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"Shoot Cameras Not Guns" teaches kids life skills while keeping them off streets

shoot movies not guns
Posted at 8:34 AM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-15 08:38:46-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A mentorship program is keeping kids off the streets this summer and teaching them some valuable skills. "Shoot Cameras Not Guns" is a new program in which children create an entire movie from start to finish.

"Instead of picking up a gun, pick up a camera. Show your truth, show who you are and dominate it," says DeAndra Dycus, who created the program with her husband, Eric.

DeAndra is the executive director at Purpose 4 My Pain, a non-profit dedicated to raising the voices of those impacted by gun violence.

Every Saturday, Eric opens his studio, Dycus Vision Production, to young people. Those kids are learning how to make movies by making their very own movie that will be screened at the Kan Kan Cinema when it's completed.

Thirteen-year-old Lanaiya White has always wanted to be a videographer in Hollywood.

"When my family would buy DVDs, I would always watch the behind the scenes and see how things were, and that's so cool to me," she said.

The Dycus's run the program to keep young people off the streets. They say film gives the kids an outlet to express their feelings in a safe, empowering way.

"If you're a person of that kind of creative nature, you have an obligation to seek the truth if you're a truth-seeker. Therefore, I'm teaching my youth how to seek and tell the truth," says Robert Washington, a 17-year-old high school senior going through the program.

Washington's 11-year-old brother, Rylan Golden, is the director.

"All of them are my favorite parts, but I really like learning things. Like there are days when we just learn audio or camera. Those are my favorites. Learning everything," he said.

The kids are writing a horror movie, and they assure WRTV that it's going to be very good, but they refuse to give any spoilers or sneak previews of the script, at Golden's command.

This is the first time the Dycus's have run this program, but they intend to offer it again, and hope it will inspire other adults to share their skills with the next generation.

"We can only reach a small sector, and there are so many out here who need us and want us, and are looking for someone to help them express their ideas, so I say just go do it," said DeAndra.

The kids are currently in need of professional actors. View their casting call here.