Got teens who love films? Give them this experience, Chicago.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Fresh Films, a company whose programs I really, really admire. Although I’m compensated, all thoughts, opinions, and incredibly envious reactions are entirely my own.


Popping in for some Friday fun because of a quickly approaching deadline for a company– and program!– you need to know about, Chicagoland. Not-for-profit Fresh Films is creating TV pilots for their annual summer program, and bringing on crews of local teens to learn lighting, camera work, costuming, casting calls…pretty much every behind-the-scenes job under the sun! They’ve been teaching filmmaking skills to teenagers for over a decade, and past productions have featured the talents of Rainn Wilson, Mario Lopez, John Lithgow, Sean Astin, and Usher, to name a few.

Want to get in on this fun (and completely free!) action?

(Edit: …if you’re a Chicagoland teenager, that is.)

The program takes place from July 12-19, 2017 and the deadline to apply has been extended through June 5th. (Don’t worry, East and West Coast: they’ve got programs for you, too.)

Fresh Films

As if the crew experience and past Hollywood mentors weren’t enough to make Teenage Me rush home and tease her bangs in jealousy, there’s also a newly announced panel of Hollywood execs who’ll review each of the TV pilots. They include Ted Sullivan, Supervising Producer, Star Trek Discovery; Dianna Lau, Creative Executive, Kids Programming & Development, Amazon Studios; Naketha Mattocks VP, Disney Channel Original Movies; and Mark Wolper, President Wolper Productions, Executive Producer for Roots & Bates Motel.

Again, this wonderful program is free for teens (thanks to a generous partnership with SUBWAY restaurants) and it requires absolutely zero experience. (Take it from a former industry professional: you’ll never, ever, ever hear that phrase again. Ever.) Not only do participants come away from this summer with real-life skills in an industry they already love, but they also have a pretty terrific time while working as a team, too.

Wondering if this program really paves the way? Derek Simon, a participant on the 2005 Fresh Films crew in New York, now writes for the CW’s Supergirl, and Ashley Stephens, a who was in Philadelphia’s 2007 program, is now the Associate Producer of Story on NBC’s First Dates.

Interested? (…Again, for your teenager.)

I’ll just go ahead and leave that link right here again.

(Best. Summer. Ever.)



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