Behind the attack video: Actors share their experience

Courtesy of Avoid Deny Defend Facebook page.

By Gaby Salazar | Copy Editor

Many members of the Baylor community were affected by the “Active Shooter Training” video’s realism, but the actors who played in it were just as or even more affected by the video’s sensitive nature.

Thousands have now seen the university’s Active Shooter Training Video, which depicts a realistic scenario of students and faculty being gunned down at the Baylor Science Building, but not many know about what it was like to work behind the scenes. Filming began at the beginning of summer, and production-wise, it took hard work and creativity from Baylor’s theatre department and film and digital media.

Kelli Jo Crosby, a senior theatre performance major with a musical theatre concentration from Jackson, Ala., recalls her initial thoughts about the video.

“I thought it was going to be more of an instructional video than a full-scale film. I didn’t know it was going to be as real as it was,” said Crosby, who played Victim #1.

Crosby can be seen in the beginning of the video talking with her mom on the phone outside the BSB. Crosby said the scene was totally improvised and she only received instructions to talk to her mom.

“They wanted me to improv a conversation about buying plane tickets […] I have that conversation with my mom every holiday,” Crosby said, adding that the personalization made it very real and scary. 

The Department of Public Safety’s website forewarns viewers of the Active Attack Training Video’s sensitive nature. To add to the seriousness and realistic acting, Crosby was not told many details about what would happen in her scene. 

“They didn’t tell me they were going to actually fire blanks at my face before we started shooting,” Crosby said.

In addition, Crosby remembers students on set starting to get emotional.

“It was really scary because there were a lot of gunshots and screaming […] people were getting really into it and crying,” Crosby said.

When working on such a sensitive subject matter, Crosby says that keeping the time in-between takes funny and lighthearted was crucial to the mental stability of the cast. When filming was completed, Crosby said, “I was very pleased with the end result. I thought they did a fantastic job.”

“I think the video did exactly what it should do and showed people the reality of the situation, sparking just enough fear for people to be cautious,” Crosby said. 

 Another student on set, Henry Beard, a  junior design and technology major from Waco who played an extra on the set said, “I thought the video would be a helpful tool for students to learn from.”

Beard added that the production team was fantastic and very professional by keeping things both light-hearted and efficient. Beard said that the overall tone on set was focused on creating something really important. 

 “While it’s something that you don’t want to think about, it’s a reality that we sadly live in,” Beard said.