation. Please note that in addition to making this reality show, they produce a variety of teen-centric video content like this segment on how to make a DIY tutu skirt, and this one about how to make a pizza topped with french fries.
Below, the first episode of "This Is Summer."