Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Standing Tough Against Bullying- How it all got started.

A few weeks back there was a listener who posted on my person Facebook page in outrage that Derek and Romaine hadn't posted anything about the recent suicides of several LGBT students. In fact, this listener was furious that we dared comment about what exciting events we were taking part in while we were on a week long show tour in California. He insisted that we should be talking about the teen suicides instead. I explained to the listener then that while we were aware of these unfortunate events that Derek and I spend time talking about these issues on our show regularly and we don't need a rash of suicides to talk about them as we already had been. I added that when we had a plan of how we could have a larger impact he would hear from us again.

Well, that time has come. Not long after this Facebook exchange we had professional wrestler and author Mick Foley on our show. He has been a guest several times and enjoys doing our show because it gives him an opportunity to talk to an audience he rarely gets to speak with. He is and has been a very strong supporter of the LGBT community and while many may not expect that from this wrestling giant, I for one am not shocked at all. He is after all a HUGE Tori Amos fan and supporter of her non-profit RAINN (rape, abuse and incest national network). While on our show the topic of the teen suicides due to bullying came up in conversation. Mick expressed his desire to help make an impact in this battle against bullying but he also expressed his frustrating in not knowing how he could help. He vowed to do anything he could and we promised him we would help him come up with a way. After his appearance on the show Derek and I started talking about how refreshing it was that someone like Mick Foley would want to take on an issue like bullying considering his line of work. After all most people think of wrestlers or professional fighters AS bullies because that is what they portray on their TV sets when they tune into a fight. We really wanted to hold true to our promise to Mick and we had been searching for a way that we could get involved in this fight to bring down bullying. That is when Derek suggested a PSA (public service announcement) campaign featuring tough guys like Mick Foley. After all, they are the role models to many young people out there that are not being reached by many of the anti-bullying projects that are currently being hatched. After hearing Derek's idea I was fully on board. To be really honest, I hadn't been this excited about a project since my Laramie Project Special. As promised, I contacted Mick and the planning got under way. After speaking with Mick I contacted TNA wrestling and asked if they would be interested in joining Mick in the campaign and they jumped at the opportunity. TNA Wrestling has launched a similar anti-bullying campaign on their weekly show on Spike called, "Eliminate The Hate." I was over the moon at the though of getting many of their wrestlers into the studio to record their PSA's. They were the first group of athletes to jump on board but certainly not the last.

Given the idea behind this project I knew I was going to need solid production team to help me pull off the sheer volume of producing it. So I decided that this would be the new intern project. After all, Katie cut her teeth as an intern when she helped me produce The Laramie Project Special. Why not give Glenn and Wil a chance to shine? Wil is my production/ audio guy. He is responsible for all things audio. That meant recording the PSA's and then editing them down into 30 and 60 second spots. He was also responsible for creating the enhanced MP3's that we would post on the website that would accompany this project. Glenn had several tasks. He conducted all of the interviews that would be edited into the PSA's. He researched and put together 90% of the materials used on the http://www.standingtough.com/ website and Glenn worked hand in hand with me to create any materials that were needed in order to book the many athletes that we needed to record the PSA's.

As you can see there are many moving parts to this project so I brought in our Associate Producer Katie to help the interns along the way. I have been overseeing the whole process while booking all of the athletes. We laid all of this ground work in a matter of 3 weeks. It has been a grueling task to get this project put together but over all I am really pleased with the finished PSA's. In the coming weeks, more and more PSA's will airing featuring a growing list of athletes who are looking forward to sharing their thoughts on the issue of bullying. You will hear from athletes representing the UFC and the NFL among others. I hope that in the long run the Standing Tough Against Bullying PSA campaign will have a strong impact on the people who hear these PSA's.

Now, that we have done all this work I want to talk with all of the listeners out there about how you can help! These PSA's will only make an impact if the right people are listening to them. So please visit the site http://www.standingtough.com/ and share our PSA's on all of your social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace). Let's get the word out that these athletes are Standing Tough Against Bullying and that everyday people can too! Tell people about this campaign and get the dialog started. Together I believe we can Stand Tough Against Bullying and make a huge difference in the lives of young people across this country.

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome thing to put out there. Well done!