Something as a simple as saying hello can go a long way when it comes to combating bulling, says Spencer Agren.
That’s the message the recent Gunnison Valley High graduate used to create his award-winning video “One Text.”
Agren’s video won Best Visual Effects among the more than 300 entries in the 2012 Great American No Bull Challenge, a contest inviting students to create short films addressing the epidemic of bulling.
“I put a lot of work into it. So to make it that far and go to San Francisco and actually get an award, it’s a very overwhelming feeling of success,” Agren said, adding that he was humbled by the whole experience. “I spent many hours with it (doing the visual effects), so I guess it paid off.”
Agren, who makes films as a hobby and posts his videos on YouTube, said he initially was approached with the idea of participating in the challenge by a school counselor.
Once he started researching the topic of cyberbullying, Agren said, he realized how serious a topic it was. He decided to take a positive approach and focus on the idea of using the same technology used in cyberbullying as a tool “to help one another instead of to break each other down.”
“Be a friend and be excellent to somebody,” Agren said. “Do something. You don’t know the impact that you can have, so why not try.”
The five-minute film took three weeks to make using his mom’s camera. While Agren did all the shooting, producing, directing and sound, he had more than 100 students volunteer to participate in the video. He joked saying he tried to get actor Morgan Freeman to do the narrating for him.
Voters online picked 100 videos from the 300 plus entries. Out of the 100, a panel of judges selected 15 finalists. The final eight winners, which included Agren, were announced during an awards ceremony in San Francisco on July 21.
Agren heads to Brigham Young University in the fall, where he would like to study film or physics.