5C video depicting the dangers of underage drinking and driving goes viral

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A video created by the 5C Coalition that depicts the dangers of underage drinking and driving went viral last week, reaching over 800,000 online viewers from around the country. The final scene was filmed on May 16, at Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home in Guttenberg. During filming, the “casket was closed” on Clayton Ridge student Abrianna Moore. (Photo by Molly Moser, The Guttenberg Press)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

A video created by the Clayton County Community Collaboration Council (5C Coalition) that depicts the dangers of underage drinking and driving went viral last week, reaching over 800,000 online viewers from around the country.

“We were absolutely shocked,” said Claudia McCalley, president of the 5C Coalition. “We’ve been fielding calls from all over the U.S.”

“Party Your Life Away” takes viewers on a six--and-a-half-minute journey, beginning with a mass text message that notifies local teens of a party later that week. The video then cuts to teens drinking and having fun at the party. The fun soon ends, however, as the video fades into an accident scene, complete with an overturned car, flashing law enforcement vehicles and EMTs carrying a body on a stretcher. It ends at a student’s funeral.

The video is shot as a “mannequin challenge,” an internet video trend that shows people frozen in action, like mannequins, while a camera moves around the space.

5C came up with the idea in January, at a planning meeting, McCalley said. One of the coalition members, Matt Moser, who’s also a Clayton County Sheriff’s Deputy, had seen a similar video about a heroin overdose. 

“We thought it would be really cool to do something applicable to this area, for underage drinking,” she said.

Planning for the video began in February and wrapped up only a couple weeks ago, with the funeral scene.

McCalley said creating the video came at no cost. It was largely completed with the use of a camera from Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, while the accident scene was captured with a drone. 

Austin Zuercher, a Dyersville police officer who sometimes works with the sheriff’s office, put the video together in just a few days.

“The scenes were all shot at different dates and times, and some were out of sequence,” McCalley said. “We did it whenever we could get people together.”

The bigger scenes—the party and the accident—took the most coordination, McCalley explained, since they involved more people.

The “Party Your Life Away” video features entities from all over the county, including high school students from Clayton Ridge, Central and MFL MarMac. Also participating were the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa State Patrol, Guttenberg and Garnavillo Police Departments, Garnavillo Fire Department, Mar-Mac Rescue Squad, and officials from the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital, Central Community Hospital and Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home in Guttenberg.

When filming the scenes, McCalley said it was important for the participants to appear natural.

“The hardest group was the firemen,” she noted. “They had heavy equipment. Some were on their knees and under cars. They were filmed in odd positions.”

Participants were forced to hold that position for two minutes before taking a break. Each scene generally involved four cuts, McCalley shared.

The final scene, at the funeral home, involved just two.

“We only had 15 minutes to get it done,” she quipped.

However, just that short amount of time really hit home with the participants. Both students and adults were featured in the scene. They wound their way around the funeral home, some holding tissues to their eyes, while others embraced one another or viewed photos of the deceased.

Meanwhile, Clayton Ridge student Abrianna Moore rested in a casket, her family gazing down upon her. 

“The folks next to the casket were her real family,” McCalley said. “It really impacted the students, seeing that and being a part of it.”

“Party Your Life Away” was first released on 5C’s Facebook page Monday night, May 22, following a viewing party for the participants at the Elkader Cinema. By the next morning, it had already been seen by 24,000 people. That evening, viewership surpassed 200,000.

While she’s pleased and proud that the video has drawn attention to 5C and the work the group does in the county, McCalley said everyone in Clayton County should be proud.

“It’s good to do such a project and pull all the communities together for one specific goal,” she remarked. “The whole county is trying to do something to make a difference. Now, we want to keep the message going.”

Making an impact was 5C’s goal throughout the process, McCalley shared.

“We didn’t want to be preachy. We wanted it to be most applicable to young people,” she said. “The message is pretty profound.”

5C will be happy, she added, “if it saves one life, makes one teen think about not going to a party or driving if they’ve been drinking.”

If you would like to learn more about 5C, visit www.claytoncountyccc.weebly.com       or the 5C Facebook page.

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