Stop The Horror | The Webby Awards

Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

Describe your Webby-nominated project.What’s the elevator pitch?

"Stop The Horror" is an interactive film that tells the true story of Greg Sims - a terminally ill patient. It captures the horrific pain and suffering he had to endure at the end of his life. The film is so raw and uncensored that an on-screen button allows you to escape the film when it becomes too much to watch. When you click away, we reveal that Greg Sims did not have that same right—he could not escape the horror. We then give you a way to prevent this sort of suffering, by voicing support for a compassionate voluntary assisted dying law to your local parliamentarian.

Why this particular cause as the subject of your project/campaign? Was there a moment that inspired it?

Everyone should have the right to die without the trauma of pain and suffering. However, statistically, 4% of terminally ill patients will find no medication or treatment to relieve their suffering; without a voluntary assisted dying law this minority is forced to endure a brutally painful end to their lives. This fact really affected us. It shaped the campaign.

What concerns were there about pursuing this idea? How did you get past them?

Our biggest concern was credibility. The story we were telling was true. But it was so dramatic and explicit we were concerned people would argue it was sensationalised; we were worried that the opposition would use the graphic nature of the film against us. As a result, we were very (very) careful not to inflate the story in any way. In fact, we gated every step of the process with approvals by Greg Sims’ family so that we were certain we remained true to the events and did not misrepresent anything. The film you see is how it happened—and that’s what makes it so hard to watch.

What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project? What did you learn in the process that you didn't know/expect going into it?

When we originally read Greg’s story, all we could take from it was suffering and pain. Then we started to produce the film and the website. The thing that struck us was how much creative generosity there was towards this story—from directors and cast to developers and designers, people came forward with their own stories and were galvanised into action. His story moved people to want to change things. When the bill was finally passed in parliament, it was the phone call from Greg’s family that meant the most—they said it was the first time they felt there was meaning to Greg’s struggle at the end of his life.

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project? Did the real-world impact meet your expectations?

Our goal was to make sure politicians voted in favour of the voluntary assisted dying bill so that we could change the law. We realized that the only way they’d do that was if they realized the voters in their constituency were actively in favour of it. And even then it’s politics—anything can happen! So, when parliament voted in favour of the new law, it was met with a lot of relief and a bit of pride.

Did your team have a specific “breakthrough” or “a-ha” moment while formulating or executing this project?

Go Gentle have published a book called "The Damage Done." The book tells the true stories of people who are dying from a terminal illness, their families, and the staff who treat them. The book captures the trauma experienced by these people in dealing with a situation they can do nothing about. In an attempt to understand the issue, we started reading the book. By the third story, most of us were in tears. It was traumatizing. That’s when we realized the answer was right in front of us. We needed to retell one of these stories—as is. We knew people would want to stop watching. And that was the point—if you can’t watch this on a screen, why should this happen in real life?

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

Absolutely. The entire idea is built on the viewer’s interaction with the film. By clicking the "Stop The Horror" button, you were reminded that terminally ill patients don’t have a way out. They cannot stop the horror for themselves because there is no law to help them. You realize that your choice to escape the suffering is the same choice many terminally ill patients want for themselves.

What was the most significant challenge that arose during your work on this?

In general, people don’t want to think about dying. They definitely don’t want to think about voluntary assisted dying. They switch off. When you break it down further, people who support this law are usually apathetic or unwilling to invest any time or energy into their support. In contrast, religious groups (the main opponents to this law) have an audience that is never switched off. Their support is large, unified, and easily engaged. The most significant challenge was engaging people who were not opposed to voluntary assisted dying and turning them into active lobbyists for this law.

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

We wish we knew the answer to this question for now and forever.

Credits

  • Managing Director Dan Ingall Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Executive Creative Director Tom Martin Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Executive Creative Director Julian Schreiver Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Art Director Alastair Flack Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Studio Designer Lorraine Costello Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Group Account Director Joe Godsell Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Integration Manager Olivia Etzine Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Integration Manager Angus Martin Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Executive Digital Producer Celia Karl Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Integrated Producer Georgina Moxey Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Digital Producer James Tammeslid Cummins&Partners Sydney
  • Digital Media Manager Georgia Pedersen Cummins&Partners Melbourne
  • Digital Developer Effy Elden Cummins&Partners Melbourne
  • Director Justin Kurzel Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • MD / Executive Producer Michael Ritchie Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • Executive Producer Pip Smart Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • Producer Serena Paull Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • Producer Alex Kember Revolver/Will O’Rourke
  • Editor Peter Sciberras Arc Edit
  • Colourist Ben Eagleton Be Colour
  • Sound Design & Mix Sam Petty
  • VFX Compositor Richard Betts Fin Design & Effects
  • VFX Producer Emily Newbould Fin Design & Effects
  • Senior Account Director Edwina Brook History Will Be Kind
  • Senior Account Manager Chris Chelvan History Will Be Kind
  • Agency Cummins&Partners
  • Production Company Revolver/Will O'Rourke
  • Edit House Arc Edit
  • SPFX & Make-Up Odd Studios
  • Colour Grade Be Colour
  • Post Production Fin Design & Effects
  • PR Agency History Will Be Kind

About the Best Cause Related Campaign category

Online campaigns that effectively raised awareness for a specific social or political cause.