How To Come Up With A Vision
"The most revolutionary ideas are not sellable,
but only mind-changing."
- Marina Abramovic, Artist
WHAT TO TEACH? AND WHO?
(1999 - 2004)
After a Brooklyn Tech High School media teacher in 1999 makes a surprise offer of interns to developing filmmaker Trayce Gardner, she has to figure out what to do with them........
DAILY NEWS Sunday, February 6, 2000
They establish a themed film salon series, bringing together different ages, showcasing both narrative and documentary short films by youth media programs, high school, college, and indie film-makers. It is hosted by St. Francis College in 2000
Project Teen Aid offers the group, which names itself the Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Center (BYFC), non-profit sponsorship and an in-kind office. BYFC secures its first grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council in 2001 to offer a short scriptwriting class for older teens and adults. And their film salon moves.....
LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY
Media Department Newsletter, 2001
The BYFC May 2001 Film Salon, 'When The New Neighbors Have More Money - How Do We Get Together', in addition to featuring excerpts from films on gentrification, brings together a panel of Fort Greene cultural, business, education, government, and public housing leaders, most had never met before. Out of this BYFC organizes the Fort Greene Information Exchange (FGInfoX), which meets bi-monthly for a two hour luncheon that rotates to different parts of the neighborhood from the public housing community centers to BAM to ConEd to A.R.T. New York. Eventually over fifty organizations join. BYFC's ultimate goal is to organize a network of diverse resources that can eventually support local low/no budget beginning filmmakers.
Several years before the NYC Mayor's Office Of Film & Entertainment began offering free public seminars on careers in film....
There was BYFC's
Careers In Film Salon Series
The BYFC Film Club Reviews were available in BAM's lobby
DO WE GET TO BE PART OF IT?
(2004 - 2007)
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers organizes two community forums -- one for leaders and one
for community members -- to discuss creating educational programs to help introduce
local residents to the jobs in the soon to be booming New York City film industry.
BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE April 19, 2004
New York State and City approve major tax credits for the film and TV industry. It is announced that Steiner Studios will open the next year in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Steiner will be the largest studio facility in the U.S. outside of Hollywood.
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers obtains its own non-profit status, and is offered an in-kind office in the Walt Whitman Center in Fort Greene Public Housing. BYFC begins offering an 'Intro To Production Assistant' class in addition to its 'Intro To Scriptwriting' class.
With its new office in public housing, BYFC proposes that the FGInfoX began offering 4x a year free forums for community members on the various careers in film, arts, and business, with member organizations providing presenters.
The Mayor's Office of Film adopts a professional level film production assistant program created by Brooklyn's 5th Avenue Committee. It becomes the MADE IN NY PA program, hard to get into but with excellent results as its young adult trainees infiltrate and find their places in the NYC film industry.
From BYFC's community perspective though, nothing has happened except residents see more film shoots going on in their neighborhoods. Filmmaking still seems overwhelming and intimidating to the average person. BYFC focuses on helping working adults see that they can do filmmaking on a DIY basis with just the resources they already have.
DAILY NEWS January 9, 2007
Look, detective, there are matters at stake here that are a little bit above your pay grade.
Why don't you just tell the mayor to raise my grade to the right level? Problem solved.
From 'INSIDE MAN'
A Spike Lee / 40 Acres
& A Mule Film
At the same time the BAM LDC plans go into high gear to create a high-end cultural district (where there is already a grassroots one). The majority of FGInfoX organizational members vote that it is more important to focus on the growth of the cultural district, rather than on finding new ways to connect local residents to that growth. (FGinfoX folds in 2007 after a new BAM LDC Cultural District networking group takes hold.)
BYFC FILM SALONS
Gaffers & Grips
Hair, Make-Up & Wardrobe
MAKE A FILM: SHOWING HOW TO
(2007 - 2013)
Two former BYFC students who are making their college senior thesis short film together with limited resource -- needing more guidance and helping hands -- return to BYFC, which becomes a co-producer and recruits its students as crew and extras.
BROOKLYN DOWNTOWN STAR jJanuary 17, 2007
(2007, 25 min)
Shot in Brooklyn and Harlem in (5) locations
students from its classes to be production assistants to assist all the crew departments, as well as handling catering and craft services and doing extra work.
A BYFC student wanting to transition from working as a fashion make-up artist gets her first
The cast of kids for the futuristic sci-fi
film about a world gone primitive were recruited from Fort Greene public housing. Their
while helping out
as production assistants.
Co-producing BACK STREETS and seeing how eager college film students and developing indie crew are to get work experience on shoots they don't have to produce leads to the creation of a new BYFC class.
NYC COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY Continuing Education Course Catalogue
BYFC started offering its Scriptwriting and Production Assistant classes at NYC College of Technology's Continuing Ed in 2006. In 2007 it adds a third class where a student script is chosen to produce. The 'Make A Film' Class Series is offered twice a year. Twelve short films are produced between 2007 - 2013, with hired cinematographers who mentor the BYFC students who assist them.
MAKE A FILM CLASS SERIES
FROM PAWNS TO KINGS
THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR
OPEN / CLOSE
BYFC continues to offer public workshops on different film departments at various community locations.
BYFC Ends 'MAKE A FILM' Class Series
- The downtown Brooklyn Continuing Ed classes attract students from all over, including the Bronx, Staten Island, and New Jersey. When the classes are over students return to their different communities, making it difficult to build an alumni community.
- Class focus is on giving students hands-on production experience. But what to do with the footage? Students view and evaluate raw footage from their shoots, but there is no fourth class -- post production -- or budget. Volunteer editors work with the instructor. Six of the twelve films get final edits and public screenings (all of which takes time from the program's educational priorities).
- There are no non-profit funding sources for teaching narrative film (as oppose to documentary) to working adults who have limited budgets and no social program supported problems (i.e. addiction, trauma, etc.).
- BYFC creates its own curriculum for quickly introducing beginners to all the aspects of writing, producing, and shooting a low/no budget film.
- The Community Scavenger Hunts BYFC conducts for each shoot are successful in bringing in loans and donations of camera and lighting equipment, props, set materials, wardrobe, artwork, and use of original music for the soundtracks. This shows that diverse elements of the community might support low/no budget short film shoots by adult beginners.
- Union film professionals, college film students, and indie filmmakers representing all the film crafts are recruited as class mentors, panelists, and workshop presenters. They all say they get few requests to give back to local communities. There is interest in volunteering on an occasional basis if the commitments can be flexible to accommodate changing freelance schedules.
WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE PROS ?
BYFC Rebrands As It Seeks To Take Filmmaking Education For Adults Out To Public Spaces !
(2013 - 2015)
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers publicly rebrands as the People's Hollywood project (ending confusion about the 'young' in its name -- which is meant to mean young to filmmaking, not young in age), as it develops a concept for creating community support for low/no budget short film productions by beginning adult filmmakers.
BYFC's focus shifts to the local community and how to engage them in supporting beginning filmmakers. BYFC had moved its office in 2011 to the Trilok Fusion Center in Clinton Hill, after the Whitman Community Center in Fort Greene closed. It now promotes its project to Myrtle Avenue neighborhood businesses.
The starting (?) -- Would the business be willing to rent its location in the hours it is closed (with its employee overseeing) for a small fee to a small shoot by adult beginning filmmakers, overseen by a trained People's Hollywood location manager ?
BYFC recruits (5) businesses, within a few blocks, that are willing to rent out their locations for small fees. One business makes a surprising offer -- Would BYFC like to offer workshops in its location? The Black owner is concerned at how quickly the area is gentrifying and wants a way to attract the new foot traffic into his business.
The (5) businesses (3 casual restaurants, an ice cream/sweets shop, and a beauty salon, all owned by people of color) agree to host BYFC filmmaking seminars in their locations, both when businesses are closed and opened. PEOPLE'S HOLLYWOOD location decals go into their windows. Both BYFC and the businesses are hoping for the same -- that people will come either to buy or to learn, and discover the other.
In the summer of 2013 one of the businesses makes a surprising offer -- Would BYFC be interested in renting their backroom as an office and for small classes and use their store space to host events?
In October BYFC moves into Huey's Chueys Ice Cream & Sweets. BYFC and the twin sister owners of Huey's plan how to transform the store space so that by the spring it'll be a 'sweet cultural center'.
The Winter of 2013-2014 was one of the coldest in decades in the northeast, the grey ice on the sidewalks never melting. Huey's closes in March 2014. (In 2021, only (1) of the (5) businesses is still open.)
WHAT IF WE HAD A STORE?
The BYFC founder/director started taking small business start-up courses after moving into Huey's. She continues taking courses after the store closes. One of the major anchors of a business plan will be its location. The neighborhood where BYFC started is now the gentrified Barclays Center / Cultural District, and grassroots organizations with their own spaces have died out or relocated. BYFC goes looking in other neighborhoods at storefront spaces, ending up at the Moore St Market in Bushwick, a strug-gling old-fashion open indoor food market with mostly Latino vendors.
The Moore St Market is being run for New York City by a non-profit. The BYFC director meets with the non-profit's Market director to ask what the rent is for a small Market stall. BYFC is researching for a 'People's Hollywood Concession Stand' business plan, which would combine the sale of ice cream, donuts, drinks, candies, and healthy snacks -- all by Brooklyn food artisans -- with the sale of beginner filmmakers books and special effects make-up, and pop-up presentations by filmmakers (which could happen in the Market's performance area).
The Market's director makes a surprising offer -- Would BYFC like to rent a suite of storage cages in the Market's basement as office and equipment space and use open space in the basement to teach classes? In exchange for low rent BYFC would agree to organize monthly free filmmaker presentations in the Market's performance area. It would put BYFC in line for renting a Market stall when its business plan was ready to enact. BYFC, with out-of-pocket investing, moves into the Market basement.....
Downstairs working on a business plan to make it upstairs....
In November 2014, two months after BYFC moves into the basement of the Market and before it starts offering services, the City's Economic Development Corporation takes over the running of the Market. The EDC emails BYFC an eviction notice stating that it is illegal for BYFC to operate in the Market's basement. The EDC makes no other contact.
After several media articles report on the abrupt eviction, the EDC agrees to a meeting with BYFC. Attending the meeting is the then EDC director, Mayor's Office Of Film & Entertainment commissioner, a Department of Cultural Affairs commissioner, and a representative from the Mayor's Office. People in the position to get an innovative demonstrated project started.
BYFC gives a detailed PowerPoint presentation on the vision for a 'People's Hollywood Concession Stand', adding that it is open to handing off ownership of the concept to the City or a large non-profit and work as a consultant.
The project could bring in massive support and donations from the film industry itself, and could be a model for how to fund services for working adults, with small sales, fees, and services, instead of relying primarily on grants.
At the end of the meeting handshakes and smiles. Shortly after the
EDC send email with their positive outcome to the meeting:
BYFC can continuing storing its things at the Market for up to six months
to give it time to find an alternative space.
“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.”
"It's not about being included.
It's about creating your own space and including yourself and then finding other people who are like ok."
― Sophia Amoruso, GIRL BOSS
CREATING AN ALTERNATIVE SPACE:
ONLINE LEARNING & NETWORKING
To Build Support For Creation of a
Community Filmmaking District from
BROWNSVILLE TO BUSHWICK
(2016 - 2020)
While in the Moore Street Market in Bushwick, BYFC started surveying resources in the nearby vibrant artistic community and found an openness to supporting small beginner shoots. From vintage clothing stories willing to rent wardrobe for small fees, to artists who could loan artwork for sets, to a hardware store willing to stock special effects make-up and small filmmaking supplies, Bushwick could be a welcoming destination for beginning filmmakers coming from neighborhoods with fewer resources.
After BYFC is evicted from the Moore St Market and without a public space, the BYFC director is invited to a film screening at the Brownsville Heritage House in Brownsville, an area with lots of raw talent, public housing developments, and few creative resources for adults.
The Heritage House director makes a surprising offer --
would BYFC like to present classes there?
After offering a number of events at the Heritage House and exploring the surrounding Brownsville neighborhood, BYFC had found the other anchor community for its Community Filmmaking District.
ENVISION A COMMUNITY FILMMAKING DISTRICT
CONNECTING BROWNSVILLE RESIDENTS
THRU CREATIVE COLLABORATIONS
WITH BUSHWICK RESIDENTS
with a presentation on why a Community Filmmaking District
was needed and what it would be.
Why Brownsville and Bushwick are meant to match
as the two ends of the District....
When the People's Hollywood website and project is finally ready to launch -- the pandemic strikes and everyone is told to isolate. Currently on the website the pages dedicated to organizing a community filmmaking district are hidden. What is featured is what anyone can do on their own now.....
Find out how got it's start
as part of the People's Hollywood concept