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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 Brenda Stoneburner, specialist, Michigan Department of Community Health

Brenda Stoneburner Michigan's video, Do Your Part, has a very clear structure: It opens with a testimonial, transitions to a scripted opening followed by five new 30-second public service announcements, and ends with a closing statement. Why did your team choose this approach?
We wanted the video to be used in its entirety when possible (for training, Town Hall meetings, parent groups, community coalitions, etc.), but we also wanted the option of short, stand-alone PSAs that we could use to reach groups of adults with influence over underage drinking: parents, law enforcement, coaches, educators, and retailers. The planning team liked the idea of opening the video with a testimonial to capture the audience’s attention, and following it up with a physician to make the link to the medical and public health communities. We were fortunate to have community partners at the table to assist in pulling it all together.

How has Michigan benefitted from participating in this project?
The video will be used for training with various stakeholder groups, the 30-second PSAs will be disseminated individually, and we have had discussions about using the video as the foundation for a statewide media campaign, including print materials. Also, the production process itself helped strengthen existing partnerships with law enforcement, the liquor control commission, and the licensed beverage association (which also participated as members of the planning team) as well as build new partnerships with the medical community.

Thinking about the video production process, what did you learn that surprised you?
That it really does take a half-day of shooting to get 30 seconds worth of material. Keeping the shoot locations within a manageable driving distance to facilitate this schedule is key.

What advice do you have for other States that are in the early stages of preproduction on their own videos?
Plan, plan, and then plan a little more. Use the tools shared by the producer to help organize the process. The more time and organization put in on the front end saves time in the long run. Involving other stakeholders and partners is key, not only for their input into the concept, target audience, and overall message, but because of their connections to people who can be in the video and have resources for further dissemination of the final product. Use the experience of the producer and the production team. They have a way of taking the overall message you want to convey and transforming it into a final product that is most effective.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
This was a very positive experience. Remember to be flexible. Despite planning and organizing, there will always be last-minute adjustments. Trust the producer, and have fun with the process.

Tips from the pros
A senior producer shares insights

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

“Always be ready to improvise, especially when it’s time to get the camera rolling. If you are planning an outdoor shoot, make sure you have lined up a suitable backup location indoors in the event of inclement weather. If one or more participants fail to show up on time for their scene, be ready to have somebody from your staff or network to fill in at the last minute. Being flexible is just as important as being prepared.”

State/Territory Videos Project producer

Overcoming Obstacles
Image of students

Challenge: The Alabama video called for a scene where teens would be socializing without adults present. As a unique approach, the producer and team wanted to shoot a nighttime campfire scene on a beach. The question, though, was whether they could do this legally.

Solution: The State reached out to the local fire marshal in Gulf Shores, who not only gave his permission but also had his team bring the materials, build the fire, and clean up afterwards.

Spread the word
Students at the capitol
Here are some ways States/Territories are getting the message out:

The New York State video was created with different target audiences in mind, so the State team created six segments that could be shown individually to the appropriate audience.

Whats New

With 2011 having come to a close, the production team has begun reaching out to States that have signed on to produce underage drinking prevention videos in 2012. If your State has not already produced a video and would like to, contact to get on the list for 2013!

Status Check

Recently completed:

  • Arizona
  • Michigan
  • Puerto Rico


Currently in postproduction:

  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • New Jersey
  • Washington, DC

Currently in preproduction:

  • Idaho
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
On The Horizon

The following States are scheduled to produce videos in 2012:

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin


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