re:imagine/ATL Presents Teen Digital Network ‘NO COMMENT’

  |  Topic: Atlanta Teen Voices, Media Analysis, Videos
By re:Imagine/ATL Teens
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re:imagine/ATL’s “NO COMMENT” is a digital network featuring content conceived, produced and distributed by Atlanta teens. The first episode, ‘Identity,’ premieres at opening night of the Atlanta Film Festival, March 24.

Picture of Brooks Sullivan by Michelle Scott PhotographyBrooks Sullivan, 16, Mill Creek High School

My name is Brooks Sullivan, and I am a producer for No Comment. I am currently a sophomore at Mill Creek High School, but I am a Move On When Ready Student, meaning I take all of my classes at a college campus (this year I am at Gwinnett Tech) to hopefully graduate high school with an associate’s degree. I joined “No Comment” at the beginning of this year, and I have fallen in love with it. I am a genuinely shy individual, but the moment I stepped into the first meeting for the series, I instantly felt welcome. A memory that will forever stick out in my mind was the first day I filmed my segment on identity. It was my first time being behind the camera, but I felt more than prepared to do so.

Re:imagine/ATL provided me with so many tools and skillful individuals to help create my vision for my portion of the project. However, the moment I knew this program was for me was the day a small group from No Comment met up at the Beltline to film the visuals for our introduction before each episode. We worked alongside an extremely talented man who works for the TV series “Adult Swim.” I not only gained experience in filmmaking, but I also bonded with the teens I was working with that day. We ended up staying in the area well after everyone had left just so we could get to know each other more and film extra shots. I went home that day with so much love in my heart for having such a life-changing experience that not every teen can have.

Photograph taken at the Elevator Factory by Susanna Spiccia
Photograph taken at the Elevator Factory by Susanna Spiccia, director of re:imagine/ATL

What impresses me the most is the amount of cohesiveness and respect the team has for one another. Working adults give up their Saturdays to help teens who have the desire to create, make their dreams come true. I have never once had an adult or a teen with more experience than I have talk down to me. Instead of criticizing, they ask us, “How can we make this segment better?” Each and every member of the team has put in 100 percent of their time and effort to make this series possible. We are all one big family — no matter how long you’ve been a part of the team.

No Comment has been such a crucial part of my life. The team brought me on board knowing that I was a “newbie” when it came to filmmaking, and yet they saw potential in me even if I didn’t always see it in myself. I still have a long ways to go before I get in the groove of things, but I know I am going into filmmaking with 20-plus people backing me every step of the way. Being a part of this team has made me a stronger individual by providing me with tools and connections that are vital if I ever want to pursue a job in one of the most competitive industries.

Stilwell3Growing up, the media I was feeding into was not something I would deem relatable. I felt every YouTube video, every TV sitcom about teenage years in high school, or even the magazines I would pick up targeting teens my age were all superficial. There was never an outlet for teens to freely speak their minds without worrying if what they said would be the popular opinion that others would want to see or read about. More often than not, teens are shut down when they try to voice their opinions. Even now, I am still told to keep my opinions to myself because I “don’t know what I’m saying” or “I’m too young to understand.” Thankfully, I have two loving parents who encourage me to have an opinion of my own instead of adopting theirs, but that isn’t the case for most teens in the world.

For the teens who are told their opinion doesn’t matter because of their age; No Comment is for you. For the teens who feel the media doesn’t accurately portray what it is like to be a teen, No Comment is for you. For teens who are sick of seeing the same cliché and superficial stories that surround their everyday lives, No Comment is for you. No Comment strives to bring Atlanta teens raw and real emotion that they can actually relate to. The work we do for this series can be something that sparks a movement not only for teens in Atlanta but for teens around the globe. I think that by showing our viewers that they have the power to stand up for what is right and what they believe in, more and more teens will feel like they have a place where they belong. And, through No Comment, they do.

Photograph taken by Kelly Truitt at an Atlanta skate park
Photograph taken by Kelly Truitt at an Atlanta skate park
Photograph taken by Syeara Dunlap
Photograph by Syeara Dunlap
Photograph by NO COMMENT mentor, John Song
Photograph by NO COMMENT mentor, John Song

Alexa Markfeld, 11th grade, The New School Atlanta

Alexa Markfeld, 11th grade, The New School Atlanta
Photo By Alexa Markfeld, 11th grade, The New School Atlanta

My role for No Comment is being the social media intern. I run the Facebook platform, and I also assisted Brooks Sullivan for her documentary about identity. What struck me during the making of the show is how we brainstormed what we really wanted No Comment to be. It is really interesting to see how far we have come with our ideas from last year.

What sticks out most to me is the content we’ve come up with. I think these are topics people cover a lot but you never really hear what a teen’s perspective is, which, when you think about, it is really important because we are the future. How we view the world and society will affect everyone.

No Comment is important to me because I want teens of all personalities and backgrounds to feel like they have a place to turn to for a discussion about specific topics and to feel that they have people just like them who may share their views. We are discussing topics that are involved in their daily lives and also because this is a place where we want teens to feel heard. When mainstream television has 20-year olds playing teens there is a lack of connection, meaning the way actors portray us is actually a lot different than what we actually think or feel.

 

Teens involved in creating re:imagine/ATL’s “NO COMMENT” trailer include:

Miles Onfroy  18
Alexa Markfield, 16
Andy Schmitt, 18
Brooks Sullivan, 16
Chelsea Davis, 14
Derek Walker, 17
Christian Anderson, 15
Christian Drayton, 17
Dylan Shapiro, 15
Jacob Bonner, 20
Jordan Bonner 16
Joel Shimada, 18
Josiah Quiroz, 17
Kate Rouse, 16
Keson Graham, 17
Maddy Laing, 16
Quintavious Yarbrough, 17
Marcus Grisby, 18
Miykal Curry, 17
Oji Pecou, 14
Sarah Leonard, 19
Sierra Isley, 16
Syd Black, 19
Lis Kerce, 19
Willie Smith, 17
Zakeeus Murray, 16
Jaylann Haywood, 17
Isis Grisby, 17
Alex Watts, 14

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re:imagine/ATL Presents: NO COMMENT at the Atlanta Film Festival 2017

re:imagine/ATL’s premiere of “No Comment” will be tonight, March 24, 8 p.m., at 7 Stages Theater. The first episode, “Identity,” will be followed by a panel discussion from the teen storytellers. This event is FREE but tickets are limited. Reserve yours here.

You can follow re:imagine/ATL on Twitter: @nocomedia, Instagram: @nocomedia, Facebook: No Comment, and subscribe to their Youtube channel: No Comment Media. They will begin releasing content on April 1 and hope to get 1000 subscribers by then.

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