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Can you handle the pressure?

“It’s closing night and time to let loose and party with the cast and crew. Mum’s lending you the car for the night, and you’ve promised not to drink. You get to the party and what could go wrong? Experience all the excitement of a high school party and see if you can deal with the Pressure!”

We are proud to launch ‘Pressure,’ a choose-your-own-adventure video in which the viewer’s choices concerning drugs, alcohol and peer pressure, affect the outcome of the story. It is the latest film in the Your Call interactive series, which began in 2015 with #emilywasted. Pressure’s concept was created by two very talented students from John Septimus Roe Anglican Community School, Jake Stillman and Lachlan Thiele!

They were the winners of the 2016 Your Call Schools Competition which gave secondary students the opportunity to have their voices heard by developing a film pitch about a safety issue that was important to them. After creating the winning pitch they became Executive Producers and worked with the WA Screen Academy to make their vision a reality. Learn more about the 2017 competition (external link) - you could win a $2400 JB HiFi voucher and a chance to work with the WA Screen Academy.

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To celebrate the release of Pressure, we caught up with Jake for a chat about their experience, from first hearing about the competition to being part of the action in creating a film that makes safety part of the conversation.

What inspired you when entering the competition, and creating the pitch?

Lachlan spotted the competition on a Facebook page, actually. He messaged me on Facebook telling me to check it out. Being that we both had a passion for filmmaking it was a no-brainer. When we sat down to plan the pitch, we based it on experiences we have had in high school. We really wanted to address the effects that drugs and alcohol have on those who aren’t necessarily taking them. We wanted to address the emotional side of that, by having peer pressure from friends, and how the issue of fitting in is often a priority. The interactive approach of the film let us show this in a creative way: having all the weight on the player’s shoulders in terms of what’s right and wrong.

Is Media Studies something that you’re passionate about? Would you like to work in the industry in the future?

Film making has always been a passion for Lachlan and I. From a young age I remember watching weird artsy films, while my friends were still watching Saturday morning cartoons. Lachlan and I both found our real passion for filmmaking in Media Studies, where we decided to work together on a couple of projects for fun. Filmmaking is certainly an industry we want to be a part of for the future.

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Jake and Lachlan on set with Pressure director Mason Fleming.

Any thoughts about the value of having your voices heard about issues that can affect you or classmates, rather than having adults try to address them?

We feel that because we are the same age as the intended audiences for this project, it really helps us focus on the real issues happening in high schools with drugs and alcohol, instead of having the same tired approach you see at school. This is a personal story from what we have experienced at school, so having the chance to create a story aimed at people our age and filled with past experiences is really amazing to us. We hope that people can connect to the video and take it to heart.

How did you feel when you found out you'd won the competition?

We were both in Media class on a Friday right after lunch. We sat down ready for our class. It all started off normally then our teacher randomly blurted out “oh yeah, Jake and Lachlan, I got a call from Constable Care saying you guys have won some competition?” Both Lachlan and I jumped and freaked out, it was amazing. The rest of the class had no idea what was happening but we were stoked. We were actually talking about the competition at lunch that day, telling each other to constantly be checking our emails just in case something popped up.

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What will you choose? Your choices in 'Pressure' (external link) change the outcome of the video.

What were some of the things that you did as executive producers when bringing the film to life? Any particularly memorable moments on the set?

Being on set was a real eye opener for us. We created some pretty crap stuff in class before, but being on a proper production set and seeing the effort put into place, and the approach to the making of it was amazing. It helped us really understand what goes into the making of films and television, and the real effort put into it. We took a lot from being on set, and have started to approach the way we make films completely differently than before we were on set.

Pressure educates as well as entertains. Any thoughts on how this differs from entertainment alone, and did it feel different working on a project that is designed to help people?

When we found out about the competition and working with Constable Care, we pretty much thought this is a no-brainer. We’ve always had this mindset on drugs and alcohol, and were annoyed about how it is never accurately displayed in the media for teenaged audiences. To make it enjoyable for teenaged audiences, we had to pull them in and make it shocking, while also being grounded and realistic, which we thought was really important. And as for working on a project intended on helping people, we felt like it was important to address the people who are in this situation in their life, feeling peer-pressured and trying to decide between right and wrong.

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Click here to watch 'Pressure' now.

What did you particularly enjoy about the competition, creating the pitch and bringing it to life?

Immediately after our Year 11 exams, we gathered together and wrote the rough idea and started working on the script for this in our Media room. It was a great experience writing it out and figuring out all the pathways and ideas we wanted to address, but bringing it to life was amazing. Seeing the ideas and characters we wrote down come to life was definitely a highlight of the whole experience.

Any thoughts or recommendations for this year’s entrants?

Enjoy yourself, enter it because you want to, not for the money, but for the experience. That’s what we did, and it was absolutely worth putting the effort in for. 

2017 Your SAY, Your Call competition

Now it's your chance to work with WA film pros and share in a prize pool worth more than $5000! All you have to do is register and submit your video pitch for our next interactive short film that explores the negative effect alcohol and drugs can have on youth mental health. 

The winning student or group receives: 

-A JB HiFi voucher worth $2400
-The opportunity to work directly as an executive producer with the professionals at ECU WA Screen Academy to see you film made and launched online

Register - A teacher at your school or a leader at your community group must register you/your group so they can become our contact point and support you during the application process. To enter, you need to be aged 12-18 years and be attending a WA secondary school in 2017. You can enter as an individual or as part of a group with up to three members. Registration closes 7 April, 2017. Register now. 

Develop your ideaWatch our current films, explore the topic of alcohol, drugs and youth mental health and get creative in producing your pitch. Read more about what is involved and how to develop your idea in the application pack.

Submit - Return to this website where you will upload or link to your application.  Your application will consist of a “treatment” and a 2 minute (max) pitch where you explain your idea and how it explores the topic. The deadline for applications is 1 June 2017 at 4pm.

Visit the Your Call website for more details.

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