"Until the Lions have their own historians,
the history of the hunt will always glorify the Hunter. "
FOUNDER / CREATOR
Lifetime of advocating
for working people
thru the use
"Catering2Us is part of the People’s Hollywood, a project of Brooklyn Young Filmmakers (BYFC), a volunteer-run, small non-profit demonstration project, I started years ago in Fort Greene.
My favorite quote of his...
"Faith is taking the first step
even when you don't see
the whole staircase."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
For years with different groups of volunteers and consultants and in different locations, we experimented with different services and formats in pursuit of low-cost ways to introduce working communities – adults not just teens, and communities not just individuals – to low/no budget filmmaking, and all the skills, experiences, and collaborations it can expose you to. Plus it’s an easily accessible entry level introduction to the diverse jobs in the NYC film industry.
(When I say years of experimentation with approaches, you can't begin to understand what I mean if you haven't stopped to take a look back..... )
Since 2014 BYFC has been without a public office. With a tiny board, our focus turned to developing a concept for a People’s Hollywood, a low/no budget community filmmaking district. The goal being to weave together, in the neighborhoods from Brownsville to Bushwick, a network of resources (businesses, artists, locations, mentors) willing to assist the short film shoots of adult beginner filmmakers for small fees or as a loan or donation, in addition to learning and networking opportunities.
I created the site www.peopleshollywood.nyc to present our concept. As it was ready to launch the pandemic struck and we were told to isolate. I hid the pages dedicated to organizing a community filmmaking district, and showcased the site's free online beginners scriptwriting lessons. Scriptwriting you can do on your own.
Then I was alone (with two cat friends YoYo and Sol), comfortable in my rent stabilized apartment (the last one left in my building in a very gentrified Fort Greene neighborhood) fighting off a personal funk. So much time and so little ability to focus !
That’s when I came up with the idea to write short ‘mini-bite’ stories about my life-expanding experiences in the NYC catering industry, and Catering2Us was born as a platform to encourage others to share their stories. I created the Magician’s No-Writing Storytelling Workshop and then the Story Sharing Game, and now it all makes sense to be part of a People’s Hollywood. Catering2Us establishes a fun at-home beginning step into storytelling for anyone.
All this backstory makes clear how personal this project is to me, and that I'm no expert. But I know how to take the little I know and teach and (maybe most important) encourage others who know less than me. I taught myself how to build and design this website, and used my collage artwork. Because I believe in myself and (enjoy) my own potential, I can so believe in the buried, unrecognized potential of others. It's exciting to imagine that Catering2Us can help that potential be expressed."
When we share in vivid detail our unique life stories
WE REALIZE NO ONE IS ORDINARY !
(What matters is how we tell our stories)
Many thanks to my advisory group of consultants and editors who have
supported the development of Catering2Us and the Story Sharing Game.
Special thanks to Tom, Ronnie, Russell, Peter, Adonis,
Jonah, David, and Nandor !
In the late 90s I was learning to survive in NYC as a waiter while at the same time learning to write scripts and cutting my teeth volunteering in various jobs on low/no budget short film shoots. This was after I had started using storytelling as a healing tool in my first career in Oakland, California, working as a counselor and organizer in grassroots rape and family violence victims programs.
I don't remember the event, but Ms. Skitte, a Brooklyn Technical High School media teacher, heard me speak about what I was learning crossing over from social work to filmmaking, and she invited me to come talk to her seniors. In the classroom before them, love was immediate and mutual, and they wanted me back. Then Ms. Skitte made a surprise offer -- (5) interns and meeting space in her suite of rooms.
DING!!! went off inside. I immediately accepted, without thought to what I was going to teach them or how interns could help my filmmaking ambitious. There was comfort in the idea. Somehow I felt I was getting on a path that would circle back to the issues and insights of my first career -- but with a new focus on self-development, collaborations, and creative expression. It was a big-ole mystery to start -- what was I doing with interns (in-between my catering shifts).
But I'm a Capricorn (and a Black Woman Capricorn at that), and when I believe somehow I'm aimed at a righteous (though not yet seen) end, there's no giving up.
If we as working people -- Black and Brown people, women, immigrants, transgender, anyone who has been marginalized -- want to see honest and inspiring stories about ourselves on the screen and discussed in the houses of government, we need to learn how to write about ourselves in vivid words and images that transport others into our experiences.
It's no easy matter for someone -- especially a working person -- to start writing truthfully about their own personal life, and believe that there is a value in doing so. Even if that person is an accomplished writer who has previously written fictitious stories based on real issues from their own life. To say publicly, this is me, that's a whole different level of reveal.
That's why we need a Catering2Us forum to encourage and validate each other's stories about the complexity and challenge for working people of living everyday life.
“Talking to oneself is a recognized means to learn, in fact, self-speak may be the seed concept behind human consciousness...Writing out our private talks with oneself enables a person to 'see' what they think, a process that invites reflection, ongoing thoughtful discourse with the self, and refinement of our thinking patterns and beliefs. ”
― from 'Dead Toad Scrolls' by Kilroy J. Oldster