Four Paris locals participated in the production of a texting and driving public service announcement based on a true story from Southeast Oklahoma.
The video was produced by local videographers Lea Emerson of Malolo Media and Broadway of IamBroadway on behalf of their client John Jones, a sheriff deputy in McCurtain County.
The eight-minute short film follows John’s sister Caitlyn, played by North Lamar theatre student, Reyna Hildreth, and Shekinah, Caitlynn’s friend played by North Lamar theatre student Sarah Carl.
“John lost his sister in a texting and driving single vehicle accident a few years ago,” Emerson said. “We heard John’s vision for the video and we were immediately compelled to move forward with the project. We knew we needed the right actresses for the job and after working with Reyna previously and seeing Reyna’s and Sarah’s performances during Fiddler last year we knew who to call.”
Jones wanted to use the video in area high schools and speaking events to show the impact of texting and driving. The video is based on true events of Caitlynn’s story leading up to the fateful accident.
“We wrote the storyline and did all the filming, but it was really the help of all those involved that made it possible,” Emerson said. “John sent a few texts and before we knew it we had air evac, multiple first responders, a funeral home, a wrecker service and News 12’s very own Jen Phillips to help make the video come to reality.”
“The crash scene was definitely surreal,” Broadway said. “Everyone showed up really willing to make it look realistic and Reyna did a phenomenal job playing a tough roll. We practically had one shot to make this happen, and everyone worked together flawlessly.”
Hildreth also commented on her experience, saying: “While playing the role of Caitlynn, I realized how serious texting and driving truly is. I have no become a true no texting and driving police. I make it known to all my peers how important this is and how it can affect your family and friends. I am forever grateful to play this role and learn a true life lesson through this without going through it myself.”
The film will be used through social media and through area school speaking events encouraging young people to be mindful of distracted driving.
The video is available at www.facebook.com/john.jones.1612/videos/10206054819525995/.