Lucky Arizona students take a screenwriting field trip to the sunny paradise of Los Angeles

This year, our bustling field trips programs in Echo Park and Venice have welcome students (and supported them in making books) from far and wide. We’ve gotten to work with young writers from Culver City, East Los Angeles, Hollywood, San Pedro, and the San Fernando Valley. The overwhelming majority of our students are attending under-resourced public schools, and we’re proud to serve their teachers with innovative projects that we provide free of charge.

Phoenix students made a giant trip to 826LA to study TV writing, including this script draft.

On May 11 we were not just thrilled but also a bit surprised when a group of students from Arizona Conservatory for Arts and Academics wanted to travel several hundred miles (over the desert!) to get here. Truth be told, this was the first time that anyone had offered to take such a long journey: Brighid Tomasik’s middle school Creative Writing Club wanted to come from out-of-state, and we’d only recently gotten used to students coming from out of the city for 826LA opportunities. That said, nothing can keep a good teacher down. And it was like a dream come true when the ultra-committed Ms. Tomasik worked with her kids to fundraise, organize, and execute a trip all the way to the Pacific Ocean, where they planned to stop by the iconic Santa Monica State Beach and do publishing work in the 826LA center in Venice followed by a trip to Universal CityWalk Hollywood and a night in a hotel.

Santa Monica-based volunteer and former 826NYC student Samantha Lipman led our Phoenix visitors during a field trip where they learned Celtx and three-act structure.

The kids, just eight in number, got to Los Angeles right around dawn. They took a stroll, got acclimated to the slight time shift, and then started Choose-Your-Own-Adventure publishing with an awfully nice group of 826LA tutors. We let the Arizonans head to the beach in their rented van to grab lunch, cheering about their original story. When they got back, current Volunteer of the Month Samantha Lipman (a former student author herself, with 826NYC) packed the next two hours with riotous laughs for a screenwriting field trip. Ms. Tomasik’s Arizona students produced a shooting script for the pilot episode of Sixth Period, a dramedy about middle school students run amok that we think any network would be happy to pick up for primetime.

We know and brag that our tutors are the greatest at serving writers with a wide variety of needs, but there’s no word back to date from the Mayor’s office about featuring 826LA more prominently as a draw for Los Angeles tourism. That said, we’ll be happy to take City Hall’s call … and we look forward to seeing Ms. Tomasik’s middle school gang for their promised 2013 field trip to 826LA!


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