When you are driving in the fast lane with $771,500 in National Highway Traffic Safety money in your pocket to do a "slick" anti-drunk driving campaign targeting teen-agers ("Ads Aim to Curb Teen Drinking" by Michael Stroud, April 4), you're going to go right past the obvious and never see that:
--"Slick" ads do not always require paid big-time ad agencies, promoters and film makers to produce, because there are public-spirited Hollywood directors and writers who will waive or reduce their usual fees and put their talent to work with teens themselves, often the best actors.
--$771,500 would fund 15 to 20 SAFERIDES hands-on teen-age drunk driving prevention programs, including slick ads, in Kern County and elsewhere throughout the state.
SAFERIDES programs successfully do more than publicize the hazards of teen-age drunk driving. They provide trained peer education in the schools and supervised counseling for the telephone hot lines they operate hand in hand with adult volunteers, open until 2 a.m. on weekend nights and offering free rides home from sober peers.
I invite all of the highly paid talent from Syston Inc. and Roanake Co. Inc. to check out the prime-time network and cable spots currently capturing teen-agers for the South Bay Free Clinic's SAFE-RIDES program. It was produced, written, directed and edited by Jan Skrentny, a six-time Emmy Award-winning director, in conjunction with SAFERIDES teens, our own Project Touch video unit and state-of-the-art TV broadcast equipment provided gratis by the Sony Center at the American Film Institute.
Cost: $1,000, for tape, a token sum for camera talent and, of course, food for the energetic teen and professional video crew at brainstorming sessions and on location.
Not only would the public, subsequently, become aware of the program through this high quality production, the teens themselves gained from their production involvement.
Here's to a new round of BMW's for all of the "slick" producers of a program which should have cost much less . . . and shame on writer Michael Stroud for belittling the nonprofit sector by his uncalled for and uninformed slur, "unlike most public service announcements, the driver spots are slick affairs."