Chicago youth & stories, a film on place & power

Scenarios is making a film by a Chicago teen, dealing with real issues about place & power!
Scenarios USA
Chicago, Illinois
United States
6 Team Members

Dear Chicago Indiegogo Supporters,

Thank you for coming along with Scenarios on our journey to make our next youth-written REAL DEAL film in Chicago! 

We are excited to announce that we will be filming student-writer, Janaya Green's story, Veracity, in Roseland, Chicago, on Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25.  See our Media Advisory and Invitation to Attend for more details. Password is veracity.

We hope to see you there!


Scenarios USA

We Have a Winner!

Thank you for riding along with Scenarios USA on our journey to make our next youth-written REAL DEAL film in Chicago! 

Earlier this month The Final Selection met to discuss the powerful youth stories submitted to our REAL DEAL writing contest. Among the stories, Janaya Green's Veracity stood out. Written her senior year of high school at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in southside Chicago, Janaya transformed classroom discussions around legalizing gay marriage into the question, "How do humans, gay or straight, deserve to be treated? 

Veracity, a story about an African-American girl named Olivia J. Brownstein, growing up in a community where homosexuality is shameful. After she gains the courage to come out to her family and is shunned by friends, her life spirals to loneliness and confusion. Veracity exposes the taboo of being gay in the African-American community.


Janaya's film will be directed by Seith Mann who has directed over thirty episodes of television including The WireGrey's Anatomy, Heroes, BrotherhoodFriday Night Lights, ElementaryCalifornicationNurse JackieHomeland and The Walking Dead. He has been nominated for a DGA Award, five NAACP Image Awards and won a NAACP Image Award for Directing for his episode of Friday Night Lights.

To be filmed this Fall, Veracity will premiere April 2015 along with our new Cleveland and New York youth-written films.

Thank you for your continued support! See you at the movies!


Scenarios USA

Happy 2014!!  Updates from the Scenarios office!

Happy 2014! Scenarios wrapped up 2013 with an influx of student-written scripts to our REAL DEAL contest from Chicago, Cleveland and New York City.  Thanks to you, we are well on our way to making a film in Chicago!

Beginning next week, the Scenarios’ Selection Committee of nearly 800 volunteer readers will receive their real stories written by Scenarios’ REAL DEAL youth. Check out the photo from one Chicago teacher who submitted 100 student-written stories and another from the desk of our Director of Media and Production, Rob York! 

The three-tiered selection process for the winning Chicago story will take approximately 2 months, and we’re so excited that you have joined this journey with us! More updates to come!!

Have a fantastic start to your year!

Thank you for joining us on our journey to Chicago! 

Your support, combined with matching donations from our institutional partners, will help to ensure that a Scenarios USA student will get to see their Chicago story turned into a film! 

We encourage you to continue amplifying youth voices by joining our Selection Committee, where you can help us to choose the next student winning stories!

We are excited for the work ahead, and look forward to sharing the next Chicago REAL DEAL film with you.

Now, let's make a movie!

Michael Stipe (REM), Cynthia Lowen (Writer and Director of Bully), Lesley Visser (Sportscaster, CBS Sports), Jim McKay (Director- Breaking Bad, The Wire, Big Love), Deborah Tolman (SPARK), & Christina Norman (Huffington Post), on why the work that Scenarios USA does is so vital:

How do YOU define Place and Power?

This is the question that Scenarios USA has been examining with educators and students across the country. 

On Tuesday, October 22nd, 7pm EST, @ScenariosUSA invites you to join the Twitter conversation, co-hosted by educator/journalist, Roxane Gay, (The Nation, NY Times, The Rumpus, Salon, Wall Street Journal) and educator/activist, Dena Simmons (Feministing, TEDX, AOL/PBS MAKERS blog). Join us at #PlaceANDPower!


ENTER OUR REFERRAL CONTEST FOR A CHANCE TO WIN a copy of the SPIDER-MAN screenplay, signed by writer and director David Koepp, as well as a BOURNE IDENTITY DVD, signed by producer and director Doug Liman!

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS-  From October 9th until October 29th: 

Copy and paste your unique URL link, below our video (next to “Share This Campaign”) and paste it into your emails or social media updates. 

OR Add a widget to your blog or personal website. Click Embed and then copy and paste the widget code. 

The #1 backer whose referrals bring in the most amount of contributions will receive the signed Spider-Man screenplay as a reward. To sweeten the deal, everyone who donates between October 9th through October 29th will be entered for a chance to win the signed BOURNE IDENTITY DVD. 

REMEMBER, If you use any of the tools in the “Share This Campaign” bar while logged into Indiegogo, we can keep track of your referrals and their contributions. We’ll know that YOU are going for #1 Backer on the hottest item in tinsel-town!  What’s more, you’ll know that you’re multiplying the possibility of what we can do together –  ensuring that Chicago youth stories and struggles are heard and shared through film.

...Through Scenarios USA, your film will impact countless also shows great determination and compassion.  

  - President Barack Obama to Scenarios USA REAL DEAL student writer

Why make a film?

Stories matter. Funny, weird, sad, scary, one-of-a-kind stories.  Stories have the power to remind us that we are not alone, inspire us to improve our communities and ignite our dreams.  

Founded in 1999, Scenarios USA is a national nonprofit organization that values storytelling, using writing and film to foster youth leadership, advocacy and self-expression in students across the country, with a focus on marginalized voices.

For the youth we work with at Scenarios USA, nine times out of ten, they say “Nobody wants to hear my story. What do I have to say?” These are the youth we involve in our program. Theirs are the stories that Scenarios USA turns into films to Engage, Entertain and Educate.

We start by bringing our REAL DEAL curriculum and films into middle school and high school classrooms. The curriculum engages students to think critically and creatively about the issues they face. And we say: Now Tell Us Your Story!

And they do – more than 100,000 students from marginalized communities have shared their lives with us. Their stories have gone on to engage award-winning screenwriters and movie directors to work with the young writers to produce 24 short films. Scenarios films – poignant and provocative – are seen by an audience of millions each year on television, at film festivals and in classrooms across the country.

Our films' characters have dealt with heartbreak, the fear of the unknown, sexual violence/abuse, bullying, as well as having college dreams realized and finding love for the first time. For 15 years, Scenarios has asked teens to share their realities, and they have responded with a raw and revealing constellation of voices of what it means to be a teenager today. 

Having a voice and using it has enabled the students we work with to redefine and reclaim who they are and who they will become.

Why Chicago?

This Fall, Scenarios is heading to Chicago to hear directly from students in the South, North and West Side neighborhoods. We are asking them to shed light by sharing their stories, their everyday realities. 

Last year in 2012, over 500 individuals were killed in Chicago, and nearly 45% of the victims were teenagers and young adults, ages 13 to 24. We can quote more statistics, chalk it up to gang violence, or despair about the widening wealth gap between Chicagoans, the widening racial gap in child poverty, or the diminished hours of a Chicago student’s school day. But none of it invites the next generation of Chicago’s population to tell their stories as they live them.

NINE (9) Chicago public schools have signed on to the Scenarios REAL DEAL pilot.  That's 39 teachers reaching over 1,100 students through our program:

• Bogan Computer Technical High School

• Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy

• Chicago Vocational Career Academy

• Marie Sklodowska Curie Metropolitan HS

• Benito Juarez Community Academy

• Lane Technical College Prep High School

• Lindblom Math and Science Academy

• North-Grand High School

• North Lawndale College Preparatory Charter High School

Educators from these schools will be teaching the Scenarios REAL DEAL curriculum and encouraging youth to talk and share their perspectives.  And in February 2014, one Chicago story will be chosen to be made into the next Scenarios REAL DEAL film.  The Chicago community will help us decide, and you can, too.

Of all the things I was doing, I can't think of another instance where my opinion was as respected and listened to as much as in a Scenarios USA classroom.  - Caroline Boon, Scenarios USA REAL DEAL student

Scenarios films seize what is common to all young people despite the variety of individual life circumstances.  The power of film is its ability to engage that which is universal at the same time as sharing that which is personal.  Our filmmaking process has yielded consistently powerful, meaningful and engaging films. 

Where YOU Come In.

With our in-kind production and post-production partners, we can make a Hollywood-quality short film for a fraction of the cost.  But, it still costs!

Every penny raised will go directly to the making of our Chicago REAL DEAL Film. Nothing will go to waste.  Donations from YOU will cover the filmmaking, including equipment rentals, transportation, wardrobe, food, production staff and artists.

Please help support this film however you can.  If you are unable to make a donation, please spread the word:

Like our Facebook page.
Follow us on Twitter.
Follow our Indiegogo journey on our website.
Tell your friends, family, teachers, schools, community members about the project.

Thank you for your support!  We can’t wait to share this film with you!!

Why we need your help

Filmmaking has its challenges. Luckily, at Scenarios USA, this is not our first go-round. Since 1999, we have produced 24 REAL DEAL films. This includes offering mentorship to our student scriptwriters and on-set mentors through in-kind support from Hollywood's producers/directors, film crew and post-production team.

To help ensure successful, high-quality films, we pair young writers with only the best of the best; directors such as Joel Schumacher (The Phantom of the Opera, Batman Forever), Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), and Gina Prince-Blythewood (Love and Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees), as well as actors/actresses including Rosario Dawson (Rent, Sin City), Selenis Leyva (Orange is the New Black), and Reg E. Cathey (The Wire, Se7en). After completion, our team ensures that the films are distributed to schools and film festivals around the country, as well as media outlets such as Showtime, HBO, BET, among others.

Perhaps our biggest challenge will be launching in Chicago, a new city for Scenarios USA. Fortunately, we already have 9 schools who, understanding the importance of our mission and films, have signed up to implement the Scenarios USA curriculum into their classrooms.  As is our filmmaking schedule, the Chicago film will be shot in May or September 2014, with the involvement of the Chicago youth, communities and local crew and businesses.

The last piece of the puzzle is you! With your support you can help make an important impact in ensuring that the many stories and struggles of Chicago youth are heard. We're delighted to have you along on our journey!

Find This Campaign On
raised by 57 people in 1 month
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$15,000 USD goal
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This campaign ended on October 29, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Do Gooder Extraordinaire

    Don't have much to spend, but want to help the cause? At $1, you will have our eternal gratitude, plus you'll receive exclusive backer updates throughout the production.

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $10USD
    Social Good Superhero

    You'll receive a PDF of the shooting script on the day of the film's Premiere.

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2015
  • $25USD

    You'll receive a digital version of the Chicago film.

    8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $50USD

    You'll receive a digital version of the Chicago film and exclusive Behind-the-Scenes featurette.

    7 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $75USD

    You'll receive everything included above, plus a director-signed copy of the Chicago film poster.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $100USD

    You'll receive a DVD of the Chicago film, with Behind-the-Scenes featurette

    10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $250USD

    You'll receive a DVD of all 3 newest Scenarios USA films (Chicago, NYC, Cleveland), with Behind-the-Scenes featurettes for each.

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $500USD
    Emperor of Empathy

    You'll receive everything in the $250 reward, plus TWO (2) VIP ticket to the Chicago Premiere of the newest Scenarios USA films (you must arrange your own transportation).

    0 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $750USD
    Prime Minister of Philanthropy

    You will get to sit down with our Chicago Film Producer via Skype for a group conversation! Find out everything you want to know about the film industry.

    0 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $1,000USD
    Wizard of Social Justice

    You'll receive everything in the $250 reward, plus TWO (2) VIP tickets to the Chicago Premiere of the newest Scenarios USA films, plus director-signed posters for all 3 newest Scenarios USA films (Chicago, NYC, Cleveland) (you must arrange your own transportation).

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $2,500USD
    Demigod of Giving

    You'll receive everything in the $250 reward, plus TWO (2) tickets to the red-carpet, star-studded Gala dinner and World Premiere in NYC, a Producers Circle credit on the Chicago film, plus a chance to visit the set during production (you must arrange your own transportation).

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $5,000USD
    Magic Social Justice Unicorn

    You will receive everything in the $250 reward, plus FOUR (4) tickets to the red-carpet, star-studded Gala dinner and World Premiere in NYC, a Producers Circle credit on the Chicago film, plus you will be invited to visit the Chicago film set during production (you must arrange your own transportation).

    0 out of 10 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
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