“In 1997, a group of film students learned that Los Angeles public schools were cutting creative arts programs from the budget. Knowing the value arts-education held in their own lives, they created a volunteer-based creative arts program they could take directly into public schools.” (From http://www.youngstorytellers.com/)
For close to twenty years, the Young Storytellers Foundation has continued to bring art into thousands of students’ lives. Along the way, New York Film Academy has teamed with YSF by teaching production to their high school students and helping them create their own projects on the Universal backlot.
This year – with the invaluable help of YSF’s Bill Thompson & Pilar Alvarez and Valley View Elementary’s Susan Kim – New York Film Academy has become one of a select few colleges running its own Young Storyteller classroom.
For the eight weeks, a dozen NYFA students and alumni will each mentor a fifth grader from Valley View Elementary school. Led by “head mentors” Dean of Students Eric Conner and Director of Community Outreach Kelly Gardner, the mentors will encourage their students to create and write their own five page screenplays which will be performed as a “live staged reading” by a group of NYFA Actors.
YSF’s Pilar Alvarez trained and prepared the NYFA mentors for the daunting task of keeping up with the ten-year-olds’ minds! Each weekly session will be split between a lecture on the fundamentals of screenwriting followed by and the fifth graders workshopping their own ideas. One lesson in and the budding writers from Valley View Elementary have already reviewed the basics of three-act structure and what makes us all love storytelling.
The young writers devised an agreement detailing how the class will be run and what is expected from each of them (and their scripts). Next week’s class can’t come soon enough. Stay tuned!