Do Good 2017: Fourthwall Youth Studios
Identity - Digital

A New Life for a Local Non-Profit

Stages For Youth walked into Hyperquake with questions and hopes; they walked away with a new identity and a new sense of possibility.


Stages For Youth — newly renamed Fourthwall Youth Studios — is a film and digital media program open to Cincinnati's youth in junior high and high school, from traditional and non-traditional education environments. Students engage in a hands-on, professional-style production, but they also learn non-academic skills critical to a successful future.

Started by Frank O'Farrell, Fourthwall is an after-school program and summer camp whose mission is to help youth find their voice and express their individuality through digital and performance arts, to change the trajectory of their own lives, those around them, and their community. It's about building skills alongside self-confidence, and strengthening the Cincinnati creative community at the same time.


There is an imaginary boundary in creative arts between the audience and the actors called the fourth wall. It confines the characters to the story, keeps them in their roles. But sometimes there are moments of magic when a character is allowed to break that wall. Suddenly free to be themselves and address the audience directly, the character is no longer held to the confines of their past.

At Fourthwall Youth Studios, youth can have that magic moment. Through the program, they gain valuable career skills and experience in film and digital media. Many discover they have untapped potential. No longer held to the stories they were living before, participants are free to discover new paths forward. Cultivating an interest in sound, lighting, editing, coding, photography, writing or project coordination is just the beginning. These 21st century skills break down barriers to careers and dreams.


The slate is a powerful tool. It dictates the beginning of a scene when filming; in post-production it allows editors to align vocals and visuals. At its core, it is a tool that allows for a seamless story. 

At Fourthwall Youth Studios, a slate is placed into the hands of young people who need it — those who are beginning a story of their own. So a slate was the natural choice for this organization's logo – complete with a detached fourth side that reinforces the Fourthwall name and represents the brand story of building our own narratives. This concept is paid off with the new brand tagline: Fourthwall is a place where young people can 'flip the script' and create whatever story they want.

While Filmworks is Fourthwall's core program, expansion is on the horizon to let students explore focus areas that support the filmmaking process. Logos for Codeworks (coding), Storyworks (scriptwriting), Stageworks (performance), and Audioworks (sound editing) show the breadth of the system as the nonprofit grows.


Other than our shared passion for the creative arts, our decision to partner with Stages for Youth was driven by the profound impact their programs are having on kids in our region. In the short term, Frank and a generous group of mentors are introducing young people to a creative world that may have seemed like nothing more than a dream. Everyone that attends the summer camps has an opportunity to meet and work with like-minded people to create short films, learning skills such as editing, script writing, and creative problem solving. In the long term, kids are being shown that they can have a future in the creative field doing something that they love.

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