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Part I: Origin Story







The unique vision of the Brooklyn Young Filmmaker's Founder/Director, Trayce Gardner,  grows out of being a bi-racial woman -- Black w/ Native & Irish American, identified on her 1956 Cook County birth certificate as 'colored' --  who in one lifetime has evolved through multiple transforma-tive eras.   As a child she watched big-eyed the civil rights movement exploding on black and white TV.  Everyday Black people, like the ones she knew, were organizing themselves into unified peaceful marches and sit-ins, laying themselves bare to institutionally sanctioned  violence.  Witnessing their enormous strength and faith  instilled in Trayce the belief that major change can start from-the-ground-up, propelled by everyday people who support and teach each other. 


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Part II: Storytelling To Navigate Out Of Crisis







Trayce's first career was in counseling and community organizing in Oakland, California.  She  worked at a rape crisis center, a shelter for battered women, and then founded and ran a small demonstration violence prevention project for men and couples on probation for family violence.  During that time she studied and used 'therapeutic hypnosis storytelling'.  


Part III: Storytelling To Entertain



Wanting to take these healing storytelling tools out of a crisis environment to reach working people in their every day lives, Trayce came  to New York  to study acting and filmmaking.   She  worked different jobs on guerilla short film shoots and wrote short scripts while surviving as a waiter.    Overwhelmed with all there was to learn, she began to doubt she would ever find a way to  effectively  utilize the  therapeutic storytelling tools through filmmaking. 


Part IV:  Storytelling To Inspire










Then a media teacher from Brooklyn Technical High School invited Trayce to come speak to her students.  Trayce combined filmmaking information with self-development tips.   The students asked her to come back and the teacher, offered her  five  interns and  use of a small meeting room.  Realizing she had enough basic filmmaking knowledge to teach beginners and could bring in other filmmakers to help, Trayce set out on a path of experimentation to develop training material and formats that merged filmmaking and self-development  lessons. 


Part V:  Storytelling To Awaken









Brooklyn Young Filmmakers was born, eventually morphing into a project that focused on working adults (rather than their kids), and leading to a public renaming of the project as the 'People's Hollywood'.    

Part VI:  Storytelling (A.C.)


After the coronavirus shut down society and the catering industry, Trayce was suddenly not working her money-job -- and not expected to work all -- living alone (with two cat friends).   After several years of planning and development, BYFC had been about to launch its new People's Hollywood website and community project. In a time of social distancing it was no longer possible, and the tiny remaining BYFC board talked about folding the non-profit.  For Trayce (and much of the country), the future was at a total standstill. 

Part VII:  The Story Of Shut-Ins


This societal standstill has yield time for self-reflection for many, as witnessed by the popularity of the (6) Word Memoirs.    Trayce started writing short story memoirs pulled from her years of experiences and relationships in NYC's high-end catering industry.  



Part VII:  Becoming The Lead Of Your Own Story

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"I started sharing my writings about working in the catering industry with the other members of our small Brooklyn Young Filmmakers board, as we were questioning if we should fold the non-profit.  We realized that helping working people write short memoirs about their real lives could fit with our filmmaking mission if we encourage them turn their stories into short scripts (with the help of our free online scriptwriting lesson).  We also believe helping working people re-value the stories of their own lives can help them relieve stress and re-think how to prepare for their futures. " 

                                                                          -   Trayce

For more on my other writing projects 

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“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world -- but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”


- Frida Kahlo

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