Young Storytellers develops creative learning behaviors through the art of storytelling. These include curiosity, open-mindedness, imaginative thinking, the ability to identify and solve problems, collaborative problem solving, and confidence in students’ right and ability to influence change. Using group exercises and volunteer mentors, we provide underserved young people in the public school system an opportunity to write stories and see them brought to life through performance and film production. At the core of our programming are thousands of adult volunteers who donate their time to mentor individual students and perform their works on stage and film.
When looking for how this program impacts young people, one statistic stands out: 100% of Young Storytellers participants complete their project. Put another way, every student that begins to write a script completes it. For young people who may not see themselves reflected in the current offerings on TV and film, the one-on-one mentorship provided by Young Storytellers offers support as they develop their confidence and agency.
Students leave the program with the knowledge that their stories matter and that their unique voices can be the ones telling them.
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, Cal State Los Angeles, and Studio School Los Angeles, 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