Andrew Shields tosses a ball into a plastic cup as part of his trick-shot routine

Teen giving education his best shot

White Rock’s Andrew Shields aims to raise $30,00

When it comes to funding his post-secondary education, it could be said that Andrew Shields’ plan is a little off-the-wall.

Then again, it’s also off the stairs, off the counter, off the deck, off the couch…

In an effort to come up with $30,000 for a year at Vancouver Film School learning video-game design, Shields, 17, has a mind to plot, then sink, 24 ping pong trick shots. He plans to video the increasingly complex series, and post the finished product on YouTube.

The idea came while brainstorming how to manage the hefty tuition with his dad and uncle.

The $30,000 will come – he hopes – through sponsorship of each shot. Depending on the amount sponsored (he’s offering opportunities ranging from $150 to $7,500), Shields says he will do everything from name a sponsor on the screen to wear corporate clothing during the tricks. One platinum sponsor will also have the entire video named after their business or organization, among other perks.

“The big one is the platinum,” he said. “That’s kind of the crazy one; I kinda just threw it in there.”

In a video promoting his plan (www.30kpingpong.com), the White Rock resident emphasizes he’s not looking for a handout, but rather a hand up.

“My parents won’t be giving me any money – which is fine, because I need to work for this,” Shields tells viewers.

He’s managed to save $2,000 of his own money towards his total school tab by working part time at an ice cream and coffee shop. For the moment, the balance is on a student line of credit.

Shields is confident the exposure his ping pong video will receive will be well-worth the investment of anyone who opts to put their money on a shot. A similar video he made with friends about a year ago, has had more than 630 views on YouTube so far. And in this next venture, “we’ll have more shots, we’ll have better shots.”

“It will definitely get more views,” he said.

Because his school schedule is a busy one that includes some 12-hour days, Shields has set an April deadline for producing the video. He knows that completing the shots will be more about perseverance than skill.

“It’s more of a talent of patience. You can stand there shooting a ping pong ball off multiple objects for hours and it can get so frustrating,” he said. “You have to figure out the angles, where you have to place the cup and you just have to go for it.”

There’s also times when it’s almost entirely about luck. Either way, after hours of trying to make a shot work, the sound of the ball finding its mark is “just the best thing,” he said.

The task is much like that challenged by the Hasbro game, Cuponk, in which players must complete ping pong trick shots into a cup that lights up and makes various sound effects if the shot is successful. Shields’ said the game played no role in his idea. In fact, he hadn’t even heard of it.

Word about his sponsorship idea, however, is gaining interest. So far, at least seven shots have been claimed, for a total of $1,750.

“I do believe the more original part about it is what sells the idea,” he said. “It’s an original and crazy idea.”

To sponsor a shot or for more information, visit www.30kpingpong.com

 

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