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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

Linda Auerback, CPP, ICPS
Bureau of Prevention, Wellness & Recovery
Carroll County [MD] Health Department

Linda Auerback Maryland produced an 8-minute video aimed at parents, which is titled Don't Be a Friend. Be a Parent. Why did your team choose a teen party to focus attention on underage drinking prevention?
Our team, which represented substance abuse prevention experts from all 24 jurisdictions, chose the approach of a party scene because we knew this scenario is a reality for many parents in Maryland and would capture the interest of the viewer.

What about the production experience was particularly memorable for you?
I was honored to be asked to participate in this project, and the entire process was memorable for me. I believe that video products are a very effective way to communicate a message to the public. The team considered the production of this video a great opportunity to reach parents and adults who believe that young people are “safe” if they are consuming alcohol in a supervised setting. As the video points out, that is not always true. Watching the volunteer acting talent transform the team’s ideas from paper to a viable scene was magic!

What challenges did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?
Coordinating the talent and everyone’s schedules is always tough. I have been involved in other production projects, and there is a tremendous amount of coordination that is necessary. There were about 25 people to coordinate, including the production crew, while scheduling with the home owners of the location shoot. Perseverance is how you overcome!

Did anything come up during the making of your video that you had not anticipated or surprised you?
Picking up the Carroll County Times newspaper and seeing the entire front page coverage with full-page photos of the production crew and the actors really surprised me. I knew that the media and the community were supportive and taking this project very serious.

What would you do the same?
I like partnering with local teens and actors as the talent. They have a stake in the outcome. They have never disappointed me, so I would call upon them again to be involved in any future video projects.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
The Maryland team is grateful to SAMHSA [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] for funding and inviting us to participate in this incredible project. I also have some advice for others: To have a successful project, you must be totally committed from beginning to end and not be discouraged by delays and changes. A positive mindset that it will all work out will make it all work out! View Count Me In...On the Fight Against Underage Drinking.

Tips from the pros
A senior producer shares insights

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

“When casting, keep in mind the availability of your possible participants. If your video calls for interviews with professionals, it is probably better to schedule the shoot during the week. If, however, your video requires involvement of parents or youth, it is may be better to schedule their segments later in the day or, even better, on a weekend when they are more likely to be available.”

State/Territory Videos Senior Producer

Overcoming Obstacles
The Pennsylvania team

Challenge: The Pennsylvania team wanted to create two public service announcements (PSAs), each taking place in a “party” setting. Originally, the scripts called for one to be a child’s birthday party and the other to be a congratulatory event for an adult. However, this plan would have necessitated creating two entirely different sets and recruiting two entirely different casts of extras.

Solution: To make the most of preproduction efforts, the team agreed to set both PSAs at the same party, albeit with different lead actors. This arrangement had the bonus effect of further “linking” the two PSAs together thematically. (In fact, astute viewers will be able to note that the lead actors in one PSA are extras in the other one!)

Spread the word
Dialogue with Native Youth about Underage Drinking
Here are some ways states/territories are getting the message out:

SAMHSA, in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), is making state and territory prevention videos available to the nearly half-million annual visitors to the Maryland Science Center at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause is the national touring exhibit developed by the DEA and the DEA Educational Foundation. This exhibit, which opens on February 11, 2014, includes access to all of the prevention videos as one of its interactive features.

Critical Dialogue with Native Youth about Underage Drinking: Our Culture is Prevention, a video produced in cooperation with SAMHSA’s Native American Center for Excellence (NACE), has been accepted warmly by individuals and organizations in Indian Country and others who were provided with the video by NACE. The video has been shared with SAMHSA internally via e-mail, and staff working with tribal communities were encouraged to disseminate it widely. It was featured on the SAMHSA website homepage for several weeks during 2013, and it was shared with the Office of Indian and Alcohol and Substance Abuse (OIASA), housed within SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. OIASA, in turn, posted an announcement and link to the video on the Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse Interagency Coordinating Committee website maintained by SAMHSA. Many groups within Indian Country are now using this video to educate their audiences about strengths-based, resiliency-focused prevention.

Whats New

From December 2013 to February 2014, on-location field production of videos took place for the final three states and five territories participating in the State/Territory Videos Project. This brings the total number of participants over the course of the project to 48 states, 8 territories, the District of Columbia, and NACE. Congratulations are due to all who have played a role in the production of their local video. As a reminder, all completed videos are available on SAMHSA’s YouTube Channel and

Status Check

Recently completed:

  • Pennsylvania

Currently in postproduction:

  • American Samoa
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Hawaii
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Republic of Palau
  • Rhode Island
  • Wisconsin

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