More than 3,500 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District participated in the second year of Warner Bros.’ storytelling educational initiatives WB Story Lab and WB First Cut during the 2018-19 school year. The studio plans to continue both programs for a third year in partnership with nonprofit orgs Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School.
Warner Bros. noted that the just-concluded second year of the programs saw double the number of participants at middle schools and high schools in the LAUSD, which is the nation’s second-largest public school district (behind New York City) with more than 600,000 students and more than 1,000 schools.
Administered through WB Good, the studio’s social impact platform, the programs offer classes for students that are designed to cultivate storytelling skills and access to the entertainment industry.
“One of the pillars of our WB Good platform is to give young people the tools and space to be storytellers. After the success of our inaugural year with WB Story Lab and WB First Cut, we really wanted to grow the program and reach even more young people,” said Dee Dee Myers, Warner Bros.’ exec VP of worldwide corporate communications and public affairs. “With Warner Bros.’ invaluable partners at Los Angeles Unified, Young Storytellers and Ghetto Film School, we’re proud be investing in programs that create opportunities for new voices.”
Through a teach-the-teacher model curriculum designed by WB Story Lab, sixth graders were assigned a variety of writing prompts, autobiographical comic-books, and oral presentations that were presented at the end-of-the-season showcase in Warner Bros.’ The studio’s DC Entertainment guided the students throughout their own comic-book writing process by lending them their iconic DC Super Heroes as inspirations.
“WB Story Lab has given thousands of young students the confidence to truly voice their individual stories at a time in their lives when recognizing their unique voices is important,” said Bill Thompson, executive director of Young Storytellers.
In high school classrooms, WB First Cut focused on the filmmaking process, allowing teachers to center their curriculum either around commercial/PSA, inanimate object, or film noir. Throughout the semester, students worked together to produce an original, dialogue-free short film that screened at the end-of-season showcase which took place in the Studio’s Steven J. Ross Theater. A goal of WB First Cut is to raise awareness of visual media as an outlet for students who may not have been exposed to the filmmaking process.
“The Ghetto Film School team works with young filmmakers every day, and the WB First Cut program extends the opportunity for even more young people to express themselves creatively through filmmaking,” said Stosh Mintek, CEO of Ghetto Film School.
(Pictured: A 6th grade participant in the WB Story Lab program)