Students film in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Big Picture Alliance runs educational programs entirely at partner sites. This enables the BPA to best accomplish its mission of reaching students who are underserved by bringing programs directly to their school or community center. This is one of many ways in which BPA programs are flexible and custom fit to a partnering organization. We have a history of a wide variety of program structures and schedules including after-school, in-school and intensive summertime day programs.

The goal in any of these program structures is to give students comprehensive exposure to all major elements of video creation then facilitate skill specialization during production and post-production of a student-written script. This instruction results in a finished narrative, documentary or public service announcement video. All instruction follows and builds on curricula established with our partners.

A standard BPA program gives students comprehensive exposure to all the facets of video creation. The basic components of a program are as follows:

Core Skills:

Students are exposed to all major roles/skills involved in shooting a video. Eventually, they begin to choose a specialization for the actual production of a team film. Additionally, the entire student team is guided through the process of writing a script together for a group film and sometimes write scripts for shorter personal films.

  • Acting*: exercises in improvisation, diction, scene study and characterization
  • Technical*: equipment training, videography, liughting, sound gathering
  • Writing*: creative writing exercises, group writing techniques, screenwriting


Students ease into their specializations and begin the process of shooting a finalized script. They are challenged to work as a team to reach shooting goals. Sometimes, students will rotate roles to pursue curiosities and broaden their skill set. Roles: actor, director, videographer, sound technician, continuity

Post Production:

Students are exposed to all major roles/skills in finishing a video from captured content.

  • Editing*: non-linear digital editing, titles, music selection/soundtrack
  • Marketing: graphic design, event promotion

* For more specialized training, any section marked with a star above is also available as a workshop.

Typical Program Formats:

  • After School: 2 hour sessions, twice per week, for 10-12 weeks
  • Summer: 5 hour sessions, four times per week, for 6 weeks
  • Daily Class: 45 minute sessions, five times per week for a full semester or school year

Taking it to the next level:

For most students, BPA programs represent an opportunity to develop team-building, self-expression, writing skills and media literacy. For some, however, a BPA program is the door through which they launch a career in film or digital media. The BPA includes several avenues to explore these vocational interests.

Apprenticeships: The BPA operates part-time as a production house providing affordable, professional production services to other non-profits. Students who have proven themselves in BPA educational programs often have an opportunity to work as interns on these productions to simultaneously develop their skill and knowledge in the field and begin to develop a resume and reel.

Connections with the Greater Philadelphia Film Office: In select programs a key component is hosting a guest speaker from the GPFO to discuss the professional world of film and all it has to offer to hard-working, skilled, driven young people coming from BPA educational programs.

To bring a BPA program to your school or organization, contact