create / 2018

Literary Riot Creative Collective: A Radically Inclusive Youth-Led Content Studio

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Get Lit - Words Ignite

"Literary Riot" is a creative collective of young voices from wildly diverse backgrounds who turn social media into social action through the creation and distribution of engaging impact media.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Get Lit seeks to significantly expand the reach and impact of Literary Riot, our content studio and film training program that gives young and diverse Angelenos a platform for telling their stories and activating civic engagement. Through Literary Riot, local youth gain valuable professional skills and experience that prepare them for careers in LA’s creative industry, while educating, inspiring and mobilizing their neighbors, families and peers on issues important to our country and our world.

Which of the create metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Employment in the creative industries
  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN
  • LA is the best place to CONNECT

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Encourage businesses to change practices
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
  • Increase donations to organizations and causes

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to create?

Literary Riot is a radically inclusive film program and content studio. We represent the true diversity of our society through working with young voices from throughout Los Angeles and developing their on-camera and behind-the-camera talents. The first of its kind, Literary Riot is not only a vehicle for training young artists, but also for featuring and sharing their voices. It is based on the belief that young people’s ideas and solutions matter, and that new platforms are needed to amplify their responses at a particularly challenging and divisive time. Launched in 2017, this in-house incubator and full-service production company is a collective of artists ages 13-23 who have trained as poets and filmmakers with Get Lit.

For many of our Literary Riot youth, their first exposure to the power of poetic expression comes through Get Lit’s In-School Program. Eligible and interested young poets continue on as Get Lit Players. Students who are interested in film join our “Pilot” Program, a free 16-week course in independent filmmaking in which they learn and implement everything from development to distribution. Graduates are offered a 6 month Literary Riot Fellowship that includes additional classes and on-set experience. Young artists then move into the Literary Riot Content Studio where they receive advanced training and professional opportunities. The original content that they create builds their resumes, pays them, and promotes marginalized youth voices.

Literary Riot fosters artistic and professional prospects for these storytellers through continuing education and industry work, as well as training in professional etiquette, business skills, and other tools. It creates a bridge to success between high school and adulthood that is so often lacking in educational institutions, and has a meaningful impact on employment in L.A.’s creative industries, particularly for women and young people of color.

In its first year, Literary Riot has developed 5 original web series garnering over 3 million views, and our students’ work has screened at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Grammy Museum, and more. Current offerings include original content, in-house productions, manifestos commissioned by companies and organizations, and brand consulting that implements young voices into corporate social impact campaigns. In addition to building L.A.’s profile nationally, many of our Literary Riot filmmakers have become civic activists and gotten involved locally with the Women’s March, March for our Lives, and Rock the Vote, among others. In March 2018, our students were thrust into the epicenter of the national media campaign being supported directly by their youth peers across the country organizing the March For Our Lives. Our students produced the most watched and shared pieces of media for that campaign garnering 4 million views in 10 days.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to create

Through Literary Riot, Get Lit offers an unparalleled pipeline for youth to develop youth and share their stories. An organic outgrowth of Get Lit’s mission, Literary Riot offers training and opportunities for 60 students annually. Over 70% of these students come from Title 1 schools and 90% are students of color.

In Literary Riot, youth have co-created a contemporary, cutting-edge platform that recognizes them as leaders and culture-makers. The studio at Get Lit, with its suite of creative tools, technology, and screening room with a cinema quality projector, is a lab in which students hone their professional skills, maximize innovation, and establish themselves as forces in the media world. Original content includes 5 web series, including Get Lit NOW, in which teen poets perform original spoken word pieces in response to recent headlines, and productions like Write to Riot, a documentary that follows 5 teen poets as they prepare to compete in Get Lit’s Classic Slam. We are currently developing our capacity to offer creative services for them to develop entirely original media content.

Another exciting aspect of this program is our partnership with The United Nations. With the UN, Literary Riot is creating a curriculum that will be presented in schools as an activism toolkit. Based on the values of truth, thoughtfulness, and equality, this curriculum will act as a catalyst for civic engagement, giving youth the tools to turn their art into messages of peace and justice.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

The impact of Literary Riot on the lives of the youth involved and their communities is significant. The program ignites meaningful civic engagement via unique platforms, allows students to develop skills for the digital economy, and offers opportunities toward successful career paths for an extremely underserved segment of our community, ushering in a whole new era of storytellers and content creators to the Los Angeles work force.

Success will be measured by participants’ subsequent employment and leadership in the creative industries, as well as the growth of locally-created content, platforms, artistic endeavors, and partnerships created through the program. We will track the demographics of participants with an emphasis on diversity and number of beneficiaries, and the development of new tools and technologies for greater civic/political engagement, as well as engagement with the content created. Our program aims to align with and for our direct impact to be assessed by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, an industry leading think tank studying diversity and inclusion in entertainment.

To assess the program’s digital activism components, we will track social media metrics and engagement, as well as evidence of growing community involvement in the political process and dialogue around various social issues. Community comments and activity will be analyzed as well as participant numbers and demographics such as age, location, income, education level, and gender.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In five years, we anticipate seeing a significant increase in the participants, collaborators, and audience for Literary Riot. Our overarching goal is for Literary Riot to become a vibrant social enterprise whose income stream can become a primary source of support for Get Lit, reshaping the model of nonprofit funding. We aim to lead the way and pioneer the creative industry into a new digital ecosystem where Los Angeles youth have the ability to be at the forefront of the world’s biggest projects, movements, and masterpieces.