I once had the opportunity to bring a VW shoot back to my hometown of Toronto, Canada.
It was a big production that involved locking down a major street in the downtown core. We needed a lot of people to populate the sidewalks, so I thought it would be fun for my family to come down to the set to be extras.
When the director, Kinka Usher, found out my father used to be a racecar driver, he decided that my dad would drive a taxicab as part of the city traffic scene we were creating.
My dad’s action was to start to pull the cab out of a parking space, then stop suddenly to let our shoot car, a VW Beetle, drive by. So that my dad knew when to move the car, Kinka gave him a radio to hear the call to action.
As the cameras started to roll, the Beetle got damaged. As everyone was trying to figure out the nature of the damage and whether or not it would affect shooting, Kinka hears my dad on the radio. “Kinka, it’s Joe.”
Kinka has bigger fish to fry so he says, “Just a second, Joe. We have an issue here.”
About 30 seconds later my dad cuts through on the radio again, “Kinka, it’s Joe.”
“Not now, Joe.” Kinka says in a polite but firm tone.
After a few minutes, we find out that the shoot car is not damaged on the camera side and we can keep shooting.
My dad cuts in again, “Kinka it’s, Joe.”
Kinka responds. “Yes, Joe. Sorry about all that go ahead.”
In a flat, matter-of-fact tone my dad says, “My cab is on fire.”
You can imagine what happened next. When the crew got to my dad they found his cab full of smoke from a small fire somewhere in the engine bay. They put the fire out and my dad was unhurt, but the gas pedal of the cab got so hot from the fire that the sole of his right shoe was melted.
You can see his smoking cab in the final edit of the spot below.