Talking to kids about drugs and alcohol can be awkward, challenging and hard to navigate. On the one hand, you need to be factually accurate and provide plenty of information. On the other, you need to be relatable and easy to understand, while respecting their unique situations.
Holyoake enables positive change for individuals, families, and communities affected by alcohol, drugs, and related issues. It’s Young People’s Program is delivered in schools around Alice Springs to teach youth about alcohol, drugs, gambling, and addiction. It is organisations like Holyoake that take on the difficult challenge of communicating important health and well-being messages to young people.
It’s this very challenge that prompted Holyoake to reach out to italk Studios. They were looking to create an educational resource to use for their Young People’s Program. These resources needed to cover the topics of Choice, Alcohol, Drugs, Gambling, Smoking and Sniffing. Thanks to our extensive work on health productions for a series of not-for-profits we were well equipped to embark on the journey with them to help convey these integral messages. There is nothing quite like a tough project to help innovation grow, and this is exactly what happened.
Appealing to a young audience
The attention spans of young people tend to be short. This was the first challenge we had to overcome. Our answer was to produce six short but visually rich animations that covered the six topics around alcohol and other drugs. We used humour, colour and sound to captivate the audience and break down the defences that young people may quick to put up. Each of the six short stories follows a simple narrative that utilises characters imagined from the point of view of a youth who may be experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. We see Smoke Man in his appealing gravelling car. We see Gambling riding by on his hotted-up motorbike. We see the sniffing trio of petrol, glue and aerosol cans on skateboards, roller blades and scooters. This use of visual metaphors enables the audience to engage imaginatively with the issues that are meaningful to them.
Another challenge lay in attempting to relate important facts to young people, without boring them or overwhelming them with too much information. Humour became an essential tool. Interwoven into our storylines it made each video feel light and entertaining while delivering important health and wellbeing messages.
To tie everything together and ensure that these videos would resonate with our audience we decided to use lots of action and minimal dialogue. We did not want to disengage a YouTube generation that has been primed to respond best to graphics and video. We knew from an early point in the production process that we would need to communicate messages through high impact action scenes that lasted in a young person’s mind.
We are incredibly proud of the six innovative films our team were able to produce, all of which you can watch here.
If you think there is a problem with a young person you know, you can contact Holyoake Alice Springs (08) 89525899 or a local counselling service.