Friday, January 29, 2010

Future of America

In 2001 I tried my hand at a documentary about a group of kids that dropped out of the public school system for all different reasons and then found their way back into a charter school to finish their degree. I spent over a year or two following them to birthday parties, old schools, cemeteries, hang outs with friends, classes, prom and eventually graduation (for at least one of them). I didn't love the technical aspect of putting it all together, but I did love listening to their stories and following them through their lives-- highs and lows.

The two biggest things I learned from this experience-- I have a major soft spot for troubled teens and I'm not a documentary filmmaker. I wish I had the patience, technical skills and courage to pursue documentary filmmaking, but I don't. So--

Flash forward to 2007. Stacy and I started working with a group of our teen film students on putting together a narrative version. We'd collaboratively write a script and shoot it documentary style. That went forward for a few months and then collapsed.

Flash forward to 2008. Stacy and I and the same group of students decided to go back to the original documentary idea. We met with a major non-profit in Austin for a few months and tried to connect with their teens. Once again, it fell through.

Flash forward to 2010. The teens (now several years older) decided (on their own) to go back and make a narrative version. They recently came to me, 84 page script in hand full of questions and excitement. You have no idea how happy it made me to get that email in my inbox. So I will be their proud mentor as they move forward into pre-production on the feature that they hope to shoot this summer.

Go team Kick Ass Kids!

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