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Jim Krause | Classes | P356 TV Studio Production

Public Service Announcement (PSA) Assignment

OVERVIEW: You will contact and work with a not-for-profit group, agency or organization and produce a professional-looking public service announcement (PSA) for them. The finished length should be exactly 30 or 60 seconds. You will produce the PSA in Studio 5 during your Week 11 lab in an assigned time slot.


Pre-production: You will first need to find and contact an agency to produce a PSA for and talk with them to determine their needs (objective) and who they are trying to reach (target audience). You need to work with a real person and non-profit organization- this is major challenge and component of this exercise. Once you have connected with an organization in need of a PSA, you can then submit your proposal.

Follow this link to a page with real-world clients who would like PSAs produced for them.

Here are a few past examples:

Outline the scope of the production with them. Note that we do NOT have any agreement to air the PSAs. All we are doing is producing them for the organziation. If they would like to air them on Comcast, CATS or IUSTV they will need to initiate this on their own. The client will be provided a digital master copy of the PSA for their own use (E.g. organization's website or social media page).

Once you have an idea of their needs and audience, you'll submit a program proposal, describing your organization, the contact person, the PSA's objective, and your production approach or strategy.

You will then work with your client organization to create a 30 or 60 second script. Please note that it is NOT a good idea to pack it with beginning to end dialog. (A 60 second PSA script might contain only 50 seconds of narration.) Consider how pictures, graphics, and music will be effectively used.

Sample PSA proposal:

Client organization: Smallville Animal Care and Control.

Contact: Fred Lacey, Executive Director. Lacey [at] 888-333-1111

Objective: After watching the PSA, viewers will want to come down to the shelter and adopt a pet.

Target audience: Smallville & County residents

Production Design: This 60-second PSA will feature an on-camera spokesman from the shelter and B-roll of pets who need homes. During the production Fred Lacey will appear on-camera talking about the pets in need of loving homes. We'll go to digital still pictures of the animals and close with a graphic providing the phone number and location.

Production notes: I will visit the animal shelter next week with my digital still camera and take pictures of pets in need of homes. I'll then transfer these images into the Chyron CG one week before my production.

Final Pre- Production: Before Week 10 (one week before your production) you should have

  • Client and instructor approved script, loaded into the teleprompter. Make sure the timing has been throughly checked. (It is strongly recommended that you, your talent or your narrator practice reading the copy out loud over the cut of music to make sure it easily fits into the given time contraints.)
  • Approved graphics pre-loaded into the Chyron (All PSAs should have at least two graphics and a slate.)
  • 30 or 60-second cut of music or other sound track pre-selected.
  • Talent lined up for the proper time.
  • Props (If applicable)

Production - You'll have an assigned 25-minute time slot during Week 11 to record your PSA.

Post-production: After you record your PSA you must:

  • Get the clip off of the Summit
  • Bring into your favorite editor (Premiere, Avid, etc.)
  • Clean up (trim off slate, excess black, etc.) and make any needed changes
  • Output an HD version (same as source/sequence)
  • Upload a copy to the P356 PSA IUBox folder.
  • Share the video with your client, instructor, and AI, using the Box option, "People with the link". Do this with by sending a followup email to your client organization (copied to both your AI & instructor) with a link to the video clip on IUBox. You should also thank them for the opportunity to produce the PSA for them.
  • Write a 1-page critique, which is due in the class the week following your production.

Please note that you will receive a 0 for the production until all of the above steps have been carried out.

Miscellaneous notes: You may check out cameras from the production lab with advance permission. If you wish to check out a camera, fill out a special request form available through the Media School website.


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