Maine’s video features five youth explaining why they choose to
be alcohol free. Why did you choose this approach?
The Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services wanted to focus on
the positive alternatives to drinking rather than an approach that would concentrate
on consequences (e.g., drunk driving). Our primary goal was to convey the message
that, contrary to many assumptions, most students choose not to drink. Our prevention
team wanted to showcase youth’s stories and their passions and ask them why they
personally did not drink.
How did you identify and determine which youth would be featured
in the video?
A letter was sent out to prevention professionals and education officials requesting
nominations for students with interesting stories who represented Maine students
making smart choices. In our nomination letter, we stressed that we were not looking
for “superstars,” but average, responsible kids who are involved in activities like
art, music, volunteering, mentoring, job, conservation, sports, etc. We were looking
for student role models that could clearly articulate their choice to choose a lifestyle
that didn’t include alcohol because it would interfere with their goals and ambitions.
In addition, we presented the video project as an opportunity to give a little attention
to someone who did not ordinarily receive it.
What, for you, was the most interesting or satisfying aspect of
participating in this project?
The most satisfying aspect of working on this project, by far, was working with
the youth and hearing their stories. In our eyes, this project was successful and
will have a long shelf life because the youth who were interviewed were honest and
gave genuinely interesting and inspiring responses. In addition, it was very rewarding
to see the project come to fruition through the strong collaboration of our video
production team and the producer.
What challenges, if any, did you encounter during the production
process, and how did you overcome them?
It was challenging to work with so many different individuals and entities simultaneously
and ensuring that everyone’s feedback and comments would be addressed accordingly
and with equal consideration. Although this was a challenge, it was also what made
the video a success. Through routine meetings and careful deliberation, our team
and the producer were able to create a valuable product that we could all be proud
What advice would you give to someone who is just beginning to work
on a video?
Our team felt it was extremely beneficial to convene on a regular basis to discuss
the project, meeting at least once a month. It was also important to have a leader
or point person who would organize the meetings, facilitate conversation, and help
delegate tasks. In the beginning of the project, it was very helpful to develop
a creative brief that outlined our project’s goals, the background, the desired
change we wanted to make, and—most important—identify the target audience we wanted
to reach. It was also worthwhile to watch existing SAMHSA [Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration] underage drinking prevention videos and recognize
which elements we liked most. Consistent communication with the video producer and
voicing our team’s thoughts and needs proved to be invaluable. It was also essential
that we developed a project timeline and stood by it. Lastly, if a project chooses
to recruit students to share their stories as we did, I would highly recommend that
they put a considerable amount of energy into getting to know those students as
well as their parents or advisors. Gaining trust and strengthening relationships
early in the process proved to be integral to our video.
“When we producers talk about ‘locations,’ we don’t just mean
cities or towns. Rather, we are referring to specific places where we need to set
up our equipment. In fact, a video shoot may call for two or three individual locations
within one building, each of which requires setting up and breaking down our equipment.
To maximize limited time and resources and reserve more time for actual shooting,
work with your producer to limit the number of locations for your video.”
—State/Territory Videos Senior Producer
A scene in one of two public service announcements created for the State of Kansas
called for a science fair setting. The planning and review team, however, did not
know of any science fairs going on in Topeka-area schools during the time the video
was slated to be shot.
For a location, the production team went to the Kansas Family Partnership’s offices
on a weekend when they wouldn’t interfere with normal business operations. For props,
a member of the state’s planning and review team brought some of her now-grown children’s
old school projects, another person created a banner, while others recruited youth
and parents to appear in the scene. The end result is what looks to be an actual
science fair! Watch the
Kansas video to see the "fair."
Here are some ways states/territories are getting the message out:
Indiana distributed copies of its youth-targeted video on DVD to colleges around
the state for freshman orientation sessions. Some schools also posted the video
on their websites while others used it as part of alcohol education courses. Some
high schools plan to show it to their graduating seniors as part of their transition
education before those students enter college.
In an effort to measure the effectiveness of the State/Territory Underage Drinking
Prevention Videos Project, the contractor team is evaluating both the production
process and video dissemination activities. States/territories that have already
completed videos can expect to hear from the team soon. Those whose videos have
recently been completed or are currently in preproduction can expect to hear from
the evaluation team about 3 months after receiving their DVDs.