Time freezes (like this epic one in Grand Central Station) are when you get a large mob of people pretending to be general public to suddenly freeze in place for an extended period of time. Done right, those not involved in the event feel like time has stopped. At the end of the specified time everyone moves again and go about their way as if nothing happened.
If you’re going to pull something like this, here are tips you may want to consider:
- Keep it short: 5 minutes is too long! Not only will those involved have difficulty holding the pose, the shock of this stunt wears off fast as people survey the extent of the freeze. I’d recommend 30-90 seconds. A longer freeze does not mean a better freeze.
- Enclosed spaces: Those involved will be looking around for examples of things that would indicate the passage of time. Carry out this prank in a medium-large sized area with little exposure to the outside world. (lecture halls work fairly well)
- Leave quietly: At the end of the specified time, all the participants should quietly continue what they were doing and then leave the room as if nothing happened. Have a meeting place not far away where you can meet after and celebrate your success.
- Have a signal: Freezes work best if everyone stops and starts at the exact same time. Make a subtle signal to indicate that the time is up. (like a pen dropping) Synced phone alarms on vibrate have been known to work.
- Devil in the details: Make sure no phones are going to ring. Stop/remove any wall clocks. Make sure people don’t choose unusual/ridiculous poses (so they can actually hold it) and make sure that people aren’t staring into lights (to reduce blinking). Obviously these are minor details but they all contribute to an excellent time freeze.
Don’t feel that these are rules that you must follow. In fact, one of the most important aspects to time freezes (and any prank) is that they are creative. I offer these as lessons that I’ve learnt over the years.