How would you like to teach writing for health online? You first might want to look at the video projects work of Sacramento’s homeless children where there is a troupe of film producers and actors that make documentary films on what it’s like to be a homeless kid in Sacramento. Their first film, “Sweet Lemonade,” is a 10-minute film on what to do when you’re a local homeless kid living with a homeless family. The message is their life stories. Through Skylab Youth Development Studio, a program of Serna Village, they are trained and ready to make documentary films and are working on their second film.
Sacramento has wonderful public access TV programs. See, Access Sacramento: Welcome. If you’re interested in healthy trends in Sacramento, one place to start is with working with local groups on projects that emphasize writing for health. For those that want to work with helping children to create documentary films or plays, a helpful paperback book on involving youth in making films or writing plays or monologues from real life stories is Ethno-playography.
In Sacramento, check out the website of the SKYLAB Youth Development Studio – Cottage Housing, Inc. – Cottage. The Skylab Youth Development Studio offers opportunities to build competence, confidence and creativity through youth-driven activities that increase their sense of belonging, usefulness and influence within the community.
The local Skylab Youth Development studio is in Serna Village, which provides long-term supportive housing in Sacramento’s McClellan Park for recently homeless families, according to the April 11, 2010 Sacramento Bee article by Niesha Lofing, “Homeless kids’ film gains new fans.”
For those interested in Serna Village, it’s part of Cottage Housing, Inc., which is a nonprofit organization that also runs Quinn Cottages in midtown Sacramento. Quinn Cottages is a transitional housing community. The project offers skills workshops in arts, technology and leadership, sports & recreational activities, academic preparation, entrepreneurship ventures, and environmental stewardship projects and field trips. That’s where you can fit in because there’s a need for writing for health and producing projects that benefit the health and healthy trends of homeless children and their families in Sacramento.
At least there are projects for the homeless children of homeless families that are preparing them while they are still children to help make and act in the films that document life as homeless kids. Skylab has other programs in addition to film making. They also offer bike clubs and sports.
What’s different about making films is that kids get used to what real-job skills are like when applied to creativity and telling either your own life story or a snapshot and intimate glimpse of what life is like in Sacramento for homeless kids. It’s all about accomplishment and achievements.
And the children at the same time are channeled into constructive projects rather than dwelling on being homeless. The film offers solutions such as how to make sweet lemonade out of the lemons life has handed your homeless family when you’re an innocent child born into a situation that puts you into homelessness in the present.
The film was made for Access Sacramento when they ran a contest in 2008 called, “A Place Called Sacramento.” The homeless kids’ film won the award for best “ensemble acting” in Access Sacramento’s 2008 film festival. But the film gets shown time and time again. The Crocker Art Museum’s Teen Film Festival showed “Sweet Lemonade,” the young people’s film on April 10, 2010.
Alison Wells, Skylab’s program coordinator wrote the film with the support of the children. It’s time to teach the children to write, produce, and promote their own films. This will give them job skills they’ll use later in life at all levels of leadership. Wells also coordinated film mentors and professionals to pair up with the children interested in making the film.
Adult mentors are great for homeless kids learning film production or acting. But there should be a lot of creativity encouraged in the areas of writing, editing, and promotion of the film as well as in acting and leadership skills. Kids at least learned what life behind a video camera is like.
Instead of having an adult write the film, the children should be learning to do this. It may require help in the beginning, but the creativity of children needs to be brought out and encouraged.
It takes a lot of talent to act in a documentary film, but job skills and leadership can be learned in childhood as part of play behavior and be educational at the same time. By also learning to write a script for a 10-minute film, the kids can learn to write real dialogue or what questions to ask in interviews for a documentary.
The latest film from the homeless children of Serna Village is a documentary about Serna Village. It’s in the process of being made. When it’s done, the homeless children will have had the advantage of channeling their creativity into a voice of resilience and self confidence that will go with them through life.
Picture yourself as a 12 year old living with your homeless family. Think of how much it means to get control of making a film and how you could transfer those skills into getting control of your life. Serna, at least has opportunities for homeless kids to channel their skills.
Whether it’s acting in a short film about the homeless life, a documentary about real life as a homeless kid in Sacramento, or putting the film together, what a homeless kid learns is to do the best you can with what you have. At least the children are learning what it takes to produce and edit documentary films.
When you put a child of any ethnic background behind a video camera, what happens first is that self-esteem goes up. The kid or teenager feels important and good about himself. With that confidence can come leadership and job skills. With experience the child grows more confident of mastering whatever the child is good at in life.
It can bring out public speaking skills in the children doing the acting. Or it can lead to volunteer work producing all different types of films while one is homeless. Whether the child grows up to host film festivals, act, do public speaking, edit films, write, promote documentaries or just takes control of life in a homeless family or in transitional housing, it’s a way to channel abilities so homeless children can plan their future and realize their abilities. The whole idea for kids is to go from the streets to sustainability.
The Teen Action Team at the Crocker Art Museum
The Teen Action Team (TAT) provides ways for young people ages 13-17 to voice their thoughts, explore ideas and become involved with the Crocker Art Museum. According to its website, through TAT, events and programs are conceived, designed and organized by teens in collaboration with the Crocker’s Education staff. To join, download the application or send an email to Emma Moore with Teen Action Team as the subject. Sign up now. You are the new Crocker.
Native American Culture, Screenwriting, Animation, and Film Production Classes for Teenagers in First-Class Tribal School
Can screenwriting, animation, and film-making be used therapeutically in the schools as a holistic health branch of expressive arts to help teenagers and their families? If you’re interested in how American Indian (Native American) teenagers get hooked on meth instead of alcohol and how they recover or need to know about this topic, attend the excellent film co-written by Auburn resident, 19-year old Janessa Starkey, who co-directed and co-wrote the screeplay, “Behind the Door of a Secret Girl.”
Casino revenues fund a tribal school where among other courses and cultural traditions, including native languages, instruction in film making and animation also are taught. Starkey began writing the film script about American Indian life when she was only 13 years old. Check out the November 7, 2010 Sacramento Bee article by Stephen Magagnini, “Meth targeted in film by teen.”
The film tells the story of a teenage girl and her meth-addicted mom who lives in a trailer on a Native American reservation with an abusive meth dealer working for a Mexican cartel. In Sacramento, numerous schools are teaching film making, script writing, media, and culture where teenagers can draw on their own lives to dramatize threats to a variety of Native American tribes in the Sacramento area and nearby lands.
When you study culture and media in Sacramento, you have to realize that film is one excellent way to show the community what is happening to tribal communities in the area and how problems can be solved. The film has a goal and a means. Media and culture should be encouraged among a variety of cultures living in or near the Sacramento area.
Whether students are making a film of what happened to any given minority group during the Gold Rush or what is happening in current times, teaching film making and animation or screenplay writing in schools provide teenagers with a means to expressing what’s happening in the lives of their communities and families. More film making opportunities need to be funded. Starkey was raised in Roseville and Lincoln by her single mom. The film deals with issues that Native Americans have encountered for centuries.
The process of writing screenplays helps a variety of teenagers from Native American or any other ethnic group to find their life experiences and solve problems they and their community or family deals with on a daily basis. Film making and/or screenplay writing is one of the subjects taught in some tribal schools. Self-expression opens a whole new road to teenagers, regardless of their community affiliations.
Casino revenues has helped to create a first-rate tribal school where students can learn skills such as film-making along with their other studies. Self-expression through screenplay writing also helps teens to solve their problems or deal with some of life’s issues.
When you write in Sacramento as therapy following a healthy trend, you focus on family stories are evidence of who we are. ‘Salable’ life stories emphasizing healthy trends in journaling usually are launched in the media—the major national press of credible repute—before they are produced as a video or movie and published as a book.
Personal histories, like corporate histories may end up as time capsules on disk and on Web sites as video and audio documentaries or in books. Time capsules may contain personal histories, corporate histories, and even DNA-driven genealogy reports along with keepsake memorabilia. Material is documented on video, audio, and in text format. It’s truly a multimedia production. Oral history tapes are transcribed and archived in libraries and museums. Here’s how to document your personal history and launch a salable life story.
Write and produce as a video or audio your personal or oral history. Or present a folkloric tradition. Your salable life story can be presented as a time capsule, disk, Web site and keepsake album. The format may be a dramatic script, book, article, story, skit, radio broadcast, diary, novel, letter, article, monologue, or poem. Or cut and paste the text file into synthetic voice software and have it read and saved in your computer in most languages or with selected male or female voices or regional accents. Then ‘burn’ it to a DVD, CD, or any other format. Your life story is now saved in multimedia as a time capsule.
Before you think about publishing your life story or anyone else’s, launch the personal history in the media. If you are working with someone else’s life story, you’ll need a signed release form allowing you to put the story on your Web site and/or on disk.
Be sure your form releases you from liability resulting from someone else’s name going public for educational and scholarly research. Start with your own personal history and learn what pitfalls to avoid. Gain insight, foresight, and hindsight. Personal and oral history taping and archiving also branches into fields such as folklore and oral tradition, anthropology and ethnology. A personal historian can be an employee or an independent contractor. You can transcribe oral history tapes or work with creating audio and video files from your already written book or story.
Write Plays for Junior and Senior High-School Students or Senior Citizens
Do you want to write a life story as a play or monologue with a purpose of creating healthy trends in readers? You are worth the storage. Launch your own personal history business by first doing a personal history on yourself and members of your family. You can include corporate histories, success story case histories, and life story writing circles for individuals. When somebody asks you for the facts, the primary source for research on your life story, only you can supply the evidence. This evidence is valuable. It’s all about who you are, what you stand for, and how you reached out to others.
Showcase your own life history for your family, friends, or historians. Your life story is valuable now and in the distant future. You are part of history. Make sure a release form goes into your time capsule with your multimedia wishes concerning your life story in any format.
Maybe you’d also like to make time capsules? What about including DNA-driven genealogy reports as keepsake memorabilia? Include life stories, genealogy records, oral traditions, and folkloric customs. What’s more valuable than a life story? You can focus on intergenerational writing, autobiographies, diaries, journals, video biographies, oral histories, corporate histories, tales, oral history tape transcribing. Or concentrate on life story writing in the form of books, video, audio, Web sites, skits, poems, memoirs, creative writing, greeting card CDs, DVD and video productions. Transfer tapes to disk. Design Web video broadcasting or make time capsules.
Write your own personal history. How do you write and launch salable life stories in the media, in the publishing world, and in the world of video, multimedia, Internet multicasting, Web-based historical documentaries, life-story-based novels, and film?
Every life story has four seasons and twelve stages like the months in a year. The four seasons are infancy, childhood, adulthood, and grace-age. Or you want to be an oral traditionalist, folklorist, or oral historian, folklore librarian, or archivist and conservator of old videos, photos, letters, articles, disks, and books. What makes your personal history salable?
Marketability is born in the national media. Credible journalism launches your story to agents, entertainment attorneys, publishers and producers long before your book is published or your video is made available to the public through your Web site, DVD, CD greeting card, or other time capsule.
Maybe you want to know how to promote and publicize life stories in the media before they are published as books or produced cinematically. Or you want to write, promote, and sell your autobiography—commercially—to a selected niche market audience.
Personal histories are found in books, video, film, audio, and games. Depending upon your field of focus, your autobiography or anyone else’s life story can become a salable personal history. A life story becomes ‘commercial’ or salable when it is launched in the national press before it is published as a book or produced as a movie or video.
It also can become a time capsule on disk and/or on an Internet Web site. An audio or video tape on the Web is part of a personal broadcasting network. Personal and corporate histories are time capsules. Oral histories may be transcribed into text.
Text writings may be imported or cut and pasted into synthetic voice software and quickly turned into audio files, DVDs, CDs, or tapes and uploaded to a Web site to be broadcast much like a personal radio station or broadcasting network. Audio or video files can be uploaded to Web sites and download to personal computers anywhere in the world with Internet access. The files can be saved by right-clicking a computer mouse and “saved as a target” in anyone’s computer and then played on a computer hard disk drive or saved to other disks or transferred to tapes or DVDs or CDs or most any other media.
Live voices or synthetic software voices can read text and be saved as a computer file much the same as any audio or video file. And to make sure text stays as readable text, books of all sizes or skits and plays or scripts can be written or transcribed from oral interviews of anyone’s life story.
The same may be done for the oral history of a corporation, or for folklore tradition. It’s all part of a career as a personal and/or oral historian. Here, anthropology, history, ethnology, creative writing, genealogy, and public speaking combine. You can even put printouts and reports of DNA-driven genealogy research on a person or family in a genealogy-related time capsule to be opened by future generations.
In the time capsule could be video and audio material, text writings, diaries, oral traditions, and anything related to life story writing. Keepsakes and poetry, dramatizations, skits, plays, and the reminiscing of individuals, groups, or corporations may go into a time capsule. What used to be keepsake albums (scrapbooks) can now become time capsules.
If you want to be a personal historian, you can open an independent business where you travel in an area in order to ‘videotape’ people with your camcorder, usually in digital high 8 format, and transcribe the tapes to appear as text transcripts of what they said orally on the video or audio tape, CD, or DVD.
You can spend up to six hours transcribing a one-hour video or audio tape. Often there are two voices, the interviewer and the interviewee on the tape. Some people may want to speak into a tape recorder or camcorder and tape themselves when they are alone in a room without an interviewer. These people would receive a list of questions to look at so they can answer focusing on turning points or highlight the significant events in their lives.
You may want to tape a group of people speaking for five to seven minutes each on a special topic such as what did you do during World War II? Maybe the people in the group would describe what it was like living in a certain place during a certain decade or working in a certain environment or occupation.
Life story tapes usually run about an hour for individuals to talk about their entire life history in five minute segments. Fifteen five-minute segments can bring them up to age seventy-five. These can be taped weekly or daily during a fifteen-week ‘semester’ or fifteen days of daily taping where they speak in five-minute ‘chunks’ on one videotape.
The five minute segments allows art work, photos, slides, or video clips of other scenes, such as the house they live in or anything pertinent to be taped or photographed and edited in between segments. A personal history taping can run as a 15-week class in life story writing. For those who don’t want to appear on camera, audio tape can be used in a tape recorder.
Most people find it difficult to sit in front of a camcorder for one hour and continuously speak or answer questions. Some enjoy an interview that does last an hour. Others would rather use the five-minute segments and have you tape them in a classroom setting or their home another day, perhaps each day at the same time during a 15-week ‘semester.’
Personal history may be done as an adult education course in any type of setting from recreation room of an assisted living facility or senior community center to a private home or public classroom in an adult education class in life story writing. If you’re running a class, you might have the people meet from 11 am to noon each Sunday, perhaps right after their 10 am church service for a taping.
Each person can spend as much time as he or she wants—either one five-minute segment or perhaps three segments totaling fifteen minutes each week until the one-hour tape is completed. You can include, if desired, a DNA-driven genealogy report in case the person wants a DNA test for ancestry to put into a time capsule for family members and future generations.
The time capsule would contain a text version of the life story of each member of the family or of one individual. It would also have a video tape, an audio tape, any keepsakes, and the creative work such as poetry or skits and writings or art work, photos, and other memorabilia that can fit into the time capsule.
A video or audio tape would also be preserved on a DVD and a CD, and if possible, uploaded to a Web site as a video and/or audio file of the individual or one of the family members who has access to the Internet and can purchase Web site space allowing a video and audio file to be uploaded along with the text transcription or life story writing of the individual. This makes a wonderful time capsule gift in personal history.
You’ll want to know how to write it so that it can be marketed to your niche customers or audience. Maybe you’ll combine your personal history with a practical invention of some type, such as an inexpensive device everyone can use or a special cooking utensil. This book is about becoming a personal historian. From there, your works can diverge into many roads or branches that link back to personal history.
Why do you want to write a personal history of someone or an autobiography of yourself and make it commercial to sell to a niche or wide audience? You may want to flummox the readers and enhance their public or private lives.
You may want to protect an institution from mockery. Or you want to take a stand and speak in codes that are the shorthand of living. To be concrete, writing and/or producing or transcribing personal history, oral history, folklore and oral tradition may focus on taking a stand on specific areas of life such as recording your experience being bullied in elementary school and focusing on taking a stand by writing a series of teaching guides with a training videotape or disk featuring your personal history and the personal histories of others with similar past experiences.
Maybe you want to join your personal history with others’ personal histories in a documentary disk or tape defending a symbol of religious or ethnic identity. Should you wear that symbol in public, for example, in school or at work or during travel? Should you defend that symbol with a time capsule, an oral history, or personal history videotape, DVD, and text material? On your Web site in multimedia? In a keepsake album?
In what do you seek comfort? Your personal history can be about seeking comfort in food, work, play, care giving, leisure, travel, research, art, writing, or whatever you choose. What’s your crusade about and how would you describe or show your slogan?
If you write a commercial autobiography, you’ll want to know how to market your work. You might wish to make time capsules to preserve the highlights of life stories of older adults or corporations. You can carve out a career as a personal historian and interview people, record what they say on a variety of media, and have the tapes transcribed to text or transcribe them yourself.
You can conserve paper or videos, transfer the medium to new technologies such as video tape to DVD disks, or make keepsake albums and multimedia time capsules. ‘Scrap booking’ can become oral tradition or personal history as a play or skit.
What you’re creating are keepsakes or time capsules. And what is a keepsake to the average person becomes a time capsule to an oral historian and archaeologist. You can even include DNA-driven genealogy reports in a keepsake or time capsule.
Maybe you want to write commercial biographies or your autobiography. Perhaps you’ll ghostwrite other people’s autobiographies. Or you’ll perhaps choose to write corporate biographies and success stories and be a case history manager or consultant for new companies. You can transcribe oral histories. Another route is to produce or tape video biographies and archive them in oral history libraries, usually at universities, museums, or other foundation.
What Makes a Personal History or Life Story Highlight Salable as a Play or Skit With The Purpose of Creating Healthy Choices, Trends, and a Focus on Transcending Past Decisions?
Q. What makes a life story saleable?
A. Buzz appeal. High velocity personal memoir. A life story is salable when it has universal appeal and identity. An example is a single parent making great sacrifices to put bread on the table and raise a decent family in hard times. Many people identify with the universal theme of a life story. Buzz appeal draws in the deep interest of the press to publicize and lend credibility to a life story, to put a spin on it in the media, and to sell it to the public because all readers may be able to see themselves in your life story.
Q. To whom do you sell your life story to?
A. You sell your life story to publishers specializing in life stories. If you look under biographies in a book such as Writer’s Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents, 1999-2000, by Jeff Herman, Prima Publishing, you’ll see several pages of publishers of life story, biography, and memoirs or autobiography.
A few include The Anonymous Press, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Applause Theatre Book Publishers, Barricade Books, Inc., Baskerville Publishers, and many more listed in that directory. Also take a look at Writers Market, Writers Digest Books, checkout Memoirs in the index. Publishers include Feminist Press, Hachai, Hollis, Narwhal, Northeastern University Press, Puppy House, Westminster, John Knox,and others. Check categories such as creative nonfiction, biography, ethnic, historical, multicultural and other categories for lists of publishers in your genre. Don’t overlook writing your life story as a play, monologue, or script or for the audio book market.
Q. How do you present your life story in order to turn it into a saleable book, article, play, or other type of literature so that other people will want to read it?
A. You write a high-velocity powerful personal memoir or autonomedia which emphasizes cultural criticism and theory. Or you write a factual expose, keep a journal on the current cultural pulse, or write a diary about what it feels like to be single and dating in your age group–thirty something, sixty-something, or whatever you choose. You become an investigative biographer. You write a riveting love story. Or how to use love to heal. Or you write about breaking through old barriers to create new publishing frontiers.
Q. How do you write a commercial biography?
A. Make sure someone wants to buy it before you write the whole thing. The details will be forthcoming in the course as it begins. Then contact the press, reporters in the media with credibility who write for a national daily newspaper or reputable magazine. Also contact radio and cable TV stations to do interviews on a selected event in your life story or biography. Pick a niche market where the particular audience has a special interest in that experience.
Q. The difference between authorized and unauthorized.
A. Authorized means you have permission and approval from the person about whom you’re writing.
Q. Who gets assigned to write biographies of celebrities or other famous people?
A. Usually newspaper columnists who cover the beat or subject area, or you’re a known writer who contacts an agent specializing in writing or ghostwriting celebrity biographies. You can enter this profession from many doors. I’ll explain in the course.
When you write a salable life story, it’s easier to write your ending first. Eventually, with experience working with a variety of life stories, you can start quality circles or classes in life story writing (writing your salable memoirs, autobiography, biography, corporate history, family history, your diary as a commercial novel or play or true confession, true story, or true crime book or story or script).
Also, you can teach life story writing, interviewing, or videobiography on the Internet for yourself or for an existing school or program. It’s relaxing and comforting to sit at home in perfect quiet and type a lecture into a screen browser such as the courses that can be offered through Blackboard.com and other programs. Or teach writing for health online using a live chat screen. Customize your course to the needs of your students. You may need certification or a graduate degree to teach for a university online, but there’s also adult education classes given in nontraditional settings such as churches, libraries, and museums.
Online, you can offer independent classes and go into business for yourself as a personal historian. Another way is to offer time capsules, keepsake albums, gift baskets, greeting cards, life stories on video, DVD, or transcribed from oral history. Work with libraries, museums, or your own independent classes.
You can work at home or be mobile and travel to other people’s homes or senior centers and assisted living recreation rooms, community centers, or schools and theaters to work with life stories. Some companies have put life-story recording kiosks in public places such as train stations or airports.
Check out the StoryCorps website. Find your own mission or purpose and create your own business recording the life stories of a variety of people in video, sound, text, or multimedia formats. It’s all part of the time-capsule generation that emphasizes your life story has value and needs to be preserved as part of history.
The revelation is that your life story isn’t only for your family and friends anymore. As part of history, the world can now experience the one universal that connects us–life, and within a life story–insight, foresight, and hindsight.
In Sacramento, find out whether diaries of senior citizens are in demand at various locations–senior centers, schools, colleges, or even print-on-demand publishers. To sell life stories with a universal message, you need buzz appeal, visibility in the press for writing simple stories of how you struggled to put bread on the table and raised a family alone, or what you’ve learned from your mistakes or experiences, how you solved problems, gave yourself more choices, grew, and came to understand why you were transformed. People are looking for universal experiences to help them make decisions.
Start by finding a newspaper reporter from a publication that is well-respected by the public, and have that person write about your life story experience or what you do with other peoples’ life stories as a personal historian. That’s the first step to introducing a ‘salable’ life story.
The technique differs from writing a life story like a first-person diary novel for only your family and/or friends. With a ‘salable’ life story, you write about the universal experiences that connect all of us. If readers or viewers can identify with what you have to say, your words open doors for them to make decisions and choices by digesting your information.