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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

Sarah Fischer, M.P.A.
Manager of Prevention Services
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services

Sarah Fischer Instead of a longer form video, Kansas chose to create two public service announcements (PSAs). Why did you choose this approach?
We used part of our Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant funding to implement a media campaign in 2008, and we decided to use the state video opportunity to build upon our existing efforts. The two PSAs supplement our other media efforts to support the campaign.

The campaign is “Teen Thinking—Encourage your kids to think…not drink.” It initially launched with the focus of encouraging adults to talk to youth about making smart decisions and about the consequences of underage drinking. We produced radio spots, a television spot, billboards, print ads, and many collateral materials such as stuffers for bills, yard signs, banners, and popcorn bags. In more recent years, we have expanded the messages to include consequences with social hosting and buying products for minors. More information can be found at

You created two PSAs—a 60-second spot that features teens talking about their parents’ role in their decision not to drink and a 30-second spot that shows what teens might decide when parental oversight is lacking. Who is your target audience, and why did you choose this audience?
Our plan was co-created by a workgroup of prevention providers, coalition members, state staff, and our media campaign advertising agency. The group felt that we needed to focus on parents and emphasize the role that they play in influencing their teens’ decisions about alcohol use. The 60-second spot was designed to be more positive, while the 30-second spot was designed to demonstrate to parents why it is important to be active and ask questions.

What, for you, was the most interesting or satisfying aspect of participating in this project?
I think the most rewarding part of this project was engaging the volunteers to be a part of the project. We had a diverse group of students from several school districts in Shawnee County, Topeka. We are very grateful for the support provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—the videos will be incorporated into our larger media campaign efforts. It is especially nice to have the videos because the funding available for future media campaign development is less than we had previously. The director and videographer were really patient and wonderful to work with.

Tips from the pros
A senior producer shares insights

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

“Professional actors can be very expensive, while people without any acting experience may require some coaching in order to be effective on camera. When recruiting people to appear in a scripted dramatization, consider reaching out to local drama clubs—either in schools or communities—to find individuals who may be happy to volunteer. The experience can help bolster their resumes but, more important, will mean that they are comfortable performing for an audience.”

State/Territory Videos Project Coordinator

Overcoming Obstacles
Critical Dialogue with Native Youth about Underage Drinking

Critical Dialogue with Native Youth about Underage Drinking: Our Culture is Prevention

Challenge: For a video aimed specifically at a Native American audience, SAMHSA’s Native American Center for Excellence (NACE) wanted to feature interviews with Native youths representing the diversity of Indian country. With tribes spread all throughout the country, the question was how to shoot this footage on a modest budget.

Solution: NACE identified a Native youth conference in Portland, OR, held in June 2012. The conference comprised primarily Native youths from the Pacific Northwest, but teens from the Midwest, Upper Midwest, Alaska, and even Canada not only participated in the conference but also appeared in the video. You can watch it here.

Spread the word
What are you saying YES to?
What are you saying YES to?
Here are some ways states/territories are getting the message out:

Maine is disseminating its video electronically to prevention professionals and educators in hopes that many screenings will take place throughout the state. In particular, the state is encouraging screening opportunities during Alcohol Awareness Month. In addition to the video, the state created a discussion guide that accompanies the video in efforts to help facilitate conversation with students. A high-quality version of the video along with the discussion guide can be downloaded via the following link:

Whats New
Screen Capture of Tennessee’s video
Talk It Up. Lock It Up!™
North Carolina
Box Office Returns

No, this isn’t Hollywood, you aren’t selling tickets, and no one is expecting to make a profit from your SAMHSA-supported video. But SAMHSA does need to know that it is contributing to state, territorial, and local efforts to prevent underage drinking. Some National Prevention Network members have responded to George Marcelle’s e-mail requests for information about how videos have been or are being disseminated. Watch for links to a special one-time-only SurveyMonkey feedback request to provide SAMHSA with a more detailed picture of this project’s successes.

Status Check

Recently completed:

  • Native American communities, in collaboration with SAMHSA’s Native American Center for Excellence
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio

Currently in postproduction:

  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota

Currently in preproduction:

  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania

To be scheduled:

  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin


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