Vindicator contest eyes high-school video makers

I’ll confess losing a bit of work time every week watching videos on the Internet.

Most of the watching is Vindy-related.

But every once in a bit, well ....

Videos that are tough to skip are the flash-mob dances and all things music related. I also have fun watching high-school lip- dub videos. Lip dubs are feel-good videos where the whole school engages in a choreographed dance routine to a notable song. Several students divide the lead singing roles, even though they are just lip-syncing. And it usually is just one camera rolling through one take for the entire song.

They’re real popular with students and staff, and if you search “lip dub” on YouTube, you’ll find hundreds of videos.

It’s with that in mind that The Vindicator launches a new project today that we hope is as much fun for area high schools as a Friday- night football game at the stadium.

Our “High School Music Video Challenge” aims to grab onto all that viral- video fun and bring it to the Mahoning Valley.

Area schools have been doing music-video lip dubs for a few years. Struthers High School has a lip dub on YouTube. Other schools are on there, too.

Our project aims to gather all that interest and put it into a single contest.

All the vital info and sign-up steps can be found at

To get the project started, we’ve been working with Austintown Fitch and South Range high-school students. They were early and eager volunteers and helped us shape some of the components. You will see them in some commercials over the next few weeks.

One exciting part of our project is local singer-songwriter J.D. Eicher.

If you’ve not bumped into J.D.’s work, you are missing out on a local gem of an artist and performer, along with his band, The Goodnights.

His song “I’d Like To Get To Know You” is as catchy and upbeat as any you’d find on mainstream radio. He gets nice radio play on 91.3 The Summit FM on that station’s “local musician spotlight.”

That’s the song we are using for our “High School Music Video Challenge.” In addition to its poppy-mainstream feel, the lyrics are a great tribute to friendship, meeting others and eyeing better living — themes that all tie in to the anti-bullying theme we’re also targeting.

Music videos certainly are not normal newspaper content, but that’s the beauty of today’s media. We can do so many more things for the community than back in the day.

Music videos are content at their core.

And like our traditional work, we’re aiming to rally an entire Valley around a singular effort.

Most important to me in this project is celebrating local talent.

The students already involved will produce great things, I’m sure. And I expect the same as more schools discover this new creative outlet.

And I also like that it involves a talented local musician such as Eicher. Most lip dubs tend to use famous and well-traveled rock anthems, and that’s cool.

But I love local — even in my music.

Lots of my favorite bands can trace their national fame back to their local supporters: Springsteen needed New Jersey; Pearl Jam needed Seattle; Hootie and the Blowfish needed South Carolina.

I think local life is a bit unfulfilled if the local arts community is not enriched and invested.

That’s where having Eicher and his talent as part of this is special for us.

Again — all the info you need is on

This project is ripe for an ambitious high-schooler to rally his or her school into a positive campus activity.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at He blogs, too, on Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.

More like this from