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Building Up Communities: Celtx & The Youth Story Builder Initiative

Community spirit is alive and well here at Celtx! As our efforts to develop new partnerships that support filmmaking and screenwriting communities continue to grow, we’d love to share with you the great work our partners and sponsored initiatives have been doing, and to celebrate the time and effort that these generous and talented folks have been putting forward.

In July, the Celtx Team was proud to take part in the Youth Story Builder initiative, a Boston, Massachusetts-based program delivered by All Aces, Inc. in partnership with Bridgebuilder Cinematic Arts Program, and That Child Got Talent Entertainment.

This initiative provides employment opportunities for youth living in the Boston Housing Authority, where participants will receive instruction from industry experts on writing screenplays and filmmaking; including Lead Instructor, Program Director, and Hollywood cinematographer Hollis Meminger. Hollis has worked on the sets of Salt, Mad Men, The Sopranos, Narcos, and The Blacklist, just to name a few.

Youth Story Builder aspired to provide 100 students summer employment positions through this initiative. Not only are the students being paid to learn about screenwriting and film production, they’re also being given the opportunity to share their unique stories and experiences through their own creative lens as it relates to COVID-19 and the pandemic.

“I believe that we are all called here to do something special. I do not believe in being altruistic or generous for the sake of doing it, I also don’t believe that if we truly see the injustices in our communities that we can continue to feel good, just because we do good work. It pains me to see our kids in Black and Brown communities, as well as young women of all ethnic backgrounds, get pushed aside and overlooked in a business that is full of opportunities.

I wanted to create a project and a platform to amplify these voices and more importantly, not give up or give in to someone else’s norm, without fighting for the world that I want to see; one that is inclusive, equitable, and open to seeing one’s humanity and not what was taught to those before us.”

    – Hollis Meminger, Program Director

Youth Story Builder + Celtx Presentation

Members of the Celtx Product Team joined Hollis for an online session with the participants to demo our Online Studio’s script editor, as well as to discuss screenwriting craft and story development through topics such as narrative structure, genre, theme, style, and screenplay formatting. Here’s a peek at some of the session material:

Interested in learning more about the Youth Story Builder program? Atyia Martin, Heang Ly, and Nerissa Williams Scott, three of the organizers of Youth Story Builder, would like to share the following about the initiative:

” As someone who was born and raised in Boston, this program has been an incredibly special experience. I spend most of my days working with organizations on advancing racial equity by tapping in to their agency and power to decide who they want to be individually and collectively; and then helping them to take decisive action to get there.

The All Aces mission is very much aligned with delivering this youth program. We understand that the pathway to racial equity and resilience is paved with reframing narratives, building knowledge and skills, and taking strategic action. We have partnered with BridgeBuilder Cinematic Arts and TCGT Entertainment to create this high-quality experience for youth because they deserve it. All youth should have access to experiences that expand the boundaries of what is possible so they can decide who and what they want to be beyond the confines of what is expected from them because of racism.”

– Atyia Martin, All Aces Inc.

” It is extremely important to provide intentional opportunities and spaces for youth, especially those from marginalized communities, where their identities, voice, and ideas are valued. Access to these opportunities lift up and empower youth and our communities. Through this BridgeBuilder summer job alone, these young people have been able to express the impact of COVID-19 on important issues such as mental health, education equity, food insecurity, small businesses, youth athletes, the arts, the Black Lives Matter movement, and family relationships.

When we leave out youth voice, we leave out contributions to innovation, growth, and solutions that we desperately need as a community to thrive. With their unique perspective, creative energy, and passion, young people are pioneers and trailblazers. My hope is to see barriers continue to be removed for these young people to lead the way. “

– Heang Ly, Project Manager

” There is nothing more valuable in life than our children. For those who have given birth to children and for those of us who have not, but play a vital role in their development. I was raised in a time when my little country community taught me that it takes a village to raise a child. I strive to be an example to a child in that village on a daily basis.

Through this summer program we have given a voice and a purpose for self expression to students who are normally overlooked. How proud they must be to be a part of such an ambitious endeavour. I am honoured to have been a part of this summer program in so many ways. While we were teaching them, they were actually teaching us, showing us, and testing us to dare to believe them and see the world as they do. The students are our new pioneers. I cannot wait to follow the map they create! ”

– Nerissa Williams Scott, Logistics Director and Final Presentation Producer

Keep an eye out for more opportunities and initiatives like these on our Social Media channels – we’re always working on building these new relationships, and look forward to sharing them with our global community.

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