LIMA — Kalvin Bishop researched the chemicals in a cigarette and soon learned there were about 600 ingredients with at least 69 linked to cancer.
Bishop decided to focus on four of these ingredients in a public service announcement that he and his friend Shea Flowers developed for the 2014 Kick Butts video competition sponsored by Activate Allen County. During Lima Mayor Dave Berger’s weekly media briefing, Activate Allen County Tobacco Free Living Team Leader Nancy Bonifas announced Bishop’s and Flowers’ video called “Saving 10 Years” won the contest and will be used as an Activate Allen County television commercial during May.
“We love to have the youth involved and we are looking forward of having more youth involvement in the future,” Bonifas said Wednesday after the Lima Senior High School seniors were announced as the winners of the month-long contest held in March.
The pair’s video was one of four PSAs posted on the Activate Allen County Facebook page so the public could cast votes for their favorite.
Bishop, 19, said he wanted to make a statement about the dangers of smoking, and Flowers, 17, whose parent smokes, hates the smell it leaves in clothes and skin — and the longtime friends’ joint venture was born.
When Flowers heard Bishop was making a video to teach teens about the dangers of smoking, he knew immediately he wanted to help. Bishop, who wants to be a professional director, used the talents of Flowers, who wants to be an actor, to provide the voice over on the 30-second PSA to help combat the $1 million per day spent by cigarette companies to convince people to smoke.
“First I printed out an entire article from a website about everything that is in a cigarette and I picked out the four chemicals that seemed the most dangerous to me and then I just did a quick summary of them,” said Bishop, who had a choice of four topics and picked “What is in a cigarette?” “One of them is used in chemical weapons and another is benzene, which is caustic chemical. At the end, we just say if you quit you can save 10 years of your life.”
Flowers, who also is a musician, said the ingredients would more likely be found in a chemistry class than in a habit shared by millions of Americans.
While Bishop learned what was really in a cigarette, Flowers said he “learned how his friend made and edited a video and it was like watching magic happen.”
Their Lima Senior High School instructor Donna Tucker marveled at the way they worked.
“They are amazing together,” Tucker said. “There are a lot of students who can work together, but these two really work great together. They would get the PSA done and then critique it instead of being satisfied with what they had so it was constant tweaking, tweaking, tweaking. It was an interesting process to watch.”
Now their PSA will be critiqued by professionals, which Bishop said is exciting.
“I really do want to get into directing and this is my plan and my No. 1 priority,” said Bishop, who learned how to put more appropriate music at the correct level to a voice-over. “This is really an honor.”
“It will be good to go behind the scenes and learn how it all works at the professional level,” Flowers said. “To this point, it has just been him and me using a camera and putting together little videos, so to do something more professional will be a lot of fun.”