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Utopian Academy For The Arts| Georgia Approved Charter Middle School » Two Utopian Academy Scholars Direct Union City Mayor Video
February 19, 2016
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Contact: D. Aileen Dodd, Communications Director, Utopian Academy for the Arts; 404-808-5428scoopyou24@yahoo.com.

Two Utopian Academy Scholars Direct Union City Mayor Video

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RIVERDALE – Two Utopian Academy for the Arts scholars were recently recognized by Union City Mayor Vince Williams for their role in directing the Mayor in a video that was prominently featured in his municipal address. The scholars, Tyrik Ponder, a sixth grader, and Jordan Allen, an eighth grader, were part of a professional crew of 10 working on the “State of the City” video message for Union City. The production team included Fulton County School seniors and film students, Clayton State University Film Students (part of the Georgian Film Academy) and local entertainment industry veterans who volunteered to shepherd the young students.The video message was filmed in early February at a green screen studio set based in Fulton County School District’s north office. The Utopian Academy scholars were accompanied on the job by Mr. Artesius Miller, Founder and Executive Director of Utopian Academy and Lauren Lawson, Utopian’s broadcast instructor.As soon as the scholars arrived at the studio, they excitedly began performing their production duties. Having previously broken down the script, they met with Mayor Williams and asked him to share his thoughts related to the spirit of his speech. Williams’ “State of the City” address was already prepped and ready on a teleprompter. The students had the Mayor rehearse the speech several times to determine what areas of the message he wanted to emphasis to really connect with viewers. “I need them more than they need me,” Mayor Williams said of his student directors. “The students are our future.”“We have got to make sure we invest in our young people,” he added. “With an opportunity as huge as the film industry, we have got to create the opportunities that will allow them to be ready to walk on the set and do what’s needed. ”Ponder, a member of Utopian Academy’s Broadcast Club, said he was excited to work with Mayor Williams and to perform a real job in film production. “I want to be an editor when I grow up,” he said.Allen was thrilled about working with other older film students and industry veterans. “This will definitely help me get more jobs,” said Allen.The project was led by executives of a new purpose-built studio facility that is being built in Union City. Ed Richardson and Brian Livesay are Founders and Managing Partners of Atlanta Metro Studios. Their new facility has a strong commitment to industry based educational outreach and this project with Utopian is just one example of the great opportunities to come for Georgia’s youth. Atlanta Metro Studios is also working closely with the Georgia Film Academy to create opportunities that will meet the needs of the state’s ever growing film industry.  The Georgia Film Academy is just one more example of Governor Deal’s enduring commitment to our state’s booming film economy. Allen counted down the start of the “State of the City” video on a quiet set. “Three-two-one- action,” he said, as the camera began to roll.Both scholars took turns coaching the Mayor’s performance and working directly with him on notes to enhance his delivery. They asked Williams to have fun with it, emphasize certain words of the script as rehearsed, and to use his hands at times to make a larger impression.In between takes, Lawson found teachable moments. She asked Allen and Ponder to name the industry equipment around the room and what it is used for. The students did a great job interacting with older students and industry professionals, and picked up pointers that will serve them from now on in their production efforts.Following the camera wrap for the Mayor, the scholars then went to the sound booth to assist the Mayor in recording an additional voice-over needed for the script. “We at Atlanta Metro Studios are extremely excited about our collaboration with Utopian Academy for the Arts,” Richardson said. “We have an amazing partner in Founder and Executive Director, Artesisus Miller.  Utopian’s commitment to nurturing academic excellence with a focus on the arts is giving students a firm foundation to succeed in our ever changing global society,” Richardson added. “Utopian’s commitment to teaching students in a relevant, integrative, and challenging environment is the root of our collaborative partnership.”“Atlanta Metro Studios is committed to engaging with the students at Utopian to introduce them to Georgia’s film industry professionals and to involve them in local productions, said Livesay (a Production Designer by trade, who put on his mentor hat for the production). Our ability to offer early exposure for Utopian’s students to a creative and collaborative career path is another way we can strengthen the immense local talent pool for this booming industry.”Miller said he was “honored” that the Mayor chose to work with Utopian scholars. “This is what Utopian Academy is about – equipping our scholars with industry knowledge and academic knowledge that prepares them to be successful on the job,” he said. “We are preparing students for college and careers.”Ponder’s mother, Iayiana Ponder, was impressed by her son’s professionalism. “This was a great experience for Tyrik,” she said.Stacie Allen agreed. She said her son Jordan Allen had a “wonderful” time working on the video. “This will help him to thrive and to explore more options in an area that he has expressed interest in.”    
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