Arts education is a critical component of a well-rounded education. By engaging and developing all of a student’s learning faculties, the arts:
- Challenge imagination;
- Give students the opportunity to explore ambiguity and emotion; and
- Introduce critical thinking concepts such as interpretation, connection, engagement, and reflection.
In many public schools, however, a lack of consistent funding leaves students without access to the arts. A recent survey by public radio station KPCC noted that while arts education is a mandated part of the curriculum for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), only 1 in 3 students receive full access to arts programming.
Bottom line: Students are not being given consistent access to programs that will help their developmental growth, aid their literacy, help control behavioral issues, and give them the potential to thrive at higher levels of academics.
Here’s how we work to rewrite that script.
The Young Storytellers Journey
Script to Stage
A semester-long, Common Core-aligned elementary school program where students write their own original short script, then see it performed live by professional actors.
The Script-to-Stage program meets once a week for ten weeks, typically for an hour during unstructured school lunch time. Led by a volunteer Head Mentor, each session is a mixture of creative game play and one-on-one writing time. Students are paired with a mentor from the entertainment industry to help guide and encourage them as they imagine and develop their own short script. At the end of the program, professional actors volunteer to perform the students’ scripts at an in-school assembly called the “Big Show.”
A year-long, after-school screenwriting and film production program for middle school students culminating in a pitch and screening of student-made films.
Over two semesters, Movie Makers guides students through the process of creating their own short film. Professional Teaching Artists work with high school mentors (from our P.O.V. program) to help students develop ideas using group activities and hands-on experience. Professional actors are recruited to perform in the films while Movie Makers students act as directors and cinematographers. The program culminates in both a screening for family and friends and the creation of a trailer for the film that the students use to pitch their project to industry producers.
A year-long writing and filmmaking intensive program for high school students based in self-exploration.
Students in the P.O.V. program explore their unique point of view using personal stories, themes, and questions important to them. Using this material as inspiration for their writing process, students develop a film project. P.O.V. guides students through crafting a logline and treatment in the style and genre they choose, writing and directing a short film, editing their film, and pitching their film to industry professionals. P.O.V. participants receive industry-focused Master Classes, may attend the NY Film Academy Summer Camp at Universal Studios (at no cost), and may be hired as paid summer program teaching artists and documentarians for Young Storytellers. The year-long program culminates in a screening of student produced films for family and peers.
A college-based opportunity for community engagement around Young Storytellers programming.
College Chapters offer students in higher education an opportunity to develop and implement Young Storytellers programs in their local community. This serves the dual purpose of expanding the geographic reach of Young Storytellers while also demonstrating the accessibility of a higher education to children who otherwise might have no relationship to a college or university. With active chapters at USC, UCLA, Columbia University, Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Northridge, and Loyola Marymount University, each program involves ten college students mentoring ten Script to Stage students in a local public school. College students studying theatre are recruited to participate as actors in the Big Shows.
Script to Stage