James Welcome’s Media class at Williams Jr. Sr. High School learned what it takes to make it in Hollywood.
Throughout the year, students produced their own screenplays with one slated for a Red Carpet premiere. Several of the student’s screenplays were produced with professional equipment under the guidance of experienced movie-makers, but Junior Cielo Castanon-Tercero’s screenplay was the only one completed and in the can before the school closures in March.
“I think it’s been a tremendous opportunity for the kids,” said Welcome. “Throughout the course of the year, that program has been pretty phenomenal for them.” S
tudents worked together under the guidance of their teacher and mentors through the Youth Cinema Project. The YCP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that strives to provide real-world exposure to the entertainment industry and supports multicultural values, closing the opportunity gap. Welcome said that two YCP mentors came twice a week from Sacramento to teach the students how to write their screenplays and how to handle professional film equipment.
“It truly forces them to work together; you can’t make a film by yourself, effectively,” said Welcome. “No film shoot ever goes exactly the way you want it to go, or planned; having to negotiate that and figure out Plan B and how to implement things. It is a real world learning for them. It’s just so much fun to watch.”
The students went into writing and pre-production in the fall and started filming in the winter. Professional filmmaking equipment was utilized by the 20 students to create their visions. The Red Carpet premiere was scheduled for spring, but was cancelled do to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the project taking a sharp turn in events, YCP hosted a YouTube interview with Castanon-Tercero. Professional actors, John Ortiz, Jearnest Corchado, Gustavo Gomez, and Melinna Bobadilla all gave an enthusiastic read of the screenplay.
“It’s basically about a girl who overcomes her fears of being judged, with the help of her friend, and runs for class president,” said Castanon-Tercero, who penned her screenplay, “Rigged” from personal experiences with social anxiety.
To view the YouTube professional reading of Castanon-Tercero’s screenplay, visit https://youtu.be/2ZLytNaTuCw or type “Rigged Little America” in the search bar.