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Example #1: "Sample radio PSA script" script to be fully produced

Time: 30 seconds
Agency: Chicago AIDS Action Force
Title: "Friends"
Main Point: Heterosexual women should practice safer sex.

Sound Effects:

Busy coffee shop sounds (cups clinking, lively conversation, etc.), then you hear two chairs being moved and cups being set on the table. Fade background sounds a bit and:


Woman #1 sighs and says:
Woman #1: Thanks for coming, Lisa. I didn't know who else to talk to.
Woman #2: Don't sweat it -- what's going on? You look like you've been crying.
Woman #1 pauses and then says in a lowered voice:
Woman #1: I just found out that Antony died last month -- of AIDS.
Woman #2, shocked
Woman #2: Oh my God -- Antony your old boyfriend??
Woman #1: Yeah -- that Antony.
Woman #2, concerned:
Woman #2: Are you -- are you okay?
Woman #1: Well -- I'm not HIV positive. I always used a condom, and I got tested as soon as I found out.
Woman #2 lets out an exhalation of relief and says:
Woman #2: Oh, girl, I can't tell you how relieved I am to hear that.
Woman #1: I was relieved too. It's just still such a shock.
Woman #2: Need to talk about it?
Woman #1: Yeah. Yeah I do. Thanks.

Announcer voiceover

Announcer: Two out of every three new HIV cases among women are from heterosexual contact. Protect yourself. Call 1-800-342-AIDS for more information about safer sex and HIV.

Cue coffee shop sounds up briefly while showing slide with AIDS info number, then fade audio and video out.


Example #2: Sample television PSA script

Time: 30 seconds
Agency: Kansas City Immunize Now
Title: "Uncle Keenon"
Main Point: Infants should be immunized -- talk to your doctor about it.

Camera Description: Scene opens with Woman #1 and Man #1 sitting by a playground. Camera shows children playing, then moves over to the two adults sitting together on a park bench watching them. Sound of children's laughter in background.


Woman #1 turns to Man #1, smiles, and speaks...
Woman #1: Just think, Keenon -- you and Tasha have this to look forward to before you know it!
Man #1 shakes his head and speaks...
Man #1: Yeah -- I can't believe we're going to be parents! It's great, but there's so much to worry about. I think about Rachel and Danny's little girl and how sick she's been...
Woman #1 looks sad and says to Man #2...
Woman #1: I know, it's been so sad seeing how much trouble they've had -- it's too bad they never had her immunized.
Man #1 looks surprised and says:
Man #1: But she's only a year old! I never even thought about immunization -- when are you supposed to get that done?
Woman #1 looks back at the kids and says...
Woman #1: Well, the first shots are done when the baby is about 2 months old -- then you have to go back 4 or 5 more times before the kid starts school. It's important to get them all done to be completely protected. If Rachel and Danny had only done that, their baby might not have had so many health problems.
Man #1 looks worried and says:
Man #1: Oh, man, I had no idea. I really need to find out more about all this stuff!
Woman #1 puts her hand on his arm and says:
Woman #1: It's okay. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you need to come back

A little girl comes running from the playground and climbs into the man's lap.

Woman #1 smiles, tousles the child's hair, and says:
Woman #1: You and Tasha are already a great aunt and uncle, you know. Don't worry. You'll be wonderful parents.
Man #1 smiles at his niece and then looks at Woman #1 and says:
Man #1: Thanks, sis. Tasha has a checkup tomorrow, so we'll talk to the doctor then and find out more.

Fade to black, leaving only the sound of children playing under the voiceover, with the logo and phone number of your child immunization coalition shown onscreen.

Voiceover: Immunization for your kids. Talk to your doctor about it today.


Example #3: Gloucester at the Helm

Here's an example of how PSA's have been used by a prevention coalition in one medium-sized coastal fishing community (Gloucester, Massachusetts). In the example, note the use of local opinion leaders and role models, and also the use of community-based scenes of daily life, that viewers could easily relate to. Note too how non-traditional media outlets (in this case, movie theaters) can be used creatively to get the message across, as well as the use of multiple outlets for the same basic message.

"We've done about 20 public service announcements over 5 years, they've all been home made, shot in Gloucester, with Gloucester people. TV PSA's, on Gloucester cable. We've never used an actor. So inside the message is the fact that ordinary citizens are involved.

"So for example, we had a community conference on prevention, called "Gloucester at the Helm." We shot 3 public service announcements that were 28 seconds apiece. And what we did was we identified a number of community icons, matriarchs, patriarchs, and very well known people, and they're all in the film. So we have the matriarch of the Fishermen's Wives Association who is on the phone with one of the most well known fishermen in the community, who is also on the phone with a young person, who is on the phone with a well-known parent activist -- and they were all talking to each other.

"The fishermen were going to donate fish, the Sicilian Sons of Italy were going to bring traditional Italian food, the baker was going to donate the bread, and you really don't know what they're talking about until the very end, when they say, "I'll see you at the conference -- Gloucester at the Helm? Well, it was just so like Gloucester --that's what people do.

"We're also shooting another PSA, and we're transferring it to film, so it's going to be shown at a local theater where more parents go than anyplace else. The scene will be a mother and a daughter in a car, with a tremendous amount of silence between the two, a tremendous amount of tension -- you're going to know visually that something has happened of major importance between these two people. And it will end with a print message, "Prevention is communication: Please care enough to try."

"This image is also going to be on a billboard that a company is donating to us for a couple of months. It's also going to be on posters, book covers, and note cards. It will be interesting to see how all this works, but it is based on what we've been hearing for a long time."

Thanks to Phil Salzman, former Director of the Gloucester Prevention Network, for the example above.

Example #4: HIV: Un-Infected Does Not Equal Un-Affected

HIV: Un-Infected Does Not Equal Un-Affected is a series of eight 30-second AIDS prevention PSA's which focus on the unique emotional and psychological stresses facing HIV-negative gay men in coping with the epidemic. The series was independently produced for broadcast in San Francisco by San Francisco filmmaker David Weissman, with support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the STOP AIDS Project, and the University of California at San Francisco AIDS Health Project.

Each PSA features a single character speaking directly to the camera about why it's important to stay uninfected. These spots are great examples of how good television PSA's don't have to be big-budget productions; instead, strong writing and acting are used to simply and effectively convey the message.

Example #5: GLAAD's Day of Compassion PSA's

Day of Compassion is an annual project of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and is co-sponsored by Until There's a Cure Foundation, the Names Project Foundation and Cable Positive, the cable industry's AIDS action organization. Every year since Day of Compassion began in 1993, network and cable television, print media, Internet providers and radio stations air special programming specifically geared toward educating and raising awareness about those living with HIV and AIDS, those working on research and advocacy fronts, and friends and families who have been touched by the disease.

Chris Hampton