Thomas Jefferson (TJ) School puts a high priority on cultivating an independent mind; so the new extracurricular Writer-in-Residence program for students in grades 7-12 is an exciting addition to this year’s schedule. Led by 2007 TJ graduate Nate Myers, who returns to the school after several years in the Los Angeles film industry, the program aims to foster a creative environment in which students can work on finding and developing their own unique artistic voices. Only a handful of schools nationwide offer this kind of opportunity.
The course focuses on writing and crafting short films that emphasize personal exploration and the pursuit of each student’s particular view of the world. “Even for students without filmmaking aspirations,” says Mr. Myers, “the use of screenwriting and directing as a personal outlet encourages reflection, and will help them to better know their own beliefs and perspectives, equipping them for adult life with a strong sense of self.” He works with each student individually on topics as large as theme development and as small as selecting the perfect word. “When it comes to style,” he says, “every decision matters, and every aspect deserves the utmost consideration.”
There’s a lot more to come during the program’s inaugural year. Mr. Myers is preparing to shoot a feature film on campus next summer, and his students will be able to get involved on both sides of the camera. It’s sure to be an invaluable experience, one that underscores the school’s goal of pointing inquiring minds in the right direction and giving them the tools to forge their own path.