Friday, April 4, 2008

The power of film

Rewriting a script

This page has been created to support educators and facilitators who are using the Scenarios USA Films in a classroom or community setting or implementing the Scenarios USA "What's the Real Deal?" writing contest.

The "What's the REAL DEAL?" writing contest

The annual "What's the REAL DEAL?" contest offers youth, ages 12–22, a creative forum to explore their own identity, personal choices and possible outcomes, and weave stories from their experiences. The Contest offers educators an inter-disciplinary approach to promoting healthy behaviors, writing, creativity, critical thinking, research skills and literacy.

The winning writers are partnered with some of Hollywood's finest filmmakers to transform their stories into award-winning short films. 15 million people a year watch the Scenarios films in classrooms, community organizations, film festivals, on TV and the Internet. The films generate healthy and meaningful dialogue among youth about sexual responsibility.

The 2007 "What's the REAL DEAL about Masculinity?" deadline was November 28, 2007. Scenarios USA is currently not running a contest.

The 2007 contest topic was"What's the REAL DEAL about Masculinity?", and the contest is open to students ages 12-22 living in:

  • New York City, NY
  • Greater Cleveland, OH
  • The Rio Grande Valley, TX

Each year our “What’s the REAL DEAL?” program poses a critical question to young people, and their educators. The focus of the question this year is masculinity. We chose this topic because it is important and relevant to teens, both male and female, as well as to their educators, parents and communities. We see many boys struggle to fulfill the perceived “male job description,” whether that involves success in athletics, in academics, in the work world, as young fathers, or in gang life. In addition, research has shown that adolescents’ attitudes about gender equality and masculinity are correlated to a wide range of adolescent health outcomes, including the risk of perpetrating violence and the risk of contracting HIV, the age of sexual debut, and condom and contraceptive use.

The Scenarios USA creative writing approach asks young people to reflect on, discuss and write about the critical question we have posed to them. In doing this, we are asking young people to take on the role of the artist in society and to wrestle with questions about what it means to live in this world. We encourage them to interact with and challenge the expectations, images and ideas that surround them personally and on a societal level. We also ask young people to write stories with characters who exhibit respect, compassion and empathy, with an understanding that we all do things in the moment to prevent a confrontation, avoid ridicule, escape heartbreak and find comfort.

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