->''"We had a problem, we couldn't get a permit in New York City to open a shoe store on short notice merely to sell 500 pairs of shoes over a couple of days. But we could get a ''film permit'' quickly, so we did, then put a fake camera on a tripod outside and a sign indicating we were shooting locations for our film ''The Making of a Shoe Store''. We sold all the shoes by the end of the day."''

An evil subtrope where a villain pretends to direct a TV show or film to cover up an evil plan. This has many characteristics in which it seems almost like a TakeThat at the [[ExecutiveMeddling TV executives]], but usually, it provides an interesting backdrop that can both easily explain away how there's no police suspicion of a crime, and provide a way to trick an innocent bystander into some criminal scheme, again without suspicion.

This can probably also apply to fake directing of media other than television or film, but there haven't yet been any examples yet of using a fake radio program or a video game as a cover-up for crimes in fiction, likely due to the ease of pretending that a crime is actually a scene from a movie or TV show. However, sometimes the villain will explain that ItsForABook.

As per a reason for the hero to get involved in the plot, it is virtually guaranteed that when a villain is causing crimes behind the façade of a nonexistent movie, the part of the criminal in said movie will often fall to the hero of the show, likely causing him having to [[ClearMyName clear his own name]] of a crime that he or she didn't know was actually a crime. Or in the other likely scenario, he or she is cast as the main actor/actress in the movie, and the villain tries to kill him or her off with a DeathTrap disguised as various accidents or stunts.

Closely related to AllPartOfTheShow. Contrast YouJustRuinedTheShot, in which an apparent crime actually is just part of a film shoot. SisterTrope to ItsForABook and WeWereRehearsingAPlay.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Dazzler}}'' comic she is recruited to dance in a music video that is a thinly veiled ''Thriller'' reference. The director has been engineering stunts to create the appearance that the production was cursed, all to increase publicity for himself; he went so far as to blow up his own car. He set up a scene for the video where the zombie dancers would emerge from their graves, but removed the air hose from Alison's plot so that she would suffocate before having the chance to emerge. She managed to escape anyway, and got a full confession from the director in front of the news crew he'd brought in to witness the "accident".
* A plot like this was how the Green Goblin was introduced in ''The Amazing Comicbook/SpiderMan''.
** A few years after the Goblin story, Mysterio and the Wizard teamed up to defeat Spidey and [[Comicbook/FantasticFour the Human Torch]] by hiring them to appear in a movie.
* There was a [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]] issue of ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' built on this theme. Apparently, Superboy had foiled a robbery using this scheme, but the bank robbers had used real film and caught Superboy changing from his secret identity! When the criminals get out of jail years later, all they have to do is get the film and sell it to the highest bidder! Only a clever ruse can keep Superman's secret safe from the criminals of the world and girl reporter ComicBook/LoisLane!
* Happened in ''ComicStrip/NickKnatterton'' once.
* In an early ''Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'' comic, criminals show up to try out for parts as themselves. The camera crew and producers thought it was just a show, right up until the robbery.
* SelfDemonstrating/{{Deadpool}} deals with one of these in a short story called Game of Death. [[spoiler:Turns out it was the son of the man who sent him to the island in the first place. He lets his employer live, despite sending him into a death trap...but not after scaring the crap out of the old guy.]]
* In an early issue of the ''Comicbook/FantasticFour'', Namor bought a movie studio, and then hired the FF to be stars in his "movie". It was all a scheme to split each male member from the team to either face a death trap or Namor alone. Of course they survived and took him down together.
* A Dutch comic about the ''Beagle Boys'' had the titular crooks use this method to rob a bank. Unfortunately for them, the bank they choose had already been chosen as location for an actual film shooting that day, so the bank director had prepared a bag of fake money to be used for in the movie.
* In one ''Franchise/WonderWoman'' story, the Queen of Fables first pulls KillAndReplace on a Hollywood producer named Laney Kirswel. Using Laney's identity, she launched a project for an unauthorized and highly inaccurate and slanderous Wonder Woman biography. Her goal was to both ruin Wonder Woman's reputation and to annoy her enough that she would show up on set to protest, at which point the Queen trapped and tried to kill her.
* In the {{Tintin}} universe, Cosmos Pictures is a film production company [[CovertGroupWithMundaneFront used as a front]] for the criminal activities of Mr Rastapopoulos.

* The plot of the Creator/PeterSellers movie ''Film/{{After the Fox}}'' is about a criminal who poses as a film director in order to easily transfer a large quantity of stolen gold.
* Subverted (via a variant) in the Swedish movie ''Dubbel 8'': While the two main characters use a film they're making as an excuse to see a girl naked, they actually shoot and release the movie.
* The Creator/WoodyAllen comedy ''Film/TakeTheMoneyAndRun'' saw {{Stupid Crook|s}} Virgil Starkwell plan a bank robbery that involved bringing a film camera and someone pretending to be a movie director along to make it look like a film shoot so not to alarm anyone or make anyone want to call the cops. The plan fails horribly when it turns out that another, completely unrelated criminal gang decided to rob the same bank on the same day... and are much more competent at it.
* The first part of ''Film/TheClonesOfBruceLee'' focuses on a gold [[strike:smuggler]] [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment hider]] who covers up his operations with his day job as a Hong Kong film director. When one of the eponymous {{Bruce Lee clone}}s is sent to investigate, the director decides to kill him by [[HarsherInHindsight faking a weapons malfunction on the set]].
* In ''Film/NowYouSeeMe'', four magicians seemingly commit grand larceny in front of a paying audience, multiple times. They suggest to police that putting them on trial without a fully detailed case would imply the reality of magic, making the FBI look ridiculous.
* ''Film/{{Argo}}'' is a ''heroic'' variant; making a fake cheesy low-budget sci-fi movie as a cover for rescuing hostages. BasedOnATrueStory!

* The whole plot of the first book of ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents''. Granted, it's a theater play, but it still fits the trope. Actor-playwright Olaf wants to marry Violet to get his clutches on her fortune. Knowing you've got to be married by a judge, he arranges a whole play to be performed, in which there is a wedding scene. Actually the whole play is a (horribly dragging, tedious and devoted only to praising him) wedding scene. Of course, he casts himself as the groom, Violet as the bride and a local judge as... Well, you guessed it.
* Erwinke from the stories of Israeli Creator/EphraimKishon once pulled this off.
* In Jeffrey Archer's ''Literature/HonorAmongThieves'', the villains' plan involves having a fake presidential motorcade roll up to the National Archives to trick the Archives' Chief Executive; a couple of streets further down, they put on a show of filming a movie so that nobody will bat an eye at the President's motorcade suddenly showing up.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the Russian TV series ''AgentstvoNLS'', one of the main characters is suddenly cast as the hero in an action movie. While shooting a bank robbery scene in an actual bank, the director and crew pull out real guns and start robbing the bank for real. And, of course, the police had been forewarned about the "shooting" so they make no effort to try and prevent it. The robbers even went so far as to bring on a real crime boss as a consultant, to frame him for the robbery later.
* An episode of ''Series/TheAvengers'' - "Epic" - was about this.
* One episode of ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' has a group of criminals taking over the production of an indie movie to cover their scheme. The twist: The criminals in question are the eponymous ''good guys'', and the aim of their con is to rescue a child from a gang of adoption scammers [[spoiler:which balloons into a mission to save ''all'' the children in the villains' fake orphanage, which is actually a front for arms smuggling]].
** Similarly, an episode of ''Series/{{Hustle}}'' featured the gang staging a fake Bollywood film to trick a mark out of all his money.
* An episode of ''[[Series/{{McCloud}} [=McCloud=]]]'' featured Larry Hagman as a TV star duped by Fernando Lamas.
* In an episode of ''Series/TheMonkees'', a pair of crooks pose as filmmakers and hire the Monkees to play bank robbers in a heist movie. They then send the boys to a real bank, inform them that the bank patrons and bank personnel are all actors as well, and have them rob it. They tell the group to improvise their lines ("A script will make your performance stale") and that they use the hidden camera technique, "so don't worry if you don't see a director". The Monkees return to the crooks with several bags full of what they think is fake money, but which is quite real.
* A three part adventure of Series/{{Batman}} finds the Penguin pretending to be producer and director of a film. Batman is not fooled for one second, but plays along to find out what his ultimate scheme is.
* ''Series/CrashZone'' has a non-film example—in the episode "Rear Windows", a criminal gang releases a game on the internet to "crowdsource" a kidnapping strategy from the unaware players.
* In ''Series/TheMunsters'', a couple of crooks pose as directors and sign Herman up as the star of their film. The contract includes a very large life insurance policy, and they spend most of the episode trying to arrange an "accident" on set. Naturally, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard the crooks]] are the ones who eventually wind up injured.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The deadly stunts variant was used in the ''WesternAnimation/ActionLeagueNow'' segment "A Star is Torn" where The Mayor was the director for Thundergirl.
* This trope appears in ''WesternAnimation/AliasTheJester''. In this case, the king even directs a scene. Then Alias realizes they must be fake because ''film hasn't been invented yet''.
* The ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars'' episode "Danger is Our Business" had Lawrence Limburger disguise himself as a movie director named Jack Romano as part of a ploy to get the Biker Mice killed when they take his job offer for a stuntman.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'', a zombie "director" came to the farm and told Muriel and Eustace he wished to use them and the farm in a movie. He was actually using them to resurrect his dead friend buried in their basement.
* "[[Recap/DuckTalesS1E53HeroForHire Hero For Hire]]" from''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'' has the Beagle Boys pose as a movie crew and trick Launchpad [=McQuack=] into burglarizing Duckburg's banks as "The Webbed Wonder".
* The ''WesternAnimation/DynomuttDogWonder'' episode "Tin Kong" had as its villain Eric Von Flick, a film director who used a mechanical ape in filming a disaster movie.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFantasticFour1967'' involved a villainous MasterOfDisguise impersonating a famous movie director and interviewing the Fantastic Four about their previous adventures under the pretense of digging for ideas for a movie about them, while noting the various ways the villains failed to defeat them and plotting his way around their pitfalls.
* On ''WesternAnimation/HongKongPhooey'', the film director and crew enlist people off the street to play bank robbers in the movie, and unknown to the 'actor', actually trick him into robbing an actual bank for them.
* ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget''. One of the earlier episodes had MAD using a fake movie shooting as a cover to spy on a military base.
* This was also the plot of ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleRascals'' animated episode "Flim Flam Film Fans", in which a crooked film director pretended to shoot a movie at Waldo's home. While Alfalfa and Waldo argued over which of them would be the train engineer, Darla was tied not to the track, but to the railroad gate.
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop'' episode "Game of Peril" had the Hooded Claw prevent the police from intervening in his plan to kill Penelope with an over-complicated DeathTrap on a construction site by having the Bully Brothers stand nearby as director and cameraman.
* The "Film Flam" episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' used this trope.
** Which is then promptly turned on its head when The Mayor (a hostage) takes a gun from one of the criminals and starts telling them how to film a hostage taking, in an over-the-top gangster accent.
--->'''Mayor''': Nobody move, see? We're taking control.
** The punchline to the episode is, of course, that [[WhoWouldWantToWatchUs no one would want to see the [=PPGs=] in a movie]], ''[[SelfDeprecation The Powerpuff Girls Movie]]'' having been in production at that point.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/SpiderManAndHisAmazingFriends'', Spidey is put into a "movie" wherein the director is actually trying to kill him with the stunts.
* The ''WesternAnimation/SpiderWoman'' episode "The Kongo Spider" had a villainous director attempt to make a snuff film using a giant spider, with Spider-Woman and Spider-Man being his intended victims.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSuperGlobetrotters'': One of the Super Globetrotters' foes was called Movie Man. His gang consisted of a master of disguise, a special effects man, a sound effects expert, and a stuntwoman.
* ''WesternAnimation/TotallySpies'' has unhinged filmmaker Marco Lumière (whose name is likely a ShoutOut to film pioneers the Lumière Brothers).
* In ''WesternAnimation/TUFFPuppy'', Quacky the Duck and his gang posed as film-makers in order to trick TUFF into stealing things on camera.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutron'' had an episode where Jimmy wins a screenwriting contest and a Creator/QuentinTarantino-esque director offers to shoot the movie with him and his friends as the stars. In actuality, the director was a criminal using the shoot as a cover for a jewel heist.
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' had a recurring villain called Tuskernini, whose gimmick was to stage his crimes like a film shoot. In one episode he pretended to go straight and offered DW the lead in his movie, which of course turned out to be another crime cover.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The US porn industry, in a way, this trope writ large. In almost all of the country, prostitution is illegal due to the actions of our particularly strong set of MoralGuardians... But because the [[UsefulNotes/AmericanPoliticalSystem First Amendment]] protects the act of creating film, you CAN pay somebody to have sex as long as there are cameras running! [[note]]Your mileage may vary by state. There may be some SoCalization in this description.[[/note]]
--> [[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy Well as long as you're filming and selling it, it's legal.]]
* A guy (Kenneth Cole) wanted to do a shoe sale in New York City, but couldn't get a permit. So, he sets up a fake filming set, and gets permission to do a movie, and if the cops come by, claimed he was filming a documentary!
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_caper Canadian caper]]. During the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-80, the Canadian government and CIA disguise and exfiltration expert Tony Mendez managed to get six hostages out by posing as a Hollywood producer. The events were dramatized in the film ''Film/{{Argo}}''.
* John Dillinger supposedly scouted some of the banks that he later robbed by posing as a filmmaker aiming to make a realistic depiction of a bank robbery. His associate Homer Van Meter posed as a producer to add to the illusion. Dillinger may have well been the {{Trope Maker|s}}, despite limiting it to recon.
* While filming ''Film/{{Pusher}} 2'', the director hired actual criminals to consult on filming a car dealership heist. He later suspected that the criminals were using the job to case the dealership for a real heist of their own.
* [[TruthInTelevision Inverted]] in a humorous incident when a mugger ran into a couple of people dressed as cops, who arrested him. It was only when the ''real'' cops showed up that the mugger learned he had been arrested by the cast of ''Series/NYPDBlue''...
* A very similar situation happened with ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'', which itself later spawned an episode about the very event, "The Documentary."
* Creator/AlexanderPayne told Creator/{{NPR}} that when he was making ''Film/CitizenRuth'', the people of Omaha called the police because they couldn't believe anyone would actually be shooting a movie there.
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_18753_the-6-most-creative-abuses-loopholes.html This]] ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' article tells how one bar circumvented an indoor smoking ban. The ban included an exception for stage actors smoking in character, so the bar rebranded itself as an experimental theater company.
* Attempted by one car thief in Pittsburgh when he was caught boosting a car during the filming of ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises''. The police didn't believe his story that he was "just an extra".
* The assassination of anti-Taliban resistance fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud just 1 day before 9/11 was a case of this. Al-Qaeda recruited 2 Tunisians to pose as Moroccan-Belgian journalists trying to interview him. They utilized bombs placed in a camera and a battery pack. Midway through the fake interview, the bombs blew up, killing the first terrorist. The second was shot while attempting to escape. Massoud was later airlifted to a military hospital. However, he died en route.