JPP partners with HitMakerSociety to create Future Filmmakers Academy
JahPenée Productions and HitMakerSociety, TV/Film Production Company joined collaborative efforts to bring change to inner-city youth, community centers and children's theaters nationwide, with the youth oriented film initiative program, Future Filmmakers Academy Program.
Interview: CEO/Founder of HitMakerSociety on Future Filmmakers impact on Helen Keller Park and the Nation
On a rainy afternoon, in sunny California, Sedrick L. Blicman, CEO/Founder of HitMakerSociety, TV/Film Production Company, took off his sound engineering head phones and answered our call.V/Film Production Company, took off his sound engineering head phones and answered our call.
What inspired you to create FFA?
“What inspired me to create (FFA) was noticing that kids have a lot of creativity and that is the basis of creating film. I feel that kids are the strongest, as far as full use of the imagination. Their imaginations are very strong. They can really create some magic from the limitless adventures going on in their mind. I decided to create a platform wherein they were exposed to honing in on the creative process, learn these skill sets and implement them into their own reality. In my youth, I knew I wanted to be a director someday but was not exposed to any opportunities to learn the skill set of becoming one, I had to wait until I got older.
So, I figured why not teach the children how to create films now, in their youth. For example, as a basketball player you learn basic skills in your youth. You don’t wait until you are older and go try out for the NBA, you learn how to become a basketball player. You have a coach. You have a team. Someone guiding you and teaching you. That’s the same with the youth program for film making. We are giving them an opportunity to do great things by learning the fundamentals of film making. Children are sponges for information. I’d rather work with a child versus an adult any day. I decided that making a choice to expose the youth to this type of program will not only provide a stimulating adventure for them into their own world of make believe but will teach them valuable skills; from acting, to directing, to writing at an early age. They will be able to absorb these amazing skills faster than any adult ever will learning a new skill in their old age.”
Tell us a little about yourself?
“I was born in Los Angeles. In my youth, my father relocated our family to the Inland Empire where I grew up in the church with drama ministry, created Tribe of Judah Steppers/Evangelist for Christ, toured as a gospel rapper, produced several gospel albums. I founded a youth organization catered to dance and a new era I created the sound for, “Krump” music. As the first music producer for “Krump” music I was able to get to know and touch the many lives of major music artists, producers and amazing youth of today from the original “Clown/Krump” dancers Tight Eyez, Lil C’s, Miss Prissy to Chris Brown, Omarion to Casper, Hurricane and many others.
The Bliczone. The Bliczone was the ultimate dance outlet for inner city youth in the I.E. area but was also an open stage for inner city youth from all over to participate in the twice a month award winning dance competition. I remember being told by so many young people how much The Bliczone meant to them. How it saved them from making the wrong life choices, changing their life forever. Touched my heart. I am a creative myself. I love people. I love to connect. Help people with their dreams. From that point I knew I had to do more to reach our youth. I was well versed in the arts and business. I figured by merging the two and presenting an even larger opportunity and tools to my community that will make the biggest difference in their lives. Lives will be saved. Lives will be changed. I relocated back to Los Angeles and started my company, HitMakerSociety.
HMS is a society of creatives that team together to help each other achieve each other’s dreams through various art forms. My fuel is the legacy I am creating for my family, friends and loved ones. I am focused on leaving a legacy for all of them to access and be apart of something that changes the world starting with our youth, like Walt Disney or Universal Studios. I just want to do my part on this planet. Do my part and achieve greatness. I hope that others follow along and achieve greatness and/or catch wind of the movement. I am all about team work makes the dream work and together we win.”
Where have you implemented this amazing program?
“I have implemented this amazing program at the Helen Keller Park in South Los Angeles, California. We were invited by Los Angeles Head Director of Parks & Recreation, Mike and Los Angeles Gang Liaison and harmonizer, Cameron Davis. The HMS staff and I were able to engage with inner city youth coming from broken homes, community gang violence and situations where there was no hope.
We tapped into the little amount of hope left inside and light a match to it while exposing them to a world they have only dreamt of and/or seen on television and in the movie theaters. We made it tangible for them to access it. It was an absolute success! The Helen Keller Park youth were on fire for the program. Believing that they are no limits to your imagination, everything is possible. The students even invited their parents to participate in the program with them, which they did, creating a family bonding experience that will last a lifetime. The youth learned how to direct, improve games, the basics of how to operate a camera and how to successfully utilize their imagination in script writing.
We also showed them how to use meditation as a tool to seek clarity in problem solving whether in life or in filmmaking.
This program gained the attention of Regina King, who is a strong advocate for young girls in film and a direct supporter of Helen Keller Park. Regina King was overjoyed about our program and wishes to back the program 100% for the Summer/Fall Semester.”
What are your future plans for FFA?
“FFA’s plans for the future are to expand FFA nationwide to youth centers, children’s theaters and schools focused solely on the arts. Once this is a success we will consider taking the program abroad.”
How is FFA different from other youth-oriented filmmaking programs out there?
“FFA is different from other youth oriented filmmaking programs because we are not afraid to break the normal rules of filmmaking. We want to teach the kids about the limitlessness of this art form. We stand out because we solely focus on their imagination.
The youth are the producers, directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, light technicians, grips, gophers, photographers, assistant directors, production managers of all of the projects we produce at Future Filmmakers. The children are the ones that produce everything for each project with the guidance of FFA staff members with all access to HitMakerSociety’s artists, directors, celebrities and clients for these projects.”
Where is FFA currently based?
“Future Filmmakers Head Quarters is currently based in Los Angeles, California with offices in Apple Valley, California.”
Is this only offered in Los Angeles?
“No, we are looking for youth community centers, arts schools and/or children based theaters nationwide that are ready to ignite and equip their youth/students with the tools it takes to succeed not only in life but film making.”
Is the curriculum adaptable to any youth center, children's theater and/or after school program in the country?
“Yes, it is adaptable to youth focused programs and communities nationwide that have a budget and location for us to house the program and a strong desire to grant exposure to the film industry to their youth, teaching them to utilize discipline, creativity, imagination, diligence, patience, negotiation skills, time management, organizational skills and team work in their lives.
This is a 3-month program that is offered twice a year: Summer/Fall Semester and Winter/Spring Semester. This is a weekly program that meets 3 days out of the week from 10am-2pm. We accept a total of 100 students per semester. The classes we offer are the following (advanced classes depend on comprehensive level of the students): Directing, Screenwriting, Tech (Light/Sound/Grip), Graphic Arts, Cinematography, Editing, Production Management, Improve/Acting.
We break the students up into interest groups of 5 and film 4 projects per semester. Each student stays engaged with task oriented duties to help produce their assigned project. All students and staff must wear the Future Filmmakers Academy shirts. This teaches students and staff about the importance of being different and being a harmonized community through unification and teamwork.
The students interest groups are represented by color themed FFA shirts depending on the students’ interest. Day 1: Theme “Movie Screening. Day 2: Theme “Movie Review. Day 3: Theme “Shock Day. Each day the students will attend interest classes, meet with their project groups daily to develop concept-to-script ideas, administration tasks, marketing, casting, directing and editing per projects”
Tell us about your experience at Hellen Keller Park in South central Los Angeles?
“It was an amazing experience. I was able to meet a lot of inner-city children. It was great to get to know them and their stories. The inner-city youth usually breeds the greatest stories of triumph and overcoming obstacles with great determination.
The highlight, for me, the imagination exercises which were a complete success. One day I ran into one of the students outside of class at a community event and he brightened up right away. He expressed to me how the program helped him believe in his dream of becoming a director and that he is looking forward to continuing the program and wishes it was more often. I believe that the children are going to be the most monumental piece for films in the future.
They will be the ones to change filmmaking as we know it and visualize it today. I believe that we should give the youth as much as we can in helping them succeed in life. All of our time, all of our efforts and all of our money to promote and help the story tellers of our future.”