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RapidChat: Skot Welch on helping our youth solve problems through story telling

Founded in 2012 by Skot Welch, The Mosaic Film Experience is a workforce initiative working to prepare our youth to be better problem solvers. "We started Mosaic Mobile because not all schools have access to film equipment. Kids practically live on their phones, and we want to show them the opportunities they have on that particular device," explains Welch.

Founded in 2012 by Skot Welch, The Mosaic Film Experience is a workforce initiative working to prepare our youth to be better problem solvers. "We started Mosaic Mobile because not all schools have access to film equipment. Kids practically live on their phones, and we want to show them the opportunities they have on that particular device," explains Welch.
Rapid Growth: Where did your inspiration for the Mosaic Film Experience stem from?

Skot Welch: It stemmed from the many conversations I’ve had with my clients at my consulting business. We had multiple discussions about the talent pipeline. We looked at The Mosaic Film Experience as a workforce initiative to prepare our youth to be better problem solvers. Of course, we wanted to incorporate diversity and inclusion so that all kids could be represented.

Over the years, The Mosaic Film Experience has evolved and grown. Today, there are three aspects to The Mosaic Film Experience. Mosaic Mobile is an annual mobile film competition where films are shot, edited, and entered on mobile devices; The Mosaic Event is an annual interactive experience that provides students access to industry professionals through creative, career-inspiring workshops – and we celebrate the winners of Mosaic Mobile; and Mosaic Community includes events ranging from after-school curriculum to industry guest speakers and film screenings.

RG: What encouraged you to start Mosaic Mobile?

SW: We started Mosaic Mobile because not all schools have access to film equipment. Kids practically live on their phones, and we want to show them the opportunities they have on that particular device. We want to help them understand that they have the whole world in the palm of their hands.

RG: How did you first envision it?

SW: I still have a big vision for Mosaic Mobile, but it continues to exceed what I expected, and it has evolved, in a good way. It has affected many of our young people’s lives. We were also pleasantly surprised at how much it affects the lives of middle schoolers. Mosaic Mobile exposes them to early opportunities as well. As it continues to grow and exceed expectations, I hope it will become something that students can participate in year-round.

RG: Has The Mosaic Film Experience Event and Mosaic Mobile been replicated in other cities yet?

SW: The first one is to take place in Nairobi, Kenya. We hope that it’s successful there and that it will help us replicate it domestically. But yes, the first replication is across the pond. 

RG: From your perspective, what is the importance of storytelling?

SW: Storytelling affects everything, just like design does. You need a strong command of writing, speaking, creating, and translating. Storytelling is involved in everything anyone does. The number one request I used to hear from employers was for young employees to have analytical abilities. However, now it’s storytelling that is being requested in the marketplace. 

RG: One of The Mosaic Film Experience’s four Cs is career preparedness. Do you think the students understand they’re being prepared for their futures through storytelling?

SW: Yes, I do think they realize it because we are very intentional about asking them to tie what they learn back into their work somehow.  

RG: What made you want to bring Mosaic Mobile to ArtPrize this year?

SW: We enjoy collaborating with the staff at ArtPrize. We believe in what they’re doing and we both value collaborating with other organizations. The Mosaic Film Experience’s primary focus is young people, and this was another opportunity to provide something valuable for those young people.

RG: What has the been feedback from the community?

SW: From year one, we have been absolutely supported by our community; it’s been great. Our focus is on providing an additional platform for young people, and our community partners see it. The Mosaic Film Experience is not about adults; it’s for young people.  

RG: Is there anything, in particular, you’re looking forward to at this year’s event?

SW: We’re excited to view this year’s Mosaic Mobile entries. We’re also looking forward to sharing more about the impact The Mosaic Film Experience has at our luncheon on October 25 at the Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center. And, of course, we’re looking forward to providing an interactive day of learning at the annual Mosaic Film Experience Event on November 7 and 8 at Wealthy Theatre.

We have grown so much and expanded through our after-school programs and other Mosaic Community collaborations. As we move forward, we are focusing on making The Mosaic Film Experience more accessible digitally around the world. Many kids or educators don’t have the support they need, and we want to equip them to be able to tell their stories. 

RG: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

SW: We would love for people to support us, in whatever way it makes sense for them – whether it’s working with our young people, collaborating with The Mosaic Film Experience, or providing the resources we need to complete our work. I want to invite educators and other potential community partners to join us at our annual Mosaic Film Experience Event at Wealthy Theatre on November 7 and 8.

We also host several Mosaic Community events throughout the year. Our next Mosaic Community event is in partnership with the Meanwhile Movie Series on November 6 at Wealthy Theatre, where we will celebrate and recognize the 2018 college winners of Mosaic Mobile. Following the awards ceremony, we will host a screening of "Black Panther" featuring special guest Hollywood costume concept artist Philip Boutte Jr., whose work includes "Black Panther," "A Wrinkle in Time," "The Hunger Games," and many other films.   

Jenna Morton is the Rapid Chat correspondent for Rapid Growth Media.
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