When three medical college students wanted to help during the pandemic, they turned to their creativity. The result was an award-winning video designed to encourage and applaud frontline workers.
Tyler Beauchamp, Rushay Amarath and Andy Nguyen were early in their studies at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University when the lockdown came.
That limited what they could do to help. So, they wrote a song and created a music video, Stay Inside: A Toast to the Frontline,” which was recently named the top winner in the 2023 Memmys, hosted by the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia.
“Coming in, we either were putting aside a lot of creative aspects or doing it minimally,” said Beauchamp, who will graduate in 2024. He plans to go into pediatrics. “I was doing some music on the side. Rushay was too. I was writing and not telling anyone about it. Andy was just starting his YouTube channel. I think we were really nervous about how it might be perceived – like we were not giving it our all to our studies or to medicine, but the second we started working on this project, it kickstarted my studies.”
Amarath, who graduates this month and will head to Wellstar Kennestone in Marietta for a transitional year of residency before heading to Emory for a residency in diagnostic radiology, took the lead on the video using Kanye West’s 2010 hit Runaway for inspiration while Beauchamp helped with the lyrics and sang.
They both have musical backgrounds. Beauchamp grew up surrounded by music as the son of a musician and Amarath played in the marching band in high school.
When they initially recorded the video in 2020, they used their phones and computers, and Beauchamp admits the quality wasn’t the best.
“It’s really bad,” he said of the early effort.
The genius behind the video was Nguyen, another member of the Class of 2024. Everything changed when he joined the project.
“From there, it skyrocketed. We finished studies at 1 in the morning and started filming at 2 in the morning,” he said.
It was tricky filming during the pandemic with social distancing and masks and people being urged to stay inside.
“It was just the three of us. We didn’t really have a crew with us or funding. When you see shots in streets — walking and panning — if there’s one person in the shot, that means Andy is holding the camera and the other person not in the shot was doing lighting among other things. The real complicated ones were when Rushay and I were in the scene together,” he said.
At the end of the video is a montage of frontline workers. Photos were gathered from across the country to include in the video. It was released in March 2021.
Not only did those in the medical community see the video, but the video gained some national attention as well and was almost featured on an ABC national newscast. Everything had been prepped and ready including consulting with Kanye’s lawyers. At the last moment, it was bumped for a breaking news story.
Beauchamp said the attention has been great, but what has meant the most to the three of them have been the comments from its intended audience.
“That’s been my favorite part,” he said. “We wanted it to be a feel-good piece. It did its job. “
With his creativity released, Beauchamp has pursued other outlets including writing a book called Freeze Frame.
It was born out of COVID in a way as well, he said.
During lockdown, he spent most of his time in a windowless room. He found it isolating. Isolation is something he sees in a lot of children and young adults. They feel like they are alone when in reality, many others are feeling similar things.
In Freeze Frame, his main character has “significant atypical PTSD that manifests in episodes of film genres. If he gets scared, he’s pulled into the floor into a real-life horror movie. Some friends are trying to steal something from a teacher’s room for a project, and it turns into Oceans 11. He falls for someone, and it’s a romcom,” he said.
As for the Memmy awards, Beauchamp said he and his friends are happy to have received the honor.
Since 2013, the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia has presented the awards. The Medical College of Georgia’s Greenblatt Library will receive $1,500 and a plaque recognizing the video and dedicated to the frontline workers it honors.
“By combining popular songs and student experiences, the videos give a glimpse into the often challenging but ultimately rewarding lives of students in the health profession. More than being a catalog of inside jokes, however, they represent a platform for creativity and an opportunity for students to showcase talents beyond academic achievements,” according to the USC website.
Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at email@example.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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