Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2001

To: Arizona Surveillance Camera Players

From: Surveillance Camera Players (New York)

Subject: Formation of the AZ SCP

Dear comrades in the Arizona SCP:

We are thrilled to address you, for you are a dream come true. You are the very first people to heed our call (issued almost two years ago) to form a group that performs in front of surveillance cameras installed in public places and calls itself "The Surveillance Camera Players." We welcome you as we would a new brother or sister. We hope your arrival heralds many more for this family without parents.

Based on the videotape you sent us, we'd like to offer a few comments and words of advice, but without repeating our text How to do it, with which you may be familiar.

1. You came up with a great addition to "SCP Headline News," which we will surely incorporate into the original: the slogan "You owe us everything" matched with logos of famous credit card companies. We also love "Transmission without permission," which we might re-write as "No transmission without permission."

2. By and large, the boards you made look pretty damn good. The use of color was excellent (and something we haven't explored yet), and the images of eyes were very effective.

3. Though most of the words were generally simple and large enough to read, the lettering -- executed in script, not block letters -- made it difficult on occasion. A bit too flowery, too much like handwriting.

4. Taken as a whole, the boards were inconsistent in style and presentation. The group needs to develop a standardized, collective style of drawing/making boards.

5. There were only two title boards: one saying "AZ SCP" and another saying "Headline News." But there were two other plays performed, right? One on reality TV, another on Mill Avenue (both of which are excellent subjects for plays). You need to label each individual play and provide a measure of continuity between them. (Showing the "AZ SCP" in betweenm plays is a good idea.)

6. When holding aloft the "AZ SCP" board, the group as a whole should point to/at the surveillance camera(s) in front of which it is performing. Makes the point of the protest clear and is good theater besides.

7. The play about Mill Avenue was hard to discern from the other street action (intended or otherwise) because the performers weren't in costume and/or didn't have large name-tags that identified who they were supposed to be. The props were good but insufficient on their own.

8. When performing, the group should use costumes or adopt a uniform dress code (all black is good).

9. The person using a videocamera to document the performance needs to develop their basic skills (keep the camera steady, drastically limit the number of unnecessary cuts, zooms and movements) and record the reactions of passersby when possible or appropriate.

10. Was there a person handing out flyers to the spectators and by-standers? Need enough flyers for all those people who stopped to look at you.

11. Your choice of cameras was excellent, especially the government-sponsored Webcam. What a Fourth Amendment violation!

-- and last but not least --

12. We know this is a tall order, but never stop your performance or your videotaping because private security guards are coming or closing in. Their appearance shouldn't mark the end of the performance, but the beginning of the next scene. Make sure you get the guards on tape (and make sure the sound is on). Have a designated spokesperson or spokespeople explain what you are doing and have a discussion with the guards on camera. Show them and show yourselves that you are not afraid of them or their surveillance cameras. You can even afford to A) let them call the real cops and B) have a discussion on camera with them, too, if and when they arrive. Do what the cops tell you to do. The only time you have to leave a public place is when the police have given you an order to disperse. If you don't obey such an order, you can be arrested. But this is the only reason you can get issued a summons or arrested for doing SCP activities (provided that you are literally standing on public property). Take your time, but learn how to stand your ground. It gets easier each time.

With love and admiration for your courage and commitment

Bill, for the New York SCP

Contact the Surveillance Camera Players

By e-mail SCP

By snail mail: SCP c/o NOT BORED! POB 1115, Stuyvesant Station, New York City 10009-9998

Return to

Surveillance Camera Players