Camera in a box, take a picture

If you recently found a disposable camera inside a pizza box and followed directions to take a picture, chances are your face has been seen by more than one viewer.

Filmmaking duo Austin Dodge, 18, and Elliot Barbernell, 14, filmed a short movie Nov. 26 in downtown Laguna Beach called "Take a Photo." It went viral with combined hits of more than 330,000 and counting.

Dodge and Elliot grabbed a Zpizza box, some disposable cameras and wrote "Take a photo" in permanent marker on the box as they hurriedly drove downtown to start their project.

They placed the box in Forest Avenue, South Coast Highway and Main Beach — and waited.

They watched from a distance, taking video of people interacting with the camera.

"Some people thought it was a prank or a bomb and freaked out," Elliot said. "We wanted to be like, 'No, it's OK.'"

A group of girls was about to take a shot when a concerned parent yelled at them, he said.

"They ran away," he said.

They also had a couple unexpected observations.

"It was surprising that people didn't know how to use a disposable camera," Elliot pointed out.

The two had to turn the flash on once the sun set, since many people didn't think to turn it on.

They also learned gender could dictate a photo selection.

"Women all took pictures of themselves," Elliot said. "Men would take pictures of scenery or of other people."

The video has comments on it from all around the world. One consistent comment amused the two.

"Every single commenter said if it was in my city, it would have been stolen," Elliot said.

The Orange County High School of the Arts students have the video website to thank for not only getting their film out, but for their friendship.

Dodge, of Laguna Beach, and Elliot, then of Michigan, met on YouTube and began a friendship based on their mutual adoration of filmmaking and the arts. During their Skype chats, Dodge tried to convince Elliot to come to Orange County and attend his high school because Elliot's family was planning on moving to Southern California in the future.

Five months ago Elliot and his family moved to Laguna Niguel. The friends who once had time zones between them now ride together on the way to school.

"One of the main things I like about school is that kids are motivated to go here, versus feeling like they have to go here," Elliot said.

Both have plans to continue with their passion. Dodge has applied to schools and will soon find out if he was accepted to Emerson College.

"So much positive feedback makes you want to keep creating," he said.

He is working on his senior project, which is a dramedy about a boy who "likes" an unfortunate Facebook status.

Elliot, a freshman, still has a few years to go. A blogger since the age of 7, he said filmmaking combines all his interests — from writing and music to Web design.

"All my favorite things that could possibly be a career could be combined in filmmaking. That's why I like it," he said.

Watch the video on Dodge's YouTube channel.

Twitter: @joannaclay

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