Bag Blog

Three OHS students win video contest

By Amy KD Tobik (Seminole Chronicle) — Introducing ... the Baggins family.

They're perky and cheery and they're eager to welcome you into in their environmentally conscious home.

This husband-and-wife team doesn't let any used plastic bag go to waste - so to speak.

From the bulky front door wreath and window blinds to the sleek furniture slipcovers, every thin plastic bag that has ever entered the Baggins family home has been repurposed in this clever award-winning video.

In the clip, Mr. and Mrs. Baggins and their children show off trendy plastic bag-wear from tops and skirts to sock covers and headbands.

Even the young children in the yard, wearing used bags as capes, chase butterflies using their plastic bag nets.

Oviedo High School seniors Allison Tate-Cortese, Brittany Skeels and Dhruv Patel recently placed second in a statewide competition with their video titled "Meet the Baggins," earning them $500.

The contest, which was intended to promote the recycling and reuse of carryout plastic grocery bags, was part of a public educational campaign called "A Bag's Life" which unites the Florida Recycling Partnership with non-profits, business and community and government organizations.

The seniors' humorous video, which was filmed over the summer, placed in the 'Reuse' category.

OHS video production teacher Kyle Snavely assisted them with the project and Sharon Stump, OHS color guard coach, comically took on the role of jolly Mrs. Baggins.

The trio, which has collaborated on nearly 20 videos throughout high school, said they have always worked exceptionally well together. As a team, they created the script, storyboard and edited the video in about a day.

"We tried to keep it simple; it's really one big long shot with [a] whole bunch of cutaways," Snavely explained.

Patel said he was excited to have a chance to use the new Glidecam, purchased using previous team winnings.

The competition was open to Florida residents ages 13 and older and, during the contest period, all submissions were posted for public viewing and voting. Only one vote was allowed per day per person, with the top 10 video submissions earning a spot in the final selection by a panel of three judges. More than 8,000 votes were cast within the contest's two categories of 'Reuse' and 'Recycle,' with the Oviedo team placing in the top five.

Tate-Cortese said her team focused on creatively portraying the message of reusing instead of disposing bags in the trash.

"It made us think out of the box about how you can recycle bags," she said. "We wanted to go over the top so we could encourage people to think of the possibilities. We pretty much put plastic bags wherever we could."

The short clip also featured traditional uses for plastic bags, such as as trash liners, lunch bags and to contain recyclable bottles and cans.

Snavely said he typically doesn't encourage his students to enter video contests that involve Internet voting.

"Voting contests end up being popularity contests, so it isn't always the best video that wins, it's who has the most friends," Snavely said. Since the final awards were made by actual judges, he agreed to the submission.

Recruiting people to view their clip and vote for it became somewhat of a challenge, the students said.

"[Snavely] offered all his classes extra credit if they could get their friends to vote," Patel said.

"Everyone hated me on Facebook, I was spamming everyone," Snavely said.

Skeels said one of the biggest challenges in the making of the video was not revealing any of the company logos when reusing the bags, one of the rules of the contest.

"We also learned how to get a dog to lick a plastic bone - you put peanut butter on it," Skeels said. "I have pictures that still make me laugh."

Snavely said he is proud of the students' commitment to producing quality videos. The group has earned a substantial number of awards over the years including first place in the Teen Read Contest, second place from the Florida Scholastic Press Association for "Every Student Has a Story," second place in the AAA Drivers Safety video contest, first place from the Seminole Association for Media in Education for their Public Service Announcement, first place in the Character Keys video contest, as well as being named Florida Kidcare regional champions.

When asked whether there is a secret to their success, Snavely smiles.

"There is no magic wand I have waved over these students, or genie lamp ... they just put in the effort," Snavely said. "It's amazing how much work it takes to make a good product, and people don't always get that. When you say 'Let's do a video contest,' you think of the videos you make when you go to Disney World; you don't think about a professional video with setup shots, scripts, storyboards and bringing people in at a certain time. There is a lot to think about that the normal, average Joe doesn't think about."

The group agreed that making the video reminded them of the importance of recycling and preserving the environment.

They estimated that more than 100 plastic bags were used during the filming.

"We kept them in good condition so we could we reuse them," Skeels said. "No bags were harmed in the making of this film."