Scope Seven learning its lesson

Produces enhanced 'Junkie' DVD with curriculum

Not all DVD bonus features are equal. When Hart Sharp Video released the Morgan Spurlock documentary "Super Size Me" three years ago, two versions came to market: a regular edition for consumers and an educationally enhanced edition for teachers, with 24 lessons as well as gamelike assessments and quizzes.

The enhanced edition, which allowed Hart Sharp to break into the lucrative institutional market and sell thousands of additional copies of the film to schools, was produced by Scope Seven, a Los Angeles production company.

Now, Scope Seven is taking matters into its own hands. The company, best known for its DVD-based games, recently came out with an educationally enhanced DVD of the HBO documentary "TV Junkie: Faces of Addiction."

The documentary, produced by Deep Ellum Pictures, chronicles former "Inside Edition" correspondent Rick Kirkham's destructive drug addiction. The enhanced DVD, which is being marketed to schools, includes a wealth of educational features the company hopes teachers will use in the classroom, including lesson plans in health, life skills and language arts; onscreen prompts to guide student viewing, spark discussion and lead to classroom activities; and curriculum connections linking the film to the standards-aligned Anti-Drug Education Program from the New York Times. The DVD also comes with an instructor's manual, printable teacher guides and student handouts.

"Films have long been used in the classroom to educate students, but learning doesn't always happen in a linear fashion," Scope Seven chairman and CEO Bob Hively said. "Through educationally enhanced DVDs like 'TV Junkie,' youths are able to explore the issues presented in the film as they arise rather than waiting to discuss them at the end of the movie."

David Andriole, the producer at Deep Ellum for "TV Junkie," said the educational enhancements were developed while the film was being shot rather than as an afterthought.

"This resulted in an educationally enhanced DVD that is fully aligned to teaching standards, which further legitimizes its use by educators in the classroom," he said. "From the very beginning of the film, it was clear that this story had the power to help others battling addiction."

In a related development, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment are adding optional tracks of bright, bold "Kids Captioning" to popular family films in an effort to build reading skills. The first wave of enhanced "Follow Along" DVDs arrives in stores July 10 and includes "Robots," "The Sandlot" and "Ice Age."