1:00 PM EST, December 6, 2011
The LAPD responded to a frantic call that a gang was robbing a liquor store near Universal Studios.
Cell phone video from inside the liquor store showed the cops ordering the suspects to put their hands up, walk backwards, and sprawl out on the ground. But the 15 police officers in the air and on the ground didn't know one important fact: they weren't really armed robbers. They were student filmmakers.
It was a movie project for a group of film students from the University of Texas and the arrest wasn't in the script.
So how did the film shoot almost become a real shootout? A passerby witnessed the commotion and thought it was an real robbery in progress. She called the police and suddenly what was once make believe became very real.
Director Aaron Nunez was filming the climactic scene he hoped would earn him an A grade, but almost landed him in jail.
Nunez said, "I was counting in my head how much it would cost to bail all these guys out."
One of the student filmmakers hid behind a rack of potato chips to shoot the video of the cops arriving on the scene as one of the police cars screeched to a halt in the driveway of the store. The cops didn't know who the bad guys were so they ordered everyone to put their hands up.
And if you wondered how the students talked their way out of an arrest, it was easy. The director showed the cops his city filming permit. So there's a Hollywood-style happy ending to a story that might have become a tragedy.