Jessica Pulizzotto is one of Huntington High School’s top young filmmakers. The senior has created a sensational video on the perils of distracted driving. It will be entered in the American Automobile Association’s traffic safety competition and the Long Island Media Arts contest.
Ms. Pulizzotto has been working closely with art teacher Heather Swan, who leads the high school’s video arts program. “Jessica already shows extreme talent in the video arts as a senior,” Mrs. Swan said. “I am so impressed with her dedication and determination.”
The teenager used advanced techniques to develop her public service announcement. “This PSA project, Steer Clear of Distracted Driving, required Jessica to work predominantly in After Effects, a special effects software, which is not an easy program for a high school student to tackle,” Mrs. Swan said. “Jessica created the illusion of a driver being distracted by giant text bubbles that fill the screen.”
Huntington High School senior Jessica Pulizzotto.
Huntington’s video arts program can be demanding as Ms. Pulizzotto knows from experience. “The development process was a lot more work than I anticipated,” she said. “For my PSA, I had to use Adobe After Effects for most of the video. I wasn’t super familiar with the app, but I found some super helpful videos on YouTube to guide me. I had to use motion tracking to make sure the text bubbles kept up with the video, as well as a texting effect for the bubbles to pop up. I also had to arrange audio to fit the mood I was trying to portray. I wanted people to see the video and think twice before doing anything dangerous on the road.”
Ms. Pulizzotto had an experienced resource nearby to confer with when she required a pointer or two. “Mrs. Swan was super supportive and helped me out when she knew I needed it,” the senior said. “I was afraid I took on a huge project that I couldn’t handle, but I’m very happy I was able to overcome the difficulties of the effects.”
The teenager is planning to study digital arts in college to prepare for a career as an animator. “I wanted to be an engineer, so I started to become involved with robotics and take a bunch of science classes,” Ms. Pulizzotto said. “This was a great, yet very challenging plan for my high school career. My junior year, I had a free period so I decided to take a video class. I had done some video editing before and decided the class would be fun and easy. While I was right about the fun part, the class was very challenging and at times far from easy. After taking the class, I decided that I should go into video for a career. I always had a love for animation and I wish to pursue that. Taking the video class has assured me that it’s a perfect place for me to be.”
Ms. Pulizzotto writes for Et Cetera, the high school’s literary magazine. She’s a member of Huntington’s robotics team, too. “I wish we had a video club, because I would definitely spend most of my time there,” she said.
Conceiving, developing and editing her film demanded equal doses of skill, creativity and inspiration, but the senior was up to the challenge.
“My motivation for the PSA was to make Mrs. Swan proud,” Ms. Pulizzotto said. “She has been a giant help with my journey through video and I owe all my video skills to her. I also wanted to challenge myself to create a video that was visually engaging while also being informative. I didn’t want my peers to watch my video and be like ‘ugh, another texting and driving PSA.’ I wanted my video to make everything a bit more literal to prove what a distraction texting and driving really is. I believe I accomplished what I wanted to with my video and my video classmates have told me that I did well on it. I hope that I can change a few minds about texting and driving, as well as impress a few people with the effects.”