Yianni Stamas and VFW Team in the Troupe Magic Neighbors - You Can't Borrow Honey from a Zombie - New York Public Library Lights Camera Read Teen Central Contest and Workshops

The third annual Lights Camera Read is in motion.

Three Sites that Lead to a Winner

There are three out of the over seventy internet magazines of the Platinum Pias Empire that most signicantly contribute to becoming a winner of this "Oscars of Businesses, Careers and Education." The three publications are "Lights Camera Read", the official place for Lights Camera Read Teen Central Participants to enter his or her stories inspired by books, followed by "Review Me NYC" which is where teens, businesses, experts with important careers and educators can build up testimonials and positive reviews (and maybe become nominated for a Pia) - and finally the "Platinum Pias" awards site itself where you can get the latest on the battle for the Pia.

Lights Camera Read Teen Central

Lights Camera Read is the contest where short stories are written that are inspired by books and the winner receives a Platinum Pias Award as well as the opportunity to appear in a thrillumentary while having his or her tale performed as a dramatization by the prestigious Magic Neighbors theater troupe. And now in its third year, the contest is moving away from having children as its primary participants and instead teens and young adults from the approximately 90 branches of the New York Public library are attending digital communication arts workshops to learn success skills through writing a short story that answers the question "You can't borrow honey from a zombie because..." plus workshop attendees learn how to promote themselves by appearing in internet magazines and gaining the support of the community on the Review Me NYC website.

Therefore when we were faced with having to pull together a Halloween show of teen zombies to do an oral presentation and open mic performances of their contest entries, we knew we had to find a guest lecturer for this segment who both knew about the undead as well as could help with coaching. We found and filmmed that person, Judith Odea, who has a communication company as well as was the female lead in probably the most influential and famous zombie movie of all time, the original 1968 edition of "Night of the Living Dead."

WHAT IS LIGHTS CAMERA READ
TEEN CENTRAL?

Lights Camera Read Teen Central is the very popular YA (Young Adult) program of the approximately 90 branches of the New York Public Library generating literally thousands of contest entries each year from teens throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. It is a program dedicated to building the success and communication skills for teens and is done at library branches in conjunction with local neighborhood satellite schools and businesses in which teens learn how to write short stories inspired by books to promote themselves in their lives and work.

The LCR contest follows guidelines and themes. And for 2011-2012 the theme is to write a short story inspired by a book that finishes the sentence “You can’t borrow honey from a zombie because…”  And the winning tale will be performed by the Magic Neighbors Professional Troupe at the prestigious third annual Platinum Pias Awards in 2012. The Pias are “the Oscars of businesses, careers and education” - done for the last two years at Tribeca Screening Room.

The Lights Camera Read Teen Central program is run by John "Yianni" Stamas Jr. (Platinum Pias producer and founder of Lights Camera Read and Review Me NYC) and the Rodger Taylor (the Teen Central Supervising Librarian at the Grand Central Branch of the New York Public Library).

WHAT KINDS OF BUSINESSES, EXPERTS AND
EDUCATORS RECEIVE PLATINUM PIAS AWARDS?

The build to the Platinum Pias has nominees and winners in many categories and industries aside from just the high school students in the Lights Camera Read Teen Central best short story category. Other Pia categories involve competition amongst those in professions ranging from hair stylists to actors to educators to small business owners and many more.

In fact anyone in any profession can try to build up reviews on Review Me NYC to get nominated as long as he or she believes in communication and that “there’s no business that’s not in show business” a well as in general is a human being who actually cares about education and community building.

Subsequently in any given year there are those in a variety of different professions al competing for the same awards in categories including best viral video, best marketing campaign and best communicator.

WHAT IS THE ACTING WORKSHOP OF MAGIC NEIGHBORS EMERGING TALENT?

The workshop sometimes leads to participation in the professional troupe. The workshop is the perfect fit for any actor, entertainer or media personality who has not had the kind of results with booking or creating publicity opportunities as he or she would like when having tried with traditional methods including demo reels, audition taping and press releases. The workshop focuses on publicizing yourself not only as a performer, but for your connection to a newsworthy niche area. The workshop includes performance opportunities via the Platinum Pias partnerships with libraries, high schools and digital communication arts learning centers. These performances and events are documented in internet magazines in conjunction with participating celebrities (such as Judith O’Dea, the female lead of the original 1968 “Night of the Living Dead” doing communications coaching regarding the theme “You Can’t Borrow Honey from a Zombie because?”).

Performances and events are also tied in with local businesses that are in the same neighborhood as libraries or high schools. In this way a performer not only hones his or her performance skills but builds his or her presence in the media as a media personality. Studies have shown that those performers who are known for newsworthy involvement in community and niche activities often make themselves more desirable for casting opportunities on the part of decision makers.

In addition to this “out of the box” and proven approach to booking jobs and receiving opportunities, traditional methods are also explored. But the exploration is done from the standpoint of sharing actual industry experience in the world of actor marketing.  For example, there are the right ways and the wrong ways to do demo reels and audition taping and many actors make the mistake of not understanding their true use and strategies with them and therefore lose out on casting and other opportunities.

And finally, acting workshop members are reviewed and auditioned for their work throughout the year and select participants are cast in roles alongside established working actors and top talent for the prestigious annual dramatization of the Lights Camera Read Teen Central grand prize Platinum Pia winner.

WHAT IS THE MAGIC NEIGHBORS PROFESSIONAL
TROUPE VERSUS EMERGING TALENT?

The Magic Neighbors Troupe is a theater company of professional and emerging actors with its emerging actor members coming from the Magic Neighbors Acting Workshop. The professional troupe does projects including yearly webisodic movies and TV pilots as well as the annual onstage performance at the Pias of the Lights Camera Read Teen Central short story winner. While the acting workshops - as the performance component of their marketing and communications curriculum - do shows year round with teen contestants in which they act out the teens’ written contest entries at libraries.

WHO RUNS THE PROFESSIONAL TROUPE
AND THE EMERGING TALENT?

The current co-artistic directors of both the Magic Neighbors professional troupe and the acting workshop are Pias creator Yianni along with Alex Corrado, an actor with impressive IMDB credits who is also the editor of ItalianAmericanLifestyles.com magazine featuring actors Danny Aeillo and The Sopranos' Federico Castelluccio as well as the Executive Chef of Robert De Niro's Tribeca Grill, Stephen Lewandowski

IS THE MAGIC NEIGHBORS
TROUPE JUST FOR ACTORS?

The Magic Neighbors professional troupe includes not just actors but luminaries from the New York City community such as Alina Bloomgarden who created Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and Ace Miami, the co-founder of Dramatics NYC, Manhattan’s most successful salon chain with 9 locations throughout the city.

WHAT HAPPENS YEAR ROUND
WITH MAGIC NEIGHBORS AND
LIGHTS CAMERA READ TEEN CENTRAL?

Throughout the year in the build to the Pias, members of the acting workshop perform at library branches in conjunction with Lights Camera Read Teen Central Open mic performances for those teens entering the LCR contest. The actors do improvisational interpretations of the LCR story entries that the teens are reading.

These library open mic events are sponsored by and have participation from local businesses near that particular branch as well as receive press coverage from the over 70 Platinum Pias internet magazines in conjunction with social media amplification. In some cases, teen reporters from local high schools are the journalists themselves covering the events.

WHAT DO EMERGING ACTORS LEARN IN MAGIC NEIGHBORS ACTING WORKSHOPS?


Because of these monthly media events, members of the Magic Neighbors Acting Workshop have the opportunity not just for doing performances but because of the press coverage process, they learn about the ins and outs of being a media personality. Plus, in their Magic Neighbors Acting Workshop curriculum (aside from rehearsing the teen entry stories) they discover how to use tools like demo reels, audition taping and niche alignment to book acting jobs.

WHAT DO TEENS LEARN IN DIGITAL COMMUNICATION ARTS LIBRARY SESSIONS?

The teens themselves have their own workshop sessions where they learn writing and digital communication arts strategies. In these sessions they write their stories as well as then find out about how to promote him or her selves by building allies through journalism. These journalistic ally building activities empower and facilitate learning about networking through relationship building.

Building of relationships includes those with businesses that are sponsoring them to win, actors that are dramatizing their tales as well as their network of family, friends and associates who are mobilized through social media campaigns to drive traffic to their publication articles to get votes, testimonials and reviews on Review Me NYC with the ultimate goal of winning the Lights Camera Read Teen Central Platinum Pia.