On Thursday, a video contest meant to spark a discussion about teen pregnancy in Oceanside, California, awarded its top prize to two high school students.
The winners, Nate Strong and Bobby Taylor, were among 15 other high school and middle school students who submitted projects. Their winning submission, called "Change," is an 83-second short film depicting a relationship between two teenagers, ending when the girl becomes pregnant. The video then implores viewers, "Protect yourself, and your future; it’s the only one you have." It’s simple and effective.
The contest was sponsored by the Oceanside Boys & Girls Club, which awarded $5,000 as the top prize. The winners were chosen by a panel of students, parents, and school officials.
According to the young filmmakers, the video’s message "resonates with teens because it was made by teens."
But more than that, there’s something to be said about the effectiveness of locally created content; it’s more specific and personal, among other benefits. Instead of producing a high-budget advertisement to show nationally, with actors hired and scripts written to relate to a very general demographic, it makes more sense that organizations instead focus on local model, like this video contest.
The actors and filmmakers are members of their community. The narration has a local accent. The message isn’t manipulated or watered down to relate to a wide group of people, but stands on its own. Because of this, it’s more believable. This contest offers an excellent model for creating a local discussion and movement around an important national issue.