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Sometimes You Need a Creative 'Break' to Figure Out Your Path

Taking a day to explore creative ways to use video helps youth reflect on their own personal interests.

Finding your path in life can feel like a really "serious" thing, but we're discovering that the process works best when we're able to tap our creativity and have fun. Indeed, the seventh week of the Pathfinder Fellowship took us to Alexandra Ballroom, an event space located on the second floor of a historic building in Downtown Los Angeles that dates back to the 1920s. People usually hold weddings, proms, quinceaneras, and fraternity and sorority events there, but we were there for a skills workshop with a nonprofit organization called OMG Everywhere. The organization hosts art workshops for kids and provides students with a unique opportunity to collaborate with working filmmakers, focusing on the intersection of music and film and how the lens of a camera can change a person's worldview.

When we entered the ballroom and saw all of the equipment and art supplies, we quickly realized that we would be doing something with video equipment. It only took a few more moments to figure out that we would be making music videos. The OMG crew saw our excitement and creative juices beginning to flow, so they settled us down for an introduction to what they do. They showed us a montage of videos they've previously made and gave us instructions for the workshop.

We split up into two groups of fellows with five OMG crew members assigned to each team. We then brainstormed our ideas about what we should do. This involved discussion about music choice and the type of music videos we wanted to film. Elmer, Desiray, Claudia, and Airren settled on the concept of producing a high-energy freestyle video choreographed to the instrumental version of Kanye West's song "New Slaves." Kyle, Shawntrice, Bianca, and Yensi formed the other group and chose to perform the Nicki Minaj song "Moment For Life" using visual representations that reflect their own personal interests.

Although leaders quickly emerged in each group, it was the team effort that got the project completed. As Airren and Elmer were practicing their freestyles on one side of the giant ballroom, Shawntrice and Yensi were busy creating the artistic direction of their video. Desiray and Claudia went to explore the hallways and staircases in and around the ballroom, looking for the best place for us to shoot our scenes. They were looking for a grimy, dark location needed to accompany the music they chose. Meanwhile, Kyle immediately gravitated toward the cameras so, along with playing a key role in the video, he was designated as the camera person for his group.

Before we knew we had the supplies—cardboard, paint, glitter, fabric, balloons, and all sorts of other of materials—strewn around the ballroom. OMG Everywhere teaches you to use as few shots as possible in making a video so the groups began to practice their choreography and rehearse the planned shots. Since the afternoon was dedicated to shooting the videos and lunch time was the deadline for rehearsal. The excitement grew as we approached the first shot, and the afternoon's pace picked up as we had a 4 p.m. deadline to shoot, edit, and screen our entire videos before the end of the day.

In the end, this workshop was entertaining and fun for us, and it also taught us how much work a music video can take and what the process of creating one looks like. This brought excitement to several of the Pathfinder Fellows because they have a real passion for music. For us to be creating a music video of our own was just amazing. And, since we live in Los Angeles where there's always a demand for creative skills, many of us are thinking about we can harness our talents and learn more about video production, music, and storytelling. In the end, we left with a Kool-Aid smile knowing we did something productive while also having fun.

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Desiray Figueroa and Airren Kirk are two members of the Pathfinder Fellowship, a joint effort of GOOD/Corps and The California Endowment. They're working as interns with GOOD's community team.

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