Video Shows Teens the Right Route to Rat Race

Times Staff Writer

Although it has come 28 years too late to help his own rock ‘n’ roll singing career, pioneer rock musician Jerry Naylor figures he has produced a music video that is guaranteed to become a high school hit.

Naylor has completed a bouncy 24-minute video that shows teen-agers how to get a job. State officials say they hope to screen it for virtually every student in California’s 1,500 public high schools over the next three years.

Naylor’s video uses original rock music to tie together the stories of four job-seeking teen-agers and the different methods they use to land employment. It also manages to work in a short speech by Gov. George Deukmejian.

Borrowing from the graphic visual imagery and quick editing used in rock music videos, Naylor’s film offers a mixture of common-sense advice and tips about specific programs and services available to job-seekers. Its title is “Make a Dream Happen,” with a subtitle of “How to Get a Job.”


Calabasas Premiere

The video was premiered before 37 Calabasas High School students Thursday but Naylor was unable to attend. Naylor, 46, is bedridden because of recent surgery needed for his back, broken when his car was broadsided in 1982 by a teen-age motorist a block from his Agoura home.

“It’s killing me not to be able to see how the video is being received,” he said.

Naylor’s Westlake Village-based Copasetic Tape and Film Productions Inc. beat out 13 other firms to win a $113,000 contract with the state Health and Welfare Agency to make the videotape.


The tape is being mailed this week to every public high school in the state. But, because the school year is also ending this week, regular screenings of the video will not begin until the start of the fall semester.

Back Surgery

Naylor’s contract with the state called for the video to be finished by midsummer, but he said he hoped to complete it early to help youngsters seeking summer jobs. He said valuable production time was lost when he underwent emergency back surgery in April to remove bone fragments that threatened to paralyze him permanently.

Naylor has had five operations since the accident. Doctors have ordered him confined to bed, except for short walks to a bedroom chair, through the end of the year.


The video producer became the lead singer of The Crickets after Buddy Holly died in a 1959 plane crash. After the group disbanded, he was a singer and record producer, then formed his own production company specializing in commercials and industrial films. His credits include several Republican political commercials.

Sacramento officials said they picked Naylor to do the employment video after a test panel of teen-agers selected his concept over the 13 others.

Lyricist From Valley

The songs in the video were written and performed by Porter Jordan, a Woodland Hills lyricist who has written music for such commercials as Kawasaki motorcycles’ “Let the Good Times Roll” campaign.


Naylor, who helped edit the video, said the words to the songs reinforce the video’s visual messages and narration. The lyrics “subliminally” encourage teen-agers to dress properly and to show up promptly for job interviews, Naylor said.

Although professional actors were used to portray the four teen-agers who are hunting for work, Naylor used amateur performers in much of it.

For a scene showing a corporate personnel office, a group of California Lutheran College students in Thousand Oaks was tapped to illustrate well-groomed job-seekers. The “personnel interviewer” in the same scene was Tom Anthony, who in real life is manager of the Westlake Village bank that Naylor uses.

Loss of Money


Because of delays caused by Naylor’s surgery and the cost of renting portable editing equipment that could be used in his bedroom, Naylor said, he lost money on the video. “But I never lost interest. I played the rough cuts for every kid here in my neighborhood I could get to come in and watch,” he said.

At Thursday’s last-day-of-school screening at Calabasas High, the youngsters said they were impressed with the video’s contemporary look and its message.

“We’ve already taken our final exam, but this is the highlight of the whole year,” said Jason Karotkin, 16. “Most school films are old and terrible, in black-and-white and everybody has crew cuts. I’ve seen science films where they don’t even know what the surface of the moon is made of.”

Such reactions are music to the ears of James W. Morgan, a deputy secretary of the Health and Welfare Agency in Sacramento. His office is grappling with a 17% unemployment rate for teen-agers, contrasted with the overall state jobless rate of 6.7%