Helping Teens Use Science And Art To Change The World

MAGIC MAKERS is a documentary series showcasing humanitarian teens using STEAM-science, technology, engineering, art & math-to transform communities.
Melissa Rowley
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Video / Web
New York City, New York
United States
11 Team Members

MAGIC MAKERS is show spotlighting 16 young activist-inventors and entrepreneurs using STEAM (science, tech, engineering, art & math) to compete for a $100,000 grant from a corporate sponsor to develop their individual inventions or businesses.

In each episode, the cast members tackle a challenge that require them to ideate solutions for some of the world's toughest problems. The winning idea is chosen each week by viewers via the show's social media channels, and is selected to be prototyped and developed by a manufacturer. The cast member with the most wins will receive the grand prize at the end of the season. 

Think "The Apprentice" meets "Project Runway," featuring young people taking on challenges to change the world. 

Why Are You Crowdfunding On Indiegogo?

A project of this magnitude is only as strong as its community. Our original crowdfunding campaign was initiated on a beta site and served as a great promotional tool, but we set our funding goal too high. Our supporters encouraged us to keep going and to build our following, so we're rallying in the spirit of social good, collaboration and the power of ideas! 

What's the MAGIC MAKERS Story? 

My name is Melissa Jun Rowley. I'm a journalist and producer obsessed with amplifying the convergence of technology and social change. Why? Because I believe that there's never been a greater time for humanity to create miracles using the tools available to us. As fate would have it, a number of miracles I've seen have transpired through the work of teens. A year ago, I read about a 16-year-old genius who invented a noninvasive, inexpensive way to detect pancreatic cancer. His name is Jack Andraka. Jack introduced me to Adora Svitak, who spoke at TED when she was 12 about what adults can learn from kids. A few weeks later, I met a 17-year-old by the name of Easton LaChapelle, who built a robotic prosthetic arm designed to be controlled by brainwaves. 

My thoughts are that these young minds need to be celebrated and brought together so they can collaborate and prototype inventions to benefit humanity. For the past year, I've put together an incredible cast. Below are 11 members of our growing cast. 

Who Are The Magic Makers?  

The Scientist, Jack Andraka, 17 

Jack is an award-winning scientist who at 15 years old invented a new way to detect pancreatic cancer in the early stages. Watch Jack's TED talk on his groundbreaking discovery. 

The Activist, Adora Svitak, 17

A published author and youth advocate, Adora speaks around the world to adults about the importance of taking a chance on young people and their boundless imaginations. Adora gave this TED talk below when she was 12 years old. 

The Magician, Cameron Zvara, 19

Cameron Zvara performed his first professional magic show when he was 12 years old. At 19, he still performs all over the state of Michigan. A young motivational speaker, Cameron seeks to teach others the importance of following their dreams. 

The Dreamer, Mariah Reyes, 17 

As a Dream Project advocate, mentor, and speaker, Mariah educates the youth and young adults on global issues based on the United Nation’s eight Millennium Development Goals.

The Chef, Hunter Zampa, 13

A culinary genius, Hunter is the youngest chef to have ever won The Food Network series "Chopped." Cooking since the age of 6, Hunter is a food education activist and one day wants to become an Iron Chef. 

The Mathematician, Shreya Shankar, 16 

Shreya Shankar has founded and worked for several startups. Her many honors include being one of the 40 students worldwide to be selected for the 2013 Stanford University Mathematics Camp and being chosen as one of the 30 students worldwide to be chosen for a business incubator program at Harvard University.

The Kindness Crusader, Valerie Weisler, 16 

Valerie is combatting bullying and self-hate with kindness through her initiative, The Validation Project, which has branches in each of the 50 states and has international branches in Germany, Israel, Africa, Australia, Korea, England, Chile, Pakistan, France, Belgium and India. 

The Maker, Easton LaChappelle, 17 

Determined to create inexpensive prosthetics for people in need, Easton built a robot arm designed to be controlled by brainwaves. He did this using a 3D printer in his bedroom. 

The Astronaut, Abigail Harrison, 16 

A passionate STEM advocate and space aficionado, Abby is working to be the first person to go to Mars. 

Future Farmer, Birke Baehr, 15 

An internationally recognized speaker and youth advocate for sustainable food and agriculture, Birke has visited and volunteered at farms across the United States. 

The Hacker, Nikita Rau, 18 years old

As a Girls Who Code member, Nikita is working to bridge the gender cap in computer science fields. She created the Tree Sitter app, which allows users to adopt trees in NYC and given their trees Twitter handles, spreading environmental awareness. 

Why Is This Project Important? 

MAGIC MAKERS is important for youth and all generations in our country on multiple levels. America ranks 52nd in the world in Science and Math. If our status in these fields doesn't improve, our country's prosperity and global standing will plummet. The call to action to get more kids interested in STEAM isn't simply a cause. It's a national emergency. 

In 1970, the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were reading, writing and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication, which is exactly what will be celebrated and nurtured in MAGIC MAKERS.

How Will Funds Be Used? 

Your donation will help cover the costs for the production of the MAGIC MAKERS pilot. These expenses include:  

  • pre-production costs
  • legal fees
  • location permit fees
  • travel & housing expenses for cast members 
  • technical production crew fees
  • post-production services (editing & visual effects)

What Are Some Special Perks? 

Because we want as many people as possible to benefit from "Magic Makers," we're planning to hold online group discussions about how STEAM can be used in your community, AND some supporters will even get an opportunity to make an appearance in the series or be a producer of the project. 

After the show is up and running, our goal is to work with academic professionals to author educational curriculum around the prototypes the cast creates.

If you are not able to contribute financially, you can still help share this campaign and spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and e-mail. Thanks for your support!  

Find This Campaign On
raised in 3 months
1% funded
No time left
$35,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on June 13, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    Tweet Love

    A tweet of gratitude for your support and for joining the movement to change the world through STEAM!

    0 claimed
  • $25USD

    - A tweet of gratitude for your support and for joining the movement to change the world through STEAM! - A special Magic Makers branded note of thanks from the Magic Makers cast. - Plus your name on our official website and in the closing credits of the show

    3 claimed
  • $50USD
    Behind The Magic

    Digital download of the "The Magic Behind Magic Makers." Plus exclusive access to a special production page, featuring behind-the-scenes progress as the show is made.

    0 claimed
  • $100USD
    Magic Skype

    A Skype call with Magic Makers star to discuss how STEAM education can be used to help your community.

    1 claimed
  • $250USD
    STEAM Set Props

    A special prop from the "Magic Makers" pilot delivered after production.

    0 out of 10 claimed
  • $400USD
    Come Hang With Us!

    Opportunity to appear on the show via Google Hangout when the cast begins to brainstorm how they’re going to transform the community their helping.

    0 out of 48 claimed
  • $500USD
    VIP Baby!

    VIP Access to Screening and Launch Party. Fall 2014. (Airfare and stay not included. Supporters must choose Los Angeles or New York event.)

    0 claimed
  • $750USD
    Producer Credit

    Producer credit give during credits of show and VIP Access to Screening and Launch Party.

    0 claimed
  • $1,000USD
    Executive Producer Credit

    Executive Producer credit give during credits of show and VIP Access to Screening and Launch Party.

    0 claimed
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