Last month, longtime 21st Century Fox partner Ghetto Film School took its students to Fox Studios to pitch their ideas for short clips promoting FOX’s hot new show, Star. The students’ pitch presentations were part of GFS’ Industry 101 project, a semester-long class where high school students learn to create short video promos for a real client. The project gives them first-hand experience with the business behind film and television, teaches them the art of incorporating traditional storytelling strategies into 30-second promos, and helps them understand the process of working with clients.
Students prepared for their pitches by meeting with FOX’s on-air promotions team, and reviewing FOX’s research on their key audiences and marketing strategy for Star, a musical drama revolving around three talented young singers navigating the music business while trying to achieve their dreams. After developing their promo ideas, GFS students used the lessons learned from other GFS coursework and practiced presenting their pitches to each other in an engaging, concise manner. “Our students are very diligent about content brevity and accuracy, about formulating engaging hooks and demonstrating their visual vocabulary. They practice over and over again in front of their peers to make sure they’re pulling the audience into the emotional center of their pitch,” says Montea Robinson, LA Program Director and graduate of GFS’s program in the South Bronx.
On “Pitch Day”, students pitched their ideas for 30-second Star promos to a team from FOX—Scott Edwards, SVP of On-Air Promotions & Operations, Aaron Goldman, VP of Drama On-Air, Mamie Coleman, VP of Music and Production, and Karen McAllister, Director of On-Air Promos. Every student received in-depth feedback from the FOX team, giving them insight into both narrative storytelling and marketing techniques that will help strengthen their final products. Students are currently in production and will head back to the Fox lot later this spring for editing and revisions before final feedback.
Says GFS LA student Rosibel, age 16, “Prepping my pitch was nerve wracking! Although I had pitched before, I knew that getting feedback from FOX executives was an opportunity that many aspiring film-makers would love to have, so I wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity and give my best shot. I bounced different ideas off friends and practiced my pitch with them and took note of what seemed to land best with them.”
The program offers a substantial insight into what future careers in film and television could look like, and inspires students to continue working towards their goals. With many students coming from communities underrepresented in Hollywood, GFS helps them nurture their creativity, build skills in collaborative work and public speaking, and develop a framework for understanding themselves and the world around them.
“The coolest thing was getting to stand in a room full of FOX executives and talk to them about my ideas and hearing what they had to say in return, and getting to see the Fox lot! That’s somewhere that a lot of us Ghetto Film School students, including myself, want to be one day and getting the opportunity to be there and see where it all happens was amazing,” said Rosibel.