Student Videos “Pause for a Cause”

Environmental proponents showed off their video-producing skills and helped protect the environment during UC Irvine’s first annual “Pause for a Cause” student-video submission contest last week. The inaugural event showcased eight humorous or reflective video submissions, and the public voted for its favorites immediately afterward on Thursday, April 10 in Student Center Emerald Bay A and B.
The contest was co-sponsored by the Health Education Center, the Center for Service in Action, and the Student Task Force Advocating Reducing Tobacco.
The event attracted students from various fields, some of whom plan to pursue filmmaking as a career. James Deuling, a first-year film and media studies major, said “That’s my goal: to become a director. I directed it, edited it and wrote it.”
Deuling’s group submitted a video entitled, “Pause for a Cause Man,” which featured all the elements of a Hollywood thriller: a tobacco-toting villain, an unsuspecting victim and a protagonist dedicated to making the world a tobacco-free place.
“We started writing the script on Monday,” Deuling said. “And then we spent a couple hours filming on Wednesday, and a lot of hours editing.”
The contest was a learning experience for film and media studies major Deep Singh, whose video parodied a tobacco company’s private meetings.
“You want to create an idea that will capture the attention [of the audience members]. That’s really what the point is,” Singh said. “If you can’t get their attention on the screen, then what’s the point of the video?”
Singh humorously portrayed the tobacco executives as ruthless, greedy oafs who sugarcoat the reality of smoking’s health effects.
Other videos had a more subdued tone, using a sentimental approach to hold the attention of the audience. Angela Wang, a fifth-year public health policy major, was one of the individuals involved in the creation of the video, “Message from Your Heart.”
“We tried to find a song that would match the video to make it more powerful and meaningful,” Wang said. “We went over 998 songs, found two that we liked, and this is the one we came out with.”
Wang’s goal is to change the minds of smokers who see the video. “Our target is the smokers, so we want to bring awareness. We want to able to have an impact on the smoking audience on campus.”
Immediately after the ceremony, the online polls opened. UCI students can view the videos and cast their votes by going to http://www.volunteer.uci.edu/pauseforacause. The voting will end on April 19 at 12 p.m. and the winner will be announced during UCI’s Earth Day Fair. The group with the most votes will receive $250.
Additionally, the winning video may be used to educate young students in local schools. According to Jasmine Blackburn, the manager of Student Development & Tobacco at the Health Education Center, “I know the Orange County Tobacco Education Coalition wants to take [the] video, put it on their Web site and possibly use it to educate elementary school students in the community.”
Blackburn and others in START want to see the organization impact not only youngsters, but also college students who might not normally stop to learn about the hazards of smoking. Thomas Hall Jr., a third-year comparative literature and international studies double-major, said, “college students often have a lot of stress, and so they often turn to smoking. The Health Education Center helps people quit.”
Vivian Shen, a second-year biological sciences major who worked with Blackburn to create and organize the video contest, explained, “we tried looking around for other contests that were similar.” Shen and Blackburn eventually decided to present a video contest because it would appeal to many college-aged students.
“Because it’s very new, not many people know about it,” Shen said. “It’s been pretty low-key, but we hope this is something that we can do annually, and that it will eventually become more popular throughout the student body.”
Blackburn feels confident that the contest will continue to attract more students, and will eventually help bring change to the UCI community.
“It’s a call to action,” Blackburn said. “It’s asking us to take a second, take in the information and do what you will with it.”