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Paralyzed at 17 (2004) HD online

Paralyzed at 17 (2004) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Documentary / Short
Original Title: Paralyzed at 17
Director: Gavin W. Miller
Writers: Gavin W. Miller
Released: 2004
Budget: $10,000
Duration: 30min
Video type: Movie
"Paralyzed at 17" is the true story of a typical, invincible teenager's mistake (the same mistake many teenagers make) that left him permanently paralyzed, and his struggle to overcome severe adversity to heal the pain he caused himself and his family. Like many teenagers, he had a love/hate relationship with his parents and rebelled against them, because he couldn't understand why they were so strict on him, but the moment his parents walked into his intensive care unit and saw him paralyzed and barely alive, he finally understood that all they were trying to do was protect him from this. This film saves kids' lives by helping them understand ... BEFORE it's too late for them.
Credited cast:
Gavin W. Miller Gavin W. Miller - Host

Gavin Miller spent 19 years writing the 3,400-word script for this half-hour film - over half his life. He began on 9 November 1985, the day he became permanently paralyzed. This film would be his personal testimony, and he hoped it would save other kids from going through what he went through. Then in January 2004, he spent several days turning his life into a screenplay by watching old videos of his speeches from as far back as 14 years, and by reading newspaper articles and reviews of his testimony. He paid very close attention to the hundreds of letters from kids and adults who had heard his testimony, to determine exactly which parts meant the most to them. He decided to add four of his TV PSAs to help visualize his testimony and increase the film's impact. He also added chapter titles to increase the film's pace. Gavin decided he would tell his story the same way he has on stages across America, as a heartfelt monologue delivered from his wheelchair.

Miller's 3,400-word monologue in the film was captured with a single lapel microphone.

Two lights were used for the film. The first two-thirds of the script are intense and dark, so only one light was used to reflect that darkness. The last third of the film is more inspirational, so both lights were turned on for those scenes.

The post-production of this film required two computers (a PC and a Mac) and six software applications. Miller used the Windows version of Photoshop Elements ($99) to digitize the still photographs, because his scanner wouldn't work with his Mac. He then transferred the stills to his Apple PowerBook G4 and used iPhoto to organize them. He downloaded the film's royalty-free music files from Apple's .Mac website ($99 per year) and used iTunes to organize them. He created the film's scrolling end credits using LiveType that comes with Final Cut Pro but used iMovie to edit the film. But not long into having to edit with a single video track, he greatly wished he had used Final Cut Pro. Finally, he used iDVD to create the DVD menus and burn the DVDs.

The film credits include a PSA called "Decisions" which was actually cut from the film for length. That PSA, produced in 1991, is included in the bonus features of the DVD. About five minutes of Miller's dialogue was also cut for length, but cutting those scenes bothered Gavin so much that he edited them all into a single sequence and included them in the DVD's bonus features as "Deleted Scenes". Miller also produced an Outtakes reel and added that to the bonus features as well, but as you can probably tell from watching the film, there were very few laughs while making it.