Hollywood CPR, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization, was founded in 1997 by Kevin Considine. Kevin was inspired by his personal experiences with the arts as a form of empowerment in his life and career when traditional academic paths did not lend themselves to his form of learning. The arts as they related to the entertainment industry helped him break through the walls erected by academia that held that if he did not succeed in school he would not succeed in life. The arts led him to a successful career in the entertainment industry.
After an active career in the entertainment industry Kevin decided to leave and embark on a new phase of his career path. He was driven by a two-fold desire; to recycle used props into rentable items through a non-profit prop house to generate revenue to support youth programs; and to share his personal experiences of the entertainment industry with disadvantaged youth through a training program. In the process of developing his vision, he met Laura Peterson who had a successful career starting businesses both non-profit and for-profit focusing on the needs of children. After several discussions they realized that they shared common interests in serving disadvantaged youth. Laura was instrumental in helping Kevin realize that his dream of a prop house filled with recycled props could also form a unique and practical cornerstone to a training program. The training program would provide hands on experience learning the trade skills as they relate to the art departments of film and television as well as learn the business of operating a prop house. Through participation in the operation of the prop house the students would gain valuable life skills and business experience that would augment their training.
Following extensive research into the various programs for training in the entertainment industry, Hollywood CPR developed its Entertainment Arts Training Program to fill a void that exists in training for the trade skills as they relate to the art department. This includes but is not limited to prop making, model making, set design and construction, mold making, sculpting, robotics and special effects. Many schools, nonprofit organizations and training centers provide instruction in all other aspects of filmmaking, i.e. writing, editing, acting, directing, camera, production, animation etc., but no programs were providing students (especially underserved individuals) with the skills needed to compete for jobs in the craft and technician areas of the entertainment industry.
With the program’s concepts in place, Kevin and Laura began the arduous task of finding a home for their training program and prop house. In 1998 Hollywood CPR found West Los Angeles College’s old aviation training center facility and approached the College to form a collaboration. Hollywood CPR moved to its current location in July 1999 and Hollywood CPR’s Entertainment Arts Training Program completed its first training in 2000 and was awarded accreditation for its Introduction to Entertainment Arts class in 2001 by West Los Angeles College, with seven more classes accredited in fall 2002. Hollywood CPR has trained more than 475 students since its inception.
In 2001, Hollywood CPR began discussions with Workplace Hollywood, an organization whose mission is to ensure that historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles can effectively compete for and gain access to jobs and business opportunities within the entertainment industry (www.workplacehollywood.org). In early 2002, Workplace Hollywood awarded a grant to Hollywood CPR to expand its spring 2002 program to include young adults ages 18-25. The success of the program prompted Workplace Hollywood to approach Hollywood CPR if it would be interested in working with them and other unions on a pilot program to expand Hollywood CPR’s existing union based training program (Local 44 Prop Makers, Set Decorators, Construction Coordinators, Upholstery/Drapery, Special Effects) to include Local 80 Grips/Craftservice, Local 600 Camera, Local 700 Editors, Local 705 Costume, Local 706 Make-up and Hair, Local 728 Set Lighting, Local 729 Painters/Sign Makers, and Local 800 Scenic/Graphic Artist). Hollywood CPR enthusiastically embraced this concept and with an additional grant and assistance from Workplace Hollywood, the pilot program was launched in the fall of 2002 with tremendous success and support from the Entertainment Industry, IATSE and the community.
Hollywood CPR’s collaborations with West Los Angeles College (who provide facilities and college credit for the students), Workplace Hollywood (who provides, connections and potential job opportunities for trainees) and the Unions (who provide teachers for our programs) demonstrate how people can come together and make a difference by providing opportunities for those most at-risk in our society.