Homer teens vie for first in video contest

It’s logical that a video starting with a teenage boy announcing to his friend that he is trying out his invented sport “para-snowmobile-ski-cliff-jumping” would end in a crash.

However, the crash depicted at the end of the video made by Homer High School students Liam Somers, Lyndsay Brown and Johann Kallelid is a head-on collision between two cars. The trio act in a film written and produced by Somers, which they entered in the Toyota TeenDrive365 video competition for a chance at winning thousands of dollars for their anti-distracted driving advertisement.

“I was just looking at scholarships online and I saw the one about making a video about distracted teen driving. I just jumped on it because I thought it would be easy to do. We kind of shot it and edited it in one day,” Somers said. 

Somers used Adobe After Effects to create the car crash visual from scratch, as well as edit in snow to make up for the Homer’s sparse winter scenery.

Somers’ video was chosen as a top 10 contender out of a pool of more than 1,500 entries from across the country, according to a press release from Discovery Education and Toyota. It is available to watch at teendrive365inschool.com/vote, where viewers can vote for their favorite through April 25. The video with the most votes will win the $5,000 People’s Choice Award. 

“In the past, Liam, me and some other friends have made many videos. Liam called me and asked if I wanted to make another video with him and of course I said, yes,” said Kallelid in the press release.

“Liam is the brains behind this whole video. He created the whole script and the green screen, everything,” Brown said in the press release. “I am really proud and honored to be a part of this, and the fact that we are now in the top 10 finalists is incredible. Liam worked really hard on this video and deserves to win it all.”

A panel of judges from Toyota and Discovery Education will decide which videos place for several prizes. First place receives $15,000 and will reshoot their video with a Discovery film crew into a public service announcement for a variety of Discovery television networks. Second prize wins $10,000 and a behind-the-scenes trip to a Velocity network show taping. Third prize will get $7,500, while fourth through 10th places each get $2,500. An additional $1,000 each will go to four regional prize winners. 

One out of three teen deaths occur in car wrecks, mostly because of distracted driving, cites Somers’ video. Distracted driving includes texting or tuning the radio while driving, instead of focusing on the road.

Somers, a senior, is deciding whether he wants to go to film school after graduation, he said. He has already visited schools in California including Dodge Film School, University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles. 

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.