Stomp Out Tobacco Advertisement, 2004

I created this video in response to a solicitation for such ad's under the heading of 'Youth Stomp Out Tobacco Media Pilot Project'.

The youngsters who were part of the project were a delight to work with and impressed me with how quickly they tuned in to what I wanted and how naturally they played their parts. We had about an hour to set up / take down and about an hour to shoot, so time was definitely of the essence!

The Ad had to run precisely for 25 seconds. I wanted to draw a parallel between the genuine risk smoking brings with it and a 'game' of Russian Roulette (i.e. the more you do it, the greater the risk to your life). To tell this story, I thought I would interlace two film segments: one of the boy lighting up a cigarette and the other of him playing roulette with the gun. In 25 seconds however, this turned out to be very choppy, so rather than going back-and-forth between the two segments, I chose to show both at the same time in some instances by separating the two with a diagonal moving wipe. For example, the parallel of the pack of spilled cigarettes and the pack of bullets was compressed this way as was the loading of the gun by one girl and the preparing of the cigarette by the other girl.

In order to increase the uneasiness the video brings about, I replaced the original sound with a slight white noise background and then recorded just a few of the more important sounds for the foreground (bullets rolling on the table, match being lit, ratcheting o the gun cylinder etc.). I also wanted the viewer to be able to distinguish the two segments by using color/texture: the cigarette segment was treated to achieve a similar effect as 'bleach-bypass' and the gun segment was treated to create a ghosty / spooky feeling.

It's a shock-Ad, no doubt and may offend some and jolt others. For kids, I would hope the message is clear - it's not some much 'IF' as it is 'WHEN'.