After Thoughts – Student-Made Drunk Driving Awareness Short Film
After Thoughts is a story of a teenager who is killed in a car accident after driving under the influence. As she is dying, she recalls the actions leading to her death from a different perspective. She envisions herself at the party in which she was driving from. Through frozen-in-time scenes of the party, she sees herself drinking a dangerous amount of alcohol. She eventually watches herself and her two friends leave the party and drive away before she finally dies.
Within the year of production, we raised $7000, worked with over 200 people, staged a party scene, staged a full realistic car crash scene, and completed highly complex visual effects.
The first shoot involved the creation of a full party scene, including over 50 extras, a professional lighting crew, and extremely high level equipment. Over the course of two nights in August, the party scene was shot and high level visual effects involving motion control were executed. In November, the car crash scene was shot with the assistance of the local Film Commission. We were able to gain access to a private road in which we towed in a previously wrecked car and staged the crash using a large tree. We brought in three police officers, seven firefighters, and two paramedics as well as two police cars, a fire engine and Battalion truck, and an ambulance. We shot a very realistic accident involving the accurate actions of the emergency officials, as they performed procedures that would be used in a real car crash.
We plan to make this short film available to any school who would like to use it as an educational tool and resource. We hope that schools will use the film in classes such as Freshman In Transition and Health as part of their alcohol and drug safety courses. We will submit this piece to film festivals where possible prize money can be used in support of drunk driving prevention programs. We will be contacting public television stations to air the short film as a PSA. In addition, the short film will be uploaded to Youtube and Vimeo. We will also be in contact with representatives from the Every 15 Minutes program to offer the use of the film. We recently got involved with the Rotary organizations in Northern California, and will hopefully be using their organization to distribute the film nationally. Our most recent connection has been with the organization, Be Somebody. Writer and Director Connor Sweeney spoke on behalf of the film and his passion for awareness at a national event for Be Somebody. The project is now being promoted through Be Somebody.
The Director of Photography and current Sophomore at California State University Long Beach, Will Murphy, shares his experiences with the lenses… “It was a pleasure working with ZEISS CP.2 lenses on our upcoming PSA, After Thoughts. We ended up using a 25mm Compact Prime and 35mm and 50mm Compact Prime Superspeed lenses. Shooting with faster lenses really made a difference. Our film was shot all outside and at night, so we needed all the light we could get. Having the wiggle room of such a wide aperture allowed us to spend less time worrying about light levels on our set. In addition, using these lenses wide open gave us some interesting close up shots with a shallow depth of field. The large focus ring on these lenses provided easy and smooth focusing both by hand and remotely so that having such a small depth of field wasn’t as much of an issue. The lenses were also much smaller compared to others that I had used previously. A good portion of this film was shot mounted on a DJI Ronin. This meant that we had to be as minimal as possible when it came to our camera setup. These lenses, when attached to either a RED Scarlet M-X or a Blackmagic Ursa Mini, made our setups compact enough to be easily carried on a Ronin. Lastly, the look of these lenses is amazing. The picture came out really sharp and was exactly what we were looking for when making this film. Using these lenses made a big difference in the final footage for the film.”
Writer/Director and current Senior at Granada High School, Connor Sweeney, shares his experiences and thoughts on the film… “This has been such an incredible experience for everyone involved. Not only are we getting the opportunity to work with an abundance of talented people, we have been given the opportunity to use our art to change the world. With the financial and technical support from support groups, family, friends, rental companies, emergency officials, and equipment companies, we were able to organize a truly incredible shoot. I am extremely blessed to have gotten the opportunity to use ZEISS lenses on this project. From the start, we wanted to match the quality of the story with high level equipment, and ZEISS has allowed us to achieve and exceed our goals. The images that we were able to capture are beautiful and truly help to tell and carry the story. I am so grateful for the undeniable support we have received from ZEISS. ZEISS has helped us develop this film, and ultimately helped us change the world.”
Executive Producer and current Video Productions teacher at Granada High School, Keith Pickering-Walters (PW), shares his experiences and thoughts on the film… “I would like to thank ZEISS for loaning one of my advanced student groups lenses for their film, After Thoughts. This loan provided my students an opportunity to use equipment that my program would never be able to afford. The lenses were incredible in their quality, clarity, and speed. My students were able to put into practice what we had learned in class and had practiced with our cameras while working on this production.”