Hale County School District Welcomes Hollywood

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Hale High School recently transformed into a radio station, a theatre house, and a movie set as the students demonstrated their newly developed skills during The STAR Career-tainment Program.

Hale High School recently transformed into a radio station, a theatre house, and a movie set as the students demonstrated their newly developed skills as directors, script writers, production engineers, and several other industry jobs during The STAR Career-tainment Program held April 20 to April 24, 2015. For one week, some of entertainments’ most experienced professionals descended upon Moundville, AL from across the nation to lead five session workshops that taught students about the business of entertainment. There are four 90-minute sessions that introduce concepts in Studio (TV/Motion Pictures), Theatre, Accountability (legal), and Radio (STAR) which allows learners to express themselves with art and core subject projects.

Program developer and director; veteran comedian, actor and writer Nick Lewis, brought his vision of providing children with real life information about the many creative careers in entertainment both behind and in front of the camera to life through the approved STAR curriculum. “It has always been important to me to share the knowledge that I have gained throughout my career,” Lewis explained. “The next step was to identify those whom have spent their careers developing quality curricula. That is why expert curriculum specialist, Mrs. Mary Hurt (Associate Professor, Alabama A&M University) played a key role in ensuring that our curriculum would meet state educational standards nationwide,” contends Lewis. The STAR Program provides after-school and summer enrichment learning opportunities for elementary through high school students to serve as temporary apprentices for working members in film, theatre, radio, management, and publicity.

“Most children are excited to learn how diverse and profitable the work of a stage director can be or how timed the movements are in every movie scene,” explained the Studio and Theatre Instructor whom is also the Program Director, Comedian D’Moore. Moore was part of the program that was held last summer in North Carolina. He was eager to report how proud he is with the interest that the program has gained since it launched less than a year ago. He continues by pointing out how eager students are to learn different acting and staging techniques that are useful regardless of the job titles. Moore tasked his students with acting out their favorite scenes using various emotions. Students from across the county, with some traveling over an hour, also used their critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques to develop theatre and movie scripts for several days before their grand performance on Friday.

“Accountability is a critical component to tenure for anyone working in entertainment as well as any business,” declares advertising executive Coretta Livingston who works for a top urban media network in the US, Old School 105.3 WOSF-FM a Radio One, Inc. station, in the sales department. Livingston encouraged the children to strive for their goals regardless of where they begin. ‘The internet and social media has opened the world up for opportunities no matter how far away you live from the major markets.”

This sentiment was certainly echoed as talent manager, Cheryl Abbott explained how she has booked celebrities who live across the country from her office in New York. “It is imperative that those who want to work in front of the camera secure knowledgeable representation that is well respected in the industry.”The students left the three hour session after its first day so energized that some convinced others to register for the rest of the week. One parent revealed that their child came home so ecstatic about their future that the parent stayed for the entire session to meet and witness these guest instructors the following day.

One of the most interesting sessions for the students is Radio. Here students learn the history of radio, the various departments that are necessary for each show to air successfully before showcasing their skills with the development of recorded advertising commercials. Rashaun Green, Production Manager for Charlotte’s newest Hip-Hop / R&B station Streetz 103.3-FM lead the stimulating workshop. “I agreed to participate when Nick first asked me nearly seven years ago when the program was merely his vision,” declared Green. “A mentor just like the one I am now, reached down and helped to set me on my currently successful path and I promised him that I would do the same.” Green also advised the young leaders of the rewarding opportunities that exist in the field of communications once they have graduated from college.

A senior from Atkins Community School who loves politics and plans to become a political journalist and travel the world covering political news, could not turn away as she sat down with 15 year publicist, Charlotte Johnson to hear about the exciting and dead-line driven life of a journalist. Another student took such care in preparing for her acting role during practice for the creation of her group’s 5-minute skit by having her hair done to fit the part of Miley Cyrus.

The program ended the week with the high school students performing the scripts that were developed and written on previous days with the final cut of directing and performing the short films taken place on Friday. Many of the students commented how they enjoyed every segment of the program regardless of preferred career interests that ranges from make-up artist to a comedian.

Mr.Lewis said, "We look forward to returning to Alabama as the program expands to educate students all across America."

Learn more about “The STAR Career-tainment Program” visit their fan page at http://on.fb.me/1FkD9VP.

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Charlotte Johnsnon

Nick Lewis
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