Behind the scenes of The Profit (repost/revised)
01 Sep 2001
Mike Krotz <M_K@fornikulture.com>

The Profit is being held over 2 more weeks, and has broken attendance records at the theatre!

As the head of security for the filming of The Profit, I can say that it was certainly an adventure. The first 3 weeks were quiet, and allowed me to get a better grasp on the behind the scenes process of filmmaking while keeping an eye on everything. Then it got nutty.

First, we had a couple of PIs spotted in the area of our location. Then another. I spotted one in a Lincoln, slowing and trying to take a picture of the area. He quickly put his camera down when I looked his way, and he tried to blend in by pulling into a nearby parking lot. As soon as I started walking his way, he took off so fast he most certainly damaged the undercarraige of that rental car as he barreled out of the parking lot. The next day I managed to get behind one PI and chased him from our S. Tampa location all the way to Dade City (those familiar with the area will appreciate the distance). By the time I got back to the location, two $cientologists had shown up. During the course of filming, this happened every time: Chase off the PI, and within a half hour or less, the $cientologists arrive!

Our most frequent visitor was $cientologist Richard Hirst. He was one of the two there on that first day, with their fliers alleging Peter and Patricia were associated with the KKK and Nazis. Of course, when you challenge them on these fliers, they oh so cutely reply that it doesn't SAY that they are KKK members, it just asks if you think the KKK is nuts... and then says you need to know more about "these people," the makers of the film. $cientologists just LOVE to tiptoe and tapdance right on the edge of libel and the law like that.

From that day on, for the majority of the rest of the filming, I had to contend with numerous $cientologists handing out their wierd hate literature to the crew and passersby. They were usually kept at a safe distance, but on one occasion had to be warned off property for trespassing, and they would often stand blocking driveways or walkways. I almost hit one of them with my truck when he was standing right in the middle of one driveway, and he called the police on me. Nothing came of that, as I had really only seen him at the last minute, and he admitted to standing in the driveway.

Working this film allowed me to meet numerous area police officers and deputies, and many of them got quite an education, with a hands-on experience dealing with the lurking cultists. I found it an interesting coincidence that the deputy that was called out and who warned off $cientologists Hirst and Roberto Lugo for tresspassing was named McPherson."

The PIs would continue to show up on occasion, lurking up the street from our location or soundstage. On one day, we were filming at a marina located on a little peninsula, and I chased away several PIs from the little park across the water from that marina. They are easy to spot, with the binoculars and videocameras, and I found that they are usually very shy when you try to videotape them. PI Daniel Otero almost grabbed my camera from me when I walked up on him and surprised him, then called police while insinuating that he was some sort of official (he did not say he was a cop, but implied that because I was on city property, I was going to be in trouble). The police came, and essentially told us to play nice.

I had to contend with the fact that I could do nothing to prevent $cientologist Mary DeMoss from going to the homes of 2 female crew members. These two women were freaked out by this visit, especially the one who had kept her address off of every piece of information relating to the film- they could have only found her home by following her there. She said she felt that their presence on her front doorstep in itself was threatening.

The other crew member and her boyfriend happen to be friends of mine. I got a call late one afternoon about Mary's first visit there. I went right to their house, but Mary had left as only the boyfriend was home. She left her literature (a fat DA pack) and the phone number for FaRT. A call to that number gets an answering service. She later came back to visit again, but was told to leave them alone.

DeMoss later sent lengthy letters, on FaRT letterhead, to almost every actor and crew person. Some were sent to their motel rooms, proving further that everyone had been spied upon. One was sent to a crew member's mother's house (where his vehicle was registered), which confirmed for us that they were using crew license plates to get their addresses.

Throw into this mix the union thugs that showed up late in the filming, and it made for quite a challenge. I found it rather odd that for the last few days of the film shoot, while the union picketers were around, the $cientologists were nowhere to be found. There were plenty new crew members for them to inform about what a "hate film" they were making, and I chased off their PIs, but they did not show. I took that as proof that their true intent was not to "inform the crew" but in fact to harass everyone and impede filmmaking. The union was taking care of that for them!

There were many things that took place during the making of The Profit, little setbacks and some very suspicious stuff, but for many reasons I have not talked about them. Some could have been coincidental accidents, such as the mysterious sinking of one of the sailboats. Others were quite obvious, like the "anonymous" letter and DA pack sent to the film company's insurance carrier.

There were even some moments of humor, like the day we were filming at a location that was part of a very large nature park. We were in an obscure little corner of the park, where some old cabins and houses were set up. Most people know of the park's nature area, which is swampy and full of allligators. You can't get to where we were through the normal park entrance.

Mary DeMoss called the local police and told them that she and others from FaRT were going to be out to protest the film. The police did not tell them where we were exactly, and we never did see them that day. I could just picture Mary and Richard wading through the swamps, fighting off the alligators, cursing at each other saying, "Well they have to be around here somewhere!" The best part was, as we were leaving that location, a group of Civil War re-enactors were setting up camp for the weekend. Mary and Richard finally find our location, only to end up in the middle of... THE CIVIL WAR!

In the end, despite all the harassment and interference, the film was completed. I even got in my little cameo on the very last day of filming: I am the Indian playing the drum right behind Powers in the scene where he is "researching other religious practices."



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