Week 2: Guest Speakers

This week we had two visitors come out to meet with us at MING. These men are extremely knowledgeable and willing to share with us everything that they have learned and experienced, which was such an exciting opportunity to say the least!

Our first visitor was Glenn Holsten who is an accomplished, award-winning filmmaker. Some of his work includes Saint of 9/11, The Barefoot Artist, Hollywood Beauty Salon, and also OC87. Glenn also does video recovery diaries that tell stories of men and women over coming mental health, addiction, and relationship struggles. All four of us were super fired up to meet with Glenn for a number of reasons but the biggest one aside from his knowledge and experience in film was that he was El's (Sawyer} mentor. Glenn went out to Graterford State Prison to meet with El numerous times over a 3 year period to introduce him in film. Prior to Glenn coming out there El knew nothing about cameras and film. He may have touched a camera one time before their introduction, packing up equipment. He opened El's eyes to a world of film. Glenn's kindness and open-mindedness has had a domino affect--Glenn taught El, Jon learned from El, and now the four of us who have been previously incarcerated are being taught film and everything involved in production by the larger MING team. Glenn helped us with our "one minute wonder" concepts and ideas and also left us with a few things we will never forget:

#1: when starting a film or project ask yourself - What does it sound like? -What does it look like? - How is it going to make people feel?  #2: sound can completely make or break a video or film. We do not have to tell our whole story in one film, keep it short. And how to summerize your film in one sentence. Meeting with Glenn was an experience that we will never forget.

The second visitor was Nate Nichols, the owner of Palette group. Palette group is a creative and digital marketing agency that also deals with marketing through social media in South Kensington. Sitting down with Nate was so stimulating. He shared with us his background, the struggles he faced with race/heritage as a child in foster care and how the computer and design was his escape. It really showed us that no matter what your past is that it doesn't have to define your future. It’s not that we haven't heard this before but actually seeing someone that you all personally relate to and then see and feel their success does something for the soul. Knowing that he had experienced homelessness at one point and continued to persevere was more valuable than gold. The most admirable thing about him is that he gives the less fortunate and those who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to work the chance to work with him.

Written by Lindsey Massarelli