This blog post is presented by Sylvan Way Teen Advisory Board members, Mikhaila and Katherine, who are sharing responsibilities to direct a movie staring our local teens. 

For the past several weeks, the teens at the Make Do Share program have been working on a special project. It’s a story of some quirky young folks who are a little out-of-touch. There’s romance and friendship, loyalty and betrayal, desperation, love and, of course, the threat of doom upon them all. It began with a request from the group: we wanted to make a film. The next week, we decided to make it happen.

We brainstormed ideas and established positions on the crew. After several rounds of voting, with several teens having strong feelings about the direction of the film, we established a team and created a storyline. Co-Director Mikhaila is channeling the stress of this project into leadership skills. “Though stressful at times, working on this film has been inspiring. It is giving us the opportunity to expand our skills in teamwork and leadership by resolving disputes, delegating tasks, and making cooperative decisions.”

Above: Teen actors during their first table read of the original script. 

Co-Director Katherine interviewed some of the teens who are involved in creating this film. In addition to directing the action on the screen, Katherine and Mikhaila are empowering their peers to push themselves creatively. Several of the teens are in the production both on and off screen. Dylene, Max and Alex provided some insight into the multiple layers of development that have gone into creating the teens’ original movie.

Dylene, who is wearing many hats in the production of this film expressed that, “while the process of the film has been slow, I'm proud of our group because we've been able to come this far.” As for her own success in achieving her goals for the film, she explained that the auditions process helped get her out of her shell. “I am a costume designer and I play a small role in the film. To get the role I had to audition for it… and let me tell you, that was VERY stressful, it was in front of an audience and I was being recorded. All in all I think I gained a bit of confidence.”

Many of the teens have said that this project has given them a boost in self-esteem and helped them find an outlet to express themselves. Max, who also volunteers for Sylvan Way’s Children’s Programs and is part of Bremerton High School’s ROTC program, found another side of himself by auditioning for one of the parts in the movie.  When he read the script for the first time, he immediately found a character that fit him perfectly and he practiced auditioning for this part. He successfully got the role that he was hoping for. “I relate to this character, he seems a lot like me when I was younger … when I was auditioning I was really scared, I thought I wasn't gonna get it… but I did, that made me really happy.” Max hopes that through acting and producing the movie, he will overcome some of his shyness and become more outgoing.  

For many of the teens, the outcome of creating a movie is not just to create something that everyone can view and enjoy, they also want to be part of something bigger than themselves. That spirit is what Alex, who is part of the production crew as a set designer, is gaining from this project. “My favorite part is seeing everyone learning to cooperate and work together to make something. There’s a lot of pressure but I’m really excited to observe the process and see how everyone’s creativity affects the final product."

The project has also been an amazing opportunity for the teens to lead. Co-director Katherine has been working on leadership skills throughout this process and has been trying to find ways to make decisions that incorporate everyone’s diverse perspectives. “I really want to learn how to lead people without taking over too much. It’s stressful, there have been a lot of bumps, but it’s made us grow closer together.” She has been working closely with co director Mikhaila to create a cohesive vision that allows everyone’s voices to be heard in the film. “The best part is that everyone is working together.”

"While the planning process and pre-production was a bit slow-going, we are excited to say that the production of our film is currently underway. The cast and crew are working hard, using their creativity and diverse technical knowledge.  What will come of it all at the end of summer? We’ll just have to wait and see..." said co-director Mikhaila. 

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