Screenwriting ... For Third-Graders?!

Jessica Chou

The Verve Talent Agency came up with a laudable way to celebrate its second anniversary: Partners rounded up director and screenwriter clients Feb. 5 for a volunteer day at Linwood E. Howe Elementary in Culver City. The writers, including Jon Hoeber (Battleship) and Karl Gajdusek (untitled Tom Cruise sci-fi film), joined directors Brad Peyton (Journey 2) and David Silverman (The Simpsons Movie) in giving third-grade students a crash course in storytelling. The kids came up with the ideas -- one featured a spin on The Three Musketeers with Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Nicki Minaj -- and the filmmakers helped sketch scenes for the kids to act out. "We selected Linwood because it's one of the most underprivileged public schools in town with almost no arts program," says Verve's Bryan Besser, who organized the day with partners Adam Levine, Bill Weinstein and Amy Retzinger. "You don't think of a talent agency having a birthday doing something like this," adds writer client Ben McCaw. "Usually it's a party in a hotel."

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