It's good to travel with a buddy.
A buddy who's big and intimidating.
If you're doing this filmmaking thing right, you'll soon find yourself in some peculiar (i.e.: dangerous) situations.
You're going to want that buddy with you, just in case.
Recently I was confronted in the back of a trailer park by an extremely scary individual.
While crouched on the ground trying to film something, I felt a presence behind me.
I turn around a man lurched on a bike, over me, watching me.
"Watchu doin'?" he asked.
My spine was tingling with the instinct to run, but me being the populist I am, gave the guy a moment to speak... until I realized he was whacked out on drugs, was "offering" me his watch and bracelet, and wanted to escort me to the nearest ATM.
Once I noticed where we were, how we were surrounded by empty abandoned trailer homes, way off the road, and nobody was around to help nor hear me scream if anything happened - and that this was really built (like, prison built), had two tattooed tears on his face, and an oddly effeminate way of speaking - this is when I became genuinely terrified.
Something about that combination makes my spidey-senses ring.
So what I'd do?
Luckily, I was raised on the streets of Miami.
My survival instincts kicked in.
"Want to talk to me while we walk?" I said.
Junior, as he told me his name was, seemed confused but I just started to walk anyway, hoping for the best...
...and he rode along on his bike, telling me his story about how he hadn't eaten in a few days, persistent that I give him $15, not caring that I didn't have the money, getting aggressive, paranoid if I was filming him, insisting on taking me an ATM, refusing to take no for an answer.
I delayed the conversation as much as I could until we made it to the edge of the busy intersection (Biscayne Blvd).
I said good luck and he told me he can't eat luck.
He then proceeded to scoff at me, saying he knew I was going to play him like that, calling me this-name and that-name, spat at my feet, then sped away on his bike.
Do I have any proof that this encounter would have ended in a mugging or worse?
No, I don't.
However, the likelihood of something like this happening seemed high, and my gut was telling me to get out of there as quickly as possible.
The point of this story is to show you what kind of things could happen while you're out shooting. Who knows how else this situation could've unfolded.
Even then, I think I learned my lesson.
The next time I step foot into a dangerous situation, I'm bringing a lookout.