Several years ago my partner and I cast, created and produced the Boy Band Dream Street which went onto sign the largest deal in the history of Atlantic Records for a new artist, had a Billboard #1 selling record, appeared on 25 million boxes of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, toured with Britney Spears and was beloved by tweens across the country. We took the group from playing malls to playing Madison Square Garden. Even now, Dream Street is beloved by the generation that grew up with the band.
While Dream Street was entertaining thousands of adoring fans, I became a father to two sons. They are now 13 and 16 years old. We live in Westchester County in New York. Watching my kids grow up, I have become well aware of what is nothing short of an epidemic. I’m talking about bullying and cyber-bullying. Last year it really hit home. In the local school district where my boys are getting ready for 8th and 11th grade, there was an incident that received a great deal of attention with a girl in my older son’s class.
This of course is not unique. As we know, it is repeated -though rarely reported- in middle schools and high schools throughout the country. The statistics are more than alarming. So is, the damage that bullying can cause.
We have decided to do something about it. Our company, All for One Media is in the tween entertainment business. We believe that gives us a unique platform where we can have a genuine positive impact on Bullying in a way that both differs from other approaches (like lecturing and education) and hopefully makes kids think twice before they tear down other kids.
I want to be very clear. We are neither ego driven nor naïve when it comes to the Bullying problem. We understand that the problem at-hand is too big for any one platform or group to singularly take on by itself. Rather than act unilaterally in having a positive effect on this national crisis, our goals are more modest. We believe that if we can be even a small part of the solution, it will be a gratifying success. We are therefore aiming to partner with legitimate anti-bullying platforms whose effort we admire greatly and that share our common goal: 1) to provoke thinking about what is right and wrong among tweens. 2) to change the “mindset” that bullying is NOT COOL, 3) to
lessen the amount of bullying that takes place amongst adolescents 4) to help those who have been affected by bullying deal with this issue in a positive and constructive manner.
Our unique approach to “anti-bullying” is through entertainment.
Thus. We have formed SCAB: The “Student Campaign Against Bullying”. We think Back to School is a perfect launch point.
Let me give you a “behind the scenes” look at how we are meshing entertainment with our anti-bullying platform.
We are casting a brand new GIRL GROUP in September called Groovy Tuesday that is probably more Modern Day Spice Girls than Fifth Harmony. The auditions for the five group members are taking place in Miami, Los Angeles and New York. The girls will be of the highest triple threat caliber. Our creative team consists of Wendy Starland, who discovered Lady Gaga.
Our Choreographer is Teresa Espinosa who has worked with everyone from Britney Spears to Miley Cyrus and our Casting Agent is Krisha Bullock who is responsible for launching the careers of Victoria Justice, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and several other cross over stars by casting them in the shows that made them famous.
We also have a team of amazingly talented vocal coaches, costume designers and producers.
Each of the five girls in Groovy Tuesday will represent a distinct cross section of popular teen personas such as a preppie cheerleader, punk rocker, tough biker chick, hip-hop princess and a modern day flower child. An overriding theme to the group is the celebration of individuality, as each character is markedly different. Twenty years ago, the Spice Girls were all about “Girl Power.” The underlying social message in Groovy Tuesday is anti–bullying. The group’s tag line “It’s what you is….not what you isn’t” is lifted from their great pop song; “Where You Belong:..(see link below)
But we don’t shove it down kid’s throats!
The tracks for Groovy Tuesday’s songs have all been fully produced. The amazingly talented girls we cast in Groovy Tuesday will replace the vocals that are currently recorded. The groups incredible music is full of hit worthy pop songs that speak directly to kids. Lyrically, the songs relate to crushes, first love, breaking up, and the perils of popularity and the “social order” that kids can universally relate to. Several of the songs, speak directly to kids about acceptance, Individuality, and have an anti-bullying and anti-clique message!
Again, we don’t shove it down kid’s throats!
And… in the rare case that we debatably do, we still aim to make it fun and relatable. We recently received permission from Sony Publishing to re-record the classic 60’s pop song Wooly Bully as Bully Bully.
Take a listen:
Here are some other Groovy Tuesday songs that speak lyrically to tweens about positive self-image, individuality. acceptance and inclusion.
Drama Drama: (anti clique)
Where You Belong (fitting in)
We believe that these songs will connect with tweens as great relatable pop songs, while also spreading a positive message….and yes:
Without shoving it down kids throats!
The movie is the perfect teen coming-of-age dramedy. It completely captures the nuances of high school: teen angst, unrequited love, the mean popular girl, and peer pressure.
The movie features Groovy Tuesday’s instantly likable pop songs and infectious dancing making it destined to become an essential part of pop culture for generations of tweens and teens to come.
Crazy For The Boys also tells the story of what happens when five girls, all seniors at J.F.K. High end up in the principal’s office on the same day. Before that, these girls certainly weren’t friends; in fact, their taste in everything from fashion to music to boys was remarkably different.
The School Principal, Miss Macy, frustrated by the persistent bullying problem at JFK High, carefully hand-picked five very different girls, who had one thing in common. They were all leaders among their respective peer groups, and in the principal’s eyes, the perfect combination of personalities to run an antibullying assembly called SCAB (the Student Campaign Against Bullying)…
Yes, in line with our stated objective of using entertainment to have even a small impact on the way tweens interact, our platform the “STUDENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST BULLYING” will be a major part of the plot line and back story of Crazy For The Boys.
Thus, we are integrating a subtle but specific message of antibullying through our girl group Groovy Tuesday as well as the lyrics to many of the group’s songs and in the plot and dialogue of our tween driven Musical Dramedy; “Crazy For The Boys”.
Here’s an example of how we can combine our message through entertainment while interacting with our target audience.
In the movie, “Crazy For The Boys,” the five girls who are chosen by the School Principal to run the SCAB assembly take an Anti-Bullying Pledge in front of the entire Senior Class.
Here is our mission:
We are going to encourage the student body of America, especially middle school and high school boys and girls to take our Anti-Bullying Pledge and upload it to our website, TheSCAB.org. Each person who posts their pledge video will be sent a free T- Shirt.
We think it is safe to say that each student that uploads a video of the anti-bullying pledge and/or wears the SCAB t-shirt is less likely to be a bully or a bystander. Every successful movement starts with a few brave individuals.
The “Student Campaign Against Bullying” will measure success one pledge at a time.