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Katy Perry Roar Competition Won by Lakewood High School

The Story Behind the Story

Katy Perry Roars Approval of Lakewood High School's Winning Video
Lakewood High School, Colorado have won the Katy Perry/GMA Roar lip dubbing contest. Perry  announced the winning entry on Oct. 25.  She loved it when she first saw it and even tweeted about it to her many fans. She judged it an epic “win” and declared the school the winner of her co-run Roar lip dub contest.

The contest, which Katy ran with Good Morning America was open to all high schools across the country. Over 80 schools from 44 states entered the contest. Five finalists were chosen from the entries and by the time the counting was done, Perry decided that her first personal favorite was the winner. The prize of the competition was a concert at the winning school by Perry that would coincide with her birthday.

As excited as Katy was at the video, there were quite a few folks who were even more excited. The students of Lakewood High School were ecstatic. They all sat together to see Perry announce the prize winner from a live satellite feed from Good Morning America. GMA sponsored Katy’s contest and on Friday, the singer announced who, out of the five finalists, would be the winner from London.

When the students heard that they had been declared the victors, they “Roar-ed” their approval of Katy Perry’s choosing Lakewood High School as the lip dub epic win. But there were at least three people in the gathering that must have felt a sense of inner satisfaction. Courtney Coddington, Gavin Rudy and principal Ron Castagna were all instrumental in getting the video made and then entered.

In the lead up to the winner’s announcement, the school’s video has had over 2 million views on Vimeo as well as over 300,000 on YouTube. Surprisingly, this was all foreseen by the school’s principal. Castagna was full of praise and support for the project from day one. He has said in interviews that he was proud of his students who wanted to “pay it forward.” It was Mr Castagna who told the student that if they planned it properly the video would be a huge hit.

Courtney Coddington, the director and producer of the video, said that she was just responding to the theme of school spirit. The 17 year-old high school senior explained that Perry’s song Roar, was perfect for that theme.

Apparently, the students had already done a lip dub of the song as a way to get the entire school to come together. Then Coddington heard about the contest, and the groups endeavor shifted focus. According to Courtney, they decided to supersize the event, “go big or go home.” It was Principal Castagna who actually decided that the project should grow in scope. He was very excited about his students passion for the contest and he supported the group from the start.

17 year-old student Jessica Kostelnik, the creative brain behind Coddington, Rudy, and the project in general; said that the principal told them that this school project would be “huge.” He told his creative students that they had a chance to do something that could make an impact on “thousands of lives.” From his enthusiastic support, Kostelnik came up with the idea of “One World, One Roar.”

It was this slogan that the students “tagged” onto their lip dub entry with a challenge to other schools across the country. They challenged other high Schools to raise a minimum of $1,000 to help charities of their own choosing, making a possible total of $39 million. Taking their principal’s vision literally, they wanted to help thousands.

After coming up with the slogan, the students then had to work on marketing their idea, to spread the word, they enlisted the help of Gabriella Visana, a 17 year-old student from the school who was the video’s, and the challenge’s, publicist. As she explained, the video and winning the contest would have been great, but, they wanted to take it to the next level.

The winning video, from Lakewood High School which won the Katy Perry lip dub competition, has an empowering feel to it. Lakewood High School came up with an epic win in their version of Perry’s enthusiastic and uplifting song. The story behind the student’s work is just as uplifting as their final effort.

The GMA contest asked for videos that “illustrated” Katy’s song Roar. The student’s had already decided that they were going to make a lip dub video, the school has done this type of video before, and they just re-imagined their theme, now it would be one of unity. They took their original idea of a one-shot, one-take video of students lip syncing the song, and transformed it into one that would have the entire school syncing to the single.

The video’s director/producer listened to the song while she walked around the school’s building planning shots and locations for the video. She would match a certain segment of lyric to a location, then, she would assign a specific group those lyrics. The only other instruction that the director handed out with the musical assignment was, “Be creative and use your imagination.”

Katy Perry Roars her Approval of winning video
Lakewood High School’s students at the video’s finale.

It was good guidance from the director. The end result is a colorful cacophony of action, enthusiasm, empowerment and lots of Silly String, glitter, banners, and students apparently having the time of their lives.

Coddington revealed that they had a few short rehearsals, mainly to help map out where the camera would be going during filming. Then there was a disastrous “final” rehearsal that left the young director tearfully wondering if they could pull the whole thing off.

But on the day of filming, the Friday of the school’s homecoming weekend, the director asked everyone to to do one last “dress rehearsal” in preparation of the actual filming. She asked all the students to go for it and to “go crazy.”

The film’s cinematographer/editor, Gavin Rudy was the young man tasked with shooting the four minute long video in one continuous take. Luckily, the 18-year-old senior was up to the challenge as he was a prize winning videographer who filmed his friends ski trips. One of which won an award at the school’s film festival.

Rudy said that his fellow students went wild for the filmed dress rehearsal. After filming had finished, they had the feeling that the rehearsal went fantastically well, so they watched the footage. They decided that their “rehearsal” had nailed what they wanted to accomplish, so there was no need for further filming.

The cinematographer/editor revealed that the thing he was proudest of was Good Morning America asking the school for a letter to make sure the video has not been shot by a professional. High praise indeed for the 18 year-old fledgling filmmaker. He also said how lucky they were that the excess of glitter and Silly String did not end up covering the camera lense as it was being “sprayed all over.”

When Katy Perry announced that Lakewood High School won the  lip dub competition  with their epic “win” of a video, she said that the students had “embodied” school spirit in their inclusion of so many different people and groups.  She pointed out that it was “well organised and well done.” Her special concert for the winning school will be on Oct. 25, her birthday, and will not be open to the general public.

By Michael Smith
United Kingdom




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