Lights, Camera, Gun Shots: Students devote one day during spring break to create OK2SAY PSA under direction of Andrew Perkins

After creating public service announcements (PSA) for Beaumont Hospital, band teacher Andrew Perkins received a phone call from the Michigan Attorney General’s office this February. The Attorney General asked Perkins to create a PSA for the new OK2SAY program, a confidential anti-school violence text hotline, which will be launched in September.


“Andy Phillipe and I went to Lansing to meet with the Attorney General,” Perkins said. “Andy is a graduate of Fenton and just graduated from the Motion Picture Institute, a film school in Michigan. They had no ideas yet for a video and wanted to know what we would do. I knew that in order to reach students the video would have to be authentic, like a short narrative that tells the story of a student who uses OK2SAY.”

With assistance from the Attorney General’s office in getting state police, local police, firefighters and EMS involved, Perkins cast the video using band, choir, theater and SRT students. Perkins then wrote the script and did the storyboards which were approved by the Attorney General.

“We filmed at FIS (Ellen Street Campus) all in one day during spring break,” Perkins said. “It was a crazy, intense shoot. The students were awesome and very professional. I love it and think it will really hit home with the target audience. I had a unique position of being a producer and a teacher; I know what kids will think is corny and what they will be impacted by.”


Students filled roles as extras and were filmed in classrooms, going into lockdown mode, running out of the school and reacting to a shooting.

“I was one of the lead extras along with about 20 other people,” junior Cord Alvarado said. “I was in the bus, classroom, and was part of the school fleeing scenes. In total, there were probably around 50 extras. Mr. Perkins was the director, so he got everyone together and did a great job directing everything.”


With an interest in the film industry, Alvarado enjoyed his role in the PSA and was able to get a look into the making of a video.

“It was a lot of fun and work, but I definitely gained a lot of good experience and knowledge about being behind the scenes of a PSA,” Alvarado said. “As someone who loves to film and direct, it was a very helpful experience.”


By working on the PSA, students received experience in the film industry and began to realize the severity of the issue.
“They shot guns in the hallway for a scene I wasn’t in and it made me realize that could actually happen in our school,” sophomore Leah Lynch said. “In one of the scenes, I was having a hard time acting serious and my friend told me to think about if I didn’t know where my best friend was with a shooter in the school. It was all very real and scary and changed my perception of the subject. I got the realization of how serious the topic is.”


The OK2SAY program is based off programs used in other states like Colorado where it has resolved 284 planned school attacks since 2004.

“I like that it’s preventative,” Perkins said. “The Attorney General’s office has this statistic that in 81 percent of school shootings students know about it but they are hesitant to report it out of fear of retaliation or of being a snitch. OK2SAY is a confidential way to report danger through text so it works for teenagers.”