*Some controversy lies around the concept of this PSA. CBS, FOX and UPN are the only major networks to air this piece. Both NBC and ABC found the concept 'too offensive' and claimed to prefer pieces that are 'warm and fuzzy'. Many other networks and cable stations declined for similar reasons. At the same time, Comedy Central loved the dark humor and is excited to be airing a PSA that uses humor to convey its message.
*Universal Studios essentially gave the PSA 'Keys to the backlot' by generously donating a soundstage and much of the equipment.
*Digital Domain, the special effects house responsible for much of 'Titanic', helped to complete the visual effects on a pro bono basis.
*Jeff Goldsmith (Director) "I watched my mother quit smoking three times when I was 10 years old. She was successful on her final try. By watching how much trouble she had quitting, I decided never to start. My goal with this piece was to target an age group that is still 'undecided' in their decision to smoke and to use my filmmaking skills to influence them to never smoke their first cigarette."
*Our voice over artist, KROQ's John Frost, was wearing a nicotine patch during the voice over session, as he'd just quit that week. He has unsuccessfully been trying to quit ever since working on the piece, and has been through many programs. John took SAG minimum with no residuals for this piece.
*Marissa Johnson (Ugly teeth model) has been smoking 3 packs a day since she was 13 (she's now 19). A doctor told her that if she doesn't quit within a year and a half, a hole that is slowly developing within one of her lungs might open up, which would kill her instantly. She donated her time so that she could send a warning to other teenage girls. After seeing a rough cut of the PSA Marissa quit smoking. Despite the threat to her life, she was unable to truly kick the habit and began smoking again three weeks after she quit. Marrissa hopes to quit for good sometime in the near future.
*Marsha Sill (Music Licensing Account Executive) slashed our music license fee in half because she lost her father at the age of 52 to lung cancer and wanted to help send a message to teenage smokers. Her father was a lifetime smoker. Weeks after licensing our music, at the beginning of March this year, her 49 year old brother, a pack a day smoker in apparently good health, suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack while playing football with his son. We regret her loss and thank her again for her dedication to this project.
*Cheryl Newman (Coffin model) smoked her first cigarette at the age of 11. She began smoking a pack a day at the age of 14. Cheryl's mom bought her cigarettes once Cheryl turned 16 because Cheryl couldn't afford to buy her own cigarettes with her weekly allowance. At the age of 26, after Cheryl began coughing up black mucus, she quit and has never smoked again. That's why she became involved with this PSA. To send a message out for teens not to start.
*Ryan Lundin (Chemotherapy kid) is 17 years old and up until working on the PSA has smoked 2 packs a day since he was 16. He's still a smoker, but through the experience of working on the PSA and seeing the finished product, he's cut down to 1 pack a day and is seriously considering quitting.
*Steve Adcock, (Cinematographer) successfully quit smoking a month after the PSA was finished.
*Nathan Amondson, (Ugly teeth model) also quit smoking a month after filming the PSA.
*Jack Speer of New Media Hollywood, donated media storage devices for editing purposes. During editing he had just entered a program to quit smoking. By the time the visual effects were done he had dropped out of the program, however he has recently re-entered it. He was more than happy to donate anything we needed as he wishes he could quit and wants to send out a 'warning' message to others before they start.
*Mark Larranaga, our visual effects supervisor at Digital Domain, grew up with two parents who smoked. He believes that his household environment contributed to the severity of his asthma. Mark's always seen smoking to be what he describes as a "Fashionable type of genocide"; that's why when asked to help out as visual effects supervisor on this piece he didn't hesitate.
*Elisha Choice (Ventilator Girl) has a younger sister currently studying under an opera Scholarship. Her sister began smoking in her mid teens and it has begun to affect her voice. She might lose her scholarship if her voice deteriorates any further. For this reason Elisha was adamant about becoming involved in this project.
*Claude Chong, (Masked football player) was always bothered by his father's secondhand smoke. That was the reason why he never became a smoker and also why he joined up for this PSA.
*Many other companies donated services to make this project possible. Two companies outside of the entertainment industry which gave important donations were Subway and Dominoes. Both companies donated entirely free meals to feed our cast and crew.
*Charles Green is the Media Relations Director for the LA County Region of The American Cancer Society, and served as our point person on this PSA. It was his vote of confidence in the concept that made this project possible.