He could have graduated, gotten a good job and had a family, instead, his life was taken from him by opioids. This is the plot behind a 60-second video created by a group of Coffee County Central High School students. The video, “What Could’ve Been” has gained national recognition in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s challenge, Operation Prevention.
CHS seniors and third year Audio/Visual students Dalton Sherrill, Jackson Hamm, Brian Wang and Yanely Luna are the masterminds behind the project.
“What if this guy is just imagining what his life could have been?” said Hamm about their video’s plot.
The video starts following their main character, an unnamed male played by Sherrill, laying on the grass. The male narrates his life: he got his first car, studied hard and graduated at the top of his high school class, got a full-ride athletic scholarship, met the girl of his dreams, started a family and grew old. The twist at the end is that the narrator could have had this life, if he hadn’t died from opioids.
Wang explained the idea came from the group watching last year’s finalist videos. He explained all of them were Public Service Announcements and they really wanted to try something different. Two weeks of writing later, and they were ready to go.
Filming and editing was done quickly, with 70 percent of it completed in one day. The hardest thing to deal with was the rain – they never shot in bad weather before. Sherrill was laying in the wet grass, getting soaked, but it helped set the mood for the video.
The group’s A/V teacher Scott “Deuce” Anderson is thrilled with what they’ve accomplished.
“That’s awesome for them. Obviously, it’s that proud teacher moment,” Anderson said. “You see something they’ve done and that’s everything that I’ve taught you over the last three years. It’s also them taking the initiative to put together a high-quality product.”
One of the project’s stipulations was that Anderson could not help his students at all – he could supervise, but could not give them advice on any of the production. Everything that is in the video is 100 percent the work of his students.
“This is probably the hardest project they’ve done with me this year,” he said.
Sherrill, Hamm, Wang and Luna all thanked Anderson for teaching them, Rhonda Winton for letting them use her classroom, Sherrill’s family for appearing in the video, and everyone who made it possible.
Six other CHS groups submitted their videos as well. “What Could’ve Been” was the only one to make the cut to move onto the final rounds.
They will know sometime in May if their video won first, second or third place.
People’s Choice Award
“What Could’ve Been” is in the running to win People’s Choice award. Their video is going against nine others from around the nation and competing for the People’s Choice Awards. The community can vote once per day for their video.
“I wanted to invite everyone in Coffee County to vote for our home grown kids, our home grown talent, to win,” Anderson said.
If they win People’s Choice, the students will have the chance to go to Washington D.C. and visit the DEA in Quantico, VA.
To watch “What Could’ve Been” and to vote, visit www.operationprevention.com/vote. Voting ends April 25.