A young boy bends down on the beach to pick up a starfish that is stranded in the sand. He'll put it back in the water, knowing that if he doesn't, it will die.

His teenage companion points to the hundreds of starfish scattered across the beach. "You can't help them all," she says. "What makes you think putting it in the water will make any difference?""It makes a difference to this one."

Making a difference through individual acts is the theme of "Be Excellent," a multimedia motivational film that premiered in Utah Tuesday before students of Highland High School.

The production, underwritten by Pepsi and co-sponsored by Subway Sandwiches, uses a combination of music, dialogue and interviews with musical and sports personalities to get across its drug-free message. The film will be shown in about 25 schools throughout Utah in the next few months.

There are recurring themes: Students at one high school remember and remind others of the dangers of driving while intoxicated by holding "White Face Day." On the day before the senior prom - when drinking is rampant - a portion of the students are selected to wear white-face. These pale "zombies" cannot talk to anyone and no one talks to them as they go about their daily business. They are "dead," victims of combining alcohol and driving.

Other themes?

"Friends can help you in a lot of ways."

"Excellence means pressing on and not giving up."

"Gonna break these chains around me. Gonna learn to fly again."

Finally, there is a message of hope, accompanied by music and dance that seemed to appeal to the audience: "Things'll change. Things'll go your way. Hold on for one more day."

"Be Excellent" is the fifth in a series of programs on how youth can decide not only what happens in their lives, but in the lives of others.

The format is based on MTV and features Top 40 music. The three-screen visuals are interspersed with interviews with people like Magic Johnson, Sammy Hagar, M.C. Hammer and Young M.C., sports footage and testimonials from high-school-age youths who have chosen to clean up their lives and recover from addictions.