By Courtney Llewellyn,Reminder Assistant Editor - VIEW VIDEO BELOW!
The 30-second film will be shown next in Hadley. (above) Todd Stewart
LONGMEADOW Eighty-four percent of Massachusetts youth do not smoke. That means, however, that 16 percent do. Mass Youth Against Tobacco wants to lower the number of young smokers and they have employed the youth of the Commonwealth to help them in their mission.
Teens were invited to participate in the "Get Real on Reel" contest, in which they had to produce their own 30-second commercials against tobacco use.
Brittany Chen, project associate for Mass Youth Against Tobacco at the Medical Foundation, said 450 teens worked together to produce nearly 125 commercials in this, the second year, of the annual contest. Chen said the number of entries "far exceeded expectations."
Longmeadow teens Todd Stewart, Derek Brown and Charlie Sullivan earned a second place prize in the competition, and for their efforts, got to see their commercial shown before the movie trailers in all non-G rated films at the Berkshire Mall 10 theater from June 13 through 26.
It will also be shown at the Hampshire Mall 12 in Hadley from June 27 through July 10.
The commercial shows a full classroom where students disappear over the course of 30 seconds. It is a visualization of the number of people that die every 30 minutes from tobacco-related illnesses.
It can also be viewed by going to www.youtube.com/the84online and then clicking on "Classroom."
"We were just brainstorming different ideas," Stewart said of the commercial's concept. "It wasn't that hard. We gathered everybody, put a camera up pretty high in a corner and told everyone to hold really still." He said he cross-dissolved the clips to make it look like people were disappearing.
Stewart said five students in Matt Flanagan's communications class at Longmeadow High School participated in the competition (the three in Stewart's group and another group of two). He thanked Flanagan for all the work he's done with the students this year.
Although Stewart started working with film in eighth grade, he said this was the first commercial he's made. "It was hard because of the time limit," he said. "It had to be 30 seconds, no more, no less. I found myself cutting fractions of a second from clips to make it fit."
He added that he thought it was awesome that his group won second place.
"I hope [the commercial] touches two different kinds of people," Stewart told Reminder Publications. "Those who already smoke and those who are thinking about it. It leaves images in their brains instead of just words."
He continued that the commercial would be easy for youth to relate to because "they could see the classroom as their own classroom and think 'it could happen to me.'"
"If it did change just one person's mind, then I think it did a good job," Stewart said.
"I was pleased to have our students share such an important message and believe that they have provided a positive role model to others," Superintendent E. Jahn Hart said. "The winning entry was extremely well done and deserving of the recognition it received. Kudos to the Business and Technology teaching staff for their guidance and to Matt Flanagan, in particular, as the instructor for the course. Thanks are also due to the Longmeadow Community Television staff for their partnership with Longmeadow High School in helping students with learning to work in this medium."