Franklin Pierce Students Produce PSA that will Air Nationally May 5 on The Doctors

May 2, 2011

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Four Franklin Pierce University students have just returned from Hollywood, where they appeared on a taping ofI Care Team the Emmy Award-winning daytime talk show The Doctors. The four medical doctors who host the program—which provides frank discussions on common and emerging health topics—had selected the students’ video public service announcement from among five submissions sent in from Franklin Pierce student film makers.

The 60-second PSA will air on the show on May 5 on WHDH Channel 7, Boston, Mass. at 2 p.m. and will be archived on the program’s Web site, along with two of the other submissions, for viewing online at Franklin Pierce will also host a special viewing for the Franklin Pierce community at 2 p.m. in the Fitzwater Center TV Studio.

5 PSA films
Erica Tomaszewski served as producer, Alex Terrill directed the PSA, Zachary Bylaska-Davies was the cameramen and Logan Mack edited the short film, titled "I Care," which explores the importance of supporting each other in a positive way. The team had originally focused on suicide prevention, but after further developing their script, decided that it was more important to explore the theme by focusing on how precious life is. "Our group really wanted our PSA to strike a chord with people who are busy with the day-to-day and may not know how much they mean to others," said Tomaszewski. "It’s about understanding the potential impact of showing someone who is in a tough situation in life that you care," said Terrill.

Professor Heather Tullio in the mass communications department played a key role in this project along with faculty from other disciplines: biology professors Susan Arruda and Thomas Bennett, theatre professor Nancy Stone, sociology professor Doug Challenger and mass communication professors Andrea Bergstrom, Paul Bush and Kristen Nevious.

The opportunity to submit student-created PSAs to The Doctors was developed by the show’s executive producer, Andrew Scher, a 1988 graduate of Franklin Pierce who now lives in Los Angeles. Scher challenged Franklin Pierce students from all majors to create an outstanding 60-second public service announcement on a health issue. Scher says he believes his experience producing short films as a student led to his success in Hollywood. He wants today’s Franklin Pierce students to have a similar experience.

"When we met with Andrew Scher he mentioned that one of the defining moments of his Pierce education was when he was able to produce a short film," says Franklin Pierce President James Birge. "He began to talk about that opportunity being available to current students and wondered how he could use his success as an executive producer to help make this happen. As the conversation went on, he arrived at the idea of hosting a competition among students to produce a PSA on health issues and he would have The Doctors judge the productions."

Filming took place during the winter break over an eight-day period, using students, staff and local residents as actors. All projects were filmed, edited and the completed PSAs were shipped off to Los Angeles in February to The Doctors for review. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

"The PSAs produced by all the teams were outstanding," said Scher. "I was genuinely impressed with the quality of all five submissions." Professor Tullio observed: "It great to see how much effort the production teams put into the PSAs, and how much they learned through that process. I could see their skills and attention to detail increasing by the hour."