The American Bankers Association Foundation knows how much teens love to talk about money, or at least their grandiose plans to spend it. Getting students to think critically about their spending habits and understand the importance of saving, however, often poses challenges. That’s why each fall the Foundation (ABA) holds its annual Lights, Camera, Save! teen video contest. The contest is meant to inspire students to think about what saving means to them while communicating it in a way that speaks to their peers. Students can participate by submitting their short, up to 90 second, savings videos to banks in their area that host a contest. Film Courage spoke with ABA’s Senior Manager of Financial Education, Jeni Pastier on the contest and how to enter.
Film Courage: What is the American Bankers Association Foundation Lights, Camera, Save! contest about?
Jeni Pastier for American Bankers Association Foundation (ABA Foundation): Lights, Camera, Save! is a video contest for teens age 13-18 and is meant to inspire students to think about what saving means to them while communicating it in a way that speaks to their peers.
Film Courage: Can you tell us what the American Bankers Association Foundation does?
ABA Foundation: Since 1925, the ABA Foundation has helped bankers provide financial education to individuals at every age, elevate issues around affordable housing and community development, and achieve corporate social responsibility objectives to improve the well-being of their customers and their communities.
Film Courage: What is your position at the American Bankers Association Foundation?
ABA Foundation: My official title is Senior Manager of Financial Education but really I have the best job in the world which is providing bankers the tools and resources they need to impact youth in their communities through financial education. I have been with the ABA Foundation for 4.5 years but have been involved in youth financial education since my first year of university.
Film Courage: Can you reflect back on your teenage views about saving? Were you a frugal teen or more of a spendthrift? Would you have done anything differently? Was there peer pressure to spend money or save?
ABA Foundation: If I could go back and talk to my teenage self, there is only one thing I would tell myself to do differently… to be smarter with my money! I was definitely a spendthrift but fortunately I at least had sense enough to not spend more than I had. I don’t think there was peer pressure to spend money, more so that when you are a teen you are just so excited to have money. Nowadays as an adult I am definitely all about stretching my dollar the furthest it will go to get the most bang for my buck.
Film Courage: What are the age ranges for the students to participate in Lights, Camera, Save!?
ABA Foundation: The contest is open to teens 13-18 years old as of October 1, 2018.
Film Courage: How long should the video be? What should the video be about?
ABA Foundation: The video cannot exceed 90 seconds. The video should be the student’s original concept that illustrates a money-savvy theme such as the importance of saving, spending money responsibly or paying for college.
Film Courage: How will a prospective teen filmmaker know if their local bank participates?
ABA Foundation: Teens interested in submitting a video should go online to check the List of Participating Banks for a host bank in their state.
Film Courage: What if they don’t see a local bank listed on your site? Can they still enter?
ABA Foundation: Absolutely! While we hope a bank in their community is hosting a contest, an entry can be submitted to any host bank located in their state if not. If you don’t see your state listed, contact me directly at Jpastier@aba.com.
Film Courage: Is there a cost to enter?
ABA Foundation: No, the contest is free to enter and free for banks to host.
Film Courage: What prizes are available to the winners? How many winners will there be?
ABA Foundation: There will be three national winners 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place. The national winners will take home $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 respectively to fund their savings goal.
In addition to national prizes, some banks may award prizes on the local level.
Film Courage: If a teen wants to make a video and knows that a local bank participates, what are the first steps they should take?
ABA Foundation: Go to Lightscamerasave.com to view the official rules and contact the local host bank for a contestant entry form.
Film Courage: How does the filmmaker deliver the video files to the American Bankers Association Foundation?
ABA Foundation: They don’t. Students will deliver their video directly to the host bank where they are submitting. Uploading to a video share site like YouTube is ideal and there is a field that requests the link to their video on the contestant entry form.
Film Courage: From watching prior American Bankers Association Foundation Lights, Camera, Save! submissions, what do you notice as a common winning theme?
ABA Foundation: The great thing about the contest is the videos are so unique that a common theme isn’t usually seen. I think the videos that convey the clearest money savvy message are the ones that seem to rise to the top.
Film Courage: When will the winners for the 2018-2019 contest be announced?
ABA Foundation: National winners will be announced during America Saves Week in February 2019.
Film Courage: Why does The American Bankers Association Foundation want to advocate savings for youth?
ABA Foundation: It’s never too early to develop smart savings habits. If teens can get used to saving money now, they will likely carry those behaviors into adulthood and will be well prepared to manage increasingly complicated financial situations.
Film Courage: How can a teen explain why this contest is beneficial for their local bank?
ABA Foundation: America’s banks are invested in seeing their communities thrive and financially savvy members of their community are a key component to a better community.
Film Courage: Although this contest is only open to teenagers 13-18, how do you see millennials and their banking habits changing from prior generations?
ABA Foundation: One notable difference is the level of comfort millennials have with mobile banking. They have grown up accustom to having information at their fingertips, so it is no surprise they are comfortable using digital technology and are adopting mobile banking at a faster rate than other generations.
Film Courage: Who decides the winners? Does each video submission go through a panel of judges?
ABA Foundation: Each host bank determines their local winner, then submits that video to compete in the national contest. The national winner is then determined by a panel of judges who have a vested interest in financial education. Hence why a video’s messaging is imperative to winning the grand prize.
Film Courage: Can a teenager enter more than once for the 2018-2019 year?
ABA Foundation: According to the official rules a teen can only submit one video to one bank.
Film Courage: Anything else you’d like to mention?
ABA Foundation: When creating videos teens should be original! Creativity counts for 30% of the judge’s score, with another 30% towards the video’s message and 40% for production value.
Jeni Pastier is the Senior Manager of Financial Education for the American Bankers Association Foundation. The Foundation helps bankers provide financial education to individuals at every age, elevate community development issues, and achieve corporate social responsibility objectives to improve the well-being of their customers and their communities.
Jeni oversees ABA Foundation’s youth financial education campaigns—Lights, Camera, Save!, Get Smart About Credit, and Teach Children to Save. She also manages the Foundation’s partnerships with Jump$tart Coalition and Operation HOPE to expand banker-driven financial literacy empowerment into local communities.
Prior to joining ABA Foundation, Jeni had a successful tenure at Junior Achievement where she managed financial education programs within the Washington, D.C., metro area. She has also spent time overseas as an English teacher working with students in grades K-9. Jeni holds a B.A. from California State University Long Beach.
About the contest:
Looking for the Next Lights, Camera, Save! Winner.
The American Bankers Association Foundation knows how much teens love to talk about money, or at least their grandiose plans to spend it. Getting students to think critically about their spending habits and understand the importance of saving, however, often poses challenges. That’s why each fall the Foundation holds its annual Lights, Camera, Save! teen video contest. The contest is meant to inspire students to think about what saving means to them while communicating it in a way that speaks to their peers. Students can participate by submitting their short, up to 90 second, savings videos to banks in their area that host a contest. The 2018-2019 contest, open to students between the ages of 13-18, will run from Oct. 1 – Dec. 3. The Foundation will award cash prizes of $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000 to three national winners. Additionally, three educator scholarships to the 2019 National Jump$tart Educator Conference will be granted to the top three winning schools. Winners announced February 2019. To view previous winners, learn more about the contest and get participation details, visit LightsCameraSave.com.
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Lights, Camera, Save! is a teen video contest that encourages teens to educate themselves and their peers about the value of saving and using money wisely. Each fall students enter the contest by submitting videos to local participating banks. These banks then choose a local winning video and submit it for judging at the national level. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.
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