Teenagers might face many problems these days — from demanding classes, bullying at school and in some cases trouble at home — that could lead to depression, or even suicide.
It is the signs for these troubles that Jonathan Lee, a sophomore from Ocean View High School, is trying to convey through his first-place public service announcement named "It's No Accident."
Lee is the winner of the first Greatest Save Teen PSA contest held in Orange County, Texas and Florida.
His PSA will be used by the Greatest Save, a program that teaches child and teen personal safety, in hopes to better educate teens his age about the issues they face and what to do to deal with them.
When Lee heard about the PSA contest from his Key Club advisor, he was immediately compelled to enter.
"I was just starting to get interested in filming and I thought it was a good opportunity to try," he said.
Because of the program's partnership with Major League Baseball, Lee's PSA will be shown at various games as well.
The 15-year-old will be awarded a cash prize that will benefit the Key Club, a high school community service program, as well as be recognized at a celebrity banquet at the SeaCliff Country Club in Huntington Beach at 5 p.m. Jan. 28.
Past celebrity attendees include Major League Baseball Hall of Famers
A single seat at the reception will cost $100, while a table of eight will be discounted at $750.
The night will include a silent auction, dinner, questions for the baseball Hall of Fame panel and a live auction.
The Greatest Save is part of the KinderVision Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Florida.
The teen PSA contest started four years ago in Florida but has slowly expanded to Texas, California and four other states, said Nancy Sebastian, executive director of KinderVision.
Before the contest, Sebastian and others in the organization would create their own videos to promote safety awareness, but thought it would be a better idea if teens made them for their peers.
"It's a tough group to reach. They're not going to respond to an adult telling them what to do," she said. "High school kids listen to each other."
Content guidelines were set by the Greatest Save, but it didn't limit teens on the subject matter. Sebastian said it also taught her and the organization more about the problems troubling teens.
"It gave us a window to see what issues they feel are important or what they're dealing with," she said.
With video guidelines and a DSLR in hand, Lee set off to film his project.
The result was a 30-second piece that starts off with a teen holding a gun to his head, and then video begins to rewind. Each scene then shows different issues teens face every day — like grades, school work and relationships — that may lead them to the point of suicide.
Prior to settling with this idea, Lee had six different story plots he wanted to take.
Admitting to a little procrastination, Lee shot the video in one take, but was pleased with the results, he said.
"I shot it the Friday before [winter] break, so it was my last chance to get anything done with a lot of people," Lee said.
But if given a chance, Lee added that he would go back and reshoot the film and do more editing.
Shawn Lee, Jonathan's mother, was impressed with what her son was capable of doing, especially when he utilized the reverse playback method.
"It surprised me because I had no idea what he was doing," she said. "I'm really proud of him for coming up with something that I hope is useful to teens."