SM West senior wins Kansas Turnpike video contest

Andrew Tabb
Andrew Tabb, an SM West senior, won the grand prize of a DJI Osmo (a steady handheld camera) and $500 for his video production class — all for producing his original video for the Kansas Turnpike Put the Brakes on Fatalities Video Contest.

A senior at Shawnee Mission West won first place in a statewide video contest.

Andrew Tabb competed among about 40 entries across the state in the Put the Brakes on Fatalities Video Contest. He got the call two weeks ago.

“I actually got the call in this class,” he said of his video productions class with Kelly Gill. “I was pretty excited; the class was pretty quiet, so I didn’t scream or anything. It was pretty cool.”

Tabb’s award-winning video displays what distractions at the wheel can actually look like — besides texting and driving. But all forms of distracted driving can have the same ending. Tabb’s father, Scott Tabb, and friend acted alongside him in the video.

Tabb credits his brother, Alex Tabb, for coming up with the idea, especially because the video splits into nine frames played simultaneously.

“We had my dad shaving while driving — he wasn’t actually driving, there was a green screen in the back,” Tabb said. “We had him yelling at me for texting and driving: I thought that was kind of funny. We had Jeff, my friend, and I was making wear like three sets of sunglasses.

“There’s tons of different distractions. The point was that while everybody focuses on texting and driving, there’s a lot of other things to distract you too, and they all ended the same result.”

He took home the grand prize, a handheld steady camera called a DJI Osmo, plus $500 for his video productions class. Tabb said he was amazed when he learned that he was one of a few who competed as a one-man show.

“What they said was amazing, that almost all the entries are teams of people,” he said. “They said I got first place and all the other people worked in teams.”

Tabb won second place last year in the Kansas Turnpike competition for his video work. That piece featured his uncle who had died in a car accident before Tabb was born. Tabb’s uncle was not wearing a seatbelt during the accident, the central component in the video.

Gill said she had “absolute joy for him,” especially because Tabb pushes himself to compete a lot, including in other competitions — most recently with the Student Television Network on his team’s submission with the prompt, “Do the Math.” They expect to hear the results by the end of this year.

“He worked so hard last year, and he took second place, and he was really pretty bummed about it,” Gill said of her student, adding that Tabb is “highly competitive.” “He’s the stealth bomber of our (advanced video productions) group here. He quietly goes about getting his business done. He helps out; you’re not even aware that he’s helped.

“He’s fast, he’s efficient, he’s extremely knowledgeable, he’s highly motivated. This is what he wants to do, and he’s absolutely going to be a huge success; there’s no doubt.”

After graduating, Tabb plans to continue his studies in video production, perhaps at the film school at Columbia College Chicago or the Savannah College of Art and Design.