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Behind the Lens newsletter. State/Territory Underage Drinking Prevention Videos Project. Keeping you informed, inspired, and up to date.
In Your Words Map of the United States

Interview with Marcia LaPlante,
Vermont National Prevention
Network Member

Vermont" How has Vermont benefitted from participating in the State/Territory Video Project?
Our state video has enabled us to provide a more human glimpse into Vermont's Underage Drinking Prevention Initiative by capturing stories from youth and adults who are actively engaged in this work. We often describe the prevention of alcohol-related problems with very technical language because it is a complex issue.  This film illustrates what we mean by “a comprehensive community-based approach” with pictures and stories.

How has Vermont used its video, and how are you planning to use it in the future?
Vermont's Prevention Works When We Work Together video is posted on the Vermont Department of Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, website as an educational tool for the general public. We also have presented the video at two training events: the Strategic Prevention Framework training for community coalitions and the Association of Student Assistance Professionals’ annual conference. In addition, we have distributed it to regional coalitions and to Vermont Department of Health District Offices staff—particularly prevention consultants and other partners represented on the Governor's Alcohol and Drug Advisory Council. We refer reporters and other interested parties to this tool for background information on what works related to underage drinking. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to track the number of times the video has been viewed on the Vermont Department of Health website. We intend to continue to post it for the next year.

What did you enjoy most, or what did you find most valuable, about the production process?
Many Vermonters participated in the making of the video. It was great to hear their stories. We appreciated the flexibility of the film crew. They made time in their schedule to film much of the action at Prevention Day at the Vermont Statehouse, and it was wonderful to have the youth and adult participation in that day documented.

What advice do you have for other states that are beginning to produce their own videos?
Be sure to set aside adequate time to work on the project. Even with the support of the producer and film crew, the project requires substantial coordination on the state's part. It is also important to focus on messages and stories that will be relevant over the long term. One of the initiatives highlighted in our film is no longer active, which affects the shelf-life of this tool.

Tips from the pros
A senior producer shares insights

A senior producer shares insights on making a video even more effective.

“Always have a backup plan, and always be ready to improvise if needed. Even the best planning in the world can go awry if a participant doesn’t show up on time, an interview doesn’t go as expected, or weather disrupts your schedule. Patience and flexibility go a long way during field production (i.e., shooting)!”

Video producer and State/Territory Video Project coordinator

Overcoming Obstacles
Screen Capture of Alabama's Video

Challenge: One of two cohosts failed to appear at the time scheduled for recording the introduction and closing to Alabama’s video. The team recruited a willing individual off of the street at the last minute, but the footage was not particularly captivating, and questions arose about the individual’s background.

Solution: The Alabama team reached out to a local news organization to rerecord the introduction and closing with vetted cohosts, then copied the footage onto a hard drive and sent it to their producer for inclusion in the video.

Spread the word
Screen Capture of Puerto Rico's Video
Here are some ways states/territories are getting the message out:

Puerto Rico produced two 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) designed to fit in with the "Somos Mas" ("We Are More") campaign against underage drinking. These Spanish-language PSAs have since been seen by youth throughout the territory.

Whats New
Screen Capture of New Jersey’s video

New Jersey’s video, as well as three vignettes produced for Idaho, has recently been added to the "Underage Drinking" playlist on SAMHSA’s YouTube channel.

Status Check

Recently completed:

  • Alabama
  • District of Columbia
  • Indiana

Currently in postproduction:

  • Tennessee

Currently in preproduction:

  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
On The Horizon

The following states are scheduled to produce videos within the next year:

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin


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