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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 12:26 GMT
Play safe
The Magazine's Public Information Film festival

Every day in February, the Magazine is featuring a classic public information film from the past 60 years, concluding with a vote to find the nation's favourite.

Today's film was disturbing tea-time viewing and gave a generation of children nightmares when it was shown in 1979.

"Play Safe - Frisbee" used a chilling backing track and sound effects to hit home the message about the dangers of playing near electricity sub-stations. The closing shot of a boy's anorak hanging on banisters was simple but effective.

It was just one film in the Play Safe campaign. Other perils included the unfortunate combinations of electricity pylons and kites, fishing rods and radio-controlled planes.

In line with many of these films, this gives an authentic slice of contemporary tastes: children's love affairs with Frisbees, parents' worries over children playing near sub-stations, and eye-wateringly bold 1970s wallpaper patterns.

Stop Look Listen is the Magazine's festival of Public Information Films, with the National Archives and the COI

    (The scene: A young girl and boy are playing Frisbee near an electricity sub-station and by a danger sign. Cut to a close up of the Frisbee flying over the fence and getting lodged on a pylon)

    GIRL: Go on, get it.

    BOY: We're not supposed to go in there.

    Get in there
    Girl: Oh go on, there's a gap down there. A gang of kids broke in yesterday, I saw them.

    (The boy tries to climb through the gap in the fence)

    BOY: Pass me that bit of wood.

    (He uses it to make the gap wider so he can fit through. The shot cuts back to the danger sign again. He finds the Frisbee stuck on a pylon and starts to climb towards it. The shot cuts to the girl looking round for adults.
    It cuts back to the boy's feet as he reaches up to get the Frisbee and then his hand almost touching it. He slips and the shot cuts from a close-up of his shocked face to his burning feet, then to the girl. Bolts of electricity can be heard)

    GIRL: Jimmy!

    A slip of the foot
    (The shot cuts to a radio on a kitchen work top - the news is on)

    NEWSREADER: A 66,000 volt shock killed a boy today when he broke into a sub-station.

    (The shot cuts back to the sub-station and then shows a workman giving back a football to a young boy)

    NEWSREADER: The electricity board warns children to keep away from sub-stations. Never try to get toys back yourself.

    Poignant reminder
    (The shot cuts to a boy's jacket hung on the banisters in the house)

    NEWSREADER: Otherwise you may not live to play with them again.

    (The explosion is repeated and the shot cuts between Jimmy's shocked face and the girl screaming his name)

Enter our competition

It's easy to poke fun at such efforts, but could you do better yourself? Here's your chance to try. The Magazine is inviting readers to make your own 60-second films.

Your brief is to celebrate the art of the public information film. This means you can make a film which warns of modern danger in a contemporary style, or you can produce one in the style of films of old. It's up to you.

You've got until the end of the month to make the film and get it to us. Instructions for sending them to us are at the bottom of the page.

For those of you looking for tips on how to make your film work, BBC Video Nation editor Rosemary Richards says the key thing to consider is what the audience would like to see.

Ms Richards says it's always best to get out to different locations and take lots of pictures so you can illustrate your film well - but don't overdo it.

"Keep it simple," she says. "For example, you might want to use actors but perhaps your friends and family are not great actors. It might be best to just speak straight into the camera yourself. "You should also make sure you don't film your subjects next to windows and that you use the microphone(s) appropriately. And while hand-held camera can be used to good effect, it's usually best to make sure you have a good supply of steady shots.

"However great your creative idea is, the film can't be used unless we can see and hear what's on it," she says.

Also, if you want to get your film on the web or on TV, you must make sure all the work - including the music - is your own or copyright cleared.

So keep it simple, make sure the images and sounds are clear and, of course, get a good story.

Instructions for sending films

Films should be 60 seconds maximum. Please submit your films to us via e-mail or by post.

E-mail attachments should be sent to the.magazine@bbc.co.uk, subject line STOP LOOK LISTEN COMPETITION. Attachments should be no bigger than 10Mb - you may be able to compress the file by zipping it.

If your film is above 10Mb, you can either upload it to your own personal webspace or free online storage sites (such as www.ourmedia.org) and send us an e-mail telling us its address.

Alternatively you could use free online file transfer services - see this Creative Guy blog posting for a list of 50 such services). Again, please address these to the.magazine@bbc.co.uk, subject line STOP LOOK LISTEN COMPETITION.

If you want to post the file to us, please burn them on to a DVD or put them on MiniDV, and send them to:

The Magazine
BBC News Interactive
Room 7540
Television Centre
W12 7RJ

Here's some small print.

Terms and conditions If you submit an image, you do so in accordance with the BBC's Terms and Conditions.

In contributing to BBC News you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media worldwide. This may include the transmission of the material by our overseas partners; these are all reputable foreign news broadcasters who are prohibited from altering the material in any way or making it available to other UK broadcasters or to the print media. (See the Terms and Conditions for the full terms of our rights.)

It's important to note, however, that you still own the copyright to everything you contribute to BBC News and that if your image and/or video is accepted, we will endeavour to publish your name alongside it on the BBC News website. The BBC cannot guarantee that all pictures and/or video will be used and we reserve the right to edit your comments.

At no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Stop Look Listen is compiled by Giles Wilson

This was the scariest of the lot. I would close my eyes or leave the room when it came on, it was worse than Doctor Who. I was afraid even to touch a Frisbee after seeing it.
Suzanne, Paris, France

I wouldn't even go near the locked gates of the local transformer in the road after seeing that. Thanks for the nostalgia.
Jane MacGregor, Epsom, UK

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