SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 4, 2011

Student's video to appear on TV

By Ethan Forman
Staff writer

This article has been corrected since publication. To read the correction, please click here.

MARBLEHEAD — A budding local filmmaker who directed a public service announcement about suicide prevention will make an appearance tomorrow on a nationally syndicated daytime medical talk show called "The Doctors."

College student Alex Terrill was part of a team of four students who created a short, 30-second video called "I Care."

The public service announcement focuses on people reaching out to those in need. The winning film was created by Terrill, producer Erica Tomaszewski, editor Logan Mack and cameraman Zack Bylaska-Davies, all students of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H., where Terrill, 21, is a junior.

"The Doctors" selected Terrill's film from five sent in by Franklin Pierce students.

Two weeks ago, Terrill and his colleagues flew out to Hollywood for four days to tape their TV appearance. Terrill toured the Paramount Pictures lot and went behind the scenes with producers of "The Doctors" and the "Dr. Phil" show. The students asked producers of both shows frank questions about working in film and television.

"They gave me a feel for what the actual life is like out there," said Terrill, who lives in Marblehead with his mom, Gwenn Terrill.

Alex Terrill met separately with Dan Lebenthal, who edited Hollywood blockbusters such as "Iron Man" and "The Break Up," among many others. Terrill also did a lot of sightseeing on Hollywood Boulevard.

"It was incredible," said Terrill. "It was like a dream come true. I knew what to expect, but it was completely unreal."

Terrill is a 2008 graduate of Marblehead High who is finishing up his junior year as a mass communications major and advertising minor at Franklin Pierce. He is wrestling with whether to pursue a career in film, television movies or commercials.

Terrill's film appears on "The Doctors" thanks to a challenge held at his school by Andrew Scher, a 1988 Franklin Pierce alum and executive producer of the show. Scher challenged students of his alma mater to make a public service announcement about any health-related topic, which would then appear on the show. Terrill said his teacher challenged him and Tomaszewski to enter.

Terrill said the original film was a minute long, and it focused on a man in his mid-40s who loses his job and attempts to jump from a building.

As the film evolved over several months of shooting, scheduling, editing and reviewing, it came to focus more on the people below who held up signs that say: "I Care." This act stops the man from jumping. The message is: "Reach out to anyone in need," Terrill said.

Terrill said he will never forget his Hollywood sojourn.

"It was literally living the dream for the four days we were out there," Terrill said.

You can catch Terrill's film locally at 2 p.m. tomorrow on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Terrill's segment appears toward the end of the show, he said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter @DanverSalemNews.