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Teen playing it safe with video
Local teen a finalist in contest
1 Contest WEB
Caleb Diaddigo, 17, looks at his video entry to the Bridgestone Safety Scholars Video Contest. Diaddigo is one of the top 10 finalists in the contest, which received more than 2,500 entries from across the United States and Canada. - photo by Crystal Ledford

At a glance

To vote for Caleb Diaddigo’s video, go to Diaddigo’s entry is titled “My Best Friend Jake.” Voting ends Friday.

A Forsyth teen is hoping his message of safe driving will soon be seen across the nation.

Caleb Diaddigo, 17, is one of 10 finalists in a national video contest sponsored by Bridgestone.

Diaddigo was among more than 2,500 teens from the United States and Canada who submitted 25- or 55-second videos on safe driving as part of Bridgestone’s fifth annual Safety Scholars Video Contest.

Diaddigo was inspired by the contest’s prize, a $10,000 scholarship for first place and $5,000 for second and third.

“My dad and I were just looking through scholarship sites when we found the Bridgestone competition and just clicked on the link,” Diaddigo said.

The winning video will also be used by the company as a national public service announcement.

Diaddigo said the contest is a perfect fit for him, who graduated from the Veritas School, a homeschool program, in May.

“It’s always cool to enter video contests because I enjoy making videos and it’s actual experience for the future,” he said.

Diaddigo plans to attend the Atlanta campus of Savannah College of Art and Design this fall, majoring in motion media design.

“It’s kind of a broad topic,” he said. “It’s a combination of animation, visual effects and motion graphics.”

Bridgestone has posted the 10 finalists’ videos on its Web site. Visitors are invited to vote for their favorite through Friday, and online votes will determine the winners.

Diaddigo said he brainstormed storyline ideas with his father, Daniel, and brother, Joshua, then set to work using Adobe After Effects to create the 55-second public service announcement.

Titled “My Best Friend Jake,” the spot features pencil-like drawings to tell the story of a young man who, through texting while driving, causes his best friend’s death.

“Every time I watch it, I almost cry,” said Diaddigo’s mom, Kelle.

As a top-10 finalist in the contest, Diaddigo received a set of Bridgestone tires, but he didn’t get to enjoy those.

“I don’t have a car, so my dad got the tires,” he said, noting he also had “to rush to get his driver’s license” to fulfill a contest requirement.

He said he was “pretty excited” when he learned he was a finalist.

“Especially after we saw how many entries there were,” he said.

Now he hopes to garner enough votes to win.

“A $10,000 scholarship would go a long way,” Diaddigo said.