I have no illusions,

So, ok, take me down.

I am just people.

People who wants ta learn

With people.

- Trayce Gardner, People's Hollywood   


Hands up!  That's me.


This site is so ME, as artist, teacher, and human.  I'm hoping the colorful, retro (at times cartoonish) collage style I've used will come off as dialogue -- rather than static text.  

WHOSE THIS FOR? I want the site to be visually engaging and kid-like fun for working adults, who might be hesitant to do any kind of Lesson (reading and exercises and time taken).  Much less are they apt on their own to try an online written Lesson!  Especially for a project they think of as too-complicated-for-them, like making a film.  

As I developed the site I asked people for feedback,  directing them to look on a large  screen -- not a cell  where design elements are lost (i.e. animations, colors, columns, etc.) and re-sized slides hard to read. 

Some warned -- "But that's how everyone will look at it -- on their phones!   You have to make it cell-friendly to get clicks ! "  

I am not of the generations to be prisoner to a cell.  Purpose, not clicks, guides this site.  Like a (good) film, part of the impact of the site is delivered in its visual presentation.  It's meant to be seen and studied (not stripped to most basic and flipped through!). 

This site is not an ad. 

It is an experience.




  1. Project the Lesson on a large screen like a PowerPoint presentation before a small group of friends, family, or students

  2. Print copies of the PDF version of the Lesson for participants to write their notes

  3. Volunteer to lead group in reading aloud the Lesson and answering the questions

  4. Send your questions and feedback to our Q & A Blog 




(2-4) Characters / (1) Location  

Based On Resources You Already Have







In a live class, even while following a lesson plan, a teacher wants her students to open up about what they know and don't know, and what they care about.   

So in the middle of content I’ve loaded up lots and lots of links to outside articles and videos.  It’s me saying: “Stop!  Have a detour.   If you don't understand (aren’t interested in) what I'm talking about, follow this link to someone else who has more info or a different approach."   

The lessons on this site are not about a grade. 

It's about learning how to go on a self-guided journey.


I'm the founder of the People's Hollywood Project

(Our re-branding of Brooklyn Young Filmmakers)  

I'm no expert.  Mostly self-taught thru working various positions on short film projects; taking community classes (who remembers Film Video Arts?); attending festivals, conferences, and support groups; and having occasional mentors. 

I stumbled into teaching people who knew less about filmmaking than me, with the goal of helping them go beyond me in their learning and development.  I had learned the power of peer teaching and counseling in my first career in community work in Oakland, Cal. 

Out of this work grew many questions for me about how we counseled and how people heal and grow, as well as the limitations of counseling working adults in a crisis situation -- when so many concrete resources are often lacking.  (Plus there was my own burnout -- rape and battery stories everywhere I went !  See my PROFILE.) 

Doing the work, what excited me was what I called 'taking people into the light'.  Creating a situation that made them playful or happy or excited about learning.  

SOMETIMES THERE IS A MOMENT!  Unexpected and completely self contained --- WHERE YOU FEEL ALIVE !    To remember what it feels like to just feel good, can change life.   As an adult, you start to realize, it can be simple -- the spark. Like Lizzo says, "Best friend sat me down in the salon chair.  Shampoo press, get you out of my hair."     Just that, and you feeling fresh.  

You feel happiness on you, in you,

All glowy, natural and shining out.   

Not a dude (lady) giving it.   

No teacher's sticky silver star. 

Your girl knew what she was doing

With the press, 

Opening uh door into you!   

Now you're up out of the chair. 

Dancing in your own skin. 


Just because!

A little thing done or a shampoo press  

Bom bom bi dom bi dum bum bay

Who knew?  

'Take them into the light' became my philosophy and life's work.  But back then, in Oakland, Cal, once the working adults I counseled were out our door --- it was all about survival for them.  When they had the rare, little glowy experiences, it was usually because they had saved up money to be entertained or they were doing something with/thru the kids.      

It outraged me.  This should be living -- a calendar visit to Oakland's Fairyland and seafood at Scott's in Jack London -- and not much to look forward to in-between. Suddenly it was clear to me!   I had a life mission.  I wanted to show adults how to create little experiences in their everyday life, to rejuvenate and express and connect.  (Yeah, like I only wanted to cure spiritual cancer.)    But how?  

Then -- because I was breaking down -- I was honest with myself.   I wasn't fully alive and creative.  I didn't know how to have my own little glowy experiences.  

I decided to try entertainment as a vehicle to reach people when they weren't in crisis (I grew up watching a lot of movies -- see my PROFILE).   With no money, no guidance, no connections, no knowledge of the city, no plan, I came to New York to study acting.



FAST FORWARD:   I grew disillusioned with studying acting -- in the 90's casting was limited for people who looked like me and storylines didn't stack up to the life and death realities I had come out of.  

I set out to learn how to make my own films and I stumbled into low/no budget short filmmaking.  I grew to love it as an open-ended vehicle for adult learning.  From there I stumbled into teaching and founding  Brooklyn Young Filmmakers.

2004:   The City and State pass filmmaking tax credits.  (FYI: Film  & TV has since grown to be a $9 billion a year -- still expanding -- industry in New York City.  It receives the highest tax credits of any industry!  What's the give-back?) 

2004:   Steiner Studios (the largest studio facilities in the country outside of Hollywood, Cal) opened in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Fort Greene. 

2004:    Brooklyn Young Filmmakers had an office in the Whitman Community Center in public housing, just five minutes walk from Steiner.  And I lived (still do) in a rent stabilized apartment just five minutes walk from Fort Greene public housing.  

2004:  It was (still is) frustrating living in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood where newcomers mostly don't mix with their neighbors, while in our backyard a Hollywood rises up having nothing to do with us.

WHAT IF.... 

What If....  In 2005 as Brooklyn Young Filmmakers we organized community forums in Fort Greene at LIU and A.R.T. New York to start a discussion about the need for a low-cost Community Filmmaking District. 

What if... working adults could be taught how to make low/no budget films as a DIY hobby.   

What if...  a support network could be developed for these DIY hobbyists from existing local resources (i.e. community organizations, schools, businesses, artists, and churches). This to keep costs to a minimum for participants and to give existing resources the opportunity to develop new services, revenues, and sponsors.

What if...  adults were given a platform to promote their low/no budget film projects-in-development in the local community and seek help from diverse neighbors who otherwise they might never interact with. 

Fifteen years later... after developing curriculum and training formats thru numerous small projects and experiments, I know how to realize my philosophy in action and service.   

What if...  teaching adults to make low/no budget short films with resources they already have -- also teaches them how to create their own door-opening experiences in everyday life, in home and community, in their mind. 



This is a pilot project   

Not about big numbers

Or followers or clicks   

It's about...... critical review and laying solid foundation to build upon.   

It's about..... team building by attracting volunteers with skills to build our Artists Resource Directory and help promote our online Lessons.

It's about..... inspiring working adults to form teams to write a short script and do the Challenge of self-producing a one day shoot.

It's about....getting community organizations and leaders to review our concept and Lessons, and then help promote a People's Hollywood. 

It's about..... realizing that if LEGO's fastest growing market is stressed out adults who buy sets wanting really good instructions (they don't start out free-forming!) -- then there are adults (already obsessed with recording family and events on their phones) who might, with really good instructions, become passionate about making their own films. 

It's about..... me wanting to see resources and experiences for other working adults that I wished had been more available to me.    --   Trayce 

"Faith is taking the first step even when

    you don't see the whole staircase."

                                      - Martin Luther King, Jr.