The ad for Viron Counselors Network was an assignment for COMM 385 "Broadcast Writing" class with Donna Smith in the spring semester of 2009 at Ferris State University. It was written by the Dozerfleet founder on Monday, May 7th of 2009. Several of its supplemental materials are embedded below.
One of the largest projects for the class in COMM 385 was to come up with a 30-second TV PSA script, one that advertised some greater service and addressed troubled teens. This was interpreted by the Dozerfleet founder as a counseling center similar to the Boys Town National Hotline in nature, a place that would reach out to troubled teens in much the same way as Wedgwood Christian Services. To incorporate the worlds of Dozerfleet Comics into the picture, it was decided that this assignment would venture out of the Trapezoid Kids' world and instead take place in Classic Gerosha.
The Viron Counselors Network was to target teens that had been misdirected into gangs, unwanted pregnancy, porn addiction, theft, and thoughts of suicide. A little bit of all of these needed to be addressed in the ad. First, before anything else, a basic script was envisioned of a few teens being shown with their struggles, along with a narrator similar to Dennis Haysbert explaining what VCN could do to turn these teens around. An ad copy script was then typed up in the recommended format for class, and timed to make sure everything that happened could be crunched into 30 seconds.
After that, various storyboards were rendered using The Sims 2. The storyboards were compiled into a PowerPoint slideshow, which was to be presented in class along with the script. A shot breakdown sheet was included, so as to clarify what was happening when in each scene.
A huge array of Sims were created specifically for the needs of this assignment:
- Barry the Spokesman: This elderly gentleman serve as the narration for most of the ad, and is never addressed by name; nor does he interact with anyone but the audience. His appearance is modeled after Steve Harris, and his voice is modeled after Dennis Haysbert. He is named after Barry White.
- Celia and Vanessa: A distraught mother and daughter. Since her husband walked out, her daughter Vanessa has been unable to cope. The mother-daughter relationship has been strained by Celia's increasingly inane and futile attempts to distract Vanessa from their harsh reality rather than face it. Both are nearing their wits' end, and Celia watches helplessly as Vanessa begins to spiral downward into a self-destructive pattern of living. As Vanessa grows increasingly reluctant to listen anything Celia says, the two fear the worst is around the corner. Celia finally learns of VCN, and enrolls Vanessa in it. Meanwhile, Celia gets counseling for herself; as she realizes she's part of the problem. By the ad's end, it's implied that VCN helped the two reconcile their differences and become a loving family again.
- Lana: A teenage girl struggling with an unwanted pregnancy. Her addiction to sex put her constantly in harm's way; and her mother discovered that the school was actually contributing to Lana's problem. After a few suicidal thoughts, Lana realized there was something really wrong with her life. She was enrolled in VCN after entering her fourth month of pregnancy, when things got a little too out-of-control. While dark-haired in the setup, she became blonde for the actual ad.
- James: A gangbanger. Fearing that the class would call the ad "racist" if James were black, he was made Hispanic instead. James got in with a bad crowd, plain and simple. VCN becomes his pathway to redemption after he nearly committed suicide-by-cop.
- Chuck: A teen addicted to porn. He has invaded cyberspace, and become an amateur sexual predator. He frequently looks for 15-year-old girls that don't know better, and tries to lure them into meeting him places.
- Amelia: A teen with red hair who robbed a fast food restaurant. Like James, she got in with the wrong crowd. It is revealed that her broken family life steered her towards a life of crime. The character is named after Amelia Kinto, from the 2005 Gerosha Prime version of Ciem 3 subtitled Curse of the Millipede. Amelia Kinto, in turn, is named after Emily Kincare, the Dozerfleet founder's former love interest from his senior year of high school. Emily was the intended primary recipient of the newsletter Dolphinformia, a predecessor to The Dozerfleet Blog. The newsletter lasted from August of 2001 until July of 2002. The real-life Emily had her own share of issues with the law in 2003 and 2004, with the Amelia in this ad being an exaggerated fictionalization of events.
In spite offering necessary information via the shot breakdown sheet, the piece was accused of not doing so. The teacher wanted that same information in the script, even though it was mostly already there. The assignment was given a C grade, and appeals were to no avail. The class had mixed/mediocre reactions, which was expected. None of them cared for the Boys Town ads on TV on Fox in the 90s, and a knock-off taking place in a fictional universe wasn't going to sway them either.
Computer Systems for Video
Communications 385 - Broadcast Writing
Technical Theater Operations
Obsolete Gerosha Continuity
| Main projects
The Battle for Gerosha (2005 version)
Ciem (2005 version)
Ciem 2 (2005 version)
| Tie-in projects
| Main projects
Ciem (2007 version)
Ciem 2 (2009 version)
Ciem 3 (2009 version)
Blood Over Water (2009 version)
| Tie-in projects
Viron Counselors Network Ad
| Meshalutian Continuity
|| Ciem Continuity