New Series: Angel To Rebel
Inpoints is proud to debut a new series, Angel To Rebel. Angel Potts is a high school student from Chicago with a passion for writing. Angel created a character named Rebel, a teenage girl who avenges people who have been victims of the justice system, like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Sandra Bland. Angel To Rebel is a web series that profiles Angel’s life as young writer in Chicago and follows her as she develops Rebel into a comic book.
We met Angel in 2014 while filming a video for the Chicago City of Learning Young Author’s Playlist. Angel, who was a high school freshman at the time, took part in a special writing workshop by Hypertext Studios which took place at Columbia College.
Angel was one of the quieter members of the group but when she read her story as part of the Story Week Festival, she caught my attention. Her story was about a girl named Rebel. As Angel told the story, you heard her describe Rebel and her friends preparing for what seemed to be breaking into someones house for what I assumed might be a robbery. At the end it is revealed that they have snuck into George Zimmerman’s house. Yes the George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin and was acquitted of the charges for his death. Rebel and her friends drugged George Zimmerman, dressed him in a black hoodie with skittles on the floor, painted a mural on his wall, and wrote a letter informing the media that Rebel and her friends were watching and would no longer let injustices go unanswered. While most most young authors were writing about boyfriends and girlfriends, or personal dramas, Angel had written something that reached outside herself and spoke to a larger societal issue. I took notice.
DEVELOPING A NEW TYPE OF LEARNING STORY
For a while I had been interested in doing a series about simply following a young person’s interest. What does the process of someone pursuing a passion feel like? What does learning look like when it isn’t tied to the classroom or a specific learning program? How could we tell that story? I was also interested in doing a video that wasn’t strictly documentary, where we were just a fly on the wall. I wanted to explore the idea of myself as a producer and director being involved in the story. Could we create situations that would be interesting on video but would also help a young person explore their interest and learn something new. Could the making of a video series itself be a valuable educational experience?
ABOUT ANGEL TO REBEL
Angel To Rebel is a “documentary-based” series. As Angel develops Rebel as a character and story, we as producers work with Angel to see how she wants her project to develop and we do what we can to best help her make it happen, while also keeping an eye on what would make for an interesting video. This might mean helping her research, finding resources, going to certain events or meeting certain people. For example in Episode 2, we found that a local non-profit bookstore was having a sale where you could fill a box of books for $40. We thought it would be a great setting for an episode but it would also be a good chance to have Angel get a bunch of new books and talk about her relationship with books and reading and how it influences her writing. In Episode 3, when we discovered that there would be a comic convention highlighting characters of color and featuring artists and writers of color, we thought it would be a great opportunity to have Angel talk to the writers and artists. Other episodes, like Episode 4 which follows Angel for a day at her high school are more traditional documentary.
This series is a profile of Angel as a young writer and want to show a fuller picture of what it is to learn. We see Angel in the classroom and in particular writing programs, but we also show her outside of those formal environments. We want to see what she does on her own, her creative process, the people she meets, the conversations, and the random things that might inspire new ideas.
THE FIRST FOUR EPISODES
Here are the first four episodes, with more to come soon.
* A quick note about the series: we started filming this series in the fall of 2015, when Angel was a sophomore in high school. Angel has just finished her junior year. As a result the story we are telling is not present day.
EPISODE 1: WHY I WRITE
Angel is a high school student from Chicago who loves to write. We are introduced to her passion for writing and a character she created named Rebel.
EPISODE 2:BOX OF BOOKS
Angel goes to a special sale at Open Books Pilsen where she can fill up a box with books for $40. Angel shares her love of books and the role reading plays in her writing.
EPISODE 3: CREATORS OF COLOR
Angel goes to Pocket Con, a comic convention highlighting comics and comic creators of color, to find inspiration, meet comic writers and artists, and explore a possible new direction for Rebel.
EPISODE 4: HIGH SCHOOL
A day in Angel’s life at Corliss High School. We get a glimpse into the inspiration for Rebel and her friends. (Shot when she was a sophomore)
EPISODE 5: Why Does Black Panther Wear A Mask?
Angel finds inspiration at First Aid Comics in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. There she meets up with Elgin (Pocket Con) and learns about the history of black superheroes in comics and gets introduced to independent black comic creators and artists.
EPISODE 6: Writing Comics
Angel discovers writing a comic book is different from the writing she usually does. She looks to Elgin for some guidance.