all who wander are not lost

This post is for Bananadoc and his kids, who simply wanted to perhaps catch a glimpse of one of the Transformer robots at the Packard Plant the other day.

I think this is one of the robot things.

You can see it in place behind the bushes in these two pics. (turns out to be fake jet engines)

Here is the set minus the robot, as they pack up to leave.

Man, it’s so cool when the hollywooders come to town and make their big huge movies here, because then the local people can stop by to take a peek, or maybe show their kids a real movie set. Right ?


I have heard a shocking number of complaints about the wild behavior of some of the security guards hired to monitor the Packard Plant site while the hollywooders use it for a set. I have also experienced their tactics first hand when I stopped by to take a look.

First of all, these are not some hollywood hotshot security people – no, its some tiny place in Southfield along the Lodge. Actually the property was honestly a little dumpy. Not exactly what I expected.

As one reader noted, the actual people who work for the company bear little resemblance to the stock photo people on the website.

Don’t YOU feel safe with these guys on the job ?

This is the kid in the khaki pants that first got right in my face when I stopped on public property and took a photograph of things clearly visible from my vantage point. He had no identification, and did not identify himself. He never once tried asking me to stop taking photographs. He referred to East Grand Boulevard as “this lot” and demanded I “get the fuck out of here right now, motherfucker“. I explained that I wasn’t standing on any “lot”, but rather East Grand Boulevard, and I was legally parked, and on public property. End of story, right ? No – then he stated that he was “going to call the police” after they copied my plate number. He said “you are going to get a $5000.00 fine”. I told him to definitely call the police, and then told him where I would be while I finished my photos.

I looped back around and took a video clip of the Packard facade, and there was in fact a Detroit Police cruiser who rolled by. He waved, and sped off west on the Boulevard. Enough said about “calling the police”, eh ?

Many things wrong here: first of all, you can not lie to people in order to coerce them into stopping behavior that they have a right to engage in. So the khaki pants kid lied to me when he said that I could not take photos where I was, he lied about a $5000 fine – another thing which is actionable in court. There is absolutely no law stopping anybody from photographing Packard any time they want from a public vantage. There can not be, according to the Constitution.

Same day: the guy in this photo followed my car for 20 minutes straight, around and around the neighborhood surrounding Packard, several blocks away. This is also harassment and intimidation.

In my opinion (this post is all my opinion) these folks simply broke laws while engaging the public at this site.

CLICK HERE to download the actual real laws regarding photography, and security guards in this situation. This is serious stuff, and I personally am writing a letter to the Attorney General of the State of Michigan about this company. The AG will contact the company and investigate your complaints, I strongly urge all the folks who were abused by this company to write to the AGs office and tell them your story. Screaming at people and threatening a family with children in the car coming to look at a stupid ass movie set is completely unacceptable. Elected officials are very responsive just before elections, if you know what I mean.

I offered this person a copy of the above laws regarding photography. He said “I know the law!”…..Yessss….He sure does look like a law scholar standing in the ghetto guarding an abandoned building.

If you notice, they freaked out hardest at the front entry where you cant see anything aside from that train car. As I demonstrated, the entire set was visible from Harper across I-94 with a 200mm lens. Makes very little sense to me.

This poor fella was in full blown panic mode when I drove by, but wasn’t sure what to do -since the car he is sitting in obviously has a club lock on the steering wheel.

[A reader pointed out in the comments that the real story here isnt that the hollywood companies being here is bad or anything. Simply this isolated incident of an unprofessional security company at this site.]

36 Responses to Transformers – definitely more than meets the eye.

  • President of the United States of America

    And what the hell makes these people think I don’t have full blown press credentials ? Do people seriously believe I “urbexed” my way in to meet the President of the United States of America ?

    How do you know my editor didn’t send me there to do MY job ? What about MY family ? What about the company I work for ? The Neurenberg argument swings both ways, lady.

  • You’re a real jerk. You have no business hanging around the complex. I hope those dicks fracture your skull.

    Hot Fudge Demented Old Woman
    Author : kathe (IP: ,
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  • “I believe he was involved with the AK-47 guards when the Packard “mysteriously” caught fire during the last Banksy debacle.”

    many people – myself included – think that the last big packard fire was arson. i have no way of knowing, and further no way of knowing who would have done it. could have been accidental, like a homeless person cooking. if it was arson, that is not very “mysterious”. i dont recall if the DFD even determined a cause because that building is too dangerous for people to be inside.

    but that statement doesn’t refer to or accuse any persons of anything.

    Accusing somebody wrongly of libel in a published format is also…….guess what ! Not wise. I would hold off on all the legalese advice unless you know for a fact that somebody has committed what YOU are accusing.

    I have yet to hear more than a single mildly positive story about the security at this site. (the one over night guard) I have though heard almost 30 different people, all strangers to one another, all tell outrageous stories about this company.

    I am suspicious of anybody who would come forward to defend a company they have nothing to do with in the face of such overwhelming complaints.

    I believe if just a few more people relate stories, it would probably require a class action to do anything.

  • I am not agreeing either way i just wanted it to be said that if what the RSIG person said is true and with you saying that you “think” “I believe he was involved with the AK-47 guards when the Packard “mysteriously” caught fire during the last Banksy debacle.” is all defamation of character.

    Defamation of character can include slander (spoken derogatory statements), libel (written derogatory statements) or both. To constitute actionable defamation, the statements must be false and expose a person to hatred, ridicule or contempt. You also can sue if the defamation harms you in your occupation.

    By you saying that you think he is the one who did it, you can get in trouble,especially if he was to lose his job over this. If it isn’t true than you shouldn’t be stating just what you think to be the truth. Also if it was that big of a deal to you why didn’t you call the police right then and there. It just seems like to me you are making a big deal over something just to get attention without getting all your facts true about slander and all that.

    Author : tina (IP: ,
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  • Oh yeah – I have a very good lawyer, I was just calling a weak ass bluff. I am blessed to have both my family physician and attorney be family members.

  • That and the fact that Sarah cannot differentiate between YOUR and YOU’RE. She sounds like a kid, and a rather ignorant kid at that.

    If she does indeed work for a law firm I would stay away from that firm.

  • I agree that sarah was probably a troll. i contacted her and asked for the name of her “law firm” because I might hire them to sue Khaki Pants personally. No reply.

    She also doesnt know proper legal terminology, which sure smells like bullshit to me.

    I deleted one troll comment from somebody “who worked with RSIG in the past”.

    Yes, I am able to collect an amazing amount of data from the back end from readers and commenters. I never even look at that stuff unless there is a problem. May have to run a traceroute on suspected trolls for this topic.

    Sarah’s “cautions” actually read to me like veiled threats. But it is good to know there are little people out there sticking up for big companies.

  • I meant to say that what I typed above was for the post from Sarah.

  • Do you capture the IP/MACID/HEADER information when someone post’s a comment ?

    If so grab that data then try to contact that company and make it so they have to go on another website that you can grab the same data from.

    Then you can compare it, and if it matches then let the world know. Plus if they are pretending to be other people that is no good and shows how this company is trained to act (if that makes sense)

    But this is complete BS.

    Good for you for telling them to call the cops.

  • not sure what is up with that comment either jared – between this post and the thread on, there are literally dozens of stories, mostly involving Khaki Pants.

  • Sarah, That man in the car harassed me as well. There are many witnesses identifying him.

  • p.s. you mean ‘libel’, not ‘slander’, btw.

  • I am not concerned, but thanks Sarah.

    “Its not slander if its true, madam” – Judge Judy.

  • I’m not going to say there aren’t some dumb people that work there, but just make sure you have your facts straight before you go doing anything rash. Going by car, and the person sitting in that car, you may be wrong, and you may end up ruining someone’s life for that. You may be looking at who you think said anything to you, but they may not be the right person. That guy in the car may have a family, and kids and could lose his job and if your not 100% correct your not much better than the people you “say” are harassing you. Not to mention i work for a law firm out of Ann Arbor and have seen things like this turn bad for both parties. I love the pictures your providing they are great parts of past history and history in the making. Keep up the good work. But keep in mind this could be considered “Slander” if you dont have full facts and you do go further with this. Author : Sarah (IP: ,
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  • I was hassled in Ann Arbor on public property, on a residential street where there was full access! The guards there weren’t as intimidating as those at Pacakrd because they were a lot more like the guys you see on the RSIG website. However, I was told that they would have the police remove me and delete the pictures on my camera. It was that incident that prompted me to find sites like this to discover what my rights actually are. What’s bizarre to me is that within the space of 5 minutes, the security will be heavy-handed like this, and then a crew member will wander over and say ‘no flashes, and no photography during actual takes.’ There should at least be some consistency!

    My favorite experience was the guy who said, “I have to tell you not to take photographs.” I smiled and replied, “I have to tell you that I’m going to take photographs, but I will be discreet.”

  • Man, i looked at profiles of males, females and juveniles, and the Falcons just plain look like seagulls !Took them down because they really werent being harassed by RSIG anyway.

    I wanst close enough for an id on the birds, the markings are very similar, cept on the falcon it has the dark/light feather pattern under the wing along with the dark tips. They have similar tails too.

    What I saw was probably seagulls waiting to eat the film crews garbage. hahaha ! Wont be the first time I mis-identify a bird here.

  • Didn’t have any of this type of treatment up in Northville as a previous post mentioned. Unfortunate that it’s happening anywhere really.
    I wanted to point out that the bird pictures are in fact seagulls, not peregrine falcons. I don’t doubt that there are falcons on the property, but these are most definitely not them.

  • I experienced this same activity as well. Unprofessional, uncalled for. Love this post.

  • Zack,

    You should only run into a couple, unless it changes during the week. But I don’t think that will stop them from hassling you. They were quick to jump at the opportunity when I was there today.

  • The Transformers assignment must be the highlight of their careers, hence them acting like idiots. Just before production started, a friend and I rode our motorcycles down there because I wanted to show her the Packard, I have been in and out of this place numerous times and even attended many of the “rave” parties it hosted back in the 90’s.

    I approached the guard and asked if Transformers 3 was being filmed, he tried to play stupid and tell me they were getting ready to tear the place down. To his surprise I schooled him on the history of the Plant, from the Packard car company to it’s part in the development of the Detroit rave scene and from Bioresource Inc., to the Banksy artwork situation.

    I also told him that if I wanted to get inside to where he thought was secured by his company I could do it without him even knowing.

    Anyways, this guy was cool, he did not mind that we were interested, and I think he actually enjoyed our company because he worked the midnight shift. I could tell he wasn’t giving out any information because of fear of losing his job. Upon leaving I thanked him for his time and said, “now that I’ve distracted you for a while, my other friendds are inside”. He looked really worried until I told him I was kidding.

    I’m definitely going back in the daytime to take in the sights and if anyone gives a hardtime, the AG office will hear about it.

    Keep up the great work dfunk!

  • I think it was that fat guy in the Fusion that lightly hassled my dad and I just a couple hours ago. Now that I’m realizing filming is all but over, I’m glad he didn’t do any more than he did cause NOTHING IS HAPPENING! They’re just on a power trip. Hopefully the AG does something.

  • You know what Joseph, point well taken. Im going to nip that part on my post jabbing at hollywood. Not that there hasnt been issues with them in places, but yes – not at all my beef here.

  • That is also my experience in my hood. I even watched them film Red Dawn at the old Notre Dame field, and the film people said “yeah. just please stay out of the way”.

  • I’ve worked on a couple of these Hollywood films and I would like to suggest not throwing out the baby with the bathwater — don’t conflate RSIG with Hollywood being unwelcome. I haven’t had an issue with RSIG but what you’ve documented is indeed serious and your response seems appropriate. This is the same company that I recall having guards sleeping on duty.

    But having productions here is good, and what they do requires teams of hundreds of people who should not be judged by the actions of a few.

    Detroit 187, for example, is spending tens of millions of dollars in the city limits, perhaps even to exceed one hundred million dollars. Much of that is going directly into the pockets of citizens and business owners. Even with the State paying back 42% that’s a positive impact on the city and region. It’s also a misconception that every employee in production is trucked in from elsewhere. Many are, but there are unionized jobs in Michigan for film production that are now regularly employing residents of the State and paying them well for work that, if you really look at it, is often the same kind of blue-collar work we’ve lamented having lost for years.

  • Hey thanks for this. Great commentary. I’m still angry about the way that guy yelled with my kids in the car. You’re right that it makes no sense to stop people on public property from photographing things easily visible. And their tactics are illegal and unnecessary. Crews that have been around my neighborhood filming have been reasonably respectful. They know that in Northville and Ann Arbor they need to keep the local residents sweet, so they behave pretty well. I’m guessing that in Detroit they don’t really care.

  • Video project eh ? Do tell ! Im always playing with some sort of large video project behind the scenes here, but I havent really come up with the Big One yet.

    Yeah, you know it would be enough for me if that security place just got a nice formal letter just saying to chill out a bit. If the AG gets more than one complaint, I bet they will start to take a closer look.

  • Keep up the good work, dfunk, if it wasn’t for you, i wouldn’t even know how to approach the whole thing! This story will definitely make an interesting addition to my video i was filming.

  • Right on ! Im doing mine tomorrow, I have legal papers to type tonight with my broken hand…yay.

  • well, I did as you asked and reported the company to the AG. I made a special note on that individual and attached the photo of him! Hopefully we get enough complaints to get somewhere!

  • Yep yep – he is the one that I am looking for information on, name etc. I believe he was involved with the AK-47 guards when the Packard “mysteriously” caught fire during the last Banksy debacle. The red shirt people standing around with walkie talkies are like seasonal mall workers, they dont know what is going on.

    That individual certainly could suffer a lawsuit.

  • Ford Fusion, i meant, not Focus

  • That guy in the red Focus is the one who threatened to break my $1000 camera!

  • What a bunch of self-important douchebags. I hope you can bring some misery down on their pathetic lives.

    Keep up the great work that you do Randy!

  • I’m very glad I never sent my dad out to take photos for me, since I’m in Europe. He would’ve absolutely lost his shit if some kid came up to him with that attitude. My father is 62 and grew up in boarding schools and got caned and all the things that come with that. It would’ve been a bad day.

    But sadly I’ve seen that before in Detroit and the metro, concerts, events. They’re terrible, big brutes with a superiority complex beyond that of anything I’ve ever seen before.

    Props to you for documenting this and I hope you get some answers and action taken on this post.

  • We spent 4 days in town and 1 day did the old auto mfg. stuff. We had some guy in a old nissan truck chase us around for 20 minutes, we kept stopping anyways to shoot (fotos!) Very firm, but somewhat pleasant. Said we were on private property…like we believed that for 1 second!
    Sadly, you’re right, the Falcons would cause the most uproar about what’s going on, nice work.