IN THE MOMENT – HIV prevention campaign at http://www.inthemoment.tv
Created by Dave O’Brien
Orientation: Self-Help Forum Melodramatics
Setting: West Hollywood, California
TRT: 27 episodes averaging 5.25mins
Cast: Jesse Lewis IV, John Bryan Davila, Pete Scherer, Nico Sky, Parv Cheena
Premise: The website describes this Melrose Place-y series as “an HIV prevention campaign of LA Gay & Lesbian Center and the City of West Hollywood” and boy, they are not kidding. Almost every line of dialogue is, seemingly, designed to teach you something about safe sex, addiction or body image. It’s almost drinking game worthy, but… that seems like that would defeat the purpose.
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L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the City of West Hollywood developed the award-winning web soap opera “In the Moment” at a time when traditional, lecture-based HIV prevention programs were becoming less effective than at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in Los Angeles, where we found ourselves competing with a multitude of social options for gay men.
Discussion groups just weren’t working for our community as a way to get the word out about HIV prevention. At the time in 2008, we were experiencing a shift in the way gay men connected with each other – from largely in-person interactions to a greater emphasis on online dating and connecting for sex. We were looking for an opportunity to create a project that would continue to address the myriad issues that we knew were important to address along with HIV prevention, and to make this information accessible online.
“In the Moment” was a first-of-its kind web series that addressed HIV prevention through story telling; connecting the viewers on both emotional and educational levels. Our goal was to give viewers an opportunity to connect the story lines with issues at play in their own lives and to use the episodes to spark conversations with their peers. This was particularly essential at a time when we believed that conversations about HIV were becoming less common, and yet new HIV infections continued to rise among gay men in Los Angeles.
Most viewers interacted with the series by watching episodes on our main website: inthemoment.tv, or on YouTube or Facebook. However, we also found thecontent to be useful in groups as a discussion tool. “In the Moment” has been used in drug treatment programs, schools, staff meetings, after school youth programs, and at universities. Typically, we would show a sequence of episodes and then open up the dialogue for discussion around topics such as dating; HIV/AIDS prevention; crystal meth and other drug use; youth mentoring, and marriage equality. This tool kit has been created to provide you with suggestions for ways to use the content to generate transformative discussions. While there is no “one-way” to use the tool kit, it is our hope that you will review the suggested discussion questions as a way to begin a dialogue with your audience.