Archive for January, 2007

Amelia, Debbie and Jason on CBS Channel 13

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Sacramento’s CBS/CW Channel 13 did a story about Adina’s Deck last Friday, October 26th. We are still waiting to receive a copy of the interview. In the meantime, here are some pictures from that morning.

Amelia Varni, “Adina” with directors Debbie Heimowitz and Jason Azicri


Kelcie Stranahan, “Skye,” Ciera Trussell, “Clara” and Amelia Varni in a scene from Adina’s Deck


Amelia did a terrific job talking about Adina’s Deck at the 5:15am time slot! Debbie was on at 6:45am. We will be posting a link to the interview as soon as it becomes available.

New 'generation gap' hurts parent-teen relationships (Inside Bay Area)

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Adina’s Deck was mentioned in this article from Inside Bay Area

New ‘generation gap’ hurts parent-teen relationships
Moms, dads urged to get up to speed on high-tech communication tools
By Barbara Grady, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 10/29/2007

Anna Perez recalls that when she was a teenager, if a boy wanted to call, he had to phone her house — and chances were a parent would overhear at least half the conversation.
“Now they call on cell phones or IM (instant message) each other or send text messages. There is a lot less control over our kids,” said Perez of Oakland, who notes that her 12-year-old son and his friends have access to an entire world of communication tools that are beyond her earshot.
Mary Murtagh, a Berkeley mom, notes that her son — and all young teenagers — have so much more time to explore the Web than adults that they develop a facility parents can’t keep up with. Teens today are experts at social networking, tagging sites for each other, posting photos and videos and sending instant messages, Murtagh said.
Luckily for Perez and Murtagh, their seventh-grade sons are into soccer and sharing cartoons and instant messaging the same friends they hang out with at school — friends who are well-known to Perez and Murtagh.
But a national study that came out of the White House last month said a “technology generation gap” leaves parents today less aware of their teens’ social contacts and activities than they were even a few years ago.
The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a public service effort by the National Office of Drug Control Policy, is focusing this year on telling parents to “get with it” technologically if they are to bridge communication

gaps with their teens.
“There is a new kind of generation gap between parents and teens,” said Scott Burns, deputy director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “We are asking parents to bridge the gap by getting up to speed on the technology teens use.”
The agency has launched what it calls the “Parent Chronicles” on the Web to help parents bridge that gap and teach them how to monitor social networks and use texting and other tools. It can be found at AT&T Inc. is also helping disseminate information about Parent Chronicles by including flyers about it in its bills to customers.
“If, for example, parents believe that because they know how to use the Internet they understand their teens’ experience online or because they talk on a cell phone, they understand how teens use these devices to communicate with each other, they are sadly mistaken,” Burns said.
About 93 percent of teens are online, according to a 2007 report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. And 44 percent of teenagers have cell phones, according to the project’s 2006 report.
Burns said that a survey his agency conducted with random sets of teens and parents found that 75 percent of teens say their parents do not monitor their online activity — even as the majority of the parents say they know where their kids are and who they are talking with.
The Pew Internet study came up with numbers that suggest parents are more diligent: It said 53 percent of parents have filtering software on the computer their child uses at home and 45 percent have monitoring software that traces the Web sites their child has visited. Meanwhile, 85 percent of parents say they have rules about Internet use.
But at the same time, the Pew Internet study found that more than half of teens who use the Internet have profiles on a social network — a medium generally not understood by parents. And the teens have varying attitudes about protecting their privacy. Two-thirds of surveyed teens said they limit their profile access to people they know and communicate only with people they already know. But on the other hand, half say they use the networks to meet new friends.
While the Internet holds huge benefits to teens, such as providing a rich source for research on school projects, Burns warns that, without parental supervision of online activities, young people also can innocently invite strangers into their lives, become victims of cyber bullying or get easy access to illicit drugs.
“In my generation — and I am old — when friends came over, my parents would eyeball them,” he said. “They had a chance to see kids I was hanging out with, see if they were the good crowd or trouble.
“Now, a hundred times a night, kids come into the home and parents don’t know them,” he continued, referring to virtual visits by people on social networks. Some kids video conference each other via webcams.
“My daughter has a webcam and the other night there is this kid in my house,” Burns said. “Turns out they were doing history homework together, but it could have been anything.”
The Parent Chronicles is “a call to action for parents to help them better understand their teens,” he said. The site assigns homework to parents to help get them technologically up to speed and includes a message board for parents to share experiences.
Other experts note that parents are not aware of increasing incidences of “cyber bullying” because those parents don’t understand the ubiquity of social networking and mobile text communications.
Stanford University graduate student Debbie Heimowitz, who produced a video widely disseminated by Bay Area schools about cyber bullying called “Adina’s Deck,” says that among middle school girls in particular, cyber bullying is a serious problem. It occurs when teenagers post insulting or embarrassing things about another teenager on widely read social networks, such as MySpace or Facebook, or send insults as text messages over cell phones.
“Kids are hiding behind the Internet and cell phones, saying things that they would not say in person,” Heimowitz said.
“Seventy-five percent of girls (in middle school) are victims of this,” she said, citing the results of a survey she conducted of 31 kids in Menlo Park and Redwood City.
Such bullying is “psychologically damaging,” Heimowitz said, yet some teens are afraid to tell their parents, since they are on social networks without permission.
Heimowitz also has created a Web site,, to help teenagers deal with cyber bullying.
On the Parent Chronicles site, four families are interviewed about their parent-teen relationships. In each of them, the parents view the relationships as close and say they believe they know what is going on in their child’s life. In separate interviews with the corresponding teens, however, the teens say the parents generally do not know.
“I was a little surprised when I watched the video,” admitted Cindy Keegan of Connecticut, who was interviewed on the site along with her 17-year-old daughter Maggy, an honors student.
“I obviously thought I had a pretty good handle on her life,” Keegan said. “I mostly didn’t realize the kids put that much peer pressure on each other to try things.”
Burns’ biggest concern is that teenagers will find Web sites that will mail them illegal drugs.
“Kids can type ‘methamphetamines’ into a Web search and get all sorts of information about how to get them and how great they make you feel,” he said.

Our first blog, by: Amelia Varni, the actress who plays "Adina"

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Adina’s Deck was my first film experience. Although I always wanted to be in front of the camera, I couldn’t find my way past the stage. I have been involved in musical theater since the age of six. The most difficult part about the transition from theater to film was that I tended to amplify my voice and exaggerate my movements so that the “back row” could both hear and see me perfectly. After many takes, I learned how to stop myself and I realized that the cameras and microphones can pick up the smallest movements and sounds. Filming also takes a very long time.adinaomi.jpg I worked a lot of hours each day we filmed. However, I had fun EVERY moment of filming.

There were so many great people in both the cast and the crew. I became so close with the other three girls – Kelcie, Stephanie, and Ciera. It was as if we were best friends the very first day of rehearsal. Kelcie and I had a blast together. Once we stayed in the same hotel during filming and we spent the night looking at all the pictures we took on the set while watching Boy Meets World in the hotel room. Stephanie and I bonded by singing. On the last day of filming, we sang songs together from our favorite musical, Wicked. Once, our director Debbie sang with us! We all got along so well. Ciera always made us laugh. She was very entertaining! In between each take, we girls spent time talking and giggling about the silliest things! Sometimes Debbie, and the writer, Jason, would join in our laughter.

We even had fun with the crew members! We teased the prop master, Les, about how much he looked like Joey from *Nsync, and we joked around with ‘Todd the Sound Guy’. I never realized how many people it took to set up and then film a scene. There was so much to be done and so many people to make it happen! There was also a lot of food and drinks to keep everyone going. We lived on peanut butter sandwiches, bottled water, and energy drinks for two weekends! Some days we would get really lucky and yummy pasta or CPK (California Pizza Kitchen) was added to our diet. I am SO glad that I am a part of Adina’s Deck. girlsl.jpgWe are sending a great message to all the viewers and we are having a good time while doing it!

East Lansing Children's Film Festival

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Adina’s Deck was accepted into the 2008 East Lansing Children’s Film Festival!

We are so excited the film will be screening in Michigan!


Mark your calendar for Feb. 2008, exact dates will be coming soon.

This will be the second film festival. We were also part of the 2007 Kid’s First Film Festival!

A letter from Teacher Mary Sue Swift

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Thanks Mary!!

By: MarySue Swift
P.E. Teacher for Middle School/Athletic Director
Gateway Christian School

I saw the DVD Adina’s Deck in my Youth at Risk class at Chapman University. At the first mention of cyber bullying I thought it was ridiculous. My actual thought was “so turn off the computer”. After watching the DVD I realized that not only is this a real issue among today’s youth, but that my own teenage daughter had recently been a victim of cyber bullying as well. I immediately purchased a copy of the DVD to have on hand for my children, to show to my principal so we could invite Debbie to do an assembly, and to have for my future work as an MFT working with youth and children.

DVD's are available!

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Thanks to everyone who’s been supporting the project and is working hard educating young people about cyber bullying! We hope that we can help you make an impact at your school or organization!

Since the articles in the SF Chronicle and Daily Review came out last week, we’ve been flooded with emails from all over the country!! We’ve been contacted from teachers, school principals, prevention programs, churches, temples and youth groups– all with the intention to increase education and awarness about Cyber Bullying! Thanks to everyone who’s supporting Adina’s Deck. Let us know how you like the film!

If you would like to recieve a copy of Adina’s Deck, click here:

We can also arrange for reduced rates. We are looking at this as a “donation,” and all donations are going right back to the project! We are all about getting the DVD out there so email us and we’ll work something out! Thank you again to everyone.

Adina's Deck Screening in Modesto this Sat. Oct. 27th!!

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Everyone is invited to the:
Adina’s Deck: Solving Cyber Bullying Mysteries Film Premiere!

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2007
Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I Street, Modesto, California 95354
Adina’s Deck: The Exclusive Detective Agency Specializing in Solving Cyber Bully Mysteries, is a TV pilot that addresses the new problem of bullying by use of technology. The film centers around four tech savvy girls who have either been cyber bullies, or cyber bully victims and now use their experiences to help solve their peers Internet mysteries.

Featuring Local Teen, Amelia Varni as Adina. Directed by Debbie Heimowitz and Jason Azicri Written by Jason Azicri

Adina’s Deck Modesto Premiere will consist of: 30 minute TV Pilot Episode. 10 minute “Behind the Scenes” Documentary Film. 10 minute Blooper Reel 20 minute live question and answer period about cyber bullying and internet safety between the audience and the Lead Characters, Director, and Writer.

Noah’s Spring water has sponsored this event!

Admission: $5 Tickets: (209) 338-2100 ( Gallo Center Box Office)
Online Tickets:
For More Information: www.adinasdeck. com

Homepage for Gallo Arts:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

xmas_adina.gif Wishing all of you a merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Love, Adina’s Deck

thanks to for the picture! 

Health and Adina's Deck

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Since Adina’s Deck is a film about Cyber Bullying, we have focused primarily on mental health. Although we haven’t written about physical health, we all know that it’s extremely important in children. Often, one’s physical health can cause mental health problems and vice versa.

I just found this article on, explaining that doctors have discovered children are now diagnosed with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. This is topic close to my heart because last year at Stanford I worked on a project to help kids with Type 1 Diabetes.

Also, if anyone’s interested in watching, here’s a video I made for the class.

In the future, we’d love to create episodes dealing with health topics such as these.

She's Geeky Conference

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

The last two days were spent at the She’s Geeky Conference with an incredibly smart, talented group of women working in technology. We screened “Adina’s Deck” and had discussions about cyber bullying and internet safety. Great time!
Jason was sorry he couldn’t attend 🙂

One of my biggest take-aways was to BLOG! So, here are some new initiatives/ideas that will be taking place in the next few months:
– Blogs that are testimonials from schools, parents, professionals, and young people who have watched “Adina’s Deck” (Please contact us: to write a blog!!)
– News and updates about Cyber Bullying and Internet Safety
– Links to other leaders in this area
– More posts from our cast and crew members!!
– Inspiration to people who want to start educational initiatives
– Even more Adina’s Deck updates!! Sometimes it’s easy to get busy with Adina’s Deck… and forget to share the news. I will be sharing a lot more of the news on here!
– Updates on speaking engagements. For example, Jason and I did a large presentation for leaders, principals, counselors and other educational professionals in the Stanislaus County School District. We should have written about this!!
– We are also open to suggestions!!

What would you like to read about on the Adina’s Deck Blog?

The Cast

Adina - Amelia Varni
Amelia Varni
Clara - Ciera Trussell
Ciera Trussell
Skye - Kelcie Stranahan
Kelcie Stranahan
Melody - Stephanie Cameron
Stephanie Cameron
Michael - Sam Ison
Sam Ison
Winner Seals