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Usher Sponsors Youth Film/TV Seminar

By Melissa Randle

Atlanta (Aug. 4, 2006)—I recently had the pleasure of participating in a Film/TV seminar sponsored by R&B sensation and burgeoning actor, Usher Raymond. The event (produced by the nonprofit organization, New Look Youth Foundation) was a component of Raymond's "Camp New Look" - a two-week intensive program for 150 talented youth, aged 9 -17. Participants traveled from all over the country to Atlanta during July 10 - 22 to participate in this year's 2nd annual event, which divides campers into three tracks: Dance, Music, and Sports.

The Film/TV seminar was new to the curriculum this year, added under the coordination of Vince Jones, CEO of Dynasty Group, Inc. (who also put together a similar event for the Independent Black Film Festival). Jones collaborated with New Look organizers to create a one-day program aimed at exposing attendees to opportunities in the film/TV industry, including those that are often overshadowed by more high profile positions directly in front or behind the camera.

Usher's presence was obviously not a media attention getter, but a genuine and developed interest in cultivating young minds in preparation for the future. The rapport between the 150 camp attendees and "Big Brother," as he's affectionately called, was evident with camp nicknames and secret hand signals, and further indicated Raymond's vested interest in the entire program.

The day's activities focused on key strategies for pursuing a career in the entertainment business, opening with a panel of accomplished professionals representing varied disciplines within the Film/TV industry including:

  • Noni Southall - a Senior Legal Attorney for Turner Entertainment Group
  • Emmy award winning Producer/Journalist Karla Winfrey
  • President/Producer of IKAM Productions Carletta Hurt,
  • Entertainment Career Consultant Atinna Roshelle
L-R: Carletta Hurt, Noni Southall & Vince Jones (Photo by Melissa Randle)

Moderated by Nicole Watson, an award winning journalist and CEO of Watson Communications and Consulting, the panel discussed everything from methods and tools for aspiring actors, the importance of a positive attitude, protecting and pitching your ideas and the function of the production crew including screenwriters, producers and directors. Following lunch, campers divided into small groups for interactive workshops with industry professionals discussing headshots, make-up, modeling, acting, and even post-production to name a few.

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