In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving, a group of Deer Valley students created a video called “Last Moments” which became a top 10 finalist in the Toyota TeenDrive365 People’s Choice Awards.
If the video wins the contest, the team of aspiring film makers Jordan Bjorklund, Karina Vazquez, Daniel Harte, Joseph Salazar, and Cyrus Peinado will win $15,000.
For them to win, they need the public to vote for their video which can be voted on once each day through April 30, 2015. (Click here to vote and select “Last Moments”)
Upon discovering the contest, they decided to move forward with the project because it was a perfect fit for their age group.
“One of our group members found the contest online and thought it was a great competition to join because it’s a local issue because a lot of teenagers text and drive so making the video about texting and driving impacts the local population,” explained Joseph Salazar.
Karina Vazquez thought they could reach a lot of people if they made the video’s message powerful.
“We chose this one because it was the most relatable distraction to teens and thought it would have the most impact to any driver,” said Vazquez.
In total, there were more than 1,100 entrees into the contest. They got the call on April 3 that they had made the finals.
“We were excited and at that point started to mobilize to get the word out to the public to hopefully get the People’s Choice award,” said Jordan Bjorklund. “It was a big accomplishment and we put in at least 40-hours into a 90-second clip within 2 weeks.
The film is 90-seconds which Bjorklund admitted was hard because they had so much video to sort through.
“It was a pain in the butt because when I was editing you had to chop out every little thing off you possibly could and had to stay to the bare storyline while emphasizing the consequences that texting and driving could bring. It’s difficult to portray a storyline that will impact people in 90-second,” explained Bjorklund.
The team admitted that working on the video and seeing the finished product has changed their attitude on texting and driving.
“To be completely honest, it has because I have watched so many PSA’s on it now,” said Bjorklund. “As I was editing it clip by clip by clip, it wipes away the emotion for you but when you see your parents and your fellow students watch it, the reaction reminds you what its really like.”
“It’s changed my opinion on texting and driving because you get to see the reaction of the viewer’s when they see the crash scene, you go wow this is crazy,” explained Vazquez. “We did what we wanted to do with the video which was have a big impact and that is what we think we accomplished.”
Originally, the group thought they were going in another direction based off an idea of Daniel Harte to reverse engineer a crash site, however, the timeline to complete such a task was not feasible.
“It would start off with a phone and someone lying in the ground and it would slowly go in reverse but we figured with the time frame we had it would have been cool if we could have done that,” said Daniel Harte. “It would always go back to the phone.”
They still may explore that idea in the future if the opportunity presents itself. For now, they will be focusing on finding their next project which they believe will be a short film for a film festival to further express and refine their skill sets.
Recently, the group took Second Place in the Live Action Sub-Category in a NASA contest which was an international contest for High School and college students.
“It’s a big thing because its NASA,” said Vazquez. “It helps build the portfolio.”
Bjorklund stated that being recognized by NASA helps the reputation of Deer Valley HS and shows not all students are bad.
“Deer Valley has a bad reputation, but the film class shows that when you put money into a class the results will come. We have another group who just won $250 for their suicide PSA. You have students who are doing positive things,” said Bjorklund.
Cyrus Peinado added that through videos they are showing positives with the school.
“We wanted Deer Valley to get some positive news because it’s been getting a lot of negative publicity lately. We feel like with this, it really shows there are a lot of good students at the school and this video emphasizes that. It’s not all bad,” said Peinado.
The students all credited Mr. Olff and Deer Valley TV for teaching them skills and encouraging them with their video productions.
“Without Mr. Olff pushing us and encouraging us, there would be none of this,” said Bjorklund.
Click here to vote daily for the video called “LAST MOMENTS”: http://www.teendrive365inschool.com/contests/6/vote