Depicting a hypothetical “new normal” – a world in which teachers have guns – “Stop The Madness” uses a light-but-cautionary tone to add to the conversation of gun safety in schools. The series of three satirical sketches was created by writer/producer Joel Surnow in collaboration with psychologist Dr. Frank Sergi, director Brendan Gibbons, acclaimed composer Sean Callery, and production company Station Film.
Since Columbine, the mantra of many elected officials has been “More guns, less gun control,” and following the Parkland massacre last February, some politicians even suggested that schools should arm educators. Joel Surnow discussed his motivation for creating the project, saying “How do you change the minds of citizens who are so dead set in their opinions about guns? It’s my opinion that you can’t. All that can be done is to mobilize the people who feel that the laws must change and vote into office like-minded politicians.”
Feeling a connection to the tone of the scripts and their surprising element of humor compelled director Brendan Gibbons to join the project. “I believe that sometimes the best way to help people see the absurdities of our world through a clear lens is to surprise them with humor,” he says. “It’s my hope that these films can help do just that and mobilize some common-sense action in the face of this devastating phenomenon.”
Using absurdity to convey the message, the goal of the campaign is to motivate viewers to vote out those politicians running for office in November who aim to prevent limits on the distribution and use of guns. The #VoteEmOut website also provides interested citizens with gun safety and nonpartisan resources to encourage educated voting.