Towards Creating a People’s Hollywood
(1999 – 2014)
Trayce Gardner, a developing filmmaker with a previous career in community work, is invited by the Media Studies teacher at Brooklyn Technical High School http://www.bths.edu/ to give a presentation to the seniors. The teacher then invites Ms. Gardner to take on interns and offers class meeting space. During the two years Ms. Gardner works with Tech interns she and the students brainstorm on how to create broad base community education on the film industry. (1999-2000)
Ms. Gardner, with a couple of her Tech interns (now Tech graduates), forms Brooklyn Young Filmmakers, secures Project Teen Aid (now Brooklyn Child & Family www.bcafs.org ) as its non-profit fiscal conduit and is given in-kind meeting space.
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Film Salon Series debuts at St Francis College www.sfc.edu , featuring film screenings and case studies by teen, college and indie filmmakers. The Salon Series moves to Long Island University www.liu.edu/brooklyn (2001-2007).
Ms. Gardner develops the curriculum for the “Intro to Scriptwriting Class” and BYFC offers it to community members (at various locations including Project Teen Aid, Cakeman Raven’s Bakery, BCAT, Whitman and Farragut Community Centers, Trilok Center, and Queens Public Library). (2001 – 2013)
2002 COMMUNITY ORGANIZING
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers, in an effort to bring more attention and resources to the area of the neighborhood with public housing, founds the Fort Greene Information Exchange, which grows to be a network of over 50 arts, social, educational, business, neighborhood, and government organizations including NYCHA, and the tenant associations from local public housing. It meets for monthly luncheon meetings at rotating locations across the community. (2002-2005)
2004 HOLLYWOOD EAST
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers organizes a forum to discuss the need for a community filmmaking training district to complement the growth of the film industry in the neighborhood with the soon-to-open Steiner Studios www.steinerstudios.com/. Over 40 organizations from the Fort Greene Information Exchange attend, as well as the CEO of Steiner Studios, the Mayor’s Office of Film www.nyc.gov/film , and elected officials. The forum is hosted by A.R.T. NY http://www.art-newyork.org/rehearsal-space . Brooklyn Young Filmmakers also holds a public forum on the topic for community members at LIU.
2005 FIGURING OUT FILM CAREERS
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers Film Salon Series at LIU becomes the Careers in Film Salon Series, featuring union level film professionals from all the different crafts. BYFC News, an emailed newsletter, is published bi-annually and includes in-depth interviews with film professionals about how they got started in their particular crafts, accompanied by resources lists and career information about those crafts. (2005-2007)
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers opens an in-kind office in the Whitman Community Center in Fort Greene public housing which it maintains until the center closes. (2005 – 2008)
The Fort Greene Information Exchange evolves to be independent of BYFC and is renamed the Fort Greene Connection. It holds infrequent meetings and becomes primary a group email. (In 2010 cultural groups that had been part of that network will form the new Downtown Cultural District Alliance.)
2006 GETTING STARTED IN FILM
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers begins offering a “Getting Started in Film” class. It provides basic training for becoming a production assistant and getting intern work on grassroots film productions, as well as an introduction on how to organize a low-no budget short film shoot.
2007 TURNING INTO A PRODUCER
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers begins offering its “Intro to Scriptwriting” and “Getting Started in Film” class at New York City College of Technology’s Continuing Ed http://www.citytech.cuny.edu/academics/continuinged/courses.aspx. (2007-2013)
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers is approached by developing filmmaker Adonis Williams http://gal.adoniswilliams.com/ to help his produce his under-grad senior thesis film for the School of Visual Arts www.sva.edu . (Adonis had been taking classes and volunteering with BYFC since his junior year at Benjamin Banneker High School http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolPortals/13/K670/default.htm .) Brooklyn Young Filmmakers becomes the Executive Producer of BACK STREETS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qETIMBe8QBA and puts students from BYFC classes to work on the film production. (2007-2008)
2008 GRASSROOTS FILM PRODUCTION
Ms. Gardner, with Mr. Williams as a consultant overseeing the camera and lighting departments, creates the 3-class, 4 month, “MAKE A FILM” series. BYFC offers the series twice a year in collaboration with NYC College of Tech’s Continuing Ed, providing a hands-on introduction to the film diverse careers in film. The new third class being pre-production and production for a short film shoot, developed from a student script. Local Fort Greene/Clinton Hill locations are secured for the shoot, a set created, various kinds of artists engaged, and local community members recruited to be additional production assistants.
The curriculum for the “MAKE A FILM” class series continues to evolve. The short films produced by the classes, along with the scripts and production histories, become lesson material. The emerging filmmakers BYFC enlists to run the camera and lighting departments for its shoots help to add to a growing understanding of the struggles and resource needs of grassroots filmmakers in New York City. (2008 – 2013)
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers continues to offer community seminars on different careers in film (including electrician/gaffer, sound engineer, storyboarding artist, production coordinator, etc.), focused now on the level of grassroots filmmaking. (2008 – 2013)
2012 SEARCH FOR A NEW STORYLINE
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers opens a public office in the Trilok Arts Center www.trilokfusion.com in Clinton Hill and begins developing the concept for a 411 Directory of resources (including locations, crew, artists, and musicians) for local grassroots filmmakers. It grows into the larger concept for a campaign to create a People’s Hollywood Cultural District. (2012 – 2013)
BYFC begins assisting grassroots filmmakers with their short film and web series productions, consulting on script development and pre-production preparation, loaning equipment, and providing production assistants.
BYFC starts producing small events at several of the business locations that have signed up to be in the 411 Directory. (2012 – present)
2013 ON LOCATION
Brooklyn Young Filmmakers determines that the next stage to program growth is to shift focus to assisting local grassroots filmmakers produce their own films, and to concentrate on recruiting students and volunteers from the neighborhood (though not exclusively). BYFC ends its “MAKE A FILM” class series at NYC College of Technology’s Continuing Ed. During the five years BYFC ran the class series ten short films were produced. A small percentage of students went on to make their own films; work as paid production assistants on independent productions; or became core BYFC volunteers. Because the students came from all over New York City, it was hard to keep them networking after their classes were over.
In November Brooklyn Young Filmmakers moves in with Huey’s Chueys, a retro sweets storefront business at 378 Myrtle Avenue, with the joint goal of evolving into a neighborhood cultural center with a café. The center is to be the hub for developing a beginner’s cultural district. BYFC recruits other local businesses, Mark’s Gourmet Burgers and Damas Falafel House, and the Ingersoll Community Center in public housing, to be the initial People’s Hollywood Locations, where information is available and events can be produced. (2013 – present)
2014 EARLY DEVELOPMENT STAGE
In January Brooklyn Young Filmmakers launches:
- People’s Hollywood Cultural District Fundraising Campaign
- Used Book Drive
- Skillshare sign-up
- Local 411 Directory sign-up
- Community Scout
- Monthly film and cultural events at People’s Hollywood Locations
Profile: Trayce Gardner, BYFC Founder/Director